IELTS Reading Practice Test 16 Printable -
IELTS Reading Practice Test 16 printable and answers with explanations as well as useful vocabulary

IELTS Reading Practice Test 16 Printable

Reading Passage 3

IELTS Reading Practice Test monkeys

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 29-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

Monkeys are fascinating creatures that have been a source of wonder and curiosity for many people throughout history. These intelligent animals capture our imagination with their impressive agility, social behaviour, and even their similarities to humans – unsurprisingly so, as they have been scientifically proven to be our distant genetic relatives.

This relation is primarily based on their shared genetic makeup. Studies have shown that monkeys and humans have a high percentage of genetic similarity, which indicates a common evolutionary ancestry. Additionally, both monkeys and humans belong to the same scientific order, primates. This classification means that they possess many anatomical and behavioural characteristics that are not found in other animal groups. Fossil evidence has also provided insights into the evolutionary relationship between monkeys and humans. Fossils of early primates, such as Proconsul and Aegyptopithecus, have features that resemble both monkeys and humans, suggesting that they were ancestral to both groups.

There are more than 200 species of monkeys, and each one has its own distinctive traits, ranging from the red-tailed monkey’s long tail to the mandrill’s colourful face. But today we would like to focus on three notable species: the chimpanzee, the howler monkey, and the spider monkey.

The Chimpanzee

Chimpanzees are among the most intelligent primates, with cognitive abilities that are comparable to those of human children. They are natural problem-solvers and boast a high level of emotional intelligence. In fact, studies have shown that chimpanzees are capable of understanding the emotions of others and even displaying empathy towards their peers.

Chimpanzees are found in the forests of central and western Africa, where they live in groups of up to 100 individuals. Such groups normally have leaders, either male or female chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are primarily herbivorous – but will also eat insects, birds, and small mammals when the opportunity arises – effectively making them omnivorous.

One of the most notable characteristics of chimpanzees is their ability to use tools. They have been observed using sharp sticks to extract insects from tree bark, bashing stones on nuts to crack them open, and even wrapping their faces in big leaves as protection from rain! Some chimpanzees have been known to fashion primitive weapons such as spears and use them to hunt small game.

Scientists have observed a wide range of social interaction among chimpanzees, including grooming, hugging, and kissing. They also engage in aggressive behaviors, such as screaming, hitting, and biting, when there is conflict within the group. While the latter is not indicative of animals of higher intellectual order, the former shows signs of the empathy mentioned earlier, which is generally uncommon among animals.

Sadly, chimpanzees are endangered due to habitat loss and hunting. Many are also captured for the illegal pet trade, which has contributed to their decline. However, conservation efforts are underway to protect these remarkable animals and their habitats.

The Howler Monkey

Howler monkeys are one of the most vocal primates, and their distinctive calls can be heard up to three miles away. They are, in fact, one the loudest animals on Earth, rivaled by much bigger blue whale and lion. They are found in the forests of Central and South America and can live up to 20 years in the wild.

The howler monkey is a large and slow-moving animal, with males weighing up to 22 pounds and females weighing up to 16 pounds. They are primarily herbivorous and feed on leaves, fruits, and flowers.

Howler monkeys are arboreal animals, meaning they spend most of their time in trees. They have a prehensile tail, which acts like another limb and enables them to grasp onto branches tightly. This feature is particularly important for mother monkeys, who use their tails to carry their young as they move from tree to tree.

Howler monkeys are also notable for their social behaviours. They live in groups of up to 18 individuals, which consist of a dominant male, several females, and their offspring. The male is responsible for protecting his group from predators, while the females take care of the young. They are also very territorial, with males using their howl to intimidate as well as to signal their position. Interestingly enough, female Howlers do not howl at all.

In terms of conservation, howler monkeys face a variety of threats; the biggest one is deforestation of Amazon rainforest, their prime habitat.

The Spider Monkey

Spider monkeys are known for their long limbs and tails, which enable them to move through trees with great agility. They are found in the forests of Central and South America, where they live in groups of up to 35 individuals. Similar to the Howler Monkey, they are chiefly arboreal, mostly living in the trees, preferring not to get down to the ground without a compelling reason.

