Category Archives: IELTS Reading (all)

Free IELTS General Training Reading test 3 Section 3

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Free IELTS General Training Reading test 3 Section 3

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This free IELTS reading test (General Training) 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 General Training 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.

Important notes before you begin this section of the test:

  • There is a box beside each question for you to write your answer
  • When you have finished (or after any question) click the ‘Show answers’ link to see the answer(s) and an explanation
  • When you have finished on this page, count the number of correct answers you have and make a note. When you have completed the full test, go to the band score converter to find out your approximate IELTS band score

 

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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) . 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

 

 Completed the reading test? Check your band score using the band score converter

 

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

 

 Completed the reading test? Check your band score using the band score converter

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 General Training Reading test 3 Section 2

Free IELTS General Training Reading test 3 Section 2

Go back to Section 1 | Section 3

This free IELTS reading test (General Training) 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 General Training 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.

Important notes before you begin this section of the test:

  • There is a box beside each question for you to write your answer
  • When you have finished (or after any question) click the ‘Show answers’ link to see the answer(s) and an explanation
  • This is a General Training Section 2, which means there is either two or three short reading texts that you need to use to complete the section
  • When you have finished on this page, count the number of correct answers you have and make a note. When you have completed the full test, go to the band score converter to find out your approximate IELTS band score

Section 2

Read the text below and answer the questions that follow.

Corbridge teacher training

Welcome to the Corbridge teacher training course. Please keep this guide with you throughout the course so you know the structure of what you are studying.

Week 1
In the first week, trainees are typically introduced to different teaching methodologies and styles as modelled by your trainers. This first week requires a significant amount of reading and discussion, but at this point you will not be expected to do any teaching.

Week 2
During your second week, classroom practice begins. At this stage you will be delivering short lessons to small groups of students. You will not be required to plan the lessons at this point, but you will be observed by your peers. You will also be expected to hand in your first draft of assignment 1 – a lesson plan (at this point you will still be permitted to use published resources).

Week 3
At this point comes an intensive study into grammar; although you may know which tenses and voice to use for each situation, you need to develop the ability to actually impart this information in a coherent and learnable manner. For many trainees, it can come as a surprise to find that they actually had no clear understanding of the mechanics of their own language, and this can be as difficult to learn as it is for non-native speakers! You will also be presenting to larger groups of students and will be formally marked on your classroom performance. The first assignment needs to be handed in to your teacher trainers.

Week 4
You will deliver five lessons to varying group sizes, ages and on different aspects of the language; each lesson will be monitored and your final grade based on how you are assessed.  You will also be required to hand in your second assignment. Remember that, unlike the first assignment, this assignment must be computer typed.

NOTE: Towards the end of the course, the numbers of lessons trainees have to deliver increases, as does the criticism of their performance. There is a high dropout rate from the third week as many people find the pressure of being assessed by their mentors and their peers too much to handle, and the rate at which trainees leave increases in the following week. If you are feeling under pressure it is important to talk to your teacher trainer immediately.

Questions 15-20

For which rules are the following statements true? Write the correct letter A-D in boxes 15 – 17 on your answer sheet.
NB You may use any letter more than once.

  • A. Week #1
  • B. Week #2
  • C. Week #3
  • D. Week #4

15. The first assignment must be completed.
Show answer

C (week 3) – “The first assignment needs to be handed in to your teacher trainers” (in Week 2 a draft needs to be submitted)

16. The first assessed teaching is done.
Show answer

C (week 3) – “You will also be presenting to larger groups of students and will be formally marked on your classroom performance”

17. Different ways of teaching are demonstrated.
Show answer

A (week 1) – “different teaching methodologies and styles”

Look at the statements below. In boxes 24 – 26 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

18. Assignment 1 can be hand written.
Show answer

True – “Remember that, unlike the first assignment, this assignment must be computer typed”.

19. The grammar training is easy for native speakers.
Show answer

False – “For many trainees, it can come as a surprise to find that they actually had no clear understanding of the mechanics of their own language, and this can be as difficult to learn as it is for non-native speakers!”

20. The fourth week has the most trainees quitting the course.
Show answer

True – “There is a high dropout rate from the third week …and the rate at which trainees leave increases in the following week”.

 

Questions 21-26 relate to the reading passage below.

