Category Archives: IELTS Reading Academic (tests)

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 1 Section 1

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 1 Section 1

Go to Section 2 | Go to Section 3

This free IELTS reading test (Academic Module) has the same question types, content style, length and difficulty as a standard IELTS test. To get started simply scroll down to read the texts and answer the questions.

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 1 Section 1Looking for more reading practice tests? Our online course has over 15 complete practice tests as well as end of lesson tests and reading texts used in the lessons.

When you have finished the test,make a note of the number of correct answers and move on to Section 2.

 

Section 1:

A very brief history of time

These days, time is everything. We worry about being late, we rush to get things done or to be somewhere and our daily schedules are often planned down to the minute. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the humble clock. The internationally accepted division of time into regular, predictable units has become an essential aspect of almost all modern societies yet the history of time keeping is almost as old as civilisation itself. Nearly 3000 years ago, societies were using the stars in order to keep track of time to indicate agricultural cycles. Then came the sundial, an Egyptian invention in which the shadow cast by the sun was used to measure the time not of the seasons but of the day.

The first manufactured clock, believed to have come from Persia, was a system which recreated the movements of the stars. All the celestial bodies which had been used to tell the time of year were plotted onto an intricate system in which the planets rotated around each other. Not being dependent on either sunlight or a clear night, this was one of the earliest systems to divide a complete day. Although ingenious for its time, this method suffered from incorrect astrological assumptions of the period, in which it was believed that the Earth was the centre of the universe.

The Greeks were next to develop a more accurate clock using water to power a mechanism that counted out the divisions of the day. The simplest water clock consisted of a large urn that had a small hole located near the base, and a graduated stick attached to a floating base. The hole would be plugged while the urn was being filled with water, and then the stick would be inserted into the urn. The stick would float perpendicular to the surface of the water, and when the hole at the base of the urn was unplugged, the passage of time was measured as the stick descended farther into the urn.

Then, for nearly one thousand years, there was little in the way of progress in time keeping until the European invention of spring-powered clocks in the late fourteenth century. Unreliable and inaccurate, the early models of these clocks were useful in that they gave direction to new advances. In 1656 Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch scientist, made the first pendulum clock, which had an error of less than one minute a day, the first time such accuracy had been achieved. His later refinements reduced his clock’s error to less than 10 seconds a day. Some years later, Huygens abandoned the pendulum for a balance wheel and spring assembly which allowed for a whole new generation of time piece – the wristwatch. Still found in some of today’s wristwatches, this improvement allowed portable seventeenth-century watches to keep time to 10 minutes a day.

While clock making and musical chime clocks became increasingly popular, it was the invention of the cuckoo clock, designed and made by Franz Anton Ketterer, which really caught people’s imagination. The design was not particularly complex. The clock was mounted on a headboard, normally a very elaborate carving reflecting the tastes of the artist. Many of the original cuckoo clocks are still kept today because of the artwork on the headboard. Using the traditional circular pendulum design, the clock could run accurately for up to a week, using a weight to keep the pendulum in motion. Again, the weight was often carved with a design making the whole clock an art form as well as a timepiece. The most innovative feature of these cuckoo clocks, as the name implies, is that a small carved cuckoo came out of the clock to chime the hour. Particularly ingenious was the placement of bellows inside the clock, which were designed to recreate the sound made by the bird, although later models included a lever on the bottom of the clock which could be used to stop this hourly chime.

Refinements to this original pendulum concept meant that by 1721 the pendulum clock remained accurate to within one second per day by compensating for changes in the pendulum’s length due to temperature variations. Over the next century, further refinements reduced this to a hundredth of a second a day. In the 1920s, a new era of clock making began which is still popular today – the quartz clock. When under pressure, quartz generates an electric field of relatively constant frequency, and it was discovered that this electric signal was sufficient to power a clock. Quartz crystal clocks were better because they had fewer moving parts to disturb their regular frequency. Even so, they still rely on a mechanical vibration and this depends on the size of the crystal, and as no two crystals can be exactly alike, there is a degree of difference in every quartz watch.

Comparing performance to price, it is understandable that quartz clocks still dominate the market. Yet they are no longer the most accurate. Scientists had long realised that each chemical element in the universe absorbs and emits electromagnetic radiation at its own specific frequencies. These resonances are inherently stable, thus forming the basis for a reliable system of time measurement, all the more so because no moving parts are needed to record these resonances. Yet the cost of these atomic clocks mean that such timekeeping precision is a long way from becoming common.

 

Questions 1 – 15

Questions 1 – 8

Match a type of clock to a description. Write a letter A – H in boxes 1 to 8 on your answer sheet.

A Relied on basic scientific principles
B was the first to replace the pendulum
C Is the most common method of timekeeping
D Is the most accurate clock
E Is the earliest known method of measuring time during the day
F Was inaccurate because of misconceptions of the age
G Was often highly ornamental
H Had only a 10-second margin of error per day

1.Quartz clock      Show answer C

2 Cuckoo clock      Show answerG

3 Sundial      Show answerE

4 Persian clock      Show answerF

5 Wristwatch      Show answerB

6 Pendulum      Show answerH

7 Atomic clock      Show answerD

8 Water clock      Show answerA

 


Questions 9 – 12

Label the diagram below using words from the text. Use NO MORE THAN ONE WORD.

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 1 Section 1

9.     Show answer HEADBOARD or CARVING

10.     Show answer WEIGHT

11.     Show answer PENDULUM

12.     Show answer BELLOWS


Questions 13 – 15

Complete the following summary using words from the box below. Write A-F in boxes 13 to 15.

A: Cheaper B: the least accurate C: Accurate
D: More expensive D: Precision F: exactly the same
G: H: Mechanical vibration I: Moving parts

Although quartz clocks are (13)   , the atomic clock is the most (14)     as it does not rely on any (15)   .

13. Show answerA – cheaper

14. Show answerC – accurate

15. Show answerI – moving parts

 

Show All correct answers

Once you have finished, check your answers, then move on Section 2.

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 3 Section 3

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 3 Section 3

Go back to Section 1 | Go back to Section 2

This free IELTS reading test (Academic Module) has the same question types, content style, length and difficulty as a standard IELTS test. To get started simply scroll down to read the texts and answer the questions.

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 3 Section 3Looking for more reading practice tests? Our online course has over 15 complete practice tests as well as end of lesson tests and reading texts used in the lessons.

When you have finished the test,make a note of the number of correct answers check your score with our band score converter.

