IELTS Academic Reading Practice 20

 
schedule First Time: 0 min 0 secs
replay Retake Test
  • Your Score: /
schedule20:00
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 11-26.

Questions 11-14

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 11-14 on your answer sheet.

11 What is the difference between Ecstasy-related deaths reported in the UK and the US?

12 Research on the effect of ecstasy on humans’ mental and physical health…

13 How have researchers learned what they know about Ecstasy’s effect on the brain?

14 According to the article, how is Ecstasy different from other types of drugs, such as heroin or opium?

Questions 15-26

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 15-26 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

15. It is known that Ecstasy along was responsible for the 14 deaths in Britain.
16. The use of Ecstasy is usually fatal.
17. Ecstasy usage has been linked to deaths due to dehydration.
18. People who have asthma are more likely to experience health problems from taking Ecstasy.
19. The UK is going to spend more time and money researching the effects of Ecstasy in the near future.
20. MDMA studies conducted on animals provide absolute proof of the effect of the drug on humans.
21. The serotonin level of Ecstasy users does not return to normal.
22. Ecstasy causes animals, such as monkeys, in research experiment long term brain damage.
23. Immediate effects of Ecstasy can give users greater confidence in social situations.
24. Using Ecstasy is safer than using other drugs like heroin, because fewer people die from Ecstasy use.
25. Teenagers using Ecstasy is a widespread problem around the world.
26. Like heroin, Ecstasy does not produce physical withdrawal symptoms

Answer Sheet
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
N/A
18
N/A
19
N/A
20
N/A
21
N/A
22
N/A
23
N/A
24
N/A
25
N/A
26
N/A
27
N/A
28
N/A
29
N/A
30
N/A
31
N/A
32
N/A
33
N/A
34
N/A
35
N/A
36
N/A
37
N/A
38
N/A
39
N/A
40
N/A


  • help Learn how to HIGHLIGHT & ADD NOTES
    1. HOLD LEFT CLICK
    2. DRAG MOUSE OVER TEXT
    3. RIGHT CLICK SELECTED TEXT

Ecstasy (MDMA)

Ecstasy, or MDMA, is an illegal “dance drug” which some users choose to take at parties, concerts or social events. Over the past several years, the drug’s use has been increasing in Britain at a concerning rate. The 1992 British Medical Journal claims that at least seven people died that year from using Ecstasy, with many other serious negative health reactions also having been documented. In Britain, a total of fourteen deaths have been linked to the drug so far, though there’s a possibility that other drugs may have been part of what lead to these deaths. However, research remains unclear as to whether or not occasional Ecstasy use is, in fact, as dangerous as authorities seem to think it is. All drugs affect the body in different ways, making them dangerous by nature. Therefore, it is essential to understand what types of distinct changes Ecstasy causes to the body in order to determine the types of fatal complications that may become more likely when the drug is taken under specific circumstances.

In Britain, it seems that nearly every case of an MDMA-related death has been primarily caused not by the drug itself, but by the body overheating, as well as well as dehydration caused by inadequate replacement of fluids. Meanwhile, studies focusing on American deaths from Ecstasy appear to implicate other causes since no deaths from overheating have yet been reported. It appears that people who are overall healthy have a low risk of fatality when taking Ecstasy. However, those with pre-existing conditions, such as chronic heart or asthma, should be cautioned against taking it, as they are more likely to experience serious adverse reactions to the drug.

There do not appear to be any immediate physical side-effects or health complications of using MDMA. Some alarming effects in both the short and the long term have been reported, but a direct link from these to use of the drug has not been conclusively shown. Hepatitis, a liver disease, has been revealed as a potential long term effect, as well as damage inflicted to the kidneys. However, cases of human liver or kidney damage have only been reported in Britain. While studies of the effect of the drug on animals have not revealed this kind of damage, researchers have readily admitted that these results are far from conclusive, as animal and human species react to the drug in a variety of different ways. Current evidence indicates that simultaneous consumption of alcohol and Ecstasy may result in lasting harm to the  bodily organs.

Experiments with animals have lead to results which suggest that MDMA causes long-term cellular damage to the brain. However, no such research has been conducted with humans thus far. The most common method for this type of research involves removing parts of the brain, then measuring serotonin levels present weeks or months after drug-use.  Many drugs reduce serotonin levels, and when serotonin levels do not return to normal after drug-use, it’s likely that the drug in question has resulted in damage to cells in certain areas of the brain. Ecstasy has been implicated in causing brain damage in this way, but in most cases, the serotonin level returns to normal, albeit after a long time.

Early experiments with monkeys, in which they were found to have permanent brain damage as a result of being administered MDMA, were used to link brain damage in humans to Ecstasy use. These early concerns led to the drug being classified as extremely dangerous, and although the results of the research were doubted by some and criticised as invalid, no attempt was made to change the classification. However, the latest available data regarding permanent brain damage in humans who have taken Ecstasy regularly over many years (as little as once a week for four years) seem to justify the cautious approach taken in the past. The psychological effects of taking Ecstasy are also a major cause for concern. It is clear that the mind is more readily damaged by the drug than the body. Some regular users of ecstasy admit to suffering psychological damage as a result. Paranoia, depression, loss of motivation, and periods of mania are commonly reported side-effects of Ecstasy use.

