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Section -  1
What is it and where does it come from?

Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTS

(A) Ambergris was used to perfume cosmetics in the days of ancient Mesopotamia and almost every civilization on the earth has a brush with ambergris. Before 1,000 AD, the Chinese names ambergris as lung sien hiang, "dragon's spittle perfume," as they think that it was produced from the drooling of dragons sleeping on rocks at the edge of a sea. The Arabs knew ambergris as anbar, believing that it is produced from springs near seas. It also gets its name from here. For centuries, this substance has also been used as a flavouring for food.

(B) During the Middle Ages, Europeans used ambergris as a remedy for headaches, colds, epilepsy, and other ailments. In the 1851 whaling novel Moby- Dick, Herman Melville claimed that ambergris was “largely used in perfumery.” But nobody ever knew where it really came from. Experts were still guessing its origin thousands of years later, until the long ages of guesswork ended in the 1720's, when Nantucket whalers found gobs of the costly material inside the stomachs of sperm whales. Industrial whaling quickly burgeoned. By 20th century ambergris is mainly recovered from inside the carcasses of sperm whales.

(C) Through countless ages, people have found pieces of ambergris on sandy beaches. It was named grey amber to distinguish it from golden amber, another rare treasure. Both of them were among the most sought-after substances in the world, almost as valuable as gold. (Ambergris sells for roughly $20 a gram, slightly less than gold at $30 a gram.) Amber floats in salt water, and in old times the origin of both these substances was mysterious. But it turned out that amber and ambergris have little in common. Amber is a fossilized resin from trees that was quite familiar to Europeans long before the discovery of the New World, and prized as jewelry. Although considered a gem, amber is a hard, transparent, wholly-organic material derived from the resin of extinct species of trees, mainly pines.

Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTS

(D) To the earliest Western chroniclers, ambergris was variously thought to come from the same bituminous sea founts as amber, from the sperm of fishes or whales, from the droppings of strange sea birds (probably because of confusion over the included beaks of squid) or from the large hives of bees living near the sea. Marco Polo was the first Western chronicler who correctly attributed ambergris to sperm whales and its vomit.

(E) As sperm whales navigate in the oceans, they often dive down to 2 km or more below the sea level to prey on squid, most famously the Giant Squid. It’s commonly accepted that ambergris forms in the whale’s gut or intestines as the creature attempts to "deal" with squid beaks. Sperm whales are rather partial to squid, but seemingly struggle to digest the hard, sharp, parrot-like beaks. It is thought their stomach juices become hyper-active trying to process the irritants, and eventually hard, resinous lumps are formed around the beaks, and then expelled from their innards by vomiting. When a whale initially vomits up ambergris, it is soft and has a terrible smell. Some marine biologists compare it to the unpleasant smell of cow dung. But after floating on the salty ocean for about a decade, the substance hardens with air and sun into a smooth, waxy, usually rounded piece of nostril heaven. The dung smell is gone, replaced by a sweet, smooth, musky and pleasant earthy aroma.
Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTSPractice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTS

(F) Since ambergris is derived from animals, naturally a question of ethics arises, and in the case of ambergris, it is very important to consider. Sperm whales are an endangered species, whose populations started to decline as far back as the 19th century due to the high demand for their highly emollient oil, and today their stocks still have not recovered. During the 1970’s, the Save the Whales movement brought the plight of whales to international recognition. Many people now believe that whales are "saved". This couldn’t be further from the truth. All around the world, whaling still exists. Many countries continue to hunt whales, in spite of international treaties to protect them. Many marine researchers are concerned that even the trade in naturally found ambergris can be harmful by creating further incentives to hunt whales for this valuable substance.

(G) One of the forms ambergris is used today is as a valuable fixative in perfumes to enhance and prolong the scent. But nowadays, since ambergris is rare and expensive, and big fragrance suppliers that make most of the fragrances on the market today do not deal in it for reasons of cost, availability and murky legal issues, most perfumeries prefer to add a chemical derivative which mimics the properties of ambergris. As a fragrance consumer, you can assume that there is no natural ambergris in your perfume bottle, unless the company advertises this fact and unless you own vintage fragrances created before the 1980s. If you are wondering if you have been wearing a perfume with this legendary ingredient, you may want to review your scent collection. Here are a few of some of the top ambergris containing perfumes: Givenchy Amarige, Chanel No. 5, and Gucci Guilty.
Questions1-6: Classify the following information as referring to
(a) ambergris only
(b) amber only
(c) both ambergris and amber
(d) neither ambergris nor amber
Write the correct letter, A, B, C, or D in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet.
Q.1. being expensive
Q.2. adds flavor to food
Q.3. used as currency
Q.4. being see-through
Q.5. referred to by Herman Melville
Q.6. produces sweet smell

Questions 7-9 Complete the sentences below with NO MORE THAN ONE WORD from the passage. Write your answers in boxes 7-9 on your answer sheet.
Q.7. Sperm whales can’t digest the ______of the squids.
Q.8. Sperm whales drive the irritants out of their intestines by______
Q.9. The vomit of sperm whale gradually______ on contact of air before having pleasant smell.

