In this lesson we study the text Making Time for Science and analyse the answers.
This is the first section of the IELTS reading test (taken from takeielts.britishcouncil.org). It includes the question types:
First you will see the passage, then the questions and tips to answer the questions. Follow the tips and see if you can answer the questions for yourself. Then compare your answers with ours.
Speed Reading Note
If you want to learn how to read a text quickly, use skimming and scanning to help you. Here are the important things to know:
First skim to get an overall meaning of the text:
1. Read the first and last paragraph.
2. Read the first and last sentence of each paragraph.
3. Look out for any key names, dates and other nouns.
Scan for the answer to each question:
1. Look at the question and identify key words.
2. Use what you remember about the text from your skimming to find the paragraph which has the answer.
3. Match the meaning of the question with the meaning of the text to find your answer.
You should take no more that 4 minutes to skim a complete passage, and no more than 20 minutes to finish all the questions for each passage.
If you want to learn about skimming and scanning and get more practice, join our self study reading course. Now free for new students!
MAKING TIME FOR SCIENCE
Chronobiology might sound a little futuristic – like something from a science fiction novel, perhaps – but it’s actually a field of study that concerns one of the oldest processes life on this planet has ever known: short-term rhythms of time and their effect on flora and fauna.
This can take many forms. Marine life, for example, is influenced by tidal patterns. Animals tend to be active or inactive depending on the position of the sun or moon. Numerous creatures, humans included, are largely diurnal – that is, they like to come out during the hours of sunlight. Nocturnal animals, such as bats and possums, prefer to forage by night. A third group are known as crepuscular: they thrive in the low-light of dawn and dusk and remain inactive at other hours.
When it comes to humans, chronobiologists are interested in what is known as the circadian rhythm. This is the complete cycle our bodies are naturally geared to undergo within the passage of a twenty-four hour day. Aside from sleeping at night and waking during the day, each cycle involves many other factors such as changes in blood pressure and body temperature. Not everyone has an identical circadian rhythm. ‘Night people’, for example, often describe how they find it very hard to operate during the morning, but become alert and focused by evening. This is a benign variation within circadian rhythms known as a chronotype.
Scientists have limited abilities to create durable modifications of chronobiological demands. Recent therapeutic developments for humans such as artificial light machines and melatonin administration can reset our circadian rhythms, for example, but our bodies can tell the difference and health suffers when we breach these natural rhythms for extended periods of time. Plants appear no more malleable in this respect; studies demonstrate that vegetables grown in season and ripened on the tree are far higher in essential nutrients than those grown in greenhouses and ripened by laser.
Knowledge of chronobiological patterns can have many pragmatic implications for our day-to-day lives. While contemporary living can sometimes appear to subjugate biology – after all, who needs circadian rhythms when we have caffeine pills, energy drinks, shift work and cities that never sleep? – keeping in synch with our body clock is important.
The average urban resident, for example, rouses at the eye-blearing time of 6.04 a.m., which researchers believe to be far too early. One study found that even rising at 7.00 a.m. has deleterious effects on health unless exercise is performed for 30 minutes afterward. The optimum moment has been whittled down to 7.22 a.m.; muscle aches, headaches and moodiness were reported to be lowest by participants in the study who awoke then.
Once you’re up and ready to go, what then? If you’re trying to shed some extra pounds, dieticians are adamant: never skip breakfast. This disorients your circadian rhythm and puts your body in starvation mode. The recommended course of action is to follow an intense workout with a carbohydrate-rich breakfast; the other way round and weight loss results are not as pronounced.
Morning is also great for breaking out the vitamins. Supplement absorption by the body is not temporal-dependent, but naturopath Pam Stone notes that the extra boost at breakfast helps us get energised for the day ahead. For improved absorption, Stone suggests pairing supplements with a food in which they are soluble and steering clear of caffeinated beverages. Finally, Stone warns to take care with storage; high potency is best for absorption, and warmth and humidity are known to deplete the potency of a supplement.
After-dinner espressos are becoming more of a tradition – we have the Italians to thank for that – but to prepare for a good night’s sleep we are better off putting the brakes on caffeine consumption as early as 3 p.m. With a seven hour half-life, a cup of coffee containing 90 mg of caffeine taken at this hour could still leave 45 mg of caffeine in your nervous system at ten o’clock that evening. It is essential that, by the time you are ready to sleep, your body is rid of all traces.
Evenings are important for winding down before sleep; however, dietician Geraldine Georgeou warns that an after-five carbohydrate-fast is more cultural myth than chronobiological demand. This will deprive your body of vital energy needs. Overloading your gut could lead to indigestion, though. Our digestive tracts do not shut down for the night entirely, but their work slows to a crawl as our bodies prepare for sleep. Consuming a modest snack should be entirely sufficient.