Section 3:

 

Ford – driving innovation

  1. In 1913 an American industrialist named Henry Ford employed an innovative system in his factory that changed the nature of American industry forever – the production line. Instead of a group of workers constructing a complete product, Ford’s production-line techniques relied on machine parts being moved around the factory on a conveyor belt, passing each employee who had a single task to perform before the component moved down the line. This saved time in that employees were not required to move around, collect materials or change tools; they simply stood in one place and repeated the same procedure over and over again until the end of their shift. In this way, Ford was able to mass produce the now famous Model-T car for only 10% of traditional labour costs.
  2. Working on a production line was monotonous work, undoubtedly, but it was not in the production line alone that Ford was something of a pioneer. In 1913 the average hourly rate for unskilled labour was under $2.50 and for such low wages and repetitive work, the labour turnover in Ford’s factory was high, with many employees lasting less than a month. In order to combat this problem, he took a step that was condemned by other industrialists of the time, fearful that they would lose their own workforce – he raised wages to $5 an hour. The benefits were twofold. Not only did Ford now have a stable and eager workforce, he also had potential customers. It was his intention ‘to build a motorcar for the great multitude’, and the Model-T car was one of the cheapest cars on the market at the time. At $5 an hour, many of his employees now found themselves in a position to feasibly afford a car of their own. Ford’s production practices meant that production time was reduced from 14 hours to a mere 93 minutes. In 1914 company profits were $30 million, yet just two years later this figure had doubled. Until 1927 when the last Model-T rolled off the production line, the company produced and sold about 15 million cars.
  3. Although Ford was without doubt successful, times changed and the company began losing its edge. One problem came from the labour force. Ford was a demanding employer who insisted that the majority of his staff remained on their feet during their shift. One error meant that the whole production line was often kept waiting, and Ford felt that workers were more attentive standing than sitting. Yet the 1930s saw some radical changes in the relationships between employer and employee, as an increasing number of industries were forming Labour Unions. Ford flatly refused to get involved, employing spies in the workplace to sabotage any plans for a union within his factories. Eventually a strike in the early 1940s forced Ford to deal with unions. Another example of Ford being unable to adapt came from his unwillingness to branch out. Ford’s competitors began operating the same systems and practices, but also introduced the variety Ford was lacking. The Model-T had remained essentially the same, even down to the colour, and by the time he realised his error, he had already lost his pre-eminence in the industry. Subsequent involvement in aeroplane manufacturing, politics and publishing was a failure. Leaving the company to his grandson in 1945, he died two years later leaving an inheritance estimated at $700 million.
  4. Yet the legacy of Fordism lives on. The development of mass production transformed the organisation of work in a number of important ways. Tasks were minutely subdivided and performed by unskilled workers, or at least semiskilled workers, since much of the skill was built into the machine. Second, manufacturing concerns grew to such a size that a large hierarchy of supervisors and managers became necessary. Third, the increasing complexity of operations required employment of a large management staff of accountants, engineers, chemists, and, later, social psychologists, in addition to a large distribution and sales force. Mass production also heightened the trend towards an international division of labour. The huge new factories often needed raw materials from abroad, while saturation of national markets led to a search for customers overseas. Thus, some countries became exporters of raw materials and importers of finished goods, while others did the reverse.
  5. In the 1970s and ’80s some countries, particularly in Asia and South America, that had hitherto been largely agricultural and that had imported manufactured goods, began industrialising. The skills needed by workers on assembly-line tasks required little training, and standards of living in these developing countries were so low that wages could be kept below those of the already industrialised nations. Many large manufacturers in the United States and elsewhere therefore began ‘outsourcing’ – that is, having parts made or whole products assembled in developing nations. Consequently, those countries are rapidly becoming integrated into the world economic community

Questions 28-40

Questions 28 -32

Choose the most suitable headings for Paragraphs A-E from the list below. Use each heading once only.

List of headings

  1. Effect on modern industry
  2. New payment procedures
  3. Labour problems
  4. The Model-T
  5. Creating a market
  6. Revolutionary production techniques
  7. The Ford family today
  8. Impact on the global economy
  9. Overseas competition
  1. Paragraph A
    Show answer VI
  2. Paragraph B
    Show answer V
  3. Paragraph C
    Show answer III
  4. Paragraph D
    Show answer I
  5. Paragraph E
    Show answer VIII

Questions 33 -37

Answer the following questions using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS.

  1. How where parts moved around the factory using Ford’s production techniques?
    Show answer (A)/(BY) CONVEYOR BELT
  2. What level did Ford cut production costs down to compared with more traditional methods of the time?
    Show answer 10%
  3. When was the last Model-T Ford produced?
    Show answer 1927
  4. What did Ford unsuccessfully oppose the organisation of?
    Show answer Labour Unions
  5. What is the name given to the principles of mass production and associated practices
    Show answer Fordism

Questions 38 – 40

Complete the following summary using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS FROM THE TEXT.

One of the long-term effects of Ford’s business practices was that many developing countries became industrialised as a result of (38) some work to other countries. For those working in the factory, the skills for (39) were easily acquired and (40) was minimal.

38. Show answer Outsourcing

39. Show answer Assembly line tasks

40. Show answer Training

 

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Free IELTS Academic Reading test 3 Section 2

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 3 Section 2

Go back to Section 1 | Go to Section 3

This free IELTS reading test (Academic Module) has the same question types, content style, length and difficulty as a standard IELTS test. To get started simply scroll down to read the texts and answer the questions.

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 3 Section 2Looking for more reading practice tests? Our online course has over 15 complete practice tests as well as end of lesson tests and reading texts used in the lessons.

When you have finished the test,make a note of the number of correct answers and move on to Section 3.

