Cambridge IELTS 5 is the latest IELTS exam preparation. READINGIELTS.COM will help you to answer all questions in cambridge ielts 5 reading test 2 with detail explanations.


Questions 1-3:  Choose ONE WORD only from the passage for each answer.

1. Some  plastics  behave  in  a  similar  way  to….in  that  they  melt  under  heat  and  can  be  moulded  into  new forms.

Keywords: similar, melt, moulded

In  paragraph  2,  the  writer  says  that:  “Some  are  „thermoplastic‟,  which  means  that,  like  candlewax,  they melt when heated and can be reshaped”. This means that some plastics,such as thermoplastics, have similar  characteristics  to  candlewax:  they  melt  under  heat  (melt  when  heated)  and  can  be  moulded (reshaped).

+ a similar way to = like

+ moulded = reshaped

=>ANSWER: candlewax

2. Bakelite was unique because it was the first material to be both entirely…..in origin, and thermosetting.

Keywords: unique, first, entirely

At  the  end  of  paragraph  2,  the  writer  states  that  “Bakelite  had  the  distinction  of  being  the  first  totally synthetic thermosetting plastic”

+ to be unique = to have the distinction of

+ entirely = totally

=>ANSWER: synthetic

3. There were several reasons for the research into plastics in the nineteenth century, among them the great advances that had been made in the field of… and the search for alternatives to natural resources like ivory.

Keywords: nineteenth century, great advances, field, ivory

In  paragraph  3,  the  writer  reports  that:  “The  impetus  behind  the  development  of  these  early  plastics  was generated by a number of factors- immense technological progress  in the domain of chemistry, coupled  with  wider  cultural  changes,  and  the  pragmatic  need  to  find  acceptable  substitutes  for dwindling supplies of „luxury‟ materials such as tortoise shell and ivory.”

+ several reasons for = generated by a number of factors

+ great advances = immense technological progress

+ field = domain

+ search = find

+ alternatives = substitutes

=>ANSWER: chemistry

Questions 4-8:  Complete the flow chart.  Choose ONE WORD from the passage for each answer

4. Novalak

Keywords: phenol, formaldehyde, combine under vacuum, resin

In  paragraph  5,  the  writer  says  that  ”  The  original  patent  outlined  a  three-stage  process,  in  which  phenol and formaldehyde (from wood or coal) were initially combined under vacuum inside a large egg- shaped kettle. The result was a resin known as Novalak”

5. Fillers

Keywords: e.g, cotton, asbestos

In  paragraph  5,  the  writer  says  that  “Other  substances  were  then  introduced:  including  fillers,  such  as wood flour, asbestos or cotton, which increase strength and moisture resistance.” e.g (for example)  = such as

6. Hexa

Keywords: ammonia, formaldehyde

In paragraph 5, the writer refers to: “catalysts (substances to speed up the reaction between two chemicals without  joining  to  either)  and  hexa,  a  compound  of  ammonia  and  formaldehyde  which  supplied  the additional formaldehyde necessary to form a thermosetting resin.”We understand that hexa  is a compound of ammonia and formaldehyde, so two arrows of ammonia and formaldehyde in the chart make up hexa.

7. Raw

Keywords: cool, hardened, break up, grind, Bakelite, stage two resin

In paragraph 5, the writer says: “This resin was then left to cool and harden, and ground up a second time. The  resulting  granular  powder  was  raw  Bakelite,  ready  to  be  made  into  a  vast  range  of  manufactured objects.”

+ stage two resin = a second time

+ grind = ground (past simple tense)

8. Pressure

Keywords:  pour, mould, intense heat

In  paragraph  5,  the  writer  states  that:  ”  In  the  last  stage,  the  heated  Bakelite  was  poured  into  a  hollow mould of the required shape and subjected to extreme heat and pressure, thereby „setting‟ its forms for life”. We realise that in paragraph 5, the writer describes the moulding process by using the passive voice, whereas, questions in the flow chart are inthe active voice. For example:

+ pour =>poured

+ apply intense heat =>subjected to extreme heat

+ intense = extreme

Questions 9-10: Choose two letters, A-E

Which two of the following factors influencing the design of Bakelite objects are mentioned in the text?

