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Learning Lessons From The Past Reading Answers: IELTS Reading Practice Test

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Updated on Jul 10, 2024, 12:54

The IELTS Reading section assesses your ability to understand and interpret texts written in English. You will be given 60 minutes to complete 40 questions based on three reading passages. These passages are taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers, covering a range of topics from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical. The questions may include multiple-choice, identifying information, identifying the writer’s views or claims, matching information, headings, features, and sentence endings, as well as completion tasks such as summary, note, table, flow-chart, or diagram label completion.

 

To better prepare for the IELTS Reading section, you can take an IELTS practice test, which provides a realistic experience of the types of texts and questions you will face in the actual exam.

 

The passage "Learning Lessons From The Past" explores how historical events and experiences can provide valuable insights and lessons for contemporary society. It discusses specific examples and analyses how understanding the past can help avoid repeating mistakes and guide future decisions.


 

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1. Learning Lessons From The Past Reading Passage

You should spend approximately 20 minutes answering Questions 1 - 14 based on the Reading Passage below. This approach can help manage time effectively during a reading comprehension activity or exam.    

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2. Learning Lessons From The Past Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Learning Lessons From The Past Reading Question & Answers

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1.

Learning Lessons From The Past Reading Passage

General Information

  • Read Instructions: Understand each question before answering.
  • Manage Time: Spend about 20 minutes per passage.
  • Skim and Scan: Quickly get the main idea and find specific information.
  • Highlight Key Info: Underline essential words or phrases.
  • Answer All Questions: Attempt every question; no penalty for wrong answers.
  • Stay Focused: Avoid distractions and keep your attention on the task.
  • Check Spelling: Ensure correct spelling and grammar.
  • Transfer Answers Clearly: Write answers neatly on the answer sheet.
  • Don’t Dwell: Move on if stuck and return later.
  • Review: If time allows, review your answers.

 

 

Learning Lessons From The Past Reading Passage

 

Paragraph A

 

Many past societies caved in or disappeared, leaving behind huge disintegration, such as those that the poet Shelley visualised in his ballad, Ozymandias. By cave-in, I mean an extreme lesson in human population size and/or political/economic/social complication over a sizable area for an extended time; by those qualities, most people would consider the following past societies to have been well-known sufferers of full-fledged tumble rather than of just minor diminish: the Anasazi and  Cahokia within the frontier of the modern US, the Maya cities in Central America, Moche and Tiwanaku societies in South America, Norse Greenland, Mycenaean Greece and Minoan Crete in Europe, Great Zimbabwe in Africa, Angkor Wat and the Harappan Indus Valley cities in Asia, and Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean. 

 

Paragraph B

 

The huge ruins left behind by those past societies hold an interest for all of us. We wonder about them when, as children, we first learn of them through pictures. When we grow up, many of us plan to quit in order to experience them first-hand. We feel worn by their frequent striking and evocative beauty and also by the puzzle that they pose. The scales of the ruins testify to the former wealth and power of their builders. Yet these builders disappear, relinquishing the great structures that they had created with such effort. How could a society that was once so mighty end up caving in?

 

Paragraph C

 

It has long been felt that many of those puzzling desertions were at least partly activated by ecological problems: people inadvertently demolishing the ecological resources on which their societies depended. This doubtful inadvertent environmental suicide(ecocide) has been confirmed by findings made in recent decades by palaeontologists, weathercasters, chroniclers, excavators, and palaeoecologists (pollen scientists). The procedure through which past communities have undermined themselves by damaging their environments falls into eight groups, whose relative significance differs from case to case: erosion and environment destruction, soil issues, water management issues, overhunting, overfishing, sequel of introduced species on native species, human population growth, and increased collision of people. 

 

Paragraph D

 

Those past collapses ministered to follow somewhat alike courses form variations on theme writers find it tempting to draw a resemblance between the course of human communities and the course of individual human loves- to talk of a community’s birth, growth, peak, old age and final death. But that trope manifests mistakes for many past communities: they reduce fast after reaching high numbers and power, and those fast falls must have come as a surprise and shock to their citizens. Evidently,  too, this course is not that all past communities followed even to completion: various communities collapsed to various degrees and in somewhat various ways, while many communities did not collapse at all. 

