Explore Courses

Classifying Societies IELTS Reading Answers

Updated on 22 April, 2024

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

A majority of top educational institutions across the world (especially those in countries with English as their native language) demand their international students pass the IELTS reading test. Lasting for 60 minutes, the purpose of this test is to assess a student’s comprehension and language proficiency skills. The following is the Types of Societies Reading Answers/Classifying Societies reading answers sample for IELTS practice. Regular practice through sample papers will help a student overcome weak areas and secure a high score on the IELTS Exam

Types of Societies Reading Answers 

Although humans have established many classification of societies throughout history, sociologists and anthropologists tend to classify different societies according to the degree to which other groups within a society have unequal access to advantages such as resources, prestige or power, and usually refer to four basic types of societies. From least to most socially Complex are clans, tribes, chiefdoms and states. 


These are small-scale societies of hunters and gatherers, generally of fewer than 100 people, who move seasonally to exploit wild (undomesticated) food resources. Most surviving hunter-gatherer groups, such as the Hadza of Tanzania or the San of southern Africa, are of this kind. Clan members are generally kinsfolk, related by descent or marriage. Clans lack formal leaders, so there are no marked economic differences or disparities in status among their members. Because clans are composed of mobile groups of hunter-gatherers, their sites consist mainly of seasonally occupied camps, and other smaller and more specialised sites. Among the latter are kill, or butchery sites—locations where large mammals are killed and sometimes butchered— and work sites, where tools are made or other specific activities carried out. The base camp of such a group may give evidence of rather insubstantial dwellings or temporary shelters, along with the debris of residential occupation. 


These are generally larger than mobile hunter-gatherer groups, but rarely number more than a few thousand, and their diet or subsistence is mainly based on cultivated plants and domesticated animals. Typically, they have settled farmers, but they may be nomadic with a very different, mobile economy based on the intensive exploitation of livestock. These are generally multi-community societies, with individual communities integrated into the larger society through kinship ties. Although some tribes have officials and even a "capital" or seat of government, such officials lack the economic base necessary for effective use. The typical settlement pattern for tribes is settled agricultural homesteads or villages. Characteristically, no one settlement dominates any of the others in the region. Instead, the archaeologist finds evidence of isolated, permanently occupied houses or permanent villages. Such villages may be made up of a collection of free-standing houses, like those of the first farms of the Danube valley in Europe. Or they may be clusters of buildings grouped, for example, the pueblos of the American Southwest and the early farming village or small town of (Catalhoyuk) in modern Turkey. 

Download E-Books for IELTS Preparation

ielts sample essays


These operate on the principle of ranking—differences in social status between people. Different lineages (a lineage is a group claiming descent from a common ancestor) are graded on a scale of prestige, and the senior lineage, and hence the society as a whole, is governed by a chief. Prestige and rank are determined by how closely related one is to the chief, and there is no true stratification into classes. The role of the chief is crucial. There is often local specialisation in craft products, and surpluses of these and foodstuffs are periodically paid as obligation to the chief. He uses these to maintain his retainers, and may use them for redistribution to his subjects. The chiefdom generally has a center of power, often with temples, residences of the chief and his retainers, and craft specialists. Chiefdoms vary greatly in size, but the range is generally between about 5000 and 20,000 persons. 

Early State 

These preserve many of the features of chiefdoms, but the ruler (perhaps a king or sometimes a queen) has explicit authority to establish laws and enforce them by using a standing army. Society no longer depends totally upon kin relationships: it is now stratified into different classes. Agricultural workers and the poorer urban dwellers form the lowest classes, with the craft specialists above and the priests and kinsfolk of the ruler higher still. The functions of the ruler are often separated from those of the priest: the palace is distinguished from the temple. The society is viewed as a territory owned by the ruling lineage and populated by tenants who have an obligation to pay taxes. The central capital houses a bureaucratic administration of officials; one of their principal purposes is to collect revenue (often in the form of taxes and tolls) and distribute it to the government, army and craft specialists. Many early states developed complex redistribution systems to support these essential services. This relatively simple social typology, set out by Elman Service and elaborated by William Sanders and Joseph Marino, can be criticised, and it should not be used unthinkingly. Nevertheless, if we seek to talk about early societies, we must use words and concepts to do so. Service's categories provide an excellent framework to help organise our thoughts.

