BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 10
Reading passage – 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13, which are based on Reading Passage 1 on the following pages
Natural Pesticide in India
A. A dramatic story about cotton farmers in India shows how destructive pesticides can be for people and the environment; and why today’s agriculture is so dependent on pesticides. This story also shows that it’s possible to stop using chemical pesticides without losing a crop to ravaging insects, and it explains how to do it.
B. The story began about 30 years ago, a handful of families migrated from the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, southeast India, into Punukula, a community of around 900 people farming plots of between two and 10 acres. The outsiders from Guntur brought cotton-culture with them. Cotton wooed farmers by promising to bring in more hard cash than the mixed crops they were already growing to eat and sell: millet, sorghum, groundnuts, pigeon peas, mung beans, chilli and rice. But raising cotton meant using pesticides and fertilisers until then a mystery to the mostly illiterate farmers of the community. When cotton production started spreading through Andhra Pradesh state. The high value of cotton made it an exceptionally attractive crop, but growing cotton required chemical fertilizers and pesticides. As most of the farmers were poor, illiterate, and without previous experience using agricultural chemicals, they were forced to rely on local, small-scale agricultural dealers for advice. The dealers sold them seeds, fertilizers, band pesticides on credit and also guaranteed purchase of their crop. The dealers themselves had little technical knowledge about pesticides. They merely passed on promotional information from multinational chemical companies that supplied their products.
C. At first, cotton yields were high, and expenses for pesticides were low because cotton pests had not yet moved in. The farmers had never earned so much! But within a few years, cotton pests like bollworms and aphids plagued the fields, and the farmers saw how rapid insect evolution can be. Repeated spraying killed off the weaker pests, but left the ones most resistant to pesticides to multiply. AS pesticide resistance mounted, the farmers had to apply more and more of the pesticides to get the same results. At the same time, the pesticides killed off birds, wasps, beetles, spiders, and other predators that had once provided natural control of pest insects. Without these predators, the pests could destroy the entire crop if pesticides were not used. Eventually, farmers were mixing pesticide “cocktails” containing as many as ten different brands and sometimes having to spray their cotton as frequently as two times a week. They were really hooked!
D. The villagers were hesitant, but one of Punukula’s village elders decided to risk trying the natural methods instead of pesticides. His son had collapsed with acute pesticide poisoning and survived but the hospital bill was staggering. SECURE’s staff coached this villager on how to protect his cotton crop by using a toolkit of natural methods chat India’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture put together in collaboration with scientists at Andhra Pradesh’s state university. They called the toolkit “Non-Pesticide Management” – or” NPM.”
E. The most important resource in the NPM toolkit was the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica which is common throughout much of India. Neem tree is a broad-leaved evergreen tree related to mahogany. It protects itself against insects by producing a multitude of natural pesticides that work in a variety of ways: with an arsenal of chemical defenses that repel egg-laying, interfere with insect growth, and most important, disrupt the ability of crop-eating insects to sense their food.
F. In fact, neem has been used traditionally in India to protect stored grains from insects and to produce soaps, skin lotions, and other health products. To protect crops from insects, neem seeds are simply ground into a powder that is soaked overnight in water. The solution is then sprayed onto the crop. Another preparation, neem cake, can be mixed into the soil to kill pests and diseases in the soil, and it doubles as an organic fertiliser high in nitrogen. Neem trees grow locally, so the only “cost” is the labor to prepare neem for application to fields
G. The first farmer’s trial with NPM was a complete success! His harvest was as good as the harvests of farmers that were using pesticides, and he earned much more because he did not spend a single rupee on pesticides. Inspired by this success, 20 farmers tried NPM the next year. SECURE posted two well-trained staff in Punukula to teach and help everyone in the village, and the village women put pressure on their husbands to stop using toxic chemicals. Families that were no longer exposing themselves to pesticides began to feel much better, and the rapid improvements in income, health, and general wellbeing quickly sold everyone on the value of NPM. By 2000, all the farmers in Punukula were using NPM, not only for cotton, but for their other crops as well
H. The suicide epidemic came to an end. And with the cash, health, and energy that returned when they stopped poisoning themselves with pesticides, the villagers were inspired to start more community and business projects. The women of Punukula created a new source of income by collecting, grinding, and selling neem seeds for NPM in other villages. The villagers rescued their indentured children and gave them special six-month “catch-up’ courses to return to school.
