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Reading Passage 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-15 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

Biology of Light

The phenomenon of light has always been pondered and mythologized about, but only until recently have there been systematic efforts to determine its basic properties and nature. A whole host of cultures have their own take on the origin of light or the day/night cycle. Some stories see the light and dark duality as a great cosmic struggle. In the Norse mythology of Scandinavia, wolves chase both the moon and sun as they arch across the sky. Scientific inquiry into light is yet another expression of our natural curiosity about the world. In the West, there have been postulations about light since the time of Ancient Greece. This line of questioning sometimes has lead to practical applications as well, allowing us to harness the properties of different kinds of light for the benefit of all.

The Greek hills and islands produced many naturalists and mathematicians in ancient times. Several inquired about the nature of light. Euclid, famous for his work in geometry, theorized that light traveled in straight lines and studied the laws of reflection. Another different theorist prefigured the wave/particle debate over the nature of light by stating that it was made up of atoms that moved at infinite speed. The biggest advance in the nature of light during this time, though, was from an Islamic scientist named Al-Haitham. He theorized that our vision was a result of light entering our eyes. Al-Haitham believed this light to be very, very fast but ultimately finite in speed. He also guessed correctly that the refraction effect was a result of light traveling at different speeds through different mediums. The camera obscura, or pinhole camera, that he invented would later help others understand human sight. Further advances into the biology of light would not be made for about 600 years, or until the beginning of the 17th century.

Johannes Kepler was a great astronomer whose work was part of the revolution, in the Western world, from ancient ways of looking at nature to a more systematic and scientific way. Kepler’s work led to a greater understanding of the orbits of planets and laid the foundations for modern astronomy. He also studied the phenomena of light and made important formulations of it. The inverse square law was formulated by Kepler, which states that the intensity of light goes down proportionately by the square of the distance away from the source. For example, if the distance from an object to a light source is doubled, the intensity of the light reaching the object is reduced to one-fourth of the previous intensity. If the distance is tripled, the intensity is reduced to one-ninth of the previous intensity, or three squared, and so forth. Kepler also theorized that the image of the world we receive onto our eyes is actually upside-down due to the light entering the eye, much like in the camera obscura invented by Al-Haitham. Oddly, Kepler did not expound upon the laws of refraction, and he also incorrectly assumed the speed of light to be infinite.

Over the next centuries, various other scientific greats added to our understanding of light. Isaac Newton’s Opticks was a seminal work in color and refraction. During his time, there was a debate over whether or not light was actually a particle or a wave. The true nature of light turned out to be more complicated, actually having properties of both, but at that time it was thought Newton made a mistake by pushing a particle theory of light.

The work of two more scientists, Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell, created the modern understanding of light. Faraday’s experiments, data, and incipient theory on light allowed Maxwell to formulate a complete mathematical understanding of light in relation to electricity and magnetism. By realizing and explaining how these forces were unified, modern physicists could delve into the more counterintuitive and interesting properties of light. However, even Maxwell’s theories needed improvement since he assumed that all electromagnetic waves, including light, propagated through a substance that permeated all space. Since sound had to travel in a medium such as air or water, it was thought light needed such one as well. Later experiments disproved the notion of a ‘luminous aether’ as well as refining the measurements for the speed of light.

The leap from a classical view of light to a quantum view of light took place in the 20th century. Albert Einstein was responsible for two discoveries, which fundamentally altered the way the light was perceived. The first discovery, and the one for which he received a Nobel Prize in Physics, was his explanation of the photoelectric effect. Einstein noticed that if a certain type of light were shined onto a piece of reactive metal, it would emit electrons. If another type of light with a lower frequency, and therefore less energy, were used instead, the metal would not emit any electrons, regardless of the amount of that lower frequency light. Einstein used the earlier work of Max Planck to show how this particle-like behavior of light showed that its energy wasn’t continuous, but rather, came in ‘quanta’. Light could only exist at certain energy levels and nowhere in between. Einstein also used Maxwell’s equations to develop his Special Theory of Relativity. Among many things, this theory states that light is a sort of universal speed limit and that nothing can travel faster than it.

Scientists today are continuing to try and understand properties of light. Useful technologies, such as fiber optics and laser communications, have already been developed. Future work may even give us computers that make calculations using photons instead of electrons. The long search for the deeper meaning of something around us all the time has been most useful and beneficial.



