Reading Passage 1: Land of the Rising Sum

Questions 1-5: (List of headings):

[In this question type, IELTS candidates are provided with a list of headings, usually identified with lower-case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, etc,). A heading will refer to the main idea of the paragraph or section of the text. Candidates must find out the equivalent heading to the correct paragraphs or sections, which are marked with alphabets A, B, C and so forth. Candidates need to write the appropriate Roman numerals in the boxes on their answer sheets. There will always be two or three more headings than there are paragraphs or sections. So, some of the headings will not be used. It is also likely that some paragraphs or sections may not be included in the task. Generally, the first paragraph is an example paragraph that will be done for the candidates for their understanding of the task.

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 1: Section B

Section B is clearly an overview of lower secondary schools or middle-years education in Japan.

The very first lines talk about the lower secondary schools, “Lower secondary schools in Japan cover three school years, from the seventh grade (age 13) to the ninth grade (age 15). . . .. .” So, obviously, this section covers the explanation of lower secondary schools and its background. 

The writer then gives a description of the number of years, the different facilities, timing of lessons, break-time and description of the class-size, etc.

So, the answer is: vii (Background to middle-years education in Japan)

Special tip: Most of the time in ‘List of headings/Matching headings’ questions, the answers are found from the first few lines as they give an idea about the main topic. However, this is not applicable to all questions, so sometimes you need to skim the whole section/paragraph. 

Question 2: Section C

In paragraph C, look at lines 3-4, “Everyone has their own copy of the textbook supplied by the central education authority, Monbusho, as a part of the concept of free compulsory education up to the age of 15.” Therefore, Monbusho, which is Japan’s central education authority, supplies textbooks to the students for free.

Again, the last sentence in paragraph C says, “Besides approving textbooks, Monbusho also decides the highly centralized national curriculum and how it is to be delivered”.

These lines suggest that Monbusho has such a great effect/influence on Japan’s education that it not only designs textbooks but also the national curriculum.

So, the answer is: (The influence of Monbusho)

Question 3: Section D

This section describes the format of every lesson in Monbusho system. However, it seems that none of the ‘headings’ from the list matches with this section.

Again, if you look at lines 11-12, the author writes, “. .. Only rarely are supplementary worksheets distributed in a maths class.” This means supplementary worksheets are rarely distributed in maths class only, and this makes the maths class format typical.

So, the answer is: (The typical format of a maths lesson)

Question 4: Section E

In the first part of section E, the writer says lines 3-4, “. .. In observed lessons, any strugglers would be assisted by the teacher or quietly seek help from their neighbour.” Here, strugglers mean less successful students.

Then, in the next part of section E, the author says, “This scarcely seems adequate help to enable slow learners to keep up. However, the Japanese attitude towards education runs along the lines of ‘if you work hard enough, you can do almost anything’.” This means slow learners get help which may seem inadequate but Japanese people believe hard work essential to get success.

So, the answer is: ii (Helping less successful students)

Question 5: Section F

The first lines of parts 1 and 2 of section F give us the answer to this question. At the beginning of part 1, “So what are the major contributing factors in the success of maths teaching? Clearly, attitudes are important.

And then, at the beginning of part 2, “Other relevant points relate to the supportive attitude of a class towards slower pupils, the lack of competition within a class and a positive emphasis on learning for oneself and improving one’s own standard.”

So, the answer is: viii (The key to Japanese successes in maths education)

Questions 6-9: YES, NO, NOT GIVEN

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

The statement in the question agrees with the claims of the writer in the passage – YES
The statement in the question contradicts the claims of the writer in the passage – NO
If there is no information on this  – 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 6: There is a wider range of achievement amongst English pupils studying maths than amongst their Japanese counterparts.

Keywords for the question: wider range of achievement, English pupils, studying maths, Japanese counterparts,

In paragraph A, take a look at lines 4-6, where the writer says, “… .. . but there was also a larger proportion  of ‘low’ attainers in England, where, incidentally, the variation in attainment scores was much greater.” The lines suggest that even though Japan has a much better record in average mathematical achievement than England and Wales, England has a much wider range of achievement scores than Japan.

