BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 19

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 19


BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 19
BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 19



You should spend about 20 minutes’ on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

PROJECT: Reform Of The Prison System In The UK

Penal progress:

The UK’s large prison population is fuelled by a high level of recidivism – when criminals repeatedly relapse into crime. This project for a model prison tackles issues of architecture, management and funding in an enlightened attempt to achieve lasting rehabilitation.


The penal system is one of the most direct manifestations of the power of the state but is often also a revealing reflection of the national psyche and the public’s attitude to punishment and rehabilitation. Surprisingly, for a prosperous, progressive Western democracy, the UK has a lamentable penal record. Britain’s prison population is currently in excess of 60,000 (up 50 per cent from a decade ago) making it the second-largest in Europe. The average cost of keeping an individual prisoner incarcerated for a year is £27,000 (ten times the average expenditure on a secondary school pupil in the state sector). Despite such substantial investment, over half of British prisoners re-offend within two years of release.

Such high rates of recidivism is a serious problem. It means that the prison population is continuing to grow at an alarming rate (recently by as many as 700 a week), so overcrowding is endemic, hampering opportunities for education and rehabilitation and lowering staff and prisoner morale. To ease this pressure, the UK government is investing in the prison estate at historic levels, with 12,000 new prison places proposed within the next few years. Yet, like their nineteenth-century predecessors, Britain’s ‘new Victorian’ prisons are designed for security and control rather than for the rehabilitation and education which is increasingly recognised as what prisoners need. Most are poorly educated young men under 30 (at least 60 per cent of whom are functionally illiterate and innumerate), so without education and skills, few will be able to build meaningful lives away from crime, no matter how often they go to prison, or how long they spend there.

Any transformation of the penal system must start with the redesign of prison buildings. Prison architecture has a clearly discernible effect on behaviour, operational efficiency, interaction and morale. Last year, architects Buschow Henley were commissioned by a think tank organisation working with the Home Office Prison Service to research and develop an alternative prison model that focuses more intensely on rehabilitation through a concentrated programme of intellectual, physical and social education. The model is not intended as a blueprint but rather a series of principles that might be adapted to support the wider concept of the ‘Learning Prison’ in which other aspects such as organisation, management and funding would obviously play a part. Key to this is the introduction of a system that groups together prisoners in small communities or ‘houses’ of between 30 and 40 inmates. This has two important consequences. First, the more compact spatial organisation of the house reduces staff time spent on supervising and escorting prisoners. Second, the system places educational and other facilities at the heart of the building, within easy reach at all times of day, reinforced by a supportive social environment. This model also enables resources to be dramatically redeployed, from a current estimated ratio of 80:20 (costs of security versus rehabilitation) to a predicted reversed figure of 20:80, freeing up much-needed funds to invest in educational programmes, thereby helping to promote rehabilitation, reduce recidivism and initiate a virtuous cycle.

In Buschow Henley’s scheme, the proposed group size of 30-40 has the potential for social accountability – each prisoner being known within the community and personally accountable for his behaviour. Houses are semi-autonomous, not just dormitories, with communal, as opposed to centralized, facilities. Circulation is simplified and reduced. Buildings are arranged in a chess-board formation, as opposed to pavilions marooned in space, each with a discrete external area that can be productively used for sport, games or gardening with a minimum of supervision.

Individual cells are replanned to make them less like domestic lavatories and more conducive to learning. In an inversion of the conventional layout, the bed is placed lengthways along the external wall at a high level, freeing up space below. Storage is built-in and each inmate is provided with a moveable table equipped with electronic tools for study. Washing facilities are contained in a small adjoining space (included in the basic 8 sqm allowance) so reducing pressure on prison staff to manage inmate hygiene and ablution. Each cell is paired with a neighbouring ‘buddy’ cell linked by sliding doors controlled by individual prisoners to mitigate the risk of self-harm.

While this new type of prison appears to be somewhat liberal, the arrangement of spaces and functions both inside and out is actually tightly controlled. Paradoxically, however, this proscription enables a greater range of activities to take place and makes general supervision easier. In this environment the prisoners are judged not by their degree of conformity, but by the scope of their activities and achievements, so laying the foundations for genuine rehabilitation. As Martin Narey, Director General of the UK Prison Services observes, ‘We have got to accept that prison must be a humane and constructive place, not least because all but 23 of my population are going home someday.’