Questions 10-13 Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 10-13 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 
Q.10. Most ambergris comes from the dead whales today.
Q.11. Ambergris is becoming more expensive than before.
Q.12. Ambergris is still the most frequently used ingredient in perfume production today.
Q.13. New uses of ambergris have been discovered recently.

Section - 2
Global Warming: Prevent Poles from Melting
Reading Passage 2 You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26, which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.

Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTS

(A) Such is our dependence on fossil fuels, and such the volume of carbon dioxide we have already released into the atmosphere, that most climate scientists agree that significant global warming is now inevitable - the best we can hope to do is keep it at a reasonable level, and even that going to be an uphill task. At present, the only serious option on the table for doing this is cutting back on our carbon emissions, but a few countries are making major strides in this regard, the majority are having great difficulty even stemming the rate of increase, let alone reversing Consequently, an increasing number of scientists are beginning to explore the alternatives. They under the banner of geoengineering - generally defined as the intentional large-scale manipulation of the environment.

(B) Geoengineering has been shown to work, at least on a small, localised scale, for decades. May Day parades in Moscow have taken place under clear blue skies, aircraft having deposited dry ice, silver iodide (m $1) and cement powder to disperse clouds. Many of the schemes now suggested look to do the opposite, and reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the planet. One scheme focuses on achieving a general cooling of the Earth and involves the concept of releasing aerosol sprays into the stratosphere above the Arctic to create clouds of sulphur dioxide, which would, in turn, lead to a global dimming. The idea is modelled on historical volcanic explosions, such as that of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991; which led to a short-term cooling of global temperatures by 0.5°c. The aerosols could be delivered by artillery, high-flying aircraft or balloons.

Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTS

(C) Instead of concentrating on global cooling, other schemes look specifically at reversing the melting at the poles. One idea is to bolster an ice cap by spraying it with water. Using pumps to carry water from below the sea ice, the spray would come out as snow or ice particles, producing thicker sea ice with a higher albedo (the ratio of sunlight reflected from a surface) to reflect summer radiation. Scientists have also scrutinised whether it is possible to block iceflow in Greenland with cables which have been reinforced, preventing icebergs from moving into the sea. Veil Albert Kallio, a Finnish scientist, says that such an idea is impractical, because the force of the ice would ultimately snap the cables and rapidly release a large quantity of frozen ice into the sea. However, Kallio believes that the sort of cables used in suspension bridges could potentially be used to divert, rather than halt, the southward movement of ice from Spitsbergen. It would stop the ice moving south, and local currents would see them float northwards' he says.

(D) A number of geoengineering ideas are currently being examined in the Russian Arctic. These include planting millions of birch trees: the thinking, according to Kallio, is that their white bark would increase the amount of reflected sunlight. The loss of their leaves in winter would also enable the snow to reflect radiation. In contrast, the native evergreen pines tend to shade the snow and absorb radiation. Using ice-breaking vessels to deliberately break up and scatter coastal sea ice in both Arctic and Antarctic waters in their respective autumns, and diverting Russian rivers to increase cold-water flow to ice-forming areas, could also be used to slow down warming, Kallio says. 1 You would need the wind to blow the right way, but in the right conditions, by letting ice float free and head north, you would enhance ice growth.'

Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTS

(E) But will such ideas ever be implemented? The major counter-arguments to geoengineering schemes are, first, that they are a 'cop-out' that allow US to continue living the way we do, rather than reducing carbon emissions; and, second, even if they do work, would the side-effects outweigh the advantages? Then there's the daunting prospect of upkeep and repair of any scheme as well as the consequences of a technical failure. 'I think all of US agree that if we were to end geoengineering on a given day, then the planet would return to its pre-engineered condition very rapidly, and probably within 10 to 20 years' says Dr Phil Rasch, chief scientist for climate change at the US-based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. That's certainly something to worry about. I would consider geoengineering as a strategy to employ only we manage the conversion to a non-fossil- fuel economy. 'The risk with geoengineering projects is that you can "overshoot",' says Dr Dan hunt, from the University of Bristol. 'You may bring global temperatures back to pre-industrial levels, but the risk is that the poles will still be warmer than they should be and the tropics be cooler than before industrialization.'

