IELTS Cambridge 10 Test 4: ACADEMIC Reading ANSWERS

Reading Passage 1:The megafires of California

Questions 1-6: (Completing notes with ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER):

In this type of question, candidates are asked to write only word and/or a number to complete some notes on the given topic. For this type of question, first skim the passage to find the keywords in the paragraph concerned with the answer, and then scan to find the exact word.

[TIPS: Here scanning technique will come in handy. Target the keywords of the questions to find the answers. Remember to focus on Proper nouns, random Capital letters, numbers, special characters of text, etc.]

Questions 1 and 2: Characteristics of wildfires and wildfire conditions today compared to the past:

– Occurrence: more frequent

– Temperature:  hotter

– Speed: faster

– Movement: ____________ more unpredictably

– Size of fires: 2 ____________ greater on average than two decades ago.

Question 1: Movement:  ____________ more unpredictably

Keywords for the question: movement, more unpredictably 

Read the last lines of paragraph no. 1. “The wildfires themselves, experts say, are generally hotter, faster, and spread more erratically than in the past.” Here, erratically means unpredictably.

So, the answer is: spread

Question 2: Size of fires:  ____________ greater on average than two decades ago.

Keywords for the question: size of fire, greater, than two decades ago   

The first lines of paragraph no. 2 give us the answer. ““Megafires, also  called ‘siege fires’ are the increasingly frequent blazes that burn 50,000 acres or more – 10 times the size of the average forest fire of 20 years ago.

Here, 20 years ago means two decades ago.

So, the answer is: 10/ten times

Questions 3-6:

Reasons wildfires cause more damage today compared to the past:

– Rainfall: _________ average

– More brush to act as __________

– Increase in yearly temperature

– Extended fire __________

– More building of 6 __________ in vulnerable places

Question 3: Rainfall: _________ average

Keywords for the question: rainfall, average   

We can find the keyword ‘rainfall’ in paragraph no. 3 but the word is not present there directly. We can see a synonym of ‘rainfall’ in line no. 4. Let’s read lines 1-4 of paragraph no. 3. “One explanation for the trend to more superhot fires is that the region, which usually has dry summers, has had significantly below normal precipitation in many recent years.”

Here, the words ‘precipitation’ means ‘rainfall’‘normal’ means ‘average’.

So, the answer is: below        

Question 4: More brush to act as __________

Keywords for the question: more brush, act as,    

Read lines 9-11 of paragraph no. 3, where the author says, “The unintentional consequence has been to halt the natural eradication of underbrushnow the primary fuel for megafires.” These lines mean that previously US Forest Service had a policy to cut down (eradication) the underbrush regularly because it was the main reason (primary fuel) for forest fires. But now the service is at halt (stop). So, more underbrush is growing more and more and it is acting as the fuel for megafires.

So, the answer is: fuel                        

Question 5: Extended fire __________

Keywords for the question: extended fire    

In paragraph no. 4 the author mentions three other factors of megafires. Take a look at the second factor in lines 5-7, “. .. . Second is fire seasons that on average are 78 days longer than they were 20 years ago.”

Here, 78 days longer than they were 20 years ago = extended

So, the answer is: seasons

Question 6: More building of __________ in vulnerable places

Keywords for the question: more building, vulnerable places,     

Again, in paragraph no. 4 the author mentions three other factors of megafires. Look at the third factor in lines 7-9, “Third is increased construction of homes in wooded areas.”

As we know, wood is vulnerable/ risky for catching fire, here wooded areas mean vulnerable places. Also, increased construction means more building.

So, the answer is: homes

Questions 7-13: TRUE, FALSE, NOT GIVEN

In this type of question, candidates need to find out whether:

The statement in the question matches with the account in the text- TRUE
The statement in the question contradicts the account in the text- FALSE
The statement in the question has no clear connection with the account in the text- NOT GIVEN

[For this type of question, you can divide each statement into three independent pieces and make your way through with the answer.]

Question 7: The amount of open space in California has diminished over the last ten years.

Keywords for the question: amount of open space, California, diminished, last ten years

Lines 1-7 of paragraph no. 6 give the answer. “In California, where population growth has averaged more than 600,000 a year for at least a decade, more residential housing is being built. What once was open space is now residential homes providing fuels to make fires. .. . .”

The lines suggest that California has a big population growth (600,000 every ten years/decade) and more residential houses has been built. So, open spaces have been occupied by residential homes which means the amount of open space has diminished (decreased).

So, the answer is: TRUE

Question 8: Many experts believe California has made little progress in readying itself to fight fires.

