IELTS Reading: Paraphrasing Practice

Virtually every IELTS Reading question involves some form of paraphrased language; if the questions used the exact same language as the passage and involved a simple word hunt, there would essentially be no test at all!

To answer Reading questions quickly and confidently, you must be able to match the rephrased language that appears in the questions to its original counterpart in the passages. The following exercises are designed to help you practice this skill.

(Answers are at the bottom of the page.) 


Passage 1


Match the numbered phrases with their rewritten versions below. Each answer is used only once.  


Aviation is a (1) stubbornly difficult strand of transport to decarbonise. Aircraft burn huge amounts of fossil fuel, for business travel, leisure activities and tourism that used to be (2) prohibitively expensive but in recent decades have become accessible to large populations as fossil fuels became cheaper (3) in real terms.


Demand management aside – and that too is on the table, of course, alongside that Swedish phrase flygskam, or ‘flight shame’ – very few (4) industry observers truly think that batteries will make the sort of gains in energy density to ever be capable of displacing liquid fuels for (5) aviation applications. Hence, the question arises whether sustainable replacements for fossil liquid fuels can be developed and then made in (6) sufficient quantities.



A. In the absolute sense

B. Use in the field of aviation

C. Persistently challenging

D. Too costly to be possible

E. Large-enough amounts

F. People who follow the aviation business


Passage 2


Match the numbered phrases with their rewritten versions below. Each answer is used only once.  


What did the Romans ever do for us? It seems they added an inch to the average height of their British subjects — they came, they saw, we prospered. And after taking a plunge during the Anglo-Saxon era, the height of the average inhabitant rose again in the wake of the Norman Conquest. These are just two of the findings of new research using data from skeletal remains to calculate how the average height of men rose or fell over 2,000 years of history in what is now England. The result is (1) a startling picture of changes in health and wellbeing.


Using data of skeletal remains of men aged between 21 and 49 years from a range of archaeological excavations across England, they deduced (2) individuals’ full heights from their femur length. Lead author Dr Gregori Galofré-Vila, from the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford, said: ‘We believe our results shed new light on the development of health in England over the very long run.’


He and his team worked on the basis that height, linked with childhood nutrition, is (3) a good measure of wellbeing and can be estimated accurately from the length of a full grown man’s femur. Biologists and epidemiologists have long recognised that although (4) the main causes of variation in individual height may be genetic, changes in the economic, social and environmental circumstances are reflected in the mean heights of different groups of people at any given time.


The working paper reveals that men in this area of Britain became taller when it was under Roman occupation (200–410AD), with average height rising from 167cm (5ft 6in) to 170cm (5ft 7in). The researchers suggest this rise in average height (5) coincided with the Romans’ improved water supply and sanitation systems and a more varied diet. Heights did not decline immediately after the Romans left Britain in 410, but fell from 600AD. The paper (6) highlights previous research suggesting that health (7) may have deteriorated when populations moved out of the towns and cities set up by the Romans, abandoning the more hygienic water supplies and waste-disposal systems. Plague and pestilence then became common and infectious diseases were on the increase, with archaeological evidence also suggesting that (8) diets were inadequate, notes the paper.



A. Food did not provide sufficient nutrients

B. Might have become worse

C. Occurred at the same time as

D. A surprising image

E. The primary reasons for differences

F. Calls attention to earlier studies

G. How tall people grew to be

H. A reliable assessment 


Scroll down for the answers






Answers: Passage 1


(1) C

(2) D

(3) A

(4) F

(5) B

(6) E


Answers: Passage 2


(1) D

(2) G

(3) H

(4) E

(5) C

(6) F

(7) B

(8) A