IELTS Reading Section 1
- FALSE. Wow. Image having a one billion commuters city. Paragraph One, second sentence gives a figure of 1.3 billion people A YEAR.
- TRUE. First sentence of Paragraph Two supports the statement: “… might not be such a novelty in contemporary society”, contemporary here meaning ‘modern, relating to our time’.
- TRUE. Middle of Paragraph Two: “… Royal Commission of 1846 meant that central London was out of bounds for railway companies”. 1846 is 19th century.
- FALSE. It is vital to understand what a precursor is (see Vocabulary). Last sentence of Paragraph Two states that the man ‘envisioned’, or came up with the idea of Fleet Valley fifteen years after 1830, so in 1845. Then the first sentence of Paragraph Three states that the first Metropolitan Railway station was opened in 1863. Therefore, the idea of Fleet Valley came before the London Underground concept, so the opposite is true.
- NOT GIVEN. Even though the figure of five years is mentioned in Paragraph Three, it is not stated whether it took five years to build it. For what we know, it could’ve taken much more. No such information is given.
- NOT GIVEN. Last sentence of Paragraph Three doesn’t mention whether the government had to convince private investors to fund the project. They were promised financial returns. This is a dubious question, so here is a tip – unless all of the statements check out as correct, mark the answer ‘Not given’ – unless, of course, all of the statements are incorrect.
- C. Last sentence of Paragraph Four contains the answer. A is incorrect – it was the drivers, not the passengers, who were encouraged to wear beards. The opposite of Answer B is states – the Underground was a great success. The opposite of D is given in the text – it was much worse in the past, all year round.
- B. The middle of Paragraph Five mentions a new, deep-level line being opened. Answer A is incorrect as the Underground didn’t (and didn’t have to) stop using shallow lines – they were still in use. Answers C and D are not mentioned.
- D. The 70 years mentioned in the answer is the period between 1890 and 1968, mentioned at the end of Paragraph Five. Answer A doesn’t fit as the name ‘Viking Line’ was a provisional one, a placeholder. The first electric line was opened in 1890, so Answer B is incorrect. Answer C is not mentioned.
- A. Second sentence of Paragraph Six: “… when all of those companies were nationalised and merged to form the London Passenger Transport Board…” Answer B is incorrect as the diagram was released by an individual names Harry Beck, not the Transport Board. Answer C is wrong as the Board was established and owned by the state, it’s the lines that were established by private investors: “London Underground’s first lines were built by private developers”. Answer D is not mentioned – only some of the services are said to have been controlled by the Board.
- busking. Middle of the penultimate paragraph. This question is almost impossible to answer unless you know the word busking, or public performance that involves playing music or singing.
- melting pot. Second question of the last paragraph. ‘Financial hub’ shouldn’t be used as the idea is already mentioned in the question as ‘business’.
- shortcomings. The question suggests some sort of contrast between the positive thing in the question itself “it’s still a unique and important cultural phenomenon” and the gap, which means that the gap should have a negative word or phrase. See last sentence of the text.
IELTS Reading Section 2
- D. The word ‘contemporary’ is means ‘relating to the same period’. It is crucial to understand it to answer the question. Paragraph C mentions Anderson’s study too, however it is talked about at a different period of time, namely 1998.
- G. The details of the study are in Paragraph G. Paragraph E mentions Turyshev’s decision to ‘get to the bottom of it’.
- B. The only paragraph dedicated to a (rather brief) account of Pioneer’s journey.
- F. Last sentence of Paragraph F mentions the way data had been stored back then.
- E. Second sentence of Paragraph E states the reason: “Since the two spacecraft had stopped communicating with earth … all he could depend on were old communications and data”.
- A. ‘Physical Review Letters’ is the name of the publication in question.
- C. First two sentences of Paragraph C give different hypothesis of the Pioneer phenomenon.
- E. First sentence of Paragraph E, in brackets. Pioneer 11 stopped sending signals first in 1995, then Pioneer 10 in 2003.
- A. First sentence of Paragraph E mentions the great help of The Planetary Society: “… with the monetary aid of the Planetary Society and its eager, dedicated members…”.
- H. First sentence of Paragraph C mentions the anticipated factors that could contribute to slowing down of the spacecrafts: “the gravitational pull of the Sun and other massive objects in the solar system”.
- B. First and second sentences of Paragraph D mention the two breakthroughs: the discovery made by the Hubble telescope about the expansion of the universe and Anderson’s findings concerning the Pioneer Anomaly.
- G. Second sentence of Paragraph F points out the unexpectedly high volume of research material: “… there were more than 43 gigabytes of data – an admirable result…”.
- A. Second sentence of Paragraph G: “… retired TRW engineers who had worked on the Pioneer project…”
- D. Middle of Paragraph G: “… more specifically the heat they emitted.”
- F. First two sentences of Paragraph G: “… the formidable task of going through the volumes of information began. It was neither quick nor easy… ”
IELTS Reading Section 3
- thrilling. Paragraph One, third sentence: “… the prospects… appear less than thrilling.”
