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IELTS Reading Practice Test 19

IELTS Reading Practice Test 19 - Pugilism, The Arctic, Electric Cars - answer keys with explanations and useful vocabulary

The old, print-friendly test

Pugilism

A
Pugilism, a word rarely used today, is another term for boxing, a combat sport and a martial art in which two people throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring. The term pugilism comes from the Latin word “pugil”, which means “a boxer”, and is related to the Latin word “pugnus”, which stands for “a fist”.

There is no conclusive evidence of where the practice of boxing comes from. The first known form of boxing seems to have prehistoric origins in present-day Ethiopia, where it presumably appeared in the sixth millennium BC. When the Egyptians invaded Nubia, they learned the art of boxing from the local population, consequently taking the sport to Egypt where it gained considerable popularity. From Egypt, boxing spread to other countries, including Greece, eastward to Mesopotamia, and northward, all the way to Rome. Archaeological evidence of ancient Greek boxing goes as far back as the Minoan and Mycenaean periods. Among numerous legends about the origins of boxing in Greece one stands out in particular. It says that Theseus, the founder of Athens, invented a form of fighting in which two men sat face-to-face and hit each other with their fists until one of them was dead.

B
All of this might sound like a barbaric pastime, but there is so much more to it than just two people trying to hit each other as hard as they can. Even back then, the sport had certain rules and regulations. The few rules of boxing in Ancient Greece that are known to us are mostly based on historical references and images. There were no holds or wrestling. Any type of blow with the hand was allowed, but no eye gouging. No ring was used, and there were no rounds or time limits. The fight would go on until one man was knocked out or admitted he had been beaten. Unlike the modern sport, there was no rule against hitting an opponent when he was down. There were no weight classes within the men’s and boys’ divisions; opponents for a match were chosen randomly. Although there is some evidence of kicks used in ancient Greek boxing, this remains a subject for debate among scholars.

Instead of gloves, Olympic boxers of the time wrapped leather thongs around their hands and wrists, leaving their fingers free. The earliest depiction of ancient boxing gloves in use comes in the form of a Minoan fresco from Thera (modern-day Santorini), which is commonly known as the Boxing Boys, and dates from around 1600 BCE. Eventually down the history road, further safety measures have been introduced to protect boxers from serious injury. The additions included mouthguards and headgear, along with revised rules governing the length of rounds and the conduct of the fight.

C
Boxing became an Olympic Games sport as early as 688 BC. This effectively meant boxing was one of the first sports added to the Games. Onomastus of Smyrna was the first winner in Olympic boxing. Despite the lack of rules and the tough nature of boxing at the Ancient Games, honour, respect, and fair play were always at the fulcrum of this noble art. At the time, the god Apollo was regarded as the inventor and guardian of the sport of boxing. Boxers in Ancient Greece who went down in history were revered as superheroes.

Boxing developed over time, with the pursuit of monetary gain becoming a significant part of the sport in England in the 17th century. Popular with the gambling crowd because of its brutality and spectacularity, it slowly evolved to become more civilised. Prizefighting was gaining popularity as well. Men were carefully trained to meet in the roped-off ring, usually marked out in a field. Fights went to a finish, that is, until one of the pair was unable to continue. The concept of modern boxing emerged around the mid-19th century in England. At that time, illegal fights were organized by matchmakers to win bets. Often, the police would come and break up the fights. In 1865, a journalist driven by his passion for pugilism wrote the rules of boxing, referred to as the Marquess of Queensberry’s rules. Among a total of 15 rules, it mandated the fighters to wear gloves, banned wrestling, and generally made this bloody sport more humane. Another thing to note is that it introduced certain standards and promoted sportsmanship.

D
Around the same time in the 19th century, the sport began to gain widespread popularity in the United States, where the first world championship fight was held in 1892. This marked the beginning of the “Golden Age” of boxing, where legendary fighters such as Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, and Muhammad Ali dominated the sport. By the 20th century, America had become the centre of professional boxing. The sport’s economic incentive rose as growing viewership brought larger purses and commercial success. The increasing popularity of boxing led to a rise in minority participation, with the first successful non-white champions coming at the beginning of the 20th century, despite severe racism plaguing their attempts to gain and hold championship titles.

E
Although predominantly a men’s sport because of its ruthless nature, women are not left behind. Women’s boxing has been getting increasingly more attention over time, with the first women’s boxing championship taking place in 1974. Women’s amateur boxing championship was first introduced at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Since then, it has become a regular part of the Olympic program, where women compete in three weight classes. It was officially recognized as an Olympic sport in 2012.

Women’s professional boxing has also grown in popularity in recent years, with many talented female boxers competing at the highest levels of the sport. Some of the most successful female boxers include Mary Kom of India, who is a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships, and Claressa Shields, who is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and the most successful American amateur boxer of all time.

Questions 1-5
Reading Passage 1 has five sections (A-E). Choose the most suitable heading for each section from the list of headings below.
Write the appropriate number (I-VIII) in boxes 1-5 on your Answer Sheet. There are more headings than sections, so you will not use all of them.

List of Headings
I Punching and Kicking
II Across the Atlantic
III Blessed by Heavens
IV Outnumbered, but not Outperformed
V Evolution and Recognition
VI Keeping it Civilised
VII The First Blow
VIII Gender Inequality

1 Section A
2 Section B
3 Section C
4 Section D
5 Section E

Questions 6-10
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 6-10 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

6 It is unknown what country boxing came from
7 Greeks were the first to come up with rules for boxing matches
8 No visual evidence of ancient boxing has survived
9 A certain deity was associated with the sports of boxing

Questions 10-14
Choose the appropriate letters A-C and write them in boxes 10-14 on your answer sheet.

10 Boxing in 17th century England
A was illegal.
B often had matches outdoors.
C made gambling more popular.

11 Marquess of Queensberry’s rules didn’t require fighters to
A wear certain equipment.
B treat opponents with respect.
C use wrestling techniques.

12 Boxing in the United States
A helped defeat racism.
B gave rise to many prominent athletes.
C made the sports more expensive.

13 What is said about female boxing in the passage?
A Women are less likely to be boxers
B It has gained more fans recently
C It is less violent

14 Which aspect of boxing has remained unchanged throughout its history?
A How opponents are matched
B The venues of fights
C Prohibition of certain fighting techniques

For this task: Answer keys :: Vocabulary

IELTS Reading Practice Test 18

IELTS Reading Practice Test 18 - Water Supply, Aviation, Weather Forecasting - answer keys with explanations and useful vocabulary

The old, print-friendly test

Running water

Does your house have a supply of water? What happens when you open the tap – does it hiss at you angrily or obediently provides you with the treasured liquid? If the latter is the case, then consider yourself lucky, because according to a recent United Nations report, there are over 2 billion people without access to drinking water – a figure that is nothing short of a humanitarian disaster. Is access to reliable water supply a fairly recent thing, then? Well, not at all.

