Cambridge IELTS 15 Reading Test 1 Answers

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Passage 1: Nutmeg – a valuable spice

Questions 1- 4: Complete the notes below.
Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.Write your answer in boxes 1-8 on your answer sheet.

1. Answer: oval

Key words: leaves, shape

Using the scanning skill, we can see that the first paragraph describes the characteristics of the tree in detail, including the leaves, so we would pay attention to this paragraph. It can be seen in the 2nd sentence: “The tree is thickly branched with […], dark green oval leaves, […]” referring first to the colour, and then to the shape, stating that the leaves are oval. Therefore, “oval” is the answer.

2. Answer: husk

Key words: surrounds, fruit, open, ripe

Similarly, fruit is another feature of the tree, so we would still look into in paragraph 1. There are two sentences mentioning fruit: “The fruit is encased in a fleshy husk. When the fruit is ripe, this husk splits into two halves along a ridge running the length of the fruit.” To be “encased” in something” is to be covered completely by something, so it can be understood the other way around that a “fleshy husk” surrounds the fruit. Moreover, “splitting into two halves” is a simple image of “breaking open”, so it is once again confirmed that “husk” is the answer.

to surround = to encase

to break = to split

Answer: husk

3. Answer: seed

Key words: produce, spice nutmeg

Although the nutmeg is mentioned in both paragraph 1 and 2, butparagraph 2 is focused on the historical application of the nutmeg, not theorigin different parts of the plant, so we would once again pay attention to paragraph 1. The spice nutmeg is brought up in the last sentence: “These are the sources of the two spices nutmeg and mace, the former being produced from the dried seed and the latter from the aril.” As “the former” refers to the subject that was mentioned first, which, in this case, is the “spices nutmeg”, it can be inferred that the spices nutmeg is produced from the dried seed, revealing the answer to be the “seed”.

 Answer: seed

4. Answer: mace

Key words: covering, aril, produce

In We find the answer to this question in the same last final sentence thatof paragraph 1 that we look into in found the answer to question 3. “The latter” refers to the subject spice that was mentioned later after nutmeg, which is the “mace”. The previous sentence explains the meaning of the word ‘aril’, which is the red covering surrounding the seed.  Note that the key word ‘covering’ is mentioned here. Therefore, it can be understood that the mace is produced from the aril, confirming that our answer is the“mace”.

 Answer: mace

Questions 5 – 7: Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

5. Answer: FALSE

Key words: Middle Ages, Europeans, knew, grown

Through scanning, we can see that the Middle Ages period is mentioned in paragraph 2, so we would look into this one. “Arabs were the exclusive importers of the spice to Europe”, so it can be understood that they are the only people getting having access to the source of the nutmeg. Moreover, “they never revealed the exact location of the source”, which means that no Europeans, other than the Arabs, know the source of the nutmeg, which is where it was grown. Therefore, this statement is false.

→ Answer: FALSE

6. Answer: NOT GIVEN

Key words: VOC, first, major trading

As the VOC was mentioned only in paragraph 4, this paragraph would be investigated. In this statement, the word “first” refers to the idea that there was no major trading company before the VOC. However, there was no sentence mentioning this; the only sentence emphasizing the position ofdescribing the VOC is that it is was the “richest commercial operation in the world”. not “the first”.  We do not know if it was the first trading company, only that it was rich. Therefore, it is not given to confirm whether this statement is true or false. we have no information to confirm if the statement is true or false.

trading company = commercial operation

→ Answer: NOT GIVEN

7. Answer: TRUE

Key words: following, Treaty of Breda, Dutch, control, all, where nutmeg grew

By using the scanning technique, we can see that the Treaty of Breda is brought up referred to in paragraph 5, which mentions how the Dutch and British arrived at the settlement and what happened afterwards. The paragraph shows that the Dutch managed to be “securely in control of the Bandas”, where all nutmeg production was concentrated into easily guarded areas, and “there was no chance a fertile seed which could be grown elsewhere would leave the islands”. which This means that the Banda Islands were the sole islands that where nutmeg grew in, and the Dutch is were fully in control of those, except for only the island of Run. However, through the Treaty of Breda, the ownership of this island of Run was also transferred to the Dutch. Therefore, after the Treaty of Breda, it is true that all the islands where nutmeg grew are  were under the control of the Dutch.

→ Answer: TRUE

Questions 8 -13: Complete the table below. Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 8-13 on your answer sheet.

