IELTS Reading: Cambridge 12 Test 8 (academic) complete test with solutions and best detailed explanations

Academic IELTS Reading: Cambridge 12 Test 8, complete test with solutions and best detailed explanations

This IELTS Reading post deals with a total solution package for IELTS Cambridge 12 Reading test 8. It can also be found as Cambridge 12 test 4 (academic reading). This is a targeted post for candidates who have major difficulties in finding Reading Answers. This post can guide you the best to understand every Reading answer easily and without much difficulty. Finding IELTS Reading answers is a step-by-step process and I hope this post can help you in this respect.

IELTS Reading: Cambridge 12 Test 8 (academic) complete test with solutions and best detailed explanations

IELTS Cambridge 12 Test 8: AC Reading Module

Reading Passage 1:

The headline of the passage: The History of Glass

Questions 1-8 (Completing notes with ONE WORD ONLY):

In this type of question, candidates are asked to write only one word to complete some notes on the given topic. For this type of question, first, skim the passage to find the keywords in the paragraph concerned with the answer, and then scan to find the exact word.

[TIPS: Here scanning technique will come in handy. Target the keywords of the questions to find the answers. Remember to focus on Proper nouns, random Capital letters, numbers, special characters of text etc.]

Question 1 and 2: Early humans used a material called 1______ to make the sharp points of their 2 _____.

Keywords for these answers: early humans, material, make sharp points,

The answer is found in paragraph 1. Here, in the 1st line, a phrase is found (our earliest origins) which is synonymous to early humans. After that, in lines 2, 3 and 4, the author says, “……. Historians have discovered that a type of natural glass obsidian ……”. The synonym of sharp points is also found in line 7, ‘……. – was first used as tips of spears.”

So, the answers are:

1. obsidian

2. spears

Question 3: 4000 BC: 3 ______ made of stone were covered in a coating of man-made glass.

Keywords for this answer: 4000 BC, stone, coating, man-made glass

In paragraph A, lines 8-11 say, “Archaeologists have even found evidence of man-made glass which dates back to 4000 BC; this took the form of glazes used for coating stone beads.”

Here, we can see the direct references from the questions to the keywords like man-made glass, 4000 BC, coating and stone. So, the thing that was made of stone was beads.

So, the answer is: beads                    

Question 4: First century BC: glass was coloured because of the 4 _____ in the material.

Keywords for this answer: First century BC, was coloured, because

In paragraph B, lines 3-5 say, “….. from the first century BC . The glass made during this time was highly coloured due to the impurities of the raw material.”

Here, we can find some direct matches and synonyms for our selected keywords like:

First century BC,

highly coloured = coloured and

due to = because

So, the answer is: impurities                         

Question 5: Until 476 AD: Only the 5 ______ knew how to make glass.

Keywords for this answer: Until 476 AD, Only, knew how to make glass

In paragraph 2, lines 9-17 say, “The secret of glass making was taken across Europe by the Romans during this century. However, they guarded the skills and technology required to make glass very closely, and it was not until their empire collapsed in 476 AD that glass-making knowledge became widespread throughout Europe and the Middle East.”

These lines suggest that only the Romans knew about how to make glass until the collapse of their empire in 476 AD.

So, the answer is: Romans                

Questions 6 and 7: 17th century: George Ravenscroft developed a process using 6 ______ to avoid the occurrence of 7 ______ in blown glass. 

Keywords for these answers: 17th century, George Ravenscroft, developed a process, using, to avoid, in blown glass

The answers for these questions are in paragraph 3 because we find the reference of the name George Ravenscroft here. There is also a reference to the invention of lead crystal glass. Then the author says in lines 5-8, “… … He attempted to counter the effect of clouding that sometimes occurred in blown glass by introducing lead to the raw materials used in the process.”.

Here, counter = to avoid

So, it can be understood here that George Ravenscroft developed a process by using lead so that the occurrence of clouding can be avoided.