The practice of storing water is almost as ancient as civilization itself. Archaeological findings indicate that the earliest examples of this took place around 6000 BC, or almost 8000 years ago, during the Neolithic period. People back then would dig makeshift wells — practically deep holes — and line their walls with material such as tree bark that would prevent water from escaping. The water could later be easily carried with buckets or pots. This saved a lot of time as opposed to going to the nearest lake or a river. One of the earliest known examples of a more sophisticated water delivery system originates from the ancient Indus Valley civilization. It was located in what is now modern-day Pakistan and India from around 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Indus Valley cities had complex systems of wells, reservoirs and channels used to supply clean water to their populations.

A system of water storage and supply that was more similar to what we use today comes from ancient Rome. Roman aqueducts were a remarkable engineering achievement that allowed citizens of Rome to have a reliable supply of clean water fit for many purposes. The aqueduct system consisted of a network of channels, tunnels and bridges that transported water from distant sources into the city using natural gravitational forces. The system itself is one of the most impressive engineering achievements of the ancient world. The first Roman aqueducts were built in the 4th century BC and were constructed using a combination of stone, brick, and concrete. The recognizable shapes of Roman aqueduct bridges have rounded arches and massive supporting columns.

Over time, the design of Roman aqueducts improved, growing in both scale and complexity. Some of the most impressive examples were built during the reign of Emperor Augustus in the 1st century AD. One of the most famous Roman aqueducts is the Aqua Claudia, which was built in order to supply water to the city of Rome. Named after Emperor Claudius, this aqueduct was over 44 miles long, with most of its structure located under the earth surface and some sections as high as 110 feet above the ground. To successfully transport water over a distance that long, the aqueduct used above-ground arches, which were built to span valleys and ravines. At its peak, the Aqua Claudia was capable of delivering around 200,000 cubic meters of water per day. It was used for a variety of purposes, including public baths, fountains, and private homes. The aqueduct also played a role in the development of Roman agriculture, as it allowed farmers to irrigate their fields and grow crops year-round.

A good example of development outside of Rome is the Pont du Gard. An impressive display of Roman engineering, it is considered one of the greatest surviving structures of the Roman Empire. The aqueduct consists of a series of arches that span the Gardon River, with the highest arches standing over 160 feet tall. The Pont du Gard was built using innovative materials, including a concrete-like substance called pozzolana, which was used to create both the arches and the water channels. The construction of the aqueduct was a massive undertaking that involved thousands of workers and it is estimated that it took around 15 years to complete. The aqueduct itself was in use for around 200 years, providing water to the city of Nîmes and the surrounding areas. Over time, the aqueduct fell into disrepair. During the French Wars of Religion in the 16th century it sustained some serious damage and since then could no longer be used. In the 18th century the aqueduct was partially renovated and became a popular tourist attraction. Today, the Pont du Gard is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a sightseeing destination for history enthusiasts who come to marvel at its impressive scale and engineering ingenuity.

Access to clean water has been a fundamental requirement for human survival throughout history and a basic human right to be upheld. Water is the lifeblood of our planet, a precious resource that sustains all life forms. Yet, as we progress through the modern age, the problem of access to clean water embarrassingly remains one of the most pressing issues facing humanity. It is a challenge that has far-reaching consequences, from the spread of waterborne diseases to the perpetuation of poverty and economic disadvantage. No matter how advanced the pumps and hydraulic systems we have if they can’t be put to good use. Overcoming these problems calls for collective effort, a commitment to invest in water infrastructure and to educate people about the importance of clean water and proper sanitation practices. Only so can we ensure that every person has access to this essential resource, and that we safeguard the future of our planet and all the life it sustains.

Questions 1-7
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

1 The practice of stockpiling water is thousands of years old
2 Even most primitive liquid containers required certain modifications
3 Aqueduct water transportation principle largely relied on a natural phenomenon
4 Ancient Romans were the pioneers of water supply systems
5 Water transported by aqueducts was reserved for practical applications only
6 Aqueduct planners found a way to traverse difficult terrain
7 Pont du Gard is still used for its intended purpose

Questions 8-13
Complete the summary below using words from the box. Each word can only be used once.

As time went on, Roman structures became increasingly 8 . Cities grew in size, so the 9 of water supply systems had to keep up. Newly-developed 10 found their use in constructing aqueducts. Pont du Gard, a world-famous aqueduct that still stands to this day, is a living reminder of Roman engineers’ 11 . Despite suffering greatly during one of the wars it was later 12 to everybody’s joy.

It is a well known fact that life is only 13 with water. Without it no biological form can survive for long, whether a man or an animal. Only through joint effort the issue of insufficient supply of fresh drinkable water can become a thing of the past.

Words for the gaps: expensive, materials, restored, scale, concrete, cities, size, amount, work, plan, ingenuity, complex, sustained, engineered, brought

For this task: Answer keys :: Vocabulary

IELTS Reading Practice Test 17

IELTS Reading Practice Test 17 - Haiku, Metallurgy, Singapore - answer keys with explanations and useful vocabulary

The old, print-friendly test

Haiku

Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry that typically consists of three lines and is used as a means of expressing emotions and capturing moments of life in a brief and impactful way. Haiku has a concise and minimalist format of verse that often focuses on nature, but can be applied to any subject matter.

During the Edo period, haiku gained popularity among Japanese poets. Matsuo Basho, a renowned haiku master, is credited with popularizing haiku as a standalone form of poetry. Basho was part of a group of poets known as the Haikai no Renga. This group was founded in the 16th century and concerned itself with poetry that was humorous and entertaining. Prior to him haikus were mostly a preface to renga, a collaborative poem, and referred to as hokku. After Basho’s death, other poets continued the haiku tradition, and it became a staple of Japanese literature. In the late 19th century, haiku was introduced to the Western world, where it quickly gained popularity as a form of poetry.

The most basic form of haiku consists of three lines that follow a specific syllable count of 5-7-5 for the first, second, and third lines respectively, coming to 17 syllables – the number original haiku poem has to adhere to. This syllable count is not meant to be limiting, but rather a guiding structure to create a concise and powerful poem. The idea of seasons is of great importance in haiku, and it often employs the use of seasonal words, or kigo, to indicate the season or time of year where the poem takes place. These words can be simple, such as “cherry blossom” for spring or “snow” for winter, or more abstract, such as “uncertainty” for autumn or “emptiness” for winter. The third and the last line of a haiku often contains a surprising or unexpected twist, known as a kireji or cutting word, which shifts the idea or deepens the meaning of the poem. This word can also create a sense of pause or separation between the two parts of the haiku.

