IELTS® Academic Reading Practice 63

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The Columbian Exchange

A Over a period of millions of years, the Old and New worlds have separated due to continental drift, a change which resulted in the North and South American continents being split away from the Eurasian and African continents. Divergent evolution in species all over the world resulted from this lengthy separation.One example of this divergence is how rattlesnakes evolved on one shore of the Atlantic and vipers developed the other. Humans after the year 1492 began to change this, however, by artificially reconnecting geographic areas long-separated by introducing foreign plants, animals, and bacteria. This ecological event, often referred to as the Columbian Exchange, is well-known as one of the more significant ecological changes within the past millennium.

B At the time when European settlers arrived in the Old World, plant species often grown on farms like barley, wheat, turnips, and rice had never been introduced in the New World, while crops such as maize, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and manioc had never been introduced in the Old World. The same is true for animals such as horses, cows, sheep, and goats, which are all native to the Old World. Aside from animals like llamas, alpacas, dogs, some kinds of birds, and the guinea pig, the New World and Old World did not have the same or even similar kinds of animal species. Moreover, the diseases found in the Old World’s densely populated areas, which humans inhabited, along with the animals which often carry disease such as chickens, cattle, black rats, and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes had both never been seen in the New World. Among these pathogens were communicable diseases such as smallpox, measles, chickenpox, influenza, malaria, and yellow fever.

C Predictably, European settlers grew the crops which they had brought with them, such as wheat and apples, in their early settlements along the east coast of what is now the United States. Although European colonists did not intentionally grow weeds, even actively trying to pull them up, European weeds also grew well in the New World. An amateur naturalist, John Josselyn was an Englishman who came to New England on two occasions during the seventeenth century. During his time, he compiled a list on which he noted, “Of Such Plants as Have Sprung Up since the English Planted and Kept Cattle in New England,” which included couch grass, dandelion, shepherd’s purse, groundsel, sow thistle, and chickweed. Of the plants listed, there was a plantain (Plantago major) which was called “Englishman’s Foot” by the Amerindians of New England and Virginia, believing that it grew only in places where English “have trodden” and that it, “was never known before the English came into this country.” European settlers were unintentionally contaminating American fields with weed seeds as they cultivated Old World crops. More significant than this, they were stripping hus, as they intentionally sowed Old-World crop seeds, and burning forests, exposing the native minor flora to sunlight, as well as Old World livestock. Native plants, unable to survive the stress, withered, while imported weeds thrived due to their evolution around large numbers of herd animals for thousands of years.

D In the early 1600s, horses and cattle arrived in the New World on settler boats, and experienced ideal conditions and landscape in North America. There were horses in the state of Virginia by the year 1620 and in Massachusetts by 1629. Plenty of these horses were free-range, though there were some collars with a hook at the bottom to catch on fences as they tried to escape that indicate their connection to humans. Fencing wasn’t intended to were cage livestock in, but instead, was to prevent them from getting to the crops.

E Although Native Americans resisted the European influence, their attempts were not effective, and they suffered from afflictions such as white brutality, alcoholism, the killing and driving off of game, and the repurposing of farmland. However, these factors alone cannot completely explain the level of their defeat. What was most influential in harming the Native Americans was infectious diseases, the most infamous of these being smallpox. In the early 1630s, the Algonquin of Massachusetts experienced the first recorded pandemic of smallpox in British North America detonated among. According to William Bradford of Plymouth Plantation, those inflicted “fell down so generally of this disease as they were in the end not able to help one another, no, not to make a fire nor fetch a little water to drink, nor any to bury the dead.” Both traders and missionaries who attempted to settle into the American interior gace a similarly awful account of the way that smallpox affected aboriginal Americans. In just the year 1738, this epidemic wiped out half of the Cherokee population, and in 1759 nearly half the Catawbas. Throughout the beginning of the next century, two thirds of the Omahas and maybe half of the all the population between the Missouri River and New Mexico; in 1837-38 nearly every last one of the Mandans and perhaps half the people of the high plains.