Section 2:

Virtual culture

  1. Culture is defined as the ‘socially transmitted behaviour patterns, arts, beliefs, and institutions that are the expression of a particular class, community or period’ (www.dictionary.com). To most people, this is seen in terms of books, paintings, rituals and ceremonies, but recently there has been a new entrant in the field of what is considered to be ‘culture’ – the Internet.
  2. On the Internet, science and art, media and mind combine to create a modern culture which is far more widespread than any of its predecessors. Not referring to the casual user who has no particular interest in the Internet, active supporters of the Internet as a culture have given themselves nomenclature to reflect their cultural aspirations – they are the new cyberpoets. A cyberpoet can be defined as ‘one who makes frequent trips to the edge of technology, society and traditional culture and strives to be artful in their use of virtual space’.
  3. Supporter or opponent of this new culture, there is little doubt that the Internet offers a lot to our traditional view of culture. In just a few minutes in front of a keyboard, we can read almost anything that has ever been written, yet no paper had to be made, no library had to stay open and thus the cost remains minimal. All of this encourages even the casual surfer to explore further than he or she otherwise would have. The same effect can be observed with works of art. Previously available to be viewed only in museums if they were not in the hands of private collectors, all but a few famous works are now replicated on the Internet.
  4. Yet the Internet is not merely a mirror of traditional culture – it is also a new culture in its own right. The medium of the Net allows for wider distribution and new platforms for most forms of art. ‘Kinetic art’ and other such computerised art forms occur with increasing regularity, both motivated by and generating an upsurge in popular and computer-mediated art.
  5. In addition, if culture is said to be ‘socially transmitted’, then the Internet is remarkable in its ability to share, on an almost global scale, all the factors that constitute culture. We have only to hear the influence of jargon as we visit dub-dub-dub dot sites and surf the web to see how international the Internet has become to the majority.
  6. Very few people would disagree that the cyberpoets are increasingly asserting themselves into popular culture. What is not so certain is how far this will go, as the Internet continues to assimilate more and more forms of culture, rising to a point where it is not inconceivable that our entire perception of culture will soon become cyber-focused.
  7. There is also a significant increase in transient imagery from photographs, videos and other media uploaded to many social networking sites. The rise of the term ‘selfie’, referring to a photograph taken by the person in the picture, is just one example – there are also applications for smartphones and tablet devices that allow instant video uploads, meaning that ‘looped’ videos lasting just a few seconds can be created to great effect. The problem, of course, is wading through the many millions of hours of footage that cannot be classified as having any cultural significance.
  8. Reliance on the internet itself has inherent risks, as the authorship of online content is now far less moderated. It is possible to set up a website in as little as an hour, populated with content which may be presented as accurate, impartial information but is in reality an ill considered, poorly researched collection of opinions and incorrect facts. Even established websites which allow users to contribute content can quickly become unreliable sources. Not only is there wider room for error, there is now a heightened concern that web pages and social media can reduce popular culture into a series of illogical and often abusive arguments, which do not need to be supported with facts or even ascribed to a specific purpose. The anonymous nature of a large percentage of internet interactions means that even the most bigoted point of view can find a forum, even if reactions to it are negative.

 


Questions 16-27

Questions 16 -21

Do the following statements agree with the information given in reading passage 2?

TRUE If the statement agrees with the information
FALSE If the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN If there is no information on this

Write the correct answer TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.

  1. The majority of people consider ‘culture’ to be represented by traditional forms of art and media.
    Show answer True – Paragraph A states “To most people, this is seen in terms of books, paintings, rituals and ceremonies”
  2. The internet as a culture is not extensive.
    Show answer False – Paragraph B states ‘On the Internet, science and art, media and mind combine to create a modern culture which is far more widespread than any of its predecessors’. This is further supported later in Paragraph D, ‘The medium of the Net allows for wider distribution and new platforms for most forms of art’.
  3. Through the Internet, every written word can be accessed.
    Show answer False – the key here was to identify the qualifying word ‘every’ – Paragraph C states ‘In just a few minutes in front of a keyboard, we can read almost anything that has ever been written’ – almost is not a synonym for every.
  4. The Internet provides a stage for all forms of art.
    Show answer False – as with question 18, the key is in the qualifiying word – the question says ‘all forms of art’, but Paragraph D states ‘most forms of art’
  5. An insignificant number remain unaffected by the international nature of the Internet.
    Show answer Not given – Paragraph E refers to the international nature of the internet, but we are not given specifics on numbers that are affected.
  6. Only a few people believe that ‘cyberpoets’ are becoming part of our popular culture.
    Show answer False – the text states ‘Very few people would disagree’ (Paragraph F) – very few would disagree means most would agree, which contradicts ‘Only a few people believe’ in the question.

Questions 22 – 27

Which paragraph contains the following information. Write A – H for answers 22 to 27

  1. The range of resources available online has allowed more people to see versions of most artworks.
    Show answer C (‘ Previously available to be viewed only in museums if they were not in the hands of private collectors, all but a few famous works are now replicated on the Internet.’)
  2. Lack of clarity regarding the person responsible has an effect on cultural value of some web based resources
    Show answer H (‘The anonymous nature of a large percentage of internet interactions means that even the most bigoted point of view can find a forum’)
  3. Providing the ability to cross boundaries and be available worldwide
    Show answer E (‘We have only to hear the influence of jargon as we visit dub-dub-dub dot sites and surf the web to see how international the Internet has become to the majority.’)
  4. The emergence of new forms of culture thanks to digital possibilities
    Show answer D (‘‘Kinetic art’ and other such computerised art forms occur with increasing regularity, both motivated by and generating an upsurge in popular and computer-mediated art’)
  5. The wealth of online resources can mean difficulties in identifying areas of cultural significance
    Show answer G (‘The problem, of course, is wading through the many millions of hours of footage that cannot be classified as having any cultural significance.’)
  6. The self proclaimed title of supporters of internet culture
    Show answer B (‘active supporters of the Internet as a culture have given themselves nomenclature to reflect their cultural aspirations – they are the new cyberpoets’)

 

Show All correct answers

Once you have finished, check your answers, then move on to Section 3

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 3 Section 1

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 3 Section 1

Go to Section 2 | Go to Section 3

This free IELTS reading test (Academic Module) has the same question types, content style, length and difficulty as a standard IELTS test. To get started, simply scroll down to read the texts and answer the questions.

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 3 Section 1Looking for more reading practice tests? Our online course has over 15 complete practice tests as well as end of lesson tests and reading texts used in the lessons.

To see which of your answers were marked as correct or incorrect, click ‘Show answer’. When completed, move on to Section 2.

