Cambridge IELTS 15 Reading Test 2 Answers

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Passage 1: Could urban engineers learn from dance ? 

Questions 1- 6: Reading Passage 1 has seven paragraphs, A-G.

1. Answer: B

Key words: way of using dance, not proposing

By using the skimming and scanning technique, we would find that before going into details about how engineers can learn from dance, the author first briefly mentions ways of using dance in paragraph B.  The writer says: “That is not to suggest everyone should dance their way to work, …” to state his point that instead, we could learn from “the techniques used by choreographers”. Although dancing your way to work might be appealing, because it might make us “healthy and happy”, this is not the writer’s suggestion. Therefore, B is the answer.

Answer: B

2. Answer: C

Key words: contrast, past and present, building

In the passage, we should look for keywords that refer to the “past and present”, which are the time milestones of building approaches. These are found in paragraph C, where we find “medieval” and “now” in the same sentence; “medieval” describes those approaches of the “past”, and “now” refers to the “present”. Therefore, while builders in the past carried out construction through intimate knowledge and personal experience, building designers at present rely on media technologies, unfortunately detaching themselves from physical and social realities. Thus, C is the answer for this question.

past = medieval

present = now

Answer: C

3. Answer: F

Key words: objective, both, dance and engineering

By scanning, we could find that dance and engineering are both mentioned in paragraph F, so we would look here. It was stated that: “Yet it shares with engineering the aim of designing patterns of movement within limitations of space”, where “it” refers to “choreography” in the preceding sentence, and “aim” has the same meaning as “objective”. Therefore, it could be understood that both dance and engineering have the objective of “designing patterns of movement within limitations of space”, suggesting F as the answer for this question.

objective = aim

Answer: F

4. Answer: D

Key words: unforeseen problem, ignoring, climate

We could start by scanning and skimming for keywords that suggest “climate”, which we find in paragraph D. It is stated that: “They failed to take into account that …. cafes could not operate in the hot sun without …”, where the “hot sun” could be understood as a reference to climate, and “failing to take into account” is the same as “ignoring”. Moreover, in the last sentence, the author refers to the case as an “unexpected result”, which could also be translated into an “unforeseen problem”. Therefore, D is the answer.

ignore = fail to take into account

unforeseen = unexpected

Answer: D

5. Answer: E

Key words: measures, intended, help people, reserved

Several measures of building models are referred to in paragraph E, so we would investigate this one. After mentioning an example of “designs that seem logical in models appear counter-intuitive in the actual experience”, the writer further explains that the measures not only “make it harder to cross the road”, but also “divide communities and decrease opportunities for healthy transport”, and those are the reason why many are being “removed”. As being “removed” has the same meaning as being “reversed”, it is understood that some measures intended to help people are being reversed because of the reasons already mentioned. Therefore, E is the answer.

be reversed = be removed

Answer: E

6. Answer: A

Key words: impact, human lives

The impact of transport is described in paragraph A. Specifically, it is stated that: “The ways we travel affect our physical and mental health, our social lives, our access to work and culture, and the air we breathe”. Thus, “the ways we travel” is understood as “transport”, “affect” is the same as “have an impact on” and “our physical and mental health, our social lives, our access to work and culture, and the air we breathe” basically describes “human lives”. As a result, paragraph A conveys the same message as the statement, so A is the answer.

have an impact = affect

Answer: A

Questions 7-13: Complete the summary below.

7. Answer: safety

Key words: Guard rails, improve, pedestrians, movement, not disrupted

In paragraph E, the guard rails are described as “an engineering solution to pedestrian safety …”; “pedestrian safety” could be rephrased as “the safety of pedestrians”. Therefore, “safety” is the answer for gap 7.

Moreover, the guard rails were based on models that “prioritise the smooth flow of traffic”, where the “smooth flow” could be understood as “movement” that is “not disrupted”, meaning that it also ensures the undisrupted movement of traffic. Thus, “traffic” should be filled in gap 8

movement = flow

Answer: safety – traffic.

