1. FALSE. First sentence of the text mentions the ‘escalating cost of higher education’. ‘Escalating’ means increasing, so the opposite is true. You might consider answering ‘Not given’ here because the statement says ‘college education’, but you have ‘higher education’ in the text. However, if we look at the heading of the paragraph, it reads ‘The value of a college degree’ so it is obviously talking about that.
2. TRUE. Accumulation of thousands of dollars of debt is mentioned in the middle of paragraph 1—exactly what the task statement is saying.
3. TRUE. Paragraph 4, sentence 2 mentions two types of colleges that 80% of students choose, and both of them are public. A public college is one financed and run by the state, as opposed to private colleges that are controlled by individuals or companies.
4. NOT GIVEN. No comparison between the two college types is given, so there is no decisive answer.
5. a/their lifetime. Paragraph 4 mentions the amount of money people with various degrees make during their entire careers. ‘A little more than one million’ is the phrase that we should focus on and seek relevant parts of the text. Note that you need either a possessive pronoun or an indefinite article; you can’t just put ‘lifetime’ as the answer.
6. $1.6 million/$1600000. Paragraph 4, we look for ‘associate’s degree’.
7. bachelor’s degree holder. Paragraph 4, now we get the amount of money and we have to connect it with the education the person has.
8. 8,655. Paragraph 5 has the necessary information. Note that you should be using the currency sign ($) as it is already in the task – using it would result in a lost point.
9. tuition. Paragraph 5. Because we have an exact number in the task, finding the relevant part is fairly straightforward.
10-13. In any order: C, D, E, G. Paragraph titled ‘Other Benefits of Higher Education’ has the required information. C -‘… higher level of savings’; D – ‘… more hobbies and leisure activities’; E – ‘… improved quality of life for their offspring’ and later mentions the correlation between parent education and the health status of their children. Paragraph ‘The Social Value of Higher Education’ adds on that with G, which mentions ‘increased consumption’.
Answers that do not fit: A – nothing about housing differences can be found in the text. B – even though it mentions being more positive about their ‘personal progress’, this does not refer to their life but rather their own development. F – even though ‘professional mobility’ is mentioned, this refers to how easy it is for them to switch jobs and has nothing to do with travelling.
14. watched TV. Paragraph 1, sentence 2. Grammatically, this is one of the two phrases that fits the gap, so the choice is obvious.
15. violently. ‘Verbal and physical aggression’ from the same sentence 2 is succinctly paraphrased with the adverb ‘violently’
16. 6 months. ‘Lasted’ before the gap implies that a time period is needed for the answer. The middle of paragraph 1 mentions a 6-month programme that they took part in.
17. parents. Parental reports of reduced violent behaviour get a mention at the end of the first paragraph.
18. number of hours. Paragraph 2, sentence 3 says that the students were encouraged to ‘keep track’ of how much time they spend watching TV or playing video games.
19. avoided TV. ‘Ten days’ is the keyword that helps us choose the right phrase in the middle of paragraph 2
20. less TV. Last sentence in paragraph 2 says that students themselves ‘advocated’ (supported or found reasons to) reducing their screen time.
21. FALSE. The opposite is clearly stated at the beginning of paragraph 2. Note that to find this answer we have to go back in the text, which is quite rare for IELTS Readings tests.
22. TRUE. Now we go to the last sentence of paragraph 3 where it is stated that the murder rate in both Canada and the US doubled within 15 years of introducing television.
23. NOT GIVEN. The same last sentence from the third paragraph might tempt you into answering positively. However, since there is no direct comparison with other countries, we can neither confirm nor refute the statement.
24. NOT GIVEN. No information in the text is given regarding when TV appeared in South Africa. There is some data on the increase of violence, implying that it might be caused by exposure to TV. Remember that you should not infer information in IELTS Reading (analyse and make assumptions). Instead, you should only be using the factual data presented in the text.
25. D. Second part of the last paragraph mentions how too much TV can take up our time that we could otherwise use to learn the important social skills of patience and interaction with others.