I. Fighting against pesticides, and winning, increased village solidarity, self-confidence, and optimism about the future. When dealers tried to punish NPM users by paying less for NPM cotton, the farmers united to form a marketing cooperative that found fairer prices elsewhere. The leadership and collaboration skills that the citizens of Punukula developed in the NPM struggle have helped them to take on other challenges, like water purification, building a cotton gin to add value to the cotton before they sell it, and convincing the state government to support NPM over the objection of multi-national pesticide corporations.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1? In boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet write
TRUE – if the statement is true
FALSE – if the statement is false
NOT GIVEN – if the information is not given in the passage
1. Cotton in Andhra Pradesh state could really bring more income to the bcal farmers than traditional farming.
2. The majority of farmers had used the agricultural pesticides before 30 years ago.
3. The yield of cotton is relatively tower than that of other agricultural crops.
4. The farmers didn’t realize the spread of the pests was so fast.
Complete the summary below.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer, Write your answers n boxes 5-11 on your answer sheet.
The Making of pesticide protecting crops against insect
The broad-leaved neem tree was chosen, it is a fast-growing and 5……………….. tree and produces amount of 6…………………. for itself that can be effective like insects repellent. Firstly, neem seeds need to be crushed into 7…………………… form, which is left behind 8…………………. in water. Then we need to spray the solution onto the crop. A special 9……………….. is used when mix with soil in order to eliminate bugs and bacteria, and its effect 10…………………. when it adds the level of 11……………….. in this organic fertilizer meanwhile.
Answer the questions below.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer Write your answers in boxes 12-14 on your answer sheet.
12. In which year did all the farmers use NPM for their crops in Punukula?
13 What gave the women of Punukula a business opportunity to NPMs?
14. Name one project that the citizens of Punchkula decidice to develop in the NPM.
Reading Passage – 2
You should spend about 20 minutes on question 14-26, which are based on reading passage 2 on the following pages.
TV Addiction 1
A. The amount of time people spend watching television is astonishing. On average, individuals in the industrialized world devote three hours a day to the pursuit —fully half of their leisure time, and more than on any single activity save work and sleep. At this rate, someone who lives to 75 would spend nine years in front of the tube. To some commentators, this devotion means simply that people enjoy TV and make a conscious decision to watch it. But if that is the whole story, why do so many people experience
misgivings about how much they view? In Gallup polls in 1992 and 1999, two out of five adult respondents and seven out of 10 teenagers said they spent too much time watching TV. Other surveys have consistently shown that roughly 10 percent of adults call themselves TV addicts
B. To study people’s reactions to TV, researchers have experiments in which they have monitored the brain waves (using an electroencephalograph, or EEG) to track behavior and emotion in the normal course of life, as opposed to the artificial conditions of the lab. Participants carried a beeper, and we signalled them six to eight times a day, at random, over the period of a week; whenever they heard the beep, they wrote down what they were doing and how they were feeling using a standardized scorecard.
C. As one might expect, people who were watching TV when we beeped them reported feeling relaxed and passive. The EEG studies similarly show less mental stimulation, as measured by alpha brain-wave production, during viewing than during reading. What is more surprising is that the sense of relaxation ends when the set is turned off, but the feelings of passivity and lowered alertness continue. Survey participants say they have more difficulty concentrating after viewing than before. In contrast, they rarely indicate such difficulty after reading. After playing sports or engaging in hobbies, people report improvements in mood. After watching TV, people’s moods are about the same or worse than before. That may be because viewers’ vague learned sense that they will feel less relaxed if they stop viewing. So they tend not to turn the set off. Viewing begets more viewing which is the same as the experience of habit-forming drugs. Thus, the irony of TV: people watch a great deal longer than they plan to, even though prolonged viewing is less rewarding. In our ESM studies the longer people sat in front of the set, the less satisfaction they said they derived from it. For some, a twinge of unease or guilt that they aren’t doing something more productive may also accompany and depreciate the enjoyment of prolonged viewing. Researchers in Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. have found that this guilt occurs much more among middle-class viewers than among less affluent ones.
