Categorisation Practice & Tips for IELTS Reading

You can get categorisation questions in IELTS reading and below is a useful categorisation practice exercise to help you develop your skills. Download a free PDF file of the passage and questions below: IELTS Reading Practice Categorisation

IELTS Categorisation Questions

  1. Skim read the passage first before you tackle the questions.
  2. Check the categories available & prepare any possible paraphrases (paraphrases are not always possible)
  3. Read through the statements in each question
  4. Spend time paraphrasing vocabulary in the statements before you try and categorise the information
  5. After preparing the statements, try to locate the information in the passage by scanning the text
  6. Sometimes you must use a process of elimination to find your answer

The key to this type of question is being good at paraphrasing and scanning for specific information. Download the pfd file: Beds in the Ancient World Categorisation

Beds in the Ancient World

categorisation reading

Bed styles in ancient Egypt remained very much the same for over 2000 years. They are among the most intriguing of furniture items because of their structure. Many were slanted down at an incline from the headboard. A footboard ensured that the sleeper would not slip off in the middle of the night. Furniture makers also constructed side rails on many beds. Writes Sibal, “almost all beds featured legs in the form of animal legs, ranging from heavy bulls legs to gazelle-like forms with hooves, and the feline type with paw and claw, frequently identified as lions legs.” The mattress was usually made of wooden slats, plaited string, or reeds, which then held woolen cushions or some other soft material. Sheets were made of linen.

Roman bed-frames were pretty much the same. It would have had a mattress on top of it, stuffed with feathers or straw, and wool blankets. But most Etruscan and Roman beds would have been made of wood and strung with wool or linen string. In the bedrooms, the ceilings were vaulted and lower above the bed, often making the room appear a cramped and stuffy place. Simple beds. to which shortly after the Homeric age a pillow for the head was added, continued to be used by the poorer classes among the Greeks at all times. Thus the bed of the orator Lycurgus is said to have consisted of one sheep-skin and a pillow.

In Ancient Greece, the beds of persons of high rank was covered with skins upon which the pillows were placed, and over these linen sheets or carpets were spread. Lastly, there was thick woolen cover or blanket for the sleeper. Poor persons slept on skins or beds of dry herbs spread upon the ground. These simple beds,  had a cover or ticking of a mattress which was made of linen or woolen cloth and the usual material with which it was filled with was either wool or dried weeds. At the head part of the bed lay a round pillow to support the head; and in some ancient pictures two other square pillows are seen, which were intended to support the back. The covers of such pillows are striped in several pictures on ancient vases and were therefore probably of various colours. They were undoubtedly filled with the same materials as the beds and mattresses.

Questions 1-4

Categorise the information in the questions into the following categories. Please note that for this particular practice, answers will not come in order in the passage. Choose  the correct letter (A-C) for your answer.

  • A = Ancient Egyptian
  • B = Ancient Roman
  • C = Ancient Greek
  1. There was not much space in the bedrooms.
  2. The beds were not flat and horizontal but rather angled downwards.
  3. Pillows could be decorative.
  4. No skins or pillows were used.
  1. B
  2. A
  3. C
  4. A

The passage is compiled of information from various sources, including touregypt and mlahanas



Below is a list of useful vocabulary and paraphrases for words in the passage above. You should always use reading passages and listening transcripts to help you build your knowledge of vocabulary.

  • intriguing = fascinating, interesting
  • slanted = inclined, leaning, sloped
  • featured = included, presented
  • gazelle = a type of deer
  • hooves = the feet of a deer or horse
  • paw = foot of a lion, cat or dog
  • claw = the nail on the foot of a lion, cat, dog or bird
  • vaulted = curved, domed
  • cramped = over crowded, small, confined
  • stuffy = airless, unventilated
  • orator = speaker


Get my free lessons by email

Subscribe for free to get my new IELTS lessons sent to your email inbox.

Sharing is caring...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest


  1. Ivan Miguel says:

    Hi Liz,

    I’m a little confused with the meaning of the word “cushion” (regarding question 4). Is not pillow a synonym for cushion?


    Ivan Miguel

  2. saeed aziz says:

    Nice article by the way, i failed in paragraph C and paragraph G where “Taxonomy” is a strange synonym for me, i thought it was for comparsion between different species.

    for paragraph G , i was confused between pangolin trade and being in danger due to deterioration of places and haunted for food, also trade for they are demanded from china for their body parts.
    how to focus more and choose the best answer where it seems to one paragraph has more than one solution?

    Thanks in advance

  3. Finally, I got everything right!!!
    Feel so good!
    I usually got about 70% right in reading and listening practice.
    I will try harder!
    Thanks Liz:)

  4. scored 3/4.I made mistake for 1 because of my abysmal knowledge about the meaning of cramped and stuffy.Thank you liz.

  5. OMG! I got it perfect….but its quite easy though:)

  6. 4/4 =D .. I´ve been looking for a website like this in ages. If I had known before about it, I would have scored a better ielts last year. Thx Liz . Regards from Colombia.