Questions 1-8
Complete the summary below. Choose your answers from the box at the bottom of the page and write them in boxes 1-8 on your answer sheet.
NB There are more words than spaces, so you will not use them all.


In the Western world, there have been investigations into the (1)______ of light since the time of the Ancient (2)______ . They laid some of the foundations for (3)______ inquiry into light. People either (4)______ on what light was, or tried to describe very broad mathematical properties of it.
After the (5)______ revolution in Europe, some (6)______ delved deeper and deeper into the intrinsic nature of light, including what it was made of, how it acted, and how fast it went. Recent (7) _______ about light include some (8)______ and unintuitive findings.

Word List



Questions 9-15
Look at the following notes that have been made about the scientists described in Reading Passage 1. Decide which name (A-H) corresponds with each description and write your answers for questions 9-15.

NB There are more names than descriptions, so you will not use them all.
You may use any letter more than once.

List of Scientists

A Johannes Kepler
B Max Planck
C Isaac Newton
D Al-Haitham
E Albert Einstein
F Michael Faraday
G Euclid
H James Clerk Maxwell

9. was the first to theorize that vision was light entering our eyes.
10. formulated how nothing in the universe could exceed the speed of light.
11. used a previous person’s work to determine light’s relationship with electromagnetism.
12. invented a special device that helped to understand our vision.
13. discovered properties about the strength of light as it leaves a source.
14. His work was used to determine how the energy in light is discrete.
15. early theorist who studied the reflection of light.





Reading Passage 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 16-25 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.

Australia Invaded from Abroad

The interconnectedness of the global economy has brought many benefits to Australia. Transportation connections to the rest of the world allow for the export of natural resources. These links to the outside world also bring in other goods as well as people, both immigrants needed for the labor force and tourists. If not for these developments, Australia would not be the prosperous society as it is. However, other plant and animal species can also accompany these movements. Most of them do not pose a threat to the indigenous wildlife, but sometimes they proliferate, harming the existing ecosystem of Australia. Since the Australian economy is dependent on trade with the rest of the world, government, corporations, and individuals must minimize the introduction of species that threaten the environment and effectively manage those invasive ones already present.

The indigenous flora and fauna of Australia exhibit some unique characteristics among life on Earth. Animals such as the kangaroo, koala, and platypus are known throughout the world. Most of the world’s marsupial species are found there. The most notable features of larger marsupials are special pouches in the mother animals where the young suckle. They are born only after a few weeks and the embryo-like baby must crawl unaided into the pouch and attach itself to the teat for sustenance. This method of birth offers an advantage over placental mammals, like humans, in that the mother is not at great risk from giving birth. The exit of the embryo from the mother is not traumatic and if there is any scarcity while the embryo is still attached to the teat, the young animal dies and the mother produces another one. Australia is also where nearly all monotremes exist. Monotremes, like the platypus and echidna, are similar to other mammals in that they have hair and produce milk for their young, but they lay eggs instead of giving birth to live babies.

According to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, nearly 80 percent of the continent’s indigenous animals and flowering plants are unique to it, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world. The geologic history of plate tectonics explains how this came to be. About 250 million years ago, there existed a supercontinent called Pangaea whose southeastern portion was composed of what is now Australia. This southern part of Pangaea started to break apart and by about 35 million years ago, Australia separated from what is now Antarctica. Unlike the other parts of the old supercontinent, Australia remains separate from other major landmasses and also has a climate where its unique animal and plant species can survive.

Unfortunately, with the arrival of non-native visitors from Europe, many invasive species were introduced. The first of these vectors were sailing ships with animals stowed away in their holds, as well as settlers and colonists who brought their own animals and plants with them. The environment of Australia makes it the driest inhabited continent on Earth, so the arrival of non-indigenous species makes it hard for other animals and plants to survive. In modern times, container ships, airplanes, and people desiring exotic plants or pets have been other vectors for the introduction of new species. Sometimes, in order to control a weed or pest animal, authorities have deliberately propagated a non-indigenous species with disastrous results. The current cane toad infestation in Australia is a result of poor planning in trying to control a type of beetle. The cane toad shunned eating that particular insect pest and, instead, has wreaked enormous havoc on other indigenous species.

