Sunday, 6 January 2013

Approaching IELTS Academic Reading - Sentence Completion

Complete the sentences below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Power-packed fliers
For their size, birds are tremendously powerful creatures. We know this thanks to an ingenious series of tests performed by researchers at Duke University in North Carolina. The researchers placed a specially trained budgerigar in a wind tunnel and measured how much muscle power it needed to maintain flight at various airspeeds up to 50 kilometres per hour. The small bird had to be trained, not only because it had to fly in the artificial environment of the wind tunnel, but also because it had to do so while wearing a tiny oxygen mask.
The mask allowed zoologist Vance Tucker and his colleagues to monitor the budgerigar’s oxygen demand, and thus the amount of mechanical energy it was producing. What they discovered was experimental proof of the incredible power-to-weight ratio of birds. Tucker’s team found that the 35-gram budgerigar’s flight muscles were delivering a peak power of one to four watts to maintain continuous flight. That might not sound very much on its own, but it’s pretty impressive when the bird’s size is taken into account: it works out as 200 watts of continuous mechanical power for every kilogram of the bird’s muscle mass.
And that’s the reason that people have always failed when they tried to fly by flapping wings attached to their arms: the average human can only produce around ten watts per kilogram of their muscle mass. It’s not that we never had the time to fly – we have simply never had the energy. To fly, people need machines and to make a flying machine, we need to understand how birds control their flight.
Q.1. Scientists have done experiments on birds in a wind tunnel. [Where did they put the bird? 'A' before the gap means you are looking for a noun]
Q.2. The birds reached a maximum hourly flight distance of 50 kilometres. [Distance = number. If the numbers are written digitally e.g. 50 it is easy to locate them in the passage]
Q.3. The aim of scientists was to calculate the amount of energy they needed to fly. [Search for the word 'amount' in the passage]
Q.4. Machines are the only solution to human flight. ['Are' after the gap means the missing word is plural]
  • First look at the questions then find the answers in the passage.
  • The answers in the passage follow the question order.
  • On most occasions the missing information is a noun. You can understand this if there is a/an/the/of/a number etc. before a word.
  • Follow the instructions for the amount of words needed. NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS = three words or less.
  • Copy the words onto your answer sheet exactly as you find them in the passage.
  • Don't try to understand every word you read. The level of difficulty is high.
Sample reading passage taken from Action Plan for IELTS p.35

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