IELTS ACADEMIC READING – 6

IELTS ACADEMIC READING

IELTS ACADEMIC READING

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

Snow-makers
Skiing is big business nowadays. But what can ski resort owners do if the snow doesn’t come?

A In the early to mid twentieth century, with the growing popularity of skiing, ski slopes became extremely profitable businesses. But ski resort owners were completely dependent on the weather: if it didn’t snow, or didn’t snow enough, they had to close everything down. Fortunately, a device called the snow gun can now provide snow whenever it is needed. These days such machines are standard equipment in the vast majority of ski resorts around the world, making it possible for many resorts to stay open for months or more a year.

B Snow formed by natural weather systems comes from water vapour in the atmosphere. The water vapour condenses into droplets, forming clouds. If the temperature is sufficiently low, the water droplets freeze into tiny ice crystals. More water particles then condense onto the crystal and join with it to form a snowflake. As the snow flake grows heavier, it falls towards the Earth.

C The snow gun works very differently from a natural weather system, but it accomplishes exactly the same thing. The device basically works by combining water and air. Two different hoses are attached to the gun- one leading from a water pumping station which pumps water up from a lake or reservoir, and the other leading from an air compressor. When the compressed air passes through the hose into the gun, it atomises the water – that is, it disrupts the stream so that the water splits up into tiny droplets. The droplets are then blown out of the gun and if the outside temperature is below 0°C, ice crystals will form, and will then make snowflakes in the same way as natural snow.

D Snow-makers often talk about dry snow and wet snow. Dry snow has a relatively low amount of water, so it is very light and powdery. This type of snow is excellent for skiing because skis glide over it easily without getting stuck in wet slush. One of the advantages of using a snow-maker is that this powdery snow can be produced to give the ski slopes a level surface. However, on slopes which receive heavy use, resort owners also use denser, wet snow underneath the dry snow. Many resorts build up the snow depth this way once or twice a year, and then regularly coat the trails with a layer of dry snow throughout the winter.

E The wetness of snow is dependent on the temperature and humidity outside, as well as the size of the water droplets launched by the gun. Snow-makers have to adjust the proportions of water and air in their snow guns to get the perfect snow consistency for the outdoor weather conditions. Many ski slopes now do this with a central computer system that is connected to weather-reading stations all over the slope.

F But man-made snow makes heavy demands on the environment. It takes about 275,000 litres of water to create a blanket of snow covering a 60×60 metre area. Most resorts pump water from one or more reservoirs located in low-lying areas. The run-off water from the slopes feeds back into these reservoirs, so the resort can actually use the same water over and over again. However, considerable amounts of energy are needed to run the large air-compressing pumps, and the diesel engines which run them also cause air pollution.

G Because of the expense of making snow, ski resorts have to balance the cost of running the machines with the benefits of extending the ski season, making sure they only make snow when it is really needed and when it will bring the maximum amount of profit in return for the investment. But man-made snow has a number of other uses as well. A layer of snow keeps a lot of the Earth’s heat from escaping into the atmosphere, so farmers often use man-made snow to provide insulation for winter crops. Snow-making machines have played a big part in many movie productions. Movie producers often take several months to shoot scenes that cover just a few days. If the movie takes place in a snowy setting, the set decorators have to get the right amount of snow for each day of shooting either by adding man-made snow or melting natural snow. And another important application of man-made snow is its use in the tests that aircraft must undergo in order to ensure that they can function safely in extreme conditions.


Questions 1-5
Reading Passage 1 has seven paragraphs A-G.
Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.
Write the correct number (i-x) in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

Example         Answer
Paragraph A  v
Paragraph B  x

1  Paragraph C         
2  Paragraph D         
3  Paragraph E         
4  Paragraph F          
5  Paragraph G         

List of headings


i          Considering ecological costs
ii         Modifications to the design of the snow gun
iii        The need for different varieties of snow
iv        Local concern over environmental issues
v         A problem and a solution
vi        Applications beyond the ski slopes
vii       Converting wet snow to dry snow
viii      New method for calculating modifications
ix        Artificial process, natural product
x         Snow formation in nature



Questions 6-8
Label the diagram below.




Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 6-8 on your answer sheet.
6 ________
7 ________
8 ________



Questions 9-13
Complete the sentences below.
Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet.

9       Dry snow is used to give slopes a level surface, while wet snow is used to increase the ________on busy slopes.
10     To calculate the required snow consistency, the __________of the atmosphere must first be measured.
11     The machinery used in the process of making the snow consumes a lot of__________ which is damaging to the environment.
12     Artificial snow is used in agriculture as a type of__________ for plants in cold conditions.
13     Artificial snow may also be used in carrying out safety checks on 




You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14.-26,  which are based on Reading Passage below:

Why are so few tigers man-eaters?

A. As you leave the Bandhavgarh National Park in central India, there is a notice which shows a huge, placid tiger. The notice says, ‘You may not have seen me, but I have seen you.’ There are more than a billion people In India and Indian tigers probably see humans every single day of their lives. Tigers can and do kill almost everything they meet in the jungle, they will kill even attack elephants and rhino. Surely, then, it is a little strange that attacks o humans are not more frequent.

B.  Some people might argue that these attacks were in fact common in the past. British writers of adventure stories, such as Jim Corbett, gave the impression that village life in India in the early years of the twentieth century involved a stage of constant siege by man-eating tigers. But they may have overstated the terror spread by tigers. There were also far more tigers around in those days (probably 60.000 in the subcontinent compared to just 3000 today). So in proportion, attacks appear to have been as rare then as they are today.

C. It is widely assumed that the constraint is fear; but what exactly are tigers afraid of? Can they really know that we may be even better armed that they are? Surely not. Has the species programmed the experiences of all tigers with humans its genes to be inherited as instinct? Perhaps. But I think the explanation may be more simple and, in a way, more intriguing.

D. Since the growth of ethology in the 1950s. we have tried to understand animal behaviour from the animal’s point of view. Until the first elegant experiments by pioneers in the field such as Konrad Lorenz, naturalists wrote about animals as if they were slightly less intelligent humans. Jim Corbett’s breathless accounts of his duels with a an-eaters in truth tell us more about Jim Corbett than they do about the animals. The principle of ethology, on the other hand, requires us to attempt to think in the same way as the animal we are studying thinks, and to observe every tiny detail of its behaviour without imposing our own human significances on its actions.

E. I suspect that a tiger’s afraid of humans lies not in some preprogramed ancestral logic but in the way he actually perceives us visually. If you think like a tiger, a human in a car might appear just to be a part of the car, and because tigers don’t eat cars the human is safe-unless the car is menacing the tiger or its cubs, in which case a brave or enraged tiger may charge. A human on foot is a different sort of puzzle. Imagine a tiger sees a man who is 1.8m tall. A tiger is less than 1m tall but they may be up to 3m long from head to tail. So when a tiger sees the man face on, it might not be unreasonable for him to assume that the man is 6m long. If he meta deer of this size, he might attack the animal by leaping on its back, but when he looks behind the mind he can’t see a back. From the front the man is huge, but looked at from the side he all but disappears. This must be very disconcerting. A hunter has to be confident that it can tackle its prey, and no one is confident when they are disconcerted. This is especially true of a solitary hunter such as the tiger and may explain why lions-particularly young lionesses who tend to encourage one another to take risks are more dangerous than tigers.


F. If the theory that a tiger is disconcerted to find that a standing human is both very big and yet somehow invisible is correct, the opposite should be true of a squatting human. A squatting human is half he size and presents twice the spread of back, and more closely resembles a medium-sized deer. If tigers were simply frightened of all humans, then a squatting person would be no more attractive as a target than a standing one. This, however appears not to be the case. Many incidents of attacks on people involve villagers squatting or bending over to cut grass for fodder or building material.

G. The fact that humans stand upright may therefore not just be something that distinguishes them from nearly all other species, but also a factor that helped them to survive in a dangerous and unpredictable environment.

Note:
Ethology =  the branch of zoology that studies the behaviour of animals in their natural habitats


Questions 14-18
Reading Passage 2 has seven paragraphs labelled A-G. Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter A-G in boxes 14-18 on your answer sheet.

14         a rejected explanation of why tiger attacks on humans are rare
15         a reason why tiger attacks on humans might be expected to happen more often than they do
16         examples of situations in which humans are more likely to be attacked by tigers
17         a claim about the relative frequency of tiger attacks on humans
18         an explanation of tiger behaviour based on the principles of ethology


Questions 19-23
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2?
In boxes 19-23 on your answer sheet write
TRUE            if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE          if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

19        Tigers in the Bandhavgarh National Park are a protected species.
20        Some writers of fiction have exaggerated the danger of tigers to man.
21        The fear of humans may be passed down in a tiger’s genes.
22        Konrad Lorenz claimed that some animals are more intelligent than humans.
23        Ethology involves applying principles of human behaviour to animals.


Questions 24-26
Choose the correct answer, A. B C or DWrite your answers in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.

24.   Why do tigers rarely attack people in cars?
A   They have learned that cars are not dangerous.
B   They realise that people in cars cannot be harmed.
C   They do not think people in cars are living creatures.
D   They do not want to put their cubs at risk.

25.   The writer says that tigers rarely attack a man who is standing up because
A   they are afraid of the man s height.
B   they are confused by the man’s shape.
C   they are puzzled by the man s lack of movement.
 they are unable to look at the man directly.

26.   A human is more vulnerable to tiger attack when squatting because
A   he may be unaware of the tiger’s approach.
B   he cannot easily move his head to see behind him.
C   his head becomes a better target for the tiger.
D   his back appears longer in relation to his height.





You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

Keep taking the tablets

The history of aspirin is a product of a rollercoaster ride through time, of accidental discoveries, intuitive reasoning and intense corporate rivalry.

In the opening pages of Aspirin: The Remarkable Story of a Wonder Drug , Diarmuid Jeffreys describes this little white pill as ‘one of the most amazing creations in medical history, a drug so astonishingly versatile that it can relieve headache, ease your aching limbs, lower your temperature and treat some of the deadliest human diseases’.

Its properties have been known for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptian physicians used extracts from the willow tree as an analgesic, or pain killer. Centuries later the Greek physician Hippocrates recommended the bark of the willow tree as a remedy for the pains of childbirth and as a fever reducer. But it wasn’t until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that salicylates the chemical found in the willow tree became the subject of serious scientific investigation. The race was on to identify the active ingredient and to replicate it synthetically. At the end of the nineteenth century a German company, Friedrich Bayer & Co. succeeded in creating a relatively safe and very effective chemical compound, acetylsalicylic acid, which was renamed aspirin.

The late nineteenth century was a fertile period for experimentation, partly because of the hunger among scientists to answer some of the great scientific questions, but also because those questions were within their means to answer. One scientist in a laboratory with some chemicals and a test tube could make significant breakthroughs whereas today, in order to map the human genome for instance, one needs ‘an army of researchers,  a bank of computers and millions and millions of dollars’.

But an understanding of the nature of science and scientific inquiry is not enough on its own to explain how society innovates. In the nineteenth century, scientific advance was closely linked to the industrial revolution. This was a period when people frequently had the means, motive and determination to take an idea and turn it into reality. In the case of aspirin that happened piecemeal – a series of minor, often unrelated advances, fertilised by the century’s broader economic, medical and scientific developments, that led to one big final breakthrough.

The link between big money and pharmaceutical innovation is also a significant one. Aspirin s continued shelf life was ensured because for the first 70 years of its life, huge amounts of money were put into promoting it as an ordinary everyday analgesic. In the 1070s other analgesics, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol, were entering the market, and the pharmaceutical companies then focused on publicising these new drugs. But just at the same time, discoveries were made regarding the beneficial role of aspirin in preventing heart attacks, strokes and other afflictions. Had it not been for these findings, this pharmaceutical marvel may well have disappeared.

So the relationship between big money and drugs is an odd one. Commercial markets are necessary for developing new products and ensuring that they remain around long enough for scientists to carry out research on them. Rut the commercial markets are just as likely to kill off’ certain products when something more attractive comes along. In the case of aspirin, a potential ‘wonder drug* was around for over 70 years without anybody investigating the way in which it achieved its effects, because they were making more than enough money out of it as it was. If ibuprofen or paracetamol had entered the market just a decade earlier, aspirin might then not be here today. It would be just another forgotten drug that people hadn’t bothered to explore.

None of the recent discoveries of aspirin’s benefits were made by the big pharmaceutical companies; they were made by scientists working in the public sector. ‘The reason for that is very simple and straightforward,’ Jeffreys says in his book. ‘Drug companies will only pursue research that is going to deliver financial benefits. There’s no profit in aspirin any more. It is incredibly inexpensive with tiny profit margins and it has no patent any more, so anyone can produce it.’ In fact, there’s almost a disincentive for drug companies to further boost the drug, he argues, as it could possibly put them out of business by stopping them from selling their more expensive brands.

So what is the solution to a lack of commercial interest in further exploring the therapeutic benefits of aspirin? More public money going into clinical trials, says Jeffreys. ‘If I were the Department of Health. I would say “this is a very inexpensive drug. There may be a lot of other things we could do with it.” We should put a lot more money into trying to find out.’

Jeffreys’ book which not only tells the tale of a ‘wonder drug’ but also explores the nature of innovation and the role of big business, public money and regulation reminds us why such research is so important.


Questions 27-32
Complete each sentence with the correct ending A-H from the box below.
Write the correct letter A-H in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet.