Read the text and answer the questions that follow.

To all staff

Starting the 3rd of next month, there will be a number training sessions for all staff. Attendance at the first and second session is compulsory, as well as one additional session which you may choose from the remaining options.  Please note that seating may be limited so you should arrange with your supervisor which of the sessions you would like to attend.

Session 1: Dealing with complaints. Ms Weldgrove will be facilitating this session aimed at making sure that all staff are aware of current office policy regarding complaints.  There have been some incidents recently that have not been handled effectively so this session will focus on appropriate procedures when dealing with complaints. As this is a compulsory session, attendance will be high so we will be using the main conference room on the third floor.

Session 2: Company image. As you should all be aware, the company is changing its image and branding colours, and this is expected to be completed within the next month. This will require a number of changes to the logo, stationery and uniforms for front-of-house staff. Business cards will be changed, although this is expected to take a little longer. Mark Lorins has organised and will run this training session, focusing on what is expected from your during the changeover period. This will also be held in the conference room on the third floor

Session 3: Word processing suite. Gordon Sumner will be offering training in the new word processing software that is being installed in all departments over the next few weeks. There will also be a guest speaker from MacroSwift to introduce the new Visual Presentation software. The session will be in the computer room; there are 70 places available for this seminar so it is recommended you confirm attendance as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Session 4: Internal communication systems. This is more of a refresher course, in that Jane Williams will be running through policies and procedures for internal messaging that you should already be familiar with. She will be joined by Ruth Madocs from the HR department. Due to space requirements, this session will be held in the conference room in the Logan Hotel.

Questions 21-23

Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 21-23 on your answer sheet.

21. Staff…

  • A. must attend all sessions.
  • B. must attend only the first and second session.
  • C. do not have to attend if they make arrangements with their supervisor.
  • D. must attend 3 sessions.


Show answer

D – “Attendance at the first and second session is compulsory, as well as one additional session”

 

22. The first session…

  • A.is about how to make a complaint.
  • B. has been arranged because of previous problems.
  • C. will be held outside the company.
  • D. is likely to have few attendees.


Show answer

B – “There have been some incidents recently that have not been handled effectively so this session will focus on appropriate procedures when dealing with complaints.”

 

23. The third session…

  • A. is the only one to have two facilitators
  • B. will have 2 speakers from another company
  • C. is already fully booked
  • D. has limited seating


Show answer

 D – “there are 70 places available for this seminar”

Questions 24-26

Answer the questions below using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.

24. Which session will not be held in the company? 
Show answer

Session 4: “this session will be held in the conference room in the Logan Hotel.”

25. Which session will have two facilitators from within the company? 
Show answer

Session 4: “Jane Williams … joined by Ruth Madocs from the HR department” (session 3 has a facilitator from another company)

26. Which session is to prepare staff for future changes? 
Show answer

Session 2: “… changing its image and branding colours, and this is expected to be completed within the next month”

27. Which session is to discuss recent problems? 
Show answer

Session 1: “Dealing with complaints…. There have been some incidents recently that have not been handled effectively”

Show All correct answers


 

You have now completed Section 2. Take a note of the number of correct answers, then move on to Section 3.

Free IELTS General Training Reading test 3 Section 1

Free IELTS General Training Reading test 3 Section 1

Section 1

Section 2 | Section 3

This free IELTS reading test (General Training) 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 General Training 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.

When you have finished the test, click the ‘Finish quiz’ button. To see which of your answers were marked as correct or incorrect, click the ‘View questions’ button. When completed, move on to Section 2.

Section 1:


 

Dear Householder,

Request for unwanted but useful items for school jumble sale

As part of this year’s fund-raising event, Edgehill College will be holding a jumble sale on May 24th. All profits will be used to assist in funding of the new children’s play ground in the centre of town.

We are now requesting donations of unwanted but useful items of usable quality to sell on our jumble sale stalls. We would much appreciate donations in any of the following categories:

  • Clothes – Please place washed items in bags or boxes and mark them ‘For Men’, ‘For Women’ or ‘For Children’
  • Kitchenware – any items are of use (e.g. plates, cups, glasses, cooking utensils, kitchen equipment such as food mixers etc), currently in short supply.
  • Books– complete books (no missing pages), we are especially looking for children’s novels.
  • Miscellaneous – Ornaments, pictures, toys, games, handbags etc. Please place in boxes and write the names of the items inside clearly on the box.

