ACADEMIC IELTS READING Test 1

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READING PASSAGE 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13, which are based on
Reading Passage 1 below.
The Concept of Childhood in Western
Countries
The history of childhood has been a heated topic in social history since the
highly influential book Centuries of Childhood’, written by French historian
Philippe Aries, emerged in 1960. He claimed that ‘childhood’ is a concept
created by modern society.
Whether childhood is itself a recent invention has been one of the most
intensely debated issues in the history of childhood. Historian Philippe Aries
asserted that children were regarded as miniature adults, with all the intellect
and personality that this implies, in Western Europe during the Middle Ages (up
to about the end of the 15th century). After scrutinising medieval pictures and
diaries, he concluded that there was no distinction between children and adults

for they shared similar leisure activities and work; However, this does not mean
children were neglected, forsaken or despised, he argued. The idea of
childhood corresponds to awareness about the peculiar nature of childhood,
which distinguishes the child from adult, even the young adult. Therefore, the
concept of childhood is not to be confused with affection for children.
Traditionally, children played a functional role in contributing to the family
income in the history. Under this circumstance, children were considered to be
useful. Back in the Middle Ages, children of 5 or 6 years old did necessary
chores for their parents. During the 16th century, children of 9 or 10 years old
were often encouraged or even forced to leave their family to work as servants
for wealthier families or apprentices for a trade.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, industrialisation created a new demand for
child labour; thus many children were forced to work for a long time in mines,
workshops and factories. The issue of whether long hours of labouring would
interfere with children’s growing bodies began to perplex social reformers.
Some of them started to realise the potential of systematic studies to monitor
how far these early deprivations might be influencing children’s development.
The concerns of reformers gradually had some impact upon the working
condition of children. For example, in Britain, the Factory Act of 1833 signified
the emergence of legal protection of children from exploitation and was also
associated with the rise of schools for factory children. Due partly to factory
reform, the worst forms of child exploitation were eliminated gradually. The
influence of trade unions and economic changes also contributed to the
evolution by leaving some forms of child labour redundant during the 19th
century. Initiating children into work as ‘useful’ children was no longer a
priority, and childhood was deemed to be a time for play and education for all
children instead of a privileged minority. Childhood was increasingly
understood as a more extended phase of dependency, development and
learning with the delay of the age for starting full-time work- Even so, work
continued to play a significant, if less essential, role in children’s lives in the
later 19th and 20th centuries. Finally, the ‘useful child’ has become a
controversial concept during the first decade of the 21st century, especially in
the context of global concern about large numbers of children engaged in child
labour.
The half-time schools established upon the Factory Act of 1833 allowed
children to work and attend school. However, a significant proportion of
children never attended school in the 1840s, and even if they did, they
dropped out by the age of 10 or 11. By the end of the 19th century in Britain,

the situation changed dramatically, and schools became the core to the
concept of a ‘normal’ childhood.
It is no longer a privilege for children to attend school and all children are
expected to spend a significant part of their day in a classroom. Once in school,
children’s lives could be separated from domestic life and the adult world of
work. In this way, school turns into an institution dedicated to shaping the
minds, behaviour and morals of the young. Besides, education dominated the
management of children’s waking hours through the hours spent in the
classroom, homework (the growth of ‘after school’ activities), and the
importance attached to parental involvement.
Industrialisation, urbanisation and mass schooling pose new challenges for
those who are responsible for protecting children’s welfare, as well as
promoting their learning. An increasing number of children are being treated as
a group with unique needs, and are organised into groups in the light of their
age. For instance, teachers need to know some information about what to
expect of children in their classrooms, what kinds of instruction are appropriate
for different age groups, and what is the best way to assess children’s
progress. Also, they want tools enabling them to sort and select children
according to their abilities and potential.
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 Aries pointed out that children did different types of
work to adults during the Middle Ages.
2
Working children during the Middle Ages were
generally unloved.
3
Some scientists thought that overwork might damage
the health of young children.
4
The rise of trade unions majorly contributed to the
protection of children from exploitation in the 19th century.
5
Through the aid of half-time schools, most children
went to school in the mid-19th century.
6
In the 20th century, almost all children needed to go
to school with a full-time schedule.
7
Nowadays, children’s needs are much differentiated
and categorised based on how old they are.
Questions 8-13
Answer the questions below.
Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each
answer:
Write your answers in boxes 8-13 on your answer sheet.
What had not become a hot topic until the French historian Philippe Aries’
book caused great attention?
8
According to Aries, what was the typical image of children in Western
Europe during the Middle Ages?9
What historical event generated the need for a large number of children
to work for a long time in the 18th and 19th centuries?10
What bill was enacted to protect children from exploitation in Britain in

the 1800s?11
Which activities were becoming regarded as preferable for almost all
children in the 19th century?12
In what place did children spend the majority of time during their day in
school?13

