Academic IELTS Reading Test 125

IELTSFever Academic IELTS Reading Test 125 ( Passage 1 Traditional Farming System in Africa, Passage 2 Water Filter, Passage 3 Pottery production in ancient Akrotiri ) we prefer you to work offline, download the test paper, and blank answer sheet.

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Reading Passage 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13, which are based on the IELTSFever Academic IELTS Reading Test 125 Reading Passage Traditional Farming System in Africa below.

Traditional Farming System in Africa

{A} By tradition land in Luapula is not owned by individuals, but as in many other parts of Africa is allocated by the headman or headwoman of a village to people of either sex, according to need. Since land is generally prepared by hand, one lupus cannot take on a very large area; in this sense, land has not been a limiting resource over large parts of the province. The situation has already changed near the main townships, and there has long been a scarcity of land for cultivation in the Valley. In these areas registered ownership patterns are becoming prevalent.

{B} Most of the traditional cropping in Luapula, as in the Bemba area to the east, is based on citemene, a system whereby crops are grown on the ashes of tree branches. As a rule, entire trees are not felled, but are pollarded so that they can regenerate. Branches are cut over an area of varying size early in the dry season, and stacked to dry over a rough circle about a fifth to a tenth of the pollarded area. The wood is fired before the rains and in the first year planted with the African cereal finger millet (Eleusine coracana).

{C} During the second season, and possibly for a few seasons more the area is planted to variously mixed combinations of annuals such as maize, pumpkins (Telfiria occidentalis) and other cucurbits, sweet potatoes, groundnuts, Phaseolus beans and various leafy vegetables, grown with a certain amount of rotation. The diverse sequence ends with vegetable cassava, which is often planted into the developing last-but-one crop as a relay.

{D} Richards (1969) observed that the practice of citemene entails a definite division of labour between men and women. A man stakes out a plot in an unobtrusive manner, since it is considered provocative towards one’s neighbours to mark boundaries in an explicit way. The dangerous work of felling branches is the men’s province, and involves much pride. Branches are stacke by the women, and fired by the men. Formerly women and men cooperated in the planting work, but the harvesting was always done by the women. At the beginning of the cycle little weeding is necessary, since the firing of the branches effectively destroys weeds. As the cycle progresses weeds increase and nutrients eventually become depleted to a point where further effort with annual crops is judged to be not worthwhile: at this point the cassava is planted, since it can produce a crop on nearly exhausted soil. Thereafter the plot is abandoned, and a new area pollarded for the next citemene cycle.

{E} When forest is not available – this is increasingly the case nowadays – various ridging systems (ibala) are built on small areas, to be planted with combinations of maize, beans, groundnuts and sweet potatoes, usually relayed with cassava. These plots are usually tended by women, and provide subsistence. Where their roots have year-round access to water tables mango, guava and oil-palm trees often grow around houses, forming a traditional agroforestry system. In season some of the fruit is sold by the roadside or in local markets.

{F} The margins of dambos are sometimes planted to local varieties of rice during the rainy season, and areas adjacent to vegetables irrigated with water from the dambo during the dry season. The extent of cultivation is very limited, no doubt because the growing of crops under dambo conditions calls for a great deal of skill. Near towns some of the vegetable produce is sold in local markets.

{G} Fishing has long provided a much needed protein supplement to the diet of Luapulans, as well as being the one substantial source of cash. Much fish is dried for sale to areas away from the main waterways. The Mweru and Bangweulu Lake Basins are the main areas of year-round fishing, but the Luapula River is also exploited during the latter part of the dry season. Several previously abundant and desirable species, such as the Luapula salmon or mpumbu (Labeo altivelis) and pale (Sarotherodon machochir) have all but disappeared from Lake Mweru, apparently due to mismanagement. 