Here, wider means greaterachievement means attainment,

So, the answer is: YES

Question no. 7: The percentage of Gross National Product spent on education generally reflects the level of attainment in mathematics.

Keywords for the question: percentage, Gross National Product, spent, reflects, level of attainment,

Take a look at the last sentence of Section A,”. .. . The percentage of Gross National Product spent on education is reasonably similar in the two countries, so how is this higher and more consistent attainment in maths achieved?”

Now have a look at the sentence of section A, “Japan has significantly better record in terms of average mathematical attainment than England and Wales.”

Therefore, the writer is asking the question about the role of GNP in relation to higher scores in maths by Japan. This suggests that the percentage of GNP spent on education doesn’t necessarily reflect the level of scoring in maths. Had it been like that, England would have the same result in maths as Japan.

So, the answer is: NO

Question no. 8: Private schools in Japan are more modern and spacious than state-run lower secondary schools.

Keywords for the question: private schools in Japan, modern, spacious, state-run lower secondary schools,

In section B, the writer indicates in lines 2-3, “. .. . all pupils at this stage attend state schools; only 3 percent are in the private sector. Schools are usually modern in design, set well back from the road and spacious inside”. 

However, we don’t find any comparison between the facilities of private schools and state-run schools here.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question no. 9: Teachers mark homework in Japanese schools.

Keywords for the question: teachers, mark, homework, Japanese schools,  

In section D, take a look at lines 3-5, “Pupils mark their own homework: this is an important principle in Japanese schooling as it enables pupils to see where and why they made a mistake so that these can be avoided in future”. 

So, the homework is marked by the pupils, not by their teachers.

So, the answer is: NO

Questions 10-13: Multiple-choice questions

[This type of question asks you to choose a suitable answer from the options using the knowledge you gained from the passage. Generally, this question is found as the last question so you should not worry much about it. Finding all the answers to previous questions gives you a good idea about the title.]

Question no. 10: Maths textbooks in Japanese schools are –

Keywords for the question: Maths textbooks, Japanese schools,   

In section C, find this line, “These textbooks are, on the whole, small, presumably inexpensive to produce, but well set out and logically developed.”

Here, well set out and logically developed = well organised and adapted to the needs of the pupils

So, the answer is: (Well organised and adapted to the needs of the pupils)

Question 11: When a new maths topic is introduced,

Keywords for this question: new maths topic, introduced,     

In section D, the writer says in lines 7-10, “…. the teacher explains the topic of the lesson, slowly and with a lot of repetition and elaboration. Examples are demonstrated on the board; questions from the textbook are worked through first with the class….”.  This means that the teacher patiently explains any new maths topic with repetition and elaborates on the topic to the students so that they can understand it easily.

So, the answer is: (It is carefully and patiently explained to the students)

Question 12: How do schools deal with students who experience difficulties?

Keywords for this question: schools, deal with, students, experience difficulties,

In section E, the author of the text says in lines 2-5, “. .. . . Teachers say that they give individual help at the end of a lesson or after school, setting extra work if necessary. In observed lessons, any strugglers would be assisted by the teacher or quietly seek help from their neighbour”.
Furthermore, the schools also inspire the parents and guardians to help as the writer explains in lines 10-13, “. .. . .. Parents are kept closely informed of their children’s progress and will play a part in helping their children to keep up with class, sending them to ‘Juku’ (private evening tuition) if extra help is needed and encouraging them to work harder”.

This means the students are encouraged to take extra lessons in ‘Juku’ (supplementary tuition)

So, the answer is: A (They are given appropriate supplementary tuition)

Question 13: Why do Japanese students tend to achieve relatively high rates of success in maths?

Keywords for this question: Japanese students, tend to achieve, relatively high rates of success, maths,  

In section F, the writer says in lines 3-4, “.. . .. . maths is recognised as an important compulsory subject throughout schooling, and the emphasis is on hard work coupled with a focus on accuracy.”

