IELTS Academic Reading: Cambridge 7, Test 2: Reading Passage 1; Why pagodas don't fall down; with top solutions and step-by step detailed explanations

IELTS Academic Reading: Cambridge 7, Test 2: Reading Passage 1; Why pagodas don’t fall down; with top solutions and step-by step detailed explanations

This IELTS Reading post focuses on all the solutions for IELTS Cambridge 7 Test 2 Reading Passage 1, which is entitled ‘Why pagodas don’t fall down’. This is a targeted post for IELTS candidates who have great problems in finding answers for the Academic Reading module. This post can guide you the best to comprehend each Reading answer without facing much difficulty. Tracing IELTS Reading answers is a gradual process and I sincerely hope this post can help you in your IELTS Reading preparation.

IELTS Cambridge 7 Test 2: AC Reading Module

Reading Passage 1:

The headline of the passage: Why pagodas don’t fall down

Questions 1-4: (YES, NO, NOT GIVEN)

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

The statement in the question matches with the claim of the writer in the text- YES

The statement in the question contradicts with the claim of the writer in the text- NO

The statement in the question has no clear connection with the account in the text- NOT GIVEN]

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

Question 1: Only two Japanese pagodas have collapsed in 1400 years.  

Keywords for the question: only two, Japanese pagodas, collapsed, 1400 years,

In paragraph no. 1, the author says in lines 2-3, “ . .. . Records show that only two have collapsed during the past 1400 years.”

The sentence is a clear match with the statement in the question.

So, the answer is: YES

Question 2: The Hanshin earthquake of 1995 destroyed the pagoda at the Toji temple.

Keywords for the question: Hanshin earthquake, 1995, destroyed, pagoda, Toji temple,  

In paragraph no. 1, the author says in lines 4-7, “The disastrous Hanshin earthquake in1995 killed 6,400 people . . .. .. . Yet it left the magnificent five-storey pagoda at the Toji temple in nearby Kyoto unscathed, though  . ..” 

These liens suggest that the Hanshin earthquake did not destroy the pagoda at the Toji temple.

Here, unscathed = unharmed, untouched,

So, the lines contradict the statement made in the question.

So, the answer is: NO

Question 3:  The other buildings near the Toji pagoda had been built in the last 30 years.

Keywords for the question: other buildings, near, Toji temple, built, last 30 years,     

Only paragraph no. 1 talks about the making of the Toji temple. However, in this passage we cannot find any information that gives us idea whether other buildings near Toji temple were built in the last 30 years or not.  

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN       

Question 4:  The builders of pagodas knew how to absorb some of the power produced by severe weather conditions.

Keywords for the question: builders, knew, how to absorb, some of the power, produced by, severe weather conditions,   

Moving to paragraph no. 4 we find information about the builders’ knowledge about designing pagodas. Here, in lines 4-8, the author says, “When the pagoda reached Japan, however, its architecture was freely adapted to local conditions – they were built less high, typically five rather than nine storeys, made mainly of wood and the staircase was dispensed with because the Japanese pagoda did not have any practical use but became more of an art object. Because of the typhoons that batter Japan in the summer, Japanese builders learned to extend the eaves of buildings further beyond the walls.”

Here, typhoons = severe weather conditions, Japanese builders learned to extend the eaves of buildings further beyond the walls = The builders of pagodas knew how to absorb some of the power,

So, the answer is: YES

Questions 5-10: (Classifying statements)

[This type of question asks candidates to classify information from the given reading text. Candidates are given some statements from the text, and a list of options, which are listed as A, B, C etc. They must match the correct statements with the correct options.

N.B.: This question doesn’t follow any sequence. So, they should be answered after all other questions in the passage.]

Question 5:  easy interior access to top

Keywords for the question: easy interior access, top,     

In paragraph no. 4, lines 4-7 talk about the difference between Chinese and Japanese pagoda designs, “The Chinese built their pagodas in brick or stone, with inner staircases, and used them in later centuries mainly as watchtowers. When the pagoda reached Japan, however, its architecture was freely adapted to local conditions – they were built less high, typically five rather than nine storeys, made mainly of wood and the staircase was dispensed with because the Japanese pagoda did not have any practical use but became more of an art object.”

The lines suggest that Chinese pagodas had inner staircases for easy access to top. However, Japanese pagodas had no staircases because they did not have any practical use of staircases.

So, the answer is: B (only Chinese pagodas)

Question 6: tiles on eaves

Keywords for the question: tiles, eaves,

In the last sentence of paragraph no. 5, the writer mentions: “For the same reason, the builders of Japanese pagodas seem to have further increased their weight by choosing to cover these extended eaves not with the porcelain tiles of many Chinese pagodas but with much heavier earthenware tiles.”

So, both Chinese and Japanese pagodas use tiles on eaves, but they are different in styles.

