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IELTS Reading Passage 1

Read the passage and answer Questions 1-13 What if everything had a barcode?
A vast new database will let us catalogue every plant and animal on the planet, and identify them in seconds. Sanjida OConnell reports

1 Imagine going for a walk and spotting a wild flower. Its beauty and fragrance delight you, but the name eludes you. No problem. You whip out a hand-held scanner, about the size of a mobile phone, and pop a fragment of a leaf into the device. A few seconds, and the read-out tells you that youre looking at a pyramidal orchid. Satisfied, you continue on your way. 2 Sound far-fetched? Not at all. Scientists are currently creating a DNA barcode for every species of plant and animal on the planet. It wont be long before ever yone, from experts to amateurs, will be able to scan the worlds flora and fauna as if they were checking out groceries at a supermarket, to look up or confirm their identities. 3 There are numerous practical uses too. Such a device would let you scan fish at the fishmongers to check if its been labelled properly, work out exactly what is in your mixed vegetable soup, and confirm whether a piece of furniture really has come from a renewable forest, as the retailer claims. It would also assist forensic science teams, who could quickly identify the pollen on a suspect, to link him to a particular location; customs officials, in their efforts to prevent disease-carrying pests being taken across national borders; and environmental inspectors assessing water quality, who need to work out what microbes are lurking in a particular sample. 4 It was Professor Paul Hebert, a biologist from the University of Guelph in Canada, who came up with the idea of DNA barcoding the natural world. The inspiration came while he was walking up and down the aisles of a supermarket, marvelling at the ability of the store to keep track of all the lines stocked and sold using the thick and thin lines that make up a barcode. Could scientists, he wondered, exploit a barcode system to record the millions of species on earth via their DNA? 5 The compilation of a planetary inventory began more than 250 years ago, with the Swedish life classifier Carl Linnaeus. In 1758, he founded the science of taxonomy a method of classifying living things based on physical and behavioural characteristics. To date, scientists have classified about 1.7 million organisms, a small fraction of the total number of species, which has been estimated at anywhere between 5 and 30 million. But taxonomy is difficult and time-consuming. Many species, such as the different kinds of flies, look remarkably similar. Only an expert who has spent years examining a particular group can distinguish one from another. Even the experts may be stumped, however, when presented with an egg, an embryo, a seedling or a root. The next problem is that we are running out of time in which to complete the inventory. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimates that a quarter of the worlds population of mammals are threatened with extinction. 6 So, Heberts idea centred on finding a fragment of DNA that would disclose the identity of a species without having to decode its entire genetic code. He envisaged a DNA barcode reader, similar to the scanners at retail checkouts. Outlining his idea in Scientific American, Hebert writes: An inspector at a

busy seaport, a hiker on a mountain trail, or a scientist in a lab could insert a sample containing DNA a snippet of whisker, say, or the leg of an insect into the device, which would detect the sequence of nucleic acids in the barcode segment. This information would be instantly relayed to a reference database, a public library of DNA barcodes. Anyone, anywhere, could identify species. 7 To create the barcode, Hebert proposed the use of a section of DNA, from the energy-producing units found in all cells. He selected a gene that gives rise to an enzyme known as CO1. This gene is small enough to be quickly and easily deciphered, but has sufficient variation for us to be able to tell most animal species apart. You and I, for instance, will have different versions of CO1, but they will be similar enough to show that were both humans and not chimpanzees. 8 In 2003, Hebert and his team published their first results. They showed that the barcode system could identify the group an animal came from (for example, whether it was a vertebrate, a worm or an insect) and even the species when it was stored in the barcode library. After five more years of work, results indicate that animals can now be identified by their barcodes in 98 per cent of cases. Early results have confirmed the additional benefits of the new system: for example, caterpillars of the tropical butterfly Astraptes fulgerator, which was first recognised as a species in 1775, all look very similar, and were assumed to belong to a single species. Barcoding has shown there are 10 different kinds. 9 Of course, the value of the system depends on a comprehensive reference library of the DNA (CO1) barcodes of established species. The Barcode of Life Data (Bold) systems is an enormous international collaboration supported by 150 institutions in 45 countries. To date, it has compiled more than 500,000 records from 50,000 species. The consortium is hoping that the worlds birds wi ll be barcoded by 2011. People have watched birds for so long that they might think every different tweet has been heard, every different colour observed, but barcoding may prove otherwise, says Professor Mark Stoeckle, professor of the human environment at Rockefeller University, New York, who works with Hebert. He estimates that out of the worlds 10,000 bird species, DNA barcoding will distinguish at least 1,000 new ones.

