BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 16

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 16


BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 16
BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 16



You should spend about 20 minutes on Reading Passage 1 below.

Keep a Watchful Eye on the Bridges

A. Most road and rail bridges are only inspected visually, if at all. Every few months, engineers have to clamber over the structure in an attempt to find problems before the bridge shows obvious signs of damage. Technologies developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, and Texas A&M University may replace these surveys with microwave sensors that constantly monitor the condition of bridges.

B. “The device uses microwaves to measure the distance between the sensor and the bridge, much like radar does,” says Albert Migliori, a Los Alamos physicist “Any load on the bridge – such as traffic induces displacements, which change that distance as the bridge moves up and down.” By monitoring these movements over several minutes, the researchers can find out how the bridge resonates. Changes in its behaviour can give an early warning of damage.

C. The Interstate 40 Bridge over the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque provided the researchers with a rare opportunity to test their ideas. Chuck Farrar, an engineer at Los Alamos, explains: “The New Mexico authorities decided to raze this bridge and replace it. We were able to mount instruments on it, test it under various load conditions and even inflict damage just before it was demolished.” In the 1960s and 1970s, 2500 similar bridges were built in the US. They have two steel girders supporting the load in each section. Highway experts know that this design is “fracture critical” because a failure in either girder would cause the bridge to fail.

D. After setting up the microwave dish on the ground below the bridge, the Los Alamos team installed conventional accelerometers at several points along the span to measure its motion. They then tested the bridge while traffic roared across it and while subjecting it to pounding from a “shaker”, which delivered precise punches to a specific point on the road.

E. “We then created damage that we hoped would simulate fatigue cracks that can occur in steel girders,” says Farrar. They first cut a slot about 60 centimetres long in the middle of one girder. They then extended the cut until it reached the bottom of the girder and finally they cut across the flange – the bottom of the girder’s “I” shape.

F. The initial, crude analysis of the bridge’s behaviour, based on the frequency at which the bridge resonates, did not indicate that anything was wrong until the flange was damaged. But later the data were re-analysed with algorithms that took into account changes in the mode shapes of the structure – shapes that the structure takes on when excited at a particular frequency. These more sophisticated algorithms, which were developed by Norris Stubbs at Texas A&M University, successfully identified and located the damage caused by the initial cut.

G. “When any structure vibrates, the energy is distributed throughout with some points not moving, while others vibrate strongly at various frequencies,” says Stubbs. “My algorithms use pattern recognition to detect changes in the distribution of this energy.” NASA already uses Stubbs’ method to check the behaviour of the body flap that slows space shuttles down after they land.

H. A commercial system based on the Los Alamos hardware is now available, complete with the Stubbs algorithms, from the Quatro Corporation in Albuquerque for about $100,000. Tim Darling, another Los Alamos physicist working on the microwave interferometer with Migliori, says that as the electronics become cheaper, a microwave inspection system will eventually be applied to most large bridges in the US. “In a decade I would like to see a battery or solar-powered package mounted under each bridge, scanning it every day to detect changes,” he says.

Questions 1-4

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.

1. How did the traditional way to prevent damage to the bridges before the invention of the new monitoring system

A. Bridges have to be tested in every movement on two points.

B. Bridges have to be closely monitored by microwave devices.

C. Bridges have already been monitored by sensors.

D. Bridges have to be frequently inspected by professional workers with naked eyes.

2. How does the new microwave monitors find out the problems of bridges

A. by changeling the distance between the positions of devices

B. by controlling the traffic flow on the bridges

C. by monitoring the distance caused by traffic between two points

D. by displacement of the several critical parts in the bridges               

3. Why did the expert believe there is a problem for the design called “fracture critical?”

A. Engineers failed to apply the newly developed construction materials.

B. There was not enough finance to repair the bridges.

C. The supporting parts of the bridges may crack and cause the bridge to fail.

D. There were bigger traffic load conditions than the designers had anticipated.

4. The defect was not recognized by a basic method in the beginning

A. until the mid of faces of bridges has fractured.

B. until the damage appears along and down to the flanges.

C. until the points on the road have been punched.

D. until the frequency of resonates appears disordered.

Questions 5-8

Filling the blanks in the diagram labels

Write the correct answer in boxes 5-8 on your answer sheet.