Section 1:


Studying in New Zealand

  1. A relatively small island with a population of less than a quarter of that of Tokyo, New Zealand has a huge overseas student population. With over half a million fee-paying foreign students, an ever-increasing range of academic, professional and vocational courses and English language services are being created or expanded. But why do so many people come from overseas to study in New Zealand? Primarily, there is the fact that it has an excellent education system, especially in English language teaching. With its many British connections as well as the adoption of language from America, New Zealand offers a very international language. Language students are also enticed to New Zealand as they can fully immerse themselves in the language. This is only possible in a country where English is the spoken language.
  2. There are also strict government controls and standards on the quality of education offered. The government controls the education system, and it has appointed the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, a Ministry of Education and an Education Review Office, to license and control schools. These government bodies ensure that standards are as high in New Zealand as anywhere in the world. In addition, they decide whether or not language schools have the credentials and quality to operate. This allows students to have some peace of mind when choosing a school, but there are other reasons to choose New Zealand first. Independent reports have proven New Zealand to be the most cost-effective country in the western world for study fees, accommodation, cost of living, and recreation. It also has a reputation for safety and security, perhaps the best amongst western countries. Auckland City offers a multicultural and cosmopolitan place to shop, eat and be entertained. Less than an hour out of the city and you find yourself on beaches or mountains famous for their cleanliness and lack of pollution.
  3. Although a majority of international students spend some time in a language school, for those aged 13 to 18 New Zealand secondary schools provide a broad education. Other students take advantage of one of the many tertiary education institutions which form the New Zealand polytechnic system. These institutions are state-funded and provide education and training at many levels, from introductory studies to full degree programmes. University education was established in New Zealand in 1870 and has a similar tradition to the British university system. There are eight state-funded universities in New Zealand, all of them internationally respected for their academic and research performance. In addition to a centrally coordinated system of quality assurance audits at both institution and programme level, each university undertakes internal quality checks.
  4. All New Zealand universities offer a broad range of subjects in arts, commerce and science, but they have also specialised in narrower fields of study such as computer studies, medicine or environmental studies. Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees are offered by all New Zealand universities. A range of undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas are also available, along with Honours programmes (usually requiring an additional year of study). The first degree a student is able to gain in New Zealand is, as elsewhere, a Bachelor’s degree. With a completed Bachelor’s degree, a graduate may be able to go on to a number of other options. There are Postgraduate Diploma courses, Master’s degrees, Doctorates and even research positions available.
  5. The Postgraduate Diploma course takes one year on a full-time programme and is designed for graduates building on the academic field of their previous degree. The Master’s degree, like the Postgraduate Diploma, builds on a Bachelor’s degree but can take up to two years, by which time a thesis must be completed. The Master’s is the conventional pathway to the next level of education – the Doctorate. For this course, graduates are required to produce a research-based thesis as part of a course that takes a minimum of two years, and is by far the most challenging.
  6. Finally there is the possibility of research in New Zealand universities. Research is the main characteristic that distinguishes a university as opposed to a polytechnic or other tertiary education institution. New Zealand remains justifiably proud of the quality of its research as a large number of awards are presented to researchers from New Zealand universities.

 

Questions 1-15

Questions 1-5

Choose the most suitable headings for sections A and C –F from the list below.

List of headings

i. Why New Zealand?
ii. Course requirements
iii. Government funding
iv. Cost of further education
v. Further education options
vi. Overseeing authorities
vii. Specialisation
viii. Prestigious contribution
ix. Postgraduate choices

1. Section A
  Show answer I

Example Section B vi

2. Section C
Show answer III

3. Section D
Show answer V

4. Section E
Show answer IX

5. Section F
Show answer VIII


Questions 6 – 8

Complete the following sentences using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS.

  1. The field of study in which New Zealand excels is…
    Show answer English language teaching
  2. Full immersion learning can only happen in an …
    Show answer English speaking country
  3. Educational standards are monitored by three…
    Show answer Government bodies

Questions 9-11

Look at the following statements and decide if they are right or wrong according to the information given.

Write

TRUE if the statement is true
FALSE if the statement is false
NOT GIVEN if the information is not given in the passage

Write the correct answer TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN in boxes 9-11 on your answer sheet.

  1. Most international students start their studies in a secondary school.
    Show answer Not given
  2. Postgraduate students undertaking a diploma course extend what they have learned during their Bachelor’s degree.
    Show answer True
  3. All quality control at a tertiary level is done by the universities themselves
    Show answer False

Questions 12-15

Complete the flow chart below using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the text.

test-3-flowchart

 

12.    Show answer Postgraduate diploma

13.    Show answer Masters degree

14.     Show answer Doctorate

15.     Show answer Research

 

Show All correct answers

Once you have finished, check your answers, then move on to  Section 2

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 2 Section 3

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 2 Section 3

Go back to Section 1 | Go back to Section 2

This free IELTS reading test (Academic Module) has the same question types, content style, length and difficulty as a standard IELTS test. To get started simply scroll down to read the texts and answer the questions.

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 2 Section 3Looking for more reading practice tests? Our online course has over 15 complete practice tests as well as end of lesson tests and reading texts used in the lessons.

When you have finished the test,make a note of the number of correct answers check your score with our band score converter.

Section 3:

 

The dawn of culture

In every society, culturally unique ways of thinking about the world unite people in their behaviour. Anthropologists often refer to the body of ideas that people share as ideology. Ideology can be broken down into at least three specific categories: beliefs, values and ideals. People’s beliefs give them an understanding of how the world works and how they should respond to the actions of others and their environments. Particular beliefs often tie in closely with the daily concerns of domestic life, such as making a living, health and sickness, happiness and sadness, interpersonal relationships, and death. People’s values tell them the differences between right and wrong or good and bad. Ideals serve as models for what people hope to achieve in life.

There are two accepted systems of belief. Some rely on religion, even the supernatural (things beyond the natural world), to shape their values and ideals and to influence their behaviour. Others base their beliefs on observations of the natural world, a practice anthropologists commonly refer to as secularism.

Religion in its more extreme form allows people to know about and ‘communicate’ with supernatural beings, such as animal spirits, gods, and spirits of the dead. Small tribal societies believe that plants and animals, as well as people, can have souls or spirits that can take on different forms to help or harm people. Anthropologists refer to this kind of religious belief as animism, with believers often led by shamans. As religious specialists, shamans have special access to the spirit world, and are said to be able to receive stories from supernatural beings and later recite them to others or act them out in dramatic rituals.

In larger, agricultural societies, religion has long been a means of asking for bountiful harvests, a source of power for rulers, or an inspiration to go to war. In early civilised societies, religious visionaries became leaders because people believed those leaders could communicate with the supernatural to control the fate of a civilization. This became their greatest source of power, and people often regarded leaders as actual gods. For example, in the great civilisation of the Aztec, which flourished in what is now Mexico in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, rulers claimed privileged association with a powerful god that was said to require human blood to ensure that the sun would rise and set each day. Aztec rulers thus inspired great awe by regularly conducting human sacrifices. They also conspicuously displayed their vast power as wealth in luxury goods, such as fine jewels, clothing and palaces. Rulers obtained their wealth from the great numbers of craftspeople, traders and warriors under their control.