The name comes from their tail, which they effectively use as fifth limb that facilitates locomotion and helps them clear various obstacles with surprising ease. Because of the five limbs taking part in the process they visually resemble a spider crawling.

Spider monkeys are omnivorous and have a varied diet of fruits, leaves, flowers, and insects. They have a distinctive jaw structure that enables them to crack open hard nuts and seeds without having to resort to tools for that.

Mother spider monkeys carry their young on their backs for the first few months of their lives, similarly to Howler Monkey using their tail as a safety belt for their offspring. Once the baby is old enough, it will learn how to move from tree to tree and eventually become independent.

The Spider Monkey is one species that especially suffers from forest fragmentation. This is a situation when a continuous forest breaks up into smaller and isolated patches due to human activities such as agriculture, urbanization, and road building.

Despite their stark differences, there is one disturbing similarity among these three species. All three, are in one way or another, facing the risk of extinction – a situation that is shameful, especially given human understanding of how important biodiversity is.

Questions 29-36
Complete the table below.
Choose NO MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER tor each answer.

ChimpanzeeHowler MonkeySpider Monkey
HabitatCentral and Western AfricaCentral and South AmericasCentral and South Americas, predominantly 29 ____
Social and diet habitsGroups of up to 30 ____ specimen; largely omnivorousDiet is mostly 31 ____ . Males live with several femalesOmnivorous, has no need for 32 ____ to eat nuts. Live in larger groups
PeculiarityDemonstrate 33 ____ towards others; highly intelligentImpressive 34 ____ abilitiesExtremely developed tail that aids 35 ____ as well as ensuring offspring safety
Endangerment statusEndangeredLoss of 36 ____Suffer from forest fragmentation

Questions 37-40
For each question, choose the appropriate letter A-С

37. Monkeys and human are believed to be related because
A They are genetically identical
B They are uniquely similar in certain respects
C They possess anatomic resemblance

38. One peculiarity that makes Chimpanzee stand out is the fact they
A Like humans, make use of makeshift tools
B Prefer to live in larger social groups
C Favour mostly plant-based foods

39. What behavioural activities point at higher cognitive development among chimpanzees?
A grooming, kissing and hugging
B biting, screaming and hitting
C neither of these

40. Which monkey species is mentioned to have clearly defined gender roles?
A the chimpanzee
B the howler monkey
C the spider monkey