- rising prices. Bottom half of Paragraph One goes: “rising prices are spelling the doom of this long-lasting trend”
- raising livestock. Last sentence of the first paragraph: “As the price of raising livestock goes up, we’ll eat less beef”. Note that ‘to contend’ means ‘to agree, to have similar opinion’.
- genetic engineering. First sentence of the second paragraph. ‘To turn to’ means ‘to choose to do something, especially something unpleasant’. Yuck.
- human genome. Last sentence of Paragraph Two. The word ‘decode’ should tip you in the right direction since ‘to decode human genome’ is a very common collocation, although the phrase itself is rare.
- Nutritionally excellent. Paragraph Three, second sentence. ‘Full of protein’ bit helps us to find the phrase in the gap.
- Asia and Africa. First sentence of Paragraph Four. Make sure to capitalise both names.
- Presentation. First sentence, Paragraph Four. ‘Western cultures’ helps us to pick ‘Presentation’ over ‘diets’ that is found at the end of the same paragraph.
- Grow. Paragraph Five, second sentence mentions the ease and speed of growing the algae. No other options fit in here.
- Carbon footprint. Bottom half of Paragraph five: ‘To positively influence’ in the question is paraphrased as ‘improving’ in the text.
- Stem cells. First sentence of Paragraph Six. ‘Bovine’ is an adjective that means ‘relating, or connected to cows’
- Animal suffering. ‘To alleviate’ means to lessen, to reduce. Understanding the word is the main challenge in answering this question, with the answer located in the bottom half of the last paragraph.
The vocabulary below is meant to help you with the more difficult words. If the word isn’t on the list then you are either supposed to know it or it is too specific to be worth learning and you don’t have to know it to answer the question. Symbols in brackets mean part of speech (see bottom of the list). Sentences in italics give examples of usage for some more complex words and phrases.
And remember — you are not given a vocabulary list (or a dictionary) at your real exam.
Reading Section 1
Conceive (v) – to create something, to imagine something, to give birth something. He conceived the project back in 2010 in his dorm room.
Precursor (n) – something that existed before another thing and contributed to the development of it. Broadly speaking, an ox cart can be considered a precursor of the modern car.
Vibrant (adj) – exciting and energetic, full of colour and emotion. The vibrant atmosphere of a small Spanish town during the bullfighting festival.
Weather (v) – to successfully deal with a difficult problem or situation. It won’t be easy to weather the financial crisis, but we have no choice in the matter.
Spate of – a higher than usual number of (usually) unpleasant events. A spate of conflicts in the Middle East.
Busking (n) – singing or playing music in public places for money. Busking is not as easy and fun as it seems to be – you have to spend hours standing, it can be quite tiring.
Grimy (adj) – very dirty. The car was old, grimy and it refused to start.
Shortcoming (n) – a defect or a mistake, especially compared to some standard. She wasn’t ready to admit her obvious shortcomings as a head manager.
Reading Section 2
Incessant (adj) – continuing endlessly, never stopping. Mostly used negatively. Mikhail’s incessant drinking annoyed his colleagues.
Perplexed (adj) – confused by the difficulty of something. Maria always found herself perplexed by even the most basic math equations.
Awry (adv) – the wrong way, not the indented way. The economic recession has made his plans of buying a house awry.
Propellant (n) – something that gives energy to move forward. Rocket fuel is the common propellant used for spaceships.
Ascribe (v) – to consider something to be the cause or reason for something else. We ascribe George’s enormous success to his hard-work and ambition.
Diligence (n) – quality of working with care and effort. Studying with due diligence always pays off.
Formidable (adj) – respectable because of its size, power or difficulty. Writing a diploma paper is a formidable task
Blueprint (n) – a detailed technical drawing of something like a machine, a building or a mechanism. Usually made on blue paper, hence the name. Before erecting the building the blueprints have to be finalised and approved by the committee.
Perseverance (n) – the quality of sticking to one’s task despite difficulties. Thanks to Joey’s perseverance the research has been finished on time.
Corroborate (v) – to back up or support something with new information. Our data corroborates the current statements on global warming.
Reading Section 3
Contemplate (v) – to consider something, usually for a prolonged period of time. He is contemplating moving to the USA – legally or otherwise.
Prospects (n) – the possibility of something good happening in the future. Your business’s prospects are questionable – you don’t really know how to run a company of your own.
Livestock (n) – animals that are kept and grown on a farm. The livestock had to be moved to a different farm due to a risk heavy hail.
Reliance (n) – dependence on something. Our reliance on materials from abroad puts the production in danger – we can’t afford to risk having shortages.
Depletion (n) – reduction in something, exhausting something such as natural resources. The rumours of oil reserves depletion are exaggerated.
Notable (adj) – worthy of attention, important, standing out. Roland is a notable figure in the field of agriculture.
Astounding (adj) – shockingly impressive, very surprising. Juliet’s astounding success at work made many of her colleagues jealous.
In-vitro (adj) – happening outside of body and artificially. In-vitro fertilisation nowadays is a common practice.
Hindrance (n) – something that presents difficulties or slows down. The many bureaucratic hindrances that small businesses have to face.