Haiku proved to have significant influence on other schools of poetry. One of the major themes is its emphasis on sensory detail. Haiku-inspired poets often use vivid images to describe the world around them, from the sound of a frog jumping into a pond to the feel of a cool breeze on the skin, all through careful phrasing. This might be contrasted with the previously popular themes of inner monologue and emotional component that would be central to the work of poetry. Another impactful change was giving more attention to precise language. Because haiku must convey its message within a limited number of syllables, each word must be carefully chosen for its meaning and impact. Being frugal with words and using them sparingly contributes to a clearer vision of the message. In Western interpretation, one does not necessarily limit oneself to the original 17 syllables.

The scope of impact, however, was not limited to literature alone. Visual artists in the West have always been fascinated by the delicate balance of natural environment and its harmonious coexistence with humanity. Haiku, with its focus on nature and its spiritual essence has provided a rich source of inspiration for artists around the world. One notable example is Vasiliy Kandinsky, who was growing increasingly concerned with the elitism surrounding art and how it was distancing itself from the common folk through unnecessary complexity. He admired haiku’s sheer simplicity and how its core principles could find application in various forms of art, making it more accessible for everyone.

Haiku has also impacted the art of photography. Photographers have used the principles of haiku to create images that capture the essence of a moment. One famous example is Dorothea Lange’s photograph of a migrant mother and her children during the Great Depression. The photograph captures the sadness and desperation of the time and is a perfect example of how photography can be used to convey emotion.

Another noteworthy thing about haiku is that they were an integral part of the samurai’s existence. Samurai culture is known for its stoicism, honour, and respect; therefore, they were expected to maintain their composure in all circumstances and display their honour and courage through action rather than words. One of the many things a samurai had to learn was to compose haikus, which provided an outlet for the samurai to express their innermost thoughts and feelings. They were believed to strengthen their spirits, sharpen their minds and make the hardships of duty more bearable. Samurai poets mostly explored the concept of nature and death in their haiku poetry. Death in Samurai culture was not feared but celebrated. It was seen as an honourable end to a life lived with integrity and courage. Samurai poets wrote about death as an acceptance of the inevitability of life, celebrating life’s brevity and the transience of things, all of these perfectly reflecting the idea of haiku.

In today’s fast-paced world, haiku has become more important than ever. With so much noise and distraction, it can be hard to appreciate the simple beauty of the world around us. Haiku encourages us to slow down and take a moment to cherish the small things in life like the changing of seasons, the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset, and the simple pleasures of a walk in the park. So next time you find yourself idling in the park, give haiku a try. Remember that all you need to do is take your time, have a close look at things and people surrounding you, and sum it up in the frugal manner of 17 syllables.

Questions 1-6
Do the following statements agree with the information in Reading Passage 1? In boxes 1-4 on your Answer Sheet, write
TRUE if the statement is true according to the passage.
FALSE if the statement contradicts the passage.
NOT GIVEN if there is no information about this in the passage.

1. Haiku has not always been an independent phenomenon
2. Matsuo Basho is credited for having created haiku
3. The purpose of haiku particular syllable pattern is to inspire more evocative poems
4. Haiku rhyming pattern is different from traditional Western poetry
5. In traditional haiku the number of syllables cannot exceed 17
6. The theme of seasonality is pivotal in haiku

Questions 7-10
Complete the summary below.
Choose NO MORE THAN ONE WORD from the passage for each answer

Haiku appeals to the 7 aspect of human sensation, aiming to recreate visual or audial experiences and at the same time deviating from the previously focal 8 side of human life. Therefore the focus shifted from the internal world to that around us, the material objective reality. Another key feature of the Japanese verses was its strife for simplicity – partially due to its length, pushing the authors to brevity and concision. Stylistic direction of haiku prompted Kandinsky to reassess his approach to art and reduce its 9 , ultimately leading to him striving to make it equally 10 for regular people and connoisseurs alike.

Questions 11-13
Choose the appropriate letters A-C and write them in boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet.

11 Members of the samurai were encouraged to
A Display their courage
B Prioritise deeds over words
C Compose haiku poems

12 Haiku poetry and samurai culture are similar in that they
A Welcome hardship and struggle
B Focus on the theme of nature and death
C See death as a natural stage of life

13 Today haiku hasn’t lost its popularity
A because its message might be more relevant than ever before
B due to how effortless it is to compose
C as it focuses on the environment

For this task: Answer keys :: Vocabulary

IELTS Reading Practice Test 16

IELTS Reading Practice Test 16 - Mobile Phones, Glass, Monkeys - complete with answer keys, explanations and useful vocabulary

The old, print-friendly test

Reading Passage 1

It is in everyone’s pocket and we feel ill-at-ease when it is not. The ubiquitous mobile phone. The world of technology has come a long way since the first mobile phone was invented in 1973. Bulky and awkward to use at first to the sleek and powerful smartphones of today, the evolution of the mobile phone has been rapid and impressive. To celebrate its fiftieth birthday we will explore the history of mobile phones and how they have changed the way we communicate. We will also look at some of the most popular smartphones on the market today and how they are revolutionizing the way we interact with the world around us.

The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X was the first cellular phone that general public could buy. It was released in 1983, and it was also the first mobile phone to meet the FCC’s stringent requirements for mobile phone use. The phone was designed to be used with the Motorola Cellular Network, which was the first cellular network in the United States. It had a weight of 28 ounces, and it was 9 inches tall. It had a black and white LCD display, and it had a numeric keypad for dialing numbers. The phone had a battery life of up 30 minutes of talk time, and it could store 30 phone numbers in its memory. It also had a built-in speakerphone for hands-free conversations. Finally, it had an antenna that could be extended to improve reception, and came complete with a car charger compatibility. The phone was considered a luxury item at the time, and it cost around $3,995. It was a revolutionary device that changed the way people communicated and paved the way for the modern mobile phone.

The company that is credited to have made mobile phones affordable is Nokia. Contrary to popular belief, the company is not Japanese, but Finnish. The impact of Nokia on the mobile phone market has been immense. The company is responsible for introducing a number of innovative features, such as the first colour screens, the first mobile phone sporting a built-in camera, and the ability to access the internet. Nokia has also been instrumental in developing the technology behind 3G and 4G networks, allowing mobile phones to access high-speed data networks. Nokia has also had a major influence on the design direction in the industry. Its iconic Nokia 3310 was a huge hit when it was released in 2000 selling over 126 million units worldwide, and its appearance has been copied by many other manufacturers.

