IELTS Reading Practice Test 64 with Answer Key

IELTS Reading Practice Test 64
IELTS Reading Practice Test 64

READING PASSAGE 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1 -13, which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

Cleaner, Abundant Fuels Attracting Record Investment

A

Renewable energy captured from the wind, sun, Earth’s heat, tides, and from small dams is drawing record levels of investment as poor villagers and entire nations alike seek clean, abundant ways to fuel economic growth. Global investment in renewable energy set a new record of $30 billion in 2004, according to a new report from the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). Technologies such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and small hydro now provide 160 gigawatts of electricity generating capacity – about four per cent of the world total – the report said. They are growing at rates of around 20-30 per cent per year, however, compared to two or three per cent for oil and gas.

B

“Renewable energy has become big business,” said Eric Martinot, lead author of the study, “Renewables 2005: Global Status Report”. Martinot, a senior fellow at the Washington, DC-based think tank Worldwatch Institute and a lecturer at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said renewable energy has attracted some of the world’s largest companies, including General Electric, Siemens, Sharp, and Royal Dutch Shell. The report estimated that nearly 40 million households worldwide heat their water with solar collectors, most of them installed in the last five years. Altogether, renewable energy industries provide 1.7 million jobs, most of them skilled and well paid.

C

Martinot and 100-plus researchers in more than 20 countries assessed several renewable technologies: small hydro (meaning small dams), modem biomass (agricultural waste, for example), wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. These technologies now compete with conventional fuels in four distinct markets: power generation, hot water and space heating, transportation fuels, and rural (off-grid) energy supplies.

D

Renewable energy is gaining in popularity because it is considered to be in infinite supply – unlike oil, coal, and gas – and because it involves little or no pollution compared to those fossil fuels. Scientists blame the burning of fossil fuels for the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that stoke global climate changes, which in turn are intensifying droughts in some parts of the world, floods and storms in others, and the spread of tropical diseases to temperate zones.

E

Additionally, renewable energy could empower millions of poor and vulnerable people who lack access to reliable, affordable, and clean modem energy services, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a message to the Beijing International Renewable Energy Conference, which opened Monday. Annan said that rising oil prices have hit oil-importing developing countries especially hard and underscore the need for alternative energy supplies. According to the REN21 report, government support for renewable energy is growing rapidly. At least 48 countries now have some type of renewable energy promotion policy, including 14 developing countries. Typically, they include targets to ensure that renewable sources generate 5-30 per cent of energy use in a given country by around 2010-2012.

F

The renewable sector’s prospects appeared to receive a further boost Monday, when China announced it was raising its target for reliance on renewable energy even as it acknowledged that coal would remain its primary source for electricity for decades to come. Renewable energy should account for 15 per cent of national consumption by 2020. China had previously aimed to get 10 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

G

Mandates for blending biofuels into vehicle fuels have been enacted in 20-plus states and provinces worldwide as well as in three key countries – Brazil, China, and India – the report said. Government leadership has ensured market success, according to REN21, which is composed of representatives of governments and non-governmental organisations. Market leaders in renewable energy in 2004 included Brawl in biofuels, China in solar hot water, Germany in solar electricity, and Spain in wind power, the report said.

H

The fastest growing energy technology in the world is grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV), existing capacity of which blossomed by sixty per cent per year from 2000-2004, to cover more than 400,000 rooftops in Japan, Germany, and the United States, it found. Wind power came second, with generating capacity growing by 28 per cent last year with almost seventeen gigawatts installed as of 2004. Production of ethanol, biodiesel, and other biofuels exceeded 33 billion litres in 2004, when ethanol displaced about three per cent of the 1,200 billion litres of gasoline produced globally.

I

An estimated $500 million goes to developing countries each year as development assistance for renewable energy projects, training, and market support, with the German Development Finance Group (GDFG), the World Bank Group, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) providing the majority of these funds, and dozens of other donors and programmes providing the rest, the report said. More than 4.5 million “green” power consumers in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan purchased renewable electricity in 2004, it added. Asia is seen as a vast market for renewable energy as it seeks to meet growing demand for power to feed rapid economic expansion amid runaway oil prices.

Questions 1 – 4

The text has 9 paragraphs (A – I). Which paragraph contains each of the following pieces of information?

  1. Cases where the use of renewable fuels is in competition with non-renewable ones
  2. The membership of REN21
  3. The rates at which the use of renewable fuels is growing faster than the use of nonrenewable ones in the world
  4. The sources of funding for renewable fuels in developing countries

Questions 5 – 8

Complete the following sentences using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the text for each gap.