READING PASSAGE 2
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26, which are based on
Reading Passage 2 below.
Bestcom—Considerate Computing
‘Your battery is now fully charged,' announced the laptop to its owner Donald
A. Norman in a synthetic voice, with great enthusiasm and maybe even a hint
of pride. For the record, humans are not at all unfamiliar with distractions and
multitasking. ‘We are used to a complex life that gets constantly interrupted by
computer’s attention-seeking requests, as much as we are familiar with
procreation,’ laughs Ted Selker of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) Media Lab,
Humanity has been connected to approximately three billion networked
telephones, computers, traffic lights and even fridges and picture frames since
these things can facilitate our daily lives. That is why we do not typically turn
off the phones, shut down the e-mail system, or close the office door even
when we have a meeting coming or a stretch of concentrated work. We merely
endure the consequences.
Countless research reports have confirmed that if people are unexpectedly
interrupted, they may suffer a drop in work efficiency, and they are more likely
to make mistakes. According to Robert G. Picard from the University of
Missouri, it appears to build up the feeling of frustration cumulatively, and that
stress response makes it difficult to focus again. It is. not solely about
productivity and the pace of life. For some professionals like pilots, drivers,
soldiers and doctors, loss of focus can be downright disastrous. 'If we could find
a way to make our computers and phones realise the limits of human attention
and memory, they may come off as more thoughtful and courteous,’ says Eric

Horvitz of Microsoft Research. Horvitz, Selker and Picard are just a few of a
small but prospering group of researchers who are attempting to make
computers, phones, cars and other devices to function more like considerate
colleagues instead of egocentric oafs.
To do this, the machines need new skills of three kinds: sensing, reasoning and
communicating. First, a system must: sense or infer where its owner is and
what he or she is doing. Next, it must weigh the value of the messages it wants
to convey against the cost of the disruption. Then it has to. choose the best
mode and time to interject: Each of these pushes the limits of computer
science and raises issues of privacy, complexity or reliability. Nevertheless,
‘Attentive’ Computing Systems, have started to make an appearance in the
latest Volvos, and IBM has designed and developed a communications software
called WebSphere that comes with an underlying sense of busyness. Microsoft
has been conducting extensive in-house tests of a way more sophisticated
system since 2003. In a couple of years, companies might manage to provide
each office employee with a software version of the personal receptionist which
is only available to corner-suite executives today.
However, the truth is that most people are not as busy as they claim to be,
which explains why we can often stand interruptions from our inconsiderate
electronic paraphernalia. To find out the extent to which such disruption may
claim people’s daily time, an IBM Research team led by Jennifer Lai from
Carnegie Mellon University studied ten managers, researchers and interns at
the workplace. They had the subjects on videotape, and within every period of
a specific time, they asked the subjects to evaluate their ‘interruptibility’. The
time a worker spent in leave-me-alone state varied from individual to individual
and day to day, and the percentage ranged from 10 to 51. Generally, the
employees wished to work without interruption for roughly 1/3 of the time.
Similarly, by studying Microsoft workers, Horvitz also came to the discovery
that they ordinarily spend over 65 per cent of their day in a low-attention
mode.
Obviously, today’s phones and computers are probably correct about two-
thirds of time by assuming that their users are always available to answer a
call, check an email, or click the ‘OK’ button on an alert box. But for the
considerate systems to be functional and useful, their accuracy has to be
above 65 in sending when their users are about to reach their cognitive limit.
Inspired by Horvitz’s work, Microsoft prototype Bestcom-Enhanced Telephony
(Bestcom-ET) digs a bit deeper into every user’s computer to find out clues
about what they are dealing with. As I said earlier, Microsoft launched an
internal beta test of the system in mid-2003. Horvitz points out that by the end