The most commercially successful mobile phone of all time is the renowned Apple iPhone. The iPhone was first released in 2007 and was an instant success. While it wasn’t the first smartphone, it introduced the concept of a multi-functional touchscreen that dominates the body of the phone with a minimal number of physical buttons. The idea of an app store where users could download thousands of apps redefined the industry of mobile software. The iPhone was so successful that it gave way to a whole new era of similar devices, and to this day it remains the dominant force on the market, shaping the phones of the future. It is no wonder that it has gone through over ten generations, each improving on almost every single technological aspect of the device. Small wonder that, largely thanks to the iPhone Apple became the most valuable company in the world.

The country that has the most cellphones per capita is the United Arab Emirates. This is mainly due to the country’s high disposable income as well as its strong infrastructure and connectivity. The UAE has been investing heavily in its telecoms sector, resulting in mobile networks and internet speeds that are among the highest. It has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world, with more than 200 million active subscribers, while also boasting the highest internet speeds. Finally, the UAE is a popular tourist destination that has millions of people visiting it every year. This means that the country has to keep up with the latest trends in mobile technology in order to meet the needs of its visitors.

Despite the indisputable advantages that cellphones offer, there is a number of drawbacks to be kept in mind. While many believe that one of the biggest risks is the radiation emitted by the gadget, statistics shows otherwise. People nowadays are too distracted to pay attention to their surroundings, which in some cases leads to serious injury or even death. The infamous “driving and texting” is the main culprit, leading to a staggering 1.6 million traffic accidents each year according to the National Safety Council. Another issue to consider is the increasing social isolation that mobile devices bring about. People nowadays prefer texting to face-to-face communication. Finally, with all the information such as credit card numbers and other sensitive data stored on our phones they potentially pose a very serious security threat – a fact that many people simply fail to realise.

Taking a look at today’s latest models, it is difficult to wrap your mind around what huge headway the technology has made. Modern devices are almost as powerful as full-fledged computers. The cameras can rival those of dedicated devices, the sound is crystal clear and the battery can last for days. Perhaps the real paradigm changer though is the fact how reliant we have grown on these little things and how much worse we would have been without them. It would definitely make us appreciate them more.

Questions 1-7
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 1-7 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

1. Initially, mobile phones were considerably heavier than they are now
2. The first mobile phone was sold in 1973
3. Motorola pioneered the mobile phone market
4. The USA was the first country to have cellular network coverage
5. Motorola DynaTAC 8000X could be controlled using voice
6. Motorola introduced phone cameras to the market
7. Mobile access to the internet was only made possible by iPhone

Questions 8 and 9
According to the text, which TWO facts are true about the iPhone?

A it was the first phone with a touchscreen
B it was first to offer downloadable software
C the phone was immediately accepted by the public
D the phone only had one button
E it is a trend-setter of the industry

Questions 10-13
Using NO MORE THAN ONE WORD from the passage, complete the summary

While mobile phones are indispensable in our daily lives they pose certain 10 to the user. Even though many argue that it is 11 emitted by the device, the facts point at something entirely different.
The truth is one might get too 12 when talking on the phone or sending messages which can potentially lead to very serious consequences. 13 concern is another thing to keep in mind as phones store lots of sensitive data that can be easily compromised.

For this task: Answer keys :: Vocabulary

IELTS Reading Practice Test 14

IELTS Reading Practice Test 14 - London Underground, The Pioneer Anomaly, Food of the Future - Answer keys with explanations, useful vocabulary

The old, print-friendly test

Reading Passage 1

A Brief History of London Underground

It is a staple of not just the capital of the UK, but of British culture in general. It is used by more than 1.3 billion people per year, and it is more than 400 kilometres long. It has survived fires, floods, terrorist attacks and two world wars, and it has been described as a “form of mild torture”, a “twopenny tube” and a system of “padded cells”. It is London Underground, and it has been around for more than 150 years. But how did it all start?

The idea of an intricate train network running underneath a vibrant and heavily populated city like London might not be such a novelty in contemporary society, but it certainly was one back in the early 19th century when it was first conceived. In fact, the only reason such a notion – at the time described by The Times as an “insult to common sense” – was even entertained in the first place was pure desperation: during the Victorian era, London roads were insufferably overcrowded, and a Royal Commission of 1846 meant that central London was out of bounds for railway companies, whose mainline railways all had to stop just outside the City and West End. A way to connect Paddington, Euston and King’s Cross was therefore a necessity to relieve the congested streets, and Charles Pearson, the man who originally envisioned a Fleet Valley rail tunnel just fifteen years after the first steam passenger service was opened in 1830, couldn’t have come up with his plan for what was to become London Underground at a better time.

And so the story begins, in 1863, with the opening of the Metropolitan Railway, which ran between Paddington (called Bishop’s Road at the time) and Farringdon, serving a total of eight stations. Five years later, in 1868, the first section of the Metropolitan District Railway (now incorporated into the District and Circle lines) followed, running from South Kensington to Westminster. Within the first fifty years, much of what is known as Zone 1 of the London Underground system today would be built, all funded by private developers. (Unfortunately for them, none would get the financial returns they had been promised.)

People nowadays might complain about the atmosphere in London Underground, particularly in the summer, but it is nothing compared to the conditions the Metropolitan Railway’s passengers had to weather during the first years of its operation. So foul was the smell in the tunnels that spread under the city that drivers were allowed to grow beards, in hopes that this would protect them from inhaling the billowing smokes. (According to the account of a civil servant from that time, the stink in the underground was comparable to that of a ‘crocodile’s breath’.) Nevertheless, the line was a smashing success from the very beginning, with more than 11 million passengers in just the first year.

The second spate of construction works arrived with the development of electric traction at the end of the 19th century, which meant that trains no longer had to run through shallow tunnels to allow room for the steam produced by the engines to escape. Instead, new tunnels could now be dug, cutting deeper into the belly of the city. The first deep-level electric railway was opened in December 1890 by the City and South London Railway, connecting King William Street to Stockwell. In the following fifty years, the existing tube lines would systematically be extended, branching into London’s various suburbs. Surprisingly, it would take until 1968 for an entirely new line to open again: the Victoria Line (provisionally named the Viking Line), which was followed by the Jubilee Line eleven years later.

As I mentioned above, London Underground’s first lines were built by private developers, meaning that each line was owned by different companies. This changed in 1933, when all of those companies were nationalised and merged to form the London Passenger Transport Board, which controlled London’s railway, tram, trolleybus, bus and coach services. (Coincidentally, 1933 was also the year the first diagram of the iconic Underground map was first presented by Harry Beck.) The London Passenger Transport Board itself was nationalised in 1948.

