BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 15

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 15

ACADEMIC READING TEST 15

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 15
BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 15

ACADEMIC READING TEST 15

READING PASSAGE 1

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

Phi Phi Island Resort

The “Phi Phi Island Resort” is located in Phi PhiLeh island in Thailand, between the large island of Phuket and the west Strait of Malacca coast of the mainland. Phi Phi consists of six small islands 46km south of Phuket. Fine sandy beaches give way to soaring limestone cliffs to form spectacular scenery. Add crystal clear water, a refreshing lack of roads, plus a laid-back lifestyle, and it’s easy to see why Phi Phi is one of southern Thailand’s most popular destinations.

The islands are administratively part of Krabi province. Ko Phi Phi is the largest island of the group, and is the most populated island of the group, although the beaches of the second largest island, Ko Phi PhiLeh are visited by many people as well. The rest of the islands in the group, including BidaNok, BidaNoi, and Bamboo Island are not much more than large limestone rocks jutting out of the sea. The Islands are reachable by speedboats or Long-tail boats most often from Krabi Town or from various piers in Phuket Province.

The islands came to worldwide prominence when Ko Phi Phi was used as a location for the 2000 British-American film The Beach. This attracted criticism, with claims that the film company had damaged the island’s environment, since the producers bulldozed beach areas and planted palm trees to make it resemble description in the book, an accusation the film’s makers contest. An increase in tourism was attributed to the film’s release, which resulted in increases in waste on the Islands, and more developments in and around the Phi Phi Don Village.

Unlike its larger brother Ko Phi Phi, Phi PhiLeh is a virgin island – it is almost untouched by human civilization. Surrounded by sheer limestone walls dotted with caves and passages the island’s shallow blue-green lagoons and coral gardens are a snorkeler’s paradise. The island also has two magnificent beaches, LohSamah and Maya Bay.

The climate on Phi PhiLeh island is influenced by tropical monsoon winds. There are two seasons: the rainy season from May till December and the hot season from January till April. Average temperature ranges between 17–37 degrees Celsius. Average rainfall per year is about 2,231 millimetres, wettest in July and driest in February.

The “Phi Phi Island Resort” is an eco-friendly hotel that aims at providing excellent service without hurting the local environment. This dreamy lodging in Thailand is as environmentally friendly as it gets. The building itself is built with natural materials, such as local stone and wood. Moreover, all utilities (such as cutlery, hygiene items, towels, kitchen utensils) are made of bio-degradable materials.

The pool is created in the local stone quarry, so that the harmony of local landscape was not infringed. Since the water in the pool is replete with natural salts and minerals, there is no need in further disinfection with chlorinated compounds and the pool is absolutely chemical-free.

The hotel provides soaps, gels and creams, which are all natural and organic. Waste is recycled to the garden via a bio-cycle septic system, and “Phi Phi Island Resort” uses hydro-electricity from a Pelton wheel and solar power.

The restaurant values locally sourced products. That’s why only locally grown vegetables and fruits along with natural sea products are served. The resort ensures that fishing and croppage don’t contravene the local equilibrium of the island.

Diving and snorkeling at Phi PhiLeh Island are excellent. Many dive companies offer all-inclusive trips only in this location. And other little secluded islands are accessible from “Phi Phi Island Resort” by long-tail boats. Visitors can take advantage of the free bike rentals, free shuttle service in an electric vehicle and even green spa, with all organic products.

On the other hand, this beautiful resort combines the seclusion much sought after in Thailand with refinement of a 4.5 star resort. Privacy is certain on 70 tranquil acres of swaying coconut palms, fragrant gardens, and a half-mile of sparkling shore overlooking the crystal Andaman Sea. Spacious and secluded bungalows conform comfortably to the natural surroundings, welcoming stunning coastal vistas and cool sea breezes. Stylish furnishings, gracious hospitality and a private 800 metres stretch of pristine white sand beach lapped by the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea create an idyllic setting for a green and calm holiday.