{H} Fishing has always been a far more remunerative activity in Luapula that crop husbandry. A fisherman may earn more in a week than a bean or maize grower in a whole season. I sometimes heard claims that the relatively high earnings to be obtained from fishing induced an “easy come, easy go’ outlook among Luapula men. On the other hand, someone who secures good but erratic earnings may feel that their investment in an economically productive activity is not worthwhile because Luapulans fail to cooperate well in such activities. Besides, a fisherman with spare cash will find little in the way of working equipment to spend his money on. Better spend one’s money in the bars and have a good time!

{I} Only small numbers of cattle or oxen are kept in the province owing to the prevalence of the tse-tse fly. For the few herds, the dambos provide subsistence grazing during the dry season. The absence of animal draft power greatly limits peoples’ ability to plough and cultivate land: a married couple can rarely manage to prepare by hand-hoeing. Most people keep freely roaming chickens and goats. These act as a reserve for bartering, but may also be occasionally slaughtered for ceremonies or for entertaining important visitors. These animals are not a regular part of most peoples’ diet.

{J} Citemene has been an ingenious system for providing people with seasonal production of high quality cereals and vegetables in regions of acid, heavily leached soils. Nutritionally, the most serious deficiency was that of protein. This could at times be alleviated when fish was available, provided that cultivators lived near the Valley and could find the means of bartering for dried fish. The citemene/fishing system was well adapted to the ecology of the miombo regions and sustainable for long periods, but only as long as human population densities stayed at low levels. Although population densities are still much lower than in several countries of South-East Asia, neither the fisheries nor the forests and woodlands of Luapula are capable, with unmodified traditional practices, of supporting the people in a sustainable manner.

Overall, people must learn to intensify and diversify their productive systems while ensuring that these systems will remain productive in the future, when even more people will need food. Increasing overall production of food, though a vast challenge in itself, will not be enough, however. At the same time storage and distribution systems must allow everyone access to at least a moderate share of the total.

You should spend about 20 minutes on questions 1-13, which are based on reading passage 1 on the following pages.

Questions 1-4

Complete the sentences below with words taken from Reading Passage.

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.

(1) In Luapula land allocation is in accordance with ……………..

(2) The citemene system provides the land with ………….. where crops are planted.

(3) During the second season, the last planted crop is …………..

(4) Under suitable conditions, fruit trees are planted near………….

Questions 5-8 Academic IELTS Reading Test 125

Classify the following items with the correct description. 

Write your answers in boxes 5-8 on your answer sheet.

(A) fish 

(B) oxen 

(C) goats

(5) be used in some unusual occasions, such as celebrations.

(6) cannot thrive for being affected by the pests.

(7) be the largest part of creating profit.

(8) be sold beyond the local area.

Questions 9-12 

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1? In boxes 9-12 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE if the statement is True
FALSE if the statement is false
NOT GIVEN If the information is not given in the passage

(9) People rarely use animals to cultivate land.

(10) When it is a busy time, children usually took part in the labor force.

(11) The local residents eat goats on a regular time.

(12) Though citemene has been a sophisticated system, it could not provide enough protein.

Questions 13

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D. Write the correct letter in box 13 on your answer sheet.

Question 13 What is the writer’s opinion about the traditional ways of practices?

(A) They can supply the nutrition that people need. 

(B) They are not capable of providing adequate support to the population. 

(C) They are productive systems that need no more improving. 

(D) They will be easily modified in the future.

Reading Passage 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26, which are based on the IELTSFever Academic IELTS Reading Test 125 Reading Passage Water Filter below.

Water Filter

{A} An ingenious invention is set to bring clean water to the third world, and while the science may be cutting edge, the materials are extremely down to earth. A handful of clay yesterday’s coffee grounds and some cow manure are the ingredients that could bring clean, safe drinking water to much of the third world.

{B} The simple new technology, developed by ANU materials scientist Mr. Tony Flynn, allows water filters to be made from commonly available materials and fired on the ground using cow manure as the source of heat, without the need for a kiln. The filters have been tested and shown to remove common pathogens (disease-producing organisms) including E-coli Unlike other water filtering devices, the filters are simple and inexpensive to make. “They are very simple to explain and demonstrate and can be made by anyone, anywhere.” says Mr. Flynn. “They don’t require any western technology. All you need is terracotta clay, a compliant cow and a match.”