IELTS READING QUESTIONS


Questions 1 to 3
Choose NO MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet. Problems with taxonomy only 1.......species have been classified so far difficult to distinguish between species of certain creatures, for example 2....... possibility of a large number of species of 3.......dying out soon

Questions 4 - 8

Complete the flow-chart below. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 4-8 on your answer sheet. Hebert's system decided to create a device called a 4......., like ones used in shops chose a 5....... that produces a substance called CO1 samples of CO1 read by the device and matched with those kept in the 6....... current results show that 7....... of animal species can be identified in this way results show different species being identified, eg of 8.......

Questions 9 - 13
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1? 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 The writer believes that the barcode system will be widely used by the general public. 10 It is likely that the barcode device will show that many foods and goods have not been correctly described. 11 Hebert got the idea for DNA barcoding from someone who worked at a supermarket.

12 The number of organisations supporting Heberts barcoding project is growing all the time. 13 A large number of new bird species have already been identified by the DNA barcode system.

IELTS Reading Passage 2


Read the passage and answer Questions 14 - 26 Giving The Brain A Workout
Mental agility does not have to decline with age, as long as you keep exercising your mind, says Anna van Praagh.

A Use your brain and it will grow it really will. This is the message from neuropsychologist Ian Robertson, professor of psychology at Trinity College, Dublin and founding director of the universitys Institute of Neuroscience. His book, Puzzler Brain Trainer 90-Day Workout, contains puzzles which he devised to stretch, sharpen and stimulate the brain. The puzzles, from 'memory jogs' to Sudoku to crosswords to number games are all-encompassing, and have been specially formulated to improve each and every part of the brain, from visual-spatial ability to perception, attention, memory, numerical agility, problem-solving and language. B Professor Robertson has been studying the brain for 57 years, in a career dedicated to changing and improving the way it works. During this time there has been a remarkable paradigm shift in the way scientists view the brain, he says. 'When I first started teaching and researching, a very pessimistic view prevailed that, from the age of three or four, we were continually losing brain cells and that the stocks couldn't be replenished. That has turned out to be factually wrong. Now that we know that the brain is "plastic" it changes, adapts and is physically sharpened according to the experiences it has.' C Robertson likens our minds to trees in a park with branches spreading out, connecting and intertwining, with connections increasing in direct correlation to usage. He says that the eureka moment in his career and the reason he devised his brain trainer puzzles was the realisation that the connections multiply with use and so it is possible to boost and improve our mental functions at any age. 'Now we know that its not just children whose brains are "plastic",' he says. 'No matter how old we are, our brains are physically changed by what we do and what we think.' D Robertson illustrates his point by referring to Dr Eleanor McGuires seminal 2000 study of the brains of London taxi drivers. That showed that their grey matter enlarges and adapts to help them build up a detailed mental map of the city. Brain scans revealed that the drivers had a much larger hippocampus (the part of the brain associated with navigation in birds and animals) compared with other people. Crucially, it grew larger the longer they spent doing their job. Similarly, there is strong statistical evidence that, by stretching the mind with games and puzzles, brainpower is increased. Conversely, if we do not stimulate our minds and keep the connections robust and intact, these connections will weaken and physically diminish. A more recent survey suggested that a 20-minute problem-solving session on the Nintendo DS game called 'Dr Kawashima's Brain Training' at the beginning of each day dramatically improved pupils test results, class attendance and behaviour. Astonishingly, pupils who used the Nintendo trainer saw their test scores rise by 50 per cent more than those who did not.