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Answer Keys

1 TRUE. Paragraph one, beginning of sentence three—the word ‘bulky’ is key here. It means big and taking up a lot of space.
2 FALSE. Paragraph one, sentence two. The year 1973 is connected to the invention of the device. While it does not directly say whether it was sold in the same year, later it is stated that the first commercially available phone came later, in 1983.
3 TRUE. Paragraph two, first sentence. It is important to understand the verb ‘to pioneer’ here to get the answer right.
4 NOT GIVEN. Sentence 4 in the second paragraph is a trap. It does not say that the USA was the first to have mobile coverage. Instead, it names the Motorola network as the first in that country.
5 NOT GIVEN. No such information is given; the only mention of voice is in relation to its speakerphone.
6 FALSE. Paragraph 3, sentence 4. Nokia was the one to introduce camera technology to the mobile phone world.
7 FALSE. Paragraph three, sentences 4 and 5 state and develop the idea of Nokia’s involvement regarding mobile internet networks.
8, 9 C, E. C – Paragraph 4, sentence 3 says that the model was ‘an instant success’. E – ‘shaping the phones of the future’ in the same paragraphs hints at the impact the company has on the industry.
10 risks. Paragraph 6, sentence 2. Note the plural form – it should be used just like in the text; otherwise, you might not get your points at the IELTS exam even though you got the word right. A word you might want to use is ‘drawbacks’, but it does not collocate well with the verb ‘face’, so it shouldn’t be used here.
11 (the) radiation. Paragraph 6, sentence 2. Another easy way to understand what word to use is through collocation. In this sentence, it is the verb ‘to emit’, which is normally used with things like light, particles, gases, and so on.
12 distracted. Paragraph 6, sentence 3. People get too distracted, and it leads to something unpredictable and possibly terrible.
13 security. The last sentence of paragraph 6 describes cases where personal or other sensitive information leaks can be a security issue.
14 V – Taking a closer look. The paragraph focuses on the properties that the material has. Do not be tricked into picking the heading ‘X – A thousand applications’ because of the word ‘application’ at the end of the paragraph. It is only a minor point, whereas a heading should focus on the main idea of the paragraph.
15 VIII – Through the looking glass of time. An overview of glass evolution throughout human history is given, with various stages of development and various emerging techniques.
16 I – Glass in nature. Natural occurrences of glass are given the most attention in this paragraph. Heading ‘XI – Taking a toll on nature’ doesn’t fit, although some might feel like choosing it if they do not fully understand the meaning of the word ‘toll’.
17 X – A thousand applications. A self-explanatory heading, it lists the ways glass comes in handy in a handful of industries. Heading XII shouldn’t be used here because there is no mention of alternatives to the material. Moreover, the heading is used later. This is why it is always a good idea to consider headings you think you have already found uses for in the test.
18 IX – Taking a toll on nature. The harm and damage that glass leads to are mentioned. Note that ‘XI – not without a fault’ is not optimal here as it only vaguely hints at the fact that there are some problems associated with glass.
19 XII – Irreplaceable – or is it? It makes it much easier to make a choice when you know the word ‘substitute’ – which means to replace something with something else. Heading XI doesn’t fit, although you might feel like choosing it based on the first sentence. However, it only introduces the general idea but does not expand on the problems with the glass. Instead, it offers alternatives to this material.
20 VI – Dim prospects. The phrase of the heading means that the future is not clear, but probably not too good for glass. Phrases like ‘a lot of uncertainty’ and ‘just a taste of things to come’ only serve to support this idea. Glass is likely to have an even smaller presence in the future.
21 YES. The first paragraph tells us how, if asked about life-changing inventions, people are much more likely to name things like the Internet or the wheel. Glass is not something they are likely to mention in such a situation.
22 NOT GIVEN. Nothing of relevance is mentioned. While it is extensively used outside as well as inside, no particular reasons for its popularity in that application are given.
23 NO. Paragraph C says that the invention of glass ‘predates’ iron smelting. This means that it comes before it. Glass had been invented before iron smelting became possible.
24 YES. At least one example of that is given at the end of Paragraph C, where the ancient Romans are said to have used various additives to make stained glass.
25 A. Paragraph D mentions that naturally occurring glass has a few attributes similar to those of man-made examples. It has a much different shape, is difficult to see through, and therefore hardly has any uses. In fact, it is difficult to even know it is glass.
26 A. Paragraph F focuses on the undesirable effects of glass production. Carbon dioxide is the by-product mentioned in the answer. Answer B doesn’t fit; it is not the main concern, as it is implied that sulfuric acid can be safely neutralised. We can’t choose answer C as nothing of the sort is stated in the text.
27 B. Paragraph G says that glass, when broken, creates many dangerous sharp fragments, which is not true for polycarbonate. Answers A and C are not mentioned.
28 C. ‘Taste of things to come’ is a figurative expression that means that we are likely to see more of what is happening now. Answer A shouldn’t be used as the word ‘taste’ is not literal in this context.
29 arboreal. The last sentence of the first paragraph relating to that species. Note that often with table-style questions you will end up going back and forth between paragraphs.
30 100. Sentence one of paragraph two relating to the species. The word ‘group’ hints at the fact that a figure will be needed in the answer.
31 herbivorous. If you do not know the word, then understanding that the context requires an adjective should make it easier for you.
32 tools. The word ‘nuts’ is a good keyword here as it cannot be synonymised and can be easily found in the text.
33 empathy. ‘Towards others’ in the table is a hint that the word used refers to communication between specimens.
34 vocal. Given in the very first sentence of the paragraph, this word hides in plain sight. Note that the adjective ‘vocal’ does not necessarily refer to one’s ability to sing. Instead, it refers to sounds produced by a living thing.
35 locomotion/movement. ‘To facilitate’ is a synonym for ‘help’ and means ‘to make something easier or quicker’.
36 habitat. The last paragraph focuses on the problem of a declining population. Habitat loss is the process of losing territory that an animal considers its home because of various favourable conditions.
37 B. Paragraph Two focuses on the reasons monkeys and humans are believed to be related. Answer C is not as detailed and is therefore not optimal. Answer A is wrong, as the two species are not fully identical genetically.
38 A. Answers B and C are not unique and do not make chimpanzees special compared to other monkey species.
39 A. It is said that such behaviour is uncommon among other animals and points to higher intelligence (Paragraph 7).
40 B. Paragraphs 11 and 12 focus on the roles of both genders in the social structure of howler monkeys.