27     Ancient Egyptian and Greek doctors were aware of
28     Frederick Bayer & Co were able to reproduce
29     The development of aspirin was partly due to the effects of
30     The creation of a market for aspirin as a painkiller was achieved through
31     Aspirin might have become unavailable without
32     The way in which aspirin actually worked was not investigated by

A the discovery of new medical applications.
B the negative effects of publicity.
C the large pharmaceutical companies.
D the industrial revolution.
E the medical uses of a particular tree
F the limited availability of new drugs.
G the chemical found in the willow tree.
H commercial advertising campaigns.


Questions 33-37
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 3?
In boxes 33-37 on your answer sheet write
YES             if the statement agrees with the views of the writer
NO               if the statement contradicts the views of the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

33      For nineteenth-century scientists, small-scale research was enough to make important discoveries.
34      The nineteenth-century industrial revolution caused a change in the focus of scientific research.
35      The development of aspirin in the nineteenth century followed a structured pattern of development.
36      In the 1970s sales of new analgesic drugs overtook sales of asprin.
37      Commercial companies may have both good and bad effects on the availability of pharmaceutical products.


Questions 38-40
Complete the summary below using the list of words A-l below.
Write the correct letter A-l in boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet

Research into aspirin
Jeffreys argues that the reason why 38 __________ did not find out about new uses of aspirin is that aspirin is no longer a 39 __________ drug. He therefore suggests that there should be 40__________ support for further research into the possible applications of the drug.



A useful
B cheap
C state
D international
E major drug companies
F profitable
G commercial
H public sector scientists
I health officials

Answers

1. ix:
2. iii:       
3. viii:   
4. i:       
5. vi:     
6. compressed:               
7. (tiny) droplets:           
8. ice crystals:  
9. depth:            
10. temperature and humidity:
11. energy:       
12. insulation:  
13. aircraft:
14. C:
15. A:   
16. F:
17. B:   
18. E:   
19. NOT GIVEN:
20. TRUE:
21. TRUE:
22. NOT GIVEN
23. FALSE:
24. C:
25. B:
26. D:
27. E:
28. G:
29. D:
30. H:
31. A:
32. C:
33. YES:
34. NOT GIVEN:
35. NO:
36. NOT GIVEN:
37. YES:
38. E:
39. F:
40. C:

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IELTS ACADEMIC READING – 5

IELTS ACADEMIC READING

IELTS ACADEMIC READING


(Download PDF)

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-14 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

Twist in the Tale
Fears that television and computers would kill children’s desire to read couldn’t have been more wrong. With sales roaring, a new generation of authors are publishing’s newest and unlikeliest literary stars

A Less than three years ago, doom merchants were predicting that the growth in video games and the rise of the Internet would sound the death knell for children’s literature. But contrary to popular myth, children are reading more books than ever. A recent survey by Books Marketing found that children up to the age of 11 read on average for four hours a week, particularly girls.

B Moreover, the children’s book market, which traditionally was seen as a poor cousin to the more lucrative and successful adult market, has come into its own. Publishing houses are now making considerable profits on the back of new children’s books and children’s authors can now command significant advances. ‘Children’s books are going through an incredibly fertile period,’ says Wendy Cooling, a children’s literature consultant. ‘There’s a real buzz around them. Book clubs are happening, sales are good, and people are much more willing to listen to children’s authors.’

C The main growth area has been the market for eight to fourteen-year-olds, and there is little doubt that the boom has been fuelled by the bespectacled apprentice, Harry Potter. So influential has J. K. Rowling’s series of books been that they have helped to make reading fashionable for pre-teens. ‘Harry made it OK to be seen on a bus reading a book,’ says Cooling. ‘To a child, that is important.’ The current buzz around the publication of the fourth Harry Potter beats anything in the world of adult literature.

D ‘People still tell me, “Children don’t read nowadays”,’ says David Almond, the award-winning author of children’s books such as Skellig. The truth is that they are skilled, creative readers. When I do classroom visits, they ask me very sophisticated questions about use of language, story structure, chapters and dialogue.’ No one is denying that books are competing with other forms of entertainment for children’s attention but it seems as though children find a special kind of mental nourishment within the printed page.

E ‘A few years ago, publishers lost confidence and wanted to make books more like television, the medium that frightened them most,’ says children’s book critic Julia Eccleshare. ‘But books aren’t TV, and you will find that children always say that the good thing about books is that you can see them in your head. Children are demanding readers,’ she says. ‘If they don’t get it in two pages, they’ll drop it.’

F No more are children’s authors considered mere sentimentalists or failed adult writers. ‘Some feted adult writers would kill for the sales,’ says Almond, who sold 42,392 copies of Skellig in 1999 alone. And advances seem to be growing too: UK publishing outfit Orion recently negotiated a six-figure sum from US company Scholastic for The Seeing Stone, a children’s novel by Kevin Crossley-Holland, the majority of which will go to the author.

G It helps that once smitten, children are loyal and even fanatical consumers. Author Jacqueline Wilson says that children spread news of her books like a bushfire. ‘My average reader is a girl of ten,’ she explains. ‘They’re sociable and acquisitive. They collect. They have parties – where books are a good present. If they like something, they have to pass it on.’ After Rowling, Wilson is currently the best-selling children’s writer, and her sales have boomed over the past three years. She has sold more than three million books, but remains virtually invisible to adults, although most ten- year-old girls know about her.

H Children’s books are surprisingly relevant to contemporary life. Provided they are handled with care, few topics are considered off-limits for children. One senses that children’s writers relish the chance to discuss the whole area of topics and language. But Anne Fine, author of many award­winning children’s books is concerned that the British literati still ignore children’s culture. ‘It’s considered worthy but boring,’ she says.

I T think there’s still a way to go,’ says Almond, who wishes that children’s books were taken more seriously as literature. Nonetheless, he derives great satisfaction from his child readers. ‘They have a powerful literary culture,’ he says. ‘It feels as if you’re able to step into the store of mythology and ancient stories that run through all societies and encounter the great themes: love and loss and death and redemption.’

J At the moment, the race is on to find the next Harry Potter. The bidding for new books at Bologna this year – the children’s equivalent of the Frankfurt Book Fair – was as fierce as anything anyone has ever seen. All of which bodes well for the long-term future of the market – and for children’s authors, who have traditionally suffered the lowest profile in literature, despite the responsibility of their role.


Questions 1-7
Look at the following list of people A-E and the list of statements (Questions 1-7).
Match each statement with one of the people listed.
Write the appropriate letters A-E in boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet.

1             Children take pleasure in giving books to each other.
           Reading in public is an activity that children have not always felt comfortable about doing.
3             Some well-known writers of adult literature regret that they earn less than popular children’s writers.
4             Children are quick to decide whether they like or dislike a book.
           Children will read many books by an author that they like.
6             The public do not realise how much children read today.
           We are experiencing a rise in the popularity of children’s literature.

A Wendy Cooling
B David Almond
C Julia Eccleshare
D Jacqueline Wilson
E Anne Fine


Questions 8-10
Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS taken from the reading passage, answer the following questions.
Write your answers in boxes 8-10 on your answer sheet.

8            For which age group have sales of books risen the most?
9            Which company has just invested heavily in an unpublished children’s book?
10           Who is currently the best-selling children’s writer?


Questions 11-14
Reading Passage 1 has ten paragraphs A-J.
Which paragraph mentions the following (Questions 11-14)?
Write the appropriate letters (A-J) in boxes 11-14 on your answer sheet.

11              the fact that children are able to identify and discuss the important elements of fiction
12              the undervaluing of children’s society
13              the impact of a particular fictional character on the sales of children’s books
14              an inaccurate forecast regarding the reading habits of children



You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 , which are based on Reading Passage 2 below:

Fun for the Masses
Americans worry that the distribution of income is increasingly unequal. Examining leisure spending, changes that picture

A Are you better off than you used to be? Even after six years of sustained economic growth, Americans worry about that question. Economists who plumb government income statistics agree that Americans’ incomes, as measured in inflation-adjusted dollars, have risen more slowly in the past two decades than in earlier times, and that some workers’ real incomes have actually fallen. They also agree that by almost any measure, income is distributed less equally than it used to be. Neither of those claims, however, sheds much light on whether living standards are rising or falling. This is because ‘living standard’ is a highly amorphous concept. Measuring how much people earn is relatively easy, at least compared with measuring how well they live.

B A recent paper by Dora Costa, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, looks at the living-standards debate from an unusual direction. Rather than worrying about cash incomes, Ms Costa investigates Americans’ recreational habits over the past century. She finds that people of all income levels have steadily increased the amount of time and money they devote to having fun. The distribution of dollar incomes may have become more skewed in recent years, but leisure is more evenly spread than ever.

C Ms Costa bases her research on consumption surveys dating back as far as 1888. The industrial workers surveyed in that year spent, on average, three-quarters of their incomes on food, shelter and clothing. Less than 2% of the average family’s income was spent on leisure but that average hid large disparities. The share of a family’s budget that was spent on having fun rose sharply with its income: the lowest-income families in this working-class sample spent barely 1% of their budgets on recreation, while higher earners spent more than 3%. Only the latter group could afford such extravagances as theatre and concert performances, which were relatively much more expensive than they are today.

D Since those days, leisure has steadily become less of a luxury. By 1991, the average household needed to devote only 38% of its income to the basic necessities, and was able to spend 6% on recreation. Moreover, Ms Costa finds that the share of the family budget spent on leisure now rises much less sharply with income than it used to. At the beginning of this century a family’s recreational spending tended to rise by 20% for every 10% rise in income. By 1972-73, a 10% income gain led to roughly a 15% rise in recreational spending, and the increase fell to only 13% in 1991. What this implies is that Americans of all income levels are now able to spend much more of their money on having fun.

E One obvious cause is that real income overall has risen. If Americans in general are richer, their consumption of entertainment goods is less likely to be affected by changes in their income. But Ms Costa reckons that rising incomes are responsible for, at most, half of the changing structure of leisure spending. Much of the rest may be due to the fact that poorer Americans have more time off than they used to. In earlier years, low-wage workers faced extremely long hours and enjoyed few days off. But since the 1940s, the less skilled (and lower paid) have worked ever-fewer hours, giving them more time to enjoy leisure pursuits.

F Conveniently, Americans have had an increasing number of recreational possibilities to choose from. Public investment in sports complexes, parks and golf courses has made leisure cheaper and more accessible. So too has technological innovation. Where listening to music used to imply paying for concert tickets or owning a piano, the invention of the radio made music accessible to everyone and virtually free. Compact discs, videos and other paraphernalia have widened the choice even further.

G At a time when many economists are pointing accusing fingers at technology for causing a widening inequality in the wages of skilled and unskilled workers, Ms Costa’s research gives it a much more egalitarian face. High earners have always been able to afford amusement. By lowering the price of entertainment, technology has improved the standard of living of those in the lower end of the income distribution. The implication of her results is that once recreation is taken into account, the differences in Americans’ living standards may not have widened so much after all.

H These findings are not water-tight. Ms Costa’s results depend heavily upon what exactly is classed as a recreational expenditure. Reading is an example. This was the most popular leisure activity for working men in 1888, accounting for one-quarter of all recreational  spending. In 1991, reading took only 16% of the entertainment dollar. But the American Department of Labour’s expenditure surveys do not distinguish between the purchase of a mathematics tome and that of a best-selling novel. Both are classified as recreational expenses. If more money is being spent on textbooks and professional books now than in earlier years, this could make ‘recreational’ spending appear stronger than it really is.

I Although Ms Costa tries to address this problem by showing that her results still hold even when tricky categories, such as books, are removed from the sample, the difficulty is not entirely eliminated. Nonetheless, her broad conclusion seems fair. Recreation is more available to all and less dependent on income. On this measure at least, inequality of living standards has fallen.


Questions 15-21
Reading Passage 2 has nine paragraphs A-I.
From the list of headings below choose the most suitable heading for each paragraph. Write the appropriate numbers (i-xi) in boxes 15-21 on your answer sheet.

List of headings
i            Wide differences in leisure activities according to income
ii           Possible inconsistencies in Ms Costa’s data
iii          More personal income and time influence leisure activities
iv          Investigating the lifestyle problem from a new angle
v           Increased incomes fail to benefit everyone
vi          A controversial development offers cheaper leisure activities
vii         Technology heightens differences in living standards
viii        The gap between income and leisure spending closes
ix          Two factors have led to a broader range of options for all
x           Have people’s lifestyles improved?
xi          High earners spend less on leisure

Example                                                                   Answer
Paragraph E                                                              iii


15             Paragraph A
16             Paragraph B
17             Paragraph C
18             Paragraph D
19             Paragraph F
20             Paragraph G
21             Paragraph H



Questions 22-26
Complete each of the following statements (Questions 22-26) using words from the box.


Recreational Activities         The Family Budget         Holiday Time         Government Expenditure

Computer Technology      Income Levels      Non-Luxury Spending      Professional Reading 
   
  High-Income Earners



22   It is easier to determine ___________ than living standards.
23   A decrease in ___________during the 20th century led to a bigger investment in leisure.
24   According to Ms Costa, how much Americans spend on leisure has been directly affected by salaries and ______.      
25   The writer notes both positive and negative influences of ___________ 
26   According to the writer, the way Ms Costa defined ___________ may have been misleading.


Question 27
Choose the appropriate letter A-D and write it in box 27 on your answer sheet.

27. The writer thinks that Ms Costa
A  provides strong evidence to support her theory.
B  displays serious flaws in her research methods.
C  attempts to answer too many questions.
D  has a useful overall point to make.