During the period in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe known as the Age of Enlightenment, science and logic became new sources of belief for many people living in civilised societies. Scientific studies of the natural world and rational philosophies led people to believe that they could explain natural and social phenomena without believing in gods or spirits. Religion remained an influential system of belief, and together both religion and science drove the development of capitalism, the economic system of commerce-driven market exchange. Capitalism itself influences people’s beliefs, values and ideals in many present-day, large, civilised societies. In these societies, such as in the United States, many people view the world and shape their behaviour based on a belief that they can understand and control their environment and that work, commerce and the accumulation of wealth serve an ultimate good. The governments of most large societies today also assert that human well-being derives from the growth of economies and the development of technology.

Rapid changes in technology in the last several decades have changed the nature of culture and cultural exchange. People around the world can make economic transactions and transmit information to each other almost instantaneously through the use of computers and satellite communications. Governments and corporations have gained vast amounts of political power through military might and economic influence. Corporations have also created a form of global culture based on worldwide commercial markets. As a result, local culture and social structure are now shaped by large and powerful commercial interests in ways that earlier anthropologists could not have imagined. Early anthropologists thought of societies and their cultures as fully independent systems, but today, many nations are multicultural societies, composed of numerous smaller subcultures. Cultures also cross national boundaries. For instance, people around the world now know a variety of English words and have contact with American cultural exports such as brand-name clothing and technological products, films and music, and mass-produced foods.

In addition, many people have come to believe in the fundamental nature of human rights and free will. These beliefs grew out of people’s increasing ability to control the natural world through science and rationalism, and though religious beliefs continue to change to affirm or accommodate these other dominant beliefs, sometimes the two are at odds with each other. For instance, many religious people have difficulty reconciling their belief in a supreme spiritual force with the theory of natural evolution, which requires no belief in the supernatural. As a result, societies in which many people do not practice any religion, such as China, may be known as secular societies. However, no society is entirely secular.

Questions 23 – 40

Questions 23 – 29

Do the following statements agree with the opinion of the writer? Write
YES if the statement agrees with the writer
NO if the statement does not agree with the writer
NOT GIVEN if there is no information about this in the passage.

  1. People from all around the world are united by the way they think about culture.    Show answer No
  2. Our ‘values’ are the most important aspect of ideology.    Show answer Not Given
  3. Secularism is the most widely accepted system of beliefs, values and ideals.    Show answer Not Given
  4. Shamans act as intermediaries between spirits and the living.    Show answer Yes
  5. Agricultural societies benefited from religion.    Show answer Not Given
  6. In Aztec civilisation, fighters, craftspeople and traders demanded blood sacrifices from the rich.    Show answer No (it was the wealthy and privileged that called for sacrifice, not the fighters, craftspeople and traders).
  7. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European people began turning towards science.    Show answer Yes

Questions 30 – 34

Complete the summary of the reading text using words from the box.

belief latter religion faith ascendancy
former rational decline secular shaman

There are two main (30)     systems which can contribute to our ideology – animism and secularism. The (31)     can be said to dominate older civilisations and tribal societies, whereas larger, more contemporary societies have gone in a more (32)     and scientific direction. One reason that explains the (33)     of more secular beliefs is the importance given to other factors, such as free will and capitalism. Nonetheless, (34)     remains at least to some degree even in the most secular of societies.

30.    Show answer Belief

31.    Show answer Former

32.    Show answer Rational

33.    Show answer Ascendancy

34.    Show answer Religion


Questions 35 – 40

Answer the questions below using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS.

  1. What are beliefs, values and ideals specific categories of?     Show answer Ideology
  2. What was said to be necessary for the continuation of sunrise and sunset in ancient Mexico?     Show answer Human sacrifice OR human blood
  3. In Europe, what title was given to the advance of science and logic?     Show answer Age of Enlightenment
  4. What two things influenced the development of capitalism?     Show answer Religion and science
  5. Before modern advances in technology, what did anthropologists consider societies to be?     Show answer Fully independent systems
  6. What theory is symbolic of the tensions between religion and science?     Show answer Natural evolution

 

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Free IELTS Academic Reading test 2 Section 2

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 2 Section 2

Go back to Section 1 | Go to Section 3

This free IELTS reading test (Academic Module) has the same question types, content style, length and difficulty as a standard IELTS test. To get started simply scroll down to read the texts and answer the questions.

Looking for more reading practice tests? Our online course has over 15 complete practice tests as well as end of lesson tests and reading texts used in the lessons.

When you have finished the test,make a note of the number of correct answers and move on to Section 3.

Section 2:

The development of the magazine

In almost every kind of waiting room you can imagine, be it a dentist’s or a car showroom, you will find them. No matter how much of a minority sport, interest or hobby you may have or take part in, you will almost certainly find one devoted to it. Over the past 20 years, magazines have become so popular that they are now outselling most newspapers.

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 2 Section 2

The forerunners of magazines were nothing like the glossy, colourful affairs they are now. They were small printed pages announcing forthcoming events and providing a little local information. They became popular during the seventeenth century, when the idea was exported around Europe. Magazines became thicker, and were not only informative but also entertaining. In addition, literary magazines began to publish short literary works. Indeed, many classic authors of the period first published their material in magazines such as The Tatler and Gentleman’s Magazine. However, they remained more of a hobby than a business, generating only enough income to cover production costs.

The American Magazine, first published in 1741, was the aptly named first magazine to be available in America. Launched in Philadelphia, it was available for only a few short months, and was soon replaced by more popular (although In the early nineteenth century, the nature of magazines changed as illustrated magazines and children’s magazines made their appearance. The illustrations were immediately popular, and within a few years every magazine was brightening its pages with them.

The Industrial Revolution that hit Europe around this time also had a great impact. With the advent of better quality printing processes, paper and colour printing techniques, magazines became lucrative as local businesses began to pay previously unimaginable prices for advertising space. This heralded a new era within the industry as magazines now represented a significant source of income for publishers.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, better standards of education were resulting in a higher degree of literacy, and this of course meant that there was an increasing number of markets to be exploited, and with better transportation, the means developed with which to reach these markets. The most conclusive factor, however, in the rise of magazines came about with the rise of national advertising. Previously, advertising in magazines had remained relatively local, but with the birth of the concept of national markets, where goods could be delivered to almost any destination and at previously unheard-of speeds, advertisers were willing to pay for as wide a coverage as possible in as many magazines as they thought would usefully promote their products.

Competition inevitably increased and this led to the development of new magazines. In the following years, magazines became more specialised, significantly rivalling newspapers as the dominant form of media and paving the way for the wealth of choices available today.