Read more about: Tips For Reading in IELTS Exam | IELTS Academic Reading | IELTS Reading Tips And Tricks | IELTS Reading Band Score IELTS General Reading Test | IELTS Reading Section |

Questions 1-7 

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the classifying societies reading passage? In boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet, write –

TRUE – If the statement agrees with the information 

FALSE – If the statement contradicts the information 

NOT GIVEN – If there is no information on this 

1. There’s little economic difference between members of a clan. 

Answer – TRUE

Explanation: Paragraph B of the reading passage talks about a clan in detail. The writer reveals that a clan is usually composed of members who are kinsfolk to each other. Then, in the following sentence, the writer says that due to a lack of formal leaders, most clans have no distinctive economic disparities or differences among the members. Hence, the statement is true. 

2. The farmers of a tribe grow a wide range of plants. 

Answer – NOT GIVEN

Explanation: The Types of Societies reading answers paragraph C talks about a tribe in detail. The writer starts the paragraph by saying that a tribe is only slightly larger than a clan, with the number of its members confined to a few thousand. They mention that tribe members mainly survive on domesticated animals and cultivated plants. However, no specific mention is made of growing a wide range of plants. 

3. One settlement is more important than any other settlement in a tribe. 

Answer – FALSE

Explanation: The answer to this question may be found in Paragraph C of the classifying societies reading Passage. Towards the middle of the paragraph, the writer mentions tribal settlements. We know that these settlements usually pattern themselves after villages or agricultural homesteads. In the following sentence, the writer says that no one settlement in a tribe dominates the others, but archaeological evidence points towards independent, permanent houses, Hence, the statement is false. 

4. A member’s status in chiefdom is determined by how much land he owns. 

Answer – FALSE 

Explanation: Paragraph D of the Reading Passage offers the answer to this question. Under Chiefdom, the writer says that a chief governs each society, and there is no clear distinction between classes. However, it is also mentioned that a member's rank or status in chiefdom is determined by how closely they are related to the ruling chief. So, it is related to the chief, not land ownership, that determines member status in the chiefdom. Hence, the statement is false. 

5. There are people who craft goods in the chiefdom. 

Answer – TRUE 

Explanation: Again, Paragraph D of the Types of Societies Reading Passage has the answer to this question. Towards the end of the paragraph, the writer talks about how the members of the chiefdom specialize in local craft products. These, along with foodstuff, are often paid to the ruling chief as an obligation. The chief may use the same as retainers or redistribute them among his subjects as he sees fit. Hence, the statement is true. 

6. The king keeps the order of a state by keeping the military. 

Answer – TRUE 

Explanation: The answer to this question is provided in paragraph E of the classifying societies reading answers. As the paragraph begins, the writer mentions how states are more or less similar to chiefdoms. But, a crucial difference between the two is that the ruling authority of a state (king or queen) has the right to establish law and order by means of a standing army or military. Hence, the given statement is true. 

7. Bureaucratic officers receive higher salaries than other members. 

Answer – NOT GIVEN

Explanation: In Paragraph D of the Reading Passage, mention is made of bureaucratic officers in a king's early state. Towards the middle of the paragraph, the writer discloses that a group of bureaucratic officials ran the central capital. Then, they proceed to mention these officers' role, mainly to collect taxes from the masses. However, no mention is made of whether or not the bureaucratic officials are paid higher than other state members. 

Download IELTS Preparation Guide For Free

Get to know about the latest updates on the IELTS Exam, Eligibility, Preparation Tips, Test procedure,  Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Registration Process, Important Exam Dates, and much more!! This guide is a one-stop solution for every IELTS Aspirant who aims to crack the exam with an impressive band score.