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 , which are based on Reading Passage 2 below:

THE ART OF HEALING
As with so much, the medicine of the Tang dynasty left its European counterpart in the shade. It boasted its own ‘national health service’, and left behind the teachings of the incomparable Sun Simiao

If no further evidence was available of the sophistication of China in the Tang era, then a look at Chinese medicine would be sufficient. At the Western end of the Eurasian continent the Roman Empire had vanished, and there was nowhere new to claim the status of the cultural and political centre of the world. In fact, for a few centuries, this centre happened to be the capital of the Tang Empire, and Chinese medicine under the Tang was far ahead of its European counterpart. The organisational context of health and healing was structured to a degree that had no precedence in Chinese history and found no parallel elsewhere.

An Imperial Medical Office had been inherited from previous dynasties: it was immediately restructured and staffed with directors and deputy directors, chief and assistant medical directors, pharmacists and curators of medicinal herb gardens and further personnel. Within the first two decades after consolidating its rule, the Tang administration set up one central and several provincial medical colleges with professors, lecturers, clinical practitioners and pharmacists to train students in one or all of the four departments of medicine, acupuncture, physical therapy and exorcism.

Physicians were given positions in governmental medical service only after passing qualifying examinations. They were remunerated in accordance with the number of cures they had effected during the past year.

In 723 Emperor Xuanzong personally composed a general formulary of prescriptions recommended to him by one of his imperial pharmacists and sent it to all the provincial medical schools. An Arabic traveller, who visited China in 851, noted with surprise that prescriptions from the emperor’s formulary were publicised on notice boards at crossroads to enhance the welfare of the population.

The government took care to protect the general populace from potentially harmful medical practice. The Tang legal code was the first in China to include laws concerned with harmful and heterodox medical practices. For example, to treat patients for money without adhering to standard procedures was defined as fraud combined with theft and had to be tried in accordance with the legal statutes on theft. If such therapies resulted in the death of a patient, the healer was to be banished for two and a half years. In case a physician purposely failed to practice according to the standards, he was to be tried in accordance with the statutes on premeditated homicide. Even if no harm resulted, he was to be sentenced to sixty strokes with a heavy cane.

In fact, physicians practising during the Tang era had access to a wealth of pharmaceutical and medical texts, their contents ranging from purely pragmatic advice to highly sophisticated theoretical considerations. Concise descriptions of the position, morphology, and functions of the organs of the human body stood side by side in libraries with books enabling readers to calculate the daily, seasonal and annual climatic conditions of cycles of sixty years and to understand and predict their effects on health.

Several Tang authors wrote large collections of prescriptions, continuing a literary tradition documented since the 2nd century BC. The two most outstanding works to be named here were those by Sun Simiao (581-682?) and Wang Tao (c.670-755). The latter was a librarian who copied more than six thousand formulas, categorised in 1,104 sections, from sixty-five older works and published them under the title Wciitai miyao. Twenty-four sections, for example, were devoted to ophthalmology. They reflect the Indian origin of much Chinese knowledge on ailments of the eye and, in particular, of cataract surgery.

Sun Simiao was the most eminent physician and author not only of the Tang dynasty, but of the entire first millennium AD. He was a broadly educated intellectual and physician; his world view integrated notions of all three of the major currents competing at his time – Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism. Sun Simiao gained fame during his lifetime as a clinician (he was summoned to the imperial court at least once) and as author of the Prescriptions Worth Thousands in Gold (Qianjinfang) and its sequel. In contrast to developments in the 12th century, physicians relied on prescriptions and single substances to treat their patients’ illnesses. The theories of systematic correspondences, characteristic of the acupuncture tradition, had not been extended to cover pharmacology yet.

Sun Simiao rose to the pantheon of Chinese popular Buddhism in about the 13th century. He was revered as paramount Medicine God. He gained this extraordinary position in Chinese collective memory not only because he was an outstanding clinician and writer, but also for his ethical concerns. Sun Simiao was the first Chinese author known to compose an elaborate medical ethical code. Even though based on Buddhist and Confucian values, his deontology is comparable to the Hippocratic Oath. It initiated a debate on the task of medicine, its professional obligations, social position and moral justification that continued until the arrival of Western medicine in the 19th century.

Despite or – more likely – because of its long- lasting affluence and political stability, the Tang dynasty did not add any significantly new ideas to the interpretation of illness, health and healing. Medical thought reflects human anxieties; changes in medical thought always occur in the context of new existential fears or of fundamentally changed social circumstances. Nevertheless, medicine was a most fascinating ingredient of Tang civilisation and it left a rich legacy to subsequent centuries.


Questions 28-30
Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 28-30 on your answer sheet.

28    In the first paragraph, the writer draws particular attention to
the lack of medical knowledge in China prior to the Tang era.
B  the Western interest in Chinese medicine during the Tang era.
C  the systematic approach taken to medical issues during the Tang era.
D  the rivalry between Chinese and Western cultures during the Tang era.

29    During the Tang era, a government doctor’s annual salary depended upon
the effectiveness of his treatment.
B  the extent of his medical experience.
C  the number of people he had successfully trained.
D  the breadth of his medical expertise.

30    Which of the following contravened the law during the Tang era?
a qualified doctor’s refusal to practise
B  the use of unorthodox medical practices
C  a patient dying under medical treatment
D  the receipt of money for medical treatment


Questions 31-37
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3?
In boxes 31-37 on your answer sheet write
YES              if the statement agrees with the information
NO               if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this in the passage

31 Academic staff sometimes taught a range of medical subjects during the Tang era.
32 The medical knowledge available during the Tang era only benefited the wealthy.
33 Tang citizens were encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle.
34 Doctors who behaved in a fraudulent manner were treated in the same way as ordinary criminals during the Tang era.
35 Medical reference books published during the Tang era covered practical and academic issues.
36 Waitai miyao contained medical data from the Tang era.
37 Chinese medical authors are known to have influenced Indian writing.


Questions 38-40
Complete the sentences below with words taken from Reading Passage 3.
Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet.

The first known medical writing in China dates back to the 38____________.

During the Tang era, doctors depended most on 39____________ and single substances to treat their patients 40____________ is famous for producing a set of medical rules for Chinese physicians.


Answers
1. D:
2. A:     
3. B:
4. C:
5. D:       :
6. B:     
7. A:     
8. 8-14 years/yrs/ (year-olds):   
9. Orion:             
10. J.K. Rowling:              
11. D:   
12. H:
13. C:     :
14. A:     
15. x:   
16. iv:  
17. i:     
18. viii:
19. ix:  
20. vi:
21. ii:
22. income levels:
23. non-luxury spending:
24. holiday time:
26. recreational activities:
25. computer technology
27. D:
28. C:
29. A:
30. B:
31. YES:
32. NO:
33. NOT GIVEN
34. YES:
35. YES:
36. NOT GIVEN:
37. NO:
38. 2nd century:
39. prescriptions:
40. Sun Simiao

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IELTS ACADEMIC READING – 4

IELTS ACADEMIC READING

IELTS ACADEMIC READING


(Download PDF)

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

The Great Australian Fence

A war has been going on for almost a hundred years between the sheep farmers of Australia and the dingo, Australia’s wild dog. To protect their livelihood, the farmers built a wire fence, 3,307 miles of continuous wire mesh, reaching from the coast of South Australia all the way to the cotton fields of eastern Queensland, just short of the Pacific Ocean.

The Fence is Australia’s version of the Great Wall of China, but even longer, erected to keep out hostile invaders, in this case hordes of yellow dogs. The empire it preserves is that of the woolgrowers, sovereigns of the world’s second largest sheep flock, after China’s – some 123 million head – and keepers of a wool export business worth four billion dollars. Never mind that more and more people – conservationists, politicians, taxpayers and animal lovers – say that such a barrier would never be allowed today on ecological grounds. With sections of it almost a hundred years old, the dog fence has become, as conservationist Lindsay Fairweather ruefully admits, ‘an icon of Australian frontier ingenuity’.

To appreciate this unusual outback monument and to meet the people whose livelihoods depend on it, I spent part of an Australian autumn travelling the wire. It’s known by different names in different states: the Dog Fence in South Australia, the Border Fence in New South Wales and the Barrier Fence in Queensland. I would call it simply the Fence.

For most of its prodigious length, this epic fence winds like a river across a landscape that, unless a big rain has fallen, scarcely has rivers. The eccentric route, prescribed mostly by property lines, provides a sampler of outback topography: the Fence goes over sand dunes, past salt lakes, up and down rock-strewn hills, through dense scrub and across barren plains.

The Fence stays away from towns. Where it passes near a town, it has actually become a tourist attraction visited on bus tours. It marks the traditional dividing line between cattle and sheep. Inside, where the dingoes are legally classified as vermin, they are shot, poisoned and trapped. Sheep and dingoes do not mix and the Fence sends that message mile after mile.

What is this creature that by itself threatens an entire industry, inflicting several millions of dollars of damage a year despite the presence of the world’s most obsessive fence? Cousin to the coyote and the jackal, descended from the Asian wolf, Cam’s lupus dingo is an introduced species of wild dog. Skeletal remains indicate that the dingo was introduced to Australia more than 3,500 years ago probably with Asian seafarers who landed on the north coast. The adaptable dingo spread rapidly and in a short time became the top predator, killing off all its marsupial competitors. The dingo looks like a small wolf with a long nose, short pointed ears and a bushy tail. Dingoes rarely bark; they yelp and howl. Standing about 22 inches at the shoulder – slightly taller than a coyote – the dingo is Australia’s largest land carnivore.

The woolgrowers’ war against dingoes, which is similar to the sheep ranchers’ rage against coyotes in the US, started not long after the first European settlers disembarked in 1788, bringing with them a cargo of sheep. Dingoes officially became outlaws in 1830 when governments placed a bounty on their heads. Today bounties for problem dogs killing sheep inside the Fence can reach $500. As pioneers penetrated the interior with their flocks of sheep, fences replaced shepherds until, by the end of the 19th century, thousands of miles of barrier fencing crisscrossed the vast grazing lands.

The dingo started out as a quiet observer,’ writes Roland Breckwoldt, in A Very Elegant Animal: The Dingo, ‘but soon came to represent everything that was dark and dangerous on the continent.’ It is estimated that since sheep arrived in Australia, dingo numbers have increased a hundredfold. Though dingoes have been eradicated from parts of Australia, an educated guess puts the population at more than a million.

Eventually government officials and graziers agreed that one well-maintained fence, placed on the outer rim of sheep country and paid for by taxes levied on woolgrowers, should supplant the maze of private netting. By 1960, three states joined their barriers to form a single dog fence.

The intense private battles between woolgrowers and dingoes have usually served to define the Fence only in economic terms. It marks the difference between profit and loss. Yet the Fence casts a much broader ecological shadow for it has become a kind of terrestrial dam, deflecting the flow of animals inside and out. The ecological side effects appear most vividly at Sturt National Park. In 1845, explorer Charles Sturt led an expedition through these parts on a futile search for an inland sea. For Sturt and other early explorers, it was a rare event to see a kangaroo. Now they are ubiquitous for without a native predator the kangaroo population has exploded inside the Fence. Kangaroos are now cursed more than dingoes. They have become the rivals of sheep, competing for water and grass. In response state governments cull* more than three million kangaroos a year to keep Australia’s national symbol from overrunning the pastoral lands. Park officials, who recognise that the fence is to blame, respond to the excess of kangaroos by saying The fence is there, and we have to live with it.

Questions 1-4
Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.

1      Why was the fence built?
to separate the sheep from the cattle
B  to stop the dingoes from being slaughtered by farmers
C  to act as a boundary between properties
D  to protect the Australian wool industry

2      On what point do the conservationists and politicians agree?
Wool exports are vital to the economy.
B  The fence poses a threat to the environment.
C  The fence acts as a useful frontier between states.
D  The number of dogs needs to be reduced.

3      Why did the author visit Australia?
to study Australian farming methods
B  to investigate how the fence was constructed
C  because he was interested in life around the fence
D  because he wanted to learn more about the wool industry

4      How does the author feel about the fence?

impressed

B  delighted
C  shocked
D  annoyed



Questions 5-11
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 5-11 on your answer sheet write
YES             if the statement agrees with the information
NO               if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this in the passage

5           The fence serves a different purpose in each state.
6           The fence is only partially successful.
7           The dingo is indigenous to Australia.
         Dingoes have flourished as a result of the sheep industry.
9           Dingoes are known to attack humans.
10           Kangaroos have increased in number because of the fence.
11           The author does not agree with the culling of kangaroos.


Questions 12-13
Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 12-13 on your answer sheet.

12    When did the authorities first acknowledge the dingo problem?

1788

B  1830
C  1845
D  1960



13    How do the park officials feel about the fence?

philosophical

B  angry
C  pleased
D  proud




You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 , which are based on Reading Passage 2 below:

IT’S ECO-LOGICAL
Planning an eco-friendly holiday can be a minefield for the well- meaning traveller, says Steve Watkins. But help is now at hand.

If there were awards for tourism phrases that have been hijacked, diluted and misused then ‘ecotourism’ would earn top prize. The term first surfaced in the early 1980s reflecting a surge in environmental awareness and a realisation by tour operators that many travellers wanted to believe their presence abroad would not have a negative impact. It rapidly became the hottest marketing tag a holiday could carry.

These days the ecotourism label is used to cover anything from a two-week tour living with remote Indonesian tribes, to a one-hour motorboat trip through an Australian gorge. In fact, any tour that involves cultural interaction, natural beauty spots, wildlife or a dash of soft adventure is likely to be included in the overflowing ecotourism folder. There is no doubt the original motives behind the movement were honourable attempts to provide a way for those who cared to make informed choices, but the lack of regulations and a standard industry definition left many travellers lost in an ecotourism jungle.