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 16
BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 16

Questions 9-13

The reading Passage has eight paragraphs, AH.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-H, in boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet.

9. How is the pressure that they have many a great chance to test bridges?

10. A ten-year positive change for microwave device

11. The chance they get an honourable contract

12. Explanation of the mechanism for the new microwave monitoring to work

13. How is the damage deliberately created by the researchers?


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26, which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.

How Well Do We Concentrate?

Do you read while listening to music? Do you like to watch TV while finishing your homework? People who have these kinds of habits are called multi-taskers. Multi-taskers are able to complete two tasks ay the same time by dividing their forces. However, Thomas Lehman, a researcher in Psychology, believes people never really do multiplethings simultaneously. Maybe a person is reading while listening to music, but in reality, the brain can only focus on one task. Reading the words in a book will cause you to ignore some of the words of the music. When people think they are accomplishing two different tasks efficiently, what they are really doing is dividing their focus. While listening to music, people become less able to focus on their surroundings. For example, we all have experience of times when we talk with, or maybe they are reading properly. Maybe they are listening to someone else talk, or maybe they are reading a text on their smart phone and don’t hear what you are saying. Lehman called this phenomenon “email voice”.

The world has been changed by computers and its spin-offs like smart-phones or cell-phones. Now that most individuals have a personal device, like a smart-phone or a laptop, they are frequently reading, watching or listening to virtual information. This raises the occurrence of multitasking in our day to day life. Now when you work, you work with your typewriter, your cellphone, and some colleagues who may drop by at any time to speak with you. In professional meetings, when one normally focuses and listens to one another, people are more likely to have a cell phone in their lap, reading or communicating silently with more people than ever, liven inventions such as the cordless phone has increased multitasking. In the old days, a traditional wall phone would ring, and then the housewife would have to stop her activities to answer it. When it rang, the housewife will sit down with her legs up, and chat, with no laundry or sweeping or answering the door. In the modern era, our technology is convenient enough to not interrupt our daily tasks.

Earl Miller, an expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studied the prefrontal cortex, which controls the brain while a person is multitasking. According to his studies, the size of this cortex varies between species, He found that for humans, the size of this part constitutes one third of the brain, while it is only 4 to 5 percent in dogs, and about 15% in monkeys. Given that this cortex is larger on a human, it allows a human to be more flexible and accurate in his or her multitasking.. However, Miller wanted to look further into whether the cortex was truly processing information about two different tasks simultaneously. He designed an experiment where he presents visual stimulants to his subjects in a wax that mimics multi-tasking. Miller then attached sensors to the patients’ heads to pick up the electric patterns of the brain. This sensor would show if the brain particles, called neurons, were truly processing two different tasks. What he found is that the brain neurons only lit up in singular areas one at a time, and never simultaneously.

Davis Meyer, a professor of University of Michigan, studied the young adults in a similar experiment. He instructed them to simultaneously do math problems and classify simple words into different categories. For this experiment, Meyer found that when you think you are doing several jobs at the same time, you are actually switching between jobs. Even though the people tried to do the tasks at the same time, and both tasks were eventually accomplished, overall, the task look more time than if the person focused on a single task one at a time.

People sacrifice efficiency when multitasking; Gloria Mark set office workers as his subjects. He found that they were constantly multitasking. He observed that nearly every 11 minutes people at work were disrupted. He found that doing different jobs at the same time may actually save time. However, despite the fact that they are faster, it does not mean they are more efficient. And we are equally likely to self-interrupt as be interrupted by outside sources. He found that in office nearly every 12 minutes an employee would stop and with no reason at all, cheek a website on their computer, call someone or write an email. If they concentrated for more than 20 minutes, they would feel distressed. He suggested that the average person may suffer from a short concentration span. This short attention span might be natural, but others suggest that new technology may be the problem. With cellphones and computers at our sides at all times, people will never run out of distractions. The format of media, such as advertisements, music, news articles and TV shows are also shortening, so people are used to paying attention to information for a very short time.