Questions 9-10. ANSWER:   B, C

A. the function which the object would serve

Keywords: function, object, serve

In the first sentence of paragraph 6, the writer states that “The design of Bakelite objects, everything from earrings to television sets, was governed to a large extent by the technical requirements of the moulding process”.  This  is  the  topic  sentence  of  the  paragraph,  indicating  that  the  design  of  Bakelite  objects  are influenced  by  the  technical  requirements  of  the  moulding  process,  whatever  the  object‟s    functions  are (earrings or televisions). So option A is false.

B. the ease with which the resin could fill the mould

Keywords: ease, fill, mould

In paragraph 6, the writer says that “Moulds had to be carefully designed so that the molten Bakelite would flow  evenly  and  completely  into  the  mould.  Sharp  corners  proved  impractical  and  were  thus  avoided, giving rise to the smooth, “streamlined” style popular in the 1930s.

+ fill = flow completely into evenly, completely, smooth, streamlined indicate the ease with which the resin can fill the mould.

So the answer is B

C . The facility with which the object could be removed from the mould

Keywords: removed, mould

In  paragraph  6,  the  writer  states  that  ”  The  object  could  not  be  designed  so  that  it  was  locked  into  the mould  and  therefore  difficult  to  extract”,  therefore  “objects  should  taper  towards  the  deepest  part  of the  mould,  and  if  necessary the  product  was  moulded  in  separate  pieces”  –  so  that  the  objects  will  be easily removed from the mould.

+ taper toward: progressively narrow or reduce in thickness towards one end

+ remove = extract

So the answer is C

D. the limitations of the materials used to manufacture the mould

Keywords: limitations, materials, manufacture

Actually the writer only mentions the limitations of shapes/forms of the mould: “The thickness of the walls of  the  mould  was  also  crucial:  thick  walls  took  longer  to  cool  and  harden,  a  factor  which  had  to  be considered  by the  designer  in  order  to  make  the  most  efficient  use  of  machines…  Sharp  corners  proved impractical and were thus avoided”. He does not mention the limitations of the materials used to make the moulds crucial: very important and of great influence on the design of products.

=>D is false

E. the fashionable styles of the period

Keywords: fashionable styles, period

In paragraph 6, the writer says that:   “Sharp corners proved impractical and were thus avoided,  giving rise to the smooth, „streamlined‟ style popular in the 1930s”.  This means that the old styles in the 1930s are still in use and practical, not the fashionable styles.

=>E is false

Questions 11-13:   TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN

11. Modern-day plastic preparation is based on the same principles as that patented in 1907

Keywords: modern-day, preparation, patented, 1907

At the end of paragraph 4, the writer states that: “On 13 July 1907, Baekeland took out his famous patent describing  this  preparation,  the  essential  features  of  which  are  still  in  use  today”.So,  the  statement  is true.

+ principles = essential features


12. Bakelite was immediately welcomed as a practical and versatile material.

Keywords: immediately, welcomed

In  paragraph  7,  the  writer  indicates  that  “Baekeland’s  invention,  although  treated  with  disdain  in  its early  years,  went  on  to  enjoy  an  unparalleled  popularity  which  lasted  throughout  the  first  half  of  the twentieth century.   It became…the material of a thousand uses.”So at first, Bakelite was not welcomed by the community.

+ immediately = early years

+ welcomed>< treated with disdain

+ practical and versatile material = material of a thousand uses


13. Bakelite was only available in a limited range of colours.

Keywords: only available, limited, colours

In  the  last  paragraph,  the  writer  says  that  “consumers  everywhere  relishedits  dazzling  array  of  shades, delighted that they were now, at last, no longer restricted to the wood tones and drab browns of the pre- plastic era.”

+ limited = restricted



Passage 2: What’s so funny?

Questions 14-20:   TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN

14. Arthur Koestler considered laughter biologically important in several ways

Keywords: Arthur Koestler, biologically, important

Paragraph 1 states that “The writer Arthur Koestler dubbed it the luxury reflex: „unique in that it serves no apparent biological purpose‟

+ biologically important >< no apparent biological purpose


15. Plato believed humour to be a sign of above-average intelligence

Keywords: Plato,above-average, intelligence

In paragraph 2, the writer says that:” Plato expressed the idea that humour is simply a delighted feeling of superiority  over  others”. Thus,  it  is  only  a  feeling  of  superiority,  but  the  passage  does  not  mention superiority in intelligence.