So, the answers are:

6. lead

7. clouding

Question 8: Mid-19th century: British glass production developed after changes to laws concerning 8 _____.

Keywords for this answer:  Mid-19th century, British glass production, developed, after changes, laws concerning,

In paragraph 4, lines 1-6 say,In Britain, the modern glass industry only really started to develop after the repeal of the Excise Act in 1845. Before that time, heavy taxes had been placed on the amount of glass melted in a glasshouse, and were levied continuously from 1745 to 1845.

Here, we can gather from the text that British glass production was in a problem in the mid-19th century (1745-1845) when there were taxes for glass blowing industry. But after the Excise Act was repealed in 1845, the industry only started to develop.

So, the answer is: taxes

Questions 9-13 (TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN):

In this type of question, candidates are asked to find out whether:

The statement in the question matches with the account in the text- TRUE
The statement in the question contradicts the account in the text- FALSE
There is no clear connection of the statement with the account in the text- NOT GIVEN

For this type of question, you can divide each statement into three independent pieces and make your way through with the answer.

Click here to learn more on how best to tackle this type of question.

Question 9: In 1887, HM Ashley had the fastest bottle-producing machine that existed at the time.

Keywords for this answer: 1887, HM Ashley,  fastest, bottle-producing, existed at the time

To find the answer to this question, find the given year (1887). If you just brush your eyes on each paragraph quickly, you will find the year in Paragraph 5. Now, read the first few lines and try to find the other keywords.

In line 4, we can find HM Ashley, the name of the glass factory.

In lines 7 and 8, the writer mentions, “…. – more than three times quicker than any previous production method.” This means HM Ashley was the fastest bottle-producing machine of that time.

So, the answer is: TRUE

Question 10: Michael Owens was hired by a large US company to design a fully-automated bottle manufacturing machine for them.

Keywords for this answer: Michael Owens, was hired, by large US company, to design, fully-automated, machine

The answer can be found in lines 8-10. Here, it is mentioned that Michael Owens owned a large US company, he was not hired by them. Check the lines, ……Michael Owens – founder of the Owens Bottle Machine Company (later the major manufacturers Owens-Illinois).

Here, founder = owner

So, the answer is: FALSE

Question 11: Nowadays, most glass is produced by large international manufacturers.

Keywords for these answers: Nowadays, most glass, produced by, large international manufacturers

For this question, look for the first keyword like Nowadays. In paragraph 6 line 1 starts with the word Today which is synonymous with Nowadays. But this paragraph talks about glass manufacture as a big industry. But nowhere in the paragraph has it discussed the issue of whether most glass production is done by large international manufacturers or not.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question 12: Concern for the environment is leading to an increased demand for glass containers.  

Keywords for this answer: Concern, environment, leading to, increased demand

In paragraph 7, the first few lines contain the answer. Here the lines say, “…… and with growing consumer concern for green issues, glass bottles, and jars are becoming even more popular.” It means that the consumers of glass are worried about the environmental issues (green issues) and this is making the production of glass even more popular (increased demand).

So, the answer is: TRUE

Question 13: It is more expensive to produce recycled glass than to manufacture new glass.  

Keywords for this answer: more expensive, produce recycled glass, than, manufactured new glass

In paragraph 7, lines 6-10 say,….. As less energy is needed to melt recycled glass than to melt down raw materials, this also saves fuel and production costs.” So, it is clear that producing glass actually saves money which means it is less expensive.

So the answer is: FALSE

Reading Passage 2:

The headline of the passage: Bring back the big cats

Questions 14-18: (Multiple Choice Questions)

‘Multiple Choice Question’ is a common type of question set in the IELTS Reading test. It is also found in the Listening test.  Most of the time, they come with four options but sometimes there are three options. Candidates need to work hard for this type of question because this may confuse them easily in passage 2 or passage 3. There will be long answers for each question, so they may kill valuable time. So, quick reading or skimming techniques might come in handy here.  Remember that answers in 3 options out of 4 will be very close. So, vocabulary power will help a lot to choose the best answer.