(TRUE / FALSE / NOT GIVEN)
There will be a number of statements. The statements follow the same order as the information in the passage. You must decide if these statements agree with the information given in the passage.
Sometimes the information in the passage is stated directly, sometimes indirectly.
- Step 1: Read the instructions carefully.
- Step 2: Skim through all the statements to get an idea of the topics you will need to look for.
- Step 3: Read the first statement again carefully. Underline the key words.
- Step 4: Skim the passage to find the part which refers to the information in the statement.
- Step 5: Read this part very carefully. Compare it with the statement. Decide if the information in the statement is…
means exactly the same as the information in the passage
contradicts (is the opposite of) the information in the passage
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 1–7 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.
Only look at these answers after you have tried the questions yourself.
1) CHRONOBIOLOGY IS THE STUDY OF HOW LIVING THINGS HAVE EVOLVED OVER TIME.
The text says: ‘(Chronobiology is concerned with) short-term rhythms of time and their effect on flora and fauna.’
Evolution is long-term, not short-term. The statements are opposite so the answer is false.
2) THE RISE AND FALL OF SEA LEVELS AFFECTS HOW SEA CREATURES BEHAVE.
Tidal patterns is a paraphrase of the rise and fall of sea levels. Sea creatures matches marine life and affects is a synonym of influenced. The statements match so the answer is true.
3) MOST ANIMALS ARE ACTIVE DURING THE DAYTIME.
The text states: ‘Numerous creatures, humans included, are largely diurnal – that is, they like to come out during the hours of sunlight. Nocturnal animals, such as bats and possums, prefer to forage by night.’
Numerous doesn’t mean most, so there is no information about what most animals do. The answer is Not Given.
4) CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS IDENTIFY HOW WE DO DIFFERENT THINGS ON DIFFERENT DAYS.
The text says: ‘(Circadian rhythm) is the complete cycle our bodies are naturally geared to undergo within the passage of a twenty-four hour day.’
This means it is how our bodies do different things on the same day, not on different days. The answer must be false.
5) A ‘NIGHT PERSON’ CAN STILL HAVE A HEALTHY CIRCADIAN RHYTHM.
From the text: ‘Night people’, for example, often describe how they find it very hard to operate during the morning, but become alert and focused by evening. This is a benign variation within circadian rhythms known as a chronotype.’
Benign means not dangerous, so it is also natural and healthy to be a night person. The answer is true.
6) NEW THERAPIES CAN PERMANENTLY CHANGE CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS WITHOUT CAUSING HARM.
The text states that ‘our bodies can tell the difference and health suffers when we breach these natural rhythms for extended periods of time.’
Long changes in circadian rhythm causes our health to suffer. This disagrees with the statement that says it can happen ‘without causing harm’. The answer is False.
7) NATURALLY-PRODUCED VEGETABLES HAVE MORE NUTRITIONAL VALUE.
From the text: ‘Studies demonstrate that vegetables grown in season and ripened on the tree are far higher in essential nutrients than those grown in greenhouses and ripened by laser.’
‘More nutritional value’ means the same as ‘higher in essential nutrients’. ‘Naturally produced’ is a paraphrase of ‘grown in season and ripened on the tree’. The statement matches the text so the answer is true.
The questions may require you to
- have an overall understanding of the main points of the passage
- have a detailed understanding of particular points.
- identify facts or opinions in the passage.
- Step 1: Read the instructions carefully.
- Step 2: Skim all the questions briefly to get an idea of the topics which you will need to look for.
- Step 3: Read the first question again carefully. Underline the key words. Is the question asking you for a particular detail that you need to find in the passage? If so, is it a name/place/number/etc. Is the question asking for an answer which requires a more complete understanding of the text? Which part/parts of the text is it asking about.
- Step 4: Find details by scanning the passage to find the information. Get a more complete idea of the text by skimming over it. Don’t worry too much about individual words, but rather the overall meaning.
Try these tips out on the questions below, then check you answers at the bottom.
QUESTIONS 8 – 13
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D
Only look at these answers after you have tried the questions yourself, using our tips to help you.
8) WHAT DID RESEARCHERS IDENTIFY AS THE IDEAL TIME TO WAKE UP IN THE MORNING?
9) IN ORDER TO LOSE WEIGHT, WE SHOULD…
10) WHICH IS NOT MENTIONED AS A WAY TO IMPROVE SUPPLEMENT ABSORPTION?
A – ‘and steering clear of caffeinated beverages’
C – ‘pairing supplements with a food in which they are soluble’
D – ‘Stone warns to take care with storage; high potency is best for absorption, and warmth and humidity are known to deplete the potency of a supplement.’
11) THE BEST TIME TO STOP DRINKING COFFEE IS…
12) IN THE EVENING, WE SHOULD…
13) WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING PHRASES BEST DESCRIBES THE MAIN AIM OF READING PASSAGE 1?
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