IELTS MASTER | IELTS Reading Test 61

IELTS Reading Test 61

sharks – face extinction

Professor Robert Law, bead of Marine Biological Ltd, which monitors the ocean environment, and a leading governmental advisor on marine pollution, is claiming today that sharks are in danger of extinction. Professor Law’s main point is that worldwide the number of sharks of most species is dropping rapidly. Exact figures about these elusive creatures are hard to come by, but the general consensus is that certain kinds of shark population have decreased by up to 75% in the last 30 years.

The great white and tiger sharks have seen the greatest drop in numbers, down by as much as 90% from 20 years ago. Smaller sharks are also under threat – the populations of makos, hammerheads, even common dogfish are being decimated. Estimates suggest that British dogfish numbers have halved in the last decade alone.

And this decline is worldwide. The big sharks congregate mainly in the warmer waters of the Pacific and Caribbean, but cold water areas such as the Atlantic and the North Sea have their own species and these too are in danger. The reasons for the decline in numbers are not hard to see. One huge reason is the continued demand for shark fins in South-East Asia, where they are used to make soup and as ingredients in medicines. Most sharks that are killed commercially in the West are processed for the oil that comes from their livers. Sharks are also victims of fear, since they are routinely killed by fishermen when they are landed with other catches.

“Sharks have no protection.” writes Professor Law. “They are not outside the law – most countries have laws protecting the species which are most under threat – but the problem is that people are so frightened of them that the laws are not enforced. There are perhaps five marine biologists in Europe actively involved in attempts to save shark species, although there is greater awareness in America and Australia. Sharks have an image problem. Nobody associates them with needing to be saved simply because they are such fearsome predators.”

But the market demand for shark products has always been high. The real reason why shark stocks have plummeted is the same as the reason why other fish species are in decline. Modern fishing technology – the use of sonar and deep-netting in particular – has made the shark’s natural defences useless.

Charles Starkling, author of Jaws: the Myth of the Sea, agrees. “The equipment the shark has to defend itself is perfect in the right environment. Against other sharks, humans, fish, all the normal dangers, the shark is virtually invincible.” But Starkling adds that no animal, no matter how large and dangerous on its own, can fight against steel nets. “The nets that are put out to protect swimmers don’t just keep sharks away. They kill them. A shark which is caught in a net dies, because sharks can’t stop swimming. Without a swim bladder, the shark drowns as soon as it stops moving.” Starkling says it is common practice for sharks to have their fins cut off by fishermen and then to be dropped back in the ocean alive. They die by drowning.

And the ecology of sharks makes them especially vulnerable. Sharks are top-of-the-chain predators, feeding on virtually anything else in the water, and consequently they are quite rare. For every million herring in the Atlantic, there will be one mako. Sharks are solitary and territorial, with unimaginably vast areas. The larger sharks also reproduce slowly, giving birth to live young one at a time.

Most people are afraid of sharks, but without good reason. You are many thousands of times more likely to be run over or die from smoking – even death by lightning or drowning in your bath are more likely – than to be attacked by a shark, and even then most shark attack victims survive. Recent research suggests that most sharks kill by mistake after taking an exploratory bite – humans are not sharks’ chosen food. But time is running out for these ancient predators of the deeps. When their populations have gone below a certain level, no amount of legislation will protect them. Professor Law points out that most sharks cannot be kept in zoos, like tigers, and that once they are gone they will be gone forever. He counsels that sharks urgently need protection by law if they are to continue to grace the seas.

Questions 1-8
Complete the summary below. Choose your answers from the box below the summary and write them in boxes 1 – 8 on the answer sheet. There are more words than spaces, so you will not use all the given words.

Sharks Face Extinction
All over the world, shark populations are in dramatic (1)………………………. In warm and cold waters, many shark species have been reduced to a (2)……………………….. of their former size. This has come about largely as a result of the demand for shark products in the medical and catering industries, but sharks are also left biologically (3)…………………………., since they lack swim bladders and can drown if they are (4)…………………………… And the shark’s reputation means it does not enjoy the (5)……………………………… of other endangered species; conservation laws are often (6)……………………….. All these factors are compounded by recent (7)……………………….. in the techniques of fishing. Sharks are comparatively rare, because of their status as (8)……………………….., and reproduce slowly. This makes them even more exposed to the dangers of overfishing. With stocks already very low, the time for full legal protection has come.


Questions 9-15
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1? In boxes 9 -15 on your answer sheet write

YES                              if the statement agrees with the information
NO                                if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN             if there is no information on this in the passage.