The next wave of changes came at the turn of the 21st century, and has continued to unfold well into its second decade: in 2003, the famous Oyster card was introduced – a wireless travel card that can be charged up with money to be used for single fares or weekly, monthly, and yearly travel tickets. Busking was also legalised the same year. In 2007, London Underground achieved its next important milestone, reaching 1 billion passengers per year, and in 2009 it was named the best Metro system in Europe. In early 2016, a new Crossrail line named after Queen Elizabeth II was announced, which is due to open in late 2018. This will be the first new line in nearly forty years. And the story goes on.

So, there you have it. The underground system that every Londoner loves to hate, but without which London never would have become the sort of financial hub and melting pot it is today. A history spanning across three centuries, all of which contributed to the creation of not just a transport system, but a unique, daring brand, and a cultural phenomenon the likes of which the world had never seen before. Perhaps it is, as its critics contend, too busy, too hot, too pricey and too grimy. But it is also a remarkable achievement, for Londoners and non-Londoners alike, and it should be treasured regardless of its shortcomings.

Questions 1-6
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
Write
TRUE if the statement is true according to the passage
FALSE if the statement is false according to the passage
NOT GIVEN if the information is not given in the passage

1 More than a billion commuters use London Underground every day.
2 London Underground would not be considered a unique concept were it to be build today.
3 In the 19th century, railway companies were not allowed to build stations within central London.
4 Charles Pearson’s London Underground plan was a precursor of his Fleet Valley rail tunnel idea.
5 The first section of the Metropolitan District Railway, opened in 1868, took five years to complete.
6 The British government promised great financial returns to private investors to convince them to fund London Underground.

Questions 7-10
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

7 During the first year of its operation, the Metropolitan Railway
A encouraged passengers to grow beards to block the smell.
B was not particularly successful.
C had more than 11 million passengers.
D was as bad as it is nowadays during the summer months.

8 At the end of the 19th century,
A London Underground stopped using shallow tunnels.
B a new London Underground line was completed.
C a new method of moving trains with electricity was invented.
D the City and South London railway was established.

9 The Victoria Line
A was originally named the Viking Line.
B was the first London Underground line to use electric traction.
C was the fourth London Underground line to be built.
D was built more than 70 years after its successor.

10 The London Passenger Transport Board
A replaced the private companies that previously owned London Underground.
B released the first diagram of the Underground map in 1933.
C was established by private developers.
D controlled all of London’s transport services.

Questions 11-13
Complete the sentences below.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from Reading Passage 2 for each answer.

11 Since 2003, London commuters have been able to listen to in and outside London Underground stations.
12 London Underground not only attracted a lot of business to London, but also helped it to become a .
13 London Underground does have its but it’s still a unique and important cultural phenomenon.

For this task: Answer keys :: Vocabulary

IELTS Reading Practice Test 13

IELTS Reading Practice Test 13 - Dystopia literature for young adults, Plant Wars, Deafhood - answer keys with explanations and useful vocabulary

The old, print-friendly test

Reading Passage 1

A Recent years have seen a barrage of dystopian Young Adult novels grow in popularity almost overnigh t- from The Hunger Games to The Maze Runner, Divergent, and The Knife of Never Letting Go. These novels, set in postapocalyptic, totalitarian or otherwise ruthless and dehumanising worlds, have gained such momentum that the trend has seeped into the film and TV industry as well, with multimillion dollar movie adaptations and popular TV series gracing the big and small screen. But what is it about dystopian stories that makes them so appealing to readers and audiences alike?

B Dystopias are certainly nothing new. The word “dystopia” itself, meaning “bad place” (from the Greek dys and topos), has been around since at least the 19th century, and Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) and Orwell’s 1984 (1949), commonly regarded as the first dystopian novels that fit firmly into the genre, were published more than 75 years ago. Even the first YA dystopian novel is older than 20 – Lois Lawry’s The Giver, which came out in 1993. While these are individual examples from previous decades, however, one would be hard-pressed to find a YA shelf in any bookstore nowadays that isn’t stocked with dozens of dystopian titles.

C According to film critic Dana Stevens, it is the similarities that can be drawn between dystopian settings and the daily lives of teenagers that make YA dystopian stories so captivating: the high school experience involves the same social structure as the Hunger Games arena, for example, or the faction-divided world of Divergent. Teenagers might not literally have to fight each other to the death or go through horrendous trials to join a virtue-based faction for the rest of their lives, but there’s something in each story that connects to their own backgrounds. The “cutthroat race for high school popularity” might feel like an “annual televised fight”, and the pressure to choose a clique at school bears a strong resemblance to Tris’s faction dilemma in Divergent.

D Justin Scholes’s and Jon Ostenson’s 2013 study reports similar findings, identifying themes such as “inhumanity and isolation”, the struggle to establish an identity and the development of platonic and romantic relationships as alluring agents. Deconstructing a score of popular YA dystopian novels released between 2007-2011, Scholes and Ostenson argue that the topics explored by dystopian literature are appealing to teenagers because they are “an appropriate fit with the intellectual changes that occur during adolescence”; as teenagers gradually grow into adults, they develop an interest in social issues and current affairs. Dystopian novels, according to author and book critic Dave Astor, feel honest in that regard as they do not patronise their readers, nor do they attempt to sugar-coat reality.

E All of this still does not explain why this upsurge in YA dystopian literature is happening now, though. Bestselling author Naomi Klein, offers a different explanation: the dystopian trend, she says, is a “worrying sign” of times to come. What all these dystopian stories have in common is that they all assume that “environmental catastrophe” is not only imminent, but also completely inevitable. Moral principles burgeon through these works of fiction, particularly for young people, as they are the ones who will bear the brunt of climate change. Young Adult author Todd Mitchell makes a similar point, suggesting that the bleak futures portrayed in modern YA literature are a response to “social anxiety” brought forth by pollution and over-consumption.

F The threat of natural disasters is not the only reason YA dystopian novels are so popular today, however. As author Claudia Gray notes, what has also changed in recent years is humanity’s approach to personal identity and young people’s roles in society. Adolescents, she says, are increasingly dragooned into rigid moulds through “increased standardised testing, increased homework levels, etc.” YA dystopian novels come into play because they present protagonists who refuse to be defined by someone else, role models who battle against the status quo.

G So, how long is this YA dystopian trend going to last? If The Guardian is to be believed, it’s already been replaced by a new wave of “gritty” realism as seen in the likes of The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. Profits have certainly dwindled for dystopian film franchises such as Divergent. This hasn’t stopped film companies from scheduling new releases, however, and TV series such as The 100 are still on air. Perhaps the market for dystopian novels has stagnated – only time will tell. One thing is for certain, however: the changes the trend has effected on YA literature are here to stay.

Questions 1-7
Reading Passage 1 has seven paragraphs, labelled A-G. Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A-G from the list of headings below.