Questions 1-5

Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A-H, below.

Write the correct letter A-H in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

1. The agenda of current British prison systems is primarily

2. The primary role of prisons should be

3. The new prison scheme will create

4. Existing prison architecture causes

5. The positive results of reducing the number of prisoners in one space include

A. improved security, supervision and education.

B. rehabilitation and education.

C. reduced efficiency, morale and interaction.

D. reduced risk of self-harm.

E. security and control.

F. an alternative prison model

G. a learning environment rather than a punitive compound.

H. organisation, management and funding.

Questions 6-9

Choose the correct letter ABC or D.

6.   The project to reform the penal system in the UK

A.   is progressive.

B.   is inexpensive.

C.   will eliminate the need for supervision.

D.   is, primarily, to make prisoners more comfortable.

7.   The proposal to create 12,000 new prison places, within the next few years, indicates that

A.   prison cells are too small.

B.   a lot of money is invested into educating offenders.

C.   there is an increasing population of offenders in the UK.

D.   the government is getting tougher on offenders.

8.   The proposed changes to prison architecture are designed primarily to

A.   improve the aesthetic value of the building.

B.   boost self-esteem and social behaviour.

C.   allow prisoners more living space.

D.   increase running costs within prisons.

9.   Why is the bed placed lengthways along the external wall at a high level?

A.   to make room below for washing facilities

B.   for the improvement of the inmates’ hygiene

C.   to allow room below for storage and shelves

D.   to make room for sliding doors

Questions 10-13

Label the diagram below.

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

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 19
BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 19


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

Colour Blindness

Colour blindness results from an absence or malfunction of certain colour-sensitive cells in the retina. The retina is a neuro-membrane lining the inside back of the eye, behind the lens. The retina contains both rod cells (active in low light or night vision but which cannot distinguish colour) and cone cells (active in normal daylight, sensitive to colour). Cone cells, also called photoreceptors, are concentrated mostly in the central part of the retina, in an area called the macula. Cone cells provide clear, sharp colour vision. The cones contain light-sensitive pigments that are sensitive to the range of wavelengths. There are three different types of cones with one sensitive to short wavelengths, or the colour blue, one sensitive to medium wavelengths, or the colour green, and the other sensitive to higher wavelengths, or the colour red. All of these cells send information about colour to the brain via the optic nerve which connects to the retina at a point very close to the macula. Normal persons, referred to as trichromats, are able to match all colours of the spectrum by using a combination of these three fundamental colour sensitivities. Hence, the huge variety of colours we perceive stems from the cone cells’ response to different compositions of wavelengths of light.

There are many types of colour blindness. When there are deficiencies in the cones, either at birth or acquired in other ways, the cones are not able to distinguish the particular wavelengths and thus, that colour range is seen differently. Those with defective colour vision have a deficiency or absence in one or more of the pigments. People with a deficiency in one of the pigments (the most common type of colour vision problem) are called anomalous trichromats. When one of the cone pigments is absent and the colour is reduced to two dimensions, dichromacy occurs. These individuals normally know they have a colour vision problem and it can affect their lives on a daily basis. They see no perceptible difference between red, orange, yellow, and green. All these colours that seem so different to the normal viewer appear to them to be the same colour. Missing the cones responsible for green and red hues can also affect the sensitivity to brightness.

Most cases of colour blindness, about 99%, are inherited, resulting from partial or complete loss of function in one or more of the different cone systems and affect both eyes without worsening overtime. The most common are red-green hereditary (genetic) photoreceptor disorders collectively referred to as “red-green colour blindness”. It affects 8% of all males of European origin and 0.4% of all females. The gene for this is carried in the X chromosome. Since males have an X-Y pairing and females have X-X, colour blindness can occur much more easily in males and is typically passed to them by their mothers. In other words, females may be carriers of colour blindness, but males are more commonly affected. People with this disorder cannot identify red or green by itself but can if among a coloured group. Other forms of colour blindness are much rarer. They include problems in discriminating blues from yellows. Both colours are seen as white other physical disorders, such as liver disease or diabetes.

The rarest form of all is total colour blindness, monochromacy, where one can only see grey or shades of black, grey and white as in a black-and-white film or photograph. Monochromacy occurs when two or all three of the cone pigments are missing and colour and lightness vision is reduced to one dimension. Another term for total colour blindness is achromatopsia, the inability to see colour.