8. Answer: traffic

Key words: Guard rails, improve, pedestrians, movement, not disrupted

In paragraph E, the guard rails are described as “an engineering solution to pedestrian safety …”; “pedestrian safety” could be rephrased as “the safety of pedestrians”. Therefore, “safety” is the answer for gap 7.

Moreover, the guard rails were based on models that “prioritise the smooth flow of traffic”, where the “smooth flow” could be understood as “movement” that is “not disrupted”, meaning that it also ensures the undisrupted movement of traffic. Thus, “traffic” should be filled in gap 8

movement = flow

Answer: safety – traffic.

9. Answer: carriageway

Key words: access points, one at a time

Paragraph E states that access points are used to divide the crossing into two, and there is one of these access points, “one for each carriageway”, in order to encourage pedestrians to slow down by crossing each one at a time. As a result, what pedestrians are encouraged to cross one” at a time”, here, is the carriageway. Therefore, “carriageway” is filled in the gap.

Answer: carriageway

10. Answer: mobile

Key words: unintended, psychological difficulties, less

The “psychological barriers” are mentioned in paragraph E as an effect of the guard rails, and they “greatly impact those that are the least mobile”, suggesting that  psychological difficulties are unintentionally created for less mobile people. Therefore, “mobile” is the answer here.

difficulties = barriers

Answer: mobile

11. Answer: dangerous

Key words: cross the road, way

The guard rails are also observed to “encourage others to make dangerous crossings”. As “making crossings” is the same as the act of “crossing”, “dangerous” is the adjective that describes this action of crossing the road. Thus, the blank should be filled with “dangerous”.

cross = make crossings

Answer: dangerous

12. Answer: communities

Key words: separate, difficult, introduce

The drawbacks of guard rails are mentioned near the end of paragraph E, showing that they “divide communities and decrease opportunities for healthy transport”. As “divide” has the same meaning as “separate”, the noun that should be filled in gap 12 is “communities”.  Moreover, to “decrease opportunities” could be understood as to “make it more difficult”, which means making it hard to introduce healthy forms of transport. Therefore, “healthy” should be filled in gap 13.

separate = divide

Answer: communities – healthy

13. Answer: healthy

Key words: separate, difficult, introduce

The drawbacks of guard rails are mentioned near the end of paragraph E, showing that they “divide communities and decrease opportunities for healthy transport”. As “divide” has the same meaning as “separate”, the noun that should be filled in gap 12 is “communities”.  Moreover, to “decrease opportunities” could be understood as to “make it more difficult”, which means making it hard to introduce healthy forms of transport. Therefore, “healthy” should be filled in gap 13.

separate = divide

Answer: communities – healthy

cambridge ielts 15 reading test 2 passage 1
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 2 passage 1

Passage 2: Should we try to bring extinct species back to life ? 

Questions 14 -17: Which paragraph contains the following information?

14. Answer: F

Key words: disappearance, avoided

While most paragraphs are about bringing back extinct species, only paragraph F mentions how extinction could be avoided in the first place. It is stated that it is “far easier to save an existing species which is merely threatened with extinction”, and this could be achieved specifically by making “genetic modifications which could prevent mass extinctions in the future”. In this sentence, “prevent” could be understood as “avoid”. In mass extinctions, many/multiple species disappear/become extinct. Therefore, paragraph F contains the message that matches this statement, so F is the answer.

  • avoid = prevent

→ Answer: F

15. Answer: A

Key words: explanation, reproducing, using DNA

By using the scanning and skimming technique, in paragraph A we could find the details of how DNA could be used to reproduce extinct animals. Specifically, it is stated that “the basic premise involves using cloning technology to turn the DNA of extinct animals into a fertilised embryo, which is carried by the nearest relative still in existence …”, meaning that this is an explanation of the mechanism of the technology. Therefore, A is the answer.

