IELTS® General Reading Practice 9

close Filter
search
 
schedule First Time: 0 min 0 secs
replay Retake Test
  • Your Score: 0 / 0
schedule20:00
  • help Learn how to HIGHLIGHT & ADD NOTES
    1. HOLD LEFT CLICK
    2. DRAG MOUSE OVER TEXT
    3. RIGHT CLICK SELECTED TEXT

30. Understanding Speed, Aliens, and the Future

Have you ever watched an animal documentary showcasing a cheetah catching its prey at 75 miles per hour? If so, you may have thought that it seemed impossible for a living creature to run that fast! Now, imagine that cheetah running at 186,000 miles per second—the speed of light. Of course, that would be an impossible feat, but understanding this speed is crucial when exploring potential life outside of planet Earth. Of course, the speed of light has been a highly-discussed topic around the world. However, for most of his career, physicist Michael Graham has been interested in how this speed correlates with alien life. As such, Graham is currently delving into possible explanations and theories regarding the subject. Could the speed of light one day be used against the civilization on Earth? Graham seeks these answers and more in his most recent study.

31. Influences and Early Career

Due to his curiosity in studying potential alien life in outer space, Graham began studying physics from a young age. Since his father, Bernard Stolton, was a professor of chemistry and life sciences at the University of Oxford, Michael had known that he wanted to study science from a young age. At the age of 15, Graham created a hypothetical spaceship model that provided a basic, introductory example as to what space travel could look like. Although the model was quite rudimentary, colleagues of Bernard Stolton were impressed by the high caliber of detail made by such a young student. Now, almost 40 years into his teaching career, Graham is using the ideas included in this project to speculate how extraterrestrial civilisations could potentially use space travel to make contact with Earth.

32. Future Plans Despite Criticisms Preparing for Contact with the Unknown

Of course, Graham’s studies support the somewhat controversial idea that extraterrestrial beings exist. Despite the ongoing debate in the scientific community surrounding this topic, Graham is determined that scientists must, at the very least, be open to the mere idea of potential future interactions. In fact, his research on the issue has led him to believe that extraterrestrial beings will most likely want to make contact with Earthly civilisations within the next century. Based on his lifelong studies, he posits that not only does life beyond Earth exist, but insists that we must be prepared to establish contact first. Thus, he created a hypothetical spaceship that contains an almost perfect engine, which would be able to efficiently convert its fuel into energy in hardly any time at all. Most scientists, however, are more concerned with the price tag (and other potential economic costs) that would come along with such a venture.

33. Funding and Monetary Concerns

Of course, with any large venture involving space travel, financial information is necessary when seeking out support. In order to create something literally “out of this world”, Graham had drawn up a cost analysis regarding the financial aspects related to rapid interstellar space travel prior to announcing his idea. His findings suggest that a journey to the nearest star and back to planet Earth would be the equivalent to the monetary costs associated with several hundred thousand years’ worth of electrical energy consumption in the United States. Although financing this cost is currently impossible, Graham hopes to receive support from other astronomers, scientists, and colleagues. Given the recent backlash regarding the plan, however, the prospects of this seem quite rare.

34. Criticisms and Disbelief From Peers

Graham’s plan initially received a great deal of interest from scientists and astronomers alike. However, once the cost analysis was presented at the “Annual Meeting of Scientists”, held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2018, many strayed from the idea and actively dismissed any future prospects of the plan. One reason for this is that the majority cannot justify the cost along with the uncertainty of the existence of UFOs, let alone extraterrestrial civilizations. Those who are against this idea argue that available funding should first be given to projects that are deemed as “absolutely necessary” for space travel, such as revamping existing spacecrafts with energy-efficient remodels and updates. Rightly so, the long-distance travel, working energy, and hefty expenses involved would mean that most astronomers cannot agree with the need to currently invest in such a project. Arguing against the undertaking, most astronomers state that “UFO sightings” are purely natural phenomena, ranging from bright meteors to man-made devices, such as private planes.

35. Preparing for Contact with the Unknown Future Plans Despite Criticisms

Despite these negative opinions from the majority in the scientific community, Graham has always argued otherwise, stating that various UFO reports have never been discredited. Rather, experts in the field have never been able to explain the exact reasoning behind the various reports that have been established. Although some sightings may indeed be hoaxes, others are completely unexplainable and even falsely understood as IFOs (identified flying objects) or NFOs (not-at-all flying objects). Even though Graham does not look forward to receiving support from his colleagues any time soon, he will continue on with the search for creating a perfectly efficient spaceship. In the end, who can truly say whether or not extraterrestrial civilisations exist? Perhaps answering this question will involve traveling into the unknown--traveling out of this world.

