IELTS READING

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Reading Practice Test 3
Reading Passage 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13. which are based on
Reading Passage 1 below.
Indoor Pollution
Since the early eighties we have been only too aware of the devastating effects
of large-scale environmental pollution. Such pollution is generally the result of
poor government planning in many developing nations or the short-sighted,
selfish policies of the already industrialised countries which encourage a
minority of the world’s population to squander the majority of its natural
resources.
While events such as the deforestation of the Amazon jungle or the nuclear
disaster in Chernobyl continue to receive high media exposure, as do acts of
environmental sabotage, it must be remembered that not all pollution is on this
grand scale. A large proportion of the world’s pollution has its source much

closer to home. The recent spillage of crude oil from an oil tanker accidentally
discharging its cargo straight into Sydney Harbour not only caused serious
damage to the harbour foreshores but also created severely toxic fumes which
hung over the suburbs for days and left the angry residents wondering how
such a disaster could have been allowed to happen.
Avoiding pollution can be a full​time job. Try not to inhale traffic fumes; keep
away from chemical plants and building-sites; wear a mask when cycling. It is
enough to make you want to stay at home. But that, according to a growing
body of scientific evidence, would also be a bad idea. Research shows that
levels of pollutants such as hazardous gases, particulate matter and other
chemical ‘nasties’ are usually higher indoors than out, even in the most
polluted cities. Since the average American spends 18 hours indoors for every
hour outside, it looks as though many environmentalists may be attacking the
wrong target.
The latest study, conducted by two environmental engineers, Richard Corsi and
Cynthia Howard-Reed, of the University of Texas in Austin, and published in
Environmental Science and Technology, suggests that it is the process of
keeping clean that may be making indoor pollution worse. The researchers
found that baths, showers, dishwashers and washing machines can all be
significant sources of indoor pollution, because they extract trace amounts of
chemicals from the water that they use and transfer them to the air.
Nearly all public water supplies contain very low concentrations of toxic
chemicals, most of them left over from the otherwise beneficial process of
chlorination. Dr. Corsi wondered whether they stay there when water is used,
or whether they end up in the air that people breathe. The team conducted a
series of experiments in which known quantities of five such chemicals were
mixed with water and passed through a dishwasher, a washing machine, a
shower head inside a shower stall or a tap in a bath, all inside a specially
designed chamber. The levels of chemicals in the effluent water and in the air
extracted from the chamber were then measured to see how much of each
chemical had been transferred from the water into the air.
The degree to which the most volatile elements could be removed from the
water, a process known as chemical stripping, depended on a wide range of
factors, including the volatility of the chemical, the temperature of the water
and the surface area available for transfer. Dishwashers were found to be
particularly effective: the high-temperature spray, splashing against the
crockery and cutlery, results in a nasty plume of toxic chemicals that escapes
when the door is opened at the end of the cycle.

In fact, in many cases, the degree of exposure to toxic chemicals in tap water
by inhalation is comparable to the exposure that would result from drinking the
stuff. This is significant because many people are so concerned about water-
borne pollutants that they drink only bottled water, worldwide sales of which
are forecast to reach $72 billion by next year. D. Corsi’s results suggest that
they are being exposed to such pollutants anyway simply by breathing at
home.
The aim of such research is not, however, to encourage the use of gas masks
when unloading the washing. Instead, it is to bring a sense of perspective to
the debate about pollution. According to Dr Corsi, disproportionate effort is
wasted campaigning against certain forms of outdoor pollution, when there is
as much or more cause for concern indoors, right under people’s noses.
Using gas cookers or burning candles, for example, both result in indoor levels
of carbon monoxide and particulate matter that are just as high as those to be
found outside, amid heavy traffic. Overcrowded classrooms whose ventilation
systems were designed for smaller numbers of children frequently contain
levels of carbon dioxide that would be regarded as unacceptable on board a
submarine. ‘New car smell’ is the result of high levels of toxic chemicals, not
cleanliness. Laser printers, computers, carpets and paints all contribute to the
noxious indoor mix.
The implications of indoor pollution for health are unclear. But before worrying
about the problems caused by large-scale industry, it makes sense to consider
the small-scale pollution at home and welcome international debate about this.
Scientists investigating indoor pollution will gather next month in Edinburgh at
the Indoor Air conference to discuss the problem. Perhaps unwisely, the
meeting is being held indoors.
Questions 1-6
Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 1-6 on your
answer sheet.
1 In the first paragraph, the writer argues that pollution
A has increased since the eighties. B
is at its worst in industrialised countries.
s