8. Answer: arabs

Key words: Middle Ages, brought to, Europe

We would look into paragraph 2 where the Middle Ages period was brought up is mentioned. As mentioned, Here, it is stated that “throughout this period, the Arabs were the exclusive importers of the spice to Europe”, which means that the Arabs were the only people that brought nutmeg to Europe in the Middle Ages. Therefore, “Arabs” is the answer here.

→ Answer: Arabs

9. Answer: plague

Key words: 17th century, disease

The 17th century starts from 1600, so we would look into where this period was first mentioned – paragraph 4. In this paragraph, a disease that was called “the plague” was mentioned, which was doctors decided tocould be cured by nutmeg, making everyone want it at the time. Therefore, “plague” is the answer for question 9.

→ Answer: plague

10. Answer: lime

Key words: 17th century, Dutch, avoid, outside, obtained, British

The information on the Dutch protecting its monopoly position wasbrought up is given in paragraph 5. It mentions that “all exported nutmeg was covered with lime to make sure there was no chance a fertile seed which could be grown elsewhere would leave the islands”. It could then be understood that to avoid fertile seed being grown – or cultivated – outside the islands, the Dutch had used lime cover nutmeg, or in other words, put lime on nutmeg. Therefore, “lime” is the answer to question 10. Additionally,  was We can now find the answer to question 11. It is mentioned that although the Dutch was were in control of the Banda Islands, one of them islands – called Run – was under the control of the British. which was called Run. After the trade exchange offered by the Dutch, the British gave the island of Run to them. It can therefore be said that the Dutch finally obtained the island of Run from the British.

cultivated = grown

→ Answers: lime – Run

11. Answer: run

Key words: 17th century, Dutch, avoid, outside, obtained, British

The information on the Dutch protecting its monopoly position is given in paragraph 5. It mentions that “all exported nutmeg was covered with lime to make sure there was no chance a fertile seed which could be grown elsewhere would leave the islands”. It could then be understood that to avoid fertile seed being grown – or cultivated – outside the islands, the Dutch used lime to cover nutmeg, or in other words, put lime on nutmeg. Therefore, “lime” is the answer to question 10.  We can now find the answer to question 11. It is mentioned that although the Dutch were in control of the Banda Islands, one of the islands – called Run – was under the control of the British.  After the exchange offered by the Dutch, the British gave the island of Run to them. It can therefore be said that the Dutch finally obtained the island of Run from the British.

  • cultivated = grown

→ Answers: lime – Run

12. Answer: mauritius

Key words: 1770, secretly taken

As 1770 was is mentioned in paragraph 6, we would investigate this paragraph. It states that: “a Frenchman … smuggled nutmeg plants to safety in Mauritius”. “Smuggle” means to steal or to take something secretly, so this is the piece of information we are looking for. Therefore, Mauritius is our answer to question 12.

  • secretly taken = smuggle

→ Answer: Mauritius

13. Answer: tsunami

Key words: 1778, half, Banda Islands, destroyed

An event in 1778 was is mentioned in paragraph 6: “a volcanic eruption in the Banda region caused a tsunami that wiped out half the nutmeg groves”. “Wipe out” has the same meaning with as “destroy”, and it can be understood that the tsunami is was the direct cause of this event. Therefore, tsunami is the missing word here.

  • destroy = wipe out

→ Answer: tsunami

cambridge ielts 15 reading test 1 passage 1
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 1 passage 1

Passage 2: Driverless cars

Questions 14 -18: Reading Passage 2 has six paragraphs, A-G. Which paragraph contains the following information?

14. Answer: C

Key words: time, not in use

Paragraph C states that: “At present, the average car spends more than 90 percent of its life parked”. In this context, “parked” means that the car is turned off stationary and not in use, which means that the amount of time referenced referred to is 90% of the car’s life. Therefore, the answer is C.

→ Answer: C

15. Answer: B

Key words: advantages, individual road-users

While several paragraphs mention the advantages of driverless vehicles, most are about the effects on the large society as a whole, and only paragraph B mentions the pros for individual road-users. Specifically, the author shows how the technology could reduce road collisions involving human error and free the time people spend on driving. Therefore, the answer is B.

