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Passage 1: The secret of staying young

Questions 1-8: Complete the notes below.

1. Answer: four / 4

– Key words: focused age groups, ants
– In paragraph 3, it is stated that “Giraldo focused on ants at four age ranges”,
so the answer must be “four/4”.

2. Answer: young

– Key words: how well, ants, looked after
– The first sentence of paragraph 4 states that “Giraldo watched how well the ants took care of the young of the colony”
– Look after = take care of

3. Answer: food

– Key words: ability, locate, scent trail
– In the second sentence of paragraph 4, the author mentions how ants “followed the telltale scent that the insects usually leave to mark a trail to food”. This means that she studied ants‟ ability to locate food using a scent trail.

4. Answer: light


  • Key words: effect
  • In the same paragraph, we are told that “she tested how ants responded tolight”, meaning that she tested the effect of “light” on ants

5. Answer: aggresively

– Key words: attacked, prey
– Still in paragraph 4, Giraldo compared the way old and young ants attacked their prey and found that the old ones attacked “just as aggressively” as the young ones did. In other words, she studied how aggressively they attacked the prey.

6. Answer: location

– Key words: comparison, age, dying, cells, brains
– In paragraph 5, we know that Giraldo didn‟t find any major difference in age and the location of dying brain cells between 20-day-old and 95-day-old ants. This suggests that she compared between the age and location of dying cells.

7. Answer: neurons

– Key words: synaptic, complexes, brain‟s, mushroom bodies
– In paragraph 5, it is stated that synaptic complexes are “regions where
neurons come together”

8. Answer: chemicals

– Key words: two, brain, associated, ageing
– Still in paragraph 5, we are told that Giraldo studied the level of serotonin and dopamine, which are two “brain chemicals whose decline often coincides with aging”. This implies that they are associated with aging. Thus, the answer is “chemicals”.

Questions 9-13: Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

9. Answer: FALSE

– Key words: Pheidole dentata remain, active, whole, life
– In paragraph 2, the author mentions naked mole rats as an age-defying
animal: they stay fit for nearly their entire lives and they can reproduce even when old. It can be said that they remain active for almost their whole life. Thus, Pheidole dentata ants are not the only animal with this feature.

10. Answer: TRUE

– Key words: Ysabel Giraldo, first, Pheidole dentata precise, data, age
– It is stated in paragraph 3: “Unlike all previous studies, which only estimated how old the ants were…she knew their exact ages”. This means that she was the first person to use the ants‟ exact ages in her studies.

11. Answer: FALSE

– Key words: ants, Giraldo‟s experiments, behaved, predicted
– It is stated in paragraph 4 that “Giraldo expected the older ants to perform
poorly…but the elderly ants were all good caretakers and trail-followers”. This implies that the elderly ants behaved differently from what she expected (predicted). She thought that they would perform badly, but they performed well.

12. Answer: NOT GIVEN

– Key words: recent, studies, bees, different, methods, measuring, age-related decline
– With regard to recent studies of bees, the author only mentions in paragraph 6 that the results about age-related decline were mixed: some showed it while some didn‟t. However, there is nothing said about the methods used, So this statement is NOT GIVEN.

13. Answer: TRUE

– Key words: Pheidole dentata laboratory, live, longer
– The first sentence of paragraph 3 reveals that in the lab, Pheidole dentata
ants typically live for around 140 days. Later, in paragraph 7, it is said that
“out in the wild, the ants probably don‟t live for a full 140 days”. This clearly means that the ants tend to live longer in laboratory conditions.
– The statement is therefore TRUE.

cambridge ielts 14 reading - test 4 - passage 1
cambridge ielts 14 reading – test 4 – passage 1

Passage 2: Why zoos are good

Questions 14-17: Reading Passage 2 has six paragraphs, A-F.

14. Answer: B

– Key words: quickly, animal, species, die out
– It is mentioned in paragraph B that “some of these collapses have been
sudden, dramatic and unexpected”, with “these collapses” referring to the
extinction of animals. The word “sudden” is a synonym for quickly, so the
sentence suggests that some animals may become extinct, or die out, quickly.

15. Answer: E

– Key words: preferable, study, animals, captivity, wild
– The term „animals in captivity‟ is another way of saying „animals in zoos‟. The role of zoos in animal research is mentioned in paragraph E: “Being able to undertake research on animals in zoos where there is less risk and fewer variables means real changes can be effected on wild populations”. So, zoos have many advantages for studying how animals live, act and react. Thus, – The answer is paragraph E.