Keywords for the question: many experts, California, little progress, fight fires,

At the beginning of paragraph 7, the writer mentions, “That said, many experts give California high marks for making   progress   on   preparedness   in   recent   years,   after   some   of   the   largest   fires   in   state history scorched  thousands  of  acres,  burned  thousands  of  homes,  and  killed  numerous  people.”

The lines suggest that experts believe that California should get high marks or praise for the progress in preparedness in firefighting. So, the question contradicts the information in the passage.

Here, the phrase ‘readying itself’ means ‘preparedness’.

So, the answer is: FALSE

Question 9: Personnel in the past have been criticised for mishandling fire containment.

Keywords for the question: personnel, criticised, mishandling, fire containment,

In the final half part of paragraph 7, the author talks about the criticism, “Stung in the past by criticism of bungling that allowed fires to spread when they might have been contained, personnel are meeting the peculiar challenges of neighborhood – and canyon – hoping fires better than previously, observers say.”

Here, stung in the past by criticism = criticisedbungling = mishandlingthey might have been contained = fire containment,

So, the answer is: TRUE

Question 10: California has replaced a range of firefighting tools.

Keywords for this question: replaced, firefighting tools,

In paragraph 9, the writer starts by saying,  “Besides providing money to upgrade the fire engines that must traverse the mammoth state and wind along serpentine canyon roads, the state has invested .. .. .” These lines suggest to the fact that the State of California has invested money to upgrade (replace) its firefighting engines or tools.

So, the answer is: TRUE

Question 11: More firefighters have been hired to improve fire-fighting capacity.

Keywords for this question: more firefighters, hired, improve, fire-fighting capacity,

In this passage, we find the writer mentioning the upgrading of firefighting engines or tools,  but there is no mention of whether more firefighters have been hired to improve fire-fighting capacity.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question 12: Citizens and government groups disapprove of the efforts of different states and agencies working together.

Keywords for this question: citizens and government groups, disapprove, states and agencies, working together,

Take a look at the end of paragraph 9, where the writer states, “There is a sense among both government and residents that the speed, dedication, and coordination of firefighters from several states and jurisdictions are resulting in greater efficiency than in past ‘siege fire’ situations.”

The lines clearly suggest that both citizens (residents) and government groups approve or support the efforts of different states and agencies (jurisdictions) working together (coordination). So, the statement in the passage contradicts with the question.

So, the answer is: FALSE

Question 13: Randy Jacobs believes that loss of life from fires will continue at the same levels, despite changes made.

Keywords for this question: Randy Jacobs, loss of life, same levels,

We find the comments of Randy Jacobs at the very end of the passage who says, “Notwithstanding all the damage that will continue to be caused by wildfires, we will no longer suffer the loss of life endured in the past because of the fire prevention and firefighting measures that have been put in place”.

This means as a result of the fire prevention and firefighting measures, citizens of California will no longer suffer the loss of life from fires like they did in the past. So, the statement clearly contradicts the given question.

So, the answer is: FALSE

Reading Passage 2:Second Nature

Questions 14-18 (Summary completion with NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS)

(In this kind of questions candidates are given a summary for one, two or three paragraphs with some fill in the blanks questions. Candidates need to find out the related paragraphs by correctly studying the keywords form the questions. Then, they should follow the steps of finding answers for fill in the gaps.

TIP: First skim to go to the paragraph(s) from where the questions have been set. Then scan for keywords to find the answer. Remember, the answers will follow a sequence. )

Question 14 and 15: Psychologists have traditionally believed that a personality 14 ___________ was impossible and that by a 15 _____________, a person’s character tends to be fixed.

Keywords for this question: traditionally believed, personality, impossible, character, fixed

In section A, paragraph no. 1, we find the view of psychologists at the very beginning. “Psychologists have long held that a person’s character cannot  undergo  a  transformation  in  any meaningful  way  and  that  the  key  traits  of  personality  are determined at a very young age.”

Here, cannot undergo = was impossible, are determined = tends to be fixed,

So, the answers are:

  1. transformation
  2. young age

Question 16: One of the easiest qualities to acquire is ____________.

Keywords for this question: easiest qualities, acquire,

In section A paragraph no. 2, the writer starts by saying, “Some qualities are less challenging to develop than others, optimism being one of them.”

Here, less challenging = easiest quality to acquire,

So, the answer is: optimism  

Question 17 and 18: However, regardless of the quality, it is necessary to learn a wide variety of different 17 ___________ in order for a new quality to develop; for example, a person must understand and feel some 18 __________ in order to increase their happiness.