→ Answer: B

16. Answer: E

Key words: opportunity, appropriate vehicle, each trip

Paragraph E states that: “If […], drivers will have the freedom to select one that best suits their needs for a particular journey, […]”

  • best suit = appropriate
  • each trip = particular journey

The author then explains that consumers could see this happen by purchasing access to a range of vehicles, to suit their particular individual needs for exceptional journeys such as a family camping trip. through a mobility provider, which is an opportunity through changes in vehicle manufacture. Therefore, the answer is E.

→ Answer: E

17. Answer: G

Key words: how long, overcome, problems

The hurdles are mentioned in the last two paragraphs, where paragraph F brings up specific difficulties, and paragraph G shows the potentiality to overcome those problems. Paragraph G states that “It’s clear that there are many challenges that need to be addressed, but … these can most probably be conquered within the next 10 years.”

  • problems = challenges
  • overcome = conquer

It could then be inferred that 10 years is the estimate of how long it will take to overcome a number of problems. Therefore, the answer is G.

→ Answer: G

18. Answer: D

Key words: no effect, number, vehicles manufactured

Paragraph D first begins with “… it might mean that we need to manufacture far fewer vehicles to meet demand.” However, in  However, the author states that although fewer cars might be used, they would be “…used more intensively, and might need replacing sooner.  At the end, it states is stated that: “This faster rate of turnover may mean that vehicle production will not necessarily decrease”. Therefore, it is suggested from this paragraph that the number of vehicles manufactured might not decrease as calculated in the beginning, meaning that the use of driverless cars may have no effect on this. Hence, the answer is D.

→ Answer: D

Questions 19 – 22: Complete the summary below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.

19. Answer: human error

Key words: Transport Research Laboratory, motor accidents, due to

Paragraph B states that: “…, research at the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory has demonstrated that more than 90 percent of road collisions involve human error as a contributory factor, and it is the primary cause in the vast majority”.

  • motor accidents = road collisions

It can then be inferred that most motor accidents are partly due to human error. Therefore, “human error” is the answer for question 19.

→ Answer: human error

20. Answer: car (-) sharing

Key words: schemes, workable

Benefits that are beyond direct ones, such as greater safety, are mentioned in paragraph C. It states that: “Automation means that initiatives for car-sharing become much more viable, …”

  • schemes = initiatives
  • workable = viable

It can therefore be understood that automation would make car-sharing more workable, suggesting “car-sharing” as the answer for this question.

→ Answer: car (-) sharing

21. Answer: ownership

Key words: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 43 percent drop, cars

This piece of information is specifically mentioned in paragraph D: “Modelling work by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute suggests automated vehicles might reduce vehicle ownership by 43 percent, …”

  • drop = reduce
  • cars = vehicles

Thus, the answer here is “vehicle ownership”.

→ Answer: ownership

22. Answer: mileage

Key words: yearly, twice as high

In the same sentence mentioned above in paragraph D, it is describedstated that “… vehicles’ average annual mileage would double as a result.” As “annual” is the same as “yearly”, the answer to question 22 is “mileage”.

  • yearly = annual
  • twice as high = double

→ Answer: mileage

Questions 23 – 24: Choose TWO letters, A – E. Write the correct letters in boxes 23 and 24 on your answer sheet.

Questions 23-24: C Travellers could spend journeys doing something other than driving., D People who find driving physically difficult could travel independently.

Key words: benefits

Cost savings and pollution are not mentioned anywhere in the passage, so A and E is are incorrect. Moreover, parking is only brought up in paragraph C, where the main idea is that the average car spends most of its life parked, so B is also incorrect.

In paragraph B, one of the advantages is described as “Another aim is to free the time people spend driving for other purposes”, meaning that instead of driving, travellers could spend the time on something else. Thus, C is correct.

In the same paragraph, people who find driving physically difficult, who are mentioned to be referred to as “those who are challenged by existing mobility models”, are said to “be able to enjoy significantly greater travel autonomy”. As autonomy can be understood as independence, D is correct.

  • travel independently = travel autonomy

→ Answers: C & D

Questions 25 – 26: Choose TWO letters, A – E. Write the correct letters in boxes 25 and 26 on your answer sheet.

Questions 25-26: A making sure the general public has confidence in automated vehicles , E getting automated vehicles to adapt to various different driving conditions

  • Key words: challenges

The hurdles are easily found in paragraph F.

As the pace of transition, professional drivers compensation and infrastructure are not mentioned anywhere, B, C and D are incorrect.