We will also be collecting food which will be donated to the local homeless shelter. If you wish to make a food donation please provide tinned, dried or packet foodstuffs only.  Please do not donate food items that are likely to spoil.

If you are able to, please bring your donated items to the school reception (Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 3.00pm).  Otherwise, for larger loads, if you are unable to get to school, we can arrange for a member of the team to collect your items. Please ring 762 8894 and ask to speak to Mr William Taylor our School Liaison Officer who will arrange for one of our volunteer parents to pick up your donation.

On a final note, we are also still looking for additional volunteers to take care of stalls on the day of the jumble sale.  The event will take place between 9.30am and 2pm. If you are free on that day and willing to help out, please contact the Deputy Headmistress Mrs Jayne Browne on 762 8889.

Thank you in advance for your help and support. We look forward to seeing you on May 24th.

Best wishes
Karl Blackman
Headmaster


Questions 1-14

Read the information below and answer Questions 1-4

Match the pictures below to the appropriate statement. Write the correct letter A-D in boxes 1 – 4 on your answer sheet.

A. Should only be packaged in boxes.
B. The school does not have many of these items to sell at the moment.
C. Should be labelled in one of three ways.
D. The school wants more of these which would be suitable for youngsters.

IELTS General Training reading test

1.
Show answer

B – ‘Miscellaneous – Ornaments, pictures, toys, games, handbags etc. Please place in boxes and write the names of the items inside clearly on the box.’

2.
Show answer

C – Kitchenware – any items are of use (e.g. plates, cups, glasses, cooking utensils, kitchen equipment such as food mixers etc), currently in short supply.

3.
Show answer

D – Clothes – Please place washed items in bags or boxes and mark them‘For Men’, ‘For Women’ or ‘For Children’

4.
Show answer

A – ‘Books– complete books (no missing pages), we are especially looking for children’s novels.’

 

Questions 5-9

Look at the statements below. In boxes 5 – 9 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

5. The event is being held to raise money for school facilities.
Show answer

FALSE – ‘All profits will be used to assist in funding of the new children’s play ground in the centre of town. ‘

6. The school is collecting fresh fruit and vegetables to donate to a homeless shelter.
Show answer

FALSE – ‘If you wish to make a food donation please provide tinned, dried or packet foodstuffs only. Please do not donate food items that are likely to spoil.’

7. Items will be picked up by volunteers between 9.30am and 3pm.
Show answer

NOT GIVEN – ‘If you are able to, please bring your donated items to the school reception (Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 3.00pm).Otherwise, for larger loads, if you are unable to get to school, we can arrange for a member of the team to collect your items.’ – The text does not say when the items will be collected, only when they can be taken to school.

8. Mr William Taylor will make arrangements for items to be collected.
Show answer

TRUE – ‘Please ring 762 8894 and ask to speak to Mr William Taylor our School Liaison Officer who will arrange for one of our volunteer parents to pick up your donation.’

9. All helpers for the event are now confirmed.
Show answer

FALSE – ‘On a final note, we are also still looking for additional volunteers to take care of stalls on the day of the jumble sale. ‘

 


Examples of Books Available at Edgehill School Jumble Sale!

  1. A delightful children’s story suitable for those who have recently started to learn to read. The tale and illustrations follow the story of the heroic Sam and the friends he meets on his travels across Europe. Great fun for parents and children to enjoy together.
  2. A must for any art appreciator.  Informative historical accounts and full page illustrations based upon acclaimed Masters from France, Italy and Germany during the 19th and 20th Century.
  3. Young and enquiring minds will adore this book. Over 500 pages of information ranging from the field of science to history, geography and art. This special addition also includes end of chapter quizzes to check understanding.  A superb learning tool!
  4. Lovers of hiking and the great outdoors will appreciate this! It has lots of information on lesser known tracks for those wishing to escape the more usual paths and trails used by the masses. Enjoy this picturesque part of the country in solitude.
  5. A useful handbook for lovers of the great outdoors.  Informative regarding tips for lighting campfires, setting up and cooking. An up to date list of various places to stay throughout the country.
  6. An academic appreciation and comparison of inspiration in the past.  Exploration of art work in Egyptian and Greek culture and its significance in evolution of creativity.
  7. Stimulate your children’s natural curiosity and artistic flair – a wide range of subject matters are covered, from bird and wildlife – easy to follow steps from creative models and drawings to Plaster of Paris modeling and origami.