D. What is it about TV that has such a hold on us? In part, the attraction seems to spring from our biological ‘orienting response/ First described by Ivan Pavlov in 1927, the orienting response is our instinctive visual or auditory reaction to any sudden or novel stimulus. It is part of our evolutionary heritage, a built-in sensitivity to movement and potential predatory threats. In 1986 Byron Reeves of Stanford University, Esther Thorson of the University of Missouri and their colleagues began to study whether the simple formal features of television—cuts, edits, zooms, pans, sudden noises — activate the orienting response, thereby keeping attention on the screen. By watching how brainwaves were affected by formal features, the researchers concluded that these stylistic tricks can indeed trigger involuntary responses and ‘derive their attentional value through the evolutionary significance of detecting movement…. It is the form, not the content, of television that is unique.
E. The natural attraction to television’s sound and light starts very early in life. Dafna Lemish of Tel Aviv University has described babies at six to eight weeks attending to television. We have observed slightly older infants who, when lying on their backs on the floor, crane their necks around 180 degrees to catch what light through yonder window breaks. This inclination suggests how deeply rooted the orienting response is.
F. The Experience Sampling Method permitted us to look closely at most every domain of everyday life: working, eating, reading, talking to friends, playing a sport, and so on. We found that heavy viewers report feeling significantly more anxious and less happy than light viewers do in unstructured situations, such as doing nothing, daydreaming or waiting in line. The difference widens when the viewer is alone. Subsequently, Robert D. McIlwraith of the University of Manitoba extensively studied those who called themselves TV addicts on surveys. On a measure called the Short Imaginal Processes Inventory (SIPI), he found that the self-described addicts are more easily bored and distracted and have poorer attentional control than the non-addicts. The addicts said they used TV to distract themselves from unpleasant thoughts and to fill time. Other studies over the years have shown that heavy viewers are less likely to participate in community activities and sports and are more likely to be obese than moderate viewers or non-viewers.
G. More than 25 years ago psychologist Tannis M. Macbeth Williams of the University of British Columbia studied a mountain community that had no television until cable finally arrived. Over time, both adults and children in the town became less creative in problem solving, less able to persevere at tasks, and less tolerant of unstructured time.
H. Nearly 40 years ago Gary A. Steiner of the University of Chicago collected fascinating individual accounts of families whose set had broken. In experiments, families have volunteered or been paid to stop viewing, typically for a week or a month. Some fought, verbally and physically. In a review of these cold-turkey studies, Charles Winick of the City University of New York concluded: ‘The first three or four days for most persons were the worst, even in many homes where viewing was minimal and where there were other ongoing activities. In over half of all the households, during these first few days of loss, the regular routines were disrupted, family members had difficulties in dealing with the newly available time, anxiety and aggressions were expressed By the second week, a move toward adaptation to the situation was common.’ Unfortunately, researchers have yet to flesh out these anecdotes; no one has systematically gathered statistics on the prevalence of these withdrawal symptoms.
I. Even though TV does seem to meet the criteria for substance dependence, not all researchers would go so far as to call TV addictive. McIlwraith said in 1998 that ‘displacement of other activities by television may be socially significant but still fall short of the clinical requirement of significant impairment.’ He argued that a new category of ‘TV addiction’ may not be necessary if heavy viewing stems from conditions such as depression and social phobia. Nevertheless, whether or not we formally diagnose someone as TV-dependent, millions of people sense that they cannot readily control the amount of television they watch.
Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Reading Passage? In boxes 15-19 on your answer sheet, write
TRUE – If the statement is true
FALSE – If the statement is false
NOT GIVEN – if the information is not given in the passage
15. Study shows that males are more likely to be addicted to TV than females.
16. Greater improvements in mood are experienced after watching TV than playing sports.
17. TV addiction works in similar ways as drugs.
18. It is reported that people’s satisfaction is in proportion to the time they spend watching TV.
19. Middle-class viewers are more likely to feel guilty about watching TV than the poor.
Look at the following researchers (Questions 19-23) and the list of statements below.
