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IELTS Academic Reading: Cambridge Official Guide to IELTS; Test 2 Reading passage 1; The Flavor of Pleasure; with solutions and best explanations

This Academic IELTS Reading post focuses on solutions to IELTS Cambridge Official Guide to IELTS; Test 2 Reading Passage 1 which is titledThe Flavor of Pleasure. This is a targeted post for IELTS candidates who have big problems finding out and understanding Reading Answers in the AC module. This post can guide you the best to understand every Reading answer without much trouble. Finding out IELTS Reading answers is a steady process, and this post will assist you in this respect.

Cambridge Official Guide to IELTS, Test 2: AC Reading Module

Reading Passage 1: Questions 1-13

The headline of the passage: The Flavor of Pleasure

Questions 1-5: Completing sentences with NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS

In this type of question, candidates are asked to write maximum two words to complete sentences 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 no. 1: According to scientists, the term ________ characterises the most critical factor in appreciating flavor.

Keywords for the question: According to scientists, term, characterises, most critical factor, appreciating flavor,

The answer can be found in lines 4-7 of paragraph no. 1, “ . . . .. . The taste, texture, and feel of food are what we tend to focus on, but most important are the slight puffs of air as we chew our food – what scientists call retronasal smell.”

Here, what scientists call = according to scientists, most important are the slight puffs of air =  the most critical factor, 

So, the answer is: (retronasal) smell

Question no. 2: ‘Savoury’ is a better-known word for ________.

Keywords for the question: ‘Savoury’, better-known word,

In the second paragraph, the first few lines say, “Certainly, our mouths and tongues have taste buds, which are receptors for the five basic flavors: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami, or what is more commonly referred to as savory.

Here, more commonly referred to = better-known,

So, the answer is: umami  

Question no. 3: The tongue was originally developed to recognise the unpleasant taste of ________.

Keywords for the question: tongue, originally developed, recognise, unpleasant taste,     

In the second paragraph, lines 4-8 say, “ .. … .. But our tongues are inaccurate instruments as far as flavor is concerned. They evolved to recognise only a few basic tastes in order to quickly identify toxins, which in nature are often quite bitter or acidic sour.” 

Here, evolved to recognise = originally developed to recognise, often quite bitter or acidic sour = unpleasant taste,

So, the answer is: toxins  

Question no. 4: Human nasal cavities recognise _________ much better than external ones.

Keywords for the question: human nasal cavities, recognise, much better, external,     

The answer to this question can be found in lines 1-7 of paragraph no. 3. The writer of the text says here, “All the complexity, nuance, and pleasure of flavor come from the sense of smell operating in the back of the nose. It’s there that a kind of alchemy occurs when we breathe up and out the passing whiffs of our chewed food. Unlike a hound’s skull with its extra-long nose, which evolved specifically to detect external scents, our noses have evolved to detect internal scents. .. …”

Here, the back of the nose = Human nasal cavities,

external scents = external ones,

detect = recognise,

So, the answer is: internal scents/ smells

Question no. 5: Gordon Shepherd uses the word ‘neurogastronomy’ to draw together a number of ________ related to the enjoyment of eating.

Keywords for the question: Gordon Shepherd, neurogastronomy, a number of, related to, enjoyment of eating,   

In paragraph no. 4, lines 4-10 say, “ . . ..  Yale University’s Gordon Shepherd, begun to shed light on its workings. Shepherd has come up with the term ‘neurogastronomy’ to link the disciplines of food science, neurology, psychology, and anthropology with the savory elements of eating, one of the most enjoyed of human experiences.”

Here, has come up with the term ‘neurogastronomy’ = uses the word ‘neurogastronomy’,

link = draw together,

the savory elements of eating, one of the most enjoyed of human experiences = the enjoyment of eating,

So, the answer is: disciplines

Questions 6-9: Completing notes

[In this type of question, candidates are asked to complete different notes with NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage. Keywords are important to find answers correctly. Generally, this type of question maintains a sequence. However, we should not be surprised if the sequence is not maintained. Find the keywords in the passage and you are most likely to find the answers.]

