IELTS Reading Practice Test 18 Printable -

IELTS Reading Practice Test 18 Printable

Answer Keys

1 TRUE. First two sentences of paragraph 2 support this statement, stating that this practice is as old as civilization and later providing more factual numbers.
2 TRUE. Paragraph 2, sentence 3 goes into details about making the first water containers. The technique of lining its walls with barks is described – the modification mentioned in the task statement.
3 TRUE. Last sentence of paragraph 3 states that the aqueducts made use of gravitational forces to transport water—the natural phenomenon in question.
4 FALSE. To answer this one correctly, we go back to paragraph 2, where more ancient civilizations are given credit for having used water transportation system. This means that they predated Roman aqueducts, even if they might have been more simple from an engineering standpoint.
5 FALSE. Paragraph 4 mentions that the water was used for fountains, among other things. Fountains by design have questionably practical application.
6 TRUE. Paragraph 4 has information about columns that were used to go over valleys and ravines; the latter are particularly low areas of land.
7 NOT GIVEN. Second part of paragraph 2 mentions that the aqueduct felt in disrepair and ‘since then’ could no longer be used – implying that it is still true. Later, the test goes about partial renovation, which hints at the fact that it is no longer used for transporting water.
8 complex. ‘Complexity’ from paragraph 4 is the changed word that fits into the gap. ‘Engineered’ doesn’t fit as the phrase itself makes no sense; it would need to go like ‘increasingly well-engineered’ to work.
9 scale. The growing cities demanded a larger scale (size) of water supply systems to meet the demand.
10 materials. One of the materials is ‘pozzolana’ from paragraph 5. ‘Cities’ can’t be used as they can’t be used to make aqueducts.
11 ingenuity. Engineers’ original approach to such monumental tasks is best described by this word. Other words that you could consider: work (too plain and does not convey the idea of achievement), plan (it could be chosen if they hadn’t finished it, but they did).
12 restored. The restoration process is mentioned at the end of paragraph 5.
13 sustained. To sustain means to support and make sure that it keeps existing. ‘Brought’ shouldn’t be used as it has a narrower scope and does not fully reflect the idea of sustenance—the continued existence of life.

14 IX – Taking off. Taking off is the procedure of accelerating in order to go airborne (fly) for an aircraft. Here it is used figuratively to show the very first attempts at flight. ‘The flying Greek’ is a trap; even though Icarus is mentioned at the beginning, the paragraph is not focused on his persona, he is only used as a preface here.
15 XII – A date to remember. The last two sentences of the paragraph talk about the historic moment of controlled flight and mention the specific date, December 12th. ‘Brothers in arms’ is a misleading heading, as the phrase means soldiers who fight side by side; therefore, it shouldn’t be understood literally.
16 III – Forged in fire. This paragraph goes on about the impact of war on the industry of aviation. The ongoing conflicts prompted considerable progress thanks to the increased money influx. ‘Fire’ here is used symbolically to mean ‘conflict’. ‘Brothers in arms’ should not be chosen; it would mostly refer to soldiers, whereas the focus of both the paragraph and the text in general is on aircrafts and their development.
17 XIII – Not for fighting alone. Contrastingly with the previous paragraph, this one lists more peaceful applications of aviation. The idea is reinforced in the last paragraph, with direct reference to war effort funding the progress in the field.
18 I – Shift from analog to digital. A number of inventions in the field of air travel are mentioned in the paragraph, most of them relating to various electronic improvements.
19 X – Head to head. ‘Shift from analog to digital’ shouldn’t be used, as this heading implies progress and evolution, while the Boeing makes a conscious choice of keeping the analog approach. This means that they believe that digital controls are not necessarily better.
20 VI – Numbers matter. A comparison between the two aircraft makers shows the performance figures for both. ‘David and Goliath’ is incorrect, as the comparison would imply that one greatly surpasses the other. Instead, the difference in range and performance is noticeable but not groundbreaking.
21 VIII – What’s on the horizon? ‘Computers take over’ is not optimal for this paragraph; the main idea is the general direction of progress in aviation. While some attention in this paragraph is given to AI and how it might become increasingly used in piloting, it is not the only or dominant topic.
22 NOT GIVEN. Information from paragraph B refers to documented flights, i.e., those that have been proven through historical records. Therefore, neither a positive nor a negative answer can be given here.
23 FALSE. The opposite is true, according to paragraph B. In paragraph 2, Montgolfier brothers are mentioned to have achieved that – and they have been credited with that as well. It is important to understand what ‘to be credited’ means. It has nothing to do with money, but instead the idea is that your achievement gets recognition.
24 TRUE. ‘To facilitate’ means to help something, make something easier, or go smoother. That is exactly what happened, according to paragraph D: both wars forced world governments to invest heavily in the aviation industry. This helped it progress at an accelerated pace.
25 TRUE. This is correct and confirmed by the information in paragraph F. There, among other things, the invention and implementation of GPS and fly-by-wire technology are mentioned.
26 TRUE. The last sentence of paragraph G highlights the differences between the two mentioned models, with the latter (Airbus A320) relying more on automation and computer assistance.
27 TRUE. Last paragraph says that people ‘wager’ that we are likely to see AI-controlled planes in the future.