It was at this point that magazine owners and editors found another area which would guarantee a wider circulation. Attributed to Samuel S. McClure, editor of the American magazine McClure’s, the early 1900s saw the advent of the gossip column, in which the private lives of prominent political or social figures was investigated by those who became known as ‘muckraking journalists’. They would invade the privacy of anyone they thought would interest the public, exposing secrets or even fabricating stories in order to raise the circulation of their magazine.

As the circulation of magazines increased, they began at first to reflect, then to influence, popular opinion. This led to them being heavily used by both sides during World War I and World War II as propaganda, inspiring people to join and fight against the enemy. Most people have, at some time in their life, seen the ubiquitous picture of the British General Kitchener pointing out of the poster with the slogan ‘Your Country Needs You!’ printed below, exhorting people to join the army during World War I. It was in magazines that this picture had such wide coverage.

In the 1950s, magazines took a heavy blow at the hands of the new medium of advertising – television. With sound and pictures now on offer, many magazines lost business and faced collapse as advertisers took their business to television studios. Magazines became even more specialised, hoping to still find new markets, and that is why today we find so many obscure titles on the shelves. There is no doubt that the magazine has come a long way from its humble beginnings, but when you can buy magazines devoted to the art of Body Painting or informing us of the latest Caravan Accessories, or read about the latest gossip from another Hollywood star, you have to wonder if magazines have actually come a long way in the right direction.

 


Questions 11 – 22

Questions 11 – 14

Choose the correct answer A–D

11. The earliest magazines

  1. had a number of similarities with modern magazines
  2. were intended for women
  3. focused on hobbies
  4. were very different from magazines today.

    Show answer D

12. Magazines became a highly profitable business when

  1. they were exported around Europe
  2. they began including illustrations
  3. advertisers began paying more for space
  4. they included short stories.

    Show answer C

13. How have magazines retained their popularity despite increased competition?

  1. By influencing popular opinion.
  2. By specialising.
  3. Because of the war.
  4. Through cooperation with television.

    Show answer B

14. McClure’s magazine

  1. was a respected political and social publication
  2. was the first publication to specialise in invasive journalism
  3. was the most popular American publication of 1900
  4. had the highest circulation of any magazine.

    Show answer B


Questions 15 – 18

Look at the following statements and decide if they are right or wrong according to the information given.

Write TRUE if the statement is true
FALSE if the statement is false
NOT GIVEN if there is no information about this in the passage.

  1. Lady’s Book was written by women.     Show answer Not given
  2. After the Industrial Revolution, magazines sold more copies than newspapers.     Show answer Not given
  3. Better education supported the rise of magazines.     Show answer True
  4. Magazines began to influence popular opinion.     Show answer True

Questions 19 – 22

Answer the following questions using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the text

  1. With what form of journalism did Samuel McClure guarantee more sales of his magazine?    Show answerMuckraking journalism
  2. What allowed the exploitation of new markets in the late 1800s?    Show answer Better transportation (better education created new markets but it was better transportation that allowed for their exploitation)
  3. Whose picture was in many magazines during World War I?    Show answer (General) Kitchener
  4. What stopped the increasing rise of magazines?    Show answer Television

Show All correct answers

Once you have finished, check your answers, then move on to

Section 3

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 2 Section 1

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 2 Section 1

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Section 1:


A running controversy

In 1988, Canadian athlete Ben Johnson set a new world record for the 100 metres sprint and set the Seoul Olympics alight. Just a few days later, he was stripped of his medal and banned from competing after having failed a drug test, highlighting what has since become an international problem – drug use in sport.

Those involved in sports face enormous pressure to excel in competition, all the more so as their careers are relatively short. By the time most sportspeople are in their forties, they are already considered to be past their prime, and as a result they need to earn their money as quickly as possible. In such a high-pressure environment, success has to come quickly and increasingly often drugs are playing a prominent role.

There are a number of specific effects that sportspeople are aiming to achieve by taking performance-enhancing drugs. Caffeine and cocaine are commonly used as stimulants, getting the body ready for the mass expenditure of energy required. In addition, there are those who are looking to build their body strength and turn to the use of anabolic steroids. Having worked so hard and needing to unwind, sportspeople may misuse other drugs as a relaxant in that is can help them cope with stress or boost their own confidence. Alcohol is commonly used for this purpose, but for sportspeople something more direct is often required, and this has led to an increase in the use of beta-blockers specifically to steady nerves.

Increasingly accurate drug testing is leading companies and suppliers to ever-more creative ways of avoiding detection, and there are a range of banned substances that are still taken by sportspeople in order to disguise the use of other, more potent drugs. Diuretics is a good example of this: in addition to allowing the body to lose excess weight, they are used to hide other substances.

Drugs or not, the working life of the average sportsperson is hard and often painful. Either through training or on the field, injuries are common and can lead to the use of narcotics simply to mask the pain. There are examples of champion motorcyclists taking local anaesthetics to hide the pain of a crash that should have seen them taken straight to hospital, and though this is not directly banned, use is carefully monitored.

Drug testing has since become an accepted feature of most major sporting events, and as soon as a new drug is detected and the user is banned from competitive sport, then a new drug is developed which evades detection. Inevitably, this makes testing for such banned substances even more stringent, and has in recent years highlighted a new and disturbing problem – the unreliability of drug tests.

Recent allegations of drug use have seen sportspeople in court attempt to overthrow decisions against them, claiming that they were unaware they had taken anything on the banned list. A test recently carried out saw three non-athletes given dietary substances that were not on the banned list, and the two who didn’t take exercise tested negative. However, the third person, who exercised regularly, tested positive. This, of course, has left the testing of sportspeople in a very difficult position. Careers can be prematurely ended by false allegations of drug abuse, yet by not punishing those who test positive, the door would be open for anyone who wanted to take drugs.

The issue is becoming increasingly clouded as different schools of opinion are making themselves heard. There are some that argue that if the substance is not directly dangerous to the user, then it should not be banned, claiming that it is just another part of training and can be compared to eating the correct diet. Ron Clarke, a supporter of limited drug use in sport, commented that some drugs should be accepted as ‘they just level the playing field’. He defended his opinion by pointing out that some competitors have a natural advantage. Athletes born high above sea level or who work out in high altitudes actually produce more red blood cells, a condition which other athletes can only achieve by drug taking.

Others claim that drug use shouldn’t be allowed because it contravenes the whole idea of fairly competing in a sporting event, adding that the drugs available to a wealthy American athlete, for example, would be far superior to those available to a struggling Nigerian competitor.

Governing bodies of the myriad of sporting worlds are trying to set some standards for competitors, but as drug companies become more adept at disguising illegal substances, the procedure is an endless race with no winner. In the face of an overwhelming drug and supplement market, one thing is certain – drugs will probably be a significant factor for a long time to come.

