IELTS® General Reading Practice 27

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If someone told us to picture a “perfect caterpillar”, chances are we would all think of a very similar type of insect. Interestingly enough, based on a survey given to botanists in the United Kingdom, more than 90% of participants who were asked this question came up with the same distinct image of the monarch caterpillar in its larvae form. Monarch caterpillars have a distinct yellow, brown, and green coloring and are considered to be one of the most ordinary insects in the world. However, their supposedly lackluster existence is only true insofar as the insects' physical appearance. Moreover, you might be surprised to learn that not all creatures are drawn to these colors. In fact, animals see this mix as a warning sign that the insect could act as a potentially poisonous creature, possibly leading to death.

In their larvae form, monarch caterpillars ingest the milkweed plant, which is a critical part in guaranteeing their survival in rainforests and tropical climates. This milkweed, however, contains a poisonous toxin that stores itself in their bodies for their entire lifespan. Thus, even when a monarch caterpillar blossoms into a beautiful monarch butterfly, the milkweed remains in their system. Of course, the toxins will never become poisonous to the insects, but they can be dangerous for other creatures. What happens if an animal ingests these caterpillars or butterflies? Although most animals will not necessarily die upon contact, they will feel quite ill for a long time. 

What most find to be an amazing aspect of these creatures' lives is the annual flight that is taken once the caterpillars develop into their final forms as butterflies. The most noteworthy fact is that this popular flight does not occur year-round, but rather, only during a certain period. Each year during the winter, these creatures take a three-month journey from their homes in China and Japan to Australia, totaling almost 8,000 kilometers. At their fastest speeds, they can travel between one hundred and one hundred and fifty kilometers per day. As a sort of ritual, these insects migrate to the same forests each year, and have never journeyed to a different area as a group. This process dates as far back as the 1700s, when it was first marked by zoologists.

When it comes time to find a partner, these butterflies will find a perfect mate during the winter months, rather than during the autumn months, during which they prepare for their voyage. It is somewhat of a bittersweet ritual, however, as most of the male monarchs die soon after the mating process takes place. Although their female counterparts will travel back to the northern area, they will also die on the way. Perhaps the “consolation prize” is the fact that the eggs hatch along the way, where they have been dropped off during the journey. With this, the amazing process begins again--the famous caterpillars become butterflies and continue their journey to the north.

Unfortunately, this rather prominent insect group is currently dealing with various threats to its existence. Specifically, these factors are directly related to actions taken by the human population, mostly related to climate change and pollution. When it comes to the changing temperatures, zoologists have predicted that one of the most debilitating effects for monarch butterflies will be linked to more humid winters. Previously, this insect group flourished in traditionally cold winters, in which there was a particularly arid atmosphere. Presently, however, the air has become increasingly aqueous, posing as a threat to the significant three-month journey. In other words, if these winter seasons are dry, the insects can survive the sub-freezing temperatures, but if they are wet, this particular butterfly group will arrive more quickly to their end. Additionally, as summers rise to higher temperatures, habitats that are suitable for these caterpillars and butterflies will begin to move further and further north. The result, scientists fear, will drastically alter the journey that marks the existence of these butterflies. This would include not only longer migrations and traveling longer distances, but would most likely involve a higher rate of death before mating, resulting in fewer hatched eggs along the journey.

Researchers speculate that weather patterns will continue shifting towards more humid temperatures, but also believe that the monarch group may have at least one more decade of uninterrupted travel. Despite this somewhat positive prediction, there are still other factors that may inhibit the butterflies' journey. Perhaps the most detrimental example involves the illegal deforestation that is taking place in Australia, resulting in habitat loss for insects and animals alike. This issue, in particular, has reached such a pivotal point, that the National Union for the Conservation of Nature has listed the monarch butterfly as a “threatened phenomena.” This information begs the question: what will come of these beautiful creatures? We can only hope that human beings will realize the results of their actions and take responsibility sooner than later.