Questions 1-8

In boxes 1-8 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

1. Phi Phi is located 46km south of Phuket.            

2. Ko Phi Phi is the largest, though not the most populated island of the group.                    

3. Islands gained their popularity after Ko Phi Phi was used for a famous film.                   

4. The increase in tourism had a negative effect on the Ko Phi Phi island.                 

5. Unlike its larger brother Phi PhiLeh, Ko Phi Phi is a virgin island.                 

6. There are two seasons on the Phi PhiLeh island: rainy and hot.                     

7. July is the hottest month on the Phi PhiLeh.                     

8. The “Phi Phi Island Resort” is very environmentally friendly.            

Questions 9-13

Complete the sentences below.

Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet.

9. Due to the fact that the pool is rich in natural salts and minerals, there is no need to use …………… for further disinfection.

10. The “Phi Phi Island Resort” uses a bio-cycle ………………… to recycle waste.

11. The restaurant serves only natural………………  products.

12. Visitors can take free bike rentals, free shuttle service and even…………….. .

13. Phi Phi Island Resort has a refinement of 4.5………………………. .

Reading Passage 2

Urban planning in Singapore

British merchants established a trading post in Singapore in the early nineteenth century, and for more than a century trading interests dominated. However, in 1965 the newly independent island state was cut off from its hinterland, and so it set about pursuing a survival strategy. The good international communications it already enjoyed provided a useful base, but it was decided that if Singapore was to secure its economic future, it must develop its industry. To this end, new institutional structures were needed to facilitate, develop, and control foreign investment. One of the most important of these was the Economic Development Board (EDB), an arm of government that developed strategies for attracting investment. Thus from the outset, the Singaporean government was involved in city promotion.

Towards the end of the twentieth century, the government realised that, due to limits on both the size of the country’s workforce and its land area, its labour-intensive industries were becoming increasingly uncompetitive. So an economic committee was established which concluded that Singapore should focus on developing as a service centre, and seek to attract company headquarters to serve South East Asia, and develop tourism, banking, and offshore activities. The land required for this service-sector orientation had been acquired in the early 1970s, when the government realised that it lacked the banking infrastructure for a modern economy. So a new banking and corporate district, known as the ‘Golden Shoe’, was planned, incorporating the historic commercial area. This district now houses all the major companies and various government financial agencies.

Singapore’s current economic strategy is closely linked to land use and development planning. Although it is already a major city, the current development plan seeks to ensure Singapore’s continued economic growth through restructuring, to ensure that the facilities needed by future business are planned now. These include transport and telecommunication infrastructure, land, and environmental quality. A major concern is to avoid congestion in the central area, and so the latest plan deviates from previous plans by having a strong decentralisation policy. The plan makes provision for four major regional centres, each serving 800,000 people, but this does not mean that the existing central business district will not also grow. A major extension planned around Marina Bay draws on examples of other ‘world cities’, especially those with waterside central areas such as Sydney and San Francisco. The project involves major land reclamation of 667 hectares in total. Part of this has already been developed as a conference and exhibition zone, and the rest will be used for other facilities. However the need for vitality has been recognised and a mixed zoning approach has been adopted, to include housing and entertainment.

One of the new features of the current plan is a broader conception of what contributes to economic success. It encompasses high quality residential provision, a good environment, leisure facilities and exciting city life. Thus there is more provision for low-density housing, often in waterfront communities linked to beaches and recreational facilities. However, the lower housing densities will put considerable pressure on the very limited land available for development, and this creates problems for another of the plan’s aims, which is to stress environmental quality. More and more of the remaining open area will be developed, and the only natural landscape surviving will be a small zone in the centre of the island which serves as a water catchment area. Environmental policy is therefore very much concerned with making the built environment more green by introducing more plants – what is referred to as the ‘beautification’ of Singapore. The plan focuses on green zones defining the boundaries of settlements, and running along transport corridors. The incidental green provision within housing areas is also given considerable attention.