The list of book titles has seven story descriptions A-G. Choose the correct title for each book from the list of titles below. Write the correct number i-ix in boxes 10 – 14 on your answer sheet.

List of Book Titles
  1. A Guide to Walks in the Peak District
  2. The Children’s Guide to Bird-watching
  3. European Art
  4. Get the Most out of Camping
  5. Ancient Art
  6. The Children’s Encyclopedia
  7. Creative Pastimes for Children
  8. Mystical Egypt
  9. The Adventures of Sammy Swan


EXAMPLE Book A ix

10. Book B
Show answer

iii – ‘A must for any art appreciator. Informative historical accounts and full page illustrations based upon acclaimed Masters from France, Italy and Germany during the 19th and 20th Century.

11. Book C
Show answer

vi – ‘Young and enquiring minds will adore this book. Over 500 pages of information ranging from the field of science to history, geography and art. This special addition also includes end of chapter quizzes to check understanding. A superb learning tool!’

12. Book D
Show answer

i – ‘Lovers of hiking and the great outdoors will appreciate this! It has lots of information on lesser known tracks for those wishing to escape the more usual paths and trails used by the masses. Enjoy this picturesque part of the country in solitude. ‘
EXAMPLE Book E iv

13. Book F
Show answer

v – ‘An academic appreciation and comparison of inspiration in the past. Exploration of art work in Egyptian and Greek culture and its significance in evolution of creativity.’

14. Book G
Show answer

vii – ‘Stimulate your children’s natural curiosity and artistic flair – a wide range of subject matters are covered, from bird and wildlife – easy to follow steps from creative models and drawings to Plaster of Paris modeling and origami.

Show All correct answers

You have now completed Section 1. Take a note of the number of correct answers, then move on to Section 2.

Reading practice exercise

 

Reading practice exercise

Brush up on your reading skills with this short text and questions.

Note: The text is NOT full the length of a normal IELTS reading test – this is a shortened version for some quick practice! See if you can complete it under 10 minutes.


Read the text below and answer the 10 questions that follow:

 

Gifu castle is one of the most beautiful sight-seeing attractions in central Japan. The closest township is Gifu, which has a population of approximately four hundred thousand people and is the prefectural capital. There are several noteworthy places in the region, including Ozaki castle and Sekigahara, the site of Japan’s most famous battle, the Battle of Sekigahara (1603) a monumental victory for Ieyasu Tokugawa, the renowned warlord of Edo, now Japan’s capital city, Tokyo.

gifuIn order to ascend to Gifu castle, which is perched atop the seventy metre high Mount Kinka, there is a cable car or for the more athletic sight-seer there are many trails to the castle and museum. The shortest of these trails takes around one hour to reach the castle, at a steady pace. Walking the trails is not recommended during the winter months as the tracks can become slippery and dangerous.

The present day castle which was built with concrete and timber in the 1950’s, is based upon the 16th century building. It was governed and inhabited by the notorious warlord Oda Nobunaga, the most feared of all Japanese warlords who met a treacherous death near the modern day city of Kyoto in 1582, after one of his most trusted generals, Akechi Mitsuhide turned against him. Mitsuhide ordered the buildings of Honno-ji temple be set alight, forcing the great warlord Nobunaga to commit seppuku, the samurai form of suicide.

The castle consists of three levels and contains many displays of weapons, maps, military equipment, portraits of Nobunaga and other artifacts from the period. On the third level, for those without any fear of heights, there is an observation platform from which viewers can look out across the Nagara river valley towards the city of Nagoya.

There is a small cafe and restaurant providing light refreshments near the cable car entrance, a five minute walk from the castle.

