Cambridge IELTS 15 Reading Test 4 Answers

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Passage 1: The return of the huarango

Questions 1-5: Complete the notes below.

1. Answer: water

Key words:  access, deep, surface

Paragraph 2 provides information on the role of the huarango tree: “it could reach deep water sources”. So the answer is ‘water’.

  • access = reach
  • Answer: water.

2. Answer: diet

Key words: crucial, local, inhabitants, long time ago

It is stated in paragraph 2 that “the huarango was key to the ancient people’s diet”.

  • crucial = key
  • a long time ago = ancient

Thus, the answer is ‘diet’.

  • Answer: diet.

3. Answer: drought

Key words: people, survive, periods

Still in paragraph 2, we learn that the huarango tree “allowed local people to withstand years of drought when their other crops failed”.

  • survive = withstand

Thus, the answer is ‘drought’.

  • Answer: drought.

4. Answer: erosion

Key words: prevents, soil

It is stated in paragraph 2 that “Cutting down native woodland leads to erosion, as there is nothing to keep the soil in place”. Here, ‘native woodland’ refers to the huarango trees. The sentence states that huarango trees keep the soil in place, thereby preventing soil erosion (because if those trees are cut down, erosion will occur). Therefore, the blank should be filled with ‘erosion’.

  • Answer: erosion.

5. Answer: desert

Key words: prevents, land, becoming

The author concludes paragraph 2 by stating that: “So when the huarangos go, the land turns into a desert.” It can be inferred that huarangos prevent land from becoming a desert.

  • become = turn into
  • Answer: desert.

Questions 6-8: Complete the notes below.

6. Answer: (its / huarango / the) branches

Paragraph 3 gives information about traditional uses of huarangos (“For centuries the huarango tree was vital to the people”). Firstly, leaves and bark were used for “herbal remedies”, which refers to types of medicine. So answers for Q7 should be ‘leaves’ and ‘bark’ (in any order).

Secondly, its branches were used for “charcoal for cooking and heating”. In other words, branches were used as fuel for cooking and heating. Thus, the answer for Q6 is ‘branches’.

Finally, its trunk was used to build houses. ‘building’ is synonymous to ‘construction’, so the answer must be ‘trunk’.

  • medicine = remedies
  • construction = build (building)
  • Answer: 6. Branches; 7. Leaves & bark (in any order); 8. Trunk.

7. Answer: IN EITHER ORDER (BOTH REQUIRED FOR ONE MARK) leaves (and) bark

Paragraph 3 gives information about traditional uses of huarangos (“For centuries the huarango tree was vital to the people”). Firstly, leaves and bark were used for “herbal remedies”, which refers to types of medicine. So answers for Q7 should be ‘leaves’ and ‘bark’ (in any order).

Secondly, its branches were used for “charcoal for cooking and heating”. In other words, branches were used as fuel for cooking and heating. Thus, the answer for Q6 is ‘branches’.

Finally, its trunk was used to build houses. ‘building’ is synonymous to ‘construction’, so the answer must be ‘trunk’.

  • medicine = remedies
  • construction = build (building)
  • Answer: 6. Branches; 7. Leaves & bark (in any order); 8. Trunk.

8. Answer: (its / huarango / the) trunk

Paragraph 3 gives information about traditional uses of huarangos (“For centuries the huarango tree was vital to the people”). Firstly, leaves and bark were used for “herbal remedies”, which refers to types of medicine. So answers for Q7 should be ‘leaves’ and ‘bark’ (in any order).

Secondly, its branches were used for “charcoal for cooking and heating”. In other words, branches were used as fuel for cooking and heating. Thus, the answer for Q6 is ‘branches’.

Finally, its trunk was used to build houses. ‘building’ is synonymous to ‘construction’, so the answer must be ‘trunk’.

  • medicine = remedies
  • construction = build (building)
  • Answer: 6. Branches; 7. Leaves & bark (in any order); 8. Trunk.

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

9. Answer: NOT GIVEN

Key words: local, families, Whaley, traditional, uses, huarango, products

There is no information regarding this. The answer is not given.  We only learn that Whaley is trying to get local people interested in planting more huarangos and to use the products from the tree to “create a sustainable income”.  There is no mention of the local people telling Whaley about the traditional uses of the tree.

  • Answer: NOT GIVEN.

10. Answer: FALSE

Key words: Alberto Benevides, profit, growing, huarangos

By skimming the proper noun ‘Alberto Benevides’, we can find the information we need in paragraph 6: “His farm is relatively small and doesn’t yet provide him with enough to live on”. The huarango farm doesn’t provide him with enough to live, which means that the profit from huarangos is not yet enough. Thus, it cannot be said that Alberto Benevides is making a good profit.