Question 14: What did the 2006 discovery of the animal bone reveal about the lynx?

A. Its physical appearance was very distinctive.
B. Its extinction was linked to the spread of farming.
C. It vanished from Britain several thousand years ago.
D. It survived in Britain longer than was previously thought.

Keywords for this answer: 2006 discovery, animal bone, reveal, lynx

As we can easily find keywords like 2006 and animal bone in paragraph 1 lines 4-5, we can understand that the answer is in this paragraph. If we read further lines 9-11, we find that lynx died out 6000 years ago as previously presumed. But lines 16-18 suggest that the timeline was actually 5000 years ago, not 6000 years ago. So, the lynx actually survived longer than the previous presumption or belief.

So, the answer is: D

Question 15: What point does the writer make about large predators in the third paragraph?

A. Their presence can increase biodiversity.
B. They may cause damage to local ecosystems.
C. Their behavior can alter according to the environment.
D. They should be reintroduced only to areas where they were native.

Keywords for this answer:  large predators, third paragraph

The phrase large predators in line 10 of the 3rd paragraph.

In this paragraph, lines 8-16 say that some of the large predators drive dynamic processes that affect the food chain and create niches (the conditions in which a type of living thing can live successfully) for many other species. Line 16 says: “The killers (lynxes or large predators) turn out to be bringers of life.”

So, the answer is: A

Question 16: What does the writer suggest about British conservation in the fourth paragraph?

A. It has failed to achieve its aims.
B. It is beginning to change direction.
C. It has taken a misguided approach.
D. It has focused on the most widespread species.

Keywords for this answer: British conservation, fourth paragraph

Lines 2-5 of paragraph 4 say: “….. .. .which has often selected arbitrary (not seeming to be based on a reason, system or plan and sometimes seeming unfair) assemblages of plants and animals and sought, at great effort and expense, to prevent them from changing.”

It means that the assemblages of plants and animals were not based on reason, system, or plan.

So, the answer is: C

Question 17: Protecting large areas of the sea from commercial fishing would result in –

A. practical benefits for the fishing industry.
B. some short-term losses to the fishing industry.
C. widespread opposition from the fishing industry.
D. certain changes to techniques within the fishing industry.

Keywords for this answer: Protecting, large areas of the sea, commercial fishing

The phrase protecting large areas of the sea can be found in paragraph 5 lines 2-3. The previous paragraph (paragraph 4) ends with a positive note that dynamism depends on large predators. Then paragraph 5 opens with the line, “At sea the potential is even greater: …..”

Again, in lines 7-8 of paragraph 5, the writer says, “…..This policy would also greatly boost catches in the surrounding seas….” These lines suggest that there are some practical benefits of protecting large areas of the sea from commercial fishing.

So, the answer is: A

Question 18: According to the author, what distinguishes rewilding from other environmental campaigns?

A. Its objective is more achievable.
B. Its supporters are more articulate.
C. Its positive message is more appealing.
D. It is based on sounder scientific principles.

Keywords for this answer: distinguishes, rewilding, other environmental campaigns

We can see the key phrases like rewilding and environmental campaigns in first 3 lines of paragraph 6.

In the same paragraph, in lines 7-8, we can see some information like “…… a more inspiring vision than .. .. .”. This is a clear match with the phrase “more appealing”.

So, the answer is: C

Question 19-22: (Summary completion from list of words)

(In this kind of question candidates are given a summary for one, two or three paragraphs with some fill-in-the-blanks questions. As these are fill-in-the-blanks or gaps, generally there is a condition of writing ONE, TWO or THREE words for each answer. For these questions, there is a fixed condition. Candidates must use the words given as a list with the questions which are marked with alphabets/letters. They must write the letters in the answer sheet, not the words. They need to find out the related paragraphs by correctly studying the keywords from the questions. It must be remembered that the words on the list may not be found directly in the texts, so they need to look for synonyms. They should also follow the same steps of finding answers to fill in the gaps.)