Match each researcher with the correct statements.
Write the correct letter A-H in boxes 19-23 on your answer sheets.
20. Byron Reeves and Esther Thorson
21. Dafna Lemish
22. Robert D. McIlwraith
23. Tannis M. Macbeth Williams
24. Charles Winick
List of Statements
A. Audiences would get hypnotized from viewing too much television.
B. People have been sensitive to the TV signals since a younger age.
C. People are less likely to accomplish their work with television.
D. A handful of studies have attempted to study other types of media addiction.
E. The addictive power of television could probably minimize the problems.
F. Various media formal characters stimulate people’s reaction on the screen.
G. People who believe themselves to be TV addicts are less likely to join in the group activities.
H. It is hard for people to accept the life without TV at the beginning.
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D. Write the correct letter in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.
25. People in the industrialized world
A. devote ten hours watching TV on average.
B. spend more time on TV than other entertainment.
C. call themselves TV addicts.
D. working best.
26. When compared with light viewers, heavy viewers
A. like playing sport more than reading.
B. feel relaxed after watching TV.
C. spend more time in daydreaming.
D. are more easily bored while waiting in line.
27. Which of the following statements is true about the family experiment?
A. Not all the subjects participate in the experiment for free.
B. There has been a complete gathered data.
C. People are prevented from other activities during the experiment.
D. People cannot adapt to the situation until the end
Reading passage – 3
A. In a scruffy office in midtown Manhattan, a team of 30 artificial intelligence programmers is trying to simulate the brains of an eminent sexologist, a well-known dietician, a celebrity fitness trainer and several other experts. Umagic Systems is a young firm, setting up websites that will allow clients to consult the virtual versions of these personalities. Subscribers will feed in details about themselves and their goals; Umagic‘s software will come up with the advice that the star expert would give. Although few people have lost money betting on the neuroses of the American consumer, Umagic‘s prospects are hard to gauge (in ten years‘ time, consulting a computer about your sex life might seem natural, or it might seem absurd). But the company and others like it are beginning to spook large American firms, because they see such half-barmy “innovative” ideas as the key to their own future success.
B. Innovation has become the buzz-word of American management. Firms have found that most of the things that can be outsourced or reengineered have been (worryingly, by their competitors as well). The stars of American business tend today to be innovators such as Dell, Amazon and WalMart, which have produced ideas or products that have changed their industries.
C. A new book by two consultants from Arthur D. Little records that, over the past 15 years, the top 20% of firms in an annual innovation poll by Fortune magazine have achieved double the shareholder returns of their peers. Much of today‘s merger boom is driven by a desperate search for new ideas. So is the fortune now spent on licensing and buying others‘ intellectual property. According to the Pasadena-based Patent & Licence Exchange, trading in intangible assets in the United States has risen from $15 billion in 1990 to $100 billion in 1998, with an increasing proportion of the rewards going to small firms and individuals.
D. And therein lies the terror for big companies: that innovation seems to work best outside them. Several big established “ideas factories”, including 3M, Procter & Gamble and Rubbermaid, have had dry spells recently. Gillette spent ten years and $1 billion developing its new Mach 3 razor; it took a British supermarket only a year or so to produce a reasonable imitation. “In the management of creativity, size is your enemy”, argues Peter Chernin, who runs the Fox TV and film empire for News Corporation. One person managing 20 movies is never going to be as involved as one doing five movies. He has thus tried to break down the studio into smaller units—even at the risk of incurring higher costs.
E. It is easier for ideas to thrive outside big firms these days. In the past, if a clever scientist had an idea he wanted to commercialize, he would take it first to a big company. Now, with plenty of cheap venture capital, he is more likely to set up on his own. Umagic has already raised $5m and is about to raise $25m more. Even in capital-intensive businesses such as pharmaceuticals, entrepreneurs can conduct early-stage research, selling out to the big firms when they reach expensive, risky clinical trials. Around a third of drug firms‘ total revenue now comes from licensed-in technology.