  7. Hi Liz,
    I completed the exercise above and scored 3/4, there is something I wanted to ask you relating the last question of this exercise. You posted A (Ancient Egyptian) as right for question 4 No skins or pillows were used.
    I chose B (Ancient Roman) referring to this sentences in the paragraph : Roman bed-frames were pretty much the same. It would have had a mattress on top of it, stuffed with feathers or straw and wool blankets.

    • The problem is that in the paragraph about Romans, it also mentions the use of pillows and skins – see the last two sentences. So, the answer must be A which never mentions the use of skins or pillows.
      All the best

  8. Dear Liz,
    I would like to thank you very much for your blog. I’ve found your it accidentally, which I’m very happy about. I aiming for score 7. Even though I’ve recently received 8,5 from listening and 7,5 speaking, I struggle with writing and sometimes obtain lower score from reading (before 8.0, now 6.5). I finally understood how to write an introduction! 😀 I hope that learning from your blog will help me achieve my goal very soon.
    One thing I would like to ask you is that I do not quite understand why for question 4 in the task above the answer is A. Ancient Egyptian. Can you please explain?
    I would appreciate it a lot.
    I found the information right after description of the bed in Ancient Roman that the pillows were introduced after the Homeric age, which is Greek.

  9. 3 out 4

  10. Dear Lizz,

    I wrote Ielts Writing Task 2 essay, I would like you to correct my essay please. How i can send my essay. Please let me know your mail address, or any other option. please reply

  11. Mam this is Margaret Sophy. Thank you mam for your immediate response. Writing module twice I have got 7 in writing and once in speaking mam.if u permit me I will write 2 task2 and post u .plz can u correct and tel me the mistakes and score mam .plz kindly help me mam.

    • Sorry but I do not have time to mark and do error correction. I will try to find time to give you a comment but that’s about all.

  12. Hi Liz

    i’m Ilkhom from Uzbekistan i need writing task 1 vocabulary like beginning phrases or smth like that
    .Please help Me ?

    Thank you for replying.

    • All my lessons are in the writing task 1 section. Each type of task 1 has variations on language, linking devices, vocabulary, key features etc. So, you will need to work through them slowly and logically.

  13. Mam, thank u for your useful website for me. I have written ielts exam for 8 times, all the time I scored 6.5 band score in reading, speaking, and writing Where my desired score is 7 individually. Once I saw your website just week before. I gained lot of confidence. Mam I need video clips for matching heading, choose the best ending, match the sentence to the paragraph, and for multiple choise question. Please reply mam

    • Unfortunately it takes me a lot of time to make videos but they will come slowly. It is possible that you will need to work on your level of English to secure a band score 7. Exam skills are essential but the right level of English is also essential. Take work on both exam skills and your English language and don’t book at test until you frequently score 7 in practice tests.

  14. The passages are of similar difficult in the academic reading test. They are only different in the general reading test. Spend time analysing the vocabulary and meaning of the questions before you attempt to find the answer. When you say categories, do you mean question types or topics? I don’t understand your question.

    • Thank you for your quick response

      I mean by categorizing that while reading I sort and divide text into nouns, dates ,key words, places ,reasons ,opinions etc

      I tried hard to focus but it took me a very long time

      Do you recommend focus on two texts to make sure of the correct answer s and then left the third one to chance

      • I don’t understand. What do you mean to focus on two texts? There are three passages (3 texts) in the IELTS test. In this lesson there is only one passage – one text. You don’t need to divide anything into nouns, verbs etc. This isn’t a grammar test. Read the questions, paraphrase key words and locate answers. Step by step.
        All the best

  15. Hi Liz
    One more time I have tried to write an essay, could you please correct it.
    Some people believe that children’s leisure activities must be educational otherwise they are complete waste of time. Do you agree or disagree. Give your answer including relevant examples from your experience.
    It is argued that children’s free time should be utilized with an informative activities if not under other condition up-bringing to these kids will definitely be good for nothing. In my opinion, children’s idle hours certainly must be related to educative exercise not fun and relaxation. Activities such as puzzle and quiz which aids children to expand their knowledge and urges them finding new ideas.
    Firstly, children from their early stage should be guided in a educational frame work,participating in knowledgeable games tend to have more interest on kids, such programs help utilization of leisure period which all parents expect to be. Solving quiz, puzzle ,mathematical solution are some of the examples to effective method and broaden the knowledge in children. Real example can be taken from school students obtaining first position, who utilized spare time in educational activities contradictory is the failure one. This symbolize that correct use of time in an educational matter makes a man.
    Furthermore, many researches have found children’s are always curious to discover a new thing moreover they are willing to learn more if interested. It is unbelievable to hear a five year child flying an aeroplane, a eleven year boy , world’s chess champion. Despite their strong eager to gain something these kids won’t have been famous. On the other hand, if these children’s were enjoying their free time just for pleasure, parents would definitely feel sorry for them.
    In conclusion, It is obvious to believe that children’s spare time must have brainstorming activities which help bring excitement on them , diversely, only enjoying for the sake of memorable moment in their life will at the end leave value less object.
    word count 267

    • Unfortunately, due to over paraphrasing and poor choice of vocabulary, it is difficult to understand this essay. You must write more clearly. I do not understand the second paragraph at all. I don’t know what the main point is. For vocabulary and grammar, this would not get above band score 5. Try to produce accurate language rather than trying to impress the examiner.
      All the best

    • 4/4 Thank you

  16. dear Liz, thank you very much for replying.I will start on working with your lessons.thanks !