30. iv As this is the introduction of the article, it contains information regarding aliens, speed, and the future of science. Therefore, “Understanding Speed, Aliens, and the Future” is the best option.
31. ii - Section B describes Michael Graham's early career, influences, and education. Therefore, “Influences and Early Career” is the best option.
32. vi - Section C describes potential preparation and hypotheses that Graham has developed for communication with potential alien life. For this reason, “Preparing for Contact with the Unknown” is the best option.
33. ix - Section D deals primarily with explaining financials and monetary concerns on behalf of the cost analysis drawn up by Graham, along with the hopes of receiving support from astronomers. Therefore, “Funding and Monetary Concerns” is the best option.
34. i - Section E discusses how “many strayed from the idea” despite initial interest. The paragraph also provides reasoning as to why there are doubts in the project. Therefore, “Criticisms and Disbelief From Peers” is the best option.
35. x - Section F provides information on future plans for the project, citing that Graham will continue on with the project. Therefore, “Future Plans Despite Criticisms” is the best option.
36. YES - The statements, “However, once the cost analysis was presented at the “Annual Meeting of Scientists”, held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2018, many strayed from the idea and actively dismissed any future prospects of the plan. One reason for this is that the majority cannot justify the cost along with the uncertainty of the existence of UFOs, let alone extraterrestrial civilizations.” prove this to be correct.
37. NO - “Rightly so, the long-distance travel, working energy, and hefty expenses involved would mean that most astronomers cannot agree with the need to currently invest in such a project.” shows that the author does not find this fact strange. If the statement did not have “rightly so”, it would be ‘NOT GIVEN’
38. NOT GIVEN - This is not provided in the text, and we cannot say whether or not the author would agree. The statement, “Arguing against the undertaking, most astronomers state that reported “UFO sightings” are purely natural phenomena, ranging from bright meteors to man-made devices, such as private planes.” does not provide substantial evidence.
39. NOT GIVEN - This is not provided in the text, and we cannot say whether or not the author would agree. The statement, “Perhaps answering this question will involve traveling into the unknown--traveling out of this world.” does not provide substantial evidence.
40. YES - The statement, “Even though Graham does not look forward to receiving support from his colleagues any time soon, he will continue on with the search for creating a perfectly efficient spaceship.” shows that the writer would agree with this claim.



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 30-40.
Questions 30-35
The reading passage has six sections, A-F.

Choose the correct heading for sections A-F from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number i-x in boxes 30-35 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings
  1. Criticisms and Disbelief From Peers
  2. Influences and Early Career
  3. Oxford University Programs
  4. Understanding Speed, Aliens, and the Future
  5. Hypothetical Scientists
  6. Preparing for Contact with the Unknown
  7. Career Failures
  8. Proof of Aliens
  9. Funding and Monetary Concerns
  10. Future Plans Despite Criticisms

30. Section A

31. Section B

32. Section C

33. Section D

34. Section E

35. Section F

Questions 36-40
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 36-40 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

36. The majority of astronomers cannot justify the costs of Graham's potential project.

37. It is strange that astronomers cannot agree to invest in Graham's project, despite the associated costs.

38. Most UFO sightings are most likely due to private planes.

39. Graham's project will be able to verify whether or not alien life exists.

40. Even if he does not receive support from his colleagues, Graham will continue on with his research.






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
N/A
29
N/A
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40


Reading Passage Vocabulary
Extraterrestrial life


30. Understanding Speed, Aliens, and the Future

Have you ever watched an animal documentary showcasing a cheetah catching its prey at 75 miles per hour? If so, you may have thought that it seemed impossible for a living creature to run that fast! Now, imagine that cheetah running at 186,000 miles per second—the speed of light. Of course, that would be an impossible feat, but understanding this speed is crucial when exploring potential life outside of planet Earth. Of course, the speed of light has been a highly-discussed topic around the world. However, for most of his career, physicist Michael Graham has been interested in how this speed correlates with alien life. As such, Graham is currently delving into possible explanations and theories regarding the subject. Could the speed of light one day be used against the civilization on Earth? Graham seeks these answers and more in his most recent study.

31. Influences and Early Career

Due to his curiosity in studying potential alien life in outer space, Graham began studying physics from a young age. Since his father, Bernard Stolton, was a professor of chemistry and life sciences at the University of Oxford, Michael had known that he wanted to study science from a young age. At the age of 15, Graham created a hypothetical spaceship model that provided a basic, introductory example as to what space travel could look like. Although the model was quite rudimentary, colleagues of Bernard Stolton were impressed by the high caliber of detail made by such a young student. Now, almost 40 years into his teaching career, Graham is using the ideas included in this project to speculate how extraterrestrial civilisations could potentially use space travel to make contact with Earth.

32. Future Plans Despite Criticisms Preparing for Contact with the Unknown

Of course, Graham’s studies support the somewhat controversial idea that extraterrestrial beings exist. Despite the ongoing debate in the scientific community surrounding this topic, Graham is determined that scientists must, at the very least, be open to the mere idea of potential future interactions. In fact, his research on the issue has led him to believe that extraterrestrial beings will most likely want to make contact with Earthly civilisations within the next century. Based on his lifelong studies, he posits that not only does life beyond Earth exist, but insists that we must be prepared to establish contact first. Thus, he created a hypothetical spaceship that contains an almost perfect engine, which would be able to efficiently convert its fuel into energy in hardly any time at all. Most scientists, however, are more concerned with the price tag (and other potential economic costs) that would come along with such a venture.

