Academic Ielts Reading Material

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 191 With Answers

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 191 With Answers

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

Paragraph 1

The “Phi Phi Island Resort” is located in Phi Phi Leh 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 Phi Leh are visited by many people as well. The rest of the islands in the group, including Bida Nok, Bida Noi, 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.

Paragraph 2

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 Phi Leh 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, Loh Samah and Maya Bay.

The climate on Phi Phi Leh 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.

Paragraph 3

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.

Paragraph 4

Diving and snorkeling at Phi Phi Leh 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

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 191 With Answers

Do the following statements agree with the information in the IELTS reading text?

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 Phi Leh, Ko Phi Phi is a virgin island.          

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

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

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

Questions 9-13

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 191 With Answers

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 a 4.5  .

Reading Passage 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-25, which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.

Making sense of scent


With every whiff you take as you walk by a bakery, a cloud of chemicals comes swirling up your nose. Identifying the smell as freshly baked bread is a complicated process. But, compared to the other senses, the sense of smell is often underappreciated.

In a survey of 7,000 young people around the world, about half of those between the age of 16 and 30 said that they would rather lose their sense of smell than give up access to technology like laptops or cell phones.

We’re not that acutely aware of our use of olfaction in daily living. In fact, mammals have about a thousand genes that code for odor reception. And even though humans have far fewer active odor receptor genes, 5 percent of our DNA is devoted to olfaction, a fact that emphasizes how important our sense of smell is.


Smell begins at the back of nose, where millions of sensory neurons lie in a strip of tissue called the olfactory epithelium. Molecules of odorants pass through the superior nasal concha of the nasal passages and come down on the epithelium. The tips of the epithelium cells contain proteins called receptors that bind odor molecules. The receptors are like locks and the keys to open these locks are the odor molecules that float past, explains Leslie Vosshall, a scientist who studies olfaction.

People have about 450 different types of olfactory receptors. (For comparison, dogs have about two times as many.) Each receptor can be activated by many different odor molecules, and each odor molecule can activate several different types of receptors. However, the forces that bind receptors and odor molecules can vary greatly in strength, so that some interactions are better “fits” than others.

The complexity of receptors and their interactions with odor molecules are what allow us to detect a wide variety of smells. And what we think of as a single smell is actually a combination of many odor molecules acting on a variety of receptors, creating an intricate neural code that we can identify as the scent of a rose or freshly-cut grass.


This neural code begins with the nose’s sensory neurons. Once an odor molecule binds to a receptor, it initiates an electrical signal that travels from the sensory neurons to the olfactory bulb, a structure at the base of the forebrain that relays the signal to other brain areas for additional processing.

One of these areas is the piriform cortex, a collection of neurons located just behind the olfactory bulb that works to identify the smell. Smell information also goes to the thalamus, a structure that serves as a relay station for all of the sensory information coming into the brain. The thalamus transmits some of this smell information to the orbitofrontal cortex, where it can then be integrated with taste information. What we often attribute to the sense of taste is actually the result of this sensory integration.


“The olfactory system is critical when we’re appreciating the foods and beverages we consume,” says Monell Chemical Senses Center scientist Charles Wysocki. This coupling of smell and taste explains why foods seem lackluster with a head cold.

You’ve probably experienced that a scent can also conjure up emotions and even specific memories, like when a whiff of cologne at a department store reminds you of your favorite uncle who wears the same scent. This happens because the thalamus sends smell information to the hippocampus and amygdala, key brain regions involved in learning and memory.

Although scientists used to think that the human nose could identify about 10,000 different smells, Vosshall and her colleagues have recently shown that people can identify far more scents. Starting with 128 different odor molecules, they made random mixtures of 10, 20, and 30 odor molecules, so many that the smell produced was unrecognizable to participants. The researchers then presented people with three vials, two of which contained identical mixtures while the third contained a different concoction, and asked them to pick out the smell that didn’t belong.


Predictably, the more overlap there was between two types of mixtures, the harder they were to tell apart. After calculating how many of the mixtures the majority of people could tell apart, the researchers were able to predict how people would fare if presented with every possible mixture that could be created from the 128 different odor molecules. They used this data to estimate that the average person can detect at least one trillion different smells, a far cry from the previous estimate of 10,000.