Keywords for this question: learn, different, new quality to develop, understand and feel, increase, happiness,

In section A paragraph no. 2, the writer says at the end, “However, developing qualities requires mastering a range of skills which are diverse and sometimes surprising. For example, to bring more joy and passion into your life, you must be open to experiencing negative emotions.”

Here, developing qualities = a new quality to develop, a wide variety of = a range of,

Increase their happiness = bring more joy and passion, must understand and feel = must be open to experience,

So, the answers are:

  1. skills
  2. negative emotions

Questions 19-22 (Matching statements with the correct persons)

(In this type of question, candidates need to relate statements which are given by or links to some persons in the passage. The rules for finding answers to this sort of question are simple. Just find the name of the person and read around it carefully. Then, give a quick look to check whether there is another statement or idea provided by the same person in the text. If there is, check the reference carefully and decide your answer. Remember, the questions may not follow any sequential order.)

Question 19: People must accept that they do not know much when first trying something new.

Keywords for this question: must accept, not know much, new

Take a look the end of paragraph F where you can find a statement made by Todd Kashdan, “As a newcomer, you also have to tolerate and laugh at your own ignorance. You must be willing to accept the negative feelings that come your way.”

Here, as a newcomer means when first trying something new, tolerate means accept, ignorance means do not know much

So, the answer is: E

Question 20: It is important for people to actively notice when good things happen.

Keywords for this question: important, actively notice, good things, happen

The answer is found in paragraph D, in the recommendations made by Suzanne Segerstrom in lines 3-4, “She recommends you train yourself to pay attention to good fortune by writing down three positive things that come about each day.”

Here, pay attention = actively notice, positive things = good things, come about = happen.

So, the answer is: C

Question 21: Courage can be learned once its origins in a sense of responsibility are understood.

Keywords for this question: courage, be learned, origins, understood

Take a look at lines 6-9 of paragraph H, the writer mentions here, “According to Cynthia Pury, a psychologist at Clemson University, Pedeleose’s story proves the point that courage is not motivated by fearlessness, but by moral obligation. Pury also believes that people can acquire courage.”

Here, moral obligation = sense of responsibility

So, the answer is: G

Question 22: It is possible to overcome shyness when faced with the need to speak in public.

Keywords for this question: overcome shyness, the need to speak in public,

In paragraph B Christopher Peterson gives account of his own life experience, “Inherently introverted, he (Christopher  Peterson) realised early on that as an academic, his reticence would prove disastrous in the lecture hall. So he learned to be more outgoing and entertain his classes. “Now my extroverted behaviour is spontaneous,”  he says. …”

Here, reticence = shyness, to be more outgoing and entertain his classes = speak in public, overcome shyness = learned to be more outgoing,

So, the answer is: A

Question 23-26: (Identifying information):

[This question asks you to find information from the passage and write the number of the paragraph (A, B, C or D … .. ) in the answer sheet. Now, if the question is given in the very first part of the question set, I’d request you not to answer them. It’s mainly because this question will not follow any sequence, and so it will surely kill your time. Rather, you should answer all the other questions first. For this passage, first answer question 4- 13. After finishing with these questions, come to question 1-3. And just like List of Headings, only read the first two lines or last two lines of the expected paragraph initially. If you find the answers, you need not read the middle part. If you don’t find answers yet, you can skim the middle part of the paragraph. Keywords will be a useful matter here.]

Question 23: a mention of how rational thinking enabled someone to achieve physical goals.

Keywords for this answer: rational thinking, achieve goals

In paragraph E the writer mentions in lines 5-9, “The physical stamina required for this sport is intense but the psychological demands are even more overwhelming. Streeter learned to untangle her fears from her judgment of what her body and mind could do.”

Here, judgment means rational thinking.

So the last lines mean that Streeter had learned to untangle (recover from) her fears by rationally thinking or judging.

So, the answer is: E

Question 24: an account of how someone overcame a sad experience

Keywords for this answer: overcame, sad experience

Take a look at paragraph C where the writer says, “He (David Fajgenbaum) was preparing for university, when he had an accident that put an end to his sports career…He launched a support group to help others in similar situations. He took action despite his own pain – a typical response of an optimist.”

Here, accident = sad experience, took action despite his own pain = overcame

So, the answer is: C

Question 25: a description of how someone decided to rethink their academic career path.

Keywords for this answer: rethink, academic career path

We can find the answer in paragraph G, “He (Mauro Zappaterra) was miserable as his research wasn’t compatible with his curiosity about healing. He finally took a break and during eight months in Santa Fe, Zappaterra learned about alternative healing techniques not taught at Harvard. When he got back, he switched labs to study how cerebrospinal fluid nourishes the developing nervous system.”