It is easier to understand why the ecotourism market has become so overcrowded when we look at its wider role in the world economy. According to World Tourism Organisation figures, ecotourism is worth US$20 billion a year and makes up one-fifth of all international tourism. Add to this an annual growth rate of around five per cent and the pressure for many operators, both in developed and developing countries, to jump on the accelerating bandwagon is compelling. Without any widely recognised accreditation system, the consumer has been left to investigate the credentials of an operator themselves. This is a time-consuming process and many travellers usually take an operator’s claims at face value, only adding to the proliferation of fake ecotours.

However, there are several simple questions that will provide qualifying evidence of a company’s commitment to minimise its impact on the environment and maximise the benefits to the tourism area’s local community. For example, does the company use recycled or sustainable, locally harvested materials to build its tourist properties? Do they pay fair wages to all employees? Do they offer training to employees? It is common for city entrepreneurs to own tour companies in country areas, which can mean the money you pay ends up in the city rather than in the community being visited. By taking a little extra time to investigate the ecotourism options, it is not only possible to guide your custom to worthy operators but you will often find that the experience they offer is far more rewarding.

The ecotourism business is still very much in need of a shake-up and a standardised approach. There are a few organisations that have sprung up in the last ten years or so that endeavour to educate travellers and operators about the benefits of responsible ecotourism. Founded in 1990, the Ecotourism Society (TES) is a non-profit organisation of travel industry, conservation and ecological professionals, which aims to make ecotourism a genuine tool for conservation and sustainable development. Helping to create inherent economic value in wilderness environments and threatened cultures has undoubtedly been one of the ecotourism movement’s most notable achievements. TES organises an annual initiative to further aid development of the ecotourism industry. This year it is launching ‘Your Travel Choice Makes a Difference’, an educational campaign aimed at helping consumers understand the potential positive and negative impacts of their travel decisions. TES also offers guidance on the choice of ecotour and has established a register of approved ecotourism operators around the world.

A leading ecotourism operator in the United Kingdom is Tribes, which won the 1999 Tourism Concern and Independent Traveller’s World ‘Award for Most Responsible Tour Operator’. Amanda Marks, owner and director of Tribes, believes that the ecotourism industry still has some way to go to get its house in order. Until now, no ecotourism accreditation scheme has really worked, principally because there has been no systematic way of checking that accredited companies actually comply with the code of practice. Amanda believes that the most promising system is the recently re-launched Green Globe 21 scheme. The Green Globe 21 award is based on the sustainable development standards contained in Agenda 21 from the 1992 Earth Summit and was originally coordinated by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The scheme is now an independent concern, though the WTTC still supports it. Until recently, tour companies became affiliates and could use the Green Globe logo merely on payment of an annual fee, hardly a suitable qualifying standard. However, in November 1999 Green Globe 21 introduced an annual, independent check on operators wishing to use the logo.

Miriam Cain, from the Green Globe 21 marketing development, explains that current and new affiliates will now have one year to ensure that their operations comply with Agenda 21 standards. If they fail the first inspection, they can only reapply once. The inspection process is not a cheap option, especially for large companies, but the benefits of having Green Globe status and the potential operational cost savings that complying with the standards can bring should be significant. ‘We have joint ventures with organisations around the world, including Australia and the Caribbean, that will allow us to effectively check all affiliate operators,’ says Miriam. The scheme also allows destination communities to become Green Globe 21 approved.

For a relatively new industry it is not surprising that ecotourism has undergone teething pains. However, there are signs that things are changing for the better. With a committed and unified approach by the travel industry, local communities, travellers and environmental experts could make ecotourism a tag to be proud of and trusted.


Questions 14-19
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 2?
In boxes 14-19 on your answer sheet write
YES              if the statement agrees with the writer’s views
NO               if the statement contradicts the writer’s views
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

14             The term ‘ecotourism’ has become an advertising gimmick.
15             The intentions of those who coined the term ‘ecotourism’ were sincere.
16             Ecotourism is growing at a faster rate than any other type of travel.
17             It is surprising that so many tour organisations decided to become involved in ecotourism.
18             Tourists have learnt to make investigations about tour operators before using them.
19             Tourists have had bad experiences on ecotour holidays.


Questions 20-22
According to the information given in the reading passage, which THREE of the following are true of the Ecotourism Society (TES)?
Write the appropriate letters A-F in boxes 20-22 on your answer sheet.

A   It has monitored the growth in ecotourism.
B   It involves a range of specialists in the field.
C   It has received public recognition for the role it performs.
D   It sets up regular ecotour promotions.
E   It offers information on ecotours at an international level.
F   It consults with people working in tourist destinations


Questions 23-24
According to the information given in the reading passage, which TWO of the following are true of the Green Globe 21 award? Write the appropriate letters A-D in boxes 23-24 on your answer sheet.

 The scheme is self-regulating.
B   Amanda Marks was recruited to develop the award.
C   Prior to 1999 companies were not required to pay for membership.
D   Both tour operators and tour sites can apply for affiliation.
 It intends to reduce the number of ecotour operators.


Questions 25-27
Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS, answer the following questions.
Write your answers in boxes 25-27 on your answer sheet.

25       Which body provides information on global tourist numbers?
26       Who often gains financially from tourism in rural environments?
27       Which meeting provided the principles behind the Green Globe 21 regulations?


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40 , which are based on Reading Passage 3below.

Striking the right note
Is perfect pitch a rare talent possessed solely by the likes of Beethoven? Kathryn Brown discusses this much sought-after musical ability.

The uncanny, if sometimes distracting, ability to name a solitary note out of the blue, without any other notes for reference, is a prized musical talent – and a scientific mystery. Musicians with perfect pitch – or, as many researchers prefer to call it, absolute pitch – can often play pieces by ear, and many can transcribe music brilliantly. That’s because they perceive the position of a note in the musical stave – its pitch – as clearly as the fact that they heard it. Hearing and naming the pitch go hand in hand.

By contrast, most musicians follow not the notes, but the relationship between them. They may easily recognise two notes as being a certain number of tones apart, but could name the higher note as an E only if they are told the lower one is a C, for example. This is relative pitch. Useful, but much less mysterious.

For centuries, absolute pitch has been thought of as the preserve of the musical elite. Some estimates suggest that maybe fewer than 1 in 2,000 people possess it. But a growing number of studies, from speech experiments to brain scans, are now suggesting that a knack for absolute pitch may be far more common, and more varied, than previously thought. ‘Absolute pitch is not an all or nothing feature,’ says Marvin, a music theorist at the University of Rochester in New York State. Some researchers even claim that we could all develop the skill, regardless of our musical talent. And their work may finally settle a decades-old debate about whether absolute pitch depends on melodious genes – or early music lessons.

Music psychologist Diana Deutsch at the University of California in San Diego is the leading voice. Last month at the Acoustical Society of America meeting in Columbus, Ohio, Deutsch reported a study that suggests we all have the potential to acquire absolute pitch – and that speakers of tone languages use it every day. A third of the world’s population – chiefly people in Asia and Africa – speak tone languages, in which a word’s meaning can vary depending on the pitch a speaker uses.

Deutsch and her colleagues asked seven native Vietnamese speakers and 15 native Mandarin speakers to read out lists of words on different days. The chosen words spanned a range of pitches, to force the speakers to raise and lower their voices considerably. By recording these recited lists and taking the average pitch for each whole word, the researchers compared the pitches used by each person to say each word on different days.

Both groups showed strikingly consistent pitch for any given word – often less than a quarter-tone difference between days. ‘The similarity,’ Deutsch says, ‘is mind-boggling.’ It’s also, she says, a real example of absolute pitch. As babies, the speakers learnt to associate certain pitches with meaningful words – just as a musician labels one tone A and another B – and they demonstrate this precise use of pitch regardless of whether or not they have had any musical training, she adds.

Deutsch isn’t the only researcher turning up everyday evidence of absolute pitch. At least three other experiments have found that people can launch into familiar songs at or very near the correct pitches. Some researchers have nicknamed this ability ‘absolute memory’, and they say it pops up on other senses, too. Given studies like these, the real mystery is why we don’t all have absolute pitch, says cognitive psychologist Daniel Levitin of McGill University in Montreal.

Over the past decade, researchers have confirmed that absolute pitch often runs in families. Nelson Freimer of the University of California in San Francisco, for example, is just  completing a study that he says strongly suggests the right genes help create this brand of musical genius. Freimer gave tone tests to people with absolute pitch and to their relatives. He also tested several hundred other people who had taken early music lessons. He found that relatives of people with absolute pitch were far more likely to develop the skill than people who simply had the music lessons. There is clearly a familial aggregation of absolute pitch,’ Freimer says.

Freimer says some children are probably genetically predisposed toward absolute pitch – and this innate inclination blossoms during childhood music lessons. Indeed, many researchers now point to this harmony of nature and nurture to explain why musicians with absolute pitch show different levels of the talent.

Indeed, researchers are finding more and more evidence suggesting music lessons are critical to the development of absolute pitch. In a survey of 2,700 students in American music conservatories and college programmes, New York University geneticist Peter Gregersen and his colleagues found that a whopping 32 per cent of the Asian students reported having absolute pitch, compared with just 7 per cent of non-Asian students. While  that might suggest a genetic tendency towards absolute pitch in the Asian population, Gregersen says that the type and timing of music lessons probably explains much of the difference.

For one thing, those with absolute pitch started lessons, on average, when they were five years old, while those without absolute pitch started around the age of eight. Moreover, adds Gregersen, the type of music lessons favoured in Asia, and by many of the Asian families in his study, such as the Suzuki method, often focus on playing by ear and learning the names of musical notes, while those more commonly used in the US tend to emphasise learning scales in a relative pitch way. In Japanese pre-school music programmes, he says, children often have to listen to notes played on a piano and hold up a coloured flag to signal the pitch. ‘There’s a distinct cultural difference,’ he says.

Deutsch predicts that further studies will reveal absolute pitch – in its imperfect, latent form – inside all of us. The Western emphasis on relative pitch simply obscures it, she contends. ‘It’s very likely that scientists will end up concluding that we’re all born with the potential to acquire very fine-grained absolute pitch. It’s really just a matter of life getting in the way.’


Questions 28-35
Complete the notes below using words from the box.
Write your answers in boxes 28-35 on your answer sheet.

NOTES
Research is being conducted into the mysterious musical 28_________ some people possess known as perfect pitch. Musicians with this talent are able to name and sing a 29_________without reference to another and it is this that separates them from the majority who have only 30_________pitch. The research aims to find out whether this skill is the product of genetic inheritance or early exposure to 31_________or, as some researchers believe, a combination of both. One research team sought a link between perfect pitch and 32_________languages in order to explain the high number of Asian speakers with perfect pitch. Speakers of Vietnamese and Mandarin were asked to recite 33_________on different occasions and the results were then compared in terms of 34_________. A separate study found that the approach to teaching music in many Asian 35_________emphasised playing by ear whereas the US method was based on the relative pitch approach.


Questions 36-40
Reading Passage 3 contains a number of opinions provided by five different scientists. Match each opinion (Questions 36-40) with one of the scientists (A-E).
Write your answers in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.
You may use any of the people A-E more than once.

36         Absolute pitch is not a clear-cut issue.
37         Anyone can learn how to acquire perfect pitch.
38         It’s actually surprising that not everyone has absolute pitch.
39         The perfect pitch ability is genetic.
40         The important thing is the age at which music lessons are started.

A Levitin
B Deutsch
C Gregersen
D Marvin
E Freimer

Answers
1. D:      
2. B:      
3. C:
4. A:      
5. NO:  
6. YES:  
7. NO:   8. YES:   :
9. NOT GIVEN: :
10. YES:
11. NOT GIVEN:                :
12. B:    
13. A:    
14. YES:
15. YES:                
16. NOT GIVEN:               
17. NO:                
18. NO:                
19. NOT GIVEN:               
20. B OR D OR E IN EITHER ORDER:           
21. B OR D OR E IN EITHER ORDER:
22. B OR D OR E IN EITHER ORDER:
23. A OR D IN EITHER ORDER:
24. A OR D IN EITHER ORDER:
25. World Tourism Organisation:
26. city entrepreneurs:
27. 1992 Earth Summit:
28. ability
29. note
30. relative:
31. music lessons
32. tone:
33. words:
34. pitch:
35. cultures:
36. D:
37. B:
38. A:
39. E:
40. C:

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IELTS ACADEMIC READING – 3

IELTS ACADEMIC READING

IELTS ACADEMIC READING


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

Indoor Pollution

Since the early eighties we have been only too aware of the devastating effects of large-scale environmental pollution. Such pollution is generally the result of poor government planning in many developing nations or the short-sighted, selfish policies of the already industrialised countries which encourage a minority of the world’s population to squander the majority of its natural resources.

While events such as the deforestation of the Amazon jungle or the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl continue to receive high media exposure, as do acts of environmental sabotage, it must be remembered that not all pollution is on this grand scale. A large proportion of the world’s pollution has its source much closer to home. The recent spillage of crude oil from an oil tanker accidentally discharging its cargo straight into Sydney Harbour not only caused serious damage to the harbour foreshores but also created severely toxic fumes which hung over the suburbs for days and left the angry residents wondering how such a disaster could have been allowed to happen.