+ above-average = superiority over others


16. Kant believed that a successful joke involves the controlled release of nervous energy

Keywords: Kant, release, nervous energy

In  paragraph  2,  we  find:  “Kant  and  Freud  felt  that  joke-telling  relies  on  building  up  apsychic tension which is safely punctured by the ludicrousness of the punchline”.

+release = punctured

+ nervous energy = psychic tension


17. Current thinking on humour has largely ignored Aristotle‟s view on the subject

Keywords: current, largely, ignored, Aristotle

At the end of paragraph 2, the writer says that: “But most modern humour theorists have settled on some version  of  Aristotle‟s  belief  that  jokes  are  based  on  a  reaction  to  or  resolution  of  incongruity,  when  the punchline is either a nonsense or, though appearing silly, has a clever second meaning.”

+ current = modern

+ largely = most

+ ignored>< settle on: to consolidate, to follow the idea of Aristotle

+ view = belief


Keywords: Graeme Ritchie, artificial, intelligence

In paragraph 3, the writer says that “Graeme Ritchie, a computational linguist in Edinburgh, studies the linguistic structure of jokes in order to understand not only humour but language understanding and reasoning in machines”, and “Viewed from this angle, humour is just a form of creative insight,a sudden leap to a new perspective”.   Artificial intelligence: the intelligence of machines, computers which are created/programmed by humans.

+ Link to artificial intelligence = reasoning in machines


19. Most comedians use personal situations as a source of humour.

Keywords: comedians, personal situations, source of humour

In  paragraph  3,  the  writer  reports  that:”  He  says  that  while  there  is  no  single  format  for  jokes,  many revolve around a sudden and surprising conceptual shift. A comedian will present a situation followed by  an  unexpected  interpretation  that  is  also  apt”.   This  means  there  are  a  lot  of  different  ways  to  tell  a joke, for example, using  a sudden, surprising/unexpected situation. He does not  mention  if comedians use personal situations to create humour.


20. Chimpanzees make particular noises when they are playing.

Keywords: chimpanzees, noises, playing

Paragraph  5  indicates  that:  “Chimpanzees  have  a  „play-face‟  –  a  gaping  expression  accompanied  by  a panting „ah,ah” noise. accompanied by: together with.


Questions 21-23: Label the diagram.  Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage.

21. Right prefrontal cortex lights up – area of brain linked to ……

Keywords: right prefrontal cortex, light up

In  paragraph  8,  the  writer  says  that  “His  scans  showed  that  at  the  beginning  of  a  joke  the  listener’s prefrontal cortex lit up, particularly the right prefrontal believed to be critical for problem solving”

+ Light up = lit up (past simple tense)

=>ANSWER: problem solving

22. ….become active too

Keywords: active, too

In paragraph 8, the writer says that: “But there was  also activity in the temporal lobes at the side of the head (consistent with attempts to rouse stored knowledge) and in many other brain areas.”

+ active = activity

+ too = also

=>ANSWER: temporal lobes

23. Orbital prefrontal cortex is activated – involved with …

Keywords: orbital prefrontal cortex, activated, involved

Paragraph 8 says that: “Then when the punchline arrived, a new area sprang to life – the orbital prefrontal cortex. This patch of brain tucked behind the orbits of the eyes is associated with evaluating information”

+ activated = sprang to life

+ involved with = associated with

=>ANSWER: evaluating information

Questions 24-27:

Complete each sentence with the correct ending A-G:

24. One of the brain’s most difficult tasks is to…..

Keywords; brain, most difficult task

In paragraph 9, the writer states that: “Making a rapid emotional assessment of the events of the moment is an extremely demanding job for the brain, animal or human” C. respond instantly to whatever is happening = making a rapid emotional assessment of the events of the moment.

+ difficult task = demanding job


25. Because of the language they have developed, humans…

Keywords: language, developed, humans

In  paragraph  10,  the  writer  states  that:    “All  warm-blooded  animals  make  constant  tiny  adjustments  in arousal  in  response  to  external  events,  but  humans,  who  have  developed  a  much  more  complicated internal  life  as  a  result  of  language  respond  emotionally  not  only  to  their  surroundings  but  to  their own thoughts.” A.  react to their own thoughts.