9 We know precisely how much shark populations have declined.
10 The biggest reason for the decline of sharks is the demand for shark fins.
11 People are afraid to implement regulations safeguarding sharks.
12 The shark is able to protect itself in all circumstances.
13 Sharks live in groups.
14 Shark attacks are a statistically improbable cause of death for humans.
15 Sharks will become extinct in the near future.

Cambridge IELTS Tests 1 to 17

water power

Some of the ways in which Britain gets its energy are often dangerous and dirty. They are also unsustainable. Water power from the tides and the waves is one way to reduce pollution and create energy safely and cleanly.

More than 70% of the earth’s surface is water. It is impossible to know exactly how much energy could be produced from this, although as an example 4-metre high waves in storms could produce up to 700 kilowatts per metre. While it is not practical to use stormy seas as a resource, even relatively calm seas and tidal rivers can be exploited for their energy potential.

Nowadays, machinery can be used to convert the power of moving water into electricity. In the past, a less efficient method was to use the power of the water directly in, for example, mills, where the falling water drove a wheel which simply drove the mill to convert corn to flour. Another alternative is to create a hydraulic ram, which sends water up a pipe to a higher level using only the power of the water itself.

Hydro-electricity is the most common use of water power in Britain, although even then it only accounts for 2% of all the electricity generated in Britain. A huge body of water, the reservoir, is held back by a dam so the water is fed through pipes at great speed, to a turbine which generates electricity. There are major advantages to this system. First, it is a clean source of power which uses only natural renewable resources. It is safe, too, if it is well-constructed, although there have been disasters when dams have burst. It is also possible to control how much power is generated. The major disadvantage, especially in Britain, which is comparatively small and overpopulated, is that hydro-electric power uses lots of land, which has to be flooded to make reservoirs. It also has very high start-up costs.

However, small-scale hydro-electric projects have fewer disadvantages than the huge schemes such as the Hoover Dam in the USA. They are cheaper to build and less potentially dangerous. This kind of smaller project uses turbines, which work on a similar principle to old-fashioned waterwheels, but are smaller and more efficient.

With impulse turbines, water is forced through pipes at speed. It hits specially-designed sections of a wheel, which spin. The kinetic energy thus produced is transferred to the engine. There are various kinds of impulse turbines, including the Pelton Turbine, which is a single or double width of cup-shaped devices on a narrow wheel, and the Cross-Flow Turbine, which consists of thin paddles on a long shaft, and which is suitable for wider areas.

There are also reaction turbines such as the Francis Turbine, which looks rather like a ship’s propeller. They consist of a series of blades mounted inside the pipe which is carrying the water under great pressure. These blades are turned by the flow of water across them.

Small water turbines are only ever about 80% efficient, as some efficiency is inevitably lost in the transfer of energy. But this should not prevent us exploiting the power of water further. The small-scale systems described here are cheap and clean, and, once set-up costs have been met, will provide power for years to come without much maintenance and at no permanent cost to the environment.

Questions 16-21
Label the diagrams below. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from Reading Passage 2 for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 16-21 on your answer sheet.

Questions 22-25
Complete each of the following statements with words taken from Reading Passage 2. Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 22 – 25 on your answer sheet.

22 Using water power to move machinery is………………………………………….than using it to generate electricity.
23 About 20% of energy………………………………….with smaller water turbines.
24 All water turbines rely on water being……………………………… great speed.
25 The main expense of hydro-electric projects lies in………………………….

the art of history

1 The earliest stage of writing is called pre-writing or proto-literary, and depends on direct representation of objects, rather than representing them with letters or other symbols. Evidence for this stage, in the form of rock and cave paintings, dates back to about 15,000 years ago, although the exact dates are debatable. This kind of proto-literate cave painting has been found in Europe, with the best known examples m South-Western France, but also in Africa and on parts of the American continent. These petrographs (pictures on rock) show typical scenes of the period, and include representations of people, animals and activities. Most are astonishingly beautiful, with a vibrancy and immediacy that we still recognise today. They are painted with pigments made from natural materials including crushed stones and minerals, animal products such as blood, ashes, plant materials of all kinds, and they produce a wide range of colours and hues.

2 Why did ancient people put such effort into making them? Various theories have been put forward, but the most compelling include the idea that the pictures were records of heroic deeds or important events, that they were part of magical ceremonies, or that they were a form of primitive calendar, recording the changes in the seasons as they happened. These, then, are all explanations as to why man started to write.

3 A related theory suggests that the need for writing arose thereafter from the transactions and bartering that went on. In parts of what is now Iraq and Iran, small pieces of fired earth – pottery – have been found which appear to have been used as tokens to represent bartered objects, much as we use tokens in a casino, or money, today. Eventually, when the tokens themselves became too numerous to handle easily, representations of the tokens were inscribed on day tablets.