It is stated that In paragraph F, the text refers to “… the societal changes that may be required for communities to trust and accept automated vehicles …” In this context, “communities” can be understood as the “general public”, and “trust and accept” is the same as “have confidence”. Therefore, making sure that the general public has confidence in automated vehicles is one of the challenges that automated vehicle development meets, so A is correct.

Paragraph F also tells that there are: “… technical difficulties in ensuring that the vehicle works reliably in the infinite range of traffic, weather and road situations it might encounter.” As “infinite” can also be expressed as “various”, and “range of traffic, weather and road situations” is also “different driving conditions”, this sentence expresses the same idea as E. Thus, E is correct.

general public = communities

have confidence = trust and accept

various = infinite

  • Answers: A & E
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 1 passage 2
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 1 passage 2

Passage 3: What is exploration 

Questions 27 – 32: Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D. Write the correct letter in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet.

27. Answer: A exploration is an intrinsic element of being human.

  • Key words: New York, intrinsic, enthusiastic, surprising results, daunting

Visitors to New York were mentioned in the first paragraph as an example for the statement preceding it: “This questing nature of ours undoubtedly helped our species spread around the globe”, where “questing” is the same as “exploring” and “nature” refers to the “intrinsic element”. This example then illustrates how exploring, as an intrinsic element of human nature or behaviour, helps a visitor find directions in subways of a strange city like New York. Therefore, A is the answer.

exploring = questing

intrinsic element = nature

  • Answer: A

28. Answer: C They act on an urge that is common to everyone.

  • Key words: second paragraph, benefits and disadvantages, teaching, common, certain professions

Paragraph 2 starts by stating people’s assumption that explorers are odd (peculiar = odd/strange), and that there is a type of person more suited for exploring, so we might be inclined to choose answer D. However, eventually, the author counters that idea by asserting that “we all have this enquiring instinct”. “Instinct” here can be understood as “urge”, and the fact that “we all have” means that it is “common to everyone”. It can then be inferred that the exploring urge, in other words the desire to explore, is common to everyone, so the answer is C.

urge = instinct

  • Answer: C

29. Answer: C Hardy’s aim was to investigate people’s emotional states.

  • Key words: Egdon Heath, experience, mistaken, emotional states, attraction of isolation

In paragraph 3, it is stated that the Egdon Heath landscape was used to “suggest the desires and fears of his Thomas Hardy’s characters.” Hereby The words “desires and fears” can be generally called “emotional states”. In other words, the description of Egdon Heath is used to show the emotional states of his characters, which who are later referred to as “humanity”, understood as “people”. Therefore, we could infer that the answer is C.

people = humanity

  • Answer: C

30. Answer: D we are wrong to think that exploration is no longer necessary.

  • Key words: fourth paragraph, golden age, useful information, decreased, fewer, interested, less exciting, wrong, no longer necessary

Paragraph 4 begins by stating that: “the word ‘explorer’ has become associated with a past era”, which expresses the idea that exploring is perceived to be important only in the past but not the present. This ‘golden age’ is widely considered to be the 19th century, but now exploration has declined.  Following are multiple The following “as if” statement s to show a sense of disagreement shows that the writer disagrees with this idea. Moreover, the The author continues with the number that shows argues that we have only studied 5% of the species we know, which conveys that there is still a huge space area of knowledge to explore, implying a counter argument against the idea that exploring is no longer necessary at present. Therefore, D is the answer.

  • Answer: D

31. Answer: A people tend to relate exploration to their own professional interests

  • Key words: definition, own professional interested, misunderstand, changed, historians and scientists, more value

The first sentence in paragraph 6 clearly states that: “Each definition is slightly different – and tends to reflect the field of endeavour of each pioneer.” Hereby, The word “definition” can be understood as how each person relates to the subject mentioned meaning of the word ‘exploration’, and “field of endeavour” is also “professional interest”. Therefore, it can be understood as the idea that each person would relate exploration to his own professional interests. As a result, A is the answer.

interest = endeavour

  • Answer: A

32. Answer: B the human ability to cast new light on places that may be familiar.

  • Key words:  last paragraph, personality, choice of places, human ability new light, travel writing, evolve, changing demands feelings

In the last paragraph, the author states what interests him in the last sentence: “how a fresh interpretation, even of a well-travelled route, can give its readers new insights.” “Giving new insight” or a “fresh interpretation” could here be understood as the act of “casting new light” on something, and being “well-travelled” means that the route is seen as “familiar”. Thus, it might be inferred that the author is interested in how new light could be cast on places that are familiar, so the answer is B.

cast new light on = give new insight

  • Answer: B

Questions 33 – 37: Look at the following statements (Questions 33-37) and the list of explorers below.Match each statement with the correct explorer, A-E

33. Answer: E

  • Key words: form of transport

The types of transport are brought up in paragraph 5 in the sayingstatement: “If I’d gone across by camel when I could have gone by car, it would have been a stunt”, where “camel” and “car” are the different forms of transport used. This is said by Wilfred Thesiger, so E is the answer.