Questions 1 – 10

Questions 1 – 4

Label the diagram below using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS.

ielts

 

 

1.    Show answer Cocaine

2.    Show answer Anabolic steroids

3.     Show answer Relaxants

4.     Show answer Mask pain

 

Questions 5 – 8 Answer the following questions using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the text.

  1. Why are sportspeople under such pressure to succeed quickly?     Show answer Short careers / careers are short
  2. What has subsequently become necessary in a number of sports?     Show answer Drug testing
  3. What does Ron Clarke claim drugs can balance?     Show answer Natural advantage
  4. What are drug companies becoming more able to do to avoid detection?     Show answer Disguise illegal substances

Questions 9 and 10

Complete the summary using words from the text. USE NO MORE THAN ONE WORD.

Despite being increasingly more accurate in some respects,  tests for drugs can be flawed as those creating and supplying the drugs are also getting better at avoiding (9)      in the face of creative drug companies. (10)      of drug use have serious side effects on sportspeople even if they are subsequently proved wrong.

9.  Show answer Detection

10.  Show answer Allegations

Show All correct answers

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Free IELTS Academic Reading test 1 Section 3

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 1 Section 3

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Section 3:

 

Weakness of the school system

A. By attempting to fit in as much as possible, the school day is continually being added to. In many ways, this would appear to be a good idea, as our knowledge and understanding of the world is always growing and it would seem logical to incorporate this into schools. The reality, however, has some decided drawbacks. There is a growing feeling amongst many that the modern school curriculum, in an effort to teach as many varied subjects as possible, is actually teaching students less. It seems that by constantly adding to what should be taught in the classroom, the classes are less focused, not offering the deeper learning that institutions perhaps should.

B. With classes sometimes only 30 minutes long, the overwhelming amount of information teachers are required to present often only gives students time to learn facts, not to think in any great detail about what they are being presented with. The problem is that students are not getting the opportunity to absorb what they are being taught as the curriculum expands in order to keep what has already been taught and supplement it with everything new that comes along. The weaknesses of such a system are clear – well informed though such students may be, there is the risk of an increasing number of graduates who have no real creative or intellectual ability. By denying students the opportunity to sit and think their way through problems, or even consider their own opinion, some schools are not always providing a truly educational atmosphere. There are, of course, certain aspects of education which need to be taught by simply inputting the information. Basic mathematics, for example. But there are many other subjects which could be best learned by having an opportunity to think and discuss what is being taught. Literature, writing and the social sciences are good examples of subjects which cannot be considered as ‘covered’ by a mass of information without the opportunity to discuss, debate or consider meaning or implications. There are also important social skills to be learned during such periods of open discussion, skills which are not addressed by an endless flow of teacher-centred information.

C. Teachers themselves have also voiced concerns about the amount of information they are required to impress upon their students. There is a feeling in many educational establishments that students are no longer being educated, but taught how to pass tests. In a world where academic success is too often measured by examination results, this is a serious concern. If there is too much information to simply be memorised and not enough time to truly assimilate it, what happens to students who fail to meet the grade? By current standards, they are failures, yet they may have great potential in areas not covered by the test and there are many students who, despite clear intellectual ability, simply do not perform well in tests. Again, the problem is one of focus, as education authorities are looking at the outcome of schooling rather than the content presented in the class.

D. It is here that many teachers feel the situation could be addressed at a local level. By giving more discretion to teachers, school courses could be tailored to suit the students rather than tailoring students to meet ever-expanding course requirements. In addition, by running a curriculum that gives options rather than defines an entire course, considerably more freedom would be possible. As it is, progression through most primary and secondary schools is regimented, and there is little room for students to identify and develop their own skills and strengths. If material could be chosen on the basis of its merits rather than simply because it has been put in the curriculum, then what is selected may be taught to a depth that would serve some purpose. There is, of course, a counter-argument, which claims that such open guidelines could lead to vast differences in standards between schools. What one teacher may see as essential for a student’s education, another may see as irrelevant, and this will result in students with widely different educational strengths.

E. With such a high-pressure learning environment, there are also a number of social aspects to schooling which need to be considered. The increased student workload cannot be covered in the classroom alone for the simple reason that there is not enough time in the average school week, and much of this extra workload has been pushed into the realm of homework. At its best, homework should be the opportunity to look in greater detail at what has been studied. In other words, to actually think about it and its relevance. The reality, however, is often very different. Concerned parents and overextended students are finding that homework is taking an increasingly large part of a student’s evening, cutting into time many feel should be spent as part of a child’s social education. Other social pressures have compounded the situation, as many of the areas of educating a young child which should be the responsibility of the parents have ill-advisedly become the school’s responsibility. Drug awareness and health issues, for example, are occupying an increasingly large part of the school day.

F. Many people believe that we should be teaching less, but teaching it better, and it is here that they think a solution can be found. Yet the process of rewriting a curriculum to incorporate only that which is essential but can be well learned would take far longer than most educational authorities have, and would be considered by many to be a ‘regressive’ step. Changes in the curriculum have largely been motivated by changes in the nature of employment, as job mobility demands that people know something about considerably more areas than were traditionally necessary. A little about a lot allows for the job mobility which has become so common. No matter what the final verdict may be, one thing is for sure – change will be slow, and not always for the best.

Questions 27 – 40

Questions 27 – 32

Choose the most suitable headings for sections A–F from the list below. Use each heading once only.

  1. A question of time
  2. Lack of teacher training
  3. Student success
  4. The argument for flexibility
  5. Importance of teaching experience
  6. Extra-curricular pressures
  7. The benefits of a varied curriculum
  8. Imbalanced focus
  9. Over-reliance on examinations
  10. Quality of quantity?
  1. Section A     Show answerX
  2. Section B     Show answerVIII
  3. Section C     Show answerIX
  4. Section D     Show answerIV
  5. Section E     Show answerVI
  6. Section F     Show answerI

Questions 23 – 37

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer?

In boxes 33 -37 on your answer sheet write

Write YES if the statement agrees with the writer
NO if the statement does not agree with the writer
NOT GIVEN if there is no information about this in the passage

  1. All classes are only 30 minutes long.     Show answerFALSE. The key to the answer here is in the qualifying words –  the text states ‘With classes sometimes only 30 minutes long’ , while the question states ALL classes.
  2. No subjects can be comprehensively learned without time to discuss and debate the facts.     Show answerNO
  3. Tests are a fair measure of ability.     Show answerNO
  4. Schools are trying to be responsible for too many aspects of a child’s education.     Show answerYES
  5. Future changes in the curriculum will improve the situation.     Show answerNO

Questions 38 – 40

Complete the summary below using words from the box from the text. Write the correct letter A-I in the boxes provided.