E Robertson's puzzles have been designed to have the same effect on the brain, the only difference being that, for his, you need only a pencil to get started. The idea is to shake the brain out of lazy habits and train it to start functioning at its optimum level. It is Robertsons belief that people who tackle the puzzles will see a dramatic improvement in their daily lives as the brain increases its ability across a broad spectrum. They should see an improvement in everything, from remembering peoples names at parties to increased attention span, mental agility, creativity and energy. F 'Many of us are terrified of numbers,' he says, 'or under-confident with words. With practice, and by gently increasing the difficulty of the exercises, these puzzles will help people improve capacity across a whole range of mental domains.' The wonderful thing is that the puzzles take just five minutes, but are the mental equivalent of doing a jog or going to the gym. 'In the same way that physical exercise is good for you, so is keeping your brain stimulated,' Robertson says. 'Quite simply, those who keep themselves mentally challenged function significantly better mentally than those who do not.' G The puzzles are aimed at all ages. Robertson says that some old people are so stimulated that they hardly need to exercise their brains further, while some young people hardly use theirs at all and are therefore in dire need of a workout. He does concede, however, that whereas most young people are constantly forced to learn, there is a tendency in later life to retreat into a comfort zone where it is easier to avoid doing things that are mentally challenging. He compares this with becoming physically inactive, and warns of comparable repercussions. As the population ages, people are going to have to stay mentally active longer, he counsels. We must learn to exercise our brains just as much as our bodies. People need to be aware that they have the most complex entity known to man between their ears, he continues, and the key to allow it to grow and be healthy is simply to keep it stimulated.

IELTS READING QUESTIONS


Questions 14 and 15
Choose TWO letters, A-E. Write the correct letters in the boxes below. Which TWO of the following are claims that Robertson makes about the puzzles in his book? 1. They will improve every mental skill. 2. They are better than other kinds of mental exercise. 3. They will have a major effect on peoples mental abilities. 4. They are more useful than physical exercise. 5. They are certain to be more useful for older people than for the young.

Questions 16 - 21
Complete the summary below. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 3-8 below.

Evidence supporting Robertsons theory Research was carried out using 16__________ in London as subjects. It showed that their brains change, enabling them to create a 17__________ of London. Tests showed that their18__________ increased in size as they continued in their job. There is also evidence of a 19__________ kind. People playing a certain game involving 20__________ for a period of time every day achieved significantly better 21__________

Questions 22 - 26
Reading Passage 2 has seven paragraphs A-G.
Which paragraph contains the following information? Write the correct letter, A-G in boxes 22-26 below. 22 an example of a situation in which people will benefit from doing the puzzles in the book 23 a reason why some people dont exercise their minds 24 a discovery that had an enormous effect on Robertson 25 examples of things that people commonly feel they are not very good at 26 a reference to a change in beliefs about what happens to the brain over time

IELTS Reading Passage 3


Read the passage and answer Questions 27 - 40 Fierce, fabulous and fantastic
A new exhibition traces the history of animal painting in Europe from the anatomically inaccurate to the highly sentimental.

The first picture you see in the exhibition Fierce Friends: Artists and Animals 1750-1900 is of a giraffe sort of. Painted in about 1785, the creature in it has the neck of a giraffe, but its back is too long, its