C
D
2 The Sydney Harbour oil spill was the result of a
A
B
C
D
3 In the 3rd paragraph the writer suggests that
A
B
C
D
4 The Corsi research team hypothesised that
A
B
C
D
5 As a result of their experiments, Dr Corsi’s team found that
A
B
C
D
6 Regarding the dangers of pollution, the writer believes that
A
results from poor relations between nations.
is caused by human self-interest.
ship refuelling in the harbour.
tanker pumping oil into the sea.
collision between two oil tankers.
deliberate act of sabotage.
people should avoid working in cities.
Americans spend too little time outdoors.
hazardous gases are concentrated in industrial suburbs.
there are several ways to avoid city pollution.
toxic chemicals can pass from air to water.
pollution is caused by dishwashers and baths.
city water contains insufficient chlorine.
household appliances are poorly designed
dishwashers are very efficient machines.
tap water is as polluted as bottled water.
indoor pollution rivals outdoor pollution.
gas masks are a useful protective device.
there is a need for rational discussion. B
indoor pollution is a recent phenomenon.

C
Dpeople should worry most about their work environment. industrial pollution causes specific diseases.
Questions 7-13
Reading Passage 1 describes a number of cause and effect relationships.
Match each Cause (Questions
7-13) in List A with its Effect ( A-J) in List B.
Write the appropriate letters (A-J) in boxes 7-13 on your answer sheet.
List A: CAUSES
7
Industrialised nations use a lot of energy.
8
Oil spills into the sea.
9
The researchers publish their findings.
10
Water is brought to a high temperature.
11
People fear pollutants in tap water.
12
Air conditioning systems are inadequate.
13
Toxic chemicals are abundant in new cars.
List B: EFFECTS
A The focus of pollution moves to
the home.
B The levels of carbon monoxide
rise.
C The world’s natural resources are
unequally shared.
D People demand an explanation.
E Environmentalists look elsewhere
for an explanation.

FChemicals are effectively stripped
from the water.
G A clean odour is produced.
H Sales of bottled water increase.
I The levels of carbon dioxide rise.
J The chlorine content of drinking
water increased.

Reading Passage 2
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26, which are based on
Reading Passage 2 below:
ROBOTS
Since the dawn of human ingenuity, people have devised ever more
cunning tools to cope with work that is dangerous, boring, onerous, or just plain nasty. That compulsion has culminated in robotics - thescience of conferring various human capabilities on machines.
A The modern world is increasingly populated by quasi-
intelligent gizmos whose presence we barely notice but whose creeping
ubiquity has removed much human drudgery. Our factories hum to the rhythm
of robot assembly arms. Our banking is done at automated teller terminals that
thank us with rote politeness for the transaction. Our subway trains are
controlled by tireless robo- drivers. Our mine shafts are dug by automated
moles, and our nuclear accidents - such as those at Three Mile Island and
Chernobyl - are cleaned up by robotic muckers fit to withstand radiation.
Such is the scope of uses envisioned by Karel Capek, the Czech playwright who
coined the term ‘robot’ in 1920 (the word ‘robota’ means ‘forced labor’ in
Czech). As progress accelerates, the experimental becomes the exploitable at
record pace.
B Other innovations promise to extend the abilities of human operators.
Thanks to the incessant miniaturisation of electronics and micro​mechanics,
there are already robot systems that can perform some kinds of brain and bone
surgery with submillimeter accuracy - far greater precision than highly skilled
physicians can achieve with their hands alone. At the same time, techniques of