+ react = respond


26. Individual responses to humour….

Keywords: individual, responses, humour

The  last  sentence  of  paragraph  10  states  that:  “Whether  a  joke  gives  pleasure  or  pain  depends  on  a person‟s  outlook”.   This  means  that  what  a  person  feels  about  a  joke  depends  on  his  personal  ideas  and beliefs, his own views.

F. relate to a person‟s subjective views

+ a person‟s subjective views = a person‟s outlook


27. Peter Derks believes that humour ….

Keywords: Peter Derks, believes, humour

The last sentence of paragraph 11 explains that:   “If we can figure out how the mind processes humour, then we‟ll have a pretty good handle on how it works in general”. Peter Derks believes that if we know how the mind/brain processes humour, we can know how the brain works in general. D. may provide valuable information about the operation of the brain.

+ brain = mind



Passage 3: The Birth of Scientific English

Questions 28-34: Complete the summary.  Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage.

28. In Europe, modern science emerged at the same time as the nation state. At first, the scientific language of choice remained…

Keywords: modern science, at the same time, nation, at first, scientific language

At the end of paragraph 1, the writer says that: “Given the prominence of scientific English today, it may seem surprising that no one really knew how to write science in English before the 17th  century. Before that, Latin  was  regarded  as  the  lingua  franca  for  European  intellectuals”.  Before  the  17th  century,  the scientific language was Latin (lingua franca: a language which is used for communication between groups of people who speak different languages).

=>ANSWER:  Latin

29. Sometimes the desire to protect ideas seems to have been stronger than the desire to communicate them, particularly in the case of mathematicians and..

Keywords: protect ideas, mathematicians

At the end of paragraph 6, the writer states that: “And in the mid-17th    century it was common practice for mathematicians  to  keep  their  discoveries  and  proofs  secret,  by  writing  them  in  cipher,  in  obscure languages, or in private messages deposited in a sealed box with the Royal Society. Some scientists might have  felt  more  comfortable  with  Latin  precisely  because  its  audience,  though  international,  was socially restricted. Doctors clung the most keenly to Latin as an „insider language.”

+ protect ideas = keep their discoveries and proofs secret

Scientists were keen on Latin because its audience was socially restricted (i.e. not many people knew Latin). Doctors  considered  Latin  as  an  “insider  language‟  –  the  language  only  used  among  doctors,  so  that  they could keep their discoveries and proofs secret.

=>ANSWER: doctors

Question 30 and 31:

30 – 31. In Britain, moreover, scientists worried that English had neither the …nor the …..to express their ideas.

Keywords: English, neither, nor, express the ideas

In paragraph 7, the writer argues that:   “A third reason why the writing of original science in English was delayed may have been to do with the linguistic inadequacy of English in the early modern period.”

+ may have been to do with = may have related to

“English  was  not  well  equipped  to  deal  with  scientific  argument.  First,  it  lacked  the  necessary technical vocabulary. Second, it lacked the grammatical resources required to represent the world in an objective  and  impersonal  way,  and  to  discuss  the  relations,  such  as  cause  and  effect,  that  might  hold between complex and hypothetical entities”

+ the ideas = hypothetical entities

Linguistic inadequacy included the lack of necessary technical vocabulary and grammatical resources

=>ANSWER: technical vocabulary; grammatical resources

32. This  situation  only  changed  after  1660  when  scientists  associated  with  the  …set  about  developing English.  An  early  scientific  journal  fostered  a  new  kind  of  writing  based  on  short  descriptions  of  specific experiments.

Keywords: after 1660, associated, developing English.

Paragraphs 8 and 9 refer to the years 1664 and 1665 and illustrate the cooperation between scientists and the Royal Society in developing English:”the society‟s members did a great deal to foster the publication of science in English and to encourage the development of a suitable writing style… many members of the Royal Society also published monographs in English”

+ associated with: members

=>ANSWER: Royal Society

33. Although English was then overtaken by…

Keywords: overtaken

In the last paragraph, the writer says that: “In the following century much  of this momentum was lost  as German established itself as the leading European language of science.”