Avoiding pollution can be a full­time job. Try not to inhale traffic fumes; keep away from chemical plants and building-sites; wear a mask when cycling. It is enough to make you want to stay at home. But that, according to a growing body of scientific evidence, would also be a bad idea. Research shows that levels of pollutants such as hazardous gases, particulate matter and other chemical ‘nasties’ are usually higher indoors than out, even in the most polluted cities. Since the average American spends 18 hours indoors for every hour outside, it looks as though many environmentalists may be attacking the wrong target.

The latest study, conducted by two environmental engineers, Richard Corsi and Cynthia Howard-Reed, of the University of Texas in Austin, and published in Environmental Science and Technology, suggests that it is the process of keeping clean that may be making indoor pollution worse. The researchers found that baths, showers, dishwashers and washing machines can all be significant sources of indoor pollution, because they extract trace amounts of chemicals from the water that they use and transfer them to the air.

Nearly all public water supplies contain very low concentrations of toxic chemicals, most of them left over from the otherwise beneficial process of chlorination. Dr. Corsi wondered whether they stay there when water is used, or whether they end up in the air that people breathe. The team conducted a series of experiments in which known quantities of five such chemicals were mixed with water and passed through a dishwasher, a washing machine, a shower head inside a shower stall or a tap in a bath, all inside a specially designed chamber. The levels of chemicals in the effluent water and in the air extracted from the chamber were then measured to see how much of each chemical had been transferred from the water into the air.

The degree to which the most volatile elements could be removed from the water, a process known as chemical stripping, depended on a wide range of factors, including the volatility of the chemical, the temperature of the water and the surface area available for transfer. Dishwashers were found to be particularly effective: the high-temperature spray, splashing against the crockery and cutlery, results in a nasty plume of toxic chemicals that escapes when the door is opened at the end of the cycle.

In fact, in many cases, the degree of exposure to toxic chemicals in tap water by inhalation is comparable to the exposure that would result from drinking the stuff. This is significant because many people are so concerned about water-borne pollutants that they drink only bottled water, worldwide sales of which are forecast to reach $72 billion by next year. D. Corsi’s results suggest that they are being exposed to such pollutants anyway simply by breathing at home.

The aim of such research is not, however, to encourage the use of gas masks when unloading the washing. Instead, it is to bring a sense of perspective to the debate about pollution. According to Dr Corsi, disproportionate effort is wasted campaigning against certain forms of outdoor pollution, when there is as much or more cause for concern indoors, right under people’s noses.

Using gas cookers or burning candles, for example, both result in indoor levels of carbon monoxide and particulate matter that are just as high as those to be found outside, amid heavy traffic. Overcrowded classrooms whose ventilation systems were designed for smaller numbers of children frequently contain levels of carbon dioxide that would be regarded as unacceptable on board a submarine. ‘New car smell’ is the result of high levels of toxic chemicals, not cleanliness. Laser printers, computers, carpets and paints all contribute to the noxious indoor mix.

The implications of indoor pollution for health are unclear. But before worrying about the problems caused by large-scale industry, it makes sense to consider the small-scale pollution at home and welcome international debate about this. Scientists investigating indoor pollution will gather next month in Edinburgh at the Indoor Air conference to discuss the problem. Perhaps unwisely, the meeting is being held indoors.

Questions 1-6
Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet.

1. In the first paragraph, the writer argues that pollution
A   has increased since the eighties.
B   is at its worst in industrialised countries.
C   results from poor relations between nations.
D   is caused by human self-interest.

2. The Sydney Harbour oil spill was the result of a
A   ship refuelling in the harbour.
B   tanker pumping oil into the sea.
C   collision between two oil tankers.
 deliberate act of sabotage.

3. In the 3rd paragraph the writer suggests that
A   people should avoid working in cities.
B   Americans spend too little time outdoors.
C   hazardous gases are concentrated in industrial suburbs.
D   there are several ways to avoid city pollution.

4. The Corsi research team hypothesised that
A   toxic chemicals can pass from air to water.
B   pollution is caused by dishwashers and baths.
C   city water contains insufficient chlorine.
D   household appliances are poorly designed.

5. Asa result of their experiments, Dr Corsi’s team found that
A   dishwashers are very efficient machines.
 tap water is as polluted as bottled water.
C   indoor pollution rivals outdoor pollution.
D   gas masks are a useful protective device.

6. Regarding the dangers of pollution, the writer believes that
A   there is a need for rational discussion.
B   indoor pollution is a recent phenomenon.
C   people should worry most about their work environment.
D   industrial pollution causes specific diseases. 


Questions 7-13
Reading Passage 1 describes a number of cause and effect relationships.
Match each Cause (Questions 7-13) in List A with its Effect (A-J) in List B.
Write the appropriate letters (A-J) in boxes 7-13 on your answer sheet.

List A: CAUSES
        Industrialised nations use a lot of energy.
        Oil spills into the sea.
9          The researchers publish their findings.
10        Water is brought to a high temperature.
11        People fear pollutants in tap water.
12        Air conditioning systems are inadequate.
13        Toxic chemicals are abundant in new cars. 

List B: EFFECTS
 The focus of pollution moves to the home.
B   The levels of carbon monoxide rise.
C   The world’s natural resources are unequally shared.
 People demand an explanation.
 Environmentalists look elsewhere for an explanation.
F   Chemicals are effectively stripped from the water.
G   A clean odour is produced.
 Sales of bottled water increase.
I   The levels of carbon dioxide rise.
 The chlorine content of drinking water increased.



You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 , which are based on Reading Passage 2 below:

ROBOTS
Since the dawn of human ingenuity, people have devised ever more cunning tools to cope with work that is dangerous, boring, onerous, or just plain nasty. That compulsion has culminated in robotics – the science of conferring various human capabilities on machines.

A The modern world is increasingly populated  by quasi-intelligent gizmos whose presence we barely notice but whose creeping ubiquity has removed much human drudgery. Our factories hum to the rhythm of robot assembly arms. Our banking is done at automated teller terminals that thank us with rote politeness for the transaction. Our subway trains are controlled by tireless robo- drivers. Our mine shafts are dug by automated moles, and our nuclear accidents – such as those at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl – are cleaned up by robotic muckers fit to withstand radiation.

Such is the scope of uses envisioned by Karel Capek, the Czech playwright who coined the term ‘robot’ in 1920 (the word ‘robota’ means ‘forced labor’ in Czech). As progress accelerates, the experimental becomes the exploitable at record pace.

B Other innovations promise to extend the abilities of human operators. Thanks to the incessant miniaturisation of electronics and micro­mechanics, there are already robot systems that can perform some kinds of brain and bone surgery with submillimeter accuracy – far greater precision than highly skilled physicians can achieve with their hands alone. At the same time, techniques of long-distance control will keep people even farther from hazard. In 1994 a ten- foot-tall NASA robotic explorer called Dante, with video-camera eyes and with spiderlike legs, scrambled over the menacing rim of an Alaskan volcano while technicians 2,000 miles away in California watched the scene by satellite and controlled Dante’s descent.

C But if robots are to reach the next stage of labour-saving utility, they will have to operate with less human supervision and be able to make at least a few decisions for themselves – goals that pose a formidable challenge. ‘While we know how to tell a robot to handle a specific error,’ says one expert, ‘we can’t yet give a robot enough common sense to reliably interact with a dynamic world.’ Indeed the quest for true artificial intelligence (Al) has produced very mixed results. Despite a spasm of initial optimism in the 1960s and 1970s, when it appeared that transistor circuits and microprocessors might be able to perform in the same way as the human brain by the 21st century, researchers lately have extended their forecasts by decades if not centuries.

D What they found, in attempting to model thought, is that the human brain’s roughly one hundred billion neurons are much more talented – and human perception far more complicated – than previously imagined. They have built robots that can recognise the misalignment of a machine panel by a fraction of a millimeter in a controlled factory environment. But the human mind can glimpse a rapidly changing scene and immediately disregard the 98 per cent that is irrelevant, instantaneously focusing on the woodchuck at the side of a winding forest road or the single suspicious face in a tumultuous crowd. The most advanced computer systems on Earth can’t approach that kind of ability, and neuroscientists still don’t know quite how we do it.

E Nonetheless, as information theorists, neuroscientists, and computer experts pool their talents, they are finding ways to get some lifelike intelligence from robots. One method renounces the linear, logical structure of conventional electronic circuits in favour of the messy, ad hoc arrangement of a real brain’s neurons. These ‘neural networks’ do not have to be programmed. They can ‘teach’ themselves by a system of feedback signals that reinforce electrical pathways that produced correct responses and, conversely, wipe out connections that produced errors. Eventually the net wires itself into a system that can pronounce certain words or distinguish certain shapes.

F In other areas researchers are struggling to fashion a more natural relationship between people and robots in the expectation that someday machines will take on some tasks now done by humans in, say, nursing homes. This is particularly important in Japan, where the percentage of elderly citizens is rapidly increasing. So experiments at the Science University of Tokyo have created a ‘face robot’ – a life-size, soft plastic model of a female head with a video camera imbedded in the left eye – as a prototype. The researchers’ goal is to create robots that people feel comfortable around. They are concentrating on the face because they believe facial expressions are the most important way to transfer emotional messages. We read those messages by interpreting expressions to decide whether a person is happy, frightened, angry, or nervous. Thus the Japanese robot is designed to detect emotions in the person it is ‘looking at’ by sensing changes in the spatial arrangement of the person’s eyes, nose, eyebrows, and mouth. It compares those configurations with a database of standard facial expressions and guesses the emotion. The robot then uses an ensemble of tiny pressure pads to adjust its plastic face into an appropriate emotional response.

G Other labs are taking a different approach, one that doesn’t try to mimic human intelligence or emotions. Just as computer design has moved away from one central mainframe in favour of myriad individual workstations – and single processors have been replaced by arrays of smaller units that break a big problem into parts that are solved simultaneously – many experts are now investigating whether swarms of semi-smart robots can generate a collective intelligence that is greater than the sum of its parts. That’s what beehives and ant colonies do, and several teams are betting that legions of mini-critters working together like an ant colony could be sent to explore the climate of planets or to inspect pipes in dangerous industrial situations.


Questions 14-19
Reading Passage 2 has seven paragraphs A-G.
From the list of headings below choose the most suitable heading for each paragraph.
Write the appropriate numbers (i-x) in boxes 14-19 on your answer sheet.
List of headings
i             Some success has resulted from observing how the brain functions.
ii            Are we expecting too much from one robot?
iii           Scientists are examining the humanistic possibilities.
iv           There are judgements that robots cannot make.
           Has the power of robots become too great?
vi           Human skills have been heightened with the help of robotics.
vii          There are some things we prefer the brain to control.
viii         Robots have quietly infiltrated our lives.
ix          Original predictions have been revised.
x           Another approach meets the same result.

14   Paragraph A
15   Paragraph B
16   Paragraph C
17   Paragraph D
18   Paragraph E
19   Paragraph F

Example                  Answer
Paragraph G                ii


Questions 20-24
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2?
In boxes 20-24 on your answer sheet write
YES              if the statement agrees with the information
NO               if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this in the passage

20 Karel Capek successfully predicted our current uses for robots.
21 Lives were saved by the NASA robot, Dante.
22 Robots are able to make fine visual judgements.
23 The internal workings of the brain can be replicated by robots.
24 The Japanese have the most advanced robot systems.


Questions 25-27
Complete the summary below with words taken from paragraph F.
Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.Write your answers in boxes 25-27 on your answer sheet.

The prototype of the Japanese ‘face robot’ observes humans through a 25________ which is planted in its head. It then refers to a 26________  of typical ‘looks’ that the human face can have, to decide what emotion the person is feeling. To respond to this expression, the robot alters it’s own expression using a number of 27________ .



You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40 , which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

SAVING LANGUAGE

For the first time, linguists have put a price on language. To save a language from extinction isn’t cheap – but more and more people are arguing that the alternative is the death of communities

There is nothing unusual about a single language dying. Communities have come and gone throughout history and with them their language. But what is happening today is extraordinary, judged by the standards of the past. It is language extinction on a massive scale. According to the best estimates, there are some 6,000 languages in the world. Of these, about half are going to die out in the course of the next century: that’s 3,000 languages in 1,200 months. On average, there is a language dying out somewhere in the world every two weeks or so.

How do we know? In the course of the past two or three decades, linguists all over the world have been gathering comparative data. If they find a language with just a few speakers left, and nobody is bothering to pass the language on to the children, they conclude that language is bound to die out soon. And we have to draw the same conclusion if a language has less than 100 speakers. It is not likely to last very long. A 1999 survey shows that 97 per cent of the world’s languages are spoken by just four per cent of the people.

It is too late to do anything to help many languages, where the speakers are too few or too old, and where the community is too busy just trying to survive to care about their language. But many languages are not in such a serious position. Often, where languages are seriously endangered, there are things that can be done to give new life to them. It is called revitalisation.

Once a community realises that its language is in danger, it can start to introduce measures which can genuinely revitalise. The community itself must want to save its language. The culture of which it is a part must need to have a respect for minority languages. There needs to be funding, to support courses, materials, and teachers. And there need to be linguists, to get on with the basic task of putting the language down on paper. That’s the bottom line: getting the language documented – recorded, analysed, written down. People must be able to read and write if they and their language are to have a future in an increasingly computer- literate civilisation.

But can we save a few thousand languages, just like that? Yes, if the will and funding were available. It is not cheap, getting linguists into the field, training local analysts, supporting the community with language resources and teachers, compiling grammars and dictionaries, writing materials for use in schools. It takes time, lots of it, to revitalise an endangered language. Conditions vary so much that it is difficult to generalise, but a figure of $ 100,000 a year per language cannot be far from the truth. If we devoted that amount of effort over three years for each of 3,000 languages, we would be talking about some $900 million.