Comprehension Questions (True or False)

1/. The present day castle was built in the sixteenth century.
Click here to show the answer

FALSE

2/. Akechi Mitsuhide governed Gifu castle.
Click here to show the answer

FALSE

3/. It takes about one hour to reach the castle on foot.
Click here to show the answer

TRUE

4/. Oda Nobunaga was killed in the Battle of Sekigahara.
Click here to show the answer

FALSE

5/. The population of Gifu is approximately 400,000 people.
Click here to show the answer

TRUE

 

Comprehension Questions (short answer – use no more than 3 words and/or a  number)

6/. Who betrayed Oda Nobunaga, forcing his death?
Click here to show the answer

Akechi Mitsuhide

7/. When did Oda Nobunaga die?
Click here to show the answer

1582

8/. When was the modern day castle built?
Click here to show the answer

In the 1950’s

9/. What is the capital of Gifu prefecture?
Click here to show the answer

Gifu City

10/. What can visitors see from the third floor beyond the river?
Click here to show the answer

Nagoya (City)

Matching questions in IELTS reading

Matching questions in IELTS reading

Matching questions in IELTS readingIn the IELTS reading test, matching questions come in 3 different forms. You could be asked to match a heading to a paragraph (this is covered in the Headings lesson), match two halves of a sentences or match cause and effect. This post will focus on matching sentence halves and cause and effect statements.

NOTE: This post does not cover classifying, which is a slightly different skill and will be covered in future posts.

Matching parts of sentences

Here’s an example of a matching exercises that requires you to match parts of a sentence.

1 This exercise is A. a common ‘matching’ question type.
2 Putting sentence halves together is B. a simple example of this question type.

The correct combination is:

1 – B

2 – A

Useful tip: When matching sentence halves, grammar and logic are important. If you are having difficulty finding the correct answer, begin by eliminating the options you think are wrong.

Practice by matching the sentence halves below. There is no text for this exercise – use the tip above to find the correct answers.

1 Further education is essential if … a … you are hoping for a good job.
2 Degree-level study and beyond … b … is part of building your English.
3 Good teachers … c … is a very useful tool in the job market.
4 The ability to speak English … d … should be self-funded.
5 Completing homework assignments … e … have good students.
Click here to see the answers
1=A, 2=D, 3=E, 4=C, 5=B

Matching cause and effect

Here’s a simple example of a cause and effect matching question:

1 University enrolment has increased a Specialised courses developed to train people.
2 Technology is increasing in the workplace b More competition for places.

The correct combination is:

1 – B

2 – A

Useful tip: Matching cause-and-effect sentences can be difficult as they often rely on reference words, they will not always be in the same sentence with a clear connecting word and there are many ways of expressing cause and effect (see here for a closer look at cause and effect constructions). When matching cause-and-effect questions, you will often find that the linking words and the grammar have been abbreviated, leaving almost note-form sentences. It often helps to build each cause or effect phrase into a complete sentence after you have
matched them. For example:

Question: University enrolment has  increased = more competition for places
Complete sentence: As a result of increased enrolment in university, there is now more competition for places.

 

Practice matching questions

Practice by reading the text below and matching cause and effect in the table that follows.

For many sufferers of dyslexia, the knowledge that they have this learning difficulty came too late to help. Having been through, and often dropped out of, the standard school system, they are left with a low sense of self-worth and the conviction that they are mentally below par. Yet in reality, dyslexics often have above-average intelligence. The problem, it appears, is that they have trouble translating language into thought and thought into language. The two-dimensional world of reading and spelling is a constant source of frustration, and those suffering from dyslexia need more time and help in reading and spelling. Undiagnosed, children see a difference between themselves and their peers but don’t know how to express it to others and continue quietly struggling to compete in a world for which their mind is not geared. Teachers and even other students push them to simply ‘try harder’ or ‘just concentrate and you’ll get it’.

Moving from childhood to adolescence, the situation becomes worse. Young teenagers are academically left even further behind, and this is often noticed by fellow students, an embarrassing situation for people already going through hormonal and biological changes. Anxiety and anger build from repeated failures, low school results and an inability to follow the flow of lessons that other students seem to comprehend with relative ease.

Motivation then becomes a problem as these young teens are mislabelled ‘lazy’, or ’emotionally disturbed’, and some schools then probe into the home life of a student in order to uncover causes for these problems. This inevitably adds pressure to an already tense situation.