Title of the summary: Reintroducing the lynx to Britain

Question 19: While there is no evidence that the lynx has ever put _______ in danger,

Keywords for this answer: no evidence, lynx, put… danger,

Line 1 of paragraph 7 says, “The lynx presents no threat to human beings: there is no known instance of one preying on people”.

So, here we can see that no known instance is synonymous with no evidence and threat = put ….in danger.

So, the answer is: E (humans)

Question 20: it would reduce the numbers of certain ________ whose populations have increased enormously in recent decades.

Keywords for this answer: reduce, number of certain, populations have increased enormously, recent decades

Lines 7-10 of paragraph 7, “It is a specialist predator of roe deer, a species that has exploded in Britain in recent decades, holding back, by intensive browsing, attempts to re-establish forests. It will also winkle out sika deer: an exotic species that is almost impossible for human beings to control, as it hides in impenetrable plantations of young trees.”

The bold words in these lines suggest that there are few species of wild animals (roe deer, sika deer) that have had an explosion in their populations, and introducing lynx in their habitat may help to reduce the exploding numbers of those wild animals.

So, the answer is: D (wild animals)

Question 21: It would present only a minimal threat to _______, provided these were kept away from lynx habitats.

Keywords for this answer: only a minimal threat, provided, kept away, from lynx habitats

The answer lies in paragraph 7. Here, in lines 14-18, the author says, “…. The lynx requires deep cover, and as such presents little risk to sheep and other livestock, which are supposed, as a condition of farm subsidies, to be kept out of the woods.”

Here, presents little risk = present only a minimal threat,

So, it is said here that lynxes present almost no threat to animals like sheep and other livestock (farm animals).

So, the answer is: F (farm animals)

Question 22: Furthermore, the reintroduction programme would also link efficiently with initiatives to return native 22 ________ to certain areas of the country.

Keywords for this answer: reintroduction programme, link efficiently, initiatives to return, native

The answer is in paragraph 7 lines 11-13. Here, the author mentions, “…. The attempt to reintroduce this predator marries well with the aim of bringing forests back to parts of our bare and barren uplands.”

Here, marries well = link efficiently

The aim = initiatives

Bringing back = return

So, the reintroduction programme has the aim to return forests or trees.

So, the answer is: A (trees)

Questions 23-26: (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN):

In this type of question, candidates are asked to find out whether:

The statement in the question matches with the account in the text- YES
The statement in the question contradicts the account in the text- NO
There is no clear connection of the statement with the account in the text- NOT GIVEN

For this type of question, you can divide each statement into three independent pieces and make your way through with the answer.

Question 23: Britain could become the first European country to reintroduce the lynx.

Keywords for this answer: first European country, reintroduce

In paragraph 8 lines 9-12, it is mentioned, “…… The lynx has now been reintroduced to the Jura Mountains, the Alps, the Vosges in eastern France and the Harz Mountains in Germany, and has re-established itself in many more places.” Therefore, it is clear that Britain is not the first country to reintroduce the lynx. There are many others.

So, the answer is: NO

Question 24: The large growth in the European lynx population since 1970 has exceeded conservationists’ expectations.

Keywords for this answer: large growth, since 1970, exceeded, conservationists’ expectations

We find keywords like since 1970, and large growth in lines 14-15, “… The European population has tripled since 1970 to roughly 10,000.” But there is no discussion of whether it has exceeded the expectation of the conservationists.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question 25: Changes in agricultural practices have extended the habitat of the lynx in Europe.

Keywords for this answer: changes, agricultural practices, extend, habitat

In paragraph 8, lines 15-19 say, “…. .. . As with wolves, bears, beavers, boar, bison, moose and many other species, the lynx has been able to spread as farming has left the hills and …..”. This means the lynx has spread out its habitat like some other species due to the fact that farming is no more done in the hills.