  1. Biomass technology can use _____________________.
  2. Governments with renewable energy policies usually set ______________ for renewable energy use.
  3. The most important source of energy for China in 2020 is expected to be _______________.
  4. Economic expansion and high oil prices mean that Asian countries are ________________ for renewable sources of energy.

Questions 9 – 13

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1? In boxes 9 -13 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE                        if the information in the text agrees with the statement

FALSE                       if the information in the text contradicts with the statement

NOT GIVEN              if there is no information on this

  1. Eric Martinot advises large companies on investing in renewable energy.
  2. Eric Martinot has over 100 people working in his team.
  3. Increases in oil prices hurt developing economies more than developed ones.
  4. The use of solar power grew by 60% between the year 2000 and the year 2004.
  5. “Green” power consumers only get part of their electricity from alternative energy sources.

READING PASSAGE 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14 – 26, which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.

A GUIDE TO WOMENOMICS

A

In rich countries, girls now do better at school than boys, more women are getting university degrees than men arc, and females arc filling most new jobs. Arguably, women are now the most powerful engine of global growth. In 1950, only one third of American women of working age had a paid job. Today two thirds do, and women make up almost half of America’s workforce. Since 1950, men’s employment rate has slid by 12 percentage points, to 77%. In fact, almost everywhere more women are employed and the percentage of men with jobs has fallen – although in some countries, the feminisation of the workplace still has far to go: in Italy and Japan, women’s share of jobs is still 40% or less.

B

The increase in female employment in developed countries has been aided by a big shift in the type of jobs on offer. Manufacturing work, traditionally a male preserve, has declined, while jobs in services have expanded. This has reduced the demand for manual labour and put the sexes on a more equal footing. In the developing world, too, more women now have paid jobs. In the emerging East Asian economics, forever)’ 100 men in the labour force there are now 83 women, higher even than the average in OECD countries. Women have been particularly important to the success of Asia’s export industries, typically accounting for 60- 80% of jobs in many export sectors, such as textiles and clothing.

C

Of course, it is misleading to talk of women’s “entry” into the workforce. Besides formal employment, women have always worked in the home, looking after children, cleaning or cooking, but because this is unpaid, it is not counted in the official statistics. To some extent, the increase in female paid employment has meant fewer hours of unpaid housework. However, the value of housework has fallen by much less than the time spent on it, because of the increased productivity afforded by dishwashers, washing machines and so forth. Paid nannies and cleaners employed by working women now also do some work that used to belong in the non-market economy.

D

The increase in female employment has also accounted for a big chunk of global growth in recent decades. GDP growth can come from three sources: employing more people; using more capital per worker, or an increase in the productivity of labour and capital due to new technology’. Since 1970, women have filled two new jobs for every’ one taken by a man. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the employment of extra women has not only added more to GDP than new jobs for men but has also chipped in more than either capital investment or increased productivity. Carve up the world’s economic growth a different way and another surprising conclusion emerges: over the past decade or so, the increased employment of women in developed economies has contributed much more to global growth. Women are becoming more important in the global marketplace not just as workers, but also as consumers, entrepreneurs, managers and investors. Women have traditionally done most of the household shopping, but now they have more money of their own to spend. Surveys suggest that women make perhaps 80% of consumers’ buying decisions –  from health care and homes to furniture and food.

E

Women’s share of the workforce has a limit. In America it has already stalled. However, there will still be a lot of scope for women to become more productive as they make better use of their qualifications. At school, girls consistently get better grades and in most developed countries, well over half of all university degrees are now being awarded to women. In America 140 women enrol in higher education each year for every 100 men; in Sweden the number is as high as 150. (There are, however, only 90 female Japanese students for every 100 males.) In years to come, better educated women will take more of the top jobs. At present, for example, in Britain more women than men train as doctors and lawyers, but relatively few arc leading surgeons or partners in law firms. The main reason why women still get paid less on average than men is not that they are paid less for the same occupations, such as nursing and teaching. This pattern is likely to change.

F

Making better use of women’s skills is not just a matter of fairness. Plenty of studies suggest that it is good for business, too. Women account for only 7% of directors on the worlds corporate boards – 15% in America, but less than 1% in Japan. Yet a study by Catalyst, a consultancy, found that American companies with more women in senior management jobs earned a higher return on equity than those with fewer women at the top. This might be because mixed teams of men and women are better than single-sex groups at solving problems and spotting external threats. Studies have also suggested that women are often better than men at building teams and communicating.