Questions no. 6 & 7:

Face recognition

patterns of dark and light are used to put together a 6. ________.      the brain identifies faces.

facial recognition is key to our  enjoyment of 7. _________.

Keywords for the question: face recognition, patterns of dark and light, used, put together, brain identifies, faces, key, our enjoyment of,

The answer to question no. 6 can be found in paragraph no. 5. Here, in the beginning, the author of the text says, “In many ways, he is discovering that smell is rather like face recognition. The visual system detects patterns of light and dark and, building on experience, the brain creates a spatial map. It uses this to interpret the interrelationship of the patterns and draw conclusions that allow us to identify people and places. .. .”

Here, The visual system = facial recognition, creates = put together, identify people = identifies faces,

So, the answer for question no. 6 is: spatial map

Again, in paragraph no. 6, the writer says at the opening, “This ability to appreciate specific aromas turns out to be central to the pleasure we get from food, much as our ability to recognise individuals is central to the pleasures of social life. .. ..” 

Here, our ability to recognise individuals = facial recognition, central to = key to, pleasures of = enjoyment of,

So, the answer for question no. 7 is: social life

Questions no. 8 & 9:


receptors recognise the 8. ________ in food.        the brain identifies certain 9. _________. 


smell is key to our enjoyment of food. 

Keywords for the question: smell, receptors recognise, in food, brain, identifies, certain, key to, our enjoyment, food,  

In paragraph no. 5, the author of the text says in lines 7-10, “ . .. . . In the same way, we use patterns and ratios to detect both new and familiar flavors. As we eat, specialised receptors in the back of the nose detect the air molecules in our meals. . .. .” 

Here, detect = recognise, our meals = food,   

So, the answer to question no. 8 is: (air) molecules

Again, In paragraph no. 5, the author of the text says in lines 10-14, “ . . .. … From signals sent by the receptors, the brain understands smells as complex spatial patterns. Using these, as well as input from the other senses, it constructs the idea of specific flavors.” 

Here, it constructs the idea = the brain identifies, specific = certain,

So, the answer to question no. 8 is: flavours/ flavors

Questions 10-13: Short answer to open questions (NO MORE THAN ONE WORD)

[In this kind of question candidates have to answer some questions, only with some conditions like NO MORE THAN THREE/TWO WORDS and/or A NUMBER or, ONE WORD ONLY. Each question has keywords that will lead to the answer. This question type generally follows a sequence.]

Question no. 10: In what form does the brain store ‘odor objects’?

Keywords for the question: what form, brain, store, ‘odor objects’,  

In paragraph no. 8, the writer says in lines 5-8, “ . .. .. Smell stimuli form what Shepherd terms ‘odor objects’ stored as ‘memories’, and these have a direct link with our emotions. . . .”  

Here, stored as = store, as = form,  

So, the answer is: memories   

Question no. 11: When seeing was difficult, what did we use our sense of smell to find?

Keywords for the question: seeing, was difficult, we use, our sense of smell, to find,   

In lines 11-14 of paragraph no. 8, the author of the text mentions, “ . . .  Go back in history and this was part of our survival repertoire; like most animals, we drew on our sense of smell, when visual information was scarce, to single out prey.”

Here, when visual information was scarce = when seeing was difficult, to single out = to find,

So, the answer is: prey

Question no. 12: Which food item illustrates how flavour and positive emotion are linked?    

Keywords for the question: which food item, illustrates, how, flavour, positive emotion, linked,  

For this question, we need to go to paragraph no. 9. At the end of the paragraph, the writer says, “ .. . .  Consider the response to the sharpness of a lemon and compare that with the face that is welcoming the smooth wonder of chocolate.” 

Here, the face that is welcoming the smooth wonder = positive emotion,

So, the answer is: chocolate  

Question no. 13: What could be controlled in the future through flavour manipulation?

Keywords for the question: what, could be controlled, future, flavour manipulation,

The final lines of the final paragraph (paragraph no. 10) say, “ . .. . On the horizon we have the positive application of neurogastronomy; manipulating flavor to curb our appetites.”

Here, manipulating flavor = flavor manipulation, to curb = could be controlled,

So, the answer is: appetites

Click here for solutions to Cambridge IELTS Official Test 2 Reading Passage 2


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