This means Japanese students and teachers give more importance to hard work and accuracy in maths and as a result, the students get relatively high scores in maths.

Here, hard work = effort, accuracy = correct answers,

So, the answer is: (Much effort is made and correct answers are emphasised)

Reading Passage 2: Biological control of pests 

Questions 14-17: Multiple choice questions

[This type of question asks you to choose a suitable answer from the options using the knowledge you gained from the passage. Generally, this question is found as the last question so you should not worry much about it. Finding all the answers to previous questions gives you a good idea about the title.]

Question 14: The use of pesticides has contributed to –

Keywords for this question: use of pesticides, contributed to,    

In paragraph no. 1, the writer says in lines 2-4, “.. .  Apart from engendering widespread ecological disorders, pesticides have contributed to the emergence of a new breed of chemical-resistant, highly lethal superbugs. .”

Here, around the world = widespread, imbalance = disorders,

So, the answer is: (an imbalance in many ecologies around the world.)

Question 15: The Food and Agriculture Organisation has counted more than 300 agricultural pests which –

Keywords for this question: The Food and Agriculture Organisation, counted, more than 300, agricultural pests,    

In paragraph no. 2, lines 1-2, the writer says, “According to a recent study by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), more than 300 species of agricultural pests have developed resistance to a wide range of potent chemicals”.  

This means that pesticides are no longer effective on these 300 species of agricultural pests.

Here, no longer responding to = have developed resistance to, pesticides = potent chemicals

So, the answer is: (are no longer responding to most pesticides in use.)

Question 16: Cotton farmers in Central America began to use pesticides –

Keywords for this question: Cotton farmers, Central America, began, use pesticides,     

We find the reference of ‘Cotton farmers’ in paragraph no. 4. In lines 1-4, the author says, “. . .. . well illustrated by what happened to cotton farmers in Central America. In the early 1940s, basking in the glory of chemical-based intensive agriculture, the farmers avidly took to pesticides as a sure measure to boost crop yield.”

Here, began to use = took to, boost = to make something increase

So, the answer is: (to ensure more cotton was harvested from each crop)

Question 17: By the mid-1960s, cotton farmers in Central America found that pesticides –

Keywords for this question: mid-1960s, cotton farmers, Central America, found, pesticides,     

In paragraph no. 5, the author says in the beginning, “By the mid-1960s, the situation took an alarming turn with the outbreak of four more new pests, necessitating pesticides spraying to such an extent that 50% of the financial outlay on cotton production was accounted for by pesticides”.

This means that pesticides accounted for 50% of the amount of money spent on cotton production.
Here, financial outlay = the money that need to be spent in order to produce cotton,

So, the answer is: (were costing 50% of the total amount they spent on their crops)

Questions 18-21 YES, NO, NOT GIVEN

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

The statement in the question agrees with the claims of the writer in the passage – YESThe statement in the question contradicts the claims of the writer in the passage – NOIf there is no information on this  – 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 18: Disease-spreading pests respond more quickly to pesticides than agricultural pests do.

Keywords for this question: disease-spreading pests, respond, more quickly, pesticides, agricultural pests,

In paragraph 2, we find a statement made by the FAO, “. . .. . more than 300 species of agricultural pests have developed resistance to a wide range of potent chemicals. Not to be left behind are the disease-spreading pests, about 100 species of which have become immune to a variety of insecticides now in use”. 

In this statement, the writer talks about the response by different pests to different pesticides. However, we find no comparison on any pests responding more quickly or less quickly than other pests.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question 19: A number of pests are now born with an innate immunity to some pesticides.

Keywords for this question: pests, born, innate immunity, pesticides,    

In paragraph no. 3, the writer states in lines 3-5, “Because of their tremendous breeding potential and genetic diversity, many pests are known to withstand synthetic chemicals and bear offspring with a built-in resistance to pesticides”.  

