IELTS READING PRACTICE TEST PASSAGE 1: MAKING TIME FOR SCIENCE

MAKING TIME FOR SCIENCE

Chronobiology might sound a little futuristic – like something from a science fiction novel, perhaps – but it’s actually a field of study that concerns one of the oldest processes life on this planet has ever known: short-term rhythms of time and their effect on flora and fauna.

This can take many forms. Marine life, for example, is influenced by tidal patterns. Animals tend to be active or inactive depending on the position of the sun or moon. Numerous creatures, humans included, are largely diurnal – that is, they like to come out during the hours of sunlight. Nocturnal animals, such as bats and possums, prefer to forage by night. A third group are known as crepuscular: they thrive in the low-light of dawn and dusk and remain inactive at other hours.

When it comes to humans, chronobiologists are interested in what is known as the circadian rhythm. This is the complete cycle our bodies are naturally geared to undergo within the passage of a twenty-four hour day. Aside from sleeping at night and waking during the day, each cycle involves many other factors such as changes in blood pressure and body temperature. Not everyone has an identical circadian rhythm. ‘Night people’, for example, often describe how they find it very hard to operate during the morning, but become alert and focused by evening. This is a benign variation within circadian rhythms known as a chronotype.

Scientists have limited abilities to create durable modifications of chronobiological demands. Recent therapeutic developments for humans such as artificial light machines and melatonin administration can reset our circadian rhythms, for example, but our bodies can tell the difference and health suffers when we breach these natural rhythms for extended periods of time. Plants appear no more malleable in this respect; studies demonstrate that vegetables grown in season and ripened on the tree are far higher in essential nutrients than those grown in greenhouses and ripened by laser.

Knowledge of chronobiological patterns can have many pragmatic implications for our day-to-day lives. While contemporary living can sometimes appear to subjugate biology – after all, who needs circadian rhythms when we have caffeine pills, energy drinks, shift work and cities that never sleep? – keeping in synch with our body clock is important. 

The average urban resident, for example, rouses at the eye-blearing time of 6.04 a.m., which researchers believe to be far too early. One study found that even rising at 7.00 a.m. has deleterious effects on health unless exercise is performed for 30 minutes afterward. The optimum moment has been whittled down to 7.22 a.m.; muscle aches, headaches and moodiness were reported to be lowest by participants in the study who awoke then.

Once you’re up and ready to go, what then? If you’re trying to shed some extra pounds, dieticians are adamant: never skip breakfast. This disorients your circadian rhythm and puts your body in starvation mode. The recommended course of action is to follow an intense workout with a carbohydrate-rich breakfast; the other way round and weight loss results are not as pronounced.

Morning is also great for breaking out the vitamins. Supplement absorption by the body is not temporal-dependent, but naturopath Pam Stone notes that the extra boost at breakfast helps us get energised for the day ahead. For improved absorption, Stone suggests pairing supplements with a food in which they are soluble and steering clear of caffeinated beverages. Finally, Stone warns to take care with storage; high potency is best for absorption, and warmth and humidity are known to deplete the potency of a supplement.

After-dinner espressos are becoming more of a tradition – we have the Italians to thank for that – but to prepare for a good night’s sleep we are better off putting the brakes on caffeine consumption as early as 3 p.m. With a seven hour half-life, a cup of coffee containing 90 mg of caffeine taken at this hour could still leave 45 mg of caffeine in your nervous system at ten o’clock that evening. It is essential that, by the time you are ready to sleep, your body is rid of all traces.

Evenings are important for winding down before sleep; however, dietician Geraldine Georgeou warns that an after-five carbohydrate-fast is more cultural myth than chronobiological demand. This will deprive your body of vital energy needs. Overloading your gut could lead to indigestion, though. Our digestive tracts do not shut down for the night entirely, but their work slows to a crawl as our bodies prepare for sleep. Consuming a modest snack should be entirely sufficient.

Questions 1-7

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

In boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE                     if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE               if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN           if there is no information on this

1……………  Chronobiology is the study of how living things have evolved over time.

2  ……………  The rise and fall of sea levels affects how sea creatures behave.

3 ……………  Most animals are active during the daytime.

4 ……………  Circadian rhythms identify how we do different things on different days.

5 ……………  A ‘night person’ can still have a healthy circadian rhythm.

6 ……………  New therapies can permanently change circadian rhythms without causing harm.

7 ……………  Naturally-produced vegetables have more nutritional value.

Questions 8-13

Choose the correct letter, ABC or D

Write the correct letter in boxes 8-13 on your answer sheet.