Much of the environmental provision, for example golf courses, recreation areas, and beaches, is linked to the prime objective of attracting business. The plan places much emphasis on good leisure provision and the need to exploit Singapore’s island setting. One way of doing this is through further land reclamation, to create a whole new island devoted to leisure and luxury housing which will stretch from the central area to the airport. A current concern also appears to be how to use the planning system to create opportunities for greater spontaneity: planners have recently given much attention to the concept of the 24-hour city and the cafe society. For example, a promotion has taken place along the Singapore river to create a cafe zone. This has included the realisation, rather late in the day, of the value of retaining older buildings, and the creation of a continuous riverside promenade. Since the relaxation in 1996 of strict guidelines on outdoor eating areas, this has become an extremely popular area in the evenings. Also, in 1998 the Urban Redevelopment Authority created a new entertainment area in the centre of the city which they are promoting as ‘the city’s one-stop, dynamic entertainment scene’.

In conclusion, the economic development of Singapore has been very consciously centrally planned, and the latest strategy is very clearly oriented to establishing Singapore as a leading ‘world city’. It is well placed to succeed, for a variety of reasons. It can draw upon its historic roots as a world trading centre; it has invested heavily in telecommunications and air transport infrastructure; it is well located in relation to other Asian economies; it has developed a safe and clean environment; and it has utilised the international language of English.

Questions 14-19

Complete the summary below using the given words.

Decentralisation

Industry

Hospitals

Deregulation

Trade

Entertainment

Labour

Hygiene

Fuel

Agriculture

Loans

Service

Transport

Recycling

Tourism

Beautification

Singapore

When Singapore became an independent, self-sufficient state it decided to build up its 

14………………,and government organisations were created to support this policy. However, this initial plan met with limited success due to a shortage of 15………………and land. It was therefore decided to develop the 16………………sector of the economy instead.

Singapore is now a leading city, but planners are working to ensure that its economy continues to grow. In contrast to previous policies, there is emphasis on 17………………... In addition, land will be recovered to extend the financial district, and provide 18……………..as well as housing. The government also plans to improve the quality of Singapore’s environment, but due to the shortage of natural landscapes it will concentrate instead on what it calls 19……………… .

Questions 20-26

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2?

In boxes 20-26 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

20. After 1965, the Singaporean government switched the focus of the island’s economy. 

21. The creation of Singapore’s financial centre was delayed while a suitable site was found. 

22. Singapore’s four regional centres will eventually be the same size as its central business district. 

23. Planners have modelled new urban developments on other coastal cities. 

24. Plants and trees are amongst the current priorities for Singapore’s city planners. 

25. The government has enacted new laws to protect Singapore’s old buildings. 

26. Singapore will find it difficult to compete with leading cities in other parts of the world.

Reading Passage – 3

You are advised to spend about 20 minutes on questions 27-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3.

NUCLEAR POWER

Since 2001, the term “nuclear renaissance” has been used to describe the revival of nuclear power as a major energy source. This has been driven by rising prices of petroleum and other fossil fuels as well as growing concerns regarding greenhouse emissions being generated by these fuels. Unfortunately, the disaster in Fukushima, Japan which resulted in the destruction of the nuclear power plant there has prompted much concern regarding safety of nuclear power. Furthermore, other problems associated with shutdowns at other nuclear facilities have added to this controversy. This has resulted in many countries reviewing the safety of their existing reactors as well as to cast doubt regarding the speed and scale of planned facilities for the world.

According to the World Nuclear Association, electricity produced by nuclear plants was at its lowest level in 2012. The previous year it was so in 1999. Several international studies have suggested that nuclear power, emitting low carbon energy (alongside renewable resources like wind, solar power), continues to play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Historically, usage of nuclear power has been thought to have prevented 64 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. There have been and continue to be concerns regarding nuclear power. These include the fate of spent nuclear fuel, safety and security risks. These concerns are considered to be unique among low carbon energy sources. However, many hydroelectric power stations also take in considerations of safety and security.

