IELTS Reading Practice– Classification questions–Exercise 2

This is a second exercise for classification questions in IELTS Reading. This exercise aims to help you in developing your reading techniques for classification tasks.

Just to remind you, in classification questions you’re given some options (A, B, C etc.) and a list of statements. You have to read the article, and connect each statement to one option.

To learn more about classification questions see this lesson.

Let’s start. Read the text and answer the questions below.

New pattern in planet’s energy flow

The impact humans have made on Earth in terms of how we produce and consume resources has formed a ‘striking new pattern’ in the planet’s global energy flow, according to researchers from the University of Leicester.

Archaeologist Dr Matthew Edgeworth, Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, said: “Earth is now characterised by a geologically unprecedented pattern of global energy flow that is pervasively influenced by humans – and which is necessary for maintaining the complexity of modern human societies.”

Professor Zalasiewicz said: “Very big changes in our planet’s pattern of biological production and consumption do not happen very often. The appearance of photosynthesis was one, about two and a half billion years ago. Then, a little over half a billion years ago, animals like trilobites appeared, to add scavengers and predators into a food web of increasing complexity. Other major events have happened since, such as five major mass extinctions, but even measured against these events, human-driven changes to production and consumption are distinctly new.”

Dr Carys Bennett, co-author on the study from the University of Leicester’s Department of Geology, added: “It is without precedent to have a single species appropriating something like one quarter of the net primary biological production of the planet and to become effectively the top predator both on land and at sea.

In addition, by digging phosphorus out of the ground and by fixing nitrogen out of the air to make fertilizers; and by exploiting hundreds of millions of years-worth of stored carbon-based energy in a still-accelerating trend, humans are increasing productivity well above natural levels – and directing much of it towards animals that have been re-engineered to suit our purposes. “

Professor Zalasiewicz added: “The relationship between Earth’s production and consumption is being refashioned, and this is the key feature to characterize the Anthropocene as a geological time unit. It also has wider and more fundamental importance in signaling a new biological stage in this planet’s evolution.”

Dr Matthew Edgeworth added: “Recent changes in Earth’s biosphere, caused in part by human activity, are starting to become evident in rock and soil strata. Unprecedented stratigraphic signals are challenging disciplines like geology and archaeology to assess such changes and put them in temporal context, relative to other major transitions in Earth’s history.”

Dr Carys Bennett said: “Modern human society is structured around economic production and consumption and our recent perturbation of the balance between the two, notably since the mid-20th century, will leave a signal that will provide a lasting legacy of our existence on this planet.”

Professor Zalasiewicz concluded that we should gather more evidence on the Anthropocene, which will help inform recommendations on whether this new time unit should be formalized and, if so, how it might be defined and characterized.

Questions 1-8

Classify the following statements as referring to:

  1. Professor Zalasiewicz
  2. Dr Carys Bennett
  3. Dr Matthew Edgeworth

If you are unsure about the answer, you can click “Show hint” button to get explanations.

Write the appropriate letters A, B or C in boxes 1-8:

  1. Major changes in Earth’s pattern of biological production and consumption are quite rare.  
  2. Rock and soil strata have traces of human activity.  
  3. Humans are the first species to dominate the planet’s primary biological production and to be the top predator both on land and at sea.  
  4. Anthropocene can be characterized as a new geological time unit, because of the changes in the relationship between Earth’s production and consumption.  
  5. Humans have affected the Earth’s global energy flow, resulting in an unprecedented pattern for maintaining the complexity of modern societies.  
  6. People are exploiting soil and animals to increase their productivity well above natural levels.  
  7. Modern human society is structured around economic production.  
  8. Scientists should find more information about Anthropocene to understand whether this new time unit should be formalized.  



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