The Reading section of IELTS is held for a duration of 60 minutes. The candidates will face 3 to 4 passages of different levels of difficulty. A total of 40 questions will be asked from the reading passages. These questions will be difficult, so you must do a lot of preparation for the main exam. Want to learn how to level up your IELTS reading preparation? Check out the “IELTS Reading Preparation Tips” section on this page.

In this article, you will go through a reading passage called “Cork”. Check the Cork reading answers to get an idea of how the questions can be.

IELTS Reading Topic & Preparation Tips

In the first section, you will find a reading passage topic “Cork” with some solved questions. And the second will help you out will some essential preparation tips to score better in your next IELTS Reading exam.

Cork IELTS Reading Answers Sample

Cork is a unique composite made from the dense bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus suber). It’s rugged, elastic, springy, and fire-resistant, making it ideal for a variety of applications. Cork was used for centuries: the ancient Egyptians used it to cement sarcophagi (rock coffins), and the early Greeks and Romans used it to make anything from nests to sandals.

The cork oak is a remarkable tree in and of itself. Its bark can grow up to 20 centimetres tall, shielding the tree like a cover around the trunk and branches and maintaining a steady temperature of 20°C throughout the year. The bark of the cork oak has a unique cellular structure, with around 40 million cells per square centimetre, that engineering has never been able to replicate.

Also Read: Matching Heading Type of Questions in IELTS Reading: Here’s How to do It

Part 2

Cork is buoyant since the cells are packed with air. It also has elasticity, which ensures you can squeeze it and then relieve the weight and see it spring back to its original shape and appearance.

Cork oaks can be found in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Morocco, among other Mediterranean countries. They thrive in humid, sunny climates with an annual rainfall of at least 400 millimetres with no more than 800 mm in size. The plants, including grapevines, grow in poor soil, digging deep roots to find moisture and nutrients. The Alentejo area of southern Portugal fits all of these criteria, which illustrates why, by the early twentieth century, it had been the world’s largest cork manufacturer, accounting for nearly half of all cork production worldwide.

Part 3

The majority of cork forests are managed by families. Many of these family-owned enterprises, as well as many of the trees, are over 200 years old. Over everything, cork processing is a test of patience. It takes 25 years from the time a cork sapling is planted to the first harvest, and harvests from each tree must be separated by around a decade. And you’ll have to wait for 15 or 20 years for the best quality cork. To pick cork, you must also be looking for the perfect kind of summer day. The tree would be weakened if the bark is removed on a day when it will be too cold or the weather is humid.

Part 4

Cork harvesting is a highly specialised area. Since no mechanical means of removing cork bark has been devised, the task is carried out by groups of highly skilled people. They start by cutting vertically down the bark with small sharp axes, then levering it away in as big a chunk as they can. A semi-circular husk that extends the length of the tree from just above floor level to the first nodes is prised away by the most skilled cork-strippers. It is then dry for about 4 months on the ground before being transported to factories and boiled to destroy any insects that might linger in the cork. The majority of cork is then used in the building industry, with over 60% of it being turned into conventional bottle stoppers. Corkboard and cork tiles are excellent thermal and acoustic protection, and cork flakes are used in concrete production.

Part 5

Cork’s total monopoly as a product for bottle stoppers has come to an end in recent years, owing to questions about its effect on the components of the bottle. This is due to a chemical compound known as 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), which is formed when plant phenols, chlorine, and mould combine. Even the tiniest amounts – as low as three or four parts per trillion – will ruin the flavour of the liquid inside the container. As a consequence, there has been a persistent but slow shift toward plastic stoppers and, more lately, metal screw caps. These alternatives are less expensive to produce and, in the context of screw caps, more user-friendly.

Also Read: The Nature and Aims of Archaeology: Find Reading Answers for IELTS Reading Test

Part 6

The traditional cork stopper, on the other hand, has a number of benefits. To begin with, the conventional appearance is more in line with the high-end brands with which it has long been synonymous. Second, and perhaps most critically, cork is a renewable resource that can be easily recycled. Cork forests are also a resource that supports local habitats and helps to combat desertification in the areas where they are cultivated. Despite emerging environmental challenges, the future of this ancient substance seems to be bright once more.

