IELTS Reading Paragraph Information: Whaling

This passage is similar to the level of GT passage 3 and just below academic level. However, it is a useful passage for academic students because it will help develop skills without too much heavy academic vocabulary.

This IELTS reading practice requires you to match information to a particular paragraph. Read instructions carefully.

A Brief History of Whaling

A) People have been whaling for thousands of years. Norwegians were among the first to hunt whales, as early as 4,000 years ago. The Japanese may have been doing so even earlier.

B) Traditions as varied as the Inuit (who hunted in the Arctic Ocean), Basque (who hunted in the Atlantic), and Japanese (who hunted in the Pacific) relied on whales to provide material goods, as well as part of their cultural identity.

C) Nearly every part of the whale was used. Meat, skin, blubber, and organs were eaten as an important source of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Baleen was woven into baskets and used as fishing line. In warmer climates, baleen was also used as a roofing material. Bones were used primarily for tool making and carving ceremonial items such as masks.

D) During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, whaling gained popularity throughout Northern Europe. Whale oil and baleen (sometimes called whalebone, although it’s not bone at all) were valuable commodities. Whale oil comes from the blubber of right and bowhead whales, and the head cavity of sperm whales. It was used primarily for oil lamps. Corsets and hoop skirts were constructed from whalebone.

Questions 1-5

The reading passage has 4 paragraphs. Which paragraph contains the following information? Letters may be used more than once. Write the correct letter (A-D) as your answer.

  1.  Whaling became common in Northern Europe.
  2. A variety of different cultures have used whales to furnish important supplies.
  3. The Japanese probably started hunting before anyone else.
  4. Whale oil was used for lighting.
  5. The body of a dead whale was used for many purposes and little was wasted.

You can download a free pdf copy of the passage and questions: ielts-reading-history-of-whaling


Click below to open the answers for the above IELTS reading practice.

  1. D = Information about Northern Europe and whaling is contained in A (Norway) and D. However, information about whaling being common is contained only in D = gained popularity.
  1. B = Paragraph B contains the names of different cultures. It contains the words ‘provide material goods’ which can be paraphrased to mean ‘furnish important supplies’.
  1. A = Paragraphs A and B contain information about the Japanese. However, paragraph A contains information about the beginning of whaling and the last sentence in paragraph A contains the exact information.
  1. D = Paragraph D contains information about whale oil which was ‘used primarily for oil lamps’.
  1. C = Both paragraphs C and D contain information about the uses of whale. The first sentence of paragraph C, gives further information about not wasting the body.

Passage from: National Geographic 


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  1. Some people commented on my essay that it lacks clarity. Actually what does this mean? How can I bring clarity to my essays? Please can you help me?

    • This means making your ideas clearer. Some times students try to use so many high band score words, that the real meaning is lost.Your aim is not to impress the examiner, it is to make the meaning clear and avoid vocabulary errors. So, aim to express your ideas clearly. Also, spend more time planning your ideas. That means not just thinking of the idea, but planning how to explain it and support it. The more planning you do, the better your essay will be.

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    “Many young people do not enjoy sport competition because they are afraid of losing.
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  7. Cleve Levy Deolinda says

    I everyone!
    I wrote an IELTS exam on October 27 and the subject of writing task two was
    “Many young people do not enjoy sport competition because they are afraid of losing.
    Therefore, sport competition should be banned for young people.
    To what extend do you agree or disagree?

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