Inherited colour vision problems cannot be treated or corrected. Some acquired colour vision problems can be treated with surgery, such as the removal of a cataract, depending on the cause. Certain types of tinted filters and contact lenses may also help an individual to distinguish different colours better. Additionally, computer software has been developed to assist those with visual colour difficulties and those with mild colour deficiencies to learn to associate colours with certain objects and are usually able to identify colour in the same way as everyone else. One frequent problem encountered is with traffic lights, and worst of all, warning lights: colour-blind people always know the position of the colours on the traffic light – in most situations; red on top, yellow in the centre, green on the bottom. But warning lights present an entirely different problem. In this situation there is only one light; no top or bottom, no right or left, just one light that is either red or yellow.

Colour vision problems can have a significant impact on a person’s life, learning abilities and career choices. On an everyday basis, there are some annoyances and frustrations: not being able to differentiate between green or ripe tomatoes when preparing food, for example, or buying clothes that to the ‘normal’ eye seem positively garish. However, people with colour vision problems usually learn to compensate for their inability to see colours. Although there is little or no treatment for colour blindness, most colour deficient persons compensate well for their defect and may even discover instances in which they can discern details and images that would escape normal-sighted persons. At one time the US Army found the colour-blind persons can spot camouflage colours in cases where those with normal colour vision are typically fooled.

Questions 14-20

Complete each sentence with the correct ending A-K from the box below.

Write the correct letter A-K in boxes 14-20 on your answer sheet.

14.   Colour blindness can be caused by a birth defect, or ……………………..

15.   Surprisingly, some people who are colour blind ………………………

16.   People with hereditary colour blindness ……………………….

17.   Because of our genetic make-up, colour blindness ………………………….

18.   Red-green genetic photoreceptor disorders mean that people …………………………

19.   People with monochromacy ………………………

20.   The inability to see certain lights ………………………….

A. can see better at night than during the day.

B. cannot be treated by surgery.

C. can affect men much more easily than women.

D. can affect their sensitivity to bright lights.

E. can see no colour at all, other than shades of black, grey and white.

F. can see things that people with normal vision cannot.

G. can have very dangerous consequences for colour-blind people.

H. can be acquired or inherited.

I. can mean having to wear contact lenses.

J. cannot distinguish certain colours if they stand alone.

K. can match all colours of the spectrum.

Questions 21-23

Choose the correct letter ABor D.

21.  What causes colour blindness?

A. the absence of rod cells

B. the malfunction of rod cells

C. the malfunction of cone cells

D. the retina’s inability to detect light

22.  Which group of people are the least common?

A. people who cannot detect blues from yellows

B. anomalous trichromats

C. people with dichromacy

D. people with achromatopsia

23.  What would colour-blind people consider an everyday nuisance?

A. not being able to identify the colour of warning lights

B. not being able to tell an apple from a tomato

C. not being able to cook

D. not being able to buy matching clothes

Questions 24-26

Complete the diagram below.

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

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 19
BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 19


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40, which are based on reading passage III below.

Video Game’s Unexpected Benefits to Human Brain

A. James Paul Gee, professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, played his first video game years ago when his six-year-old son Sam was playing Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It’s Dark Outside. He wanted to play the game so he could support Sam’s problem solving. Though Pajama Sam is not an “educational game”, it is replete with the types of problems psychologists study when they study thinking and learning. When he saw how well the game held Sam’s attention, he wondered what sort of beast a more mature video game might be.

B. Video and computer games, like many other popular, entertaining and addicting kid’s activities, are looked down upon by many parents as time-wasters, and worse, parents think that these games rot the brain. Violent video games are readily blamed by the media and some experts as the reason why some youth become violent or commit extreme anti-social behavior. Recent content analyses of video games show that as many as 89% of games contain some violent content, but there is no form of aggressive content for 70% of popular games. Many scientists and psychologists, like James Paul Gee, find that video games actually have many benefits – the main one being making kids smart. Video games may actually teach kids high-level thinking skills that they will need in the future.

C. “Video games change your brain,” according to University of Wisconsin psychologist Shawn Green. Video games change the brain’s physical structure the same way as do learning to read, playing the piano, or navigating using a map. Much like exercise can build muscle, the powerful combination of concentrateon and rewarding surges of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which strengthens neural circuits, can build the player’s brain.