8. What did researchers identify as the ideal time to wake up in the morning? 

A. 6:04 

B. 7:00 

C. 7:22 

D. 7:30

9. In order to lose weight, we should 

A. avoid eating breakfast 

B. eat a low carbohydrate breakfast 

C. exercise before breakfast 

D. exercise after breakfast

10. Which is NOT mentioned as a way to improve supplement absorption ?

 A. avoiding drinks containing caffeine while taking supplements 

B. taking supplements at breakfast 

C. taking supplements with foods that can dissolve them 

D. storing supplements in a cool, dry environment

11. The best time to stop drinking coffee is 

A. mid-afternoon 

B. 10:00 p.m 

C. only when feeling anxious 

D. after dinner

12. In the evening, we should 

A. stay away from carbohydrate 

B. stop exercising 

C. eat as much as possible 

D. eat a light meal

13. Which of the following phrases best describes the main aim of Reading Passage 1? 

A. to suggest healthier ways of eating, sleeping and exercising 

B. to describe how modern life has made chronobiology largely irrelevant 

C. to introduce chronobiology and describe some practical applications 

D. to plan a daily schedule that can alter our natural chronobiological rhythms

Answers

1. Answer: FALSE 

Chronobiology is the study of how living things have evolved over time

  • Key words: chronobiology, living things, evolved, time
  • Scan for the key words in the passage and we can easily spot the evidence for question 1 in paragraph 1: “Chronobiology might sound a little futuristic … but it’s actually a field of study that concerns one of the oldest processes life on this planet has ever known: short-term rhythms of time and their effect on flora and fauna.”
  • It is clearly stated that chronobiology is the study of short-termrhythms of time and its impacts on plants and animals, NOT how living things change (evolve) over time – evolution suggests long periods of time – as given in the statement.  
  • The answer is FALSE.

2. Answer: TRUE 

 The rise and fall of sea levels affects how sea creatures behave.

  • Key words: rise, fall, sea levels, sea creatures, behave
  • In paragraph 2, it is directly stated that “Marine life, for example,is influenced by tidal patterns.”

the rise and fall of sea levels = tidal patterns

sea creatures = marine life

affect = influence

  • The answer is TRUE.

3. Answer: NOT GIVEN 

Most animals are active during the daytime.

  • Key words: animals, active, daytime
  • Paragraph 2 discusses behavioral patterns of animals, it is stated that: “Animals tend to be active or inactive depending on the position of the sun or moon. Numerous creatures, humans included, are largely diurnal – that is, they like to come out during the hours of sunlight. Nocturnal animals, such as bats and possums, prefer to forage by night. A third group are known as crepuscular: they thrive in the low-light of dawn and dusk and remain inactive at other hours.”
  • The passage only said that (1) animals can be diurnal (active during daytime), nocturnal (active during night time) or crepuscular (active at dawn) and (2) numerous animals arelargely diurnal, which means those animals are most likely to be active during daytime. Therefore, although we are told that many animals are active during daytime, no information about the majority of animals being diurnal was given.
  • The answer is NOT GIVEN.

4. Answer: FALSE 

Circadian rhythms identify how we do different things on different days.

  • Key words: Circadian rhythms, do different things, different days
  • It is stated in paragraph 3 that: “When it comes to humans, chronobiologists are interested in what is known as the circadian rhythm. This is the complete cycle our bodies are naturally geared to undergo within the passage of a twenty-four hour day. Aside from sleeping at nightand waking during the day, each cycle involves many other factors such as changes in blood pressure and body temperature”.
  • The statement said Circadian rhythms indicates how we perform different activities on different days but in the text, Circadian rhythms are said to show what humans do (sleeping, walking and other factors) in a single day (“within the passage of a twenty-four hour day”).
  • The answer is FALSE.

5. Answer: TRUE 

A ‘night person’ can still have a healthy circadian rhythm.

  • Key words: night person, healthy circadian rhythm
  • According to paragraph 3: “‘Night people’, for example, often describe how they find it very hard to operate during the morning, but become alert and focused by evening. This is a benign variation within circadian rhythms known as a chronotype.”

benign = good, not harmful = healthy

  • ‘Night person’ or “chronotype” is only a form of circadian rhythm and carries no risks.  In other words, a ‘night person’ can still be healthy, in spite of this variation in their circadian rhythm.
  • The answer is TRUE.

6. Answer: FALSE 

New therapies can permanently change circadian rhythms without causing harm.

  • Keyword: New therapies, permanently change, circadian rhythms, without harm
  • It is stated in paragraph 4 that: “Recent therapeutic developments for humans such as artificial light machines and melatonin administration can reset ourcircadian rhythms, for example, but our bodies can tell the difference andhealth suffers when we breach these natural rhythms for extended periods of time.”

new therapies = recent therapeutic developments

permanently change circadian rhythms = reset our circadian rhythms

without causing harm >< but our bodies can tell the differenceand health suffers

  • In contrast to the statement where it is said that no harm will be caused, the passage said that new therapies can totally change our circadian rhythms, but as a result our bodies suffer from health problems if we continue these new therapies for a long time.
  • The answer is FALSE.