F. Some giants, including General Electric and Cisco, have been remarkably successful at snapping up and integrating scores of small companies. But many others worry about the prices they have to pay and the difficulty in hanging on to the talent that dreamt up the idea. Everybody would like to develop more ideas inhouse. Procter & Gamble is now shifting its entire business focus from countries to products; one aim is to get innovations accepted across the company. Elsewhere, the search for innovation has led to a craze for “intrapreneurship”— devolving power and setting up internal ideasfactories and tracking stocks so that talented staff will not leave.
G. Some people think that such restructuring is not enough. In a new book Clayton Christensen argues that many things which established firms do well, such as looking after their current customers, can hinder the sort of innovative behavior needed to deal with disruptive technologies. Hence the fashion for cannibalization setting up businesses that will actually fight your existing ones. Bank One, for instance, has established Wingspan, an Internet bank that competes with its real branches (see article). Jack Welch‘s Internet initiative at General Electric is called “Destroyyourbusiness.com”.
H. Nobody could doubt that innovation matters. But need large firms be quite so pessimistic? A recent survey of the top 50 innovations in America, by Industry Week, a journal, suggested that ideas are as likely to come from big firms as from small ones. Another sceptical note is sounded by Amar Bhide, a colleague of Mr. Christensen‘s at the Harvard Business School and the author of another book on entrepreneurship. Rather than having to reinvent themselves, big companies, he believes, should concentrate on projects with high costs and low uncertainty, leaving those with low costs and high uncertainty to small entrepreneurs. As ideas mature and the risks and rewards become more quantifiable, big companies can adopt them.
I. At Kimberly-Clark, Mr. Sanders had to discredit the view that jobs working on new products were for
“those who couldn‘t hack it in the real business”. He has tried to change the culture not just by preaching fuzzy concepts but also by introducing hard incentives, such as increasing the rewards for those who come up with successful new ideas and, particularly, not punishing those whose experiments fail. The genesis of one of the firm‘s current hits, Depend, a more dignified incontinence garment, lay in a previous miss, Kotex Personals, a form of disposable underwear for menstruating women.
J. Will all this creative destruction, cannibalization and culture tweaking make big firms more creative? David Post, the founder of Umagic, is sceptical: “The only successful intrapreneurs are ones who leave and become entrepreneurs”. He also recalls with glee the looks of total incomprehension when he tried to hawk his “virtual experts” idea three years ago to the idea labs of firms such as IBM—though, as he cheerfully adds, “of course, they could have been right”. Innovation— unlike, apparently, sex, parenting and fitness— is one area where a computer cannot tell you what to do.
The reading Passage has ten paragraphs A-J. Which paragraph contains the following information? Write the correct letter A-J, in boxes 28-33 on your answer sheet.
NB You may use any letter more than once.
28. Approach to retain best employees
29. Safeguarding expenses on innovative idea
30. Integrating outside firms might produce certain counter effect
31. Example of three famous American companies‘ innovation
32. Example of one company changing its focus
33. Example of a company resolving financial difficulties itself
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3? In boxes 34-37 on your answer sheet, write
TRUE – if the statement is true
FALSE – if the statement is false
NOT GIVEN – if the information is not given in the passage
34. Umagic is the most successful innovative company in this new field.
35. Amazon and Wal-Mart exchanged their innovation experience.
36. New idea holder had already been known to take it to small company in the past.
37. IBM failed to understand Umagic‘s proposal of one new idea.
Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D. Write your answers in boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet.
38. What is author‘s opinion on the effect of innovation in paragraph C?
A. It only works for big companies
B. Fortune magazine has huge influence globally
C. It is getting more important
D. Effect on American companies is more evident
39. What is Peter Chernin‘s point of view on innovation?
A. Small company is more innovative than big one
B. Film industry need more innovation than other industries
C. We need to cut the cost when risks occur
D. New ideas are more likely going to big companies
40. What is author‘s opinion on innovation at the end of this passage?
A. Umagic success lies on the accidental “virtual experts”
B. Innovation is easy and straightforward
C. IBM sets a good example on innovation
D. The author‘s attitude is uncertain on innovation
1. NOT GIVEN
3. NOT GIVEN
6. natural pesticides
9. neem cake
12. In 2000
13. neem seeds
14. water purification
15. NOT GIVEN
34. NOT GIVEN
35. NOT GIVEN