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Antarctica: In from the Cold

Updated on 11 December, 2023

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team


Antarctica, the coldest continent on Earth, has long fascinated scientists and explorers. Its remote and icy landscapes hold secrets about Earth's past and future. This IELTS reading passage explores the unique characteristics and scientific importance of Antarctica, offering learners a chance to test their comprehension skills.

Passage: "Antarctica: In from the Cold"

Antarctica, a vast icy wilderness at the southernmost tip of our planet, is more than just a snow-covered desert. It is a critical area for scientific research, offering insights into climate change, marine biology, and earth sciences. Despite its harsh conditions, Antarctica is home to a variety of life, including penguins, seals, and unique microorganisms.

The continent plays a significant role in the Earth's climate. Its ice sheets contain about 70% of the world's fresh water, and changes in its ice mass can significantly affect global sea levels. Researchers have also discovered that Antarctic ice holds valuable records of past atmospheric conditions, providing clues about historical climate patterns.

However, Antarctica faces threats from climate change and human activities. Rising temperatures are leading to increased ice melt and shifts in the delicate ecosystems. The Antarctic Treaty System, a series of agreements, aims to protect this pristine environment by regulating activities such as tourism and fishing.

Questions and Answers:

Q1. What percentage of the world's fresh water is contained in Antarctica's ice sheets?





A1. 3. 70%

Antarctica's ice sheets are a crucial global resource, holding approximately 70% of the world’s fresh water. This makes the continent immensely important in terms of global water distribution and sea-level regulation.

Q2. True or False: The primary value of Antarctica lies in its vast mineral resources.

A2. False

The primary value of Antarctica is not its mineral resources but its scientific significance. The continent offers critical data for climate change research, earth sciences, and marine biology.

Q3. Fill in the blanks: Antarctica is home to ________, including penguins, seals, and unique ________.

vegetation, birds

wildlife, microorganisms

glaciers, fish

mountains, plants

A3. 2. wildlife, microorganisms

Despite its extreme conditions, Antarctica supports various forms of wildlife and unique microorganisms, highlighting the continent's biodiversity.

Q4. The Antarctic Treaty System is designed to regulate activities such as ________ and ________.

exploration, mining

tourism, fishing

scientific research, urban development

military operations, oil extraction

A4. 2. tourism, fishing

The Antarctic Treaty System aims to protect Antarctica's environment by regulating human activities, including tourism and fishing, ensuring the preservation of its ecosystems.

Tips for Cracking the IELTS Reading Test:

T1. Skimming and Scanning: Quickly skim through the passage to get a general understanding, then scan for specific information while answering the questions.

T2. Time Management: Allocate your time wisely. Spend no more than a minute per question.

T3. Understanding Context: Pay attention to the context in which information is presented, as it can often guide you to the correct answer.

T4. Eliminating Options: In multiple-choice questions, eliminate the most obvious wrong answers to narrow down your choices.

T5. Practice Regularly: Consistent practice with diverse reading materials can significantly improve your reading speed and comprehension skills.


"Antarctica: In from the Cold" provides a comprehensive overview of the continent’s significance, both in environmental and scientific terms. By engaging with this passage and its accompanying questions, IELTS learners can enhance their reading skills, critical thinking, and understanding of complex topics, essential for excelling in the IELTS reading test.

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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