Answer A doesn’t work—children and adults alike get increasingly aggressive because of the TV. ‘B’ is wrong; the middle of the last paragraph says that TV in general leads to increased violent behaviour. ‘C’ should be chosen; no direct comparison between academic performance and TV time is made.
26. B. The very last sentence of the paragraph has the answer and the suggested course of action. Answer ‘A’ doesn’t work – the only mention of violence being funny is in relation to the image that TV creates; people might think that violence is ‘funny’ (last paragraph). Nothing related to answers ‘C’ or ‘D’ is mentioned.
27. III – Declining Fish Populations. The section starts off with calling orcas ‘opportunistic feeders’, which sets the tone here. Later a number of fish species is mentioned that are currently endangered both because they are consumed by orcas and due to habitat loss. Heading ‘I – Top Ocean Predators’ is unsuitable as the focus is on alarming rate of population decline among the various fish species rather than orcas being good at hunting them.
28. II – Toxic Exposure. The focal idea is the spread of toxicity and how orcas are not safe from that despite being apex predators. Once again, you might be tempted to use ‘I – Top Ocean Predators’ because they mention ‘top predator’ and ‘top of the food chain’, this is far from the main idea of this segment.
29. VII – Impact of Boat Traffic. Three major negative factors of boating in the region are mentioned here and how they affect marine life. Heading IV does not even look like a heading; I think it was added as a joke by the examiners.
30. V – Underwater Noise. Another straightforward choice where the paragraph starts with words like ‘acoustic’ and ‘noise’, then focuses on the negative aspects of excessive noise underwater made by boats. Heading VII shouldn’t be chosen as the paragraph does not have boats as its focus, but rather the noise that they generate. Heading IV is bad again, despite having the word ‘noise’ in it.
31. B. Sentence two in the first paragraph specifies that 90% of their diet consists of salmon, later naming the particular type of it.
32. A. ‘Habitat loss’ is named as the reason for many variations of salmon dying out. A habitat is a natural place where a living thing chooses to live because of favourable conditions.
33. on bottomfish. This question is very tricky. ‘To feed someone’ means to provide somebody with food. However, ‘to feed on someone or something’ means to use it (or them) as food. The text obviously gives no examples of orcas giving food to anybody, to we need the second option. This is why the usage of preposition is so important.
34. smaller. The middle of paragraph 2 talks about the decreased size of rockfish. The task suggests a direct comparison with the species examples from the past, namely, from 1950.
35. pollution. The middle of paragraph B (paragraph 3) mentions that human and industrial refuse (waste) poses great risks to orca populations because they are at the top of the food chain and eat the fish that has been previously affected by the toxic waste.
36. popular. Because of their popularity, orcas can be a way to highlight the problem of pollution, habitat loss and extinction (last sentence of paragraph 3).
37. numerous boats/vessels. San Juan Islands are capitalised and therefore easy to find in the text (beginning of paragraph 4). It is important to include ‘numerous’ as the word limit allows you to use up to three words.
38. quiet. The sentence structure in the task suggests that we should be using an adjective or a passive form of a verb. Thanks to the cause and effect structure of the task table, it is easy to figure out what makes orcas hit the kayaks when they come to the surface.
39. exhaust fumes. Paragraph 4 of section C has the answer. Once again, both words should be used to get a point for this question.
40. communicating. The last paragraph focuses on the importance of a quiet underwater environment for orcas to communicate with each other over both short and long distances.
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.
Escalating (adj) – going higher. Normally used to talk about something negative. Escalating inflation makes many people reconsider their spending.
Tuition (n) – formal education. The tuition we received at college proved to be invaluable; however, lack of practical experience made the first year of work more challenging.
Make ends meet – to struggle financially, to have a difficult time managing your limited money. Trying to make ends meet as a student with a part-time job can be too much for some people.
Burden (n) – something that slows you down or gives you additional responsibility that you do not want to take on. Sarah’s burden of raising two kids on her own was made much easier when her parents moved to her town.
Notion (n) – an idea, an opinion. The notion of spending two more years at university wasn’t something that would make me happy.