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.

Section 1

Ill-at-easy (adj) – uncomfortable, nervous. Giving public speeches has been making me ill-at-ease since primary school.
Ubiquitous (adj) – something that can be found anywhere because of its popularity, usefulness or other reason. Street food restaurants are ubiquitous in larger cities nowadays.
Bulky (adj) – heavy, large and difficult to use or move because of that. We decided to leave our bulky furniture in the old flat because of transportation costs.
Sleek (adj) – (here) stylish and fresh-looking.
Cellular (adj) – relating to or connected to cells.
Stringent (adj) – strict and unforgiving. Her parents created a very stringent environment for her where any mistake or fault never went unpunished.
Reception (n) – (here) ability to receive the signal of the network. The reception indoors is very poor in this part of the country.
Pave the way for (phr v) – to make it easier for something or somebody that does the same thing later. The Toyota Prius paved the way for hybrid vehicles all around the globe.
Be credited for something – to give recognition for some achievement. She was justifiably credited for having created the first shopping app.
Immense (adj) – extremely large. The immense contribution of the president to world peace.
Sport (v) – to have something and be proud of it.
Instrumental (adj) – helping in achieving something. A basic understanding of psychology is instrumental in creating a good teacher.
Renowned (adj) – extremely well-known, especially for something good. A renowned poet of his time, he was celebrated for how genuine and down-to-earth his works were.
Redefine (v) – to change something dramatically, often altering the fundamentals.
Small wonder (phr) – it should come as no surprise. With their unmatched speed and strength, it is small wonder that bears have almost no natural threats except poachers.
Disposable income – the amount of money a person has left after all the essential expenditures (such as bills and groceries) are paid for.
Boast (v) – (here – about numbers) to show high levels of something. This class boasts the highest average grade across all schools in the area.
Culprit (n) – a person or a thing that is responsible for some problem. The culprit for the poor drivability of the car turned out to be a deflated front tyre.
Bring about (phr v) – to be a reason for something happening. The economic crisis brought about unemployment and increased immigration to neighbouring countries.
Wrap one’s mind around something (phr v) – to understand something, especially something that is difficult to believe because it seems very unlikely.
Headway (n) – progress. Unfortunately, no headway was achieved by our scientists over the past three years.
Full-fledged (adj) – fully functional or developed. This miniature computer can be used just like a full-fledged desktop PC.