List of Headings
I Teens are increasingly urged to conform
II The dystopian model scrutinised
III Dystopian novels now focus on climate change
IV The original dystopias
V Dystopian literature’s accomplishments will outlive it
VI A score of dystopian novels has taken over YA shelves
VII The roots of dystopia can be found in teenage experiences
VIII Dystopia is already dead
IX Dystopias promote ethical thinking

1 Paragraph A
2 Paragraph B
3 Paragraph C
4 Paragraph D
5 Paragraph E
6 Paragraph F
7 Paragraph G

Questions 8-12
Answer the questions below with words taken from Reading Passage 1. Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.
8 According to the writer, what was the first dystopian novel?
9 According to the writer, which author initiated the YA dystopian genre?
10 How does Dave Astor describe dystopian novels?
11 According to Naomi Klein, which element is present in all dystopian novels?
12 According to Claudia Gray, things like increased standardised testing and homework levels are a threat to what?

Question 13
Choose the correct Letter, A, B, C or D.

13 Which is the best title for Reading Passage 1?
A A history of YA dystopian literature
B The wane of the dystopian phenomenon
C How dystopian fiction has shaped the world
D The draw of YA dystopian fiction

For this task: Answer keys :: Vocabulary

IELTS Reading Practice Test 12

IELTS Reading Practice Test 12 - Synaesthesia, Tamam Shud, Coinage - answers keys with explanations and useful vocabulary

The old, print-friendly test

Reading Passage 1

Synaesthesia

A Imagine a page with a square box in the middle. The box is lined with rows of the number 5, repeated over and over. All of the 5s are identical in size, font and colour, and equally distributed across the box. There is, however, a trick: among those 5s, hiding in plain sight is a single, capital letter S. Almost the same in shape, it is impossible to spot without straining your eyes for a good few minutes. Unless, that is, you are a grapheme-colour synaesthete – a person who sees each letter and number in different colours. With all the 5s painted in one colour and the rogue S painted in another, a grapheme-colour synaesthete will usually only need a split second to identify the latter.

B Synaesthesia, loosely translated as “senses coming together” from the Greek words syn (“with”) and aesthesis (“sensation”), is an interesting neurological phenomenon that causes different senses to be combined. This might mean that words have a particular taste (for example, the word “door” might taste like bacon), or that certain smells produce a particular colour. It might also mean that each letter and number has its own personality – the letter A might be perky, the letter B might be shy and self-conscious, etc. Some synaesthetes might even experience other people’s sensations, for example feeling pain in their chest when they witness a film character get shot. The possibilities are endless: even though synaesthesia is believed to affect less than 5% of the general population, at least 60 different combinations of senses have been reported so far. What all these sensory associations have in common is that they are all involuntary and impossible to repress, and that they usually remain quite stable over time.

C Synaesthesia was first documented in the early 19th century by German physician Georg Sachs, who dedicated two pages of his dissertation on his own experience with the condition. It wasn’t, however, until the mid-1990s that empirical research proved its existence, when Professor Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues used fMRls on six synaesthetes and discovered that the parts of the brain associated with vision were active during auditory stimulation, even though the subjects were blindfolded.

D What makes synaesthesia a particularly interesting condition is that it isn’t an illness at all. If anything, synaesthetes often report feeling sorry for the rest of the population, as they don’t have the opportunity to experience the world in a multisensory fashion like they do. Very few drawbacks have been described, usually minimal: for instance, some words might have an unpleasant taste (imagine the word “hello” tasting like spoilt milk), while some synaesthetes find it distressing when they encounter people with names which don’t reflect their personality (imagine meeting a very interesting person named “Lee”, when the letter E has a dull or hideous colour for you – or vice versa). Overall, however, synaesthesia is widely considered more of a blessing than a curse and it is often linked to intelligence and creativity, with celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Pharrell Williams claiming to have it.

E Another fascinating side of synaesthesia is the way it could potentially benefit future generations. In a 2013 study, Dr Witthoft and Dr Winawer discovered that grapheme-colour synaesthetes who had never met each other before experienced strikingly similar pairings between graphemes and colours-pairings which were later traced back to a popular set of Fischer-Price magnets that ten out of eleven participants distinctly remembered possessing as children. This was particularly peculiar as synaesthesia is predominantly considered to be a hereditary condition, and the findings suggested that a synaesthete’s environment might play a determining role in establishing synaesthetic associations. If that was true, researchers asked, then might it not be possible that synaesthesia can actually be taught?

F As it turns out, the benefits of teaching synaesthesia would be tremendous. According to research conducted by Dr Clare Jonas at the University of East London, teaching people to create grapheme-colour associations the same way as a synaesthete may have the possibility to improve cognitive function and memory. As she put it, ‘one possibility is guarding against cognitive decline in older people – using synaesthesia in the creation of mnemonics to remember things such as shopping lists.’ To that end, researchers in the Netherlands have already begun developing a web browser plug-in that will change the colours of certain letters. Rothen and his colleagues corroborate the theory: in a paper published in 2011, they suggest that synaesthesia might be more than a hereditary condition, as the non-synaesthetic subjects of their study were able to mimic synaesthetic associations long after leaving the lab.

G There is obviously still a long way to go before we can fully understand synaesthesia and what causes it. Once we do, however, it might not be too long before we find out how to teach non-synaesthetes how to imitate its symptoms in a way that induces the same benefits 4.4% of the world’s population currently enjoy.

Questions 1-7
The reading passage has 7 paragraphs, A-G. Which paragraph contains the following information?
1 some of the disadvantages related to synaesthesia
2 what scientists think about synaesthesia’s real-life usefulness
3 a prediction for the future of synaesthesia
4 an example of how grapheme-colour synaesthesia works
5 a brief history of synaesthesia
6 some of the various different types of synaesthesia
7 information about a study that suggests synaesthetic symptoms aren’t arbitrary

Questions 8-11
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
Write
TRUE if the statement is true according to the passage
FALSE if the statement is false according to the passage
NOT GIVEN if the information is not given in the passage

8 There are 60 different types of synaesthesia.
9 Before Professor Simon Baron-Cohen’s research, synaesthesia was thought to be a myth.
10 A lot of celebrities are affected by synaesthesia.
11 Most scientists believe that synaesthesia runs in families.

Questions 12-14
Complete the summary.
Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Synaesthesia is a unique neurological condition that causes different senses to get mixed. Recent research has suggested that teaching synaesthesia to non-synaesthetes can enhance 12 and guard against the deterioration of cognitive 13 ; unfortunately, it might be a while before we come up with a beneficial way to 14 it to the general population.