long-distance control will keep people even farther from hazard. In 1994 a ten-
foot-tall NASA robotic explorer called Dante, with video-camera eyes and
with spiderlike legs, scrambled over the menacing rim of an Alaskan volcano
while technicians 2,000 miles away in California watched the scene by satellite
and controlled Dante’s descent.
C But if robots are to reach the next stage of labour-saving utility, they will
have to operate with less human supervision and be able to make at least a
few decisions for themselves - goals that pose a formidable challenge. ‘While
we know how to tell a robot to handle a specific error,’ says one expert, ‘we
can’t yet give a robot enough common sense to reliably interact with a
dynamic world.’ Indeed the quest for true artificial intelligence (Al) has
produced very mixed results. Despite a spasm of initial optimism in the 1960s
and 1970s, when it appeared that transistor circuits and microprocessors might
be able to perform in the same way as the human brain by the 21st century,
researchers lately have extended their forecasts by decades if not centuries.
D What they found, in attempting to model thought, is that the human brain’s
roughly one hundred billion neurons are much more talented - and human
perception far more complicated - than previously imagined. They have built
robots that can recognise the misalignment of a machine panel by a fraction of
a millimeter in a controlled factory environment. But the human mind can
glimpse a rapidly changing scene and immediately disregard the 98 per cent
that is irrelevant, instantaneously focusing on the woodchuck at the side of a
winding forest road or the single suspicious face in a tumultuous crowd. The
most advanced computer systems on Earth can’t approach that kind of ability,
and neuroscientists still don’t know quite how we do it.
E Nonetheless, as information theorists, neuroscientists, and computer experts
pool their talents, they are finding ways to get some lifelike intelligence from
robots. One method renounces the linear, logical structure of conventional
electronic circuits in favour of the messy, ad hoc arrangement of a real brain’s
neurons. These ‘neural networks’ do not have to be programmed. They can
‘teach’ themselves by a system of feedback signals that reinforce electrical
pathways that produced correct responses and, conversely, wipe out
connections that produced errors. Eventually the net wires itself into a system
that can pronounce certain words or distinguish certain shapes.
F In other areas researchers are struggling to fashion a more natural
relationship between people and robots in the expectation that some day
machines will take on some tasks now done by humans in, say, nursing homes.
This is particularly important in Japan, where the percentage of elderly citizens
is rapidly increasing. So experiments at the Science University of Tokyo have

created a ‘face robot’ - a life-size, soft plastic model of a female head with a
video camera imbedded in the left eye - as a prototype. The researchers’ goal
is to create robots that people feel comfortable around. They are concentrating
on the face because they believe facial expressions are the most important
way to transfer emotional messages. We read those messages by interpreting
expressions to decide whether a person is happy, frightened, angry, or
nervous. Thus the Japanese robot is designed to detect emotions in the person
it is ‘looking at’ by sensing changes in the spatial arrangement of the person’s
eyes, nose, eyebrows, and mouth. It compares those configurations with a
database of standard facial expressions and guesses the emotion. The robot
then uses an ensemble of tiny pressure pads to adjust its plastic face into an
appropriate emotional response.
G Other labs are taking a different approach, one that doesn’t try to mimic
human intelligence or emotions. Just as computer design has moved away from
one central mainframe in favour of myriad individual workstations - and single
processors have been replaced by arrays of smaller units that break a big
problem into parts that are solved simultaneously - many experts are now
investigating whether swarms of semi-smart robots can generate a collective
intelligence that is greater than the sum of its parts. That’s what beehives and
ant colonies do, and several teams are betting that legions of mini-critters
working together like an ant colony could be sent to explore the climate of
planets or to inspect pipes in dangerous industrial situations.
Questions 14-19
Reading Passage 2 has seven paragraphs A-G.
From the list of headings below choose the most suitable heading for each
paragraph.
Write the appropriate numbers (i-x) in boxes 14-19 on your answer
sheet.
List of Headings
i Some success has resulted from
observing how the brain functions.

