IELTS Academic Reading: Cambridge 8, Test 2: Reading Passage 3; The meaning and power of smell; with best solutions and step-by step detailed explanations

This IELTS Reading post focuses on all the solutions for IELTS Cambridge 8 Test 2 Reading Passage 3 which is entitled ‘The meaning and power of smell’. This is an aimed 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 8 Test 2: AC Reading Module

Reading Passage 3:

The headline of the passage: The meaning and power of smell

Questions 27-32 (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 which 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   

The third and last lines of paragraph A give us the answer,

Third line: “… It became apparent that smell can evoke strong emotional responses.”

Last lines: “. . . The perception of smell, therefore, consists not only of the sensation of the odours themselves, but of the experiences and emotions associated with them”.

Here, strong emotional responses and experiences and emotions = feelings, associated with them = relationship,

So, the answer is: viii (The relationship between smell and feelings)

Question 28: Paragraph B  

Take a look at lines no. 1-4, “Odours are also essential cues in social bonding. One respondent to the survey believed that there is no true emotional bonding without touching and smelling a loved one. In fact, infants recognise the odours of their mothers soon after birth and adults can often identify their children or spouses by scent.. . .. .. . .”

Here, infants recognise the odours of their mothers soon after birth = personal relationship

So, the answer is: ii (The role of smell in personal relationship)

Question 29: Paragraph C

The first few lines give us the answer, “In spite of its importance to our emotional and sensory lives, smell is probably the most undervalued sense in many cultures. The reason often given for the low regard in which smell is held is that, in comparison with its importance among animals, the human sense of smell is feeble and undeveloped.”

Here, smell is probably the most undervalued sense = sense of smell is not appreciated

So, the answer is: vi (Why our sense of smell is not appreciated)

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Question 30: Paragraph D  

In paragraph D, again, the first few lines provide us with the answer, “Odours, unlike colours, for instance, cannot be named in many languages because the specific vocabulary simply doesn’t exist.”

The lines suggest that there are difficulties to describe smell verbally.

Here, the specific vocabulary simply doesn’t exist = difficulties of talking about smells

So, the answer is: i (The difficulties of talking about smells)

Question 31: Paragraph E

Lines 3-5 of paragraph E give hint to our answer, “ . . . .. but many fundamental questions have yet to be answered. Researchers have still to decide whether smell is one sense or two – one responding to odours proper and the other registering odourless chemicals in the air.”

Here, Researchers have still to decide = Future studies

So, the answer is: iii (Future studies into smell)

Question 32: Paragraph F

In paragraph F, we can find out that the author provides a link between cultures and smell in lines 8-9, “Importantly,  our commonly held feelings about smells can help distinguish us from other cultures”.

This line suggests that smell or odour can be exercised as a factor to define one person/culture from another.

Here, define = distinguish, groups = other cultures,

So, the answer is: v (The interpretation of smells as a factor in defining groups)

Questions 33-36: 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 for previous questions gives you a good idea about the title.]

Question 33: According to the introduction, we become aware of the importance of smell when –

Keywords for this question: introduction, aware, importance of smell, when,

The last lines of the introduction give us the answer for this question, “It is only when the faculty of smell is impaired for some reason that we begin to realise the essential role the sense of smell plays in our sense of well-being.”

This means we become aware of the importance of smell when this faculty is impaired or damaged.

So, the answer is: C (our ability to smell is damaged)

Question 34: The experiment described in paragraph B –

Keywords for this question: experiment, paragraph B, 

Read the last half part of paragraph B, “ . .. In one well-known test, women and men were able to distinguish by smell alone clothing worn by their marriage partners from similar clothing worn by other people. Most of the subjects would probably never have given much thought to odour as a cue for identifying family members before being involved in the test, but as the experiment revealed, even when not consciously considered, smells register.

This means the experiment shows how our sense of smell is in use even though we don’t realise it.

So, the answer is: A (shows how we make use of smell without realising it)

Question 35: What is the writer doing in paragraph C?

Keywords for this question: writer doing, paragraph C, 

The common belief is given in lines 1-4, “.. . .. . smell is probably the most undervalued sense in many cultures. The reason often given for the low regard in which smell is held is that, in comparison with its importance among animals, the human sense of smell is feeble and undeveloped.” This means smell is extremely undervalued.

Then, in the next few lines, “.. . .. While it is true that the olfactory powers of humans are nothing like as fine as those possessed by certain animals, they are still remarkably acute. Our noses are able to recognise thousands of smells, and to perceive odours which are present only in extremely small quantities.” Here, the writer discards the common belief about the undervalued sense of smell.  

So, the answer is: C (rejecting a common belief)

Question 36: What does the writer suggest about the study of smell in the atmosphere in paragraph E?

Keywords for this question: writer suggest, study of smell, atmosphere, paragraph E,

In lines 3-4, we have our answer for this question, “ . . . but many fundamental questions have yet to be answered. Researchers have still to decide whether smell is one sense or two – . . ..”

This means the definition of smell is yet to come to light.

So, the answer is: D (Smell is yet to be defined)  

Questions 37-40 (Completing sentences with ONE WORD ONLY)

[For this type of question, candidates need to complete the sentences with ONE WORD ONLY from the passage. Candidates need to look for keywords in the sentence-beginnings and find the relative paragraphs and then sentences in the passage. Skimming and scanning, both reading skills are essential for this question-type.]

Question 37: Tests have shown that odours can help people recognise the _______ belonging to their husbands and wives.

Keywords for this question: can help, recognise, belonging to, husbands and wives, 

In paragraph B, take a look at lines, “In one well-known test, women and men were able to distinguish by smell alone clothing worn by their marriage partners from similar clothing worn by other people”. This means that the special smell in clothing worn by husbands or wives can be used to recognize their marriage partners.

Here, odours = smell, recognize = distinguish, their husbands and wives = their marriage partners,

So, the answer is: clothing  

Question 38: Certain linguistic groups may have difficulty describing smell because they lack the appropriate __________.

Keywords for this question: Certain linguistic groups, have difficulty, describing smell, lack, appropriate,  

In paragraph D, the lines 1-4 say, “Odours, unlike colors, for instance, cannot be named in many languages because the specific vocabulary simply does not exist. “It smells like . . .” we have to say when describing an odour, struggling to express our olfactory experience”.

The lines suggest that it is quite hard for people to talk about smells because of the lack of specific vocabulary in their languages.

Here, linguistic groups = languages, lack = does not exist,

So, the answer is: vocabulary  

Question 39: The sense of smell may involve response to _________ which do not smell, in addition to obvious odours.

Keywords for this question: sense of smell, involve, and do not smell,

Take a look at paragraph E. In lines 4-5 the writer says, “Researchers have still to decide whether smell is one sense or two  – one responding to odours proper and the other registering odourless chemicals in the air.”

Therefore, it can be understood that chemicals are the things which do not smell in the air.

Here, do not smell = odourless,

So, the answer is: chemicals

Question 40: Odours regarded as unpleasant in certain ________ are not regarded as unpleasant in others.

Keywords for this question: unpleasant, regarded as, not unpleasant in others,

In paragraph F, read the following lines, “Odours are invested with cultural values: smells that are considered to be offensive in some cultures may be perfectly acceptable in others”.

The lines suggest that certain smells may be acceptable in some cultures, but in other cultures they are not acceptable.

Here, unpleasant = offensive, regarded as = considered, not unpleasant = acceptable,

So, the answer is: cultures

Click here for solutions to Cambridge 8 Test 2 Reading Passage 1

Click here for solutions to Cambridge 8 Test 2 Reading Passage 2 

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