F Exportation of the native animals and plants did not revolutionize Old World agriculture or ecosystems the same way as the introduction of European animals to the New World did. While grey squirrels and muskrats, along with a few others, did manage to establish themselves in America east of the Atlantic and west of the Pacific, they have not had much of an impact. Many domesticated animals of the New World are also present in the Old World. However, turkeys have not displaced chickens and geese, and guinea pigs are of use in labs. Even still, rabbits are still popular in butcher shops.

G The New World has had a measurable impact in the crops of the Old World. With crops such as corn, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, various squashes, chilies, that are now a staple in the diet of millions of Europeans, Africans, and Asians, their influence is far-reaching. This kind of exchange can also be used to explain growth in the global population within the last 300 years. It seems that the Columbian Exchange marks an important part of history in the growth of the global human population

H This is not a matter of superiority within biosystems, rather, it is related to the reality of environmental contrasts. While Amerindians were used to life in the context of one specific environment, Europeans and Africans were accustomed to others. European settlers arrived to the New World, bringing, both wittingly and unknowingly, plants, animals, and diseases. By doing this, they attempted to recreate a familiar environment, and help their own population thrive. Meanwhile, Amerindians were not immune to the diseases which Europeans carried, wiping out their once thriving populations. Today, the populations of both places have adapted, but the demographic triumph of the invaders, which was the most spectacular feature of the Old World’s invasion of the New, still stand.




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 28-40.
Questions 28-36
The reading passage has eight paragraphs labelled A-H.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter A-H in boxes 28-36 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

28. Naming of different plant species that invaded the New World

29. A description of the demise of many indigenous people

30. A contributing factor in the population growth of both the Old and New Worlds

31. The resulting shifts in the demographics of the Old and New Worlds

32. A description of some animal species being ineffective in affecting the Old World

33. Comparison of the species lacked in the New World and Old World

34. An account of exportation of European animals to North America

35. How the continents came into being

36. The foremost reason why the indigenous population declined

Questions 37-38
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 37-38 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.

37. Smallpox was the worst infectious diseases to kill Native Americans

38. Amerindians had not adapted to European germs, and so initially their population increased.

Questions 39-40
Complete the short answers below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in 39-40 on your answer sheet.

39. Who reported the same story of European diseases among the indigenes from the American interior?

40. Which feature of the Old World's invasion of the New is still clear today?




Answer Sheet
1
N/A
2
N/A
3
N/A
4
N/A
5
N/A
6
N/A
7
N/A
8
N/A
9
N/A
10
N/A
11
N/A
12
N/A
13
N/A
14
N/A
15
N/A
16
N/A
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
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40


Reading Passage Vocabulary
The Columbian Exchange


A Over a period of millions of years, the Old and New worlds have separated due to continental drift, a change which resulted in the North and South American continents being split away from the Eurasian and African continents. Divergent evolution in species all over the world resulted from this lengthy separation.One example of this divergence is how rattlesnakes evolved on one shore of the Atlantic and vipers developed the other. Humans after the year 1492 began to change this, however, by artificially reconnecting geographic areas long-separated by introducing foreign plants, animals, and bacteria. This ecological event, often referred to as the Columbian Exchange, is well-known as one of the more significant ecological changes within the past millennium.

B At the time when European settlers arrived in the Old World, plant species often grown on farms like barley, wheat, turnips, and rice had never been introduced in the New World, while crops such as maize, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and manioc had never been introduced in the Old World. The same is true for animals such as horses, cows, sheep, and goats, which are all native to the Old World. Aside from animals like llamas, alpacas, dogs, some kinds of birds, and the guinea pig, the New World and Old World did not have the same or even similar kinds of animal species. Moreover, the diseases found in the Old World’s densely populated areas, which humans inhabited, along with the animals which often carry disease such as chickens, cattle, black rats, and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes had both never been seen in the New World. Among these pathogens were communicable diseases such as smallpox, measles, chickenpox, influenza, malaria, and yellow fever.

