IELTS General Training Reading: Cambridge 8 Test A Section 3; Snake Oil; with best solutions and best explanations

IELTS General Training Reading: Cambridge 8 Test A Section 3; Snake Oil; with best solutions and best explanations

This General Training IELTS Reading post deals with a solution package for IELTS Cambridge 8 Reading Test A Section 3 that has a passage entitled ‘Snake Oil. This is a targeted post for candidates who have significant problems in searching for and understanding 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 can confidently say that this post will help you in this respect.

IELTS Cambridge 8 Test A: GT Reading Module

Section 3: 

The headline of the text: Snake Oil 

Question 28-33: (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 28: Section C   

Section C, the shortest section of the whole text, gives us a detailed description of how people in the past used Echinacea. Here, the writer says, “Native to North America, the roots of Echinacea, or purple coneflower, had been used by the Plains Indians for all kinds of ailments long before Meyer came along. They applied poultices of it to wounds and stings, used it for teeth and gum disease and made a tea from it to treat everything from colds and measles to arthritis. They even used it for snakebite.”

Have a close look at the use of ‘main/principal verbs in the sentences that are all in past form (V2).

So, the answer is: v (Earlier applications of Echinacea)

Question 29: Section D

The answer is found at the beginning of section D where the writer says, “Settlers quickly picked up on the plant’s usefulness but until Meyer (Dr H.C.F. Meyer) sent samples of his ‘blood purifier’ to John Lloyd, a pharmacist, it remained a folk remedy. Initially dismissing Meyer’s claims as nonsense, Lloyd was eventually converted after a colleague, John King, tested the herb and successfully used it to treat bee stings and nasal congestion.”

This description indicates that the research into the usefulness/effectiveness of Echinacea began with Dr Meyer sending samples of the plant to John Lloyd.

So, the answer is: vii (Early research into the effectiveness of Echinacea)

Question 30: Section E

In section E, we find the information about using Echinacea in a new location which is Europe. We came to know from the previous sections that Echinacea was mainly used in America. Now, in this section E, take a look at these lines,

“It was a different story in Europe, where both French and German herbalists and homeopaths continued to make extensive use of it.” (Section E, lines 2-4)
It had been introduced there by Gerhard Madaus, who travelled from Germany to America in 1937, returning with seed to establish commercial plots of Echinacea.” (Section E, lines 5-6)

So, the answer is: ix (The use of Echinacea in new locations)

Question 31: Section F

We can find the answer at the beginning of section F where the writer gives a detailed description of how Echinacea is used to cure modern-day wounds and other ailments, “There is no evidence that Echinacea is effective against snakebite, but Dr. Meyer – who genuinely believed in Echinacea  – would probably be quite amused if he could come back and see the uses to which modern science has put ‘his’ herb. He might not be surprised that science has confirmed Echinacea’s role as a treatment for wounds, or that it has been found to be helpful in relieving arthritis, both claims Meyer made for the herb.”

So, the answer is: x (Modern evidence of the effectiveness of Echinacea)

Question 32: Section G   

Section G talks about how Echinacea is grown. Take a look at these lines, “Echinacea is a dry prairie plant, drought-resistant and pretty tolerant of most soils, although it does best in good soil with plenty of sun. Plants are usually grown from seed but they are sometimes available from nurseries.”

So, the answer is: iii (Growing Echinacea)

Question 33: Section H

In section H there is a detailed description of the use of different parts of Echinacea.

Here, in lines 2-5, the writer says, “.. .. . . All have similar medicinal properties. Most European studies have used liquid concentrates extracted from the tops of plants, whereas extraction in the USA has usually been from the roots. Today most manufacturers blend both, sometimes adding flowers and seeds to improve the quality.”

This means the roots, top of the plants, flowers and seeds, all can be used to produce medicine from the Echinacea plant.

Then, in the next paragraph, the author describes how to use the plant, “. .. . Dig them up in autumn after the tops have died back after the first frost. Wash and dry them carefully and store them in glass containers. You can harvest the tops throughout the summer and even eat small amounts of leaf straight from the plant.”