haunches too developed, and its legs are out of proportion to its body. Like most Europeans in the 18th century, the anonymous French artist who painted it had never seen a real giraffe. He relied on eyewitness descriptions, and on the skin of a giraffe the scientist and adventurer Franois Levallard had recently brought back from South Africa. Exotic animals shipped back to Europe at this time usually died soon after arrival, even supposing they survived the voyage. Until about 1900, taxidermy consisted of stuffing the carcass with straw, so the results fell apart after a few years. This meant that ordinary men and women had very few opportunities to see exotic animals at first hand until the establishment of the first zoos in Paris in 1793, in London in 1818. For an accurate depiction of a giraffe, Europeans had to wait until 1827 and the arrival of the first living specimen, when the Swiss artist Jacques-Laurent Agasse painted his lovely study of the Nubian giraffe sent to King George IV by the Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt. For most people in the 18th century, animals meant farm animals, carriage horses, and food for the table. But the Enlightenment was an age both of exploration and of discovery, as more and more species of animals, birds, fish and insects were identified and brought back from the South Seas, Africa and India. In 1740, almost 600 species of animals were known to science. One hundred years later, the number had risen to 2,400, including many that are familiar to most children today as a matter of course ostrich, rhino, orang-utan and buffalo. Kings and princes, to be sure, had their own menageries, and wealthy collectors added rare birds, fish and mammals (shown side-by-side with two-headed calves and fake dragons) to their cabinets of curiosities. In this way, the forerunners of modern zoos and museums developed along parallel lines. On special occasions an entrepreneur might exhibit a wild beast to the paying public, as was the case when the Venetian artist Pietro Longhi painted bored masqueraders at carnival time gawping at a pathetic rhinoceros. Out of such displays came another invention of the 19th century, the circus. Wider knowledge of the animal kingdom came with the publication of George-Louis Leclerc Comte de Buffons multi-volume Histoire Naturelle (1749-88). Based on specimens studied in the royal menageries, this remarkable book is still treasured not for its scientific accuracy, but for its glorious hand-coloured engravings. Far too expensive for most people to buy, it at least helped to make men and women aware of the beauty of certain animals, as we can see in a service of Svres porcelain created in 1793, where the decorative motifs are taken from the birds drawn by de Buffon. Gradually, humans began to notice that dumb creatures have feelings. Man cannot afford to feel pity for an animal bred for food. When that wonderful artist Jean-Baptise Oudry shows a display of dead game in the 1740s, he is simply painting a luxury fresh meat available only to the well-off. Peasants ate bread. His lavish paintings were considered suitable for the dining rooms of the nobility because no one then expressed the slightest ethical or moral hesitation about hunting and killing rabbit, deer and boar for the table, or about slaughtering such vermin as foxes and wolves. Domestic animals were a different story. When Oudry depicts a hound with her newborn puppies, the simple picture has revolutionary undertones. The pretty white bitch, noticing that two of her pups have fallen asleep and are not getting the nourishment they need, is full of maternal solicitude. At a time when French noblewomen still sent their babes out to wet-nurses, even an animal is shown to display true maternal feeling. And in 1824, the year Delacroix shows two horses killed in battle, there is a new element in mans attitude towards the wanton slaughter of beautiful creatures: compassion. Delacroixs

little masterpiece pierces the heart, whereas the grotesque memorial to animals killed in war unveiled in London recently leaves the viewer cold. But the moral impulse behind the creation of both works is exactly the same. Once animals can be loved for their innocence or good nature, it becomes more difficult to treat them cruelly. Almost 15 years before Jean-Baptise Greuze painted a picture of a young girl mourning her pet sparrow (1765), William Hogarth published his series of prints, the Stages of Cruelty, showing how the mistreatment of animals leads inexorably to the devaluing of all forms of life, including human. In this show, it is almost impossible to look at Emile Edouard Mouchys horrifying depiction of the vivisection of a dog (1832) without wincing. Though such experiments represent a necessary evil, our very squeamishness represents another rung upward in the moral evolution of mankind. This process started in the early 19th century, when men began to see in the animal kingdom a mirror image of their own feelings. In his portrayal of a horse frightened by lightning, Gericault lets us see the animals tensed body, foam -flecked mouth and brow furrowed in anxiety. In The Jealous Lioness of about 1880, the German artist Paul Meyerheim shows a caged lioness enraged at the attention her mate is paying to a beautiful lion tamer. Gradually, artists began to blur the distinctions between animal and human. When Edwin Landseer in High Life and Low Life contrasts a mongrel guard dog with a deer hound, the animals are surrogates for their absent masters, a butcher and a nobleman. All these artists emphasised the physical and emotional resemblances between animals and human beings.
Article: 'Fierce, fabulous and fantastic' - The Daily Telegraph 2005

IELTS READING QUESTIONS


Questions 27 40
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D Write the correct letter in boxes 1 - 5 on your answer sheet. 27. The point the writer is making about the picture of a giraffe is that: 1. the artist knew it was inaccurate. 2. it might seem ridiculous today. 3. its inaccuracies are understandable. 4. it is not totally unlike a real giraffe. 28. In the second paragraph, the writer explains why: 1. there were no accurate paintings of giraffes in Europe until 1827. 2. people in Europe were so keen to see exotic animals.

