Here is a passage for the IELTS reading test. Solve the questions and find the strategy for solving the passage at the end of the page.

Pointers to Keep in Mind:

  • Time is of the essence in the academic reading test, so always make sure you finish solving the exercise in 6 mins.
  • Do not take external help, this exercise is to help you evaluate your skills for the IELTS reading test.
  • Do not look at the answers section until you have finished answering the questions yourself in the IELTS reading practice test.
  • There are 5 parts to the exercise, all are compulsory.
  • Spend the 5 mins finding the answer. Allocate 1 min to finding the answer to one question type.
  • After having found all the answers in the general reading test, fill the answer sheet in the last minute.

The Growing Implications that Causes the Depletion of Natural Resources

A. Population Growth

The population of the world is presently 6.2 billion human beings and for the past fifty years, has increased more rapidly than ever before in history. At the time of Christ, the world population was about 300 million people. By 2050, the world population is expected to increase another astounding fifty per cent and is expected to level off at about 9 billion people. Our problem is that we do too much. 

We take too much out of the ground and we discard too much into the environment. Therefore, the key to understanding the root cause of our problem is to ask why?. The root cause of all our environmental problems is not our doings, but that fact that we have over-populated our planet.

B. Mass Extinction

Mankind is presently causing and witnessing the greatest mass extinction event that has ever occurred in the history of life on our planet. If established trends continue, one-half of all the species that presently existed will be gone in the next several decades. 

This rate of destruction of life is even greater than the mass extinction caused by a giant meteor collision that occurred sixty-five million years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs. Our present mass extinction is being fueled by human activity which destroys the habitats of plant and animal life.

C. RainForests Destruction

Rain forests, today, are rapidly disappearing in all areas of the world and their depletion, without considering anything else, rivals that of the disappearance of the dinosaurs sixty-five million years ago.

Every year, Brazil chops down an area of forest the size of the state of Nebraska. In addition to the disappearance of Amazon basin rainforest, many other forests are being cut down as well. In Indonesia, Zaire, Papua-New Guinea, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, and Venezuela, rain forests are disappearing at an alarming rate and there is no end in sight to the devastation.

The primary reason for rainforest demise is their deliberate destruction to make way for farms that will only be used for several years. After that, the exposed soil is depleted of nutrients and will no longer support crops or other plant life and animal life. The farmers responsible for this crime against nature, then move on to do the same thing deeper in the rainforest.

D. Global Warming

Global warming, while still a controversial topic is being recognized by more and more scientists as a problem that must be dealt with. The evidence in this regard is real and with each passing day, becomes clearer and more compelling. 

Glaciers throughout the world are receding, the Arctic and Antarctica ice packs are disintegrating, global sea levels are rising, world average temperatures are increasing, storms such as hurricanes and cyclones are becoming more numerous and severe, climates are changing, and animals and plant life are shifting their ranges in response to shifts in climate.

E. Acid Rain

Acid rain is caused by airborne pollutants that acidify falling rain with highly destructive results. Among these is the dying off of trees in the world’s forests and reduced agricultural production. Scientists first discovered acid rain in 1852, when the English chemist Robert Agnus invented the term. Acid rain, itself, cannot be seen but its effects are clearly evident. 

The prime contributors to acid rain are automobiles emissions and coal-burning power plants, but almost all industrial activity makes a contribution. Different regions of the world experience different levels of acid rain, however, so much contributing gases are now being produced that the problem is global and no area of the planet escapes this onslaught.

Also Read : 7 Tips To Master The IELTS Speaking Cue Card Questions 2020: A Guide to Better Band Score

F. Solid Waste Disposal

Human activity produces solid waste and far too often this waste is hazardous and dangerous to living things including man. The levels of hazardous waste are continuing to grow throughout the world and this is especially true in developing countries. 

The more advanced a society is the more hazardous waste it produces, so as third world countries industrialize, the hazardous waste they produce increases accordingly.

Hazardous waste is cumulative in the environment. Once dumped, it stays where it is for many years and the world’s ecosystems are still being affected by waste discard many years ago. 

Adding to this problem is the hazardous waste presently being produced and all that will be produced in future years. Included in this waste are spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants which will remain lethal for thousands upon thousands of years.

G. Water Pollution

Fourteen billion pounds of solid waste and nineteen trillion gallons of liquid waste are dumped in the oceans of the world each year. The oil spill of the Exxon Valdez is a horrible example of this kind of pollution, but what people do not realize is that the total amount of old spilt by the Exxon Valdez was only five per cent of the total amount of oil spilt that year. 

Ocean pollution affects every nation around the world because water movement disperses pollution in every corner of the globe. Presently, in the centre of the Pacific Ocean, there is a huge area where ocean currents concentrate solid waste and this area looks like a garbage dump. 

Industrialization is the prime source of water pollution and as nations become more industrialized water pollution increases and have a greater impact on fish stocks and the oceans ability to support life.

H. Dead Zones

A dead zone is an area in the world’s oceans where oxygen depletion causes the death of all living creatures unable to escape from the zone. The size and number of oxygen-deprived “dead zones” throughout the planet have increased steadily since the 1970s and now they number about one-hundred-fifty. 

Dead zones are a threat to the world’s fisheries and to humans who depend up those fisheries for sustenance. They are caused by excessive nitrogen which flows into coastal waters from farm runoff, sewage, and emissions from vehicles and factories. In what scientists call a “nitrogen cascade”; the chemicals pass, untreated, into our oceans and trigger a proliferation of plankton.

In turn, this depletes oxygen in the water. Fish are able to flee from these areas, but slow-moving bottom-dwellings like clams, lobsters and oysters are less able to escape and die. Dead zones can range from less than a square mile in size, but the largest one is now 45,000 square miles and growing.

Questions 1 to 5

Choose no more than two words and/ or a number for each answer. See the questions types and complete from 1-5.

  1. A meteor collision took place around _____ million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs.
  2. The mass extinction is increased by human activity that diminishes the habitats of plants and ______.
  3. On a yearly basis, Brazil cuts down an area of forest that is about the size of ______.
  4. Pollution of the ocean affects the nations through the world as the movement disperses pollution to___ of the globe.
  5. The dead zones are a threat to the fisheries of the world and the humans who depend on them for ________.

Strategies to Solve Matching Heading Question Types

Step1: Read the Passage

Read the passage carefully and after reading the passage and the questions, highlight the answers you spotted easily.

Step 2: Spot Keywords

For the answers you did not find, go through the passage again paragraph by paragraph. Underline the keywords you recognize.

Step 3: Before Writing the Answer

After you think you have found all the answers recheck if your answer clearly addresses the question. Then carefully transfer the answers to the answer sheet.


The first blank’s answer is 65/ sixty-five, the second answer is animal life, the third answer is Nebraska, the fourth answer is every corner and the fifth answer is sustenance.


Hopefully, the above practice test will be helpful for you to achieve a better IELTS reading score. You must keep practising more to enhance your skills for the IELTS reading test.

Do try the test and do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.

Also Read : IELTS Reading: Study Guide, Information & Tips

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