 

 Paragraph E

 

Today, many people feel that ecological issues darken all the other warnings about world civilisation. These ecological issues comprise the same eight that erode past communities plus four new ones: human-caused climate swap, build-up of poison chemicals in the habitat, energy scarcity, and full human usage of the Earth’s chemosynthesis capacity. However, the solemnity of these current ecological issues is strenuously debated. Are the risks greatly overstated, or again, are they underrated? Will modern automation solve our issues, or is it creating new issues quicker than it solves old ones? When we exhaust one resource(e.g. Wood oil or ocean fish), can we count on being able to replace some new resource(e.g. Plastics, wind and solar energy, or farmed fish)? Isn’t the rate of human population growth reduced, such that we’re formerly on course for the world’s population to level off at some achievable number of people?

 

Paragraph F

 

Questions like this adorn why those popular collapses of past civilisations have taken on more meaning than just that of an amorous enigma. Maybe there are some particle lessons that we could learn from all those past collapses. However, there are also variations between the modern world and its issues, as well as those past communities and their issues. We shouldn't be so innocent as to think that studying the past will surrender simple solutions that are straight transportable to our communities today.  We differ from past communities in some esteem that put us at lower risk than them; some of those respects frequently noted encompass our powerful automation(i.e. Its advantageous effects), proliferation, modern medicine, and greater knowledge of past communities and distant modern communities. We also differ from pat communities in some esteem that put us at greater risk than them: once more, our potent automation(i.e., its accidental devastating effects), globalisation (such that now an issue in one part of the world affects all the rest), the dependence of millions of us on modern medicine for our existence, and our much greater human population. Maybe we can still learn from the past, but only if we think carefully about its lessons.

 

To improve your vocabulary for the IELTS Reading section, read here.

 

2.

Learning Lessons From The Past Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Learning Lessons From The Past

Questions and Answers 1-3
  • Choose the correct letter: A, B, C or D.

 

1. When the writer describes the impact of monumental ruins today, he emphasises


A.  The income they generate from tourism.
B.  the area of land they occupy.
C.  their archaeological value.
D.  their romantic appeal.

 

2. Recent findings concerning vanished civilisations have


A.  overturned long-held beliefs.
B.  caused controversy amongst scientists.
C.  comes from a variety of disciplines.
D.  identified one main cause of environmental damage.

 

3. What does the writer say about ways in which former societies collapsed?


A.  The pace of decline was usually similar.
B.  The likelihood of collapse would have been foreseeable.
C.  Deterioration invariably led to total collapse.
D.  Individual citizens could sometimes influence the course of events.


 

Learning Lessons From The Past Reading Answers with Explanations (1-3)

 

Type of question: Multiple choice questions

 

In this question type, you are asked to answer the question followed by several options, typically lettered A, B, C, or D. The task is to select the correct answer from the given choices based on the information provided in the reading passage.

 

How to best answer: 
 

  • Read the question carefully and understand what it asks.
  • Pay attention to the keywords in the question.
  • Skim the passage quickly to locate relevant information.
  • Eliminate the clearly incorrect options.
  • Select the answer that best fits the information in the passage.

 

1. C

 

Reference: From paragraph B: "We feel worn by their frequent striking and evocative beauty and also by the puzzle that they pose."

 

Explanation : The choice of "their archaeological value" (option C) is supported by the passage's emphasis on how these monumental ruins captivate us with their beauty and enigma. This suggests that beyond mere tourism income or size, it's their historical and archaeological significance that resonates deeply.

 

2. D

 

Reference: From paragraph C:  "This doubtful inadvertent environmental suicide (ecocide) has been confirmed by findings made in recent decades by palaeontologists, weathercasters, chroniclers, excavators, and palaeoecologists (pollen scientists)."

 

Explanation : The correct answer, "identified one main cause of environmental damage" (option D), aligns with the passage detailing findings across various scientific disciplines confirming the role of environmental destruction in the collapse of past civilisations. This multidisciplinary approach underscores the complexity and widespread impact of ecocide.

 

3. A

 

Reference: From paragraph D: “But that trope manifests mistakes for many past communities: they reduce fast after reaching high numbers and power, and those fast falls must have come as a surprise and shock to their citizens.”

 

Explanation : Option A, "The pace of decline was usually similar," is supported by the passage's observation that many societies experienced rapid declines after reaching their peak in wealth and power. This suggests a common pattern of fast decline among these civilisations, contrary to the expectation of gradual deterioration or predictable collapses.

 

Refer to tips and tricks for the IELTS Reading section to achieve a high band score.