According to an analysis of carbon dioxide emissions from nuclear power, conducted by Yale University, it was found that the life cycle of carbon dioxide emissions from nuclear power is only a fraction that of fossil fuels and of comparable renewable technologies. Uncertainty surrounds the future of greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear power and this has to do with the potential for a decline in uranium fuel grade without a corresponding increase in the efficiency of enriching it.

Since nuclear power represents 70% of all non-carbon generated electricity, it is very unlikely to meet global climate goals if nuclear power were to be eliminated.

In countries without a carbon tax program, nuclear power could prove to be uncompetitive against conventional energy sources. Even hydroelectric sources among these conventional energy sources would turn out to be cheaper. Furthermore, it takes a much longer time to construct a nuclear plant which can produce the same power amount as a coal or oil power plant.

The most popular source of nuclear power is the isotope uranium-235. A more practical alternative considered is thorium, which has proven to be well suited for a molten salt reactor. Thorium is considered better suited because it is a naturally occurring isotope as opposed to uranium-235. Uranium needs to be enriched prior to its use for nuclear power. The one drawback to thorium is that it does require a significant investment in research and development.

Public opinion regarding nuclear power varies widely among countries. Gallup International conducted a poll in 2011 which examined nuclear power in 47 countries. The poll itself was conducted after the accident at Fukushima in which an earthquake and tsunami destroyed one of the reactors at the plant there. According to the poll, 49% held a favourable view regarding nuclear energy. By contrast, 43% held a negative view. Ipso conducted a similar poll during that same year in 24 countries.

Many respondents preferred renewable energy sources over coal, other fossil fuels and nuclear energy Ipso in 2012 also found that solar and wind were viewed as more environmentally friendly and more viable in the long run. However, both solar and wind were viewed as being less reliable than nuclear power and natural gas.

Questions 27–35:

Complete the table below using No More Than Three Words from the passage.

Parameters to Compare Various Forms of Energy
ParameterNuclear EnergyConventional EnergyRenewable Energy
………………………………..27 emissions.Low emissionsHigh emissionsLow emissions
Waste disposalDisposal of ……………….28Not mentionedNot mentioned
Safety concernsHigh concernsHigh concerns in respect of ……………………29 powerNot mentioned
Life cycle of…………………..30Low of cycleHigh life cycle……………..31 (For specific energy sources)
Cost of generationUncompetitiveCompetitiveNot mentioned
Time needed for plant ……………………..32Longer time neededShorter time neededNot mentioned
Source of raw materialEnriched…………………33Fossil fuelsMainly…………………34 power
……………………..35 viabilityLess viableLess viable  More viable
reliabilityMore reliableNot mentionedLess reliable

Questions 36-40:

Answer the following questions with appropriate information from the passage. Write

True if the statement agrees with the information in the passage

False if the statement contradicts the information in the passage

Not given if the statement states no information in the passage

36. Nuclear power was not a major energy source in the 20th century.

37. After the Fukushima nuclear plant accident, several countries put their nuclear power projects on hold.

38. The quantum of nuclear power generation in 2012 reached its lowest point since 1999.

39. Nuclear power generation has kept carbon dioxide emissions in check.

40. Uranium fuel suffers a decline in grade during use and this decline is not easy to make up through enrichment.

ANSWER KEY:-

1. True

2. False

3. True

4. True

5. False

6. True

7. Not Given

8. True

9. Chlorinated compounds

10. Septic system

11. Sea

12. Green spa

13. Star resort

14.  Industry

15. Labour

16. Service

17. Decentralisation

18. Entertainment

19. Beautification

20. TRUE

21. FALSE

22. NOT GIVEN

23. TRUE

24. TRUE

25. NOT GIVEN

26. FALSE

27. Greenhouse/Greenhouse gas

28. Spent nuclear fuel

29. Hydroelectric

30. CO2 Emissions

31. High life cycle

32. Plant Construction

33. Uranium-235/Uranium

34. Wind and solar/solar and wind

35. Long term

36. False

37. Not Given

38. True

39. True

40. Not Given

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