In order to receive a higher band in speaking or writing, you must accurately use academic vocabulary. Learning academic vocabulary will also help you to understand academic texts in the reading test and part 4 of the listening test. This class will help you to notice and use six academic verb and preposition collocations. It will also give you valuable reading practice.
Remember a collocation is a pair or set of words that are usually found together (eg 'wake up', 'interested in, 'good at')
Read the following passage about the history of computing. Decide if the following statements are true, false or not given.
Charles Babbage and his Analytical Machine, Science Museum de Londres (May 2009)
Computers are generally associated with the latter half of the 20th century but the story of computing devices goes much farther back. In the 1830s Charles Babbage was a man who specialised in mechanical engineering and he has been credited with the invention of the first computing device, the Analytical Engine. This was a machine that acted like a giant mechanical calculator. The huge device consisted of thousands of individual hand-made parts which made it very hard to build and this is one of the reasons why it was never finished. Another reason was that Babbage depended on the government to invest in the project but political issues forced the government to stop funding. Babbage's failure to complete the analytical engine can be attributed to difficulties not only of politics and financing, but also to his desire to develop a more sophisticated machine than anyone else in the world was able to do.
Notice that the true, false, not given questions contain synonyms (words with the same or similar meaning) of the words used in the passage. This is a common but important trick in the IELTS test. Identifying synonyms will help you to answer reading questions accurately.
Select a word/phrase in the box and then the gap next to its synonym. All of these words can be found in the true, false, not given questions or in the text.
Charles Babbage's 1840 Analytical Engine Design. (Computer History Museum)
What do these words mean?
associated - connected with something or someone.
specialised - used or prepared for a special function.
consist - to be made/built/composed of.
depend - to need/rely on.
invest - to give money to a project or business.
attribute - to give a reason for something/be caused by
|1.||I will animal psychology when I start my postgraduate studies next year.|
|2.||The Mona Lisa, a famous painting of a sitting girl, is Leonardo Da Vinci.|
|3.||Some people are very intelligent and achieve great academic results with a minimum of effort but the rest of us hard work and luck.|
|4.||If you ethical businesses, you can improve your finances and make the world a better place.|
|5.||Coal carbon and other elements that formed when plants died and were subjected to heat and pressure over millions of years.|
|6.||Obesity is a lack of exercise and high intake of calories.|
For more, see our Collocations Quizzes.
Cause and effect are often presented in the same sentence. Either the cause or the effect can be at the beginning of the sentence so you have to look for clues in the vocabulary which the writer uses. These clues help you to understand the text effectively.
- a) Countless lives have been saved b) through UN funded vaccination programs worldwide.
- Countless lives have been saved through UN funded vaccination programs worldwide.
The effect is a) 'Countless lives have been saved...'
The cause is b) '...through UN funded vaccination programs worldwide'
Which is cause and Which is Effect?
Ancient Egyptian Contributions to Science
Ancient Egypt was a land of rural villages and farmers who relied on the annual flooding of the great river Nile to lay a rich layer of sediment on the land, ensuring its fertility in the next growing season. Land was restricted to a narrow fertile area along the banks of the river Nile. The importance of this limited area of fertile land produced advances in geometry which were needed by the Egyptians in order to agree on the boundary of an individual farmer’s piece of land. Improvements in the mathematics of building grew out of this development in mathematics. For example, the geometry required to build rectilinear structures and stone temples. Because of the need for the measurement of land, early on the Egyptians invented the decimal system of counting. It also led to the development of mathematics for calculating volume. This was put to use in a very practical way to calculate the amount of grain a granary could hold and thus how many people could be fed.
The consequence of these early advances in mathematics can be seen realized in the gigantic stone structures of the pyramids at Giza, the largest of which has a base are of 13 acres. In order to construct these huge structures ancient Egyptian builders had to employ their understanding of geometry and volume as well as their understanding of astronomy and social organization.
|1.||The Importance of land surveying led to advances in .|
|2.||Advances in mathematics resulted in better building techniques for buildings.|
|3.||It also allowed for the pharaoh’s scribes to calculate how much was held in his granaries.|
|4.||This allowed for an assessment of how many people could be in times of need.|
|5.||An impressive result of these advances was the construction of the which required the use of many skills.|
For previous Reading Practice lessons, follow the links below:
Reading Practice 1 | Short answer questions and headings
Reading Practice 2 | Matching sentence endings
Reading Practice 3 | Matching headings and sentence completion
Reading Practice 4 |True/False/Not given questions
Reading Practice 5 | Summary and sentence completion + T/F/NG questions
Reading Practice 6 | Matching headings and vocabulary practice
First, read the article.