28. NOT GIVEN- This is not included in the passage. The statement, “Interestingly enough, based on a survey given to botanists in the United Kingdom, more than 90% of participants who were asked this question came up with the same distinct image of the monarch caterpillar in its larvae form.” does not prove this to be correct or incorrect.
29. YES- The statements, “What most find to be an amazing aspect of these creatures' lives is the annual flight that is taken once the caterpillars develop into their final forms as butterflies. The most noteworthy fact is that this popular flight does not occur year-round, but rather, only during a certain period.” prove that the author would agree.
30. NO- The statement, “It is somewhat of a bittersweet ritual, however, as most of the male monarchs die soon after the mating process takes place..” proves that the author would not agree with the question statement.
31. NOT GIVEN- This is not included in the passage. The only thing that is in the passage discusses is that the butterflies die.
32. YES- The statements, “Unfortunately, this rather prominent insect group is currently dealing with various threats to its existence. Specifically, these factors are directly related to actions taken by the human population, mostly related to climate change and pollution.” prove that the author would not agree with the question statement.
33. NO- The statement, “Specifically, these factors are directly related to actions taken by the human population, mostly related to climate change and pollution.” proves that the author would not agree with the question statement.
34. YES- The statement, “We can only hope that human beings will realize the results of their actions and take responsibility sooner than later.” proves that the author would agree with the question statement.
35. C- The statement, “Monarch caterpillars have a distinct yellow, brown, and green coloring and are considered to be one of the most ordinary insects in the world.” proves that this is correct.
36. D- The statement, “In fact, animals see this mix as a warning sign that the insect could act as a potentially poisonous creature, possibly leading to death.” proves this to be correct.
37. B- The statement, “In their larvae form, monarch caterpillars ingest the milkweed plant, which is a critical part in guaranteeing their survival in rainforests and tropical climates.” proves that this is correct.
38. A- The statements, “As a sort of ritual, these insects migrate to the same forests each year, and have never journeyed to a different area as a group. This process dates as far back as the 1700s, when it was first marked by zoologists.” prove this to be correct.
39. A- The statement, “When it comes time to find a partner, these butterflies will find a perfect mate during the winter months, rather than during the autumn months, during which they prepare for their voyage.” proves this to be correct.
40. C- The statement, “Perhaps the “consolation prize” is the fact that the eggs hatch along the way, where they have been dropped off during the journey.” proves this to be correct.




This reading practice simulates the third section of the IELTS General Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage(s) and answer questions 28-40.
Questions 28-34
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 28-34 on your answer sheet, write

YES   if the statement reflects the claims of the writer
NO   if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer
NOT GIVEN   if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

28. Most people come up with the same idea of a monarch caterpillar due to educational standards in the UK.

29. The butterflies take a truly remarkable journey only once a year.

30. The annual journey is bittersweet due to changing climates.

31. Both male and female butterflies will die after mating due to a rare chemical trait.

32. It is not easy for this type of butterfly to live in current conditions.

33. For the most part, the human population is helping to alleviate the harsh conditions placed on monarch butterflies.

34. People can help the existence of threatened monarchs if they become responsible for their actions.

Questions 35-40
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 35-40 on your answer sheet.

35. For the most part, monarch caterpillars are usually thought of as

36. Animals understand the distinct color of the caterpillars to be

37. The milkweed plant is

38. The 1700s signifies

39. Butterflies will find their mates

40. Butterfly eggs will hatch






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
Picture-Perfect Caterpillars


If someone told us to picture a “perfect caterpillar”, chances are we would all think of a very similar type of insect. Interestingly enough, based on a survey given to botanists in the United Kingdom, more than 90% of participants who were asked this question came up with the same distinct image of the monarch caterpillar in its larvae form. Monarch caterpillars have a distinct yellow, brown, and green coloring and are considered to be one of the most ordinary insects in the world. However, their supposedly lackluster existence is only true insofar as the insects' physical appearance. Moreover, you might be surprised to learn that not all creatures are drawn to these colors. In fact, animals see this mix as a warning sign that the insect could act as a potentially poisonous creature, possibly leading to death.

In their larvae form, monarch caterpillars ingest the milkweed plant, which is a critical part in guaranteeing their survival in rainforests and tropical climates. This milkweed, however, contains a poisonous toxin that stores itself in their bodies for their entire lifespan. Thus, even when a monarch caterpillar blossoms into a beautiful monarch butterfly, the milkweed remains in their system. Of course, the toxins will never become poisonous to the insects, but they can be dangerous for other creatures. What happens if an animal ingests these caterpillars or butterflies? Although most animals will not necessarily die upon contact, they will feel quite ill for a long time. 

What most find to be an amazing aspect of these creatures' lives is the annual flight that is taken once the caterpillars develop into their final forms as butterflies. The most noteworthy fact is that this popular flight does not occur year-round, but rather, only during a certain period. Each year during the winter, these creatures take a three-month journey from their homes in China and Japan to Australia, totaling almost 8,000 kilometers. At their fastest speeds, they can travel between one hundred and one hundred and fifty kilometers per day. As a sort of ritual, these insects migrate to the same forests each year, and have never journeyed to a different area as a group. This process dates as far back as the 1700s, when it was first marked by zoologists.