Here, learned about alternative healing techniques . .. . and he switched labs to study. .. ..  = rethink … academic career path

So, the answer is: G

Question 26: an example of how someone risked his career out of a sense of duty.

Keywords for this answer: risked his career, duty

The answer is found in paragraph H, in lines 3-8, “The new manager was intimidating staff so Pedeleose carefully recorded each instance of bullying and eventually took the evidence to a senior director, knowing his own job security would be threatened…. Pedeleose’s story proves the point that courage is not motivated by fearlessness, but by moral obligation.”

Here, his own job security would be threatened = risked his career, a sense of duty=moral obligation

So, the answer is: H

Reading Passage 3:When evolution runs backwards

Questions 27-31 (Multiple choice questions)

[‘Multiple choice questions’ is a common type of question set in the IELTS Reading test. It is also found in the Listening test.  Most of the time, they come with four options but sometimes there are three options. Candidates need to work hard for this type of question because this may confuse them easily in passage 2 or passage 3. There will be long answers for each question, so they may kill valuable time. So, quick reading or skimming techniques might come in handy here.  Remember that answers in 3 options out of 4 will be very close. So, vocabulary power will help a lot to choose the best answer.

TIPS: Skimming is the best reading technique. You need not understand every word here. Just try to gather the gist of the sentences. That’s all. Read quickly and don’t stop until you finish each sentence.]

Question 27: When discussing the theory developed by Louis Dollo, the writer says that –

Keywords for this question: theory, Louis Dollo,   

We find the mention of Louis Dollo in paragraph no. 3. Here, in lines 2-13, the writer says, “… . ..a Belgian palaeontologist called Louis Dollo was studying fossil records and coming to the opposite conclusion. In 1890, he proposed that evolution was irreversible: that ‘an organism is unable to return, even partially, to a previous stage already realised in the ranks of its ancestors’. Early 20th-century biologists came to a similar conclusion, though they qualified it in terms of probability, stating that there is no reason why evolution cannot run backwards – it is just very unlikely.”

Here, they qualified it in terms of probability = they (20th century biologists) modified the theory of Louis Dollo.

So, the answer is: C (it was modified by biologists in the early twentieth century)

Question 28: The humpback whale caught off Vancouver Island is mentioned because of –

Keywords for this question: humpback whale, Vancouver Island

In paragraph no. 4 we find the reference to the discovery of humpback whales, “In 1919, for example, a humpback whale with a pair of leg-like appendages over a metre long, complete with a set of limb bones, was caught off Vancouver Island in Canada. Explorer Roy Chapman Andrews argued at the time that the whale must be a throwback to a land-living ancestor.” This argument of Andrews is quite opposite to the theory presented by Dollo’s law.

Therefore, we need to understand that the humpback whale is mentioned here because of its strange / unusual features.

So, the answer is: D (the reason given for its unusual features)

Question 29: What is said about ‘silent genes’?

Keywords for this question: silent genes  

In paragraph no. 5, the last lines give us the answer, “They reasoned that while some evolutionary changes involve the loss of genes and are therefore irreversible, others may be the result of genes being switched off. If these silent genes are somehow switched back on, they argued, long-lost traits could reappear.”

The lines mean that ‘silent genes’ could lead to the re-emergence of certain characteristics.

Here, characteristics = traits and re-emerge = reappear

So, the answer is: C (They could lead to re-emergence of certain characteristics)

Question 30: The writer mentions the mole salamander because –

Keywords for this question: mole salamander

In paragraph no. 6, the writer mentions Rudolf Raff’s 10-million-year time frame of the survival of silent genes. Then, we find the reference to mole salamander in paragraph no. 7. At the end of paragraph no. 7, the writer says, “The salamander example fits with Raff’s 10-million-year time frame.”

Here, fits = matches

This means that the example of a mole salamander proves that Raff’s theory was correct.

So, the answer is: B (it suggests that Raff’s theory is correct)

Question 31: Which of the following does Wagner claim?

Keywords for this question: Wagner, claim,  

In paragraph no. 8, “According to his (Wagner’s) analysis of the Bachia family tree, the toed species re-evolved toes from toeless ancestors and, what is more, digit loss and gain has occurred on more than one occasion over tens of millions of years”

So, the lines suggest Wagner claims that members of the Bachia lizard family have lost and regained certain features more the one time.

Here, several times = on more than one occasion

So, the answer is: A (Members of the Bachia lizard family have lost and regained certain features several times)

Questions 32-36 (Matching sentence ending)

[For this type of question, candidates need to match the beginning and ending of sentences. Candidates need to look for keywords in the sentence-beginnings and find the relative paragraphs and then sentences in the passage. Skimming and scanning, both reading skills are essential for this question-type.]