There are some famous cases which illustrate what can be done. Welsh, alone among the Celtic languages, is not only stopping its steady decline towards extinction but showing signs of real growth. Two Language Acts protect the status of Welsh now, and its presence is increasingly in evidence wherever you travel in Wales.

On the other side of the world, Maori in New Zealand has been maintained by a system of so- called ‘language nests’, first introduced in 1982. These are organisations which provide children under five with a domestic setting in which they are intensively exposed to the language. The staff are all Maori speakers from the local community. The hope is that the children will keep their Maori skills alive after leaving the nests, and that as they grow older they will in turn become role models to a new generation of young children. There are cases like this all over the world. And when the reviving language is associated with a degree of political autonomy, the growth can be especially striking, as shown by Faroese, spoken in the Faroe Islands, after the islanders received a measure of autonomy from Denmark.

In Switzerland, Romansch was facing a difficult situation, spoken in five very different dialects, with small and diminishing numbers, as young people left their community for work in the German-speaking cities. The solution here was the creation in the 1980s of a unified written language for all these dialects. Romansch Grischun, as it is now called, has official status in parts of Switzerland, and is being increasingly used in spoken form on radio and television.

A language can be brought back from the very brink of extinction. The Ainu language of Japan, after many years of neglect and repression, had reached a stage where there were only eight fluent speakers left, all elderly. However, new government policies brought fresh attitudes and a positive interest in survival. Several ‘semi­speakers’ – people who had become unwilling to speak Ainu because of the negative attitudes by Japanese speakers – were prompted to become active speakers again. There is fresh interest now and the language is more publicly available than it has been for years.

If good descriptions and materials are available, even extinct languages can be resurrected. Kaurna, from South Australia, is an example. This language had been extinct for about a century, but had been quite well documented. So, when a strong movement grew for its revival, it was possible to reconstruct it. The revised language is not the same as the original, of course. It lacks the range that the original had, and much of the old vocabulary. But it can nonetheless act as a badge of present-day identity for its people. And as long as people continue to value it as a true marker of their identity, and are prepared to keep using it, it will develop new functions and new vocabulary, as any other living language would do.

It is too soon to predict the future of these revived languages, but in some parts of the world they are attracting precisely the range of positive attitudes and grass roots support which are the preconditions for language survival. In such unexpected but heart-warming ways might we see the grand total of languages in the world minimally increased.


Questions 28-32
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 3?
In boxes 28-32 on your answer sheet write
YES               if the statement agrees with the writer s views
NO                if the statement contradicts the writer s views
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

28          The rate at which languages are becoming extinct has increased.
29          Research on the subject of language extinction began in the 1990s.
30          In order to survive, a language needs to be spoken by more than 100 people.
31          Certain parts of the world are more vulnerable than others to language extinction.
32          Saving language should be the major concern of any small community whose language is under threat.


Questions 33-35
The list below gives some of the factors that are necessary to assist the revitalisation of a language within a community.
Which THREE of the factors are mentioned by the writer of the text?
Write the appropriate letters A-G in boxes 33-35 on your answer sheet.

 the existence of related languages
 support from the indigenous population
C   books tracing the historical development of the language
 on-the-spot help from language experts
 a range of speakers of different ages
 formal education procedures
G   a common purpose for which the language is required 


Questions 36-40
Match the languages A-F with the statements below (Questions 36-40) which describe how a language was saved.
Write your answers in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.
Languages
A Welsh
B Maori
C Faroese
D Romansch
E Ainu
F Kauma

36           The region in which the language was spoken gained increased independence.
37           People were encouraged to view the language with less prejudice.
38           Language immersion programmes were set up for sectors of the population.
39           A merger of different varieties of the language took place.
40           Written samples of the language permitted its revitalisation.

Answers

1. D:
2. B:     
3. D:     
4. B:     
5. C:     
6. A:     
7. C:     
8. D:     
9. A:     
10. F:   
11. H:   
12. I:    
13. G:    :
14. viii: :
15. vi:    :
16. ix:  
17. iv:  
18. i:     
19. iii:     20. YES:               
21. NOT GIVEN:
22. YES
23. NO:
24. NOT GIVEN:
25. video camera:
26. database:
27. (tiny/small) pressure pads:
28. YES:
29. NO:
30. YES:
31. NOT GIVEN:
32. NO:
33. B OR D OR F IN EITHER ORDER
34. B OR D OR F IN EITHER ORDER
35. B OR D OR F IN EITHER ORDER
36. C:
37. E:
38. B:
39. D:
40. F:

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IELTS ACADEMIC READING – 2

IELTS ACADEMIC READING

IELTS ACADEMIC READING

(Download PDF)

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

Tackling Obesity in the Western World

A Obesity is a huge problem in many Western countries and one which now attracts considerable medical interest as researchers take up the challenge to find a ‘cure’ for the common condition of being seriously overweight. However, rather than take responsibility for their weight, obese people have often sought solace in the excuse that they have a slow metabolism, a genetic hiccup which sentences more than half the Australian population (63% of men and 47% of women) to a life of battling with their weight. The argument goes like this: it doesn’t matter how little they eat, they gain weight because their bodies break down food and turn it into energy more slowly than those with a so-called normal metabolic rate.

B ‘This is nonsense,’ says Dr Susan Jebb from the Dunn Nutrition Unit at Cambridge in England. Despite the persistence of this metabolism myth, science has known for several years that the exact opposite is in fact true. Fat people have faster metabolisms than thin people. ‘What is very clear,’ says Dr Jebb, ‘is that overweight people actually burn off more energy. They have more cells, bigger hearts, bigger lungs and they all need more energy just to keep going.’

C It took only one night, spent in a sealed room at the Dunn Unit to disabuse one of their patients of the beliefs of a lifetime: her metabolism was fast, not slow. By sealing the room and measuring the exact amount of oxygen she used, researchers were able to show her that her metabolism was not the culprit. It wasn’t the answer she expected and probably not the one she wanted but she took the news philosophically.

D Although the metabolism myth has been completely disproved, science has far from discounted our genes as responsible for making us whatever weight we are, fat or thin. One of the world’s leading obesity researchers, geneticist Professor Stephen O’Rahilly, goes so far as to say we are on the threshold of a complete change in the way we view not only morbid obesity, but also everyday overweight. Prof. O’Rahilly’s groundbreaking work in Cambridge has proven that obesity can be caused by our genes. ‘These people are not weak- willed, slothful or lazy,’ says Prof. O’Rahilly, ‘They have a medical condition due to a genetic defect and that causes them to be obese.’

E In Australia, the University of Sydney’s Professor Ian Caterson says while major genetic defects may be rare, many people probably have minor genetic variations that combine to dictate weight and are responsible for things such as how much we eat, the amount of exercise we do and the amount of energy we need. When you add up all these little variations, the result is that some people are genetically predisposed to putting on weight. He says while the fast/slow metabolism debate may have been settled, that doesn’t mean some other subtle change in the metabolism gene won’t be found in overweight people. He is confident that science will, eventually, be able to ‘cure’ some forms of obesity but the only effective way for the vast majority of overweight and obese people to lose weight is a change of diet and an increase in exercise.

F Despite the $500 million a year Australians spend trying to lose weight and the $830 million it costs the community in health care, obesity is at epidemic proportions here, as it is in all Western nations. Until recently, research and treatment for obesity had concentrated on behaviour modification, drugs to decrease appetite and surgery. How the drugs worked was often not understood and many caused severe side effects and even death in some patients. Surgery for obesity has also claimed many lives.

G It has long been known that a part of the brain called the  hypothalamus is responsible for regulating hunger, among other things. But it wasn’t until 1994 that Professor Jeffery Friedman from Rockerfeller University in the US sent science in a new direction by studying an obese mouse. Prof. Friedman found that unlike its thin brothers, the fat mouse did not produce a hitherto unknown hormone called leptin. Manufactured by the fat cells, leptin acts as a messenger, sending signals to the hypothalamus to turn off the appetite. Previously, the fat cells were thought to be responsible simply for storing fat. Prof. Friedman gave the fat mouse leptin and it lost 30% of its body weight in two weeks.

H On the other side of the Atlantic, Prof. O’Rahilly read about this research with great excitement. For many months two blood samples had lain in the bottom of his freezer, taken from two extremely obese young cousins. He hired a doctor to develop a test for leptin in human blood, which eventually resulted in the discovery that neither of the children’s blood contained the hormone. When one cousin was given leptin, she lost a stone in weight and Prof. O’Rahilly made medical history. Here was the first proof that a genetic defect could cause obesity in humans. But leptin deficiency turned out to be an extremely rare condition and there is a lot more research to be done before the ‘magic’ cure for obesity is ever found.

Questions 1-8
Reading Passage 1 has seven paragraphs A-H.
From the list of headings below choose the most suitable heading for each paragraph.
Write the appropriate numbers (i-xi) in boxes 1-8 on your answer sheet.

List of headings
i             Obesity in animals
ii            Hidden dangers
iii           Proof of the truth
iv           New perspective on the horizon
v            No known treatment
vi           Rodent research leads the way
vii          Expert explains energy requirements of obese people
viii         A very uncommon complaint
ix           Nature or nurture
x            Shifting the blame                    
xi           Lifestyle change required despite new findings

           Paragraph A
2             Paragraph B
           Paragraph C
4             Paragraph D
           Paragraph E
6             Paragraph F
7             Paragraph G
8             Paragraph H

Questions 9-13
Complete the summary of Reading Passage 1 (Questions 9-13) using words from the box.
Choose your answers in boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet.


Weight                  Exercise                    Sleep                   Mind                   Body       
Metabolism                     Less                    Behaviour                     More      
Physical                  Use                 Metal                    Consume                    Genetic



OBESITY
Example       
People with a weight problem often try to deny responsibility.

They do this by seeking to blame their 9________ for the fact that they are overweight and erroneously believe that they use 10_______ energy than thin people to stay alive. However, recent research has shown that a 11________ problem can be responsible for obesity as some people seem programmed to 12________ more than others. The new research points to a shift from trying to change people’s 13_________ to seeking an answer to the problem in the laboratory.




You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 , which are based on Reading Passage 2 below:

Wheel of Fortune
Emma Duncan discusses the potential effects on the entertainment industry of the digital revolution

A Since moving pictures were invented a century ago, a new way of distributing entertainment to consumers has emerged about once every generation. Each such innovation has changed the industry irreversibly; each has been accompanied by a period of fear mixed with exhilaration. The arrival of digital technology, which translates music, pictures and text into the zeros and ones of computer language, marks one of those periods.

B This may sound familiar, because the digital revolution, and the explosion of choice that would go with it, has been heralded for some time. In 1992, John Malone, chief executive of TCI, an American cable giant, welcomed the ‘500-channel universe’. Digital television was about to deliver everything except pizzas to people’s living rooms. When the entertainment companies tried out the technology, it worked fine – but not at a price that people were prepared to pay.

C Those 500 channels eventually arrived but via the Internet and the PC rather than through television. The digital revolution was starting to affect the entertainment business in unexpected ways. Eventually it will change every aspect of it, from the way cartoons are made to the way films are screened to the way people buy music. That much is clear. What nobody is sure of is how it will affect the economics of the business.

D New technologies always contain within them both threats and opportunities. They have the potential both to make the companies in the business a great deal richer, and to sweep them away. Old companies always fear new technology. Hollywood was hostile to television, television terrified by the VCR. Go back far enough, points out Hal Varian, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, and you find publishers complaining that ‘circulating libraries’ would cannibalise their sales. Yet whenever a new technology has come in, it has made more money for existing entertainment companies. The proliferation of the means of distribution results, gratifyingly, in the proliferation of dollars, pounds, pesetas and the rest to pay for it.

E All the same, there is something in the old companies’ fears. New technologies may not threaten their lives, but they usually change their role. Once television became widespread, film and radio stopped being the staple form of entertainment. Cable television has undermined the power of the broadcasters. And as power has shifted the movie studios, the radio companies and the television broadcasters have been swallowed up. These days, the grand old names of entertainment have more resonance than power. Paramount is part of Viacom, a cable company; Universal, part of Seagram, a drinks-and-entertainment company; MGM, once the roaring lion of Hollywood, has been reduced to a whisper because it is not part of one of the giants. And RCA, once the most important broadcasting company in the world, is now a recording label belonging to Bertelsmann, a large German entertainment company.

F Part of the reason why incumbents got pushed aside was that they did not see what was coming. But they also faced a tighter regulatory environment than the present one. In America, laws preventing television broadcasters from owning programme companies were repealed earlier this decade, allowing the creation of vertically integrated businesses. Greater freedom, combined with a sense of history, prompted the smarter companies in the entertainment business to re-invent themselves. They saw what happened to those of their predecessors who were stuck with one form of distribution.

So, these days, the powers in the entertainment business are no longer movie studios, or television broadcasters, or publishers; all those businesses have become part of bigger businesses still, companies that can both create content and distribute it in a range of different ways.

G Out of all this, seven huge entertainment companies have emerged – Time Warner, Walt Disney, Bertelsmann, Viacom, News Corp, Seagram and Sony. They cover pretty well every bit of the entertainment business except pornography. Three are American, one is Australian, one Canadian, one German and one Japanese. ‘What you are seeing’, says Christopher Dixon, managing director of media research at PaineWebber, a stockbroker, ‘is the creation of a global oligopoly.

It happened to the oil and automotive businesses earlier this century; now it is happening to the entertainment business.’ It remains to be seen whether the latest technology will weaken those great companies, or make them stronger than ever.