The government has implemented a variety of controls to combat invasive animals. Any method, though, has its limits given the scale of the problem and the variety of limiting factors involved. The red fox is controlled through government bounties, poisoning, and fencing. Shooting animals from helicopters is another method that is more practical for larger animals that congregate in herds, like feral goats and camels. An early attempt at invasive species control in the 1950’s used a virus that affected only wild rabbits. It was a mostly successful effort, killing over 90% of them, according to the Australian Department of Environment and Water Resources. Unfortunately, they are still present throughout most of the country, albeit in greatly reduced numbers, since some rabbits developed a resistance to the virus. Another method with potential is the use of sterile animals released into the wild to disrupt a species’ reproductive cycle.

Some of these methods are controversial because of their possible impact on indigenous species and questions about their humaneness. There is no question about the economic impact of invasive species, though; weed plant management alone costs Australia about AUD$4 billion a year. The proliferation of destructive species affects industries like agriculture, forestry, and tourism. Through careful regulation and environmental stewardship, Australians can mitigate the impact of these unwelcome plants and animals.



Questions 16-22
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 2? In boxes 16-22 on your answer sheet, write
YES if the statement agrees with the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

16. Globalization is one factor that causes invasive species to be introduced into Australia.
17. The majority of marsupial species is found outside of Australia.
18. New Zealand shares some plants and animals with Australia.
19. The introduction of invasive species into Australia is always accidental.
20. The Department of Environment and Water Resources reports that wild rabbits were effectively eradicated in Australia.
21. Releasing sterile members of an invasive species into the wild has been shown to be an effective way to control them.
22. Australia can reduce the effect of invasive species through careful policy.



Questions 23-25
Choose the appropriate letters, A-D, and write them in boxes 23-25 on your answer sheet.

23. What reason do people have to settle in Australia and, thus, potentially bring invasive species?
A to encourage the extinction of indigenous animals
B to prevent globalization from taking place
C to contribute to the economy of Australia
D to help preserve the environment

24. Why do marsupial females give birth to undeveloped young?
A to increase the chances of the offspring surviving
B to better provide food and energy to the baby animal
C to save space in the pouch where they are raised
D to minimize risk to the mother

25. What phrase best describes the author’s opinions on invasive species?
A must be dealt with in a thoughtful manner
B an inconvenience that is necessary
C have to be eradicated at all cost
D are not really a problem in Australia





Reading Passage 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 26-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

Questions 26-30
Reading Passage 3 has six sections, A-F.
Choose the correct headings for sections B-F from the list of headings below.
Write the correct numbers, i-viii, in boxes 26-30 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings

i Strict rules that lived beyond their creators
ii Development of column in ancient civilization
iii Many different types of architectural orders
iv Column with a simple form
v Legacy passed down from generations ago
vi The column most representative of females
vii Why columns are used so much
viii A more graceful column

Example: Paragraph A — v

26. Paragraph B

27. Paragraph C

28. Paragraph D

29. Paragraph E

30. Paragraph F


Few other legacies from the past in the Western world are as tangible and cogent as the column. This architectural feature’s ubiquitous presence speaks to its symbolism of strength and stability. The use of columns, even if merely decorative, is a tribute to its ancient origins, which are not always readily apparent. The most basic column is a post or pillar used to support the structure’s roof. This could consist of the trunk of a tree or stones piled on top of one another. The origin of forms used in Western architecture in regards to columns can be traced to the ancient Mediterranean world. The civilizations there created structures and spaces that prefigured those created for several millennia thereafter.

The Egyptians made use of the column as early as the third millennium before the Common Era. Through trade and contact with other populations, the use of the column spread throughout the region. Some of the most impressive artistic expressions of this form were columns made in Persia where the capital (the topmost part) consisted of two ornate bulls’ heads facing outwards. The most well-known and recognizable types of column in Western world today, though, were developed in Greece. The architecture there represented the humanistic culture of that civilization and was the yardstick of form and fuction against which all other architectural forms were compared to. The construction of buildings was one of manu areas where the Romans borrowed ideas from; they also applied their own innovations. These ideas were transmitted to the rest of Europe and then to the rest of the world. The modern Greek column, and their original three orders, does not readily tell the story of how they came to be almost universally used and known.