Reading Answers of Cork Questions

Some statements are given below, check if they agree with the information given in the above passage

Give your answers following the rules given below:

Answer “Right” if the statement agrees with the reading passage information

Answer “Wrong”  if the statement disagrees with the reading passage information

Answer “Not Given” if the statement agrees with the reading passage information

IELTS Reading Cork Answers Solved

Q1. The bark of the cork oak is the densest of any tree sapling

Answer: Not Given

Q2. A synthetic cork with the same cell structure as natural cork has been created by scientists.

Answer: Wrong

Q3. Between the first and second harvests, individual cork oak trees must be left for a period of 25 years.

Answer: Wrong

Q4. Cork bark should be stripped in dry atmospheric conditions.

Answer: Right

Q5. The only way to remove the bark from cork oak trees is by hand.

Answer: Right

Q6. Corks bark can grow up to 20 centimetres tall

Answer: Right

Q7. The full form of TCA is Trichloroanisole

Answer: Right

IELTS Reading Preparation Tips

Many people believe that the reading portion of the IELTS exam is the most difficult. It is correct that you must work quickly and that reading necessitates a high level of concentration. Improve your IELTS reading by following the tips below:

Don’t Put Much Focus on Trivialities

Details are valuable but don’t get too caught up in explanations, diagrams, and so on. You just need to understand the key argument, not the examples. Understanding the general flow and function will assist you in analysing and answering the queries.

Also Read: MCQ Type of Questions in IELTS Reading Exam: Here’s How to do It

No Need to Memorize Anything

You are not required to memorise any word in the paragraph. Understanding the passage’s rhythm, composition, and key points should be your top priority. You should still re-read the passage if you have any accurate or particular point questions.

Do Not Read the Paragraph First

Often read the questions, in the beginning, then the paragraph. This will help you concentrate on what you need to search for in the paragraph. Concentrate solely on the questions and not on any single answer option. A brief review of the questions is adequate.

Do Not Emphasise on Vocabulary Skills 

While possessing a large vocabulary is advantageous, having Shakespearean vocabulary would not preclude you from comprehending the passage. So don’t stress yourself out over it, and when reading the passage, ensure you get the meaning of it and don’t get lost on specific terms.

The Right Answer is Inside the Passage 

Any alternative that is not within the meaning of the question is never the right answer. The correct response is often based on the details provided in the passage. Don’t pay attention to all of the possibilities that would take your attention away from the passage.

Make Notes

Create some short notes for future reference when reading obscure or abstract material. You should write the overall flow, form, paragraph-by-paragraph flow, and key points. Note that you do not need to take extensive notes; just make a brief note of the passage’s key markers or points.


We hope that you have got an idea of how the reading passages will look in your IELTS Reading exam. The questions which will be asked for these passages can be of different types. They can ask you questions based on theme, vocabulary, title, tone and many more. So make yourself better in these parts of language to solve the questions easily and quickly.

Follow all the tips given in the section above to take your IELTS reading preparation to a whole new level.

Need some extra guidance? Check out IELTS Ninja for best in class courses and expert mentoring.

Also Read: The Problem of Scarce Resources: An IELTS Topic with Reading Answers

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About the Author

Madhurjya Chowdhury

Madhurjya Chowdhury, a web content writer in Ufaber EduTech has a very strong passion for writing and alluring the readers. You can find him writing articles for the betterment of exam aspirants and children. With immense interest in research-based content writing and copywriting, he likes to reach out to more and more people with his creative writing style. On the other side, he is an Electronics and Communication Engineer from LPU, Jalandhar. In his leisure time, he likes to play badminton or read about space discoveries. Apart from this, he is a pro gamer on PC, PS and Mobile gaming platforms.

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