The IELTS Reading test has 40 questions and is designed to assess a variety of reading abilities. Reading for gist, main ideas, detail, skimming, understanding logical argument, and recognising writers’ opinions and purpose are all examples.
Because you only have 60 minutes to answer 40 questions, managing your time during the test is crucial. It is recommended that you spend no more than 20 minutes on each section of the Reading test; however, if the first passage is easy for you, you may finish it in less time, giving you more time to answer questions in the next two passages.
As you progress through the test, the passages become more difficult, so make sure you leave enough time to finish the last one.
Nanotechnology IELTS Reading Answers
Because the IELTS Academic test is used worldwide for professional registrations and university admissions, the questions in this section will assess your ability to comprehend content found in academic materials.
Make sure you read a variety of texts on various topics to prepare for the test.
You’ll be able to focus more on the questions associated with each text type once you’ve read a variety of different text types.
IELTS Reading Answers
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Nanotechnology has been hailed by many as being a twentieth-century miracle of science. Essentially, nanotechnology, a term derived from Greek, translating literally as ‘dwarf technology ‘is, as the origin of its name suggests, engineering at the atomic level.
Scientists work with particles of substances known as ‘nanoparticles’ which may measure no more than 1 nanometre or a billionth of a metre.
That’s around 40,000 times smaller than the width of the average human hair. Whilst some of these substances derived from carbon compounds are manufactured, others, such as metals, are naturally occurring or arise as a by-product of another process e.g. volcanic ash or smoke from wood burning.
What makes these substances of such scientific interest is that their minute size facilitates medical and technological processes that would otherwise be impossible.
It may be something of a revelation for many of us to learn that nanotechnology – or its concept – is far from cutting-edge science. In fact, nanotechnology as an idea was first referred to in an influential lecture by American physicist, Richard Feynman, as far back as 1959. During the lecture, entitled ‘There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom’, Feynman outlined the basic concept of nanotechnology.
Individual atoms and molecules, he claimed, could in the future be created by a physical process. Such a process, he envisaged, would involve the building of a set of precise tools to build and operate another proportionally smaller set.
The building of increasingly minute tools at the microscopic level would in turn produce ultra-microscopic materials, later to become known as ‘nanoparticles’.
Strangely, what should have sparked a scientific revolution was then virtually forgotten about for the next 15 years. In 1974, a Japanese scientist, Norio Taniguchi, of the Tokyo University of Science reintroduced Feynman’s theory and put a new name to an old concept, referring to the science as ‘nanotechnology’.
However, it wasn’t until nearly a decade later, in the 1980s, that the way was paved for nanotechnology to leave the realm of theoretical science and become reality. Two major scientific developments within a relatively short period were to enable practical application of nanotechnology.
The invention of the Scanning Tunnelling Microscope (STM), combined with the discovery of nano-sized particles termed ‘fullerenes’, were to prove a turning point in nanotechnology. Fullerenes are derived from carbon molecules and, in common with other nanoparticles, possess chemical and physical properties that are of huge scientific interest.
The potential value of fullerenes for medical science was first raised in 2003 and in 2005 when the scientific magazine ‘Chemistry and Biology’ ran an article describing the use of fullerenes as light-activated antimicrobial agents.
Since then, fullerenes have been used for several biomedical applications ranging from X-ray imaging to treating cancer by targeting cancer cells. In addition, these nanoparticles have been used in the manufacture of commercial products, from sunscreen to cosmetics and some food products.
Furthermore, nanoparticles of metals, like gold and silver, have been used in environmental clean-ups of oil slicks and other forms of pollution. The remarkable properties of nanoparticles are down to two main factors: their greater surface-to-weight ratio, compared to larger particles which promote the attachment of substances to their surface, and their minute size which allows them to penetrate cell membranes.
These properties are of great benefit, for example in medicine, as drugs to fight cancer or AIDS can be attached to nanoparticles to reach their target cell in the human body.
However, despite the amazing properties attributed to nanoparticles such as fullerenes, nanotechnology has yet to win wider universal acceptance in scientific circles.
For the very properties that make nanoparticles so valuable to technology and medical science are also the ones that make them potentially so toxic. Such properties are potentially lethal if toxic substances attach themselves to the same nanoparticles, thereby delivering a fatal toxin through the cell membranes into the cells themselves.
The toxic effect of these compounds is further increased since their size permits them to enter the bloodstream and hence the body’s major organs. Furthermore, the nanoparticles in themselves are essentially a foreign element being introduced to the body.
Unlike foreign elements, such as bacteria, the body has no natural immune system to deal with these ultramicroscopic particles.
Scientists have yet to convince the nanotechnology sceptics that the potential side effects of nanoparticles are more than compensated for by the advantages that they confer.
It may be, however, that opposition to this technology is no more than a general distrust of scientific innovation. In fact, Urban Wiesing from the University of Tubingen has been quoted as saying ‘Many of the risks associated with nanotechnology have at least been encountered in part in other technologies as well.’ He also believes that regulations can be put in place to minimise such risks.
This is a view echoed by the Federal Environment Agency that proposes that such risks are vastly outweighed by the potential benefits of nanotechnology, in particular for the environment.
IELTS Exam Preparation
There will be three different reading passages on your reading test. To get the gist of the passage, you can quickly skim through it. It is not necessary to read each sentence in detail; this is unnecessary and time-consuming. Look for main points that describe the passage in the headings and subheadings. This will help and assist in the search for answers later on.
Pay close attention to the beginning and end of the paper. In the introduction and conclusion, the author’s point of view is frequently expressed. When you read these two sections of the reading passage, you will be able to correctly answer the majority of the questions. After you’ve read the introduction and conclusion, skim through the body of the passage.
You can improve your IELTS Reading score and band by double-checking your answers. Make sure you answer all of the questions and set aside at least 20 minutes to double-check your work. You can time yourself to perfection using the practice materials available on our website.
For test-takers, the IELTS Reading section can be intimidating, but proper preparation and time management can mean the difference between an average and a great score. Hopefully, the article above gave you the pointers and helped in your preparation.