So, the answer is: A (both Chinese and Japanese pagodas)

Question 7: use as observation post

Keywords for the question: used, observation post,   

In paragraph no. 4, the writer says in lines 2-4, “.. . . The Chinese built their pagodas . . .. . … and used them in later centuries as watchtowers.”

Here, watchtowers = observation post,

However, no Japanese pagodas are or were used as watchtowers.

So, the answer is: B (only Chinese pagodas)

Question 8: size of eaves up to half the width of the building

Keywords for the question: size of eaves, up to, half the width,

In paragraph no. 5 lines 1-2, the writer says, “The roof of a Japanese temple building can be made to overhang the sides of the structure by fifty per cent or more of the building’s overall width.”

In the description of Chinese pagodas, we do not find this about the size of eaves (roof-top).

Here, fifty per cent or more = up to half the width,

So, the answer is: C (only Japanese pagodas)

Question 9: original religious purpose

Keywords for the question: original, religious, purpose,  

At the beginning of paragraph no. 4 the writer states, “The multi-storey pagoda came to Japan from China in the sixth century. As in China, they were first introduced with Buddhism and were attached to important temples.”

Here, As in China = just like in China,

This means multi-storey pagoda has the original purpose of Buddhism in Japan as in China.   

So, the answer is: A (both Chinese and Japanese pagodas)

Question 10: floors fitting loosely over each other

Keywords for the question: floors, fitting, loosely, over, each other,  

Take a look at paragraph no. 7; this paragraph talks about the design of Japanese Pagoda’s central pillar known as shinbashira. Here, in lines 8-10, the author says, “ .. . What those early craftsmen had found by trial and error was that under pressure a pagoda’s loose stack of floors could be made to slither to and fro independent of one another.”

Here, loose stack of floors = floors fitting loosely over each other,

In the description of Chinese Pagodas, we do not find such conditions on floors.

So, the answer is: C (only Japanese pagodas)

Questions 11-13: (Multiple choice questions)

[This type of question asks you to choose a suitable answer from the options using the knowledge you gained from the passage. Generally, this question is found as the last question so you should not worry much about it. Finding all the answers to previous questions gives you a good idea about the title.]

Question 11: In a Japanese pagoda, the shinbashira

Keywords for the question: Japanese pagoda, shinbashira,

We find the details about shinbashira in paragraph no. 6 and 7.

In paragraph no. 6, the writer says, “Is the answer that, like a tall pine tree, the Japanese pagoda – with its massive trunk-like central pillar known as shinbashira – simply flexes and sways during a typhoon or earthquake? For centuries, many thought so. But the answer is not so simple because the startling thing is that the shinbashira actually carries no load at all. In fact, in some pagoda designs, it does not even rest on the ground,. . .. .” 

Here, carries no load at all and in some pagoda designs, it does not even rest on the ground mean that options A, B, and C are not correct.

Then, in paragraph no. 7, the writer says, “.. . The shinbashira, running up through a hole in the centre of the building, constrained individual storeys from moving too far… ..”

Here, constrained individual storeys from moving too far = stops the floors moving too far,

So, the answer is: D (stops the floors moving too far.)

Question 12: Shuzo Ishida performs experiments in order to –

Keywords for the question: Shuzo Ishida, performs, experiments, to,

In paragraph no. 7, the writer mentions about Shuzo Ishida in lines 3-5, “Mr Ishida, known to his students as ‘Professor Pagoda’ because of his passion to understand the pagoda, has built a series of models and tested them on a ‘shake-table’ in his laboratory.” 

Therefore, this can be understood from the lines that the reason for the experiment is to understand the pagoda.

We can gather that the possible answers are:

C. learn about the dynamics of pagodas  

Or,

D. understand ancient mathematics.

Then, in lines 5-6 of the same paragraph, the writer says, “The ancient craftsmen, apparently without the assistance of very advanced mathematics… . .. . ”

Therefore, it is clear that no ‘ancient mathematics’ was involved here. So, option D is not correct. 

So, the answer is: C (learn about the dynamics of pagodas.)

Question 13: The storeys of a Japanese pagoda are –

Keywords for the question: storeys, Japanese pagoda,  

The answer will be option C because we’ve already found it question no. 10. Take a look at paragraph no. 7; this paragraph talks about the design of Japanese Pagoda’s central pillar known as shinbashira. Here, in lines 8-10, the author says, “ .. . What those early craftsmen had found by trial and error was that under pressure a pagoda’s loose stack of floors could be made to slither to and fro independent of one another.”

Here, loose stack of floors = floors fitting loosely over each other,

So, the answer is: C (fitted loosely on top of each other.)

Click here for solutions to Cambridge 7 Test 2 Reading Passage 2

Click here for solutions to Cambridge 7 Test 2 Reading Passage 3

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