So, the answer is: iv (How to use the Echinacea plant)

Questions 34-40 TRUE, FALSE, NOT GIVEN

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

The statement in the question agrees with the information in the passage – TRUE

The statement in the question contradicts with the information in the passage – FALSE

If there is no information on this  – 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 34: ‘Snake oil’ sellers believed their product was effective.

Keywords for this answer: snake oil sellers, believed, product, effective,   

The answer can be traced in Section A paragraph no. 2, “Selling ‘snake oil’ was almost as risky a business as cattle stealing; you might be run out of town if your particular medicine, as you realised it would, failed to live up to its claims. Consequently, the smarter – ‘snake oil’ sellers left town before their customers had much chance to evaluate the ‘cure’ they had just bought.”

Here, failed to live up to its claims = was not effective,

Therefore, we can find out later in the text that snake oil sellers left town just after selling their product to their customers because they knew that their products were not effective. 

So, the answer is: FALSE

Question 35: Most people in the Wild West mistrusted ‘snake oil’.

Keywords for this answer: most people, Wild West, mistrusted, snake oil,

We found the answer to question no. 34 in Section A paragraph no. 2.

As this type of question follows a sequence, we need to look for the keywords in section B. Going through section B and C quickly, we can learn that there is no information regarding most people trusted or mistrusted ‘snake oil’ or not.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question 36: Some ‘snake oils’ were mostly water.

Keywords for this answer: some, mostly, water,   

The answer is in the first lines of paragraph no. 1 in Section B. Here, the author says, “The remarkable thing about many of the medicines dismissed then as ‘snake oil’ is not so much that they failed to live up to the outrageous claims made for them – those that weren’t harmless coloured water could be positively dangerous.”

So, it can be gathered from these lines, snake oil, though dismissed as an effective medicine, had some types and many of the types had harmless coloured water in them.

So, the answer is: TRUE

Question 37: All ‘snake oils’ contained Echinacea.

Keywords for this answer: All, contained, Echinacea,  

To find answer to this question, we should have a look at the end of paragraph no. 1 and at the beginning of paragraph no. 2 of section B. The author says, “What’s remarkable is that so many of the claims made for some of these remedies, or at least their ingredients, most of them, plant based, have since been found to have at least some basis in fact.

One, Echinacea, eventually turned out to be far more potent than even its original promoter claimed.”

Here, most of them, plant based and One, Echinacea mean that some of the ‘snake oils’ contained Echinacea, not all of them.

So, the answer is: FALSE

Question 38: Echinacea has been proven to kill microbes.

Keywords for this answer: proven, kill microbes,  

The answer lies in Section F paragraph no. 2 lines 1-4, “He might though be surprised to learn how Echinacea is proving to be an effective weapon against all sorts of disease, particularly infections. German researchers had used it successfully to treat a range of infections and found it to be effective against bacteria and protozoa2.”

  • protozoa = a type of micro-organism/ microbe.

So, the answer is: TRUE

Question 39: The highest quality Echinacea is grown in America.

Keywords for this answer: highest quality, grown, America,  

The passage talks about the use of Echinacea both in America and Europe. However, there is no information regarding highest quality growth comparison here.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question 40: More than one part of the Echinacea plant has a medicinal use.

Keywords for this answer: More than one part, plant, has, medicinal use,  

Section H paragraph no. 1 gives us answer to this question. Take a look at lines 2-5, “Most European studies have used liquid concentrates extracted from the tops of plants, whereas extraction in the USA has usually been from the roots. Today most manufacturers blend both, sometimes adding flowers and seeds to improve the quality.”  

These lines confirm that all the parts of Echinacea, the tops of plants, the roots, flowers and seeds, has medicinal use.

So, the answer is: TRUE

Click here for solutions to Cambridge 8 General Training Reading Test A Section 1
Click here for solutions to Cambridge 8 General Training Reading Test A Section 2

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