{C} The production of the filters is extremely simple. Take a handful of dry, crushed clay, mix it with a handful of organic material, such as used tea leaves, coffee grounds or rice hulls add enough water to make a stiff biscuit-like mixture and form a cylindrical pot that has one end closed, then dry it in the sun. According to Mr. Flynn, used coffee grounds have given the best results to date. Next, surround the pots with straw; put them in a mound of cow manure, light the straw and then top up the burning manure as required. In less than 60 minutes the filters are finished. The walls of the finished pot should be about as thick as an adult’s index. The properties of cow manure are vital as the fuel can reach a temperature of 700 degrees in half an hour and will be up to 950 degrees after another 20 to 30 minutes. The manure makes a good fuel because it is very high in organic material that burns readily and quickly; the manure has to be dry and is best used exactly as found in the field, there is no need to break it up or process it any further.

{D} “A potter’s kiln is an expensive item and can take up to four or five hours to get up to 800 degrees. It needs expensive or scarce fuel, such as gas or wood to heat it and experience to run it. With no technology, no insulation and nothing other than a pile of cow manure and a match, none of these restrictions apply,” Mr. Flynn says.

{E} It is also helpful that, like terracotta clay and organic material, cow dung is freely available across the developing world. “A cow is a natural fuel factory. My understanding is that cow dung as a fuel would be pretty much the same wherever you would find it.” Just as using manure as a fuel for domestic uses is not a new idea, the porosity of clay is something that potters have known about for years, and something that as a former ceramics lecturer in the ANU School of Art, Mr. Flynn is well aware of. The difference is that rather than viewing the porous nature of the material as a problem – after all not many people want a pot that won’t hold water — his filters capitalize on this property.

{F} Other commercial ceramic filters do exist, but, even if available, with prices starting at US$5 each, they are often outside the budgets of most people in the developing world. The filtration process is simple, but effective. The basic principle is that there are passages through the filter that are wide enough for water droplets to pass through, but too narrow for pathogens. Tests with the deadly E-coli bacterium have seen the filters remove 96.4 to 99.8 per cent of the pathogen – well within safe levels. Using only one filter it takes two hours to filter a litre of water. The use of organic material, which burns away leaving cavities after firing, helps produce the structure in which pathogens will become trapped. It overcomes the potential problems of finer clays that may not let water through and also means that cracks are soon halted. And like clay and cow dung, it is universally available.

{G} The invention was born out of a World Vision project involving the Manatuto community in East Timor The charity wanted to help set up a small industry manufacturing water filters, but initial research found the local clay to be too fine — a problem solved by the addition of organic material. While the problems of producing a working ceramic filter in East Timor were overcome, the solution was kiln-based and particular to that community’s materials and couldn’t be applied elsewhere. Manure firing, with no requirement for a kiln, has made this zero technology approach available anywhere it is needed. With all the components being widely available, Mr. Flynn says there is no reason the technology couldn’t be applied throughout the developing world, and with no plans to patent his idea, there will be no legal obstacles to it being adopted in any community that needs it. “Everyone has a right to clean water, these filters have the potential to enable anyone in the world to drink water safely,” says Mr. Flynn.

Questions 14-19

Complete the flowchart, using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the Reading Passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 14-19 on your answer sheet.

Guide to Making Water Filters 

Step one:     the combination of 14……….. and organic material, with sufficient

                       15………. to create a thick mixture



Step two:    pack 16………. around the cylinders

                    place them in 17……….. which is as burning fuel


                    for firing (maximum temperature: 18………..)

                    the filter being baked in under 19……….

Questions 20-23 Academic IELTS Reading Test 125

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

In boxes 20-23 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE if the statement is True
FALSE if the statement is false
NOT GIVEN If the information is not given in the passage

(20) It takes half an hour for the manure to reach 950 degrees. 

(21) Clay was initially found to be unsuitable for pot making. 

(22) Coffee grounds are twice as effective as other materials. 