+ overtaken: left behind = this momentum was lost

=>ANSWER: German

34. it developed again in the 19th century as a direct result of the …

Keywords: developed, 19th   century, result

At  the  end  of  paragraph 10,  the  writer  says  that:  “However,  in  the  19th  century scientific  English again enjoyed substantial  lexical  growth as  the  industrial  revolution  created  the  need   for  new  technical vocabulary,  and new, specialised, professional  societies were instituted to  promote and publish in  the new disciplines.”

+ developed again = again enjoyedsubstantial lexical growth

+ as a direct result of = as the industrial revolution created

=>ANSWER: industrial revolution

Questions 35-37: TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN

35. There was strong competition between scientists in Renaissance Europe.

Keywords: competition, scientists, Renaissance Europe

In paragraph 2, the writer says that ” The European Renaissance (c/14   -16    century) is sometimes called the  „revival  of  learning‟,  a  time  of  renewed  interest  in  the  „lost  knowledge‟  of  classical  times. At  the same time, however, scholars also began to test and extend this knowledge. The emergent nation states of Europe  developed  competitive  interests  in  world  exploration  and  the  development  of  trade.”  We  see that  in  the  European  Renaissance,  scholars  tested  and  developed  the  knowledge  of  classical  times,  and countries  in  Europe  competed  with  one  another  in  world  exploitation  and  the  development  of  trade. However, there is no information about competition between scientists in the passage.


36. The most important  scientific development of the Renaissance period was the discovery of magnetism.

Keywords: most important, Renaissance, discovery of magnetism

At the end of paragraph  2, the writer says that:  “Such expansion, which was to  take the English  language west  to  America  and  east  to  India,  was  supported  by  scientific  developments  such  as  the  discovery  of magnetism (and hence the invention  of the compass),  improvements in  cartography  and – perhaps the most important scientific revolution of them all – the new theories of astronomy and movement of the Earth in relation to the planets and stars”. The discovery of magnetism is one of many other inventions. And the most important scientific revolution of them all were the new theories of astronomy and movement of the earth in relation to the planet and stars developed by Copernicus.


37. In  17th    century  Britain,  leading  thinkers  combined  their  interest  in  science  with  an  interest  in  how  to express ideas.

Keywords: 17th   century, interest, science, how to express ideas

In  paragraph  8,  the  writer  states  that:   “Fortunately,  several  members  of  the  Royal  Society  possessed  an interest  in  language  and  became  engaged  in  various  linguistic  projects.”  Then  the  writer  gives  some examples of leading thinkers who were interested in science and could express their ideas in writing style:

“Although a proposal in 1664   to establish a committee for improving the English language came to little, the society‟s members did a great deal to foster the publication of science in English and to encourage the  development  of  a  suitable  writing  style.  Many  members  of  the  Royal  Society  also  published monographs in English. One of the first was by Robert Hooke, the society‟s first curator of experiments, who described his experiments with microscopes in Micrographia (1665). This work is largely narrative in style, based on a transcript of oral demonstrations and lectures.”

+ leading thinkers = members of the Royal Society

+ interest in how to express ideas = interest in language, in various linguistic projects

+ express ideas = described his experiments


Questions 38-40: Complete the table.  Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage.

Keywords: type of science, English

Paragraph  5  indicates  that:  “There  were  several  reasons  why  original  science  continued  to  be  written  in Latin.  The  first  was  simply  a  matter  of  audience.  Latin  was  suitable  for  an  international  audience  of scholars, whereas English reached a socially wider, but more local audience.  Hence, popular science was written in English.”

39. Principia/mathematical treatise

Keywords: example, Latin

Paragraph 5 states that:   “Original science was not done in English until the second half of the 17th century. For example, Newton  published  his  mathematical  treatise,  known  as  the  Principia,  in  Latin,  but published his later work on the properties of light – Opticks – in English”.

40. more local/local audience

Keywords: target audience, but socially wider

Paragraph 5 states that:   “There were several reasons why original science continued to be written in Latin. The  first  was  simply  a  matter  of  audience.  Latin  was  suitable  for  an  international  audience  of  scholars, Whereas English reached a socially wider, but more local audience.”


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  1. Sarishma khatri 16/11/2021
  2. Aziz 22/01/2024

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