When it comes time to find a partner, these butterflies will find a perfect mate during the winter months, rather than during the autumn months, during which they prepare for their voyage. It is somewhat of a bittersweet ritual, however, as most of the male monarchs die soon after the mating process takes place. Although their female counterparts will travel back to the northern area, they will also die on the way. Perhaps the “consolation prize” is the fact that the eggs hatch along the way, where they have been dropped off during the journey. With this, the amazing process begins again--the famous caterpillars become butterflies and continue their journey to the north.

Unfortunately, this rather prominent insect group is currently dealing with various threats to its existence. Specifically, these factors are directly related to actions taken by the human population, mostly related to climate change and pollution. When it comes to the changing temperatures, zoologists have predicted that one of the most debilitating effects for monarch butterflies will be linked to more humid winters. Previously, this insect group flourished in traditionally cold winters, in which there was a particularly arid atmosphere. Presently, however, the air has become increasingly aqueous, posing as a threat to the significant three-month journey. In other words, if these winter seasons are dry, the insects can survive the sub-freezing temperatures, but if they are wet, this particular butterfly group will arrive more quickly to their end. Additionally, as summers rise to higher temperatures, habitats that are suitable for these caterpillars and butterflies will begin to move further and further north. The result, scientists fear, will drastically alter the journey that marks the existence of these butterflies. This would include not only longer migrations and traveling longer distances, but would most likely involve a higher rate of death before mating, resulting in fewer hatched eggs along the journey.

Researchers speculate that weather patterns will continue shifting towards more humid temperatures, but also believe that the monarch group may have at least one more decade of uninterrupted travel. Despite this somewhat positive prediction, there are still other factors that may inhibit the butterflies' journey. Perhaps the most detrimental example involves the illegal deforestation that is taking place in Australia, resulting in habitat loss for insects and animals alike. This issue, in particular, has reached such a pivotal point, that the National Union for the Conservation of Nature has listed the monarch butterfly as a “threatened phenomena.” This information begs the question: what will come of these beautiful creatures? We can only hope that human beings will realize the results of their actions and take responsibility sooner than later.

28. NOT GIVEN- This is not included in the passage. The statement, “Interestingly enough, based on a survey given to botanists in the United Kingdom, more than 90% of participants who were asked this question came up with the same distinct image of the monarch caterpillar in its larvae form.” does not prove this to be correct or incorrect.
29. YES- The statements, “What most find to be an amazing aspect of these creatures' lives is the annual flight that is taken once the caterpillars develop into their final forms as butterflies. The most noteworthy fact is that this popular flight does not occur year-round, but rather, only during a certain period.” prove that the author would agree.
30. NO- The statement, “It is somewhat of a bittersweet ritual, however, as most of the male monarchs die soon after the mating process takes place..” proves that the author would not agree with the question statement.
31. NOT GIVEN- This is not included in the passage. The only thing that is in the passage discusses is that the butterflies die.
32. YES- The statements, “Unfortunately, this rather prominent insect group is currently dealing with various threats to its existence. Specifically, these factors are directly related to actions taken by the human population, mostly related to climate change and pollution.” prove that the author would not agree with the question statement.
33. NO- The statement, “Specifically, these factors are directly related to actions taken by the human population, mostly related to climate change and pollution.” proves that the author would not agree with the question statement.
34. YES- The statement, “We can only hope that human beings will realize the results of their actions and take responsibility sooner than later.” proves that the author would agree with the question statement.
35. C- The statement, “Monarch caterpillars have a distinct yellow, brown, and green coloring and are considered to be one of the most ordinary insects in the world.” proves that this is correct.
36. D- The statement, “In fact, animals see this mix as a warning sign that the insect could act as a potentially poisonous creature, possibly leading to death.” proves this to be correct.
37. B- The statement, “In their larvae form, monarch caterpillars ingest the milkweed plant, which is a critical part in guaranteeing their survival in rainforests and tropical climates.” proves that this is correct.
38. A- The statements, “As a sort of ritual, these insects migrate to the same forests each year, and have never journeyed to a different area as a group. This process dates as far back as the 1700s, when it was first marked by zoologists.” prove this to be correct.
39. A- The statement, “When it comes time to find a partner, these butterflies will find a perfect mate during the winter months, rather than during the autumn months, during which they prepare for their voyage.” proves this to be correct.
40. C- The statement, “Perhaps the “consolation prize” is the fact that the eggs hatch along the way, where they have been dropped off during the journey.” proves this to be correct.

 
IELTS General 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.

 
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