(23) E-coli is the most difficult bacteria to combat.

Questions 24-26

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.  Write your answers in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.

Question 24 When making the pot, the thickness of the wall

(A) is large enough to let the pathogens to pass.

(B) varied according to the temperature of the fuel. 

(C) should be the same as an adult’s forefinger.

(D) is not mentioned by Mr. Flynn.

Question 25 what is true about the charity, it

(A) failed in searching the appropriate materials. 

(B) successfully manufacture a kiln based ceramic filter to be sold worldwide 

(C) found that the local clay are good enough. 

(D) intended to help build a local filter production factory.

Question 26 Mr. Flynn’s design is purposely not being patented

(A) because he hopes it can be freely used around the world. 

(B) because he doesn’t think the technology is perfect enough. 

(C) because there are some legal obstacles. 

(D) because the design has already been applied thoroughly.

Reading Passage 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40, which are based on the IELTSFever Academic IELTS Reading Test 125 Reading Passage Pottery production in ancient Akrotiri below.

Pottery production in ancient Akrotiri

{A} Excavations at the site of prehistoric Akrotiri, on the coast of the Aegean Sea, have revealed much about the technical aspects of pottery manufacture, indisputably one of the basic industries of this Greek city. However, considerably less is known about the socio-economic context and the way production was organised

{B} The bulk of pottery found at Akrotiri is locally made, and dates from the late fifteenth century BC. It clearly fulfilled a vast range of the settlement’s requirements: more than fifty different types of pots can be distinguished. The pottery found includes a wide variety of functional types like storage jars, smaller containers, pouring vessels, cooking pots, drinking vessels and so on, which all relate to specific activities and which would have been made and distributed with those activities in mind. Given the large number of shapes produced and the relatively high degree of standardisation, it has generally been assumed that most, if not all, of Akrotiri pottery was produced by specialised craftsmen in a non-domestic context. Unfortunately neither the potters’ workshops nor kilns have been found within the excavated area. The reason may be that the ceramic workshops were located on the periphery of the site, which has not yet been excavated. In any event, the ubiquity of the pottery, and the consistent repetition of the same types in different sizes, suggest production on an industrial scale.

{C} The Akrotirian potters seem to have responded to pressures beyond their households, namely to the increasing complexity of regional distribution and exchange systems. We can imagine them as full-time craftsmen working permanently in a high production-rate craft such as pottery manufacture, and supporting themselves entirely from the proceeds of their craft. In view of the above, one can begin to speak in terms of mass-produced pottery and the existence of organised workshops of craftsmen during the period 1550—1500 BC. Yet, how pottery production was organised at Akrotiri remains an open question, as there is no real documentary evidence. Our entire knowledge comes from the ceramic material itself, and the tentative conclusions which can be drawn from it. 

{D} The invention of units of quantity and of a numerical system to count them was of capital importance for an exchange-geared society such as that of Akrotiri. In spite of the absence of any written records, the archaeological evidence reveals that concepts of measurements, both of weight and number, had been formulated. Standard measures may already have been in operation, such as those evidenced by a graduated series of lead weights made in disc form found at the site. The existence of units of capacity in Late Bronze Age times is also evidenced, by the notation of units of a liquid measure for wine on excavated containers.

{E} It must be recognised that the function of pottery vessels plays a very important role in determining their characteristics. The intended function affects the choice of clay, the production technique, and the shape and the size of the pots. For example, large storage jars (pithoi) would be needed to store commodities, whereas smaller containers would be used for transport. In fact, the length of a man’s arm limits the size of a smaller pot to a capacity of about twenty litres; that is also the maximum a man can comfortably carry.

{F} The various sizes of container would thus represent standard quantities of a commodity, which is a fundamental element in the function of exchange. Akrotirian merchants handling a commodity such as wine would have been able to determine easily the amount of wine they were transporting from the number of containers they carried in their ships, since the capacity of each container was known to be 14-18 litres. (We could draw a parallel here with the current practice in Greece of selling oil in 17 kilogram tins.)