Fear of humiliation combined with an unimpressive academic record often combines to discourage students from continuing to university or further education. For those that do pursue an academic path, they often find college just as hard, if not harder. Finding some solace in menial jobs which do not require the academic skills they could never master, many intelligent people with dyslexia never get to explore their true abilities and so are left with low self-esteem that follows them throughout their adult life.

1 Symptoms not recognised in childhood a Lack of ambition
2 Peer pressure b Feeling of inferiority begins
3 Incorrectly diagnosed c Chronic low self-confidence
4 Fear of further humiliation d Deeper investigation into the wrong areas
5 Never realising full potential e Additional stress at an already difficult age
Click here to see the answers
1=B, 2=E, 3=D, 4=A, 5=C
qualifying words

Qualifying word in IELTS reading

Qualifying word in IELTS reading

Qualifying word in IELTS reading

By now, you should be familiar with the idea of looking for key words in the question before looking for the answer in both the IELTS reading and listening test. However, a common reason for IELTS candidates to lose points is by not looking closely enough at qualifying words – words that modify the degree or amount of the main verb or noun.

Compare these two sentences:

  1. Every government believes that education is important.
  2. Most governments believe that education is important.

When you are looking for key words, you should have identified ‘government’, ‘important’ and ‘education’.

However, you should also have identified the qualifying words – in sentence 1, the qualifying word is ‘every’. In sentence 2, this has changed to ‘most’.

 

Now look at the TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN question below.

All governments feel that being educated is significant. 

If you were answering question 1 above (Every government believes that education is important), then the answer would be TRUE. However, if you were answering question 2 (Most governments believe that education is important) then the answer changes to FALSE, because it is not ALL governments, only MOST.

As you can see from the example above, qualifying words are particular important in TRUE, FALSE NOT GIVEN  questions, but they can also be important with other question types.

Here are some more qualifying words that are commonly used in the IELTS test.

  • virtually nil, an insignificant number, negligible, rarely
  • a few, a minority, a small number, occasionally
  • always, everyone, the entirety
  • all but a few, the majority, most, little doubt
  • nil, zero, nobody, absolutely none
  • roughly half, sometimes, neither one way nor the other, no particular emphasis either way

Now practice by reading the short text below and answer the questions that follow.

For most people, traditional forms of culture have little impact on their daily lives. Opera, fine art, classical literature – these are special events, not the common fare of the average household. Popular culture, on the other hand, dominates almost all of our leisure time. We are becoming a nation with very short attention spans, spending most evenings in front of the TV, with very few people making the effort of actually entertaining themselves.

 

Are the following statements TRUE (T) or FALSE (F)?

1 Traditional culture has no impact on our daily lives.

2 Popular culture dominates all our leisure time. 

3 Only a minority of people make their own entertainment. 
Check all three answers

1. FALSE – the questions says ‘no impact’, but the text says ‘little’

2. FALSE – the question says ‘all our leisure time’ but the text says ‘almost all’

3. TRUE – the question says ‘only a minority’, which is equal to ‘very few’

 

USEFUL TIP: In the writing test, using qualifying words to make your opinion less dogmatic (strong, or presented as absolutely 100%) can help improve your result. For example:

People on lower incomes never save money. This is too strong

People on lower incomes rarely save money. This is more academic as it allows for exceptions.

 

 

 

Reference words in IELTS reading

Reference words in IELTS reading

What’s wrong with this sentence?

Some people believe that a university education should be available to everyone as a university education will help with employment.

The problem here is that ‘university education’ has been repeated – the sentence would have been better presented using a reference word like this:

Some people believe that a university education should be available to everyone as this will help with employment.

Reference words (words that refer back to a previous word or phrase but without repeating it) are very common in IELTS reading, and can often cause some confusion. An important part of understanding a text is being able to identify the reference words and their relationship to other words, phrases or sentences in the passage.

Test your skills – what do the underlined words refer to? Choose the correct letter A-C.

Reference words in IELTS readingNew Zealand is becoming an increasingly popular destination for overseas visitors. It attracts tourists and people on business, but the vast majority come as students. Mostly from Asian countries, they stay for anything from a few weeks to a few years or more, studying at language schools, colleges and universities. New Zealand can offer good homestay accommodation, a clean and beautiful environment and a reasonable cost of tuition. These factors attract an ever-increasing number of overseas students, accounting for millions of dollars in revenue for New Zealand.