A. more discretion B. in detail C. differences in standards
D. the extra workload E. job mobility F. shorter classes
G. facts H. a regimented progression I. a weaker system

Too much emphasis is placed on learning (38)    . The modern school curriculum is largely a response to increased (39)    for which graduates are expected to have a much broader general knowledge. One potential solution to this could be to give individual schools (40)    regarding what is taught.

38. Show answerG (Facts)

39. Show answerE (Job mobility)

40. Show answerA (More discretion)

Show All correct answers

Once you have finished, check your answers then visit the IELTS band score converter to see what your band score would be.

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 1 Section 2

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 1 Section 2

Go back to Section 1 | Go to Section 3

This free IELTS reading test (Academic Module) has the same question types, content style, length and difficulty as a standard IELTS test. To get started simply scroll down to read the texts and answer the questions.

Free IELTS Academic Reading test 1 Section 2 Looking for more reading practice tests? Our online course has over 15 complete practice tests as well as end of lesson tests and reading texts used in the lessons.

When you have finished the test,make a note of the number of correct answers and move on to Section 3.

 

Section 2:

Holiday Blues

A. The holiday season has always been a cause for celebration around the world. The opportunity to take a break from work, be frivolous, go on holiday, meet family and friends – all good reasons to look forward to the holidays with enthusiasm and anticipation. Or at least that is what we are led to believe.

B. Research carried out in America suggests that these feelings of euphoria may be somewhat misplaced. A study recently carried out by New York University Child Study Centre has concluded that one in three people of varying ages suffer ‘holiday blues’ to varying extents, from a mild feeling of sadness to severe, sometimes even suicidal, depression. The effects can manifest themselves in many ways, such as an inability to sleep or sleeping too much, overeating or undereating, headaches or drinking too much. The report also concluded that not only are there a number of complex causes that can trigger such depression (psychological and biological), there are an equal number of opinions as to the best solution.

C. According to Dr Frank Pittman, a leading family psychiatrist, the most significant cause for holiday depression actually stems from our concerns about our family. During the holiday season, families meet, often for the first time since the last holiday season, and try to make these reunions ‘perfect’. In fact, says Pittman, we count on the holidays to compensate for the rest of the year. He himself comments that ‘I wanted to make up to the family for not having been a good enough father and uncle all year’. However, such good intentions are often thwarted by old family arguments, feelings of not being appreciated or being used, all of which result in holiday stress. It seems that the idyllic picture of our family we wish to build in our minds cannot be sustained in reality.

D.  Although Pittman holds family to be the source of much of the problem, others point to a more general social context. Gift shopping, for example, does not help reduce tensions – crowded shops, long queues, the pressure of choosing just the right present – all of these things contribute to a feeling of stress and anxiety. On the other end of the scale, there are those without family who experience a sense of extreme loneliness and isolation throughout this period, often spending the long holidays alone. Any feelings of inadequacy they may harbour throughout the year can often become unbearable at a time when friends are unavailable and enjoying an apparently cosy break with their loved ones. In fact, such is the extreme nature of this isolation that many organisations have been established to offer some help and support to those who feel most alone over what should be the ‘festive’ season.

E. Others, however, argue that more scientific explanations carry an equal weight in explaining holiday blues. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD as it is more commonly known, is also held responsible for winter depression. A natural reaction to falling levels of sunlight, the pineal gland secretes the hormone melatonin, which has the effect of slowing the body down. When days get shorter, more of the hormone is released causing sufferers to become lethargic and miserable. From being industrious people with plenty of energy, SAD sufferers find themselves increasingly weary and unable to sustain any prolonged activity, a situation which often leads to depression. In addition, for many people this has a major impact not only on their personal life but also on their professional life, as employers often see this lack of productivity in terms of laziness or unwillingness to work. As a result, SAD has been linked directly to the high rate of suicide in a number of Scandinavian countries during winter months, when there are often a few hours of sunlight a day.

F. The good news for SAD sufferers is that there is a cure, and as far as many medical cures go this is relatively simple. As the cause is lack of bright light, the treatment is to be in bright light every day. This can obviously be achieved by staying in a brightly lit climate, explaining why skiing holidays are so popular as they allow people to get plenty of sunlight as well as providing a stimulating activity. Another method is by using light therapy, in which patients sit in front of a lamp which acts in the same way as sunlight. To be more specific, the light should be about as bright as early morning sunshine, and the user should allow the light to reach the eyes for anything up to one hour a day in order to alleviate the symptoms. There are a number of companies currently manufacturing these lights as a health aid and they are even being prescribed by some doctors. In addition, they can be bought at considerably less than the cost of a holiday.

G. Whatever fundamental reason underpins holiday depression, it seems reasonable to argue that the phenomenon does indeed exist. Voluntary support services, offering counseling services to those who need the unbiased and friendly voice of a stranger to help them work through their unhappiness report a significant increased demand for their services during holiday periods such as Christmas and the New Year

 

Questions 16 – 26

Questions 16 – 17

Circle the correct answer A – C

16. Research has shown that
A we become more depressed during the holidays
B poor diet can lead to depression
C simple things can lead us to feel varying degrees of depression.

    Show answer A

17. Dr Pittman believes holiday depression comes from
A feelings of inadequacy
B being alone
C over-compensation.

    Show answer C


Questions 18 – 21

Answer the following questions using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the text.

  1. What is the chemical that can cause for lethargy in SAD sufferers?
    Show answer Melatonin
  2. Which area is identified as having a problem with the connection between suicide and reduced sunlight?
      Show answer Scandinavia OR Scandinavian countries
  3. What daily treatment can SAD sufferers benefit from?
      Show answerLight therapy
  4. For whom are the holiday periods the busiest time?
      Show answer Voluntary support services

Questions 22 – 26

Choose the most suitable headings for sections B–F from the list below. Use each heading once only.

I Family cures

II Addressing the problem

III Impact of personality

IV Psychological factors

V Biological factors

VI Avoiding stress

VII Manifestations of depression

VIII Depression in children

IX Pressures of the holiday period

  1. Section B       Show answerVII
  2. Section C       Show answer IV
  3. Section D       Show answer IX
  4. Section E       Show answer V
  5. Section F       Show answer II

Show All correct answers

Once you have finished, check your answers, then move on Section 3.