Questions and Answers 4-8
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?In boxes 1-4 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

 

4. It is widely believed that environmental problems represent the main danger faced by the modern world.
5. The accumulation of poisonous substances is a relatively modern problem.
6. There is general agreement that the threats posed by environmental problems are very serious.
7. Some past societies resembled present-day societies more closely than others.
8. We should be careful when drawing comparisons between past and present.

 

Learning Lessons From The Past Reading Answers with Explanations (4-8)

 

Type of question: Yes/No/Not Given(True/False/Not Given)

In this question type, you are required to determine whether the statements provided agree with, contradict, or are not mentioned in the reading passage. 

 

How to best answer:  
 

  • Understand what information is being presented and what is being asked.
  • Find relevant information in the reading passage that relates to the statement.
  • Determine if the statement agrees with, contradicts, or is not mentioned in the passage.
  • If the information is not explicitly provided in the passage, select 'Not Given' rather than making assumptions.
  • Base your answers solely on the information presented in the passage, avoiding personal opinions or outside knowledge.

 

4. Yes


 

Reference: From paragraph E: “Today many people feel that ecological issues darken all the other warnings to world civilisation.”

 

Explanation

 

The passage acknowledges the widespread concern that ecological problems pose the primary threat to modern civilisation. This aligns with the statement affirming the significant belief in environmental issues as critical dangers today. The reference to ecological issues overshadowing other concerns highlights the prevailing view among many that these problems are indeed the most pressing and potentially devastating challenges faced globally.

 

5. Yes

 

Reference: From paragraph E: “These ecological issues comprise the same eight that erode past communities plus four new ones: human-caused climate swap, build-up of poison chemicals in the habitat, energy scarcity, and full human usage of the Earth’s chemosynthesis capacity.”

 

Explanation

 

The passage directly mentions the accumulation of poisonous substances as a contemporary ecological issue. This statement is validated by the reference to the buildup of toxic chemicals in the environment, emphasising it as a relatively recent problem that contributes to environmental degradation and poses risks to ecosystems and human health.

 

6. No

 

Reference: From paragraph E: “However, the solemnity of these current ecological issues is strenuously debated.”

 

Explanation

 

The passage indicates a lack of consensus regarding the severity of current ecological issues. This debate contrasts with the statement asserting general agreement on the seriousness of environmental threats. The passage's mention of ongoing debate underscores the varied perspectives and uncertainties surrounding the gravity of contemporary environmental challenges.

 

7. Not given

 

Reference: From paragraph: N/A

 

Explanation

 

The passage does not provide information or comparisons regarding how closely some past societies resembled present-day societies. Therefore, it is not possible to determine whether past societies resembled present-day societies more closely than others based on the given text.

 

8. Yes

 

Reference: From paragraph F: “We also differ from pat communities in some esteem that put us at greater risk than them: once more, our potent automation(i.e., its accidental devastating effects), globalisation (such that now an issue in one part of the world affects all the rest), the dependence of millions of us on modern medicine for our existence, and our much greater human population.”


Explanation

 

The passage discusses differences between past and present societies that can increase modern societies' vulnerability. This supports the statement cautioning against simplistic comparisons between past and present societies. The reference highlights significant differences in factors like technology, globalisation, and population size that make direct comparisons challenging and necessitate careful consideration of historical lessons.

 

Read more about 350+ Vocabulary words for IELTS: Difficult & New English Words List For 2024

Questions and Answers 9-13
  • Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A-F, below.
  • Write the correct letter, A-F.

 

9. Evidence of the greatness of some former civilisations
10. The parallel between an individual’s life and the life of a society
11. The number of environmental problems that societies face
12. The power of technology
13. A consideration of historical events and trends

 

A) is not necessarily valid.
B )provides grounds for an optimistic outlook.
C) exists in the form of physical structures.
D) is potentially both positive and negative.
E) will not provide direct solutions for present problems.
F) is greater now than in the past.

 

Learning Lessons From The Past Reading Answers with Explanations (9-13)

 

Type of question: Matching sentence endings

 

In this question type, you will be given incomplete sentences, and you will have to complete the end of the sentence by selecting suitable words or phrases from the given list. 

 

How to best answer: 

 

  • Skim through the incomplete sentences to get an idea of the context
  • Recognise keywords in each sentence
  • Scan your list of options and look for the keywords
  • Verify the context and check if the word flows with the rest of the sentence 
  • Finalise your answers

 

9. C

 

Reference: From paragraph F: “Maybe there are some particle lessons that we could learn from all those past collapses.”