This number is probably an underestimation of the true number of smells we can detect, said Vosshall, because there are far more than 128 different types of odor molecules in the world. And our olfaction is quite powerful comparing to other mammals. For example, marine animals can detect only water-soluble odorants.

No longer should humans be considered poor smellers. “It’s time to give our sense of smell the recognition it deserves,” said Vosshall.

Questions 14-19

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 191 With Answers

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

In boxes 14-19 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

14. In general, olfaction and sense of taste are considered equally important.                                    

15. About 7,000 young people around the world would prefer losing their sense of smell than access to laptops.                                         

16. Odor reception is an integral function of all mammals.                       

17. Superior nasal concha is compared to a lock and odor molecules are like keys that are used to open it.                                      

18. Cats have two times as many olfactory receptors as humans.                 

19. We are able to detect a lot of different scents because of a variety of odor receptors, which translate impact of molecules into a neural code.     

Questions 20-25

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 191 With Answers

Complete the sentences below.

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

Write your answers in boxes 20-25 on your answer sheet.

20. The part of our brain responsible for identifying the smell is called  .

21. The  is a region in our brain that serves as a transition station for all sensory information that we receive.

22. Sense of smell is closely related to  .

23.  and  are involved in arousing memories caused by specific smells.

24. The experiment proved that the average person can discriminate between at least  smells.

25. Sea mammals can smell only odorants that are  in water.

Reading Passage 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 26-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

Cognitive dissonance


Charles Darwin said, “This not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” So you’ve sold your home, quit your job, shunned your colleagues, abandoned your friends and family. The end of the world is nigh, and you ‘know for a fact’ that you are one of the chosen few who will be swept up from the ‘great flood’ approaching on 21st December at midnight to be flown to safety on a far off planet. And then midnight on 21st December comes around and there is no flood. No end of the world. No flying saucer to the rescue. What do you do? Admit you were wrong? Acknowledge that you gave up position, money, friends – for nothing? Tell yourself and others you have been a schmuck? Not on your life.


Social psychologist Leon Festinger infiltrated a flying saucer doomsday cult in the late 1950s. The members of this cult had given up everything on the premise that the world was about to self destruct and that they, because of their faith, would be the sole survivors. In the lead up to the fateful day, the cult shunned publicity and shied away from journalists. Festinger posed as a cultist and was present when the space ship failed to show up. He was curious about what would happen. How would the disappointed cultists react to the failure of their prophecy? Would they be embarrassed and humiliated? What actually happened amazed him.


Now, after the non-event, the cultists suddenly wanted publicity. They wanted media attention and coverage. Why? So they could explain how their faith and obedience had helped save the planet from the flood. The aliens had spared planet earth for their sake – and now their new role was to spread the word and make us all listen. This fascinated Festinger. He observed that the real driving force behind the cultists’ apparently inexplicable response was the need, not to face the awkward and uncomfortable truth and ‘change their minds’, but rather to ‘make minds comfortable’ – to smooth over the unacceptable inconsistencies.


Festinger coined the term ‘cognitive dissonance’ to describe the uncomfortable tension we feel when we experience conflicting thoughts or beliefs (cognitions), or engage in behavior that is apparently opposed to our stated beliefs. What is particularly interesting is the lengths to which people will go to reduce the inner tension without accepting that they might, in fact, be wrong. They will accept almost any form of relief, other than admitting being at fault, or mistaken. Festinger quickly realized that our intolerance for ‘cognitive dissonance’ could explain many mysteries of human behavior.


In a fascinating experiment Festinger and his colleagues paid some subjects twenty dollars to tell a specific lie, while they paid another group of subjects only one dollar to do the same. Those who were paid just one dollar were far more likely to claim, after the event, that they had actually believed in the lie they were told to tell. Why? Well, because it’s just so much harder to justify having done something that conflicts with your own sense of being ‘an honest person’ for a mere pittance. If you get more money, you can tell yourself: ‘Yeah, I lied, but I got well paid! It was justified.’ But for one dollar? That’s not a good enough reason to lie, so what you were saying must have been true in the first place, right?


Emotional factors influence how we vote for our politicians much more than our careful and logical appraisal of their policies, according to Drew Westen, a professor of psychiatry and psychology. This may come as little surprise to you, but what about when we learn that our favored politician may be dishonest? Do we take the trouble to really find out what they are supposed to have done, and so possibly have to change our opinions (and our vote), or do we experience that nasty cognitive dissonance and so seek to keep our minds comfortable at the possible cost of truth?