G

In poor countries too, the underutilisation of women stunts economic growth. A study last year by the World Economic Forum found a clear correlation between sex equality (measured by economic participation, education, health and political empowerment) and GDP per head. Correlation does not prove the direction of causation. However, other studies also suggest that inequality between the sexes harms long-term growth. In particular, there is strong evidence that educating girls boosts prosperity. It is probably the single best investment that can be made in the developing world. Not only are better educated women more productive, but they raise healthier, better educated children. There is huge potential to raise income per head in developing countries, where fewer girls go to school than boys. More than two thirds of the world’s illiterate adults arc women.

H

It is sometimes argued that it is short-sighted to get more women into paid employment. The more women go out to work, it is said, the fewer children there will be and the lower growth will be in the long run. Yet the facts suggest otherwise. Data shows that countries with high female labour participation rates, such as Sweden, tend to have the decline in fertility has been greatest in several countries where female employment is low.

Questions 14 – 17

The text has 8 paragraphs (A – H). Which paragraph does each of the following headings best fit?

  1. New producers, new consumers
  2. More work, fewer children?
  3. A better educated workforce
  4. Women in new, expanding industries

Questions 18 – 22

According to the text, FIVE of the following statements are true. Write the corresponding letters in answer boxes 18 to 22 in any order.

A.         A higher percentage of Italian women have jobs than Japanese women.

B.         More women than men work in Asia’s textile industries.

C.         The value of housework is not included in official statistics.

D.         Research shows that men make more purchasing decisions than women.

E.          Most surgeons in Britain are women.

F.          Firms with more women in senior management offer higher investment returns.

G.         Most illiterate people in the world are women.

H.        Some people think that lower birth rates lead to lower economic growth.

Questions 23 – 26

According to the information given in the text, choose the correct answer or answers from the choices given.

  1. Since 1950, the percentage of

A.         American women with jobs has increased.

B.         American men with jobs has decreased.

C.        Japanese and Italian women with jobs has remained stable.

  1. Economics can get bigger by

A.         increasing the size of the workforce.

B.         giving shares to workers.

C.         using more advanced technology.

  1. Mixed teams of male and female managers are thought to be better at

A.         building teams.

B.         solving problems.

C.         communicating.

  1. Research by the World Economic Forum shows that

A.         sex equality leads to higher GDP.

B.         there is a connection between sex equality and GDP.

C.         higher education leads to higher GDP.

 READING PASSAGE 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27 – 40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

A LIBRARY AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

A few years ago, at the height of the dotcom boom, it was widely assumed that a publishing revolution, in which the printed word would be supplanted by the computer screen, was just around the corner. It wasn’t: for many, there is still little to match the joy of cracking the spine of a good book and settling down for an hour or two of reading. A recent flurry of activity by big technology companies – including Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo! – suggests that the dream of bringing books online is still very much alive.

The digitising of thousands of volumes of print is not without controversy. On Thursday, November 3, Google, the world’s most popular search engine, posted a first instalment of books on Google Print, an initiative first mooted a year ago. This collaborative effort between Google and several of the world’s leading research libraries aims to make many thousands of books available to be searched and read online free of charge. Although the books included so far are not covered by copyright, the plan has attracted the ire of publishers.

Five large book firms are suing Google for violating copyright on material that it has scanned and, although out of print, is still protected by law. Google has said that it will only publish short extracts from material under copyright unless given express permission to publish more, but publishers are unconvinced. Ironically, many publishers are collaborating with Google on a separate venture, Google Print Publisher, which aims to give readers an online taste of books that are commercially available. The searchable collection of extracts and book information is intended to tempt readers to buy the complete books online or in print form.

Not to be outdone, Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has unveiled plans for its own foray into the mass e-book market. The firm, which began ten years ago as an online book retailer, now sells a vast array of goods. No doubt piqued that Google, a relative newcomer, should impinge upon its central territory, Amazon revealed on Thursday that it would introduce two new services. Amazon Pages will allow customers to search for key terms in selected books and then buy and read online whatever part they wish, from individual pages to chapters or complete works. Amazon Upgrade will give customers online access to books they have already purchased as hard copies. Customers are likely to have to pay around five cents a page, with the bulk going to the publisher.

Microsoft, too, has joined the online-book bandwagon. At the end of October, the software giant said it would spend around $200 million to digitise texts, starting with 150,000 that are in the public domain, to avoid legal problems. It will do so in collaboration with the Open Content Alliance, a consortium of libraries and universities. (Yahoo! has pledged to make 18,000 books available online in conjunction with the same organisation.) On Thursday, coincidentally the same day as Google and Amazon announced their initiatives, Microsoft released details of a deal with the British Library, the country’s main reference library, to digitise some 25 million pages; these will be made available through MSN Book Search, which will be launched next year.