For this task: Answer keys :: Vocabulary

IELTS Reading Practice Test 11

IELTS Reading Practice Test 11 - Falling Cats, Sleep Paralysis, Bee Kingdom - with answers, explanations and helpful vocabulary

The old, print-friendly test

Reading Passage 1

Its raining cats and …

Since ancient times, people have marvelled at the fact that cats always manage to land on all four paws, no matter what height they fall from. It took scientists a considerable amount of research to explain this phenomenon. Only with the advancement of photography was it possible to find a plausible explanation when, at the end of the nineteenth century, French physiologist Marei took pictures of falling cats in different stages of their descent. These pictures were later presented to the Academy of Science for further examination. Specifically, it was ascertained that the cat’s tail, which was previously believed to play an important role in the phenomenon, doesn’t help in any way. The latter was proven by a series of experiments with tailless animals.

Having debunked the first myth, the scientists assumed that cats somehow push off from the experimenter’s hands to gain momentum, which allows them to change body position in midair. This technique is somewhat similar to what springboard athletes use. This proposition, however, got rejected as well, proven wrong by a series of photoshoots. Cats were able to alter their body position even when simply thrown. At the beginning of the twentieth century, it became clear that they are able to do so by actively moving their paws and entire body.

At the beginning of their fall, a cat moves its body so that the front half is turned to the right. This way, the front limbs are moved closer to their head while the rear extremities are drawn as far as they can. Right after that, the cat bends its rear opposite to its front. It all means that a cat directs its front body part towards the ground, being able to clearly see what spot to choose for landing. They part their rear extremities to compensate for the inertia of their front and rear body. Finishing their landing, the feline extends its front limbs, stopping the body from rotating. As the rear extremities gradually reach their final position, the cat assumes a stance to ground with no harm to itself.

It was also established that if a cat is dropped with its limbs pressed to the body, it is unable to turn itself upright and land on its feet. As the technology of photo shooting advanced, it became possible to observe the process in more detail. Among other findings, it was noted that if a cat is propelled upwards with its paws facing up, it will keep that stance until reaching the peak of the ascent, at which point it will then start to turn.

Scientists have also observed how a cat’s fall is affected by its sense organs. If the cat is blindfolded, then it will display lower proactivity during the fall. It looks rather odd and awkward, and if the cat in question is put in a spinner prior to being thrown, then it confuses up and down, landing on its back. Interestingly, the absence of hearing has no apparent impact on the way the cat acts while falling.

Another question on everyone’s mind is how cats manage to stay alive after falling from great heights. The answer to this is rather simple: a cat weighs much less than a human, and at the same time, it has greater aerodynamic drag, resulting in a rate of fall of about 17 metres per second. To give you an idea of how fast or slow that is, a parachute jumper will reach a velocity of almost 50 metres per second. What is more surprising though is that a cat falling off a higher altitude has more chances to stay alive, supposedly because it relaxes its muscles mid-fall, spreading its body to create better aerodynamic resistance.

Some people have tried to imitate the movements of a falling cat to land upright. One of the daring ones was a high-board diver and Olympic champion, Brian Phelps. As it turned out, it took the highly-trained man 0.3 seconds to do what cat manages to do in just 0.12. Phelps managed to turn his body upright midair after being propelled with his belly pointing down. No other person managed to reproduce said trick.

Questions 1-3
Complete the summary.
Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Cat’s ability to land on all fours has always fascinated people. It was only with a breakthrough in 1 that scientists succeeded in solving this mistery. The picture of a cat in the state of 2 helped to study the phenomenon in more detail. One of the interesting findings was that cat’s 3 plays no role in aiding it to turn upright.

Questions 4-8
Complete the flow-chart
Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer
Falling cat flowchart
4
5
6
7
8
Questions 9-13
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2?
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

9. Cats always land on all fours.
10. Cat’s aural abilities have no impact on successful landing.
11. Even the biggest of falls leave cats uninjured.
12. Longer falls increase cat’s chances to land on four legs.
13. No man managed to successfully reproduce cat’s landing technique.

For this task: Answer keys :: Vocabulary

IELTS Reading Practice Test 10

IELTS-reading-practice-test-10

The old, print-friendly test

Reading Passage 1

Finding the Lost Freedom

1. The private car is assumed to have widened our horizons and increased our mobility. When we consider our children’s mobility, they can be driven to more places (and more distant places) than they could visit without access to a motor vehicle. However, allowing our cities to be dominated by cars has progressively eroded children’s independent mobility. Children have lost much of their freedom to explore their own neighbourhood or city without adult supervision. In recent surveys, when parents in some cities were asked about their own childhood experiences, the majority remembered having more, or far more, opportunities for going out on their own, compared with their own children today. They had more freedom to explore their own environment.

2. Children’s independent access to their local streets may be important for their own personal, mental and psychological development. Allowing them to get to know their own neighborhood and community gives them a “sense of place”. This depends on “active exploration”, which is not provided for when children are passengers in cars. (Such children may see more, but they learn less.) Not only is it important that children be able to get to local play areas by themselves, but walking and cycling journeys to school and to other destinations provide genuine play activities in themselves.

3. They are very significant time and money costs for parents associated with transporting their children to school, sport and other locations. Research in the United Kingdom estimated that this cost, in 1990, was between 10 billion and 20 million pounds. (AIPPG)

4. The reduction in children’s freedom may also contribute to a weakening of the sense of local
community. As fewer children and adults use the streets as pedestrians, these streets become less sociable places. There is less opportunity for children and adults to have the spontaneous of community. This in itself may exacerbate fears associated with assault and molestation of children, because there are fewer adults available who know their neighbours’ children, and who can look out for their safety.

5. The extra traffic involved in transporting children results in increased traffic congestion, pollution and accident risk. As our roads become more dangerous, more parents drive their children to more places, thus contributing to increased levels of danger for the remaining pedestrians. Anyone who has experienced either the reduced volume of traffic in peak hour during school holidays, or the traffic jams near schools at the end of a school day, will not need convincing about these points. Thus, there are also important environmental implications of children’s loss of freedom.

6. As individuals, parents strive to provide the best upbringing they can for their children.
However, in doing so, (e.g. by driving their children to sport, school or recreation) parents may be contributing to a more dangerous environment for children generally. The idea that “streets are for cars and back yards and playgrounds are for children” is a strongly held belief, and parents have little choice as individuals but to keep their children off the streets if they want to protect their safety.

7. In m any parts of Dutch cities, and some traffic calmed precincts in Germany, residential streets are now places where cars must give way to pedestrians. In these areas, residents are accepting the view that the function of streets is not solely to provide mobility for cars. Streets may also be for social interaction, walking, cycling and playing. One of the most important aspects of these European streets, in terms of giving cities back to children, has been a range of “traffic calming” initiatives, aimed at reducing the volume and speed of traffic. These initiatives have had complex interactive effects, leading to a sense that children have been able to do this in safety. Recent research has demonstrated that children in m any German cities have significantly higher levels of freedom to travel to places in their own neighbourhood or city than children in other cities in the world.