The Life Cycle of Salmon
Salmon eggs are laid in freshwater streams typically at high latitudes. To lay her roe (eggs), the female salmon uses her tail to create a nest called a redd in the gravel of the river bed. The redd may sometimes contain up to 5,000 eggs of an orange or red colour. Constantly flowing cool water is needed to provide a consistent supply of oxygen to the developing embryos. When developed, the eggs hatch and sac fry, which are small fish with a stripe along each side, emerge and hide amongst the reeds. The juvenile salmon stay for six months to three years in their natal stream before becoming smolts which are distinguished by their bright, silvery colour. Only 10% of all salmon eggs are estimated to survive to this stage.
The salmon spend about one to five years (depending on the species) in the open ocean, where they gradually become mature. The adult salmon then return to the streams where they were born in order to breed. Atlantic salmon spend between one and four years at sea. Some species of salmon grow a hump on their back or bigger teeth before they start breeding. All change from the silvery blue of an ocean salmon to a darker colour. Salmon make amazing journeys. They migrate huge distances up rivers in their hundreds and thousands in order to breed. Swimming upstream to get to their birthplace where they can reproduce takes a huge amount of effort as the fish must swim against strong currents and rapids. Chinook and sockeye salmon from central Idaho, for example, travel over 1,400 km and climb nearly 2,100 m from the Pacific Ocean as they return to spawn. The condition of the fish tends to deteriorate the longer they remain in fresh water, and they then deteriorate further after they breed, when they are known as kelts. Mature Salmon typically die within a few days or weeks of breeding.
Freshwater streams and estuaries on the coast provide an important habitat for many salmon species. They feed on insects, and crustaceans while young, and primarily on other fish when older. Estuaries and their associated wetlands provide vital nursery areas for the salmon before their departure to the open ocean. Wetlands not only keep the estuary clean from pollutants, but also provide important feeding and hiding areas. As wetlands habitats are damaged or converted for human use, there has been a sharp decline in the number of salmon. This has led to some species of salmon becoming endangered and being protected by law in certain countries.
Exercise 1 | Vocabulary Matching
Exercise 2 | Vocabulary in Use
|1.||When the are born they are fully independent and don’t need the parent’s protection|
|2.||destruction is causing many animals to become extinct.|
|3.||The new factory opened and the quality of the air in the town .|
|4.||Many birds thousands of kilometers every year.|
|5.||Despite being quite small, a king cobra still has enough venom to kill several adult humans.|
|6.||You can find lots of frogs and toads in the and lakes close to my house.|
|7.||Before we went camping in Canada we had to learn how to if a bear attacked us.|
|8.||Don’t swim in an in a tropical country because it may contain crocodiles or bull sharks that come to feed on the fish and mammals which live there.|
Exercise 3 | Flow Chart Questions
Step 1 – Decide what the purpose of the flow chart is. For example, does it ask questions or show the stages in a process?
Step 2 - Check the instructions carefully. Should you use words, letters or numbers? If with words, what are the maximum number of words you can use? Are they words that you must choose from the text?
Step 3 – Study the words that are given. These words provide clues as to what the missing word/words could be. Think about if you need to write nouns, verbs or adjectives. Match keywords in the flow chart with synonyms (words with similar meaning) in the text and scan carefully for the answer.
Step 4 – Make sure that the sentences in the flow chart are grammatically accurate after you have written your answer.
|A||The female creates a 1. in the gravel of a stream bed.|
|B||Constantly flowing water keeps the eggs oxygenated and at the correct temperature.|
|C||Newly hatched juveiles escape predators by hiding amongst 2. .|
|D||After becoming smolt, they move downstream to the ocean or sea.|
|E||It takes up to 5 years for salmon to become 3. in the ocean or sea.|
|F||Adults return to their natal streams to 4. .|
|G||After reproducing, salmon generally 5. quickly and then die.|
- We see the words ‘female’ and ‘create’ in both the text and question, which guides us to the answer nest or redd.
- The key word in this question is ‘juveniles’. We find the synonym in the text ‘fry’ or ‘small fish’. The text later goes on to say that they ‘emerge and hide amongst the reeds.
- We can match the key word ‘ocean’ in the question with the text, where it states that ‘The salmon spend about one to five years (depending on the species) in the open ocean, where they gradually become mature.’
- In the centre of paragraph 2 we read that salmon swim ‘upstream to get to their birthplace where they can reproduce…’ Birthplace is a synonym to ‘natal stream’ in the question, and the text mentions that here the salmon reproduce (breed and spawn are also accepted answers).
- We can match the keyword ‘die’ in both text and question. Before we see this word in the text, we read that ‘they deteriorate further after they breed.’ Notice that ‘reproduce’ in the question is a synonym of ‘breed’ in the text.
Note: If the interactive exercises aren't giving you a score, try refreshing the page.
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About The IELTS Test
Academic Writing Task 1
Academic Writing Task 2
Cause And Effect
Coherence And Cohesion
Complete The Notes
Complete The Table
Frequently Asked Questions
General Training Reading
General Writing Task 1
General Writing Task 2
Listening Section 1
Listening Section 2
Listening Section 3
Listening Section 4
Problem Solution Essay
Speaking Part 1
Speaking Part 2
Speaking Part 3
True / False / Not Given