16. Answer: C

– Key words: two, ways, learning, animals, other than, zoos
– Several ways of learning about animals are mentioned in paragraph C: zoos, television documentaries, and museums. Thus, this paragraph shows two ways of learning about animals other than visiting them in zoos.

17. Answer: A

– Key words: animals, zoos, healthier, wild
– The first sentence of the passage is: “it is perfectly possible for many species of animals living in zoos or wildlife parks to have a quality of life as high as, or higher than, in the wild”. Higher quality of life implies that zoo animals may be healthier than those in the wild. The author then goes on to discuss various reasons why zoos are healthy places for animals, including a good diet, treatment of illnesses and a safe environment from predators.

Questions 18-22: Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2?

18. Answer: TRUE

– Key words: animal, live, longer, zoo
– As we know from question 17, the comparison between animals living in zoos and in the wild is in paragraph A. “The average captive animal will have a greater life expectancy compared with its wild counterpart”. The captive animal refers to animals in zoos. Its wild counterpart refers to animals of the same species in the wild.

19. Answer: TRUE

– Key words: species, zoos, no longer, found, wild
– It is stated in paragraph B that “A good number of species only exist in
captivity”, implying that these species cannot be found in the wild.
– The statement is TRUE.

20. Answer: NOT GIVEN

– Key words: improvements, TV, wildlife, documentaries, increased, numbers, zoo visitors
– With regard to TV documentaries, the author only mentions (in paragraph C) that “television documentaries are becoming ever more detailed and
impressive” but there is no relation between this and zoo visitor numbers.
– This information is NOT GIVEN.

21. Answer: FALSE

– Key words: zoos, excelled, information, animals, public
– Paragraph D states that zoos can “communicate information to visitors about the animals they are seeing and their place in the world”. In other words, zoos can transmit information about animals to the public. It is mentioned, however, that “this was an area where zoos used to be lacking”, implying that zoos were not good at this in the past.
– The statement is therefore FALSE.

22. Answer: NOT GIVEN

– Key words: studying, animals, zoos, less, stressful, the wild
– In comparison with studying animals in the wild, studying them in zoos is less risky and involves fewer variables. We only know that there is less risk for both the animals and the scientists themselves, but we do not know if
studying animals in zoos is less stressful. There is no information regarding

Questions 23-24: Choose TWO letters, A-E.

23-24. Answer: B. Some travel to overseas locations to join teams in zoos., D. Some teach people who are involved with conservation projects

– Key words: two, stated, zoo staff
– It is stated in paragraph D that:
– “Many zoos also work directly to educate conservation workers in other
countries” -> zoo staff can teach conservation workers, or people involved
with conservation projects. So D is correct

Teach = educate
– “..or send their animal keepers abroad to contribute their knowledge and skills to those working in zoos and reserves”. This means that some animal keepers (a type of zoo staff) travel to overseas to help other zoo staff.
– So B is correct

Questions 25-26: Choose TWO letters, A-E.

25-26. Answer: B. They can increase public awareness of environmental issues., E. They can raise animals which can later be released into the wild.

– Key words: two, beliefs, zoos
– In paragraph B, it is stated that some animals have been reintroduced into the wild from zoos, or that wild populations have been increased by the
introduction of captive bred animals. The term „reintroduce‟ means that
animals will be raised in zoos before being released into the wild.
– So E is correct.

– Public = general population
– Awareness = conscious
– Thus, the sentence can be paraphrased into: zoos can increase public
awareness of environmental issues.
– B is correct.

cambridge ielts 14 reading - test 4 - passage 2
cambridge ielts 14 reading – test 4 – passage 2

Passage 3: ielts 14 reading test 4 passage 3

Questions 27-33: Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3?

27. Answer: FALSE

– Key words: Rochman, colleagues, first, research, marine, debris
– Paragraph 2 mentions that “plenty of studies have sounded alarm bells about the state of marine debris” and that “Rochman and her colleagues set out to determine how many of those perceived risks are real”. This implies that there has been other research on marine debris before Rochman and her colleagues, and they want to examine these previous studies.
– Thus, the statement is FALSE.

28. Answer: NOT GIVEN

– Key words: creatures, danger, ocean, trash, seabirds
– Paragraph 3 only mentions that “certain seabirds eat plastic bags” but we do not find any information about them being the most in danger. Scientists have only „speculated‟ about wider effects: „There wasn‟t a lot of information‟.
– Thus it is NOT GIVEN.