So, the answer is: YES

Question 26: It has become apparent that species reintroduction has commercial advantages.

Keywords for this answer: apparent, species reintroduction, commercial advantages

In paragraph 8, lines 20-21 say, “….. and people discover that it is more lucrative to protect charismatic wildlife than to hunt it. “  Here, lucrative means commercially beneficial.

So, the answer is: YES

Reading Passage 3:

The headline of the passage: UK companies need more effective boards of directors

Questions 27-33 (List of headings):

In this question type, IELTS candidates are provided with a list of headings, usually identified with lower-case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, etc,). A heading will refer to the main idea of the paragraph or section of the text. Candidates must find out the equivalent heading to the correct paragraphs or sections, which are marked with alphabets A, B, C, and so forth. Candidates need to write the appropriate Roman numerals in the boxes on their answer sheets. There will always be two or three more headings than there are paragraphs or sections. So, some of the headings will not be used. It is also likely that some paragraphs or sections may not be included in the task. Generally, the first paragraph is an example paragraph that will be done for the candidates for their understanding of the task.

[TIPS: Skimming is the best reading technique. You need not understand every word here. Just try to gather the gist of the sentences. That’s all. Read quickly and don’t stop until you finish each sentence.]

Question 27: Paragraph A

In paragraph A, lines 6-8 talk about the responsible authority who are to blame for the problems. Here, it is mentioned, “…. .. . the search for explanations in the many post-mortems of the crisis has meant blame has been spread far and wide. Governments, regulators, central banks and auditors have all been in the frame.”

So, the answer is: iv

Question 28: Paragraph B

In paragraph B, lines 2-3 deal with the impact of the scrutiny on the companies. The lines say, “…….. an issue of intense public debate and has significantly increased the pressures on, and the responsibilities of, directors.”

So, the answer is: ii

Question 29: Paragraph C

In paragraph C, lines 2-3 talk about the less involvement of the board in meeting some important issues. The lines say, “….. .. . but can mean that the board as a whole is less involved in fully addressing some of the most important issues.

So, the answer is: vi

Question 30: Paragraph D

In paragraph D, lines 1-4 deal with a proposal for large companies which can solve the problem of operating the board.

The lines say, “A radical solution, which may work for some very large companies whose businesses are extensive and complex, is the professional board, whose members would work up to three or four days a week, supported by their own dedicated staff and advisors.”

We cannot say that it is a clean solution; rather it is a proposal because the writer is saying that it may work.

So, the answer is: viii  

Question 31: Paragraph E

In paragraph E, the answer lies in the first lines.

Here, lines 1-2 say, “One of the main criticisms of boards and their directors is that they do not focus sufficiently on longer-term matters of strategy, sustainability, and governance.”

It means that boards are not looking far enough.

So, the answer is: vii

Question 32: Paragraph F

In paragraph F, the answer can be found in the first few lines.

Here, in lines 1-2, the author says, “Compensation for chief executive has become a combat zone where pitched battles between investors, management and board members are fought, ….”.

This means that there is an ongoing dispute about the financial matters of the chief executives or senior managers.

So, the answer is: i

Question 33: Paragraph G

In paragraph G, the answer is found in lines 5-6 where the writer says, “…… Boards of companies in all sectors will need to widen their perspective to encompass these issues and this may involve a realignment of corporate goals”.

It means that boards in all sectors or every area need to change fundamentally in their corporate goals.

So, the answer is: iii

Questions 34-37 (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN):

In this type of question, candidates are asked to find out whether:

The statement in the question matches with the account in the text- YES
The statement contradicts the account in the text- NO
There is no clear connection of the statement with the account in the text- NOT GIVEN

For this type of question, you can divide each statement into three independent pieces and make your way through with the answer.

Click here to learn more. 

Question 34: Close scrutiny of the behaviour of boards has increased since the economic downturn.