33. Funding and Monetary Concerns

Of course, with any large venture involving space travel, financial information is necessary when seeking out support. In order to create something literally “out of this world”, Graham had drawn up a cost analysis regarding the financial aspects related to rapid interstellar space travel prior to announcing his idea. His findings suggest that a journey to the nearest star and back to planet Earth would be the equivalent to the monetary costs associated with several hundred thousand years’ worth of electrical energy consumption in the United States. Although financing this cost is currently impossible, Graham hopes to receive support from other astronomers, scientists, and colleagues. Given the recent backlash regarding the plan, however, the prospects of this seem quite rare.

34. Criticisms and Disbelief From Peers

Graham’s plan initially received a great deal of interest from scientists and astronomers alike. However, once the cost analysis was presented at the “Annual Meeting of Scientists”, held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2018, many strayed from the idea and actively dismissed any future prospects of the plan. One reason for this is that the majority cannot justify the cost along with the uncertainty of the existence of UFOs, let alone extraterrestrial civilizations. Those who are against this idea argue that available funding should first be given to projects that are deemed as “absolutely necessary” for space travel, such as revamping existing spacecrafts with energy-efficient remodels and updates. Rightly so, the long-distance travel, working energy, and hefty expenses involved would mean that most astronomers cannot agree with the need to currently invest in such a project. Arguing against the undertaking, most astronomers state that “UFO sightings” are purely natural phenomena, ranging from bright meteors to man-made devices, such as private planes.

35. Preparing for Contact with the Unknown Future Plans Despite Criticisms

Despite these negative opinions from the majority in the scientific community, Graham has always argued otherwise, stating that various UFO reports have never been discredited. Rather, experts in the field have never been able to explain the exact reasoning behind the various reports that have been established. Although some sightings may indeed be hoaxes, others are completely unexplainable and even falsely understood as IFOs (identified flying objects) or NFOs (not-at-all flying objects). Even though Graham does not look forward to receiving support from his colleagues any time soon, he will continue on with the search for creating a perfectly efficient spaceship. In the end, who can truly say whether or not extraterrestrial civilisations exist? Perhaps answering this question will involve traveling into the unknown--traveling out of this world.

30. iv As this is the introduction of the article, it contains information regarding aliens, speed, and the future of science. Therefore, “Understanding Speed, Aliens, and the Future” is the best option.
31. ii - Section B describes Michael Graham's early career, influences, and education. Therefore, “Influences and Early Career” is the best option.
32. vi - Section C describes potential preparation and hypotheses that Graham has developed for communication with potential alien life. For this reason, “Preparing for Contact with the Unknown” is the best option.
33. ix - Section D deals primarily with explaining financials and monetary concerns on behalf of the cost analysis drawn up by Graham, along with the hopes of receiving support from astronomers. Therefore, “Funding and Monetary Concerns” is the best option.
34. i - Section E discusses how “many strayed from the idea” despite initial interest. The paragraph also provides reasoning as to why there are doubts in the project. Therefore, “Criticisms and Disbelief From Peers” is the best option.
35. x - Section F provides information on future plans for the project, citing that Graham will continue on with the project. Therefore, “Future Plans Despite Criticisms” is the best option.
36. YES - The statements, “However, once the cost analysis was presented at the “Annual Meeting of Scientists”, held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2018, many strayed from the idea and actively dismissed any future prospects of the plan. One reason for this is that the majority cannot justify the cost along with the uncertainty of the existence of UFOs, let alone extraterrestrial civilizations.” prove this to be correct.
37. NO - “Rightly so, the long-distance travel, working energy, and hefty expenses involved would mean that most astronomers cannot agree with the need to currently invest in such a project.” shows that the author does not find this fact strange. If the statement did not have “rightly so”, it would be ‘NOT GIVEN’
38. NOT GIVEN - This is not provided in the text, and we cannot say whether or not the author would agree. The statement, “Arguing against the undertaking, most astronomers state that reported “UFO sightings” are purely natural phenomena, ranging from bright meteors to man-made devices, such as private planes.” does not provide substantial evidence.
39. NOT GIVEN - This is not provided in the text, and we cannot say whether or not the author would agree. The statement, “Perhaps answering this question will involve traveling into the unknown--traveling out of this world.” does not provide substantial evidence.
40. YES - The statement, “Even though Graham does not look forward to receiving support from his colleagues any time soon, he will continue on with the search for creating a perfectly efficient spaceship.” shows that the writer would agree with this claim.
 
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.

 
close
Hi, there!

Get 5 Ask-An-Instructor question on the house
by singing up to our 7 day free trial.

close
Start your 7 day free trial!