The lines suggest the fact that these species are born with an innate immunity to insecticides.

Here, built-in = innate, resistance = immunity,

So, the answer is: YES

Question 20: Biological control entails using synthetic chemicals to try and change the genetic make-up of the pests’ offspring.

Keywords for this question: biological control, synthetic chemicals, change, genetic make-up, pests’ offspring,    

In paragraph no. 7, the author says in lines 1-4, “In the face of the escalating perils from indiscriminate applications of pesticides, a more effective and ecologically sound strategy of biological control, involving the selective use of natural enemies of the pest population, is fast gaining popularity – though, as yet, it is a new field with limited potential.”

Here, involving the selective use of natural enemies of the pest population means using natural enemies instead of using synthetic chemicals.

Here, synthetic means artificial.

Therefore, the question contradicts the statement given in the passage.

So, the answer is: NO

Question 21: Bio-control is free from danger under certain circumstances.

Keywords for this question: bio-control, free from, danger, circumstances,

In paragraph 7, the writer states in lines 4-7, “. . .. . .. the advantage of biological control in contrast to other methods is that it provides a relatively low-cost, perpetual control system with a minimum of detrimental side-effects. When handled by experts, bio-control is safe, non-polluting and self-dispersing”.

Here, with a minimum of detrimental side-effects = free from danger

So, the answer is: YES

Questions 22-26: (Completing sentences with correct endings)

[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 22: Disapene scale insects feed on –

Keywords for this question: Disapene scale insects, feed on,

The last sentence in paragraph no. 9 gives us the answer to this question. The writer says here, “CIBC is also perfecting the technique for breeding parasites that prey on ‘disapene scale’ insects – notorious defoliants of fruit trees in the US and India.”

The lines suggest that disapene scale insects cause harm to fruit trees, so they feed on fruit trees.

Here, notorious = well known for being bad,

So, the answer is: (fruit trees)

Question 23: Neodumetia sangawani ate –

Keywords for this question: Neodumetia sangawani, ate,

In paragraph no. 10, take a look at these lines, “Neodumetia sangawani, was found useful in controlling the Rhodes grass-scale insect that was devouring forage grass in many parts of the US.” 

This means that Neodumetia sangawani devoured or ate Rhodes grass-scale insect to control it from devouring forage grass. Here, ate = was devouring

So, the answer is: (grass-scale insects)

Question 24: Leaf-mining hispides blighted –

Keywords for this question: Leaf-mining hispides, blighted,

In paragraph no. 10, the writer mentions, “In the late 1960s, when Sri Lanka’s flourishing coconut groves were plagued by leaf-mining hispides, a larval parasite imported from Singapore brought the pest under control.” 

This suggests the fact that Sri Lanka’s coconut groves were damaged by leaf-mining hispides.
Here, blight = plague, flourishing = developing quickly or being productive, grove = a small garden or group of trees,

So, the answer is: (coconut trees)

Question 25: An Argentinian weevil may be successful in wiping out –

Keywords for this question: Argentinian weevil, may be, successful, wiping out,

In paragraph no. 9, the author mentions, “Similarly the Hyderabad-based Regional Laboratory (RRL), supported by CIBC, is now trying out an Argentina weevil (a kind of small beetle) for the eradication of water hyacinth.”

The lines suggest that an Argentinian weevil has a possibility of being successful in destroying all of the water hyacinth plants. We can guess that the weevils will eat the water hyacinth.

Here, destroying = wiping out,

So, the answer is: (water hyacinth)

Question 26: Salvinia molesta plagues

Keywords for this question: Salvinia molesta, plagues,

Again, in paragraph 10, the writer says, “By using Neochetina bruci, a beetle native to Brazil, scientists at Kerala Agricultural University freed a 12-kilometer-long canal from the clutches of the weed Salvinia molesta. About 30,000 hectares of rice fields in Kerala are infested by this weed.”