 

Explanation

 

Evidence of the greatness of former civilisations is seen in the physical structures and ruins they left behind. These remnants, such as ancient cities and monuments, serve as tangible proof of the wealth, power, and achievements of these societies, making them significant historical artefacts that continue to fascinate and intrigue us today.

 

10. A

 

Reference: From paragraph B:  "The huge ruins left behind by those past societies hold an interest for all of us."

 

Explanation

 

 The statement emphasises that the monumental ruins left behind by ancient civilisations, such as the pyramids of ancient cities, pique our curiosity and admiration. This fascination with their grandeur and historical significance indicates that there is tangible evidence of the greatness of these civilisations, visible in their enduring architectural marvels.


 

11. F

 

Reference: From paragraph D: “Those past collapses ministered to follow somewhat alike courses form variations on theme writers find it tempting to draw a resemblance between the course of human communities and the course of individual human loves- to talk of a community’s birth, growth, peak, old age and final death.”

 

Explanation

This option discusses the comparison between the life cycle of societies and individuals, indicating that the number and severity of environmental challenges facing modern societies are greater than those faced by past civilisations. This suggests that our current environmental risks surpass those encountered in history, posing significant challenges that may not have been as pronounced in earlier times.

 

12. D

 

Reference: From paragraph E: “These ecological issues comprise the same eight that erode past communities plus four new ones: human-caused climate swap, build-up of poison chemicals in the habitat, energy scarcity, and full human usage of the Earth’s chemosynthesis capacity.”


 

Explanation

 

The correct ending refers to the ecological issues facing modern societies, including technological advancements that both contribute to and potentially mitigate environmental problems. This indicates that technology has the power to influence environmental outcomes positively or negatively, highlighting its dual role in addressing and exacerbating ecological challenges.

 

13. E

 

Reference: From paragraph F: “We differ from past communities in some esteem that put us at lower risk than them; some of those respects frequently noted encompass our powerful automation(i.e. Its advantageous effects), proliferation, modern medicine, and greater knowledge of past communities and distant modern communities.”

 

Explanation

 

This choice reflects on historical events and trends, suggesting that while we can learn from the past, its lessons may not provide direct solutions to current problems due to our different circumstances. Our modern context, including advancements like powerful automation, sets us apart from past civilisations in terms of risks and opportunities, influencing how we approach and address global challenges today.

Questions and Answers 14
  • Choose the correct letter: A, B, C or D.
  • 14. What is the main argument of Reading Passage?

 

A.  There are differences as well as similarities between past and present societies.
B.  More should be done to preserve the physical remains of earlier civilisations.
C. Some historical accounts of great civilisations are inaccurate.
D.  Modern societies are dependent on each other for their continuing survival.


 

Learning Lessons From The Past Reading Answers with Explanations (14)

 

Refer to question type(1-3) for information.

 

14. A

 

 

Reference : From paragraph F: “We shouldn't be so innocent as to think that studying the past will surrender simple solutions that are straight transportable to our communities today.  We differ from past communities in some esteem that put us at lower risk than them; some of those respects frequently noted encompass our powerful automation(i.e. Its advantageous effects), proliferation, modern medicine, and greater knowledge of past communities and distant modern communities.”

 

Explanation

 

The main argument of the reading passage is that there are differences as well as similarities between past and present societies. This is evident from the passage's discussion about how modern societies differ from past ones in terms of risks and advantages, such as automation and medical advancements, while also highlighting the potential lessons that can still be learned from historical collapses.

 

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FAQs

Q. What types of questions can I expect in the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. You can expect a variety of question types in the IELTS Reading test, including multiple-choice, True/False/Not Given, matching headings, completing sentences, matching information, and more. Familiarising yourself with each type of question and practising with sample tests will help you prepare effectively.

Q. How are the passages presented in the IELTS Reading test (e.g., chronologically, by difficulty)?

Ans. The passages in the IELTS Reading test are not presented chronologically or by difficulty. They are standalone texts chosen for their readability and relevance to a general audience.


 

Q. Can I take notes during the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. Yes, you are allowed to take notes during the IELTS Reading test. Taking effective notes can help you remember key details, organise your thoughts, and quickly reference specific information when answering questions. Use notes wisely to aid your comprehension and ensure accurate responses.