Section 2

Set out to do smth (phr v) – to be determined to do something, to start your attempts at something.
Respondent (n) – in polls and surveys respondents are people answering the questions. The survey had almost two hundred respondents under 20 years old.
Ubiquity (n) – the condition of being present everywhere.
Underdog (n) – a person or a thing that is unappreciated or unknown, especially if it is not justified. Steve was the underdog of his class – neither teachers nor students liked him, despite his clearly prominent academic abilities.
Amorphous (adj) – with a clearly defined structure or form.
Brittle (adj) – easily broken, not strong. Over time, rubber gets hard and eventually turns brittle, falling apart at the slightest touch.
Conduct (v) – (here) to allow something to pass freely, i.e. heat, light or electricity. Copper conducts heat well, and this property makes it perfect for radiators as well as other head-dissipation purposes.
Expand / contract – to become bigger or smaller, respectively. As we breathe in, our lungs expand. When we exhale, they contract.
Predate (v) – if thing A predates thing B , it means that thing A appeared before thing B. Few people know that electric engines predate the more conventional internal combustion ones.
Beads (n) – (here) small, round-shaped decorative objects worn as an ornament or decoration. The famous stories of American colonisers trading glass beads for gold still cause outrage.
Furnace (n) – an enclosed space where fire creates extremely high temperatures with the purpose of melting down ore and other metal-containing objects.
Molten (adj) – turned to liquid through exposure to high temperatures. Molten metal was white-hot and you could feel the heat even several feet away from it.
Artisan (n) – a highly-skilled craftsman such as a glass blower, a blacksmith or an instrument maker.
Uninitiated (adj) – if a person is uninitiated, it means they have no knowledge of the topic.
Translucent (adj) – as described in the text, it means that it lets the light pass, but it is very hard to see objects on the other side of it.
Hallmark (n) – a characteristic quality of something, used positively. High build quality and longevity are hallmarks of German cars.
Indispensable (adj) – vital, can’t be done without. Your help in the negotiation process proved indispensable.
Fossil fuels – oil and gas-based fuels such as petrol, diesel and others. Fossil fuel vehicles are projected to go out of production by the middle of 21st century.
Dispose of (v) – to get rid of something that is no longer needed. Dispose of your waste responsibly to reduce its environmental impact.
Landfill (n) – a designated area where garbage is transported for decomposting.
Shatter (v) – to break into many pieces.
Entail (v) – cause, bring about. Getting a degree in college entails lots of academic work, such as writing term papers and doing research.

Section 3

Makeup (n) – (here) nature. His makeup and upbringing would never allow him to be rude to others, especially people he didn’t know well.
Fossil (n) – underground remains of dead organisms such as animals or even plants that lived a long time ago.
Ancestral (adj) – relating to ancestry, i.e. existing before and having genetic relations. Ancestral ties between humans and monkeys are hard to deny due to abundant scientific evidence.
Species (n) – a class of plants or animals whose genetic similarity allows them to breed with one another. They say that crows are one of the smartest avian species.
Cognitive (adj) – relating to the mind and brain. Cognitive development in kids has been proven to benefit from exposure to foreign languages.
Peers (n) – if somebody is your peer it means they are the same age. The older I grow, the more difficult communication with my peers becomes.
Herbivorous, omnivorous (adj) – with diets consisting of plants or both plants and meat, respectively. Animals that eat meat exclusively are referred to as carnivorous.
Fashion (v) – to create something, especially something simple, using things at hand. I fashioned a meal from the leftover groceries I found in the fridge.
Grooming (n) – the action done to keep or make oneself or somebody else clean. Cats can often be seen grooming themselves, especially if they have nothing better to do at the moment.
Indicative (adj) – usual for or pointing at some quality. A developed writing system is indicative of a high level of development in a civilisation.
Underway (adj) – has already started and is currently in progress. The construction of the new office block is underway and is planned to be finished by late October.
Vocal (adj) – (here) loud.
Prehensile (adj) – used for grasping or gripping something as a way to support or aid.
Offspring (n) – (especially with animals) children or young. The mother’s primary role in the group is to look after the offspring, both her own and others.
Intimidate (v) – to frighten, to make somebody feel scared. Animals prefer to intimidate their opponents instead of going into open confrontation with them.
Howl (v) – to make a loud crying sound.
Arboreal (adj) – living in trees. Arboreal animals choose to come down to the ground only when foraging for food.
Compelling (adj) – convincing or serious. Without compelling arguments, you cannot prove your innocence to the judge.
Facilitate (v) – to make something easier, to help.
Stark (adj) – clear, easily noticeable. The stark contrast between the lifestyles of first- and third-world people.