Here, plagues = are infested by,

So, the answer is: B (rice fields)

Reading Passage 3: Collecting Ant Specimens

Questions 27-30 (TRUE, FALSE, NOT GIVEN)

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

The statement in the question agrees with the information in the passage – TRUE
The statement in the question contradicts the information in the passage – FALSE
If there is no information on this  – 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 27: Taxonomic research involves comparing members of one group of ants.   

Keywords for this question: Taxonomic research, comparing members, one group of ants,

In paragraph 1, the writer says in lines 4-6, “For taxonomy, or classification, long series, from a single nest, which contain all castes (workers, including majors and minors, and, if present, queens and males) are desirable, to allow the determination of variation within species.”

These lines explain that taxonomic research entails classifying different ants from a particular nest, which holds all the different castes, or different members of a single group.

Here, one group of ants = a single nest, which contain all castes,

So, the answer is: TRUE

Question 28: New species of ant are frequently identified by taxonomists.  

Keywords for this question: new species, frequently, identified, by taxonomists,

Only paragraph no. 1 details about taxonomic research of ants. However, no information is found here about how often/frequently taxonomists identify new species of ants.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question 29: Range is the key criterion for ecological collections.

Keywords for this question: Range, key criterion, ecological collections, 

In paragraph no. 1, the author says in lines 7-8, “For ecological studies, the most important factor is collecting identifiable samples of as many of the different species present as possible.” 

The lines suggest that it is absolutely vital/ important to gather a variety or range of present species.

Here, as many of the different species = range, the most important factor = key criterion, 

So, the answer is: TRUE

Question 30: A single collection of ants can generally be used for both taxonomic and ecological purposes.  

Keywords for this question: single collection, generally, used for, both, taxonomic, ecological purposes,  

The last few lines of paragraph no. 1 gives us hint to the answer, “The taxonomist sometimes overlooks whole species in favour of those groups currently under study, while the ecologist often collects only a limited number of specimens of each species, thus reducing their value for taxonomic investigations.”

This means the taxonomists sometimes don’t consider a large collection (whole species) so important while ecologists often collect a very inadequate number of specimens of ever species of ants. This often makes the taxonomic investigation insignificant. Thus, a single collection cannot be used for both taxonomic and ecological purposes.

So, the answer is: FALSE

Questions 31-36 (Classifying statements)

[This type of question asks candidates to classify information from the given reading text. Candidates are given some statements from the text, and a list of options, which are listed as A, B, C, etc. They must match the correct statements with the correct options.

N.B.: This question doesn’t follow any sequence. So, they should be answered after all other questions in the passage.]

Question 31: It is preferable to take specimens from groups of ants.

Keywords for this question: preferable, take specimens, groups of ants,

In paragraph no. 2, where the author talks about hand collecting method, it says in lines 6-8, “. . .. .. when possible, collections should be made from nests or foraging columns and at least 20 to 25 individuals collected. This will ensure that all individuals are from the same species and so increase their value for detailed studies”.

Here, at least 20 to 25 individuals = groups of ants,

So, the answer is: A (hand collecting)

Question 32: It is particularly effective for wet habitats.

Keywords for this question: particularly effective, wet habitats,

The answer can be found in paragraph no. 4, where the writer gives details about ground litter sampling method, “. . .. .. .this method works especially well in rain forests and marshy areas”.  Rain forests and marshy areas are wet habitats.

Here, works well = effective, rain forests and marshy area = wet habitats, 

So, the answer is: C (sampling ground litter)

Question 33: It is a good method for species which are hard to find.

Keywords for this question: good method, hard to find,  

In paragraph no. 3, where the writer details about using baits, it says, “. . . . Baits can be used to attract and concentrate foragers. This often increases the number of individuals collected and attracts species that are otherwise elusive”. 

Here, elusive = hard to find,

So, the answer is: B (using bait)

Question 34: Little time and effort is required.

Keywords for this question: little time and effort, required,  

In paragraph no. 5, where the author explains the pitfall trap method, it says, “One advantage of pitfall traps is that they can be used to collect over a period of time with minimal maintenance and intervention”.