(F) The main reason why geoengineering is countenanced by the mainstream scientific community is that most researchers have little faith in the of politicians to agree - and then bring in the necessary carbon cuts. Even leading conservation organisations believe the subject worth exploring. As Dr Martin Sommerkorn, a climate change advisor says.' But human-induced climate change has brought humanity to a position where it important not to exclude thinking thoroughly about this topic and its possibilities despite the potential drawbacks. If, over the coming years, the science US about an ever-increased climate sensitivity of the planet and this isn't unrealistic - then we may be best served by not having to start our thinking from scratch.
Questions 14-18: Reading Passage 2 has six paragraphs, A-F
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 14-18 on your answer sheet You may use any letter more than once.
Q.14. the existence of geoengineering projects distracting from the real task of changing the way we live
Q.15. circumstances in which geoengineering has demonstrated success
Q.16. Frustrating maintenance problems associated with geoengineering projects
Q.17. support for geoengineering being due to a lack of confidence in governments
Q.18. more success in fighting climate change in some parts of the world than others

Questions 19-23: Complete the summary below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 19-23 on your answer sheet. 

Geoengineering Projects

A range of geoengineering ideas has been put forward, which aim either to prevent the melting of the ice caps or to stop the general rise in global temperatures. One scheme to discourage the melting of ice and snow involves introducing _______19_______to the Arctic because of their colour. The build-up of ice could be encouraged by dispersing ice along the coasts using special ships and changing the direction of some _______20_______but this scheme is dependent on certain weather conditions. Another way of increasing the amount of ice involves using _______21_______ to bring water to the surface. A scheme to stop ice moving would apply_______22_______but this method is more likely to be successful in preventing the ice from travelling in one direction rather than stopping it altogether. A suggestion for cooling global temperatures is based on what has happened in the past after_______23_______and it involves creating clouds of gas.
Questions 24-26 Look at the following people (Questions 24-26) and the list of opinions below.
Match each person with the correct opinion, A-E.
Write the correct letter, A-E, in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.
Q.24. Phil Rasch
Q.25. DanLunt
Q.26. Martin Sommerkorn List of opinions
(a) The problems of geoengineering shouldn’t mean that ideas are not seriously considered.
(b) Some geoengineering projects are more likely to succeed than others.
(c) Geoengineering only offers a short-term relief.
(d) A positive outcome of geoengineering may have a negative consequence elsewhere.
(e) Most geoengineering projects aren’t clear in what they are aiming at.

Section - 3
Sunset for the Oil Business

The world is about to run out of oil. Or perhaps not. It depends whom you believe...

Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTS

(A) Members of the Department Analysis Centre (ODAC) recently met in London and presented technical data that support their grim forecast that the world is perilously close to running out of oil. Leading lights of this moment, including the geologists Colin Campbell, rejected rival views presented by American geological survey and the international energy agency that contradicted their findings. Dr. Campbell even decried the amazing display of ignorance, denial and obfuscation by government, industry and academics on this topic.

(B) So is the oil really running out? The answer is easy: Yes. Nobody seriously disputes the notion that oil is, for all practical purposes, a non-renewable resource that will run out some day, be that years or decades away. The harder question is determining when precisely oil will begin to get scarce. And answering that question involves scaling Hubbert’s peak.

(C) M. King Hubbert, a Shell geologist of legendary status among depletion experts, forecast in 1956 that oil production in the United States would peak in the early 1970s and then slowly decline, in something resembling a bellshaped curve. At the time, his forecast was controversial, and many rubbished it. After 1970, however, empirical evidence proved him correct: oil production in America did indeed peak and has been in decline ever since.

(D) Dr Hubbert's analysis drew on the observation that oil production in a new area typically rises quickly at first, as the easiest and cheapest reserves are tapped. Over time, reservoirs age and go into decline, and so lifting oil becomes more expensive. Oil from that area then becomes less competitive in relation to other fuels, or to oil from other areas. As a result, production slows down and usually tapers off and declines. That, he argued, made for a bell-shaped curve.

(E) His successful prediction has emboldened a new generation of geologists to apply his methodology on a global scale. Chief among them are the experts at ODAC, who worry that the global peak in production will come in the next decade. Dr Campbell used to argue that the peak should have come already; he now thinks it is just round the comer. A heavyweight has now joined this gloomy chorus. Kenneth Deffeyes of Princeton University argues in a lively new book (“The View from Hubbert's Peak”) that global oil production could peak as soon as 2004.