3. people in Europe preferred paintings of animals to stuffed animals. 4. the establishment of zoos had an effect on the painting of animals. 29. The writers main topic in the third paragraph is 1. which animal species became popular in Europe in the 18th century. 2. why the identification of species became an important issue in the 18th century. 3. the extent to which knowledge of animals increased in the 18th century. 4. the way in which attitudes to animals changed in the 18th century. 30. Which of these is the writer doing in the fourth paragraph? 1. contrasting the development of zoos with that of museums. 2. criticising the commercial exploitation of creatures. 3. describing a change in the portrayal of animals in paintings. 4. explaining the origins of the use of creatures for public entertainment. 31. The writer mentions the porcelain created in 1793 as an example of: 1. improvements in the artistic portrayal of creatures. 2. the influence of Buffons Histoire Naturelle. 3. one of the disadvantages of de Buffons Histoire Naturelle. 4. the popularity of pictures of creatures with the wealthy.

Questions 32 35
Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A-F below. Write the correct letter, A-F in boxes 6-9 on your answer sheet. 32. Delacroixs 1824 painting... 33. Greuzes 1765 painting... 34. Hogarths series of prints... 35. Landseers pair of paintings High Life and Low Life... A: makes a moral point about human behaviour. B: contrasts animal behaviour with human behaviour. C: shows a humans feeling for a creature.

D: has an identical purpose to that of another work of art. E: depicts similarities between creatures and people. F: portrays the feelings creatures can have towards humans.

Questions 36 40
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in the Reading Passage? In boxes 36 - 40 on your answer sheet, write YES if the statement agrees with the views of the writer NO if the statement contradicts the views of the writer NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this 36. It is understandable that people feel no emotion towards certain animals. 37. Some of Oudrys paintings are more impressive than others. 38. Some people claim to love animals but treat them badly. 39. Mouchys painting shows something that should never happen. 40. Early 19th century art reveals a change in peoples attitudes towards animals.

Practice test 2

IELTS Reading Passage 4


The importance of tea in Asia Tea consumption represents an indispensable element of many cultures throughout the world but non more so than perhaps in Asia where for some enthusiasts it is a culture in itself. This belief originates from a long standing relationship which historians have traced back around 5000 years. According to myth, the original cup of tea occurred by complete chance when several leaves fell from a disturbed tree under which a traveller was purifying a cauldron of water. The identity of this person is still heavily disputed with some scholars stating he was in fact a previous emperor named Shennong on an expedition to visit part of his ruling territory. Others prefer to believe it was a far less aristocratic travelling merchant resting along the roadside. This debate is likely to continue into the foreseeable future as tangible historical evidence to prove either claim remains allusive. The first landmark in Tea writing is documented as originating from the 9th century. A text, which numerous tea aficionados regard as probably the most influential publication, was penned by Lu Yu a native of Chinas Hubei province. Whilst residing in a monastery at an early age Lu became acquainted with the pleasures of tea preparation and consumption which coupled with his proceeding years studying literature provided him with sufficient inspiration to create 3 books titled the classic of tea, subsequently reduced to a 1 book format. Lus works detailed the subtle intricacies of the tea cultivation process and the essential elements of tea preparation, aimed at a mass audience it has been referenced ever since in

tea related materials and paraphernalia. A more recent attempt at transmitting tea culture to a western mass audience stems from 2003 when a more accessible tea manual was released by the famed Hong Kong born master Lam. titled the way of tea, the paperback edition provides even the layman with a core understanding of tea history through to basic preparation methods. Welcomed by both experts and novices, it represents a concise introduction to the subject. Japan is synonymous for tea drinking and the highly reputed tea ceremony which has been greatly influenced by Zen Buddhism. This ritual is led by a tea practitioner who dedicates a lifetime to mastering this art. Body gestures and language all form elements of tea etiquette and must be finely honed by the student. Other branches of related culture also require study such as music and calligraphy which form essential components of the overall experience. The result can be quite lengthy depending on the exact type of ceremony performed, the music performed and the addition of food or snacks. Tales of day long tea drinking are rife amongst expatriates and tourists to Japan in search of authentic tea culture. Tea culture, as it is often termed, is a financially lucrative market, generating around 560 million pounds per year from not just tea but also related paraphernalia. One of the main markets is tea equipment such as the famed yixing earthenware tea pots, large tea ta bles, tea handling instruments and the wide range of cups of all shapes and sizes. Visitors to Asia and China in particular may have come across extremely large tea wholesalers and entire shopping centres devoted to tea retailing. This represents a large division between western and eastern markets. Full ranges of tea can be tasted and flavoured in these Asian establishments in the same manner as we westerners would fine wines. Not surprisingly, tea houses are regular features of Asian cities where locals and foreign guests are welcomed to acquaint themselves with the beauty of tea in a pleasant and peaceful setting.