These companies are hoping for a return to the levels of interest in e-books seen when Stephen King, a best-selling horror writer, published “Riding the Bullet” exclusively on the Internet in 2000. Half a million copies were downloaded in the first 48 hours after publication. This proved to be a high-water mark rather than a taste of things to come. While buyers were reluctant to sit in front of a computer screen to read the latest novels, dedicated e-book reading gadgets failed to catch on. Barnes and Noble, a leading American bookshop chain, began selling e-books with fanfare in 2000 but quietly pulled the plug in 2003 as interest faded.

The market for e-books is growing again, though from a tiny base. According to the International Digital Publishing Forum, which collates figures from many of the world’s top publishers, in the third quarter of 2004, worldwide sales were 25% higher than the year before. Unfortunately, this only amounted to a paltry $3.2 million split between 23 publishers in an industry that made sales worth over $100 billion that year.

Both retailers and publishers reckon they will eventually be able to persuade consumers to do a lot more of their reading on the web. Some even hope they can become to online books what Apple’s iTunes is to online music. There are crucial differences between downloading fiction and downloading funk. Online music was driven from the bottom up: illegal filesharing services became wildly popular, and legal firms later took over when the pirates were forced (by a wave of lawsuits) to retreat; the legal providers are confident that more and more consumers will pay small sums for music rather than remain beyond the law. The iPod music player and its like have proved a fashionable and popular new way to listen to songs. The book world has no equivalent.

So the commercial prospects for sellers of online books do not yet look very bright. They may get a lift from some novel innovations. The ability to download mere parts of books could help, for instance: sections of manuals, textbooks or cookery books may tempt some customers; students may wish to download the relevant sections of course books; or readers may want a taste of a book that they subsequently buy in hard copy. The ability to download reading matter onto increasingly ubiquitous hand-held electronic devices and 3G phones may further encourage uptake. In Japan, the value of e-books (mainly manga comic books) delivered to mobile phones has jumped, though it will be worth only around ¥6 billion ($51 million) in 2005, according to estimates.

Questions 27 – 30

For each question, only ONE of the choices is correct. Write the corresponding letter in the appropriate box on your answer sheet.

  1. A few years ago, it was widely thought that

A.        people would read fewer ‘paper’ books.

B.         companies like Amazon would go bankrupt.

C.         the dotcom boom would soon end.

  1. Publishers are unhappy with Google because

A.         Google is only publishing extracts, not complete books.

B.         they think Google is in breach of copyright.

C.         Google is co-operating with leading research libraries.

  1. Amazon will

A         sell books that previously only Google sold online.

B         buy the copyright for many books it sells online.

C         allow people to buy only parts that they want to read from books.

  1. It is clear that most readers, if given the choice, prefer

A.         ‘paper’ books.

B.         reading from computer screens.

C.         using dedicated e-book readers.

Questions 31 – 35

Complete the following sentences using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the text for each gap.

  1. If companies publish books online that are not covered by copyright, they avoid _______________.
  2. The _________________ is very small but getting larger.
  3. The ______________ expect that they will be able to convince more people to read online.
  4. The _____________ has nothing similar to an iPod.
  5. In Japan, most of the publications sent to mobile phones are _________________.

Questions 36 – 40

Do the statements on the next page agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3? In boxes 36 – 40 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE                         if the information in the text agrees with the statement

FALSE                       if the information in the text contradicts with the statement

NOT GIVEN              if there is no information on this

  1. Books that are out of print are not covered by copyright law.
  2. Amazon began by selling books online.
  3. Microsoft signed a deal with the British Library on the same day as Google and Amazon made their announcements.
  4. Barnes and Noble published Riding the Bullet online.
  5. The ability to sample a book online before buying it might help sales.

ANSWER KEY FOR IELTS READING PRACTICE TEST

Reading Passage 1. Questions 1 – 13

  1. C
  2. G
  3. B
  4. I
  5. agricultural waste
  6. targets
  7. coal
  8. a vast market
  9. Not Given
  10. Not Given
  11. True
  12. False
  13. Not Given

Reading Passage 2. Questions 14 – 16

  1. D
  2. H
  3. E
  4. B

18 – 22.  B C F G H  (In Any Order)

  1. A B
  2. A C
  3. B
  4. B

Reading Passage 3. Questions 27 – 40

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. A
  5. legal problems
  6. market for e-books
  7. retails and publishers
  8. book world
  9. manga comic books
  10. False
  11. True
  12. False
  13. Not Given
  14. True

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