The most basic form of column invented by that ancient civilization was the Doric order. It consists of a fluted shaft with twenty channels, or grooves, set around a cylindrical shape. Doric columns have no base and stand directly upon the flat surface while the capital consists merely of a round, undecorated stone on which the rest of the structure sits upon. One of the most famous examples of a structure incorporating the Doric order is the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Dedicated as a temple to the ancient Greek goddess of war and wisdom, Athena, it is one of the most important buildings in the Western world to have survived from the classical era. Studies of the facade reveal how closely it hews to the Golden Ratio. The height to diameter ratio of the columns gives the Parthenon a ‘masculine’ feel, as opposed to the other orders, which have more slender and graceful proportions.

The second order of columns in classical architecture is called the Ionic order. Its construction is more complicated than simple Doric columns. The most distinguishing feature is the inclusion of four volutes, (scroll-like designs which bear resemblance to eyes) on four corners above the column shaft, and below the abacus, the area where the rest of the structure sits on top of the column. The volutes facing a viewer may either be in the same geometric plane, or they may be angled with respect to each other, so as to look the same from all four sides. In Ionic columns, the volutes and the abacus together are what compose the capital. Unlike in the Doric order, there is a base that consists of a torus, a flat donut-shaped protrusion coming out from the column, and a plinth block on which the whole column sits. Columns of this order have a greater height to diameter ratio and 24 channels worth of fluting and, therefore, feel lighter than their Doric counterparts.

The final mode in classical architecture is the Corinthian order. The most decorative of the three orders, it is also considered the most ‘feminine’. While Corinthian capitals have similar proportions to ionic columns and also have a base, their volutes are less distinguished. Their most prominent features are the two ranks of carved leaves that curl up and out of the column. Though invented by the Greeks, the order was not as established there as in the wider world. Thus, it is possible to see a wide variation in the themes with changes made to the fluting or the representation of the leaves.

The three different types of columns are only one part of the architecture that so defined the ancient Mediterranean world. The word ‘order’ refers not only to the columns themselves, but also the rules of proportionality for the whole structure in which they were embedded. The meticulous attention to detail and spatial relationships of different parts created a memorable harmony in classic Greek buildings. They have served as an architectural inspiration ever since.



Questions 31-35
Complete the sentences below with words taken from the reading passage. Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

31. Columns, if not made just for decoration, have a function in that they

32. The Greeks passed their ideas of architecture onto the

33. One outstanding display of Doric order architecture is the

34. The use of Corinthian columns has spread to

35. The column was only one feature in the architecture of the



Questions 36-40

Complete the labels for the columns below, using NO MORE THAN ONE WORD from the passage.

Write your answers in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.



Ответы к этим текстам :

Reading Test 1 Answer Key

Reading Passage 1

1. nature
2. Greeks
3. future
4. speculated
5. scientific
6. scientists
7. discoveries
8. unexpected
9. D
10. E
11. H
12. D
13. A
14. B
15. G

Reading Passage 2

16. YES
17. NO
19. NO
20. NO
22. YES
23. C
24. D
25. A

Reading Passage 3

26. ii
27. iv
28. viii
29. vi
30. i
31.support the structure / support the roof
32. Romans / rest of Europe
33. Parthenon / Parthenon in Athens
34. the wider world
35. ancient Mediterranean world / ancient Mediterranean
36. volute / volutes
37. capital
38. base
39. Ionic
40. Corinthian



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10 Replies to “Reading Practice Test 1”

  1. Здравствуйте, в третьем вопросе: They laid some of the foundations for (3)______ inquiry into light.
    Ответ: future

    Я по тексту нашла такой ответ: Scientific inquiry into light is yet another expression of our natural curiosity about the world.

    Скажите пожалуйста в каком абзаце можно найти правильный ответ на данный вопрос?

    1. Здравствуйте! Вопрос действительно сложный.

      Смотрите в абзаце В фразу о том, что «Another different theorist prefigured the wave/particle debate». Т.е. предвосхитил/предугадал/стал прообразом споров о волнах и частицах, поэтому делаем вывод о том, что речь о будущих научных изысканиях (future inquiry).

  2. Добрый день, Илья! У меня вопрос. Существуют ли самые распространенные темы для IELTS Reading или попадаются совершенно разные темы?

    1. Икрам, здравствуйте!
      Из распространенных тем есть следующие (многие из них кстати и в Writing Task 2 фигурируют):
      human and society

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