Question 32: For a long time biologists rejected –

Keywords for this question: long time, biologists, rejected,  

In paragraph no. 1, take a look at lines 3-6, “.. .. .. For the better part of a century, most biologists have been reluctant to use those words, mindful of a principle of evolution that says ‘evolution cannot run backwards’…”.

Here, ‘those words’ indicate to the words in the previous lines ‘evolutionary throwback’.

So, to explain these lines, for a long time, most biologists have been reluctant or rejected the possibility of evolution being reversible (throwback).

So, the answer is: (the possibility of evolution being reversible.)

Question 33: Opposing views on evolutionary throwbacks are represented by –

Keywords for this question: opposing views, evolutionary throwbacks,  

In lines 1-4 of paragraph no. 3, the writer states, “While Lombroso was measuring criminals; a Belgian palaeontologist called Louis Dollo was studying fossil records and coming to the opposite conclusion.”

The lines suggest that Lombroso and Dollo were studying different fields but they were also studying the same theory whether evolution could reappear. But their conclusions or findings were opposing.

So, the answer is: G (Dollo’s findings and the convictions held by Lombroso.)

Note: here, convictions = beliefs or views

Question 34: Examples of evolutionary throwbacks have led to –

Keywords for this question: examples, evolutionary throwbacks,

In the first few lines of paragraph no. 5, the author states, “Since then, so many other examples have been discovered that it no longer makes sense to say that evolution is as good as irreversible. And this poses a puzzle: how can characteristics that  disappeared  millions  of  years  ago  suddenly  reappear?

This means the examples have led us to the puzzle or question about the reappearance of long-lost traits or characteristics.

So, the answer is: A (the question of how certain long-lost traits could reappear.)

Question 35: The shark and killer whale are mentioned to exemplify –

Keywords for this question: shark, killer whale,

In paragraph 9 the writer mentions, “One possibility is that these traits are lost and then simply reappear, in much the same way that similar structures can independently arise in unrelated species, such as the dorsal fins of sharks and killer whales.” These lines suggest that the shark and killer whale are mentioned to exemplify the occurrence of a particular feature in different or unrelated species.

So, the answer is: B (the occurrence of a particular feature in different species.)

Question 36: One explanation for the findings of Wagner’s research is –

Keywords for this question: Wagner, research,  

In paragraph 9 the writer mentions, “Another more intriguing possibility is that the genetic information needed to make toes somehow survived for tens or perhaps hundreds of millions of years in the lizards and was reactivated.”

This means an explanation of Wagner’s research is that the continuous existence (survived for tens or perhaps hundreds of millions of years)

So, the answer is: D (the continued existence of certain genetic information.)

Questions 37-40 (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN):

[In this type of question, candidates are asked to find out whether:

The statement in the question matches with the account in the text- YESThe statement in the question contradicts the account in the text- NOThe statement in the question has no clear connection with the account in the text- NOT GIVEN

For this type of question, you can divide each statement into three independent pieces and make your way through with the answer.]

Question 37: Wagner was the first person to do research on South American lizards.

Keywords for this question: Wagner, first, South American lizards

Studying the passage we can learn that Wagner did research on South American research (paragraph no. 8). However, whether Wagner was the first person to do such research is not mentioned anywhere in the passage.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question 38: Wagner believes that Bachia lizards with toes had toeless ancestors.

Keywords for this question: Bachia lizards with toes, toeless ancestors,    

Take a look at these lines in paragraph 8, “According to his analysis of the Bachia family tree, the toed species re-evolved toes from toeless ancestors…”  These lines suggest that the statement is true.

So, the answer is: YES

Question 39: The temporary occurrence of long-lost traits in embryos is rare.

Keywords for this question: temporary occurrence, long-lost traits, rare,

In the last paragraph, the writer mentions in lines 4-5,“Early embryos of many species develop ancestral features.”

These lines suggest that the temporary occurrence of long-lost traits (ancestral features) in embryos is not rare as it happens in many species.

So, the answer is: NO

Question 40: Evolutionary throwbacks might be caused by developmental problems in the womb.

Keywords for this question: Evolutionary throwbacks, might be caused, developmental problems, womb,

Again in the last paragraph, look at lines 1-4, “But if silent genes degrade within 6 to 10 million years, how can long-lost traits be reactivated over longer time scales? The answer may lie in the womb.”

The lines suggest that we find the answer to the question about evolutionary throwbacks if we look at research findings about the womb.

So, the answer is: YES



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