  • Answer: E

34. Answer: A

  • Key words: feeling, coming back home

Back to paragraph 3, Peter Fleming “talks of the moment when the explorer returns to the existence he has left behind with his loved ones”. In this context, “the existence he has left behind” shall be understood as the “home” he has left for in order to undertake the journey, and “talking of the moment” might refer to the act of “describing feelings”. Therefore, it can be inferred that Peter Fleming described feelings on coming back home after a long journey, so the answer is A.

  • Answer: A

35. Answer: D

  • Key words: benefit, specific groups of people

In paragraph 5, specific groups of people were brought up referred to as “‘tribal’ people”, of for whom Robin Hanbury-Tenison worked on behalf as a campaigner. In other words, Robin Hanbury-Tenison was said to work for the benefit of specific groups of people, so D is the answer here.

  • Answer: D

36. Answer: E

  • Key words: not essential, learning about oneself  essential

The last sentence in paragraph 5 states that to Wilfred Thesiger, “exploration meant … regardless of any great self-discovery.” The word “regardless” here shows that “self-discovery”- which could be understood as “learning about oneself” – is not an essential part of exploration. Therefore, the statement in this question is the idea of Wilfred Thesiger, suggesting E as the answer.

learning about oneself = self-discovery

  • Answer: E

37. Answer: B

  • Key words: unique, of value

The first explorer mentioned in paragraph 5, Ran Fiennes, said that “An explorer is someone who has done something that no human has done before – and also done something scientifically useful”; there are two phrases we could look into here. “Something that no human has done before” is the description of something that is “unique”, and “something scientifically useful” is something “of value”. Therefore, Ran Fiennes is the one that has the definition of exploration as described in the statement, suggesting that B is the answer.

  • Answer: B

Questions 38 – 40: Complete the summary below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.

38. Answer: (unique) expeditions

  • Key words: large number, first stranger, encountered

The author states that: “I’ve done a great many expeditions and each one was unique”. As “a great many” is the same as “a large number of”, the noun that we would fill in the first gap (38) should be “expeditions”. Moreover, the described adjective “unique” used in the passage could also be added, making our full answer “(unique) expeditions”.

Moreover, the writer had also “lived for months alone with isolated groups of people all around the world, even two ‘uncontacted tribes’”. As “uncontacted tribes” refers to those who might have never encountered any person outside theirs own isolated group, the writer could have been the first one to make contact with them, so the answer shall be is either “uncontacted” (to be specific) or “isolated” in general.

a large number = a great many

  • Answer: (unique) expeditions

39. Answer: uncontacted / isolated

  • Key words: large number, first stranger, encountered

The author states that: “I’ve done a great many expeditions and each one was unique”. As “a great many” is the same as “a large number of”, the noun that we would fill in the first gap (38) should be “expeditions”. Moreover, the described adjective “unique” used in the passage could also be added, making our full answer “(unique) expeditions”.

Moreover, the writer had also “lived for months alone with isolated groups of people all around the world, even two ‘uncontacted tribes’”. As “uncontacted tribes” refers to those who might have never encountered any person outside theirs own isolated group, the writer could have been the first one to make contact with them, so the answer shall be is either “uncontacted” (to be specific) or “isolated” in general.

a large number = a great many

  • Answer: uncontacted/isolated

40. Answer: (land) surface

  • Key words: no need, further exploration

The writer first says that “the time has long passed for the great continental voyages”, and the reason is that “we know how the land surface of our planet lies; exploration of it is now down to the details”, and that “it’s the era of specialists”. It could therefore be inferred that the author believes there is no need for further exploration of the “land surface”, as the mechanism it is now known and there are more specialists to explore the details of it. Thus, “land surface” shall be is the answer for question 40.

  • Answer: (land) surface
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 1 passage 3
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 1 passage 3

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IELTS 15 Academic Student’s Book with Answers with Audio with Resource Bank

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