{G} We may therefore assume that the shape, capacity, and, sometimes decoration of vessels are indicative of the commodity contained by them. Since individual transactions would normally involve different quantities of a given commodity, a range of ‘standardised’ types of vessel would be needed to meet traders’ requirements.

{H} In trying to reconstruct systems of capacity by measuring the volume of excavated pottery, a rather generous range of tolerances must be allowed. It seems possible that the potters of that time had specific sizes of vessel in mind, and tried to reproduce them using a specific type and amount of clay. However, it would be quite difficult for them to achieve the exact size required every time, without any mechanical means of regulating symmetry and wall thickness, and some potters would be more skilled than others. In addition, variations in the repetition of types and size may also occur because of unforeseen circumstances during the throwing process. For instance, instead of destroying the entire pot if the clay in the rim contained a piece of grit, a potter might produce a smaller pot by simply cutting off the rim. Even where there is no noticeable external difference between pots meant to contain the same quantity of a commodity, differences in their capacity can actually reach one or two litres. In one case the deviation from the required size appears to be as much as 10-20 percent.

{I} The establishment of regular trade routes within the Aegean led to increased movement of goods; consequently a regular exchange of local, luxury and surplus goods, including metals, would have become feasible as a result of the advances in transport technology. The increased demand for standardised exchanges, inextricably linked to commercial transactions, might have been one of the main factors which led to the standardisation of pottery production. Thus, the whole network of ceramic production and exchange would have depended on specific regional economic conditions, and would reflect the socio-economic structure of prehistoric Akrotiri.

Questions 27-28

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

Question 27 What does the writer say about items of pottery excavated at Akrotiri? 

(A) There was very little duplication. 

(B) They would have met a big variety of needs. 

(C) Most of them had been imported from other places. 

(D) The intended purpose of each piece was unclear.

Question 28 The assumption that pottery from Akrotiri was produced by specialists is partly based on 

(A) The discovery of kilns. 

(B) The central location of workshops. 

(C) The sophistication of decorative patterns. 

(D) The wide range of shapes represented.

Questions 29-32 Academic IELTS Reading Test 125

Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A-F, below. Write the correct letter, A-F.

(29) The assumption that standard units of weight were in use could be based on 

(30) Evidence of the use of standard units of volume is provided by 

(31) The size of certain types of containers would have been restricted by 

(32) Attempts to identify the intended capacity of containers are complicated by

(A) The discovery of a collection of metal discs. 

(B) The size and type of the sailing ships in use. 

(C) Variations in the exact shape and thickness of similar containers. 

(D) The physical characteristics of workmen. 

(E) Marks found on wine containers. 

(F) The variety of commodities for which they would have been used.

Questions 33-38 

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 3? Write

YES if the statement agrees with the writer
NO if the statement does not agree with the writer
NOT GIVEN if there is no information about this in the passage

(33) There are plans to excavate new areas of the archaeological site in the near future. 

(34) Some of the evidence concerning pottery production in ancient Akrotiri comes from written records. 

(35) Pots for transporting liquids would have held no more than about 20 litres. 

(36) It would have been hard for merchants to calculate how much wine was on their ships. 

(37) The capacity of containers intended to hold the same amounts differed by up to 20 percent.

(38) Regular trading of goods around the Aegean would have led to the general standardisation of quantities.

Question 39-40

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

Question 39 What does the writer say about the standardisation of container sizes?

(A) Containers that looked the same from the outside often varied incapacity. 

(B) The instruments used to control container size were unreliable. 

(C) The unsystematic use of different types of clay resulted in size variations. 

(D) Potters usually discarded containers that were of a non-standard size.

Question 40 What is probably the main purpose of Reading Passage 3?

(A) To evaluate the quality of pottery containers found in prehistoric Akrotiri. 

(B) To suggest how features of pottery production at Akrotiri reflected other developments in the region. 

(C) To outline the development of pottery-making skills in ancient Greece. 

(D) To describe methods for storing and transporting household goods in prehistoric societies.

For Answers Academic IELTS Reading Test 125 Answers

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