IELTS® Academic Reading Practice 2

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Succession and Ecosystems A Ecologists use the term “succession” to refer to the changes that happen in plant communities and ecosystems over time. In the early twentieth century, the American ecologist Frederic Clements pointed out that a succession of plant communities would develop after a disturbance such as a volcan...
This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 15-28.

Questions 15-20
The reading passage has nine paragraphs labelled A-I.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter A-I in boxes 15-20 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

15. An opposition to the idea of plants and animals being associated with “superorganisms”
16. Examples of various ecosystems which demonstrate that the degree of species diversity results in a stable ecosystem.
17. A discussion of random processes affecting specific details of successions.
18. Disagreements over the meaning of an ecology term intended to identify the most stable ecosystem.
19. Mention of a new type of environment that is thought to increase stability by supporting a wide variety of organisms.
20. A reference to a new term that gradually replaced discredited terms for the combination of a physical environment and the plants and animals which live together there.
Questions 21-25
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 21-25 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.

21. Areas that are recovering from serious disturbances like volcanic eruptions provide opportunities to observe the development of plant communities.
22. Climax communities last longer than any other type of community.
23. According to Clements, the development of plant communities proceeds in a lawlike fashion and results in unstable climax communities.
24. Climax communities are the most resilient communities, as they change the least over time.
25. Redwood forests are found in temperate zones.
Questions 26-28
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 26-28 on your answer sheet.

26. Why do many ecologists prefer the term “association” to “community” when describing a climax plant formation?

27. The idea of biome was challenged by the fact that …

28. Gleason’s opposition to the Clementsian views of plant ecology was based on the claim that plant species grow in places where …


Answer Sheet
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Reading Passage Vocabulary
 
IELTS Academic Reading Tips for Success
These are general tips that will appear on all reading questions.

Tips to improve your reading speed
To get a high score on the IELTS reading section, you need to have a fast reading speed. To have a fast reading speed, you need to improve your vocabulary and practice dissecting sentences. One strategy to dissect a sentence is to look for the subject and verb of the sentence. Finding the subject and verb will help you better understand the main idea of said sentence. Keep in mind, a common feature of a IELTS reading passage is to join strings of ideas to form long compound sentences. This produces large chunks that students have a hard time absorbing. Do not get overwhelmed by its length, just look for the subject and verb, the rest of the ideas will flow.

Keep in mind, having a slow reading speed makes skimming or scanning a reading passage more difficult. The process of quickly skimming through a reading passage for specific keywords or main ideas is a requirement for you to employ successful reading strategies to improve your IELTS reading score. In other words, skimming and scanning are critical skills to ensure you complete all questions in the allotted time frame.
IELTS Reading Strategies
Once you can read and comprehend a passage with a rate of, at least, 220 words per minute, you'll be ready to start implementing our strategies. All too often, students spend too much time reading the passages and not enough time answering the questions. Here is a step by step guide for tackling the reading section.

  1. Step 1: Read questions first

    One of the most common mistakes that candidates make when approaching the reading exam is reading every single word of the passages. Although you can practice for the exam by reading for pleasure, "reading blindly" (reading without any sense of what the questions will ask) will not do you any favors in the exam. Instead, it will hurt your chances for effectively managing your time and getting the best score.

    The main reason to read the questions first is because the type of question may determine what you read in the passage or how you read it. For example, some question types will call for the "skimming" technique, while others may call for the "scanning" technique.

    It is important to answer a set of questions that are of the same question type. You'll need to determine which question type you want to tackle first. A good strategy would be to start with the easier question type and move on to more difficult question types later. The Easiest question types are the ones where you spend less time reading. For example, the Matching Heading question type is an easier one because you only need to find the heading that best describes the main idea of a paragraph. An example of a difficult question type would be Identifying Information. For this question type, you'll need to read each paragraph to find out if each statement is TRUE, FALSE, or NOT GIVEN according to the passage.

    Here is a table that lists the difficulty levels for each question type. Use this table as a reference when choosing which question type you want to tackle first.

    Difficulty level Question Type
    Easy Match Headings
    Short answer
    Medium Matching Sentence Endings
    Matching Features
    Multiple choice
    Sentence Completion
    Diagram Label, Summary, Note, Table, Flow-Chart Completion
    Difficult Match Information
    Identifying Information (TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN)
    Identifying Viewer's claims (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN)

  2. Step 2: Read for an objective

    After you've read the questions for the passage, you will be able to read for an objective. What does this mean? For example, if you come across a question that includes the year "1896", you can make a note of when this year comes up in the text, using it to answer the question later on. There are two reading techniques that will help you stay on track with reading for an objective. The first one, skimming, is best defined as reading fast in order to get the "gist", or general idea, or a passage. With this technique, you are not stopping for any unfamiliar words or looking for specific details. The second technique, scanning, is best defined as reading for specific information. With this technique, you are not reading for the overall gist, but rather, specific information. Notice how each of these techniques has a specific objective in mind. This will help you find information more quickly.

  3. Step 3: Take notes

    As you're reading for an objective, you should also be making notes on the margins of the passage, placing stars next to key information, or underlining things that you believe will help you answer the various questions. This will make it easier for you to check back when you are asked certain things in the questions. Choose whichever note-taking system is right for you - just make sure you do it!

  4. Step 4: Answer wisely

    After you've read the questions, read the passage, and have taken any appropriate notes, you you should have located the part of the text where you where you need to read carefully. Then just read carefully and think critically to determine the correct answer.

IELTS Reading Question Types
 
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