(F) That sharply contradicts mainstream thinking. America’s Geological Survey prepared an exhaustive study of oil depletion last year (in part to rebut Dr Campbell’s arguments) that put the peak of production some decades off. The IEA has just weighed in with its new “World Energy Outlook”, which foresees enough oil to comfortably meet demand to 2020 from remaining reserves. René Dahan, one of ExxonMobil's top managers, goes further: with an assurance characteristic of the world's largest energy company, he insists that the world will be awash in oil for another 70 years.

(G) Who is right? In making sense of these wildly opposing views, it is useful to look back at the pitiful history of oil forecasting. Doomsters have been predicting dry wells since the 1970s, but so far the oil is still gushing. Nearly all the predictions for 2000 made after the 1970s oil shocks were far too pessimistic. America's Department of Energy thought that oil would reach $150 a barrel (at 2000 prices); even Exxon predicted a price of $100.

(H) Michael Lynch of DRI-WEFA, an economic consultancy, is one of the few oil forecasters who has got things generally right. In a new paper, Dr Lynch analyses those historical forecasts. He finds evidence of both bias and recurring errors, which suggests that methodological mistakes (rather than just poor data) were the problem. In particular, he faults forecasters who used Hubbert-style analysis for relying on fixed estimates of how much “ultimately recoverable” oil there really is below ground, in the industry's jargon: that figure, he insists, is actually a dynamic one, as improvements in infrastructure, knowledge and technology raise the amount of oil which is recoverable.

(I) That points to what will probably determine whether the pessimists or the optimists are right: technological innovation. The first camp tends to be dismissive of claims of forthcoming technological revolutions in such areas as deep-water drilling and enhanced recovery. Dr Deffeyes captures this end-oftechnology mindset well. He argues that because the industry has already spent billions on technology development, it makes it difficult to ask today for new technology, as most of the wheels have already been invented.

Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTS

(J) Yet techno-optimists argue that the technological revolution in oil has only just begun. Average recovery rates (how much of the known oil in a reservoir can actually be brought to the surface) are still only around 30-35%. Industry optimists believe that new techniques on the drawing board today could lift that figure to 50-60% within a decade.

(K) Given the industry's astonishing track record of innovation, it may be foolish to bet against it. That is the result of adversity: the nationalisations of the 1970s forced Big Oil to develop reserves in expensive, inaccessible places such as the North Sea and Alaska, undermining Dr Hubbert's assumption that cheap reserves are developed first. The resulting upstream investments have driven down the cost of finding and developing wells over the last two decades from over $20 a barrel to around $6 a barrel. The cost of producing oil has fallen by half, to under $4 a barrel.

(L) Such miracles will not come cheap, however, since much of the world's oil is now produced in ageing fields that are rapidly declining. The IEA concludes that global oil production need not peak in the next two decades if the necessary investments are made. So how much is necessary? If oil companies are to replace the output lost at those ageing fields and meet the world's everrising demand for oil, the agency reckons they must invest $1 trillion in non- OPEC countries over the next decade alone. That's quite a figure.

Question 27-31: Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 3 In boxes 27-31 on your answer sheet, write
Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTS

Q.27. Hubbert has a high-profile reputation amongst ODAC members.
Q.28. Oil is likely to last longer than some other energy sources.
Q.29. The majority of geologists believe that oil will start to run out some time this decade.
Q.30. Over 50 percent of the oil we know about is currently being recovered.
Q.31. History has shown that some of Hubbet's principles were mistaken.

Question 32-35: Complete the notes below
Choose ONE WORD ONLYfrom the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 32-35 on your answer sheet.
Many people believed Hubbert's theory was 32______when it was originally presented.
The recovery of the oil gets more 34_________as the reservoir gets older
Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTS

Questions 36-40
Look at the following statements (questions 36-40) and the of people below.
Match each statement with correct person, A-E.
Write the correct letter, A-E in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.
NB: You may use any letter more than once.
Q.36. has found fault in geological research procedure
Q.37. has provided the longest-range forecast regarding oil supply
Q.38. has convinced others that oil production will follow a particular model
Q.39. has accused fellow scientists of refusing to see the truth
Q.40. has expressed doubt over whether improved methods of extracting oil are possible.
List of People
(a) Colin Campbell
(b) M. King Hubbert
(c) Kenneth Deffeyes
(d) Rene Dahan
(e) Michael Lynch

Answers

Section - 1
Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTS

Section - 2
Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTSSection - 3
Practice Test - 24 Notes | Study Reading Practice Tests for IELTS - IELTS

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