8. Modifying cities in order to enhance children’s freedom will not only benefit children. Such cities will become more environmentally sustainable, as well as more sociable and more livable for all city residents. Perhaps, it will be our concern for our children’s welfare that convinces us that we need to challenge the dominance of the car in our cities.

Questions 1-5
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Section 1? 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

1 The private car has helped children have more opportunities to learn.
2 Children are more independent today than they used to be.
3 Walking and cycling to school allows children to learn more.
4 Children usually walk or cycle to school.
5 Parents save time and money by driving children to school.

Questions 6-9
In Paragraph FOUR and FIVE there are FOUR problems stated . These problems are numbered as questions 6-9. Find the correct cause for each of the problems and write the corresponding letter A-G. There are more causes than problems so you will not use all of them. You may use any cause MORE THAN ONCE.

Problems
Example:low sense of community feeling  Answer:F

6 streets become less sociable
7 fewer chances for meeting friends
8 fears of danger for children
9 higher accident risk

Causes
A few adults know local children
В fewer people use the streets
C increased pollution
D streets are less friendly
E less traffic in school holidays
F reduced freedom for children
G more children driven to school

Questions 10-14
Complete the sentences. Choose the correct ending for each statement.
Endings are numbered I-X.
Example:By driving children to school, parents help create… Answer: I

10 Children should play
11 In some German towns, pedestrians have right of way in
12 Streets should also be used for
13 Reducing the amount of traffic and the speed is
14 All people who live in the city will benefit if cities are

… a dangerous environment
II … modified
III … residential streets
IV … modifying cities
…neighborhoods
VI … socializing
VII … in backyards
VIII … for cars
IX … traffic calming
… residential

For this task: Answer keys

IELTS Reading Practice Test 9

IELTS-reading-practice-test-9

The old, print-friendly test

Reading Passage 1

Questions 1-13
The History of Bicycle

The bicycle was not invented by one individual or in one country. It took nearly 100 years and many individuals for the modern bicycle to be born. By the end of those 100 years, bicycles had revolutionised the way people travel from place to place.

Bicycles first appeared in Scotland in the early 1800s, and were called velocipedes. These early bicycles had two wheels, but they had no pedals. The rider sat on a pillow and walked his feet along the ground to move his velocipede forward.

Soon a French inventor added pedals to the front wheel. Instead of walking their vehicles, riders used their feet to run the pedals. However, pedalling was hard because velocipedes were very heavy. The framework was made of solid steel tubes and the wooden wheels were covered with steel. Even so, velocipedes were popular among rich young men, who raced them in Paris parks.

Because of the velocipedes were so hard to ride, no one thought about using them for transportation. People didn’t ride velocipedes to the market or to their jobs. Instead, people thought velocipedes were just toys.

Around 1870, American manufacturers saw that velocipedes were very popular overseas. They began building velocipedes, too, but with one difference. They made the frameworks from hollow steel tubes. This alteration made velocipedes much lighter, but riders still had to work hard to pedal just a short distance. In addition, roads were bumpy so steering was difficult. In fact, most riders preferred indoor tracks where they could rent a velocipede for a small fee and take riding lessons.

Subsequent changes by British engineers altered the wheels to make pedalling more efficient. They saw that when a rider turned the pedals once, the front wheel turned once. If the front wheel was small, the bicycle travelled just a small distance with each turn. They reasoned that if the front wheel were larger, the bicycle would travel a greater distance. So they designed a bicycle with a giant front wheel. They made the rear wheel small. Its primary purpose was to help the rider balance. Balancing was hard because the rider had to sit high above the giant front wheel in order to reach the pedals. This meant he was in danger of falling off the bicycle and injuring himself if he lost his balance. Despite this inherent danger, “high-wheelers” became very popular in England.

American manufacturers once again tried to design a better bicycle. Their goal was to make a safer bicycle. They substituted a small wheel for the giant front wheel and put the driving mechanism in a larger rear to wheel. It would be impossible for a rider to pedal the rear wheel, so engineers designed a system of foot levers. By pressing first the right one and then the left, the rider moved a long metal bar up and down. This bar turned the rear axle. This axle turned the rear wheel and the bicycle minimised the dangers inherent in bicycle riding, more and more people began using bicycles in their daily activities.

The British altered the design one last time. They made the two wheels equal in size and created a mechanism that uses a chain to turn the rear wheel. With this final change, the modern bicycle was born.

Subsequent improvements, such as brakes, rubber tires, and lights were added to make bicycles more comfortable to ride. By 1900, bicycle riding had become very popular with men and women of all ages. Bicycles revolutionised the way people worldwide ride bicycles for transportation, enjoyment, sport, and exercise.

Questions 1-6
Complete the sentences. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage above for each answer.

In the invention of the bicycle took part not only one individual or the country, but the world in general during the 1 years. This invention was firstly found in Scotland in the first decades of 1800, and was known as velocipedes. They were not resembled to today’s bicycles and had two wheels, but they had no 2 . The rider sat on a pillow and walked his feet along the ground in order to move his velocipede forward. Soon, a French inventor added pedals to the front wheel. However, because of their difficulty in riding, nobody used them in a daily life, and they were accepted as 3 . Around 1870, manufacturers in America found that this invention is popular 4 , but within the difference: frameworks were made from 5 , what makes them much lighter. Soon, the British inventors found the method which can make pedalling more efficient to turn pedals one by one. They designed a bicycle with a giant front wheel.
However, as the rider had to sit high above the giant front wheel it was too difficult to keep the
balance. The safer bicycle was invented by Americans. They designed the rear 6 , which minimised the danger of falling and injuring. At last, the British changed the design one last time and added two wheels equal in size and the mechanism that induce a chain to turn the rear wheel. By this there was invented the example of the modem bicycle.

Questions 7-10
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1? 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

7 The bicycle was invited by Americans only
8 It was too hard to lead the velocipedes due to their heaviness
9 The alteration of velocipedes made the life of people much more easy
10 The changes by British inventors altered the wheels to make pedalling more efficient

Questions 11-13
Complete the sentences. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

11 The British inventors concluded that if the front wheel were large in , the bicycle would travel comparatively long distance.
12 American engineers designed a system of  which was driven by pressing first the right and then the left pedals.
13 The last, but not least alteration in creating of the modern bicycle was a making the two wheels equal in size and using the to spin the rear wheel.

For this task: Answers with explanations