It refers to

(a) overseas

(b) New Zealand

(c) a popular destination

Show answer(B) – New Zealand

 

They refers to

(a) Asian countries

(b) tourists and business people

(c) students

Show answer(C) – students

 

These factors refers to

(a) accommodation, environment and reasonable tuition costs

(b) schools, colleges, universities

(c) increasing overseas students

Show answer(A) – accommodation, environment and reasonable tuition costs

 

Now try using reference words the other way round. What reference word could replace the underlined words?

  1. Professor Edwards has been lecturing for 16 years.
  2. Overseas students often find university courses difficult.
  3. The IELTS test is becoming increasingly popular.
  1. Professor Edwards … Show answerHe
  2. Overseas students … Show answerThey
  3. The IELTS test … Show answerIt

 

Tip 1: Subject or object reference words

Be careful – reference words can change depending on whether they are the subject or the object of the sentence. For example:

Overseas students often find university courses difficult.

  • They often find university courses difficult.
  • Overseas students often find them difficult.

Mr Smith works with Mr Jones every day.

  • He works with Mr Jones every day.
  • Mr Smith works with him every day.

 

Tip 2: Singular and plural

When talking generally, you may find that some singular nouns take a plural reference word. For example:

A teacher (singular) should always be prepared. They (plural) should also be punctual.
Tip 3: The dummy subject

Sometimes ‘it’ can appear in a sentence but it is not a true reference word – it doesn’t refer back to anything specific. This is called the dummy subject. For example:

It is commonly accepted that people with a higher education generally work in higher paid jobs.

In the sentence above, ‘it’ does not refer to anything specific, just the general situation.

Practice by reading the sentences below and deciding whether ‘it’ is used as a reference word or a dummy subject.

  1. Look at those clouds. It’s going to rain.
  2. Homework is essential. It allows students to review work they have studied in class.
  3. Admittedly, student depression is hard to investigate as few people are willing to talk openly about it.
  4. It can take up to four years to complete a degree.
  5. Otago is a very popular university. It was the first university in New Zealand.

 

1.  Show answerThis is a dummy subject

2.  Show answerThis is a reference word

3.  Show answerThis is a reference word

4.  Show answerThis is a dummy subject

5.  Show answerThis is a reference word

 

Now test yourself. Read the text below and decide what the underlined reference words refer to.

Academic overdrive?

Student life is becoming increasingly difficult. Not only are students expected to perform and compete within the class, but also to devote time and energy to extra-curricular activities as well as struggle with an increasing load of homework. The push to get into the top universities has caused many overachieving students to take on heavier workloads and more challenging classes.

This push, however, doesn’t end once students reach university. In fact, when they reach the top places they have worked so hard to get into, many students are forced to work even harder than they did in high school. Once in the top universities, the pressure is on to secure a place in the top graduate school. But it doesn’t end there. Once students have graduated with the best results, they find that they must continue to overextend themselves in order to secure the top jobs in their particular field. Such is the emphasis on academic success.

There are many who claim that this entire system is wrong because it puts too much emphasis on measuring achievement and not enough on true learning. This in turn has inevitable effects on the students themselves. In such a high-pressure learning environment, those that find the pressure overwhelming have nowhere to turn. In an academic world measured only by academic success, many students begin to feel a low sense of worth, yet they fear to turn to anyone for help as this would be perceived as a signal of failure, an inability to cope with that which other students appear to have no problem. This can be particularly hard for foreign students as they find themselves isolated without familiar cultural or family ties in their new environment and thus they concentrate solely on their work.

Perhaps the main thing to remember is that although it is important to study hard, school life should also be fun.

  1. This push refers to…… Show answerThe push to get into top universities
  2. They refers to…… Show answerOverachieving students (not just ‘students’)
  3. It refers to…… Show answerThe pressure
  4. There refers to…… Show answerAt top universities
  5. This refers to…… Show answerOverachieving / overextending / pressurised (system)
  6. Those refers to…… Show answerStudents who have overextended themselves
  7. This refers to…… Show answerThe situation where students feel depressed, have low self esteem, feel that they cannot talk to anyone

NB: Identifying the meaning of a reference word is not a question you will be directly asked to do in IELTS.