Questions 8-13 

Answer the questions below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 8-13 on your answer sheet.

8. What is made at the clan work sites?

Answer – Tools 

Explanation: The answer to this question may be found in Paragraph B of the Types of Societies Reading Passage. The paragraph talks about a clan's butcher sites and work sites towards the end. The writer reveals that butchery sites were mainly used to kill large animals. Immediately after, mention is made of the clan's work sites wherein tools are manufactured, and certain other activities are carried out. 

9. What is the other way of life for tribes besides settled farming?

Answer – Nomadic 

Explanation: As per Paragraph C of the classifying societies reading answers, we understand what tribes were all about. The writer begins the paragraph by mentioning that tribes were mainly composed of mobile hunter-gatherers. They go on to mention that while a large number of them are settled farmers, the remnant exhibit nomadic behaviour, wandering from place to place, forming a mobile economy. 

10. How are Catahoyuk’s housing units arranged?

Answer – Clusters of buildings 

Explanation: In Paragraph C of the Reading Passage under Tribe, the writer talks about a small town in Italy called Catalhoyuk towards the end. Before that, mention is made of the type of housing units this town features and the pueblos of South-West America. The words used in the paragraph to describe these housing units are clusters of buildings that are grouped together. 

11. What does a chief give to his subjects as rewards besides crafted goods?

Answer – Foodstuffs 

Explanation: The answer to this question is available in Paragraph D of the Types of Societies Reading sample. Towards the end of the paragraph, the writer reveals how members of a chiefdom are required to pay the chief an obligation in the form of locally crafted goods and food. Further, the writer says that the chief may use this surplus to maintain as retainers or distribute the same among his subjects. So, foodstuffs other than crafted goods are the reward. 

12. What is the largest possible population of a chiefdom?

Answer – 20,000 persons 

Explanation: The answer to this question is also found in the classifying societies reading answers Paragraph D. In the last line, the writer talks about the average size of each chiefdom. Mention is made that chiefdoms greatly vary in size. Further, the author reveals that this size may range between 5000 persons and 20,000 persons. Hence, the upper limit for a chiefdom’s population is 20,000 persons. 

13. Which group of people is at the bottom of an early state but higher than the farmers?

Answer – Craft specialists 

Explanation: Paragraph E of the Types of Societies Reading sample provides the answer to this question. From the very beginning, the writer makes us aware that in the case of an early state, society is divided into various classes. From there, the writer mentions that the agricultural workers form the lowest strata of the early state and the priests are higher, but the group in the middle belongs to craft specialists. So, these people are at the bottom but higher than the farmers. 

Learn More about Study Abroad

What is Scholarship

Learn all about the scholarships like types of scholarships and how to get a one


Provincial Nominee Program Canada

Learn all about Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Canada

PNP Program Canada

Fulbright Scholarship

Learn about the eligibility, benefits, procedure etc about Fulbright Scholarships

Fulbright Scholarship

Study Abroad Without IELTS

Learn More about MS in Data Science in Germany

MS in Data Science in Germany

Save up to 20 Lakhs with upGrad Abroad

Learn More
Learn More about BBA in Canada

BBA in Canada

Study BBA in Canada & save INR 25 Lakhs

Learn More

BCA in the USA

Study BCA in Australia & Save ₹ 20 Lakhs

Learn More

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Mrinal Mandal is a study abroad expert with a passion for guiding students towards their international education goals. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering, earned in 2018. Since 2021, Mrinal has been working with upGrad Abroad, where he assists aspiring students in realizing their dreams of studying abroad. With his expertise and dedication, he empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of international education, making their aspirations a reality.

See More

Refer Your Friend & Earn upto ₹15000

Help your friend upgrade to a Global Career and earn rewards together.



Study Abroad Resources

Top Reads


Other Exams





The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.