Keywords for this answer: close scrutiny, behaviour of boards, increased, economic downturn

In paragraph A line 4, we find the reference of economic downturn (the 2008 financial meltdown). In lines 8-10 of the same paragraph, the author says,” ….. The role of bank directors and management and their widely publicized failures have been extensively picked over and examined in reports, inquiries and commentaries.”


*the role = behaviour

*extensively picked over = close scrutiny increased

So, the answer is: YES

Question 35: Banks have been mismanaged to a greater extent than other businesses.

Keywords for this answer: banks, mismanaged, greater extent, than, other businesses.

We cannot find any comparison of mismanagement between banks and other businesses in paragraph A, B or C.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question 36: Board meetings normally continue for as long as necessary to debate matters in full.

Keywords for this answer: Board meetings, continue, as long as, necessary, debate matters, in full

In paragraph B, lines 10-12 say, “….. Agendas can become overloaded and this can mean the time for constructive debate must necessarily be restricted in favour of getting through the business.” This means that debates are restricted for the sake of business.

So, the answer is: NO

Question 37: Using a committee structure would ensure that board members are fully informed about significant issues.

Keywords for this answer: committee structure, ensure, board members, fully informed, significant issues

In paragraph C lines 1-2 say, “Often, board business is developed to committees in order to cope with the workload, which may be more efficient but can mean that the board as a whole is less involved in fully addressing some of the most important issues.” This means that using a committee cannot ensure that board members are informed about important issues.

So, the answer is: NO

Questions 38-40 (Completing sentences with ONE WORD ONLY):

In this type of question, candidates are asked to write only word to complete the sentence. For this type of question, first skim the passage to find the keywords in the paragraph concerned with the answer, and then scan to find the exact word.

Question 38: Before 2008, non-executive directors were at a disadvantage because of their lack of _________.

Keywords for this answer: before 2008, non-executive directors, at a disadvantage, because, lack of

In paragraph D, lines 10-11 say, “…… where the executives had access to information that part-time non-executive directors lacked, leaving the latter unable to comprehend or anticipate the 2008 crash.” This means that the non-executive directors lacked or did not have access to information and could not anticipate the 2008 financial crash.

So, the answer is: information

Question 39: Boards tend to place too much emphasis on _________ considerations that are only of short-term relevance.

Keywords for this answer: boards, place too much emphasis, considerations, of short-term relevance

In paragraph E line 3, the writer says, “…. ..but instead concentrate too much on short-term financial metrics.

Here, concentrate too much = place too much emphasis

So, the answer is: financial

Question 40: On certain matters, such as pay, the board may have to accept the views of ___________.

Keywords for this answer: pay, board, may have to, accept, views of

From our finding in question 32 we came to know that there are often conflicts/debates between investors and boards concerning the matter of compensation, or in other words pay. Moreover, in paragraph F we have found that shareholders use their muscle in the area of pay to pressure boards to remove underperforming chief executives. The passage also says: “Their powers to vote down executive remuneration policies increased when binding votes came into force”. If a decision is “binding”, this means that it must be accepted by the board. For this reason, the only word to fill in this blank is either “investors” or “shareholders”.

The word “compensation” is a clear synonym for payment or remuneration, so it has to do with money.

So, the answer is: investors/shareholders  

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18 thoughts on “Academic IELTS Reading: Cambridge 12 Test 8, complete test with solutions and best detailed explanations

  1. Salam sir.. Your learning strategy is very easy to me. I always follow your techniques and methods. Thanks you sir for simplicity of all cambridge solution.

  2. In question 32, where can we find “financial arrangement” or sth implicating it as it is mentioned in the question? … Appears to be quite unfair 🙁

  3. Sir I do lots of reading test but unfortunately I can’t get desired score please please share any method to find answer

    1. 1. Read as many articles as you can.
      2. Practice at least one passage every day and try to answer the questions within 20 minutes.
      3. Check your progress with an IELTS trainer every week.
      Good Luck.

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