of last October, nearly 3,800 people had been relying on the system to field
their incoming calls.
Horvitz is, in fact, a tester himself, and as we have our conversation in his
office, Bestcom silently takes care of all the calls. Firstly, it checks if the caller
is in his address book, the company directory, or the ‘recent call’ list. After
triangulating all these resources at the same time, it attempts to figure out
what their relationship is. The calls that get through are from family,
supervisors and people he called earlier that day. Other callers will get a
message on their screens that say he cannot answer now because he is in a
meeting, and will not be available until 3pm. The system will scan both
Horvitz’s and the caller’s calendar to check if it can reschedule a callback at a
time which works for both of them. Some callers will take that option, while
others simply leave a voicemail. The same happens with e-mails. When Horvitz
is not in his office, Bestcom automatically offers to transfer selected callers to
his cellphone, unless his calendar implies that he is in a meeting.
Questions 14-19
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading
Passage 2?
Inboxes 14-19 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
14
According to Ted Selker, human reproduction has
been disturbed throughout history.
15
If people are interrupted by calls or e-mails, they
usually put up with it.

16 Microsoft is now investigating a software which is
compatible with ordinary offices.
17
People usually have a misperception about whether
they are busy or not.
18
Experts in Carnegie Mellon University conducted a
research observing all occupations of IBM.
19
Current phone and computer systems have shortcut
keys for people receiving information immediately.
Questions 20-26
Complete the flow-chart below.
Choose ONLY ONE WORD from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 20-26 on your answer sheet.
Bestcom Working Process Bestcom system carries out further analysis in order to find 20
about
what users are doing.
in the office out of the office
Check the 21
between the caller and
the user, whether the caller has contact
information of the user, such as their family,
friends or collegues. If callers are not in directory, a(n)
22
will show up on their
screen, saying the user is not
available at moment. The system
will 23
a suitable time for
both, or callers can choose to leave
a(n) 24
to users. Bestcom will
provide a solution
by transferring your call to the user’s
25
if
there is no
26
in his
or her schedule.

READING PASSAGE 3
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40, which are based on
Reading Passage 3 below.
Can Hurricanes be Moderated or Diverted?
A Each year, massive swirling storms bringing along winds greater than 74
miles per hour wipe across tropical oceans and land on shorelines—usually
devastating vast swaths of territory. When these roiling tempests strike
densely inhabited territories, they have the power to kill thousands and cause
property damage worth of billions of dollars. Besides, absolutely nothing stands
in their way. But can we ever find a way to control these formidable forces of
nature?
B To see why hurricanes and other severe tropical storms may be susceptible
to human intervention, a researcher must first learn about their nature and
origins. Hurricanes grow in the form of thunderstorm clusters above the
tropical seas. Oceans in low-latitude areas never stop giving out heat and
moisture to the atmosphere, which brings about warm, wet air above the sea
surface. When this kind of air rises, the water vapour in it condenses to form
clouds and precipitation. Condensation gives out heat in the process the solar
heat is used to evaporate the water at the ocean surface. This so-called
invisible heat of condensation makes the air more buoyant, leading to it
ascending higher while reinforcing itself in the feedback process. At last, the
tropical depression starts to form and grow stronger, creating the familiar eye -
- the calm centre hub that a hurricane spins around. When reaching the land,
the hurricane no longer has a continuous supply of warm water, which causes
it to swiftly weaken.