Warrant (v) – to make something seem needed or reasonable. Having to go to work two times a week does not warrant getting a car.
Commitment (n) – something that you promise to do, especially something that will take a long time. Starting a family is too big of a commitment for many young people nowadays.
Sizeable (adj) – considerable, noticeable.
Contention (n) – an opinion or an idea that is used as a point in an argument. The contention that animal rights in some cases should be put before human rights because animals can’t voice their opinion is a serious one.
Disparity (n) – a noticeable difference in something, such as income or well-being.
Offspring (n) – (here) children. Usually used ironically or humorously. Don’t worry, your offspring are well-cared for here.
Prejudice (n) – an idea or belief someone has that is not based on practical experience or knowledge. Usually used negatively.
Reliance (n) – dependence on something. My reliance on my parents when it comes to money is shameful, but right now I can’t do much since I have to study and no free time at all to find a job.
Outweigh (v) – used figuratively here, it means to be more significant than something else. The advantages of living on your own in your late teens outweigh the disadvantages because you gain independence and learn how to be self-sufficient.
Cut back on (phr v) – to have less of something, especially something that is bad for you. I’m cutting back on sugar right now because they say it’s bad for your body and teeth.
Peer (n) – a person of the same age group as you. It is common for teens to find friends among both their peers and older people.
Solidify (v) – figuratively used here, it means to make an argument or an idea more persuasive.
Intervention (n) – (here) an act of stopping a person from engaging in a behaviour that is bad for them, such as substance abuse.
Keep track of something (phr v) – to follow how much of something you do, e.g. to keep track of your expenses or academic performance.
Allowance (n) – an artificial limitation on something, such as pocket money, time allowed for a certain activity, and so on. My parents give me $10 of allowance a week that I am free to spend on food or magazines.
Advocate (v) – if you advocate doing something, you support and encourage it. Only a fool would advocate smoking, stating that it calms you down or makes you look cool.
Predictor (n) – something that helps you understand that something else might happen in the future. I failed to see that Layton’s disregard for his work duties was a predictor of his quitting the job.
Level off (phr v) – in statistics, when something levels off, it stops increasing or decreasing.
Imply (v) – to say or indicate indirectly. This generous offer from the company implied that they saw me as a valuable part of their team.
Inconsequential (adj) – unimportant.
Rob of something (v) – to take something away from somebody. Starting a family in your late teens robbed you of many of the joys of youth but also helped you mature way faster than your peers.
Inhibit (v) – prevent something from developing. Alcohol consumption might inhibit physical and mental development, especially among younger people.
Resort to (v) – if you resort to doing something, you do this because you have no other option, often unwillingly. I didn’t want to resort to moving back in with my parents, but I had no other realistic plan.
Opportunistic (adj) – used negatively, this means that a person (or a whale here) is ready to take advantage of any situation, even if it puts others at a disadvantage. The job of an investor is very opportunistic by nature because, ultimately, they win only if somebody else loses.
Extinct (adj) – if a species goes extinct, it means they completely die out and disappear forever.
Sustain (v) – (here) to support, to provide enough to ensure the continued existence of something. I had to sell my car to sustain the family business during the economic recession.
Tagged (adj) – (here) used to talk about an animal that has been marked. This is done to track their actions, such as migration and habits, and for other purposes.
Recreational catch – a fish that is caught by a fisherman for fun and personal consumption rather than for sale. Used primarily to highlight the low scale of impact such activity has.
Marine (adj) – relating to the sea. Marine life is much more varied than that found on land.
Stranded (adj) – stuck somewhere without a way to escape or get out. We were stranded on a dead-end road; our car broke down, and there was no mobile reception.
Vicinity (n) – the surrounding area. There are at least three popular pubs in the vicinity of our university; this does not help students’ academic performance, but it does facilitate networking.
Idling (adj) – (about engine) working but not used, e.g. when a car sits in traffic.
Cumulative (adj) – combined, taken together. The cumulative financial damage to the company is still unknown, but it is unlikely to recover.
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