However, some claim that using Ecstasy can provide a liberating sense of relaxation and confidence, allowing users to deal with other psychological problems such as anxiety. The downside of these positive effects is that they are usually quite short-term, while the dangerous possibility of becoming dependent on the drug as a coping mechanism remains ever-present.

Perhaps the most damning evidence urging against the use of Ecstasy is that it is undoubtedly an addictive substance, and users can quickly build a tolerance to it, over time requiring higher amounts to get the same effects. Yet, unlike well-known addictive drugs, such as heroin, opium, morphine and so on, Ecstasy does not produce physical withdrawal symptoms. In fact, because one becomes quickly tolerant of its effect on the mind, it is necessary to forgo its use for a while in order to experience the full effect again. Anyhow, a substance, such as Ecstasy, which can strongly affect the user should be treated with an appropriate level of respect and caution.

Reading Passage Vocabulary
Ecstasy (MDMA)

Ecstasy, or MDMA, is an illegal “dance drug” which some users choose to take at parties, concerts or social events. Over the past several years, the drug’s use has been increasing in Britain at a concerning rate. The 1992 British Medical Journal claims that at least seven people died that year from using Ecstasy, with many other serious negative health reactions also having been documented. In Britain, a total of fourteen deaths have been linked to the drug so far, though there’s a possibility that other drugs may have been part of what lead to these deaths. However, research remains unclear as to whether or not occasional Ecstasy use is, in fact, as dangerous as authorities seem to think it is. All drugs affect the body in different ways, making them dangerous by nature. Therefore, it is essential to understand what types of distinct changes Ecstasy causes to the body in order to determine the types of fatal complications that may become more likely when the drug is taken under specific circumstances.

In Britain, it seems that nearly every case of an MDMA-related death has been primarily caused not by the drug itself, but by the body overheating, as well as well as dehydration caused by inadequate replacement of fluids. Meanwhile, studies focusing on American deaths from Ecstasy appear to implicate other causes since no deaths from overheating have yet been reported. It appears that people who are overall healthy have a low risk of fatality when taking Ecstasy. However, those with pre-existing conditions, such as chronic heart or asthma, should be cautioned against taking it, as they are more likely to experience serious adverse reactions to the drug.

There do not appear to be any immediate physical side-effects or health complications of using MDMA. Some alarming effects in both the short and the long term have been reported, but a direct link from these to use of the drug has not been conclusively shown. Hepatitis, a liver disease, has been revealed as a potential long term effect, as well as damage inflicted to the kidneys. However, cases of human liver or kidney damage have only been reported in Britain. While studies of the effect of the drug on animals have not revealed this kind of damage, researchers have readily admitted that these results are far from conclusive, as animal and human species react to the drug in a variety of different ways. Current evidence indicates that simultaneous consumption of alcohol and Ecstasy may result in lasting harm to the  bodily organs.

Experiments with animals have lead to results which suggest that MDMA causes long-term cellular damage to the brain. However, no such research has been conducted with humans thus far. The most common method for this type of research involves removing parts of the brain, then measuring serotonin levels present weeks or months after drug-use.  Many drugs reduce serotonin levels, and when serotonin levels do not return to normal after drug-use, it’s likely that the drug in question has resulted in damage to cells in certain areas of the brain. Ecstasy has been implicated in causing brain damage in this way, but in most cases, the serotonin level returns to normal, albeit after a long time.

Early experiments with monkeys, in which they were found to have permanent brain damage as a result of being administered MDMA, were used to link brain damage in humans to Ecstasy use. These early concerns led to the drug being classified as extremely dangerous, and although the results of the research were doubted by some and criticised as invalid, no attempt was made to change the classification. However, the latest available data regarding permanent brain damage in humans who have taken Ecstasy regularly over many years (as little as once a week for four years) seem to justify the cautious approach taken in the past. The psychological effects of taking Ecstasy are also a major cause for concern. It is clear that the mind is more readily damaged by the drug than the body. Some regular users of ecstasy admit to suffering psychological damage as a result. Paranoia, depression, loss of motivation, and periods of mania are commonly reported side-effects of Ecstasy use.

However, some claim that using Ecstasy can provide a liberating sense of relaxation and confidence, allowing users to deal with other psychological problems such as anxiety. The downside of these positive effects is that they are usually quite short-term, while the dangerous possibility of becoming dependent on the drug as a coping mechanism remains ever-present.

Perhaps the most damning evidence urging against the use of Ecstasy is that it is undoubtedly an addictive substance, and users can quickly build a tolerance to it, over time requiring higher amounts to get the same effects. Yet, unlike well-known addictive drugs, such as heroin, opium, morphine and so on, Ecstasy does not produce physical withdrawal symptoms. In fact, because one becomes quickly tolerant of its effect on the mind, it is necessary to forgo its use for a while in order to experience the full effect again. Anyhow, a substance, such as Ecstasy, which can strongly affect the user should be treated with an appropriate level of respect and caution.

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

coming soon

 
close
Hi, there!

Create your free beta account to use this feature.

close
Create your free beta account