iiAre we expecting too much from
one robot?
iii Scientists are examining the
humanistic possibilities.
iv There are judgements that robots
cannot make.
v Has the power of robots become
too great?
vi Human skills have been
heightened with the help of
robotics.
vii There are some things we prefer
the brain to control.
viii Robots have quietly infiltrated our
lives.
ix Original predictions have been
revised.
x Another approach meets the same
result.
14
Paragraph A
15
Paragraph B
16
Paragraph C
17
Paragraph D
18
Paragraph E
19
Paragraph F

Example Answer
Paragraph G ii
Questions 20-24
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading
Passage 2? In boxes 20-24 on your answer sheet write
YES if the statement agrees with the
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
20
Karel Capek successfully predicted our current
uses for robots.
21
Lives were saved by the NASA robot, Dante.
22
Robots are able to make fine visual judgements.
23
The internal workings of the brain can be
replicated by robots.
24
The Japanese have the most advanced robot
systems.

Questions 25-27
Complete the summary below with words taken from paragraph F.
Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 25-27 on your answer sheet.
The prototype of the Japanese ‘face robot’ observes humans through a 25
which is planted in its head. It then refers to a 26
of typical ‘looks’ that the human face can have, to decide what emotion
the person is feeling. To respond to this expression, the robot alters it’s
own expression using a number of 27
.

Reading Passage 3
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40, which are based on
Reading Passage 3 below.
SAVING LANGUAGE
For the first time, linguists have put a price on language. To save a
language from extinction isn’t cheap - but more and more people are arguing that the alternative is the death of communities
There is nothing unusual about a single language dying. Communities have
come and gone throughout history, and with them their language. But what is
happening today is extraordinary, judged by the standards of the past. It is
language extinction on a massive scale. According to the best estimates, there
are some 6,000 languages in the world. Of these, about half are going to die
out in the course of the next century: that’s 3,000 languages in 1,200 months.
On average, there is a language dying out somewhere in the world every two
weeks or so.
How do we know? In the course of the past two or three decades, linguists all
over the world have been gathering comparative data. If they find a language
with just a few speakers left, and nobody is bothering to pass the language on
to the children, they conclude that language is bound to die out soon. And we
have to draw the same conclusion if a language has less than 100 speakers. It
is not likely to last very long. A 1999 survey shows that 97 per cent of the
world’s languages are spoken by just four per cent of the people.
It is too late to do anything to help many languages, where the speakers are

too few or too old, and where the community is too busy just trying to survive
to care about their language. But many languages are not in such a serious
position. Often, where languages are seriously endangered, there are things
that can be done to give new life to them. It is called revitalisation.
Once a community realises that its language is in danger, it can start to
introduce measures which can genuinely revitalise. The community itself must
want to save its language. The culture of which it is a part must need to have a
respect for minority languages. There needs to be funding, to support courses,
materials, and teachers. And there need to be linguists, to get on with the basic
task of putting the language down on paper. That’s the bottom line: getting the
language documented - recorded, analysed, written down. People must be able
to read and write if they and their language are to have a future in an
increasingly computer- literate civilisation.
But can we save a few thousand languages, just like that? Yes, if the will and
funding were available. It is not cheap, getting linguists into the field, training
local analysts, supporting the community with language resources and
teachers, compiling grammars and dictionaries, writing materials for use in
schools. It takes time, lots of it, to revitalise an endangered language.
Conditions vary so much that it is difficult to generalise, but a figure of $
100,000 a year per language cannot be far from the truth. If we devoted that
amount of effort over three years for each of 3,000 languages, we would be
talking about some $900 million.
There are some famous cases which illustrate what can be done. Welsh, alone
among the Celtic languages, is not only stopping its steady decline towards
extinction but showing signs of real growth. Two Language Acts protect the
status of Welsh now, and its presence is increasingly in evidence wherever you
travel in Wales.
On the other side of the world, Maori in New Zealand has been maintained by a
system of so- called ‘language nests’, first introduced in 1982. These are
organisations which provide children under five with a domestic setting in
which they are intensively exposed to the language. The staff are all Maori
speakers from the local community. The hope is that the children will keep
their Maori skills alive after leaving the nests, and that as they grow older they
will in turn become role models to a new generation of young children. There
are cases like this all over the world. And when the reviving language is
associated with a degree of political autonomy, the growth can be especially
striking, as shown by Faroese, spoken in the Faroe Islands, after the islanders
received a measure of autonomy from Denmark.