IELTS READING QUESTIONS


Questions 1 4
Complete the summary below. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 1-4 Scholars differ in their opinions of the first tea drinker's 1)__________ as there is little reliable evidence. However, most do agree that a book from the 9th century has been the most 2)__________ . a more recent book, aimed at a larger 3)__________ , has presented a effective 4)__________ for new enthusiasts.

Questions 5 10
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

5. Asians have been drinking tea for 5000 years 6. An emperor was perhaps the first tea drinker 7. Lu Yu wrote 3 different books concerning tea 8. Tea culture in Japan has several elements 9. Lengthy tea ceremonies are rare in Japan 10. Chinese people enjoy tea as westerners do wine

IELTS Reading Passage 5


Tai Chi health benefits A A medical report released this week, jointly funded by the Alternative Health Association of Great Britain and an EU bursary, is focusing greater attention on the benefits of the traditional Chinese health practice of Tai Chi. The main researcher behind the report, associate professor Simon Gilbraith of Imperial University Cambridge, has amalgamated and condensed a wealth of Tai Chi studies carried out over the past decade across Europe. According to Gilbraith, substantial health benefits from consistent Tai Chi practice can no longer be ignored by the medical profession who have long lab elled Tai Chi, along with yoga and chi kung, under the umbrella term of esoteric practices. These contemporary findings attempt to demystify this belief and present hard evidence to support the prescription of Tai Chi by doctors and health practitioners, which even the most hardline scientist will find convincing. B Tai Chi is synonymous to many with relaxation and slow, almost meditative movements practised by elderly people in parks, which professor Gilbraith does not deny. Moreover, it is when demonstrated by the elderly that one can fully appreciate its long-term psychological and physiological health effects. Varying forms and styles of Tai Chi are recorded in Gilbraiths report but with surprisingly minor differences in health improvements and thus it seems that the secret behind Tai Chi is not based solely on physical movement alone. Tai Chi Union representative Peter Duong, a consultant in the study based in Paris, asserts that Tai Chi represents a holistic system of health and thus should be pract ised as such. He also points out that newcomers often place too great an emphasis on the limbs of the upper body and perfecting postures at the expense of the relaxing mental aspect. The resulting muscle and mental tension would seem to be at odds with the purpose of Tai Chi and may even increase blood pressure and lead to negative mental conditions. C An impressive reduction in psychological well-being was recorded in one study originating from Denmark in 95% of all 245 of the test subjects, each one a daily Tai Chi practitioner over 65. Professor Zhang Lu, an oriental doctor and head researcher who regularly prescribes Tai Chi to patients of the London Oriental medical foundation, adds that an enhancement in overall mood is regularly experienced brought about by reduced levels of tension, depression and anxiety. In Gilbraiths report, significantly high levels of relaxation were regularly reported whereas many stated feeling a euphoric high during and post Tai Chi exercise. Other studies have identified a related decrease in chemicals associated with the onset of heart failure, reduced stress hormones and a boost in the immune system.