Questions 14-21
Reading Passage 2 has seven paragraphs A-G.
Which paragraph mentions the following (Questions 14-21)?
Write the appropriate letters (A-G) in boxes 14-21 on your answer sheet.
NB Some of the paragraphs will be used more than once.

14        the contrasting effects that new technology can have on existing business
15        the fact that a total transformation is going to take place in the future in the delivery of all forms of entertainment
16        the confused feelings that people are known to have experienced in response to technological innovation
17        the fact that some companies have learnt from the mistakes of others
18        the high cost to the consumer of new ways of distributing entertainment
19        uncertainty regarding the financial impact of wider media access
20        the fact that some companies were the victims of strict government policy
21        the fact that the digital revolution could undermine the giant entertainment companies
 

Questions 22-25
The writer refers to various individuals and companies in the reading passage.
Match the people or companies (A-E) with the points made in Questions 22-25 about the introduction of new technology.
Write the appropriate letter (A-E) in boxes 22-25 on your answer sheet.

22       Historically, new forms of distributing entertainment have alarmed those well-established in the business.
23       The merger of entertainment companies follows a pattern evident in other industries. 
24       Major entertainment bodies that have remained independent have lost their influence. 
25       News of the most recent technological development was published some years ago. 

A John Malone
B Hal Valarian
C MGM
D Walt Disney
E Christopher Dixon 


Questions 26-27
Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 26-27 on your answer sheet.

26.   How does the writer put across his views on the digital revolution?
A   by examining the forms of media that will be affected by it
B   by analysing the way entertainment companies have reacted to it
C   by giving a personal definition of technological innovation
D   by drawing comparisons with other periods of technological innovation

27.   Which of the following best summarises the writer’s views in Reading Passage 2?
A   The public should cease resisting the introduction of new technology.
B   Digital technology will increase profits in the entertainment business.
C   Entertainment companies should adapt to technological innovation.
D   Technological change only benefits big entertainment companies.



You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40 , which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

What do we mean by being ‘talented’ or ‘gifted’? The most obvious way is to look at the work someone does and if they are capable of significant success, label them as talented. The purely quantitative route – ‘percentage definition’ – looks not at individuals, but at simple percentages, such as the top five per cent of the population, and labels them – by definition – as gifted. This definition has fallen from favour, eclipsed by the advent of IQ tests, favoured by luminaries such as Professor Hans Eysenck, where a series of written or verbal tests of general intelligence leads to a score of intelligence.

The IQ test has been eclipsed in turn. Most people studying intelligence and creativity in the new millennium now prefer a broader definition, using a multifaceted approach where talents in many areas are recognised rather than purely concentrating on academic achievement. If we are therefore assuming that talented, creative or gifted individuals may need to be assessed across a range of abilities, does this mean intelligence can run in families as a genetic or inherited tendency? Mental dysfunction – such as schizophrenia – can, so is an efficient mental capacity passed on from parent to child?

Animal experiments throw some light on this question, and on the whole area of whether it is genetics, the environment or a combination of the two that allows for intelligence and creative ability. Different strains of rats show great differences in intelligence or ‘rat reasoning’. If these are brought up in normal conditions and then mn through a maze to reach a food goal, the ‘bright’ strain make far fewer wrong turns that the ‘dull’ ones. But if the environment is made dull and boring the number of errors becomes equal. Return the rats to an exciting maze and the discrepancy returns as before – but is much smaller. In other words, a dull rat in a stimulating environment will almost do as well as a bright rat who is bored in a normal one. This principle applies to humans too – someone may be born with innate intelligence, but their environment probably has the final say over whether they become creative or even a genius.

Evidence now exists that most young children, if given enough opportunities and encouragement, are able to achieve significant and sustainable levels of academic or sporting prowess. Bright or creative children are often physically very active  at the same time, and so may receive more parental attention as a result – almost by default – in order to ensure their safety. They may also talk earlier, and this, in turn, breeds parental interest. This can sometimes cause problems with other siblings who may feel jealous even though they themselves may be bright. Their creative talents may be undervalued and so never come to fruition. Two themes seem to run through famously creative families as a result. The first is that the parents were able to identify the talents of each child, and nurture and encourage these accordingly but in an even-handed manner. Individual differences were encouraged, and friendly sibling rivalry was not seen as a particular problem. If the father is, say, a famous actor, there is no undue pressure for his children to follow him onto the boards, but instead their chosen interests are encouraged. There need not even by any obvious talent in such a family since there always needs to be someone who sets the family career in motion, as in the case of the Sheen acting dynasty.

Martin Sheen was the seventh of ten children born to a Spanish immigrant father and an Irish mother. Despite intense parental disapproval he turned his back on entrance exams to university and borrowed cash from a local priest to start a fledgling acting career. His acting successes in films such as Badlands and Apocalypse Now made him one of the most highly-regarded actors of the 1970s. Three sons – Emilio Estevez, Ramon Estevez and Charlie Sheen – have followed him into the profession as a consequence of being inspired by his motivation and enthusiasm.

A stream seems to run through creative families. Such children are not necessarily smothered with love by their parents. They feel loved and wanted, and are secure in their home, but are often more surrounded by an atmosphere of work and where following a calling appears to be important. They may see from their parents that it takes time and dedication to be master of a craft, and so are in less of a hurry to achieve for themselves once they start to work.

The generation of creativity is complex: it is a mixture of genetics, the environment, parental teaching and luck that determines how successful or talented family members are. This last point – luck – is often not mentioned where talent is  concerned but plays an undoubted part. Mozart, considered by many to be the finest composer of all time, was lucky to be living in an age that encouraged the writing of music. He was brought up surrounded by it, his father was a musician who encouraged him to the point of giving up his job to promote his child genius, and he learnt musical composition with frightening speed – the speed of a genius. Mozart himself simply wanted to create the finest music ever written but did not necessarily view himself as a genius – he could write sublime music at will, and so often preferred to lead a hedonistic lifestyle that he found more exciting than writing music to order.

Albert Einstein and Bill Gates are two more examples of people whose talents have blossomed by virtue of the times they were living in. Einstein was a solitary, somewhat slow child who had affection at home but whose phenomenal intelligence emerged without any obvious parental input. This may have been partly due to the fact that at the start of the 20th Century a lot of the Newtonian laws of physics were being questioned, leaving a fertile ground for ideas such as his to be developed. Bill Gates may have had the creative vision to develop Microsoft, but without the new computer age dawning at the same time he may never have achieved the position on the world stage he now occupies.

Questions 28-29
Complete the notes, which show how the approaches to defining ‘talent*have changed.
Choose ONE or TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer
Write your answers in boxes 28-29 on your answer sheet.



Questions 30-32
Which THREE of the following does the writer regard as a feature of creative families?
Write the appropriate letters A-F in boxes 30-32 on your answer sheet.
 a higher than average level of parental affection
 competition between brothers and sisters
C   parents who demonstrate vocational commitment
 strong motivation to take exams and attend university
 a patient approach to achieving success
 the identification of the most talented child in the family


Questions 33-34
Choose the appropriate letters A—D and write them in boxes 33-34 on your answer sheet.

33. The rat experiment was conducted to show that
A   certain species of rat are more intelligent than others.
 intelligent rats are more motivated than ‘dull’ rats.
C   a rat’s surroundings can influence its behaviour.
D   a boring environment has little impact on a ‘bright’ rat.

34. The writer cites the story of Martin Sheen to show that
A   he was the first in a creative line.
B   his parents did not have his creative flair.
C   he became an actor without proper training.
D   his sons were able to benefit from his talents.


Questions 35-39
Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 3?
In boxes 35-39 on your answer sheet write
YES               if the statement agrees with the writer s claims
NO                if the statement contradicts the writers claims
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

35        Intelligence tests have now been proved to be unreliable.
36        The brother or sister of a gifted older child may fail to fulfil their own potential. 
37        The importance of luck in the genius equation tends to be ignored.  
38        Mozart was acutely aware of his own remarkable talent.
39        Einstein and Gates would have achieved success in any era.

Question 40
From the list below choose the most suitable title for the whole of Reading Passage 3.
Write the appropriate letter A-D in box 40 on your answer sheet.
 Geniuses in their time
B   Education for the gifted
C   Revising the definition of intelligence
D   Nurturing talent within the family


Answers

1. x
2. vii     
3. iii      
4. iv      
5. xi      
6. ii       
7. vi      
8. viii
9. metabolism
10. less
11. genetic
12. consume    
13. behaviour  
14. D    
15. C
16. A
17. F
18. B
19. C
20. F
21. G
22. B
23. E
24. C
25. A
26. D
27. C
28. IQ/intelligence
29. multi-faceted approach
30. B, C, E IN EITHER ORDER
31. B, C, E IN EITHER ORDER
32. B, C, E IN EITHER ORDER
33. C
34. A
35. NOT GIVEN
36. YES
37. YES
38. NO
39. NO
40. D

IELTS ACADEMIC READING – 1

IELTS ACADEMIC READING

IELTS ACADEMIC READING

(Download PDF)

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

In Praise of Amateurs
Despite the specialization of scientific research, amateurs still have an important role to play.

During the scientific revolution of the 17th century, scientists were largely men of private means who pursued their interest in natural philosophy for their own edification. Only in the past century or two has it become possible to make a living from investigating the workings of nature. Modern science was, in other words, built on the work of amateurs. Today, science is an increasingly specialized and compartmentalized subject, the domain of experts who know more and more about less and less. Perhaps surprisingly, however, amateurs – even those without private means – are still important.

A recent poll carried out at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science by astronomer Dr Richard Fienberg found that, in addition to his field of astronomy, amateurs are actively involved in such field as acoustics, horticulture, ornithology, meteorology, hydrology and palaeontology. Far from being crackpots, amateur scientists are often in close touch with professionals, some of whom rely heavily on their co-operation.

Admittedly, some fields are more open to amateurs than others. Anything that requires expensive equipment is clearly a no-go area. And some kinds of research can be dangerous; most amateur chemists, jokes Dr Fienberg, are either locked up or have blown themselves to bits. But amateurs can make valuable contributions in fields from rocketry to palaeontology and the rise of the Internet has made it easier than before to collect data and distribute results.

Exactly which field of study has benefited most from the contributions of amateurs is a matter of some dispute. Dr Fienberg makes a strong case for astronomy. There is, he points out, a long tradition of collaboration between amateur and professional sky watchers. Numerous comets, asteroids and even the planet Uranus were discovered by amateurs. Today, in addition to comet and asteroid spotting, amateurs continue to do valuable work observing the brightness of variable stars and detecting novae- ‘new’ stars in the Milky Way and supernovae in other galaxies. Amateur observers are helpful, says Dr Fienberg, because there are so many of them (they far outnumber professionals) and because they are distributed all over the world. This makes special kinds of observations possible:’ if several observers around the world accurately record the time when a star is eclipsed by an asteroid, for example, it is possible to derive useful information about the asteroid’s shape.

Another field in which amateurs have traditionally played an important role is palaeontology. Adrian Hunt, a palaeontologist at Mesa Technical College in New Mexico, insists that his is the field in which amateurs have made the biggest contribution. Despite the development of high-tech equipment, he says, the best sensors for finding fossils are human eyes – lots of them.

Finding volunteers to look for fossils is not difficult, he says, because of the near universal interest in anything to do with dinosaurs. As well as helping with this research, volunteers learn about science, a process he calls ‘recreational education’.

Rick Bonney of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York, contends that amateurs have contributed the most in his field. There are, he notes, thought to be as many as 60 million birdwatchers in America alone. Given their huge numbers and the wide geographical coverage they provide, Mr Bonney has enlisted thousands of amateurs in a number of research projects. Over the past few years their observations have uncovered previously unknown trends and cycles in bird migrations and revealed declines in the breeding populations of several species of migratory birds, prompting a habitat conservation programme.

Despite the successes and whatever the field of study, collaboration between amateurs and professionals is not without its difficulties. Not everyone, for example is happy with the term ‘amateur’. Mr Bonney has coined the term ‘citizen scientist’ because he felt that other words, such as ‘volunteer’ sounded disparaging. A more serious problem is the question of how professionals can best acknowledge the contributions made by amateurs. Dr Fienberg says that some amateur astronomers are happy to provide their observations but grumble about not being reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses. Others feel let down when their observations are used in scientific papers, but they are not listed as co-authors. Dr Hunt says some amateur palaeontologists are disappointed when told that they cannot take finds home with them.

These are legitimate concerns but none seems insurmountable. Provided amateurs and professionals agree the terms on which they will work together beforehand, there is no reason why co-operation between the two groups should not flourish. Last year Dr S. Carlson, founder of the Society for Amateur Scientists won an award worth $290,000 for his work in promoting such co-operation. He says that one of the main benefits of the prize is the endorsement it has given to the contributions of amateur scientists, which has done much to silence critics among those professionals who believe science should remain their exclusive preserve.

At the moment, says Dr Carlson, the society is involved in several schemes including an innovative rocket-design project and the setting up of a network of observers who will search for evidence of a link between low- frequency radiation and earthquakes. The amateurs, he says, provide enthusiasm and talent, while the professionals provide guidance ‘so that anything they do discover will be taken seriously’. Having laid the foundations of science, amateurs will have much to contribute to its ever – expanding edifice.

Questions 1-8
Complete the summary below. Choose ONE OR TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 1-8 on your answer sheet.