In Switzerland, Romansch was facing a difficult situation, spoken in five very
different dialects, with small and diminishing numbers, as young people left
their community for work in the German-speaking cities. The solution here was
the creation in the 1980s of a unified written language for all these
dialects. Romansch Grischun, as it is now called, has official status in parts of
Switzerland, and is being increasingly used in spoken form on radio and
television.
A language can be brought back from the very brink of extinction. The Ainu
language of Japan, after many years of neglect and repression, had reached a
stage where there were only eight fluent speakers left, all elderly. However,
new government policies brought fresh attitudes and a positive interest in
survival. Several ‘semi​speakers’ - people who had become unwilling to speak
Ainu because of the negative attitudes by Japanese speakers - were prompted
to become active speakers again. There is fresh interest now and the language
is more publicly available than it has been for years.
If good descriptions and materials are available, even extinct languages can be
resurrected. Kaurna, from South Australia, is an example. This language had
been extinct for about a century, but had been quite well documented. So,
when a strong movement grew for its revival, it was possible to reconstruct it.
The revised language is not the same as the original, of course. It lacks the
range that the original had, and much of the old vocabulary. But it can
nonetheless act as a badge of present-day identity for its people. And as long
as people continue to value it as a true marker of their identity, and are
prepared to keep using it, it will develop new functions and new vocabulary, as
any other living language would do.
It is too soon to predict the future of these revived languages, but in some
parts of the world they are attracting precisely the range of positive attitudes
and grass roots support which are the preconditions for language survival. In
such unexpected but heart-warming ways might we see the grand total of
languages in the world minimally increased.
Questions 28-32
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading
Passage 3?
In boxes 28-32 on your answer sheet write

YESif 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
28
The rate at which languages are becoming extinct
has increased.
29
Research on the subject of language extinction
began in the 1990s.
30
In order to survive, a language needs to be
spoken by more than 100 people.
31
Certain parts of the world are more vulnerable
than others to language extinction.
32
Saving language should be the major concern of
any small community whose language is under threat.
Questions 33-35
The list below gives some of the factors that are necessary to assist the
revitalisation of a language within a community.
Which THREE of the factors are mentioned by the writer of the text?
Write the appropriate letters A-G in boxes 33-35 on your answer sheet.
A
B
C
D
E the existence of related languages
support from the indigenous population
books tracing the historical development of the language
on-the-spot help from language experts
a range of speakers of different ages

F
Gformal education procedures a common purpose for which the language is required
Questions 36-40
Match the languages
A-F with the statements below (Questions 36-40)
which describe how a language was saved.
Write your answers in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.
A Welsh
B Maori
C Faroese
D Romansch
E Ainu
F Kaurna
36
The region in which the language was spoken
gained increased independence.
37
People were encouraged to view the language with
less prejudice.
38
Language immersion programmes were set up for
sectors of the population.
39
A merger of different varieties of the language took
place.
40
Written samples of the language permitted its
revitalisation.

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