D It is clear that the mind appears to play a vital part in both preventative and treatment-based approaches to Tai Chi. The former of which is a particularly under-researched area in the medical field and is precisely where Tai Chi can be applied effectively for the elderly says Gilbraith. A major cause of accidents amongst seniors relates to the reduction of balance and lower body stability attributed to aging. A simple slip or fall by an elderly person could possibly be fatal. Regular Tai Chi lessons can seriously reduce this risk. The conclusion of a 2007 study from Berlin comparing Tai Chi to walking revealed that Tai Chi group participants recorded higher rates of functional balance, a 62% smaller rate of falls and more importantly a substantially reduced psychological fear of falling. This particular case adds more support to the adoption of Tai Chi as a preventative health practice but this movement may require more support than Gilbraiths report alone. E Deteriorated physical mobility can also be the result of a stroke. When you suffer a stroke, it can take a long time to fully recover your sense of equilibrium. According to global estimates, 6 million people are left permanently disabled each year by this phenomenon while severe deterioration of neuromuscular control is experienced by far more. As a low-impact, low-intensity physical exercise Tai Chi is an ideal treatment as it also encourages a calmer state of mind and can increase self-confidence amongst stroke survivors. I was up and about in next to no time, said Jane Borne, a Tai Chi instructor based in Edinburgh and an assistant in one research project, stresses that strokes are particularly debilitating for the elderly but Tai Chi provides a simple and enjoyable therapy which can be practised by people of various physical abilities. Nonetheless, she is adamant that a medical physician should always be consulted prior to taking up any new health treatment especially an alternative one. F What clearly distinguishes Tai Chi from other forms of exercise is its access-ability. It is suitable for all ages, from those in convalescence from illness to professional athletes. Most beneficial of all, from a health care provider and patient perspective, is not just the zero cost of teaching and learning but the fact that it can be adapted to any students requirements. As a result, it possesses the ability to form an integrated health treatment alongside more conventional medicine. Tai Chi is ideal for older patients unlike more physical aerobic workouts aimed at younger members of society. Professor Gilbraith ventures further, by stating that we have only scratched the surface, Tai Chi exercise has countless curative and preventative benefits

IELTS READING QUESTIONS


Questions 11 16
Reading passage 2 has 6 paragraphs A-F. Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below. Write the correct number i-x in boxes 1-6. List of Headings i. Psychological benefits

ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii. viii. ix. x.

Reduced balance Treatment after strokes Prevention of strokes Relaxed meditation A mental and physical practice Increased support for Tai Chi Further research The flexibility of Tai Chi Preventative health care

1. Paragraph A = 2. Paragraph B = 3. Paragraph C = 4. Paragraph D = 5. Paragraph E = 6. Paragraph F =

Questions 17-22
Answer the questions below using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 7-12 on your answer sheet. 7. What has Tai Chi been labelled as by doctors? 8. Which part of the body do new Tai Chi students focus on? 9. Which medical condition causes people to experience loss of muscle control? 10. Which bodily system does Tai Chi improve? 11. What are the 2 causes of decreased stability? 12. What is the financial cost of studying Tai Chi?

Questions 23-25
In which cities were the areas below studied?

13. Mental health: 14. Falls: 15. Strokes:

IELTS Reading Passage 6


The increasing role of blogs in society: Should they be used in education? Anyone who doubts the communicational impact of the internet in society need only refer to the vast numbers of internet users currently active in blogging. Courtesy of the Web 2.0 even the greatest technophobes amongst us have been granted a painless and user-friendly means to air our own thoughts and feelings to the world and make acquaintances and even close friends from far distant lands via our own and other internet users blogs. A cross between a web page and a web log, blogs are fast becoming an irreplaceable element of society as we know it. As a replacement for chatting and the almost abandoned email, this trend constitutes a hybrid form of internet-enabled information sharing and communication, allowing introverts to set up their own web page, post messages or content and acquire a legion of fans or followers thus metamorphosing into internet socialites. Blogging has and will continue to revolutionise communication as we know it and impact on countless different facets of life as blogs become adopted by every level of society. The blogging community, whether they are active bloggers themselves, or simply passive visitors, is enormous by any standard and surprisingly, it is not restricted by age or other demographics such as sex or geographical location. Even the middle-aged and retired pensioners post regularly about their daily habits and as mundane as it may sound actually make contact with other likeminded souls with whom to share their eccentricities. With anything technologically-orientated however, there still exists a majority of users from the teenage and early 20 something age brackets. These digital natives as Denise Allwright, digital learning specialist and educational consultant, refers to them, moderate their own or even group blogs; uploading posts with video, visual and text content regarding their friends and a practically uncategorisable range of activities which as far as parents are concerned, contain perhaps too much personal data. Interconnectivity is an issue and a form of concern for new bloggers. The blogosphere or blog social network functions as not simply a group of people posting odd messages. In this regard, blogging is uncategorisable as a simple web page or diary but may be best understood as a platform for communication between other bloggers enabled by one user and this is possibly the means by which blogs best make their mark. An apparent element of blogging culture concerns demonstrating to the world how popular your blog is and how much traffic you receive, after all there is no point in publicising your life if nobody is listening according to avid blogger and website designer Arid Merron. For this purpose blogrolls have become commonplace where bloggers link themselves to other blogs and form a social network. Another common method for increasing traffic is supplementing your comments on other sites with your blog address. This is an almost you scratch my back and Ill scratch yours method and why you will often come across the same blog authors names time and time again and constitutes an informal reciprocal agreement of sorts within that community.