29. Answer: FALSE

– Key words: studies, Rochman, reviewed, proved, some birds, extinct
– Rochman gave an imaginary example in paragraph 3 of a study which might show certain birds eating plastic, and then warn that those birds are “at risk of dying out”. But this, as well as many other perceived threats, had not yet been tested, according to Rochman. In other words, there is no proof that the birds will soon become extinct.
– The statement is therefore FALSE.

30. Answer: TRUE

– Key words: Rochman, analysed, papers, danger, ocean trash
– Paragraph 4 states that “Rochman and her colleagues examined more than a hundred papers on the impacts of marine debris” and found 366 perceived threats. It can be understood that these papers focused on various kinds of danger (threat) caused by ocean trash (marine debris).

31. Answer: FALSE

– Key words: most, research, analysed, Rochman, badly, designed
– In paragraph 5, the author states that “In 83 percent of cases, the perceived dangers of ocean trash were proven true”. So, there is obviously no reason to think that this research was badly designed if the findings were proven true, “In the remaining cases, the working group found the studies had weaknesses in design”. Therefore, only 17 percent of the cases analysed were badly designed. So, most of the cases were well designed.
– The statement is FALSE.

32. Answer: TRUE

– Key words: one, study, expecting, mussels, harmed, eating, plastic
– The information about mussels (a type of shellfish) can be found in paragraph 6 The study examined mussels that eat plastic, “but it didn‟t seem to stress out the shellfish”. This means that the plastic didn‟t seem to have any harmful effect on the mussels. Rochman said this study “failed to find the effect it was looking for”, so clearly it was looking for some effect of the plastic on the mussels.

33. Answer: NOT GIVEN

– Key words: some, mussels, choose, eat, plastic, preference, natural, diet
– Paragraph 7 only states that the “mussels may be fine eating trash”. It does not mean they prefer trash to their natural diet.
– The statement is NOT GIVEN.

Questions 34-39: Complete the notes below.

34. Answer: large

– Key words: bits, debris, harmful, animals
– Rochman found (paragraph 8) that “most of the dangers also involved large pieces of debris” that can cause severe injuries to animals.
– So the answer is “large”.

35. Answer: microplastic

– Key words: little, research, synthetic fibres
– Paragraph 9 mentions that “Rochman‟s group found little research on the
effects of these tiny bits”, with “tiny bits” referring to microplastic.
– So the answer is “microplastic”.

36. Answer: populations

– Key words: most, focused individual, not, entire
– The remaining questions refer to the drawbacks of the studies. According to paragraph 10: “Many studies have looked at how plastic affects an individual animal…rather than the whole populations”.

37. Answer: concentrations

– Key words: plastic, lab, not, reflect, ocean
– It is mentioned in paragraph 10 that “in the lab, scientists often use higher
concentrations of plastic than what‟s really in the ocean”. This means that the concentrations of plastic used in the lab was different from, and thus did not always correctly reflect, those in the ocean.

38. Answer: predators

– Key words: impact, reduction, numbers, species
– Rochman said in paragraph 10 that no one can tell us “how deaths in one
species could affect that animal‟s predators”. Deaths in one species can be
understood as a reduction in numbers of that species.
– Impact = effect (affect)
– Thus, there is insufficient information on how a reduction in numbers of a species can impact on their predators. The blank should be filled with

39. Answer: disasters

– Key words: more, information, needed, impact, future, oil
– According to Rochman in paragraph11, we need to ask more “ecologically
relevant questions”, such as how disasters will affect the environment before they actually happen. This means that more information related to disasters is needed. She also mentioned an oil spill as an example of the impact of future disasters which we need to know more about, by asking the right questions earlier. Hence,
– The answer is “disasters”.

Questions 40: Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D

40. Answer: A. Assessing the threat of marine debris

– The passage does not focus on who is to blame for marine debris, nor does it focus on any new solutions or international action, which are only briefly
referred to in paragraph 12. In the final paragraph, Rochman refers to the
importance of “clearing up…misconceptions” in order to know how serious the threat of marine debris really is. Therefore, it is important to interrogate “the existing scientific literature” to help ecologists to figure out “which problems really need addressing”.
– The entire passage concerns Rochman and her study on other prior research on marine debris. She assessed these studies to answer the question of whether the situation is as bad as they suggested. In other words, Rochman assessed the threat of marine debris mentioned by other researchers.
– A is the correct answer.
– Assess = figure out

cambridge ielts 14 reading - test 4 - passage 3
cambridge ielts 14 reading – test 4 – passage 3

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