That means pitfall traps require little time and effort to look after.

Here, minimal maintenance and intervention = little time and effort,

So, the answer is: (using a pitfall trap)

Question 35: Separate containers are used for individual specimens.

Keywords for this question: separate containers, used, individual specimens,

Again, in paragraph no. 2, where the hand collecting method is explained, the writer says in lines 11-12, “Individual insects are placed in plastic or glass tubes (1.5 – 3.0 ml capacity for small ants, 5-8 ml for larger ants) containing 75% to 95% ethanol.”

Here, plastic or glass tubes = containers,

So, the answer is: A (hand collecting)

Question 36: Non-alcoholic preservative should be used.

Keywords for this question: non-alcoholic preservatives,  

In paragraph no. 5, in the pitfall trap method, the writer says, “ . .. . . . .. the preservative used is usually ethylene glycol or propylene glycol, as alcohol will evaporate quickly and the traps will dry out”.

Here, the writer explains the use of ethylene glycol or propylene glycol because if alcohol is used, it will evaporate and the trap will dry out quickly and will not have any effect.

So, the answer is: D (using a pitfall trap)

Questions 37-40 (Labeling a diagram)

[In this type of question, candidates are asked to label a diagram with NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage. Keywords are important to find answers correctly. Generally, this type of question maintains a sequence. However, we should not be surprised if the sequence is not maintained. Find the keywords in the passage and you are most likely to find the answers.]

Title: One method of collecting ants

IELTS Academic Reading: Cambridge 8, Test 4: Reading Passage 3; Collecting Ant Specimens; with top solutions and step-by step detailed explanations

Special tip: To answer this question easily, we need to get an idea about which method of collecting ants is displayed in this diagram and find out the paragraph in the passage where the answers for questions 37-40 can be traced.

In this diagram, we find only one word which seems to be our KEYWORD and the word is ‘funnel’. Therefore, we need to find out the paragraph where the word ‘funnel’ can be found.

This passage has only five paragraphs and paragraphs 2 3, 4 and 5 talk about different methods of collecting the ant specimens.

If we look at paragraph no. 4, we can find the word ‘funnel’ in different lines. So, we can find all the answers in this paragraph.

Question 37: some _________

Question 38: _________

Question 39: a _________

Question 40: some _________

Now, let’s have a close look at paragraph no. 4,

“Many ants are small and forage primarily in the layer of leaves and other debris on the ground. Collecting these species by hand can be difficult. One of the most successful ways to collect them is to gather the leaf litter in which they are foraging and extract the ants from it. This is most commonly done by placing leaf litter on a screen over a large funnel, often under some heat. As the leaf litter dries from above, ants (and other animals) move downward and eventually fall out the bottom and are collected in alcohol placed below the funnel. This method works especially well in rainforests and marshy areas. A method of improving the catch when using a funnel is to sift the leaf litter through a coarse screen before placing it above the funnel. This will concentrate the litter and remove larger leaves and twigs. It will also allow more litter to be sampled when using a limited number of funnels.”

Now, as the picture suggests, the answer to question no. 28 will be leaf litter (they look like leaf and garbage), and as the thing above the leaf litter indicates to question no. 27, the answer will be heat (the heat covers the leaf litter).  “This is most commonly done by placing leaf litter on a screen over a large funnel, often under some heat.”(lines 4 and 5)

Then, question no. 39 in the picture shows a covering above the funnel which holds the leaf litter. So, the answer to question no. 39 will be coarse screen. “A method of improving the catch when using a funnel is to sift the leaf litter through a coarse screen before placing it above the funnel.”(lines 7-9)

Finally, for question no. 40, it looks like something below the funnel. So, the answer will be alcohol. “As the leaf litter dries from above, ants (and other animals) move downward and eventually fall out the bottom and are collected in alcohol placed below the funnel.” (lines 5-6)

So, the answers are:

  • heat
  • leaf litter
  • (coarse) screen
  • alcohol



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