Summary
Prior to the 19th century, professional 1_________ did not exist and scientific research was largely carried out by amateurs. However, while 2_________ today is mostly the domain of professionals, a recent US survey highlighted the fact that amateurs play an important role in at least seven 3_________ and indeed many professionals are reliant on their 4_________. In areas such as astronomy, amateurs can be invaluable when making specific 5_________ on a global basis. Similarly in the area of palaeontology their involvement is invaluable and helpers are easy to recruit because of the popularity of 6_________. Amateur birdwatchers also play an active role and their work has led to the establishment of a 7_________. Occasionally the term ‘amateur’ has been the source of disagreement and alternative names have been suggested but generally speaking, as long as the professional scientists 8_________the work of the non-professionals, the two groups can work productively together. 

Questions 9-13
Reading Passage 1 contains a number of opinions provided by four different scientists. Match each opinion (Questions 9-13) with the scientists A-D.
NB You may use any of the scientists A-D more than once.

             Amateur involvement can also be an instructive pastime.
10           Amateur scientists are prone to accidents.
11           Science does not belong to professional scientists alone.
12           In certain areas of my work, people are a more valuable resource than technology.
13           It is important to give amateurs a name which reflects the value of their work. 

Name of scientists
A. Dr Fienberg
B. Adrian Hunt
C. Rick Bonney
D. Dr Carlson



You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 , which are based on Reading Passage 2 below:

READING THE SCREEN
Are the electronic media exacerbating illiteracy and making our children stupid?  On the contrary, says Colin McCabe, they have the potential to make us truly literate.

The debate surrounding literacy is one of the most charged in education. On the one hand there is an army of people convinced that traditional skills of reading and writing are declining. On the other, a host of progressives protest that literacy is much more complicated than a simple technical mastery of reading and writing. This second position is supported by most of the relevant academic work over the past 20 years. These studies argue that literacy can only be understood in its social and technical context. In Renaissance England, for example, many more people could read than could write, and within reading there was a distinction between those who could read print and those who could manage the more difficult task of reading manuscript. An understanding of these earlier periods helps us understand today’s ‘crisis in literacy’ debate.

There does seem to be evidence that there has been an overall decline in some aspects of reading and writing – you only need to compare the tabloid newspapers of today with those of 50 years ago to see a clear decrease in vocabulary and simplification of syntax. But the picture is not uniform and doesn’t readily demonstrate the simple distinction between literate and illiterate which had been considered adequate since the middle of the 19th century.

While reading a certain amount of writing is as crucial as it has ever been in industrial societies, it is doubtful whether a fully extended grasp of either is as necessary as it was 30 or 40 years ago. While print retains much of its authority as a source of topical information, television has increasingly usurped this role. The ability to write fluent letters has been undermined by the telephone and research suggests that for many people the only use for writing, outside formal education, is the compilation of shopping lists.

The decision of some car manufacturers to issue their instructions to mechanics as a video pack rather than as a handbook might be taken to spell the end of any automatic link between industrialisation and literacy. On the other hand, it is also the case that ever-increasing numbers of people make their living out of writing, which is better rewarded than ever before. Schools are generally seen as institutions where the book rules – film, television and recorded sound have almost no place; but it is not clear that this opposition is appropriate. While you may not need to read and write to watch television, you certainly need to be able to read and write in order to make programmes.

Those who work in the new media are anything but illiterate. The traditional oppositions between old and new media are inadequate for understanding the world which a young child now encounters. The computer has re-established a central place for the written word on the screen, which used to be entirely devoted to the image. There is even anecdotal evidence that children are mastering reading and writing in order to get on to the Internet. There is no reason why the new and old media cannot be integrated in schools to provide the skills to become economically productive and politically enfranchised.

Nevertheless, there is a crisis in literacy and it would be foolish to ignore it. To understand that literacy may be declining because it is less central to some aspects of everyday life is not the same as acquiescing in this state of affairs. The production of school work with the new technologies could be a significant stimulus to literacy. How should these new technologies be introduced into the schools? It isn’t enough to call for computers, camcorders and edit suites in every classroom; unless they are properly integrated into the educational culture, they will stand unused. Evidence suggests that this is the fate of most information technology used in the classroom. Similarly, although media studies are now part of the national curriculum, and more and more students are now clamouring to take this course, teachers remain uncertain about both methods and aims in this area.

This is not the fault of the teachers. The entertainment and information industries must be drawn into a debate with the educational institutions to determine how best to blend these new technologies into the classroom.

Many people in our era are drawn to the pessimistic view that the new media are destroying old skills and eroding critical judgement. It may be true that past generations were more literate but – taking the pre-19th century meaning of the term – this was true of only a small section of the population. The word literacy is a 19th-century coinage to describe the divorce of reading and writing from a full knowledge of literature. The education reforms of the 19th century produced reading and writing as skills separable from full participation in the cultural heritage.

The new media now point not only to a futuristic cyber-economy, they also make our cultural past available to the whole nation. Most children’s access to these treasures is initially through television. It is doubtful whether our literary heritage has ever been available to or sought out by more than about 5 per cent of the population; it has certainly not been available to more than 10 per cent. But the new media joined to the old, through the public service tradition of British broadcasting, now makes our literary tradition available to all.


Questions 14-17
Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 14-17 on your answer sheet.

14. When discussing the debate on literacy in education, the writer notes that
A   children cannot read and write as well as they used to.
 academic work has improved over the last 20 years.
C   there is evidence that literacy is related to external factors.
D   there are opposing arguments that are equally convincing.

15. In the 4th paragraph, the writer’s main point is that
A   the printed word is both gaining and losing power.
B   all inventions bring disadvantages as well as benefits.
C   those who work in manual jobs no longer need to read.
D   the media offers the best careers for those who like writing.

16. According to the writer, the main problem that schools face today is
A   how best to teach the skills of reading and writing.
 how best to incorporate technology into classroom teaching.
C   finding the means to purchase technological equipment.
D   managing the widely differing levels of literacy amongst pupils.

17. At the end of the article, the writer is suggesting that
 literature and culture cannot be divorced.
 the term ‘literacy’ has not been very useful.
C   10 per cent of the population never read literature.
D   our exposure to cultural information is likely to increase.


Questions 18-23
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 2?
In boxes 18-23 on your answer sheet write
YES              if the statement agrees with the writer
NO               if the statement contradicts the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

18         It is not as easy to analyse literacy levels as it used to be.
19         Our literacy skills need to be as highly developed as they were in the past.
20         Illiteracy is on the increase.
21         Professional writers earn relatively more than they used to.
22         A good literacy level is important for those who work in television.
23         Computers are having a negative impact on literacy in schools


Questions 24-26
Complete the sentences below with words taken from Reading Passage 2.
Write your answers in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.
Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

In Renaissance England, the best readers were those able to read 24_________The writer uses the example of 25_________to illustrate the general fall in certain areas of literacy.
It has been shown that after leaving school, the only things that a lot of people write are 26_________



You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40 , which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

The Revolutionary Bridges of Robert Maillart
Swiss engineer Robert Maillart built some of the greatest bridges of the 20th century. His designs elegantly solved a basic engineering problem: how to support enormous weights using a slender arch.

A Just as railway bridges were the great structural symbols of the 19th century, highway bridges became the engineering emblems of the 20th century. The invention of the automobile created an irresistible demand for paved roads and vehicular bridges throughout the developed world. The type of bridge needed for cars and trucks, however, is fundamentally different from that needed for locomotives. Most highway bridges carry lighter loads than railway bridges do, and their roadways can be sharply curved or steeply sloping. To meet these needs, many turn-of-the-century bridge designers began working with a new building material: reinforced concrete, which has steel bars embedded in it. And the master of this new material was Swiss structural engineer, Robert Maillart.

B Early in his career, Maillart developed a unique method for designing bridges, buildings and other concrete structures. He rejected the complex mathematical analysis of loads and stresses that was being enthusiastically adopted by most of his contemporaries. At the same time, he also eschewed the decorative approach taken by many bridge builders of his time. He resisted imitating architectural styles and adding design elements solely for ornamentation. Maillart’s method was a form of creative intuition. He had a knack for conceiving new shapes to solve classic engineering problems and because he worked in a highly competitive field, one of his goals was economy – he won design and construction contracts because his structures were reasonably priced, often less costly than all his rivals’ proposals.

C Maillart’s first important bridge was built in the small Swiss town of Zuoz. The local officials had initially wanted a steel bridge to span the 30-metre wide Inn River, but Maillart argued that he could build a more elegant bridge made of reinforced concrete for about the same cost. His crucial innovation was incorporating the bridge’s arch and roadway into a form called the hollow-box arch, which would substantially reduce the bridge’s expense by minimising the amount of concrete needed. In a conventional arch bridge the weight of the roadway is transferred by columns to the arch, which must be relatively thick. In Maillart’s design, though, the roadway and arch were connected by three vertical walls, forming two hollow boxes running under the roadway (see diagram). The big advantage of this design was that because the arch would not have to bear the load alone, it could be much thinner – as little as one-third as thick as the arch in the conventional bridge.

D His first masterpiece, however, was the 1905 Tavanasa Bridge over the Rhine river in the Swiss Alps. In this design, Maillart removed the parts of the vertical walls which were not essential because they carried no load. This produced a slender, lighter-looking form, which perfectly met the bridge’s structural requirements. But the Tavanasa Bridge gained little favourable publicity in Switzerland; on the contrary, it aroused strong aesthetic objections from public officials who were more comfortable with old-fashioned stone-faced bridges. Maillart, who had founded his own construction firm in 1902, was unable to win any more bridge projects, so he shifted his focus to designing buildings, water tanks and other structures made of reinforced concrete and did not resume his work on concrete bridges until the early 1920s.

E His most important breakthrough during this period was the development of the deck-stiffened arch, the first example of which was the Flienglibach Bridge, built in 1923. An arch bridge is somewhat like an inverted cable. A cable curves downward when a weight is hung from it, an arch bridge curves upward to support the roadway and the compression in the arch balances the dead load of the traffic. For aesthetic reasons, Maillart wanted a thinner arch and his solution was to connect the arch to the roadway with transverse walls. In this way, Maillart justified making the arch as thin as he could reasonably build it. His analysis accurately predicted the behaviour of the bridge but the leading authorities of Swiss engineering would argue against his methods for the next quarter of a century.

F Over the next 10 years, Maillart concentrated on refining the visual appearance of the deck-stiffened arch. His best-known structure is the Salginatobel Bridge, completed in 1930. He won the competition for the contract because his design was the least expensive of the 19 submitted – the bridge and road were built for only 700,000 Swiss francs, equivalent to some $3.5 million today. Salginatobel was also Maillart’s longest span, at 90 metres and it had the most dramatic setting of all his structures, vaulting 80 metres above the ravine of the Salgina brook. In 1991 it became the first concrete bridge to be designated an international historic landmark.

G Before his death in 1940, Maillart completed other remarkable bridges and continued to refine his designs. However, architects often recognised the high quality of Maillart’s structures before his fellow engineers did and in 1947 the architectural section of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City devoted a major exhibition entirely to his works. In contrast, very few American structural engineers at that time had even heard of Maillart. In the following years, however, engineers realised that Maillart’s bridges were more than just aesthetically pleasing – they were technically unsurpassed. Maillart’s hollow-box arch became the dominant design form for medium and long- span concrete bridges in the US. In Switzerland, professors finally began to teach Maillart’s ideas, which then influenced a new generation of designers.

Questions 27-33
Reading Passage 3 has seven paragraphs A-G.
From the list of headings below choose the most suitable heading for each paragraph.
Write the appropriate numbers (i—x) in boxes 27-33 on your answer sheet.

List of headings


i        The long-term impact
ii       A celebrated achievement
iii      Early brilliance passes unrecognised
iv      Outdated methods retain popularity
v       The basis of a new design is born
vi      Frustration at never getting the design right
vii     Further refinements meet persistent objections
viii    Different in all respects
ix      Bridge-makers look elsewhere
x       Transport developments spark a major change



27   Paragraph A
28   Paragraph B
29   Paragraph C
30   Paragraph D
31   Paragraph E
32   Paragraph F
33   Paragraph G



Questions 34-36
Complete the labels on the diagrams below using ONE OR TWO WORDS from the reading passage. Write your answers in boxes 34-36 on your answer sheet.

34_________
35_________
36_________


Questions 37-40
Complete each of the following statements (Questions 37-40) with the best ending (A-G) from the box below.
Write the appropriate letters A-G in boxes 37-40 on your answer sheet.

37        Maillart designed the hollow-box arch in order to 
38        Following the construction of the Tavanasa Bridge, Maillart failed to 
39        The transverse walls of the Flienglibach Bridge allowed Maillart to 
40        Of all his bridges, the Salginatobel enabled Maillart to 

A ……… prove that local people were wrong.
B ……… find work in Switzerland.
C ……… win more building commissions.
D …….. reduce the amount of raw material required.
E …….. recognise his technical skills.
F …….. capitalise on the spectacular terrain.
G …….. improve the appearance of his bridges.

Answers


11tomatoes:

21. clamp:
2. urban centres/centers:
22. axle:
3. energy:
23. cogs:
4. fossil fuel:
24. aqueduct:
5. artificial:
25. wall:
6. (stacked) trays:
26. locks:
7. (urban) rooftops:
27. D:
8. NOT GIVEN:
28. B:
9. TRUE:
29. A:
10. FALSE:
30. sunshade:
11. TRUE:
31. iron:
12. FALSE:
32. algae:
13. TRUE:
33. clouds:
14. FALSE:
34. cables:
15. NOT GIVEN:
35. snow:
16. TRUE:
36. rivers:
17. NOT GIVEN:
37. B:
18. FALSE:
38. D:
19. TRUE:
39. C:
20. gates:
40. A:
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