So even though focusing on one single task is the most efficient way for our brains to work, it is not practical to use this method in real life. According to human nature, people feel more comfortable and efficient in environments with a variety of tasks; Edward Hallowell said that people are losing a lot of efficiency in the workplace due to multitasking, outside distractions and self-distractions. As it matter of fact, the changes made to the workplace do not have to be dramatic. No one is suggesting we ban e-mail or make employees focus on only one task. However, certain common workplace tasks, such as group meetings, would be more efficient if we banned cell-phones, a common distraction. A person can also apply these tips to prevent self-distraction. Instead of arriving to your office and checking all of your e-mails for new tasks, a common workplace ritual, a person could dedicate an hour to a single task first thing in the morning. Self-timing is a great way to reduce distraction and efficiently finish tasks one by one, instead of slowing ourselves down with multi-tasking.

Questions 14-18

Reading Passage 2 has six paragraphs, A-F.
Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 14-18 on your answer sheet.

14.  a reference to a domestic situation that does not require multitasking
15.  a possible explanation of why we always do multitask together
16.  a practical solution to multitask in work environment
17.  relating multitasking to the size of prefrontal cortex
18.  longer time spent doing two tasks at the same time than one at a time

Questions 19-23

Look at the following statements (Questions 19-23) and the list of scientists below. Match each statement with the correct scientist, A-E.

Write the correct letter, A-E, in boxes 19-23 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

List of Scientists

A. Thomas Lehman
B. Earl Miller
C. David Meyer
D. Gloria Mark
E. Edward Hallowell

19. When faced multiple visual stimulants, one can only concentrate on one of them.
20. Doing two things together may be faster but not better.
21. People never really do two things together even if you think you do.
22. The causes of multitask lie in the environment.
23.   Even minor changes in the workplace will improve work efficiency.

Questions 24-26

Complete the sentences below.

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.

24. A term used to refer to a situation when you are reading a text and cannot focus on your surroundings is ……………………………. .
25. The…………………………. part of the brain controls multitasking.
26. The practical solution of multitask in work is not to allow use of cellphone in…………………………. .


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27- 40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

Mechanisms of Linguistic Change

A.  The changes that have caused the most disagreement are those in pronunciation. We have various sources of evidence for the pronunciations of earlier times, such as the spellings, the treatment of words borrowed from other languages or borrowed by them, the descriptions of contemporary grammarians and spelling-reformers, and the modern pronunciations in all the languages and dialects concerned From the middle of the sixteenth century, there are in England writers who attempt to describe the position of the speech-organs for the production of English phonemes, and who invent what are in effect systems of phonetic symbols. These various kinds of evidence, combined with a knowledge of the mechanisms of speech-production, can often give us a very good idea of the pronunciation of an earlier age, though absolute certainty is never possible.

B.  When we study the pronunciation of a language over any period of a few generations or more, we find there are always large-scale regularities in the changes: for example, over a certain period of time, just about all the long [a:] vowels in a language may change into long [e:] vowels, or all the [b] consonants in a certain position (for example at the end of a word) may change into [p] consonants. Such regular changes are often called sound laws. There are no universal sound laws (even though sound laws often reflect universal tendencies), but simply particular sound laws for one given language (or dialect) at one given period.

C.  It is also possible that fashion plays a part in the process of change. It certainly plays a part in the spread of change: one person imitates another, and people with the most prestige are most likely to be imitated, so that a change that takes place in one social group may be imitated (more or less accurately) by speakers in another group. When a social group goes up or down in the world, its pronunciation of Russian, which had formerly been considered desirable, became, on the contrary, an undesirable kind of accent to have, so that people tried to disguise it. Some of the changes in accepted English pronunciation in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have been shown to consist in the replacement of one style of pronunciation by another style already existing, and it is likely that such substitutions were a result of the great social changes of the period: the increased power and wealth of the middle classes, and their steady infiltration upwards into the ranks of the landed gentry, probably carried elements of middle-class pronunciation into upper-class speech.