4 An early form of writing is the use of pictograms, which are pictures used to communicate. Pictograms have been found from almost every part of the world and every era of development, and are still in use in primitive communities nowadays. They represent objects, ideas or concepts more or less directly. They tend to be simple in the sense that they are not a complex or full picture, although they are impressively difficult to interpret to an outsider unfamiliar with their iconography, which lends to be localised, and to differ widely form society to society. They were never intended to be a detailed testimony which could be interpreted by outsiders, but to serve instead as aide-memoires to the author, rather as we might keep a diary in a personal shorthand. However, some modem pictograms are more or less universally recognised, such as the signs which indicate men’s and women’s toilets, or road signs, which tend to be very similar throughout the world.

5 The first pictograms that we know of are Sumerian in origin, and date to about 8000 BC. They show how images used to represent concrete objects could be expanded to include abstractions by adding symbols together, or using associated symbols. One Sumerian pictogram, for example, indicates ‘death’ by combining the symbols for ‘man’ and winter’; another shows ‘power’ with the symbol for a man with the hands enlarged.

6 By about 5,000 years ago, Sumerian pictograms had spread to other areas, and the Sumerians had made a major advance towards modern writing with the development of the rebus principle, which meant that symbols could be used to indicate sounds. This was done try using a particular symbol not only for the thing it originally represented, but also for anything which was pronounced in a similar way. So the pictogram for na (meaning ‘animal’) could also be used to mean ‘old’ (which was also pronounced na). The specific meaning of the pictogram (whether na meant ‘old’ or animal j could only be decided through its context.

7 It is a short step from this to the development of syllabic writing using pictograms, and this next development took about another half a century. Now the Sumerians would add pictograms to each other, so that each, representing an individual sound – or syllable – formed part of a larger word. Thus pictograms representing the syllables he, na and mi (‘mother’, ‘old’, my’) could be put together to form henami or ‘grandmother’.

Questions 26-32
Reading Passage 3 has seven paragraphs 1 – 7. Choose the most suitable headings for paragraphs 1 – 7 from the list of headings below. Write the appropriate letters A – H in boxes 26 – 32 on your answer sheet. There are more headings than paragraphs, so you will not use them all.

Paragraph Headings
A Magic and Heroes
B Doing Business
C Early Developments
D Sounds and Symbols
E Images on Stone
F Stories and Seasons
G A Personal Record
H From Visual to Sound

26 Paragraph 1
27 Paragraph 2
28 Paragraph 3
29 Paragraph 4
30 Paragraph 5
31 Paragraph 6
32 Paragraph 7

Questions 33-37
Complete the following notes on Reading Passage 3 using ONE or TWO WORDS from the Reading Passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 33 – 37 on your answer sheet.

Notes on the Development of Writing

First stage of writing – pre-writing or proto-literacy – very old – 15,000 years. Evidence: cave and rock paintings. Famous example – (33)…………………………. Reasons for development of writing: primitive ceremonies, recording events, seasons, used on pottery to represent (34)………………………… Next stage: simple pictograms – pictures used to represent articles and (35)…………………………… Very simple drawings (but very difficult to understand). Then – 8000 BC – combined (36)…………………………… create new concepts (eg. man + winter = death). After this – started using same pictogram for different words with same (37)…………………………Very important step.

Questions 38 – 40
Choose the appropriate letters A – D and write them in boxes 38 – 40 on your answer sheet.

38 The earliest stages of writing
A were discovered 15,000 years ago and are found all over the world.
B are pictures which show the natural life of the time.
C are called petrographs and were painted with natural materials.
D could not describe concepts.

39 The earliest pictograms
A represent complex objects and are difficult to understand.
B represent comparatively simple objects and are easy to understand.
C are a record of events for outsiders.
D are fairly simple but may not be easy to interpret.

40 About 5.000 years ago
A Sumerians were developing sounds.
B Sumerians were writing in a modern style.
C pictograms were used over a wide area.
D pictogram symbols could only have one meaning.

1. decline
2. fraction
3. vulnerable
4. trapped
5. protection
6. ignored
7. improvements
8. predators
9. no
10. not given
11. yes
12. no
13. no
14. yes
15. not given
16. reservoir
17. (inlet) pipe
18. turbine
19. dam (wall(
20. pelton turbine
21. cross flow turbine
22. less efficient
23. is lost
24. forced through pipes
25. high start-up costs
26. E
27. F
28. B
29. G
30. C
31. D
32. H
33. south-western France
34. bartered objects
35. ideas
36. symbols
37. sound
38. C
39. D
40. C