  17. Aurora Hoxha says:

    Hi dear Liz , hope you are well and healthy I just finished this reading part and fined out all question but the problem is that in ielts test I took R4 w5 L4.5 S 5.5 I’ve been study in Australia 50 week general english at AICE college ,I’ve have given the ielts in November austral but didn’t
    Pass ,in liste 5 ,read 4 writ 5 speak5.5 better than in my country Alb please any advice as I need in each band at least 5 thanks for your great job

    • It looks like you are steadily improving. If you want band score 5 in each skill, you are not far from that. Continue developing both your English language and IELTS skills. You will get there. But make sure you are achieving 5.5 in practice tests before you take your next test.
      All the best

  18. Liz please I want to learn how to write on table in task 1?

  19. Hi Liz, pleass give me more lesson on reading and writting task 1 and 2 and in listening i have problem in map and multiple choice type questions.

    • Try “Improve your Reading Skills” book. See each section of this blog for more lessons and tips.
      All the best

      • Thank you so much Liz. Liz which college you give lessons? I want to attend your english session please.

        • I don’t have any lessons at a college or school. I only work with this blog part time at the moment.
          All the best

  20. Mohammed Amine Chettou says:

    Hello Liz
    I am going to pass the IELTS test , this saturday and I am a bit nervous i have not worked on Diagram and Map essays in task 1. do you think that 1 day , is enough time to do so?
    In the speaking tests , what kind of questions do I have to expect ?
    Finally , I would love to thank you very much for your efforts.
    Kind regards

    • Yes, you can learn maps and diagrams in one day. See my models and lessons for some ideas in the writing task 1 section. For speaking questions and topics, see my collection in the speaking section. Also check the recent exam questions – you can find a link on the home page, left side. Students post recent speaking questions there.
      All the best

  21. Adel Tenbellaa says:

    Dear Liz,
    I cannot thank you enough for your efforts as well as your valuable advice. In fact, every time I take an IELTS exam , it’s always the Reading band which lets me down.
    However, I’m planning to apply for IELTS test,so I’m really doing my best to pay more attention on Reading and focus on the techniques of how I get a better score. I can tell for sure it’s going to be a very big challenging for me to achieve a higher band, but I never quit my aim in that.
    Clearly, I’ve been watching all your Reading Videos and I only started reading the reading passages on your blog two days ago. Doubtlessly, they’re of great help and limitless benefits.
    Eventually, I always come across new vocabularies which instills an annoying feeling inside me,therefore, I will be immensely grateful if you kindly could advise me bout this and how I can overcome such a problematic issue in Reading.
    I am looking forward to your advice.
    Yours forever,

    • Adel Tenbellaa says:

      Sorry, but having had my post revised, I cannot believe that I’ve made some silly mistakes which I could have realized if I had revised my post well before posting.
      1- I’m planning to apply for an IELTS test.
      2- It’s going to be a very big challenge for me -or- It’s going to be challenging for me .
      3- I only started doing your Reading passages.

    • I don’t really understand your problem. There is no reason to get annoyed because there is new vocabulary. Just start learning and progressing.

      • Adel Tenbellaa says:

        Many thanks for your reply. I will do my best to learn more difficult vocabularies from all the reading passages in your blog. And I am sorry for my longer and boring messages.
        Best Regards.

  22. Dear Liz,

    Did you happen to work at Jeju Girls Middle or High School?
    One of my students attended there; I was private-tutoring her.
    I remembered her telling about her English teacher from the UK.
    I asked the name of the teacher and it was Liz, I guess.
    She was describing her teacher and personality….
    Any how,,,,wow! It is a small world!

    And for the tuberculosis checkup, it is for one of the clearance regulations to get the student
    visa in the UK.
    I really appreciate your concerns.
    Have a lovely day!

    • No, that wasn’t me. They gave me the name “Eli” not Liz in Jeju and I worked for a private school – a hagwon 🙂
      All the best

  23. Dear Liz,

    Thanks for another reading practice!
    I am goin to Seoul tomorrow.
    I have to have a medical checkup for tuberculosis; I am applying for visa soon.
    I know you taught English here in Korea. Where did you stay?

    • Hi Amber,

      I hope the medical check is just routine and not serious. I first taught in Kyongju which was fantastic. I loved being able to go Pulguska Temple and it was a great chance to really get to know traditional Korean culture. After that, I moved to Jeju Island and worked in Jeju City. I loved that too. The people were so welcoming and the island was just gorgeous. I can’t say enough about the food – just excellent. I still crave kimchi. Take care and good luck with your plans.
      All the best

Speak Your Mind