C Predictably, European settlers grew the crops which they had brought with them, such as wheat and apples, in their early settlements along the east coast of what is now the United States. Although European colonists did not intentionally grow weeds, even actively trying to pull them up, European weeds also grew well in the New World. An amateur naturalist, John Josselyn was an Englishman who came to New England on two occasions during the seventeenth century. During his time, he compiled a list on which he noted, “Of Such Plants as Have Sprung Up since the English Planted and Kept Cattle in New England,” which included couch grass, dandelion, shepherd’s purse, groundsel, sow thistle, and chickweed. Of the plants listed, there was a plantain (Plantago major) which was called “Englishman’s Foot” by the Amerindians of New England and Virginia, believing that it grew only in places where English “have trodden” and that it, “was never known before the English came into this country.” European settlers were unintentionally contaminating American fields with weed seeds as they cultivated Old World crops. More significant than this, they were stripping hus, as they intentionally sowed Old-World crop seeds, and burning forests, exposing the native minor flora to sunlight, as well as Old World livestock. Native plants, unable to survive the stress, withered, while imported weeds thrived due to their evolution around large numbers of herd animals for thousands of years.

D In the early 1600s, horses and cattle arrived in the New World on settler boats, and experienced ideal conditions and landscape in North America. There were horses in the state of Virginia by the year 1620 and in Massachusetts by 1629. Plenty of these horses were free-range, though there were some collars with a hook at the bottom to catch on fences as they tried to escape that indicate their connection to humans. Fencing wasn’t intended to were cage livestock in, but instead, was to prevent them from getting to the crops.

E Although Native Americans resisted the European influence, their attempts were not effective, and they suffered from afflictions such as white brutality, alcoholism, the killing and driving off of game, and the repurposing of farmland. However, these factors alone cannot completely explain the level of their defeat. What was most influential in harming the Native Americans was infectious diseases, the most infamous of these being smallpox. In the early 1630s, the Algonquin of Massachusetts experienced the first recorded pandemic of smallpox in British North America detonated among. According to William Bradford of Plymouth Plantation, those inflicted “fell down so generally of this disease as they were in the end not able to help one another, no, not to make a fire nor fetch a little water to drink, nor any to bury the dead.” Both traders and missionaries who attempted to settle into the American interior gace a similarly awful account of the way that smallpox affected aboriginal Americans. In just the year 1738, this epidemic wiped out half of the Cherokee population, and in 1759 nearly half the Catawbas. Throughout the beginning of the next century, two thirds of the Omahas and maybe half of the all the population between the Missouri River and New Mexico; in 1837-38 nearly every last one of the Mandans and perhaps half the people of the high plains.

F Exportation of the native animals and plants did not revolutionize Old World agriculture or ecosystems the same way as the introduction of European animals to the New World did. While grey squirrels and muskrats, along with a few others, did manage to establish themselves in America east of the Atlantic and west of the Pacific, they have not had much of an impact. Many domesticated animals of the New World are also present in the Old World. However, turkeys have not displaced chickens and geese, and guinea pigs are of use in labs. Even still, rabbits are still popular in butcher shops.

G The New World has had a measurable impact in the crops of the Old World. With crops such as corn, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, various squashes, chilies, that are now a staple in the diet of millions of Europeans, Africans, and Asians, their influence is far-reaching. This kind of exchange can also be used to explain growth in the global population within the last 300 years. It seems that the Columbian Exchange marks an important part of history in the growth of the global human population

H This is not a matter of superiority within biosystems, rather, it is related to the reality of environmental contrasts. While Amerindians were used to life in the context of one specific environment, Europeans and Africans were accustomed to others. European settlers arrived to the New World, bringing, both wittingly and unknowingly, plants, animals, and diseases. By doing this, they attempted to recreate a familiar environment, and help their own population thrive. Meanwhile, Amerindians were not immune to the diseases which Europeans carried, wiping out their once thriving populations. Today, the populations of both places have adapted, but the demographic triumph of the invaders, which was the most spectacular feature of the Old World’s invasion of the New, still stand.

 
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 Sentence Completion
    Short answer
    Medium Matching Features
    Multiple choice
    Matching Headings
    Summary, Table, Flow-Chart Completion
    Difficult Matching Sentence Endings
    Matching 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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