D.  A less specific variant of the argument is that the imitation of children is imperfect: they copy their parents’ speech, but never reproduce it exactly. This is true, but it is also true that such deviations from adult speech are usually corrected in later childhood. Perhaps it is more significant that even adults show a certain amount of random variation in their pronunciation of a given phoneme, even if the phonetic context is kept unchanged. This, however, cannot explain changes in pronunciation unless it can be shown that there is some systematic trend in the failures of imitation: if they are merely random deviations they will cancel one another out and there will be no net change in the language.

E.  One such force which is often invoked is the principle of ease, or minimization of effort. The change from fussy to fuzzy would be an example of assimilation, which is a very common kind of change. Assimilation is the changing of a sound under the influence of a neighbouring one. For example, the word scant was once skamt, but the /m/ has been changed to /n/ under the influence of the following /t/. Greater efficiency has hereby been achieved, because /n/ and /t/ are articulated in the same place (with the tip of the tongue against the teeth-ridge), whereas /m/ is articulated elsewhere (with the two lips). So the place of articulation of the nasal consonant has been changed to conform with that of the following plosive. A more recent example of the same kind of thing is the common pronunciation of football as football.

F.  Assimilation is not the only way in which we change our pronunciation in order to increase efficiency. It is very common for consonants to be lost at the end of a word: in Middle English, word-final [-n] was often lost in unstressed syllables, so that baken ‘to bake’ changed from [‘ba:kan] to [‘ba:k3], and later to [ba:k]. Consonant-clusters are often simplified. At one time there was a [t] in words like castle and Christmas, and an initial [k] in words like knight and know.  Sometimes a whole syllable is dropped out when two successive syllables begin with the same consonant (haplology): a recent example is temporary, which in Britain is often pronounced as if it were temporary.

Questions 27-30

Complete the summary below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 27-30 on your answer sheet.

The pronunciation of living language undergoes changes throughout thousands of years. Large scale regular Changes are usually called 27…………… . There are three reasons for these changes. Firstly, the influence of one language on another; when one person imitates another pronunciation (the most prestiges), the imitation always partly involving factor of 28……………………. . Secondly, the imitation of children from adults language sometimes are 29……………, and may also contribute to this change if there are insignificant deviations though later they may be corrected Finally, for those random variations in pronunciation, the deeper evidence lies in the 30…………… or minimization of effort.

Questions 31-37

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage.

In boxes 31-37 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

31. It is impossible for modern people to find pronunciation of words in an earlier age
32. The great change of language in Russian history is related to the rising status and fortune of middle classes.
33. All the children learn speeches from adults white they assume that certain language is difficult to imitate exactly.
34. Pronunciation with causal inaccuracy will not exert big influence on language changes.
35. The word scant can be pronounced more easily than skamt
36. The [g] in gnat not being pronounced will not be spelt out in the future.
37. The sound of ‘temporary’ cannot wholly present its spelling.

Questions 38-40

Look at the following sentences and the list of statements below. Match each statement with the correct sentence, A-D.

Write the correct letter, A-D, in boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet.

A. Since the speakers can pronounce it with less effort
B. Assimilation of a sound under the influence of a neighbouring one
C. It is a trend for changes in pronunciation in a large scale in a given period
D. Because the speaker can pronounce [n] and [t] both in the same time

38. As a consequence, ‘b’ will be pronounced as
39. The pronunciation of [mt] changed to [nt]
40. The omit of ‘f in the sound of Christmas


1. D

2. C

3. C

4. B

5. microwave

6. accelerometers

7. steel girders

8. flange

9. C

10. H

11. G

12. B

13. E

14. B

15. E

16. F

17. C

18. D

19. B

20. D

21.  A

22. E

23. E

24. email voice

25. prefrontal cortex

26. group meetings

27. Sound laws

28. fashion

29. imperfect

30. principle of ease




34. TRUE

35. TRUE


37. TRUE

38. C

39. B

40. A

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