Cognitive dissonance is essentially a matter of commitment to the choices one has made, and the ongoing need to satisfactorily justify that commitment, even in the face of convincing but conflicting evidence. This is why it can take a long time to leave a cult or an abusive relationship – or even to stop smoking. Life’s commitments, whether to a job, a social cause, or a romantic partner, require heavy emotional investment, and so carry significant emotional risks. If people didn’t keep to their commitments, they would experience uncomfortable emotional tension. In a way, it makes sense that our brains should be hard-wired for monitoring and justifying our choices and actions – so as to avoid too much truth breaking in at once and overwhelming us.


I guess we can’t really develop unless we start to get a grip and have some personal honesty about what really motivates us. This is part of genuine maturity. If I know I am being lazy, and can admit it to myself, that at least is a first step to correcting it. If, however, I tell myself it’s more sensible to wait before vacuuming, then I can go around with a comfortable self-concept of ‘being sensible’ while my filthy carpets and laziness remain unchanged.

Cognitive dissonance can actually help me mature, if I can bring myself, first, to notice it (making it conscious) and second, to be more open to the message it brings me, in spite of the discomfort. As dissonance increases, providing I do not run away into self-justification, I can get a clearer and clearer sense of what has changed, and what I need to do about it.
And then I can remember what Darwin had to say about who will survive…

Questions 26-33

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 191 With Answers

Reading Passage 3 has eight paragraphs, A–H. Choose the most suitable headings for these paragraphs from the list of ten headings below. Write the appropriate number i-x in the text boxes 26-33. There are more paragraph headings than paragraphs, so you will not use them all.

List of headings:

i. Leon Festinger: On being stood up by the aliens
ii. Dishonest politicians? Never!
iii. Mind manipulation: the true reason of strange behaviour
iv. You can’t handle the truth!
v. The catastrophe of 21st December
vi. Grow up – make cognitive dissonance work for you
vii. How many dollars would you take to tell a lie?
viii. Revealing mysteries: Darwin was right.
ix. Cognitive dissonance: who are you kidding?
x. The high cost of commitment exposes us to cognitive dissonance

26. Passage A 

27. Passage B 

28. Passage C 

29. Passage D 

30. Passage E 

31. Passage F 

32. Passage G 

33. Passage H 

Questions 34-40

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 191 With Answers

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write the correct letter in boxes 34-40 on your answer sheet.

34. After the space ship didn’t show up on the fateful day, the members of flying saucer doomsday cult
  1.  didn’t want to admit the uncomfortable truth and still believed that the world would self destruct.
  2.  were embarrassed and humiliated because of their failure.
  3.  wanted media attention to say that they saved the planet.
35. The main reason why people fight cognitive dissonance is
  1.  a desire to reduce the inner tension.
  2.  people’s unwillingness to accept their mistakes.
  3.  wish to avoid the awkward feeling of lying for not a good reason.
36 During the experiment, people who were telling lies were more likely to claim that they believed in the lie if
  1.  they were paid less.
  2.  these people were paid more.
  3.  they felt uncomfortable because of lying
37. Commitment to the choices someone has made, and the ongoing need to justify that commitment, despite the conflicting evidence can be explained by the fact that
  1.  it causes uncomfortable emotional tension.
  2.  commitments require heavy emotional investment.
  3.  our brain always justifies our choices.
38. The big part of genuine maturity is the ability of
  1.  sensible reasoning.
  2.  disregarding cognitive dissonance.
  3.  being honest with yourself.
39. According to the text, which of the situations below is NOT an example of cognitive dissonance?
  1.  A man learns that his favored politician is dishonest, but continues to vote for him.
  2.  A woman doesn’t want to do vacuuming, but convinces herself that otherwise her carpet will remain filthy and finally does it.
  3.  A woman has been dating with her boyfriend for five years. Everyone tells her that it’s an abusive relationship because he often beats and humiliates her, but she doesn’t want to leave her romantic partner.
40. Charles Darwin quote from the beginning of the text implies that
  1.  cognitive dissonance helps us to change and therefore makes us more enduring species
  2.  people often accept almost any form of relief, rather than admitting being at fault, to survive.
  3.  fighting the discomfort caused by cognitive dissonance is a survival mechanism developed during the evolution.
Answer Key
Academic Reading Test 190

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