7. Answer: TRUE 

Naturally-produced vegetables have more nutritional value.

  • Keyword: Naturally-produced vegetables, more nutritional value
  • The evidence can also be found in paragraph 4: “Plants appear no more malleable in this respect; studies demonstrate that vegetables grown in season and ripened on the tree are far higher in essential nutrientsthan those grown in greenhouses and ripened by laser.”
    • naturally-produced vegetables = vegetables ripened on the tree
    • have more nutritional value = far higher in essential nutrients
  • It is clearly stated that vegetables grown naturally are more nutritious than those grown artificially.
  • The answer is TRUE.

8. Answer: C. 7:22 

What did researchers identify as the ideal time to wake up in the morning?

  • Keywords: ideal time, wake up, morning
  • The evidence can be found in paragraph 6: “The optimum moment has been whittled down to 7.22 a.m.; muscle aches, headaches and moodiness were reported to be lowest by participants in the study who awoke then.”

the ideal time = the optimum moment. 

  • It is clearly stated that 7.22 a.m. is the best time to wake up.

=>The answer is C.

9. Answer: C. exercise before breakfast 

In order to lose weight, we should

  • Keywords: lose weight
  • Evidence for question 9 can be found in paragraph 7: “If you’re trying to shed some extra pounds, … .The recommended course of action is to follow an intense workout with a carbohydrate-rich breakfast”.

lose weight = shed some extra pounds

“follow an intense workout with a carbohydrate-rich breakfast” means eating breakfast after exercise = exercise before breakfast

=>The answer is C

  • A is not the answer because it is stated that: “If you’re trying to shed some extra pounds, dieticians are adamant: never skip breakfast.”(skip = avoid)
  • B and D are not the answer because it is stated that: “… the other way round and weight loss results are not as pronounced.”. The other way around (eating breakfast low in carbohydrate + excercising after breakfast) will not result in weight loss.

10. Answer: B. taking supplements at breakfast 

Which is NOT mentioned as a way to improve supplement absorption?

  • Key words: Not mentioned, way, improve supplement absorption
  • Paragraph 8 stated that: “Stone suggests pairing supplements with a food in which they are soluble and steering clear of caffeinated beverages. Finally, Stone warns to take care with storage; high potency is best for absorption, and warmth and humidity are known to deplete the potency of a supplement.”
  • For better supplement absorption:

1. pairing supplements with a food in which they are soluble = taking supplements with foods that can dissolve them

2. steering clear of caffeinated beverages = avoiding drinks containing caffeine while taking supplements

3. take care with storage; warmth and humidity are known to deplete the potency of a supplement = storing supplements in a cool, dry environment

  • All 3 options A, C and D are mentioned. Option B is not mentioned.

=> The answer is B.

11. Answer: A. mid-afternoon 

The best time to stop drinking coffee is

  • Key words: best time, stop drinking coffee
  • In paragraph 9, it is stated that: “but to prepare for a good night’s sleep we are better off putting the brakes on caffeine consumption as early as 3 p.m”.

stop drinking coffee = better off putting the brakes on caffeine consumption

3 p.m = mid-afternoon

=> The answer is A.

12. Answer: D. eat a light meal 

In the evening, we should 

  • Key word: evening
  • In paragraph 10, it is stated that: “ Evenings are an important time for winding down before sleep…..Consuming a modest snack should be entirely sufficient.”

eat = consume

light meal= modest snack

=> The answer is D.

A is not the answer because it is stated that: “an after-five carbohydrate-fast … will deprive your body of vital energy needs.”

B is not mentioned

C is not the answer because: “Overloading your gut could lead to indigestion”.

13. Answer: C. to introduce chronobiology and describe some practical applications 

Which of the following phrases best describes the main aim of Reading Passage 1?

  • Key words: the main aim of passage 1
  • For option A – to suggest healthier ways of eating, sleeping and exercising:

Some details relating to healthy ways of eating, sleeping and exercising were provided, but they were not the main focus of the passage. A is not the answer.

  • For option B – to describe how modern life has made chronobiology largely irrelevant:

The passage did not explain how modern life made chronobiology no longer important, it actually demonstrated how important chronobiology is. B is not the answer.

  • For option C – to introduce chronobiology and describe some practical applications:

The passage introduced chronobiology by providing its definitions and its applications in eating, sleeping and exercising habits. (“Knowledge of chronobiological patterns can have many pragmatic implications for our day-to-day lives”– paragraph 5).

practical = pragmatic 

=>The answer is C.

IELTS Reading British council

More IELTS Reading Passage 1

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