C Our current studies are inspired by my past intuition when I was learning
about chaos theory 30 years ago. The reason why long-range forecasting is
complicated is that the atmosphere is highly sensitive to small influences and
tiny mistakes can compound fast in the weather-forecasting models. However,
this sensitivity also made me realise a possibility: if we intentionally applied
some slight inputs to a hurricane, we might create a strong influence that
could affect the storms, either by steering them away from densely populated
areas or by slowing them down. Back then, I was not able to test my ideas, but
thanks to the advancement of computer simulation and remote-sensing
technologies over the last 10 years, I can now renew my enthusiasm in large-
scale weather control.
D To find out whether the sensitivity of the atmospheric system could be
exploited to adjust such robust atmospheric phenomena as hurricanes, our
research team ran simulation experiments on computers for a hurricane
named Iniki that occurred in 1992. The current forecasting technologies were
far from perfect, so it took us by surprise that our first simulation turned out to
be an immediate success. With the goal of altering the path of Iniki in mind, we
first picked the spot where we wanted the storm to stop after six hours. Then
we used this target to generate artificial observations and put these into the
computer model.
E The most significant alteration turned out to be the initial temperatures and
winds. Usually, the temperature changes across the grid were only tenths of a
degree, but the most noteworthy change, which was an increase of almost two
degrees Celsius, took place in the lowest model layer to the west of the storm
centre. The calculations produced wind-speed changes of two or three miles
per hour. However, in several spots, the rates shifted by as much as 20 mph
due to minor redirections of the winds close to the storm’s centre. In terms of
structure, the initial and altered versions of Hurricane Iniki seemed almost the
same, but the changes in critical variables were so substantial that the latter
one went off the track to the west during the first six hours of the simulation
and then travelled due north, leaving Kauai untouched.
F Future earth-orbiting solar power stations, equipped with large mirrors to
focus the sun’s rays and panels of photovoltaic cells to gather and send energy
to the Earth, might be adapted to beam microwaves which turn to be absorbed
by water vapour molecules inside or around the storm. The microwaves would
cause the water molecules to vibrate and heat up the surrounding air, which
then leads to the hurricane slowing down or moving in a preferred direction.
G Simulations of hurricanes conducted on a computer have implied that by

changing the precipitation, evaporation and air temperature, we could make a
difference to a storm’s route or abate its winds. Intervention could be in many
different forms: exquisitely targeted clouds bearing silver iodide or other
rainfall-inducing elements might deprive a hurricane of the water it needs to
grow and multiply from its formidable eyewall, which is the essential
characteristic of a severe tropical storm.
Questions 27-33
Reading Passage 3 has seven paragraphs, A-G.
Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings
below.
Write the correct number, i-viii, in boxes 27-33 on your answer sheet.
List of Headings
i Hurricanes in history
ii How hurricanes form
iii How a laboratory exercise re-
routed a hurricane
iv Exciting ways to utilise future
technologies
v Are hurricanes unbeatable?
vi Re-visiting earlier ideas
vii How lives might have been saved
viii A range of low-tech methods
27
Paragraph A

28 Paragraph B
29
Paragraph C
30
Paragraph D
31
Paragraph E
32
Paragraph F
33
Paragraph G
Questions 34-38
Complete the summary below.
Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 34-38 on your answer sheet.
Hurricanes originate as groups of 34
over the tropical oceans. Low-
latitude seas continuously provide heat and moisture to the atmosphere,
producing warm, humid air above the sea surface. When this air rises, the water
vapour in it condenses to form clouds and precipitation. 35
releases
heat—the solar heat it took to evaporate the water at the ocean surface. This so-
called latent 36
of condensation makes the air more buoyant, causing it
to ascend still higher in a self-reinforcing feedback process. Eventually, the
tropical depression begins to organise and strengthen, forming the familiar
37
—the calm central hub around which a hurricane spins. On passing
over 38
, the hurricane’s sustaining source of warm water is cut off,
which leads to the storm’s rapid weakening.
Questions 39-40
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
Write the correct letter in boxes 39-40 on your answer sheet.

39What encouraged the writer to restart researching hurricane control?
A
B
C
D
40 What was the writer’s reaction after their first experiment?
A
B
C
D the huge damage hurricane trigger
the developments in computer technologies
the requirement of some local people
the chaos theory learnt as a student
surprised that their intervention had not achieved a lot
ecstatic with the achievement the first experiment had
surprised that their intervention had the intended effect
regretful about the impending success

1FALSE 2FALSE
3TRUE 4NOT GIVEN
5FALSE 6NOT GIVEN
7TRUE 8history of childhood
9miniature adults 10 industrialisation/industrialization
11the Factory Act 12play and education
13(a) classroom 14NOT GIVEN
15TRUE 16TRUE
17TRUE 18FALSE
19NOT GIVEN 20clues
21relationship 22message
23reschedule 24voicemail
25cellphone 26meeting
27v 28ii
29vi 30iii
31vii 32iv
33viii 34thunderstorms
35Condensation 36heat
37eye 38land
39B 40C
X