  • reproduce = clone

→ Answer: A

16. Answer: D

Key words: habitat, suffered, following the extinction

The purposes of bringing back extinct species are mentioned in paragraph D, where one of the reasons is to repair damage to ecosystems. Specifically, it is stated that “Since the disappearance of this key species (passenger pigeons), ecosystems in the eastern US have suffered….”, in which “ecosystems” refers to “habitat”. Therefore, D is the answer.

habitat = ecosystems

→ Answer: D

17. Answer: A

Key words: exact point, particular species, extinct

As the “exact point” might refer to an exact time or date, we could use the skimming and scanning technique and find in paragraph A the particular date for the extinction of the passenger pigeon, which “came to an end on 1 September 1914, when the last living specimen died…” As “come to an end” is the same as “become extinct”, it is confirmed that A is the answer.

  • become extinct = come to an end

→ Answer: A

Questions 18 – 22: Complete the summary below.

18. Answer: genetic traits

Key words: George Church, mammoths, tundra

In paragraph E, the team is focusing on reaching its goal by “pinpointing which genetic traits made it possible for mammoths to survive the icy climate of the tundra”.

  • identify = pinpoint
  • enable = make it possible
  • live = survive

Therefore, the subject that Professor George Church and his team are trying to identify ís the “genetic traits”, which should be filled in gap 18.

→ Answer: genetic traits

19. Answer: heat loss

Key words: Church, Asian elephants, physical adaptations, minimise

In the same paragraph, it is stated that in order to expand the range of Asian elephants to the tundra, there would be multiple necessary physical adaptations that are “all for the purpose of reducing heat loss in the tundra”.

  • minimise = reduce

Therefore, certain physical adaptations are aimed at minimising “heat loss”, which are the missing words in gap 19.

→ Answer: heat loss

20. Answer: ears

Key words: mammoth-like features

As mentioned earlier, multiple adaptations are necessary for the elephant to survive in the tundra, including “smaller ears, thicker hair, and extra insulation fat”, which are traits found in the woolly mammoth.

  • reduced size = smaller
  • more = extra

Therefore, the adaptations can be rewritten as “ears” of reduced size and more “insulation fat”. Thus, “ears” and “insulation fat” are respectively filled in gaps 20 and 21.

→ Answer: ears – (insulating) fat

21. Answer: (insulating) fat

Key words: mammoth-like features

As mentioned earlier, multiple adaptations are necessary for the elephant to survive in the tundra, including “smaller ears, thicker hair, and extra insulation fat”, which are traits found in the woolly mammoth.

  • reduced size = smaller
  • more = extra

Therefore, the adaptations can be rewritten as “ears” of reduced size and more “insulation fat”. Thus, “ears” and “insulation fat” are respectively filled in gaps 20 and 21.

→ Answer: ears – (insulating) fat

22. Answer: (carbon) emissions

Key words: repopulating, environment

In paragraph E, the repopulation of the tundra with large mammals (which refers to mammoths and Asian elephants) might encourage grass growth, which would “reduce temperatures, and mitigate emissions from melting permafrost”.

Thus, it means that repopulating the tundra could help decrease “emissions”, or specifically “carbon emissions” in the preceding sentence. Therefore, “(carbon) emissions” is the answer.

  • decrease = mitigate

→ Answer: (carbon) emissions

Questions 23 – 26: Look at the following statements (Questions 23-26) and the list of people below.

23. Answer: B

Key words: reproducing an extinct species, improve, particular species

Among multiple benefits from reintroducing an extinct species, one of them, which is improving the health of a particular species living in a certain area (the island of Tasmania) is mentioned in paragraph B. Specifically, Michael Archer refers to the example of how the reintroduction of the thylacine would have helped the Tasmanian devils avoid the threats from the facial tumour syndrome, which dangerously affects their health. Therefore, B is the answer here,

→ Answer: B

24. Answer: C

Key words: concentrate, causes

By skimming and scanning, we can find the emphasis on finding the causes of an animal’s extinction in paragraph F. Particularly, Beth Shapiro prefers to “fully understand why various species went extinct in the first place”, where “understand why” could be understood as “concentrate on the causes”. Therefore, C is the answer.