28 G. ‘Far reaching implications’ might sound overwhelming and confusing. In short, it means that something affects the situation in more than one way, and some of the effects can have greater influence. The last paragraph of this extract talks about how weather forecasting has found its way into many different spheres of our lives and how it affects them.
29 B. Rain on the wedding day is a superstition that the misconception from the task refers to. Remember that a misconception means a wrongly held belief.
30 E. Oceanography is an example of another scientific field that meteorology has to work with to further improve their accuracy in weather prediction.
31 F. Last sentence of the paragraph highlights how critical it can be to notify people about such dramatic weather phenomena in time.
32 D. A celestial body is a space-related term that refers to a planet, a satellite or a star. In this particular paragraph, two celestial bodies are mentioned: our planet and the sun. The focus is on the star, as it affects the weather situation to a greater extent.
33 A. The comparison from the task and the art of weather prediction is that of a master painter. ‘Overly’ means ‘too much’ in this context.
34 D. The high and low technology mentioned is, respectively, the intricate electronic sensors and the air balloons they are installed on.
35 animals. ‘Since the dawn of time’ is a phrase that refers to the earliest methods of telling the weather and helps us find the right word in paragraph B.
36 historical patterns. It is crucial to use both words, as simply using one word ‘patterns’ does not fully convey the idea.
37 radiosonde. ‘On its way down to the ground’ is the key phrase here that helps pick ‘radiosonde’ from paragraph D, which refers to the descent phase of the process. Note the indefinite ‘a’ before the gap that means the noun is going to be singular – therefore, answers like ‘instruments’, ‘sensors’ or ‘hardware’ do not fit.
38 satellites. Note the plural form; there is no article before the gap.
39 mathematical equations. ‘Crunching the data’ from paragraph E is synonymous with processing multiple factors from the task.
40 warning/notifications. ‘Timely’ is an adjective here referring to time-sensitive warnings in the case of tornadoes or flash floods.


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

Treasured (adj) – highly valuable and sought after. The treasured memories of childhood are immortalised in pictures of family photo album.
Makeshift (adj) – created quickly for a temporary purpose and usually of low quality. We made makeshift pillows by filling our bags with some hay.
Originate (v) – to come from, to be a source of something. Most meditation practices originate from the Far East.
Reign (n) – period of when a ruler is in power. A dictator’s reign is usually marked by restricted human rights as well as the prohibition of free speech.
Span (v) – to go over something, to cover distances. This highway spans hundreds of miles and makes it much easier for commuters from the nearby towns to go to work.
Ravine (n) – a deep, narrow valley that often gets flooded during spring in areas with distinct seasonal change.
Irrigate (v) – to artificially provide water to plants. It is especially important to irrigate your garden during heatwaves, as it might not get enough water from natural sources such as precipitation.
Crops (n) – plants that are grown to be later used for food. Potatoes and tomatoes are the typical crops that come to mind.
Undertaking (n) – a task or a process, especially a grand one that takes a lot of time and effort. Starting your own business is a serious undertaking, and you should think twice before doing it.
Disrepair (n) – if something is in disrepair, it means that it is in poor condition due to neglect or other factors. The flat was in total disrepair; the floors had to be resurfaced, and the wallpaper was peeling off.
Marvel at smth (v) – to look at something in awe, surprise or disbelief because of its size, greatness or other notable qualities.
Uphold (v) – (here) to give something that is rightfully yours. Sometimes the United Nations has to step in when it sees that human rights are not being upheld in the region.
Sustain (v) – to ensure the continued existence of something. Without a steady supply of water, it is impossible to sustain life here.
Waterborne (adj) – (here) transmitted through water.
Perpetuation (n) – continuation of something undesirable. If we don’t stop people from getting increasingly immersed in their phones, it will lead to the perpetuation of ignorance, illiteracy, and social isolation.
Safeguard (v) – (here) to protect and ensure continued existence.