  • Answer: FALSE.

11. Answer: TRUE

Key words: Whaley, co-operation, farmers, preserve, wildlife

Wildlife is mentioned in paragraph 7 as “movement of mammals, birds and pollen”. Whaley hopes to counteract, or reduce, the threat to wildlife by persuading farmers to let him plant forest corridors on their land. In other words, he needs farmers’ co-operation because without their permission, he cannot plant forest corridors, which are necessary to enable the natural movement of mammals, birds and pollen in the area. So the answer is TRUE.

  • Answer: TRUE.

12. Answer: FALSE

Key words: Whaley, project, succeed, extended

Whaley explains about his project in paragraph 8: “’It’s not like a rainforest that needs to have this huge expanse. […] If you just have a few trees left, the population can grow up quickly […]”. Thus, it can be understood that just a small area of huarangos can attract a wildlife population quickly, without a huge area or a great number of trees. In other words, Whaley’s project does not need to be extended over a large area. The statement is FALSE.

  • area = expanse
  • large = huge
  • Answer: FALSE.

13. Answer: NOT GIVEN

Key words: Whaley, plans, Africa, similar, project

The last paragraph mentions that: “He sees his project as a model that has the potential to be rolled out across other arid areas around the world”. These areas include Africa. However, Whaley does not deliberately say that he has plans to set up another project in Africa; he only mentions the possibility that the model could be implemented there and in lots of other places where there is drought. Thus, the answer is NOT GIVEN.

  • Answer: NOT GIVEN.
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 4 passage 1
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 4 passage 1

Passage 2: Silbo Gomero – the whistle ‘language’ of the Canary Islands

Questions 14-19: Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

14. Answer: NOT GIVEN

Key words: La Gomera, mountainous, Canary Islands

It is stated in paragraph 1 that La Gomera is one of the Canary Islands and that it is mountainous. However, there is no information regarding whether La Gomera is the most mountainous or not. Thus, the answer is NOT GIVEN.

  • Answer: NOT GIVEN.

15. Answer: FALSE

Key words: Silbo, appropriate, short, simple, messages

In paragraph 5, Carreiras contends that “’In daily life they use whistles to communicate short commands, but any Spanish sentence could be whistled”. In fact, “…silbadores are able to pass a surprising amount of information via their whistles”. So silbo, or whistles, can be used to communicate any messages, not just short ones. It’s just that short messages are more common in daily life. Thus, the statement ‘Silbo is only appropriate for short and simple messages’ is FALSE.

  • Answer: FALSE.

16. Answer: TRUE

Key words: brain-activity, silbadores, non-whistlers, different, results

Paragraph 6 mentions the results of the brain-activity study. Regarding silbadores, the left temporal lobe and other key regions in the brain’s frontal lobe responded. However, in non-whistlers, “activation was observed in all areas of the brain”. In paragraph 7, this finding is explained further:  “The non-Silbo speakers were not recognising Silbo as a language.  They had nothing to grab onto, so multiple areas of their brains were activated”. Thus, these can be seen as ‘different results’.

  • Answer: TRUE.

17. Answer: FALSE

Key words: Spanish, introduced, Silbo, 15th century

It is stated in paragraph 8 that “indigenous Canary Islanders […] already had a whistled language when Spain conquered the volcanic islands in the 15th century”. Thus, the Spanish could not have introduced Silbo to the islands as Silbo was present even before their arrival.

  • Answer: FALSE.

18. Answer: FALSE

Key words: precise, data, whistle, languages, today

Still in paragraph 8, the author said that “There are thought to be as many as 70 whistled languages still in use, though only 12 have been described and studied scientifically”.

  • in existence = in use

It can be inferred from this sentence that not all whistled languages (only 12/70) have been studied, so there cannot be precise data available regarding all whistled languages. The statement is FALSE.

  • Answer: FALSE.

19. Answer: TRUE

Key words: children, Gomera, learn, Silbo

The last paragraph mentions the attempts of Canaries’ authorities to ensure the survival of Silbo. “Since 1999, Silbo Gomero has been taught in all of the island ‘s elementary schools”. Thus, it can be understood that the Silbo language is still being taught to children until now.  The statement is therefore true.

  • Answer: TRUE.

Questions 20-26: Complete the notes below.

20. Answer: words

Key words: high, low, frequency, tones, sounds, Spanish

With regard to high and low-frequency tones, it is stated that: “Silbo is a substitute for Spanish, with individual words recoded into whistles which have high and low-frequency tones”. Thus, it is clear that the blank should be filled with ‘words’.

  • Answer: words.