→ Answer: C

25. Answer: A

Key words: beneficial impact, vegetation

By looking for keywords that relate to “vegetation”, we could find the idea of this statement in paragraph D. Since the extinction of a species – the passenger pigeon – the forests where they used to live have become “stagnant”. Ben Novak explains how the return of the passenger pigeons to their forest habitat, with their nesting habits, would help “re-establish that forest disturbance, thereby creating a habitat necessary for a great many other native species to thrive”. As the “forest disturbance” conveys the same meaning as “impact on the vegetation”, it is once again confirmed that this statement is the idea of Ben Novak. Therefore, A is the answer.

  • brought back = return(ed)

→ Answer: A

26. Answer: C

Key words: efforts, preserving biodiversity, insufficient

“Preserving biodiversity” could be understood as preventing extinction in the first place, which is the idea of paragraph F, so we would look in this one. In this paragraph, Shapiro expresses how it is “far easier to try to save an existing species …”, and commented that “we know that what we are doing today is not enough” for this act of preserving biodiversity.

  • current = today
  • insufficient = not enough

Therefore, this is the statement of Beth Shapiro, so C is the answer.

→ Answer: C

cambridge ielts 15 reading test 2 passage 2
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 2 passage 2

Passage 3: Having a laugh

Questions 27 – 31: Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

27. Answer: C its value to scientific research

Keywords: first paragraph, language, human culture, scientific research, universality, animal societies

In paragraph 1, laughter is said to “provide psychological scientists with rich resources for studying human psychology”, which is an emphasis on its value. Although the relationship between laughter and the development of language is mentioned, this is only one part of its value to scientific research.  The main point is that as the “study of human psychology” is a part of “scientific research”, we could infer that the value of laughter to scientific research in general is emphasised in paragraph 1. Therefore, C is the answer.

→ Answer: C

28. Answer: A He understood the importance of enjoying humour in a group setting

Keywords: Charley Douglass, group setting, TV viewers, social spectrum, recording studio

Charley Douglass is mentioned in paragraph 2, so we would look in this one. It is stated that Douglass recorded “laugh tracks” with the intention to “help people at home feel like they were in a social situation such as a crowded theatre”. As such, it could be understood that he had realized that people would enjoy humour more in a “social situation”, or in other words, in a “group setting”. Therefore, A is the answer.

  • group setting = social situation

→ Answer: A

29. Answer: B the similar results produced by a wide range of cultures

Keywords:  Santa Cruz, different, cultures, academic disciplines, recorded

Santa Cruz is mentioned in paragraph 3, which describes a study made up of 30 people listening to the reaction to recorded laughter of people from 24 diverse societies, representing a wide range of cultures, “…from indigenous tribes in New Guinea to city-dwellers in India and Europe”. The result was that people’s guesses were correct about 60% of the time worldwide, meaning that the outcome was similar for diverse cultures that were involved in the study. Thus, B is the answer.

  • a wide range of cultures = diverse societies

→ Answer: B

30. Answer: B Participants exchanged roles.

Keywords: San Diego, upset, exchanged roles, friends, unable

A study from San Diego is described in paragraph 4. The words in the passage: “each student in the study” refers to the participants.  In the study, specifically, participants “took a turn at being teased by the others”. As the act of “taking a turn” means that participants “exchange roles” with each other, statement B shows how the study was conducted, so B is the answer.

→ Answer: B

31. Answer: D High-status individuals can always be identified by their way of laughing

Keywords: fifth paragraph, dominant laugh, submissive laughs, similar, identified

At the end of paragraph 5, it is stated that “high-status individuals were rated as high-status whether they produced their natural dominant laugh or tried to do a submissive one”. It can then be understood that, with whatever their way of laughing, the high-status individuals were always identified. As a result, D is the answer.