Section 2

Tapestry (n) – used figuratively here, it means a large collection of different things.
Relentless (adj) – enthusiastic and tireless, almost aggressively so. Science is relentless in its pursuit for clean, affordable, and sustainable energy.
Cutting-edge (adj) – most recent and advanced, very modern. Cutting-edge battery technology allows electric vehicles to run for hundreds of miles without having to recharge.
Untethered (adj) – not tied or connected to something.
Gingerly (adv) – slowly and carefully. Gingerly, I tiptoed to my room not to wake anybody up in the middle of the night.
At the mercy of something—affected by something greatly or completely. We have done our part, and now the outcome is at the mercy of faith.
Reconnaissance (n) – the art of achieving information about the enemy in a conflict, such as the number and location of forces; scouting.
Funnel smth into smth – to direct something, such as money, time or other resource, to a particular place or purpose. Our research and development department is currently funnelling staff effort into the testing of the new superconductor.
Infamous (adj) – well-known, especially for something bad.
Maiden flight – the first flight of an aircraft. ‘Maiden voyage’ is also used, but mostly for ships.
Impetus (n) – if something is given impetus, its progress is accelerated through external forces.
Usher in (v) – to signal the beginning of something. The development and wide adoption of smartphones ushered in an era of mobile gaming.
Civic (adj) – relating to peaceful needs and purposes, the opposite of warfare.
Breakthrough (n) – a sudden and considerable progress in something.
Unprecedented (adj) – something that hadn’t happened previously. Microsoft success was unprecedented; it was the only company in history that, at one point, had almost completely monopolised the software market.
Translate into (v) – (here) to be a result of something else. His notable academic performance at school translated to a lucrative internship with an international company and eventually full-time employment with them.
Retain (v) – to keep, to continue having something. Retaining our ancestors’ traditions is an important task if we want to maintain cultural integrity.
Gauges, dials – special equipment that has visual indications of various parameters such as temperature, speed, altitude, and others.
Hands-on (adj) – more involved and actively doing it rather than having theoretical knowledge of it, used positively. Our boss is a big fan of hands-on management; he’s always in the office, actively helping his employees and steering them in the right direction.
Emphasise (v) – to focus on something, to highlight something as important. During Lucie’s years at university, her teacher emphasised that she should pay more attention to her people skills.
Wager (v) – to say that something is very likely to happen, to the point where you are willing to bet money on it. I wager Marie is going to take Jack to the prom.

Section 3

Mistress (n) – a female lover, especially one when the man is married or engaged. ‘A cruel mistress’ is used figuratively to mean something that can be either good or bad in a strong way.
Patter (n) – a series of quick tapping sounds, like raindrops on a thin metal roof.
Unravel (v) – to solve a mystery part by part. To unravel this crime, the detective had to travel all over the country, questioning witnesses.
Canvas (n) – (here) a wide range or selection of something. The old car exhibition offered a rich canvas of automobiles from different time periods.
Dawn (n) – the time of day when the sun rises. Used literally here, the phrase ‘since the dawn of times’ means the beginning of humanity.
Superstition (n) – beliefs that are not based on science or practical experience but on legends and other supernatural things.
Harbinger (n) – a thing or a person that indicates that something, especially something bad, is about to happen.
Precipitation (n) – weather phenomena such as rain or snow. It is sunny for now, but expect some heavy precipitation later this week.
Abundance (n) – if something is in abundance, then there is more than enough of it. The abundance of books in the library really made me want to read as much as I could at university.
Extrapolation (n) – the practice of predicting the trend using information from the past and basing your prediction on it. If we extrapolate the trend of spending we have now, our company will go broke within the next three years.
Come by (phr v) – to come across, to find, to discover.
Feed (n) – information provided by some sort of sensor or other source. The radio feed is bad because of all the electronic interference in the area.
Conventional (adj) – widely used, traditional. Your conventional methods of research are less likely to work in the increasingly computerised environment of today.
Aloft (adj) – up, into the air. We cut the rope, and the balloon went aloft.
Array (n) – (here) a wide choice or selection of something. The array of goods on supermarket shelves today is enough to make anyone go insane—the choice is truly astounding.
Crunch (v) – (here, about data or numbers) analyse, process.
Refine (v) – to improve the quality of something. To refine the results presented by the computer, we manually go through them and eliminate the ones that do not fit the pattern.
Input (n) – (here) participation or involvement. We will be requiring professional input to make the data more trustworthy.
Anticipating (n) – expecting something to happen.
Dam (n) – an artificial structure that blocks a body of water from moving down the stream. It is often used to forward it elsewhere or for hydroelectricity generation.
Hinge on (v) – to be dependent on something. The success of the race often hinges on weather conditions.
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