21. Answer: finger

Key words: pitch, whistle, controlled, silbador’s

In paragraph 4 again, the whistler can increase the whistle’s pitch by putting “a finger in his or her mouth”. In other words, this can be paraphrased into the passive voice as ‘the pitch of whistle can be increased using the silbador’s finger’. Thus, the answer is ‘finger’.

  • Answer: finger.

22. Answer: direction

Key words: changed, cupped, hand

Still in paragraph 4: “[…] the other hand can be cupped to adjust the direction of the sound”.

  • change = adjust

Thus, it is clear that the answer is ‘direction of the sound’. However, as only one word is allowed, the final answer is ‘direction’.

  • Answer: direction.

23. Answer: commands

Key words: everyday, use, transmission, brief

“’In daily life they use whistles to communicate short commands, but any Spanish sentence could be whistled.”

  • everyday = daily
  • transmission = communicate (communication)
  • short = brief

In other words, whistles are used in everyday life for the transmission of brief commands. The answer is ‘commands’.

  • Answer: commands.

24. Answer: fires

Key words: relay, essential, information, quickly, e.g., inform

“Silbo has proved particularly useful when fires have occurred on the island and rapid communication across large areas has been vital”.

  • quickly = rapid (rapidly)
  • essential = vital
  • relay information = communicate
  • e.g. =  such as, for example

This sentence means that silbo can be used to inform people about (communicate) essential (vital) information such as fires. Thus, the answer is ‘fires’.

  • Answer: fires.

25. Answer: technology

Key words: future,  threat, new

“But with modern communication technology now widely available, researchers say whistled languages like Silbo are threatened with extinction”.

  • new = modern
  • under threat = be threatened

It can be understood from this sentence that Silbo is threatened because of new, modern communication technology. But we can only fill the gap with one word, the correct answer must be ‘technology’.

  • Answer: technology.

26. Answer: award

Key words: Canaries’ authorities, receive, UNESCO, preserve

“The local authorities are trying to get an award from the organisation to declare [Silbo Gomero] as something that should be preserved for humanity”. The ‘organisation’ here refers to UNESCO. Thus, the local authorities are hoping to receive a UNESCO award to preserve Silbo.

  • receive = get
  • Answer: award.
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 4 passage 2
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 4 passage 2

Passage 3: Environmental practices of big businesses

Questions 27-31: Complete the summary using the list of words, A-J, below.

27. Answer: D

28. Answer: E

Key words: lack, governments, public

In paragraph 1 we find: “When government regulation is effective, and when the public is environmentally aware, environmentally clean businesses may out-compete dirty ones”.  The last sentence of paragraph 1 states that: “the reverse is likely to be true if government regulation is ineffective and if the public doesn’t care”. The term ‘the reverse’ here refers to dirty businesses out-competing environmentally clean ones. In other words, ineffective government regulation and an indifferent public could lead to environmental problems. Ineffective government regulation can be paraphrased into ‘lack of control by governments’; and ‘the public doesn’t care’ can be paraphrased into ‘lack of public involvement’.

  • control = regulation
  • Answer: 28. E; 29. F

29. Answer: F

Key words: lack, governments, public

In paragraph 1 we find: “When government regulation is effective, and when the public is environmentally aware, environmentally clean businesses may out-compete dirty ones”.  The last sentence of paragraph 1 states that: “the reverse is likely to be true if government regulation is ineffective and if the public doesn’t care”. The term ‘the reverse’ here refers to dirty businesses out-competing environmentally clean ones. In other words, ineffective government regulation and an indifferent public could lead to environmental problems. Ineffective government regulation can be paraphrased into ‘lack of control by governments’; and ‘the public doesn’t care’ can be paraphrased into ‘lack of public involvement’.

  • control = regulation
  • Answer: 28. E; 29. F

30. Answer: H

Key words: environmental, problems, destruction

We need to find examples of two environmental problems caused by ‘lack of control by governments and lack of public involvement’. Paragraph 1 mentions:

  • “an unmanaged fishery without quotas”, which means that fishing is done without limit. This can also be called ‘overfishing’.
  • “international logging companies […] with corrupt officials and unsophisticated landowners”. This refers to logging companies that overexploit the tropical rainforests with the backup of officials and landowners. Thus, this can be called ‘destruction of trees’.
  • Answer: 30. H; 31. B

31. Answer: B

Key words: environmental, problems, destruction

We need to find examples of two environmental problems caused by ‘lack of control by governments and lack of public involvement’. Paragraph 1 mentions:

  • “an unmanaged fishery without quotas”, which means that fishing is done without limit. This can also be called ‘overfishing’.
  • “international logging companies […] with corrupt officials and unsophisticated landowners”. This refers to logging companies that overexploit the tropical rainforests with the backup of officials and landowners. Thus, this can be called ‘destruction of trees’.
  • Answer: 30. H; 31. B

Questions 32-34: Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

32. Answer: C could be prevented by the action of ordinary people

Key words: idea, third, paragraph, environmental, damage

Paragraph 3 emphasizes the “ultimate responsibility of the public”. The public can make destructive policies “unprofitable and illegal”, which means that they can prevent or hinder wrong actions. They can also “make sustainable environmental policies profitable”, which means they can promote good actions. Thus, the main idea of this paragraph is that environmental damage could be prevented by the action of ordinary people.

  • ordinary people = the public
  • Answer: C

33. Answer: D influence the environmental policies of businesses and governments

Key words: fourth, paragraph, ways, public

Paragraph 4 mentions several actions to help the environment, such as suing environmentally harmful businesses, buying sustainably harvested products or pressing governments to enforce good environmental regulations. Because these are not individual actions directly impacting the environment but rather actions imposed on other people, A is incorrect. B is irrelevant because no information about learning is given. The same goes for C – specific environmental disasters are mentioned, but this is in reference to suing businesses, not raising awareness. The only appropriate answer is D, because the actions listed above influence the policies of businesses and governments.

  • Answer: D.

34. Answer: B A fast-food company forced their meat suppliers to follow the law

Key words: pressure, exerted, business,  BSE

By skimming “BSE”, we can find the information we need in paragraph 5. Then, we must find which sentence mentions “big business” and what pressure that business exerted. We find that “when a major fast-food company then made the same demands […], the meat industry complied within weeks”. Here, ‘the same demands’ refer to the FDA’s demand that the meat industry must follow the rules and abandon practices associated with the risk of BSE. Thus, it can be understood that a fast-food company pressured the meat industry, or meat suppliers, to follow the FDA regulations.

  • big business = major company
  • law = rules
  • Answer: B.

Questions 35-39: Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 3?

35. Answer: YES

Key words: public, fund, environmental, practices

In paragraph 6, the author believes that “the public must accept […] higher prices for products to cover the added costs, if any, of sound environmental practices”.

By saying that the public should pay for the added costs of good practices, the author means that they should fund such practices with their money. Thus, this statement agrees with the author’s opinion.

  • good environmental practices = sound environmental practices
  • Answer: YES.

36. Answer: NOT GIVEN

Key words: contrast, moral, principles, businesses

Still in paragraph 6, the author mentions that businesses will not apply moral principles without government regulations to deal with environmental problems. There is no information regarding the moral principles of different businesses. Thus, the answer is NOT GIVEN.

  • Answer: NOT GIVEN.

37. Answer: NO

Key words: distinction, acceptable, unacceptable, behavior

It is stated in the last paragraph that “My conclusion is not a moralistic one about who is right or wrong, admirable or selfish, a good guy or a bad guy”. Thus, the author does not want to make a clear distinction between right (acceptable behaviour) and wrong (unacceptable behaviour). So the statement contradicts the author’s view.

  • Answer: NO.

38. Answer: YES

Key words: public, successfully, influenced, businesses, past

There are two relevant sentences in the last paragraph:“In the past, businesses have changed when the public came to expect and require different behaviour”. Secondly: “I predict that in the future, just as in the past, changes in public attitudes will be essential for changes in businesses’ environmental practices”. The sentences mean that businesses were influenced by the public’s expectations and requirements.

  • Answer: YES.

39. Answer: NOT GIVEN

Key words: future, businesses, concern, environment

The author predicts in the last paragraph that in the future, “In the future…changes in public attitudes will be essential for changes in businesses’ environmental practices”. However, there is no information saying that businesses will show more or less concern for the environment. Thus, the answer for this is NOT GIVEN.

  • Answer: NOT GIVEN.

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

40. Answer: D Are big businesses to blame for the damage they cause the environment?

This passage discusses the blame for environmental issues. However, the author raises a different viewpoint from conventional ones, and has made this clear throughout the passage: “It is easy for the rest of us to blame a business” (paragraph 2); “Our blaming of businesses also ignores the ultimate responsibility of the public” (paragraph 3); “I place the ultimate responsibility for business practices harming the public on the public itself” (paragraph 7). Thus, the author wants to look at the problem from the perspective of the responsibility of the public, and contends that businesses are not the only ones to blame. Thus, the most appropriate subheading must be D – ‘Are big businesses to blame for the damage they cause the environment?”.

  • Answer: D.
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 4 passage 3
cambridge ielts 15 reading test 4 passage 3

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