→ Answer: D

Questions 32 – 36: Complete the summary using the list of words, A-H, below.

32. Answer: F

Key words: Australian National University, three videos, different kind

A study conducted by researchers from Australian National University is explained in paragraph 6. In the study, participants were assigned to watch randomly one of three videos, which “elicit either “humour, contentment, or neutral feelings”.

  • generate = elicit
  • emotion = feelings

Therefore, the videos were designed to generate different kinds of emotion, so F is the answer.

→ Answer: F

33. Answer: H

Key words: persisted, tried harder

The result of the study is revealed in paragraph 7. After watching one of the videos, the groups were given a second task “requiring persistence”. It was found that those who watched the Mr. Bean video ended up persisting with the task longer (“spending significantly more time working on the task”) and tried harder (“making twice as many predictions as the other two groups”). Among the given words, “amusing” best describes the Mr. Bean video, so H is the answer.

→ Answer: H

34. Answer: C

Key words: second study, similar results

Paragraph 8 describes the second study, in which participants had to “complete long multiplication questions by hand”, and the result was quite similar to that of the previous one, in which those who watched the humorous video persisted longer and tried harder. Of the words that we were given, the task that the participants were given is best described as being “boring”. Therefore, C is the answer.

→ Answer: C

35. Answer: D

Key words: David Cheng, Lu Wang, reduces, body and mind

In the last paragraph, Cheng and Wang conclude that humour helps “relieve stress” and that it is “energising”.

  • reduce = relieve
  • stimulating = energising

As a result, D and E are to be filled in gap 35 and 36 respectively

→ Answers: D – E

36. Answer: E

Key words: David Cheng, Lu Wang, reduces, body and mind

In the last paragraph, Cheng and Wang conclude that humour helps “relieve stress” and that it is “energising”.

  • reduce = relieve
  • stimulating = energising

As a result, D and E are to be filled in gap 35 and 36 respectively

→ Answers: D – E

Questions 37 – 40: Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 3?

37. Answer: NOT GIVEN

Key words: Santa Cruz, more accurate, friends, strangers

The study at the University of California at Santa Cruz is found in paragraph 3. The result was that participants were accurate for about 60% of the time at guessing whether the people laughing were friends or strangers, but it is not stated what percentage were correct at guessing laughs of friends and how many of guessing laughs of strangers. Therefore, the validity of the statement cannot be identified, so NOT GIVEN is the answer.

→ Answer: NOT GIVEN

38. Answer: YES

Key words: San Diego, predictions, high-status individuals

The San Diego study is described in paragraph 4, which states that the result was “as expected, high-status individuals produced more dominant laughs and fewer submissive laughs relative to the low-status individuals”.

  • predict = expect

Therefore, it is understood that what the researchers expected about high-status individuals was correct, so we shall say YES to this statement.

→ Answer: YES

39. Answer: NO

Key words: Australian National University, fixed, time, employee profiles

The study from Australian National University described in paragraphs 6 and 7 was conducted with participants guessing “the potential performance of employees based on provided profiles, and they “were allowed to quit the task at any point”. Therefore, the amount of time given was not fixed, so the answer is NO for this statement.

→ Answer: NO

40. Answer: NO

Key words: Cheng and Wang, in line,  task performance

In the last paragraph, Cheng and Wang mentioned the “traditional view” that “individuals should avoid things such as humour that may distract them from the accomplishment of task goals”. However, the result of the study was that those who watched the humorous video persisted longer and tried harder to perform the task. This result is not at all in line with the established notion or traditional idea. Therefore, the answer for this statement is NO.

  • established notion = traditional view

→ Answer: NO

cambridge ielts 15 reading test 2 passage 3
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 2 passage 3

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