From an educationalists view, this blogging phenomenon possesses countless exploitable possibilities from cognitive and pedagogical perspectives alike. The use of blogs in the classroom embeds technological literacy in children, vital for life in the modern world. The educational affordances of blogs offer teachers and schools opportunities for their students to become self-directed learners within a mutually supportive social environment. Educational researchers such as Professor Simon Hunt of Canterbury University have proven that blogging activities can assist students in developing an immense range of cognitive, social and self-directed learning skills. Therefore, the educational value of blogging within the school curriculum should not be overlooked and teachers should not just accept that blogs exist but utilise them for educational means. Twitter, a micro blogging tool for exchanging short posts, has been embraced by English teachers and teacher trainers on a large scale, frequently at the request of their students which implies that the students may have now become the educators where technology is concerned. Pedagogical expert and associate professor Paul Venderghe champions the adoption of blogs within classroom settings as an educational and social tool. But he points out that blogging is not actually about writing at all, it is first and foremost about reading what you are interested in on other blogs. With the rise of the blogosphere we have never had some much choice blog wise to choose from. Communities pop up every day where likeminded individuals, be they students or adults, exchange ideas further perpetuated by the tendency of bloggers to hold discussions or forums within their blogs. Students who finally put finger to keyboard and blog about their lives, as a type of reality diary, reach out into the blogging universe to see what happens. For blogging in education to be a success, this first must be embraced and encouraged by educational institutions but, it goes without saying, in a secure environment. One of the principal criticisms of adopting blogging, and especially high school student blogs, is that the students are pressured to create content of which they quite possibly have no interest in. Such artificial texts are of little communicative importance to an audience and reduce blogging to basic language practice activities with no inherent value. Whereas, the most popular blogs seem to offer the reader an almost voyeuristic perspective into the authors life. Yet this frequent warts and all concept represents a danger which teachers and parents should be made fully aware of. Pauline Braith in her latest book blogging and your kids, argues that teenage bloggers just arent aware of the potential hazards of sharing personal information with anyone with internet access. Encouraging the posting or uploading of content to unsecure sites is frowned upon by numerous educationalists and is one particular reason for the adoption of virtual learning platforms by schools.

IELTS READING QUESTIONS


Questions 26 30
Complete the summary below using words from the list underneath. Write your answers in boxes 1-5. Blogging allows people to 1)__________ their ideas with other internet users and blogs themselves have 2)__________ an important part of our culture. The owners of blogs 3)__________ to all parts of society and have different ages, even the elderly. But it is young people who 4)__________ the largest number of

blog users. Parents of these young bloggers are often worried about the amount of private information their children 5)__________ to the internet. share spread created reflect upload host represent reflect download belong adopt become originate publicise portray

Questions 31 - 35
Complete each sentence with the correct ending A-H from the box below. Write the correct letter A-H in boxes 6-10. 6. Blogs offer a platform for users to.... 7. Popular bloggers like to... 8. There is a mutual understanding between bloggers to... 9. Using blogs in education.... 10. Students have adopted micro-blogging and can...

A. provides students with technological skills. B. manage each others blogs. C. educate their teachers. D. scratch each other.

E. boast about how much traffic their site receives. F. visit each others sites. G. meet and discuss common topics. H. decreases technological literacy. I. J. teach technology to their friends. link all their own blogs together.

Questions 36 - 40
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3? TRUE - if the statement agrees with the information FALSE - if the statement contradicts the information NOT GIVEN - if there is no information on this 11. Reading is the main principle behind blogging 12. Both adults and students feel the same about blogs 13. Blog writing in education should be honest 14. High school students have no interest in blogging 15. Teenagers comprehend how dangerous posting private information is