D. Video games give your child’s brain a real workout. In many video games, the skills required to win involve abstract and high level thinking. These skills are not even taught at school. Some of the mental skills trained by video games include: following instructions, problem solving, logic, hand-eye coordination, fine motor and spatial skills. Research also suggests that people can learn iconic, spatial, and visual attention skills from video games. There have been even studies with adults showing that experience with video games is related to better surgical skills. Jacob Benjamin, doctor from Beth Israel Medical Center NY, found a direct link between skill at video gaming and skill at keyhole or laparoscopic surgery. Also, a reason given by experts as to why fighter pilots of today are more skilful is that this generation’s pilots are being weaned on videogames.

E. The players learn to manage resources that are limited, and decide the best use of resources, the same way as in real life. In strategy games, for instance, while developing a city, an unexpected surprise like an enemy might emerge. This forces the player to be flexible and quickly change tactics. Sometimes the player does this almost every second of the game giving the brain a real workout. According to researchers at the University of Rochester, led by Daphne Bavelier, a cognitive scientist, games simulating stressful events such as those found in battle or action games could be a training tool for real-world situations. The study suggests that playing action video games primes the brain to make quick decisions. Video games can be used to train soldiers and surgeons, according to the study. Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad is good for you: How Today’s Popular Culture, says gamers must deal with immediate problems while keeping their long-term goals on their horizon. Young gamers force themselves to read to get instructions, follow storylines of games, and get information from the game texts.

F. James Paul Gee, professor of education at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, says that playing a video game is similar to working through a science problem. Like students in a laboratory, gamers must come up with a hypothesis. For example, players in some games constantly try out combinations of weapons and powers to use to defeat an enemy. If one does not work, they change hypothesis and try the next one. Video games are goal-driven experiences, says Gee, which are fundamental to learning. Also, using math skills is important to win in many games that involve quantitative analysis like managing resources. In higher levels of a game, players usually fail the first time around, but they keep on trying until they succeed and move on to the next level.

G. Many games are played online and involve cooperation with other online players in order to win. Video and computer games also help children gain self-confidence and many games are based on history, city building, and governance and so on. Such games indirectly teach children about aspects of life on earth.

H. In an upcoming study in the journal Current Biology, authors Daphne Bavelier, Alexandre Pouget, and C. Shawn Green report that video games could provide a potent training regimen for speeding up reactions in many types of real-life situations. The researchers tested dozens of 18- to 25-year-olds who were not ordinarily video game players. They split the subjects into two groups. One group played 50 hours of the fast-paced action video games “Call of Duty2” and “Unreal Tournament,” and the other group played 50 hours of the slow-moving strategy game “The Sims 2.” After this training period, all of the subjects were asked to make quick decisions in several tasks designed by the researchers. The action game players were up to 25 percent faster at coming to a conclusion and answered just as many questions correctly as their strategy game playing peers.

Questions 28-31

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

Write your answers in boxes 28-31 on your answer sheet.

28. What is the main purpose of paragraph ONE?

A. Introduction of professor James Paul Gee.

B. Introduction of the video game: Pajamas Sam.

C. Introduction of types of video games.

D. Introduction of the background of this passage.

29.  What does the author want to express in the second paragraph?

A. Video games are widely considered harmful for children’s brain.

B. Most violent video games are the direct reason of juvenile delinquency,

C. Even there is a certain proportion of violence in most video games; scientists and psychologists see its benefits of children’s intellectual abilities.

D. Many parents regard video games as time-wasters, which rot children’s brain.

30.  What is correctly mentioned in paragraph four?

A. Some schools use video games to teach students abstract and high level thinking.

B. Video games improves the brain ability in various aspects,

C. Some surgeons have better skills because they play more video games.

D. Skillful fighter pilots in this generation love to play video games.

31.  What is the expectation of the experiment the three researchers did?

A. Gamers have to make the best use of the limited resource.

B. Gamers with better math skills will win in the end.

C. Strategy game players have better ability to make quick decisions.

D. Video games help increase the speed of players’ reaction effectively.

Questions 32-35

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3? In boxes 32-35 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

32. Most video games are popular because of their violent content.

33. The action game players minimized the percentage of making mistakes in the experiment.

34. It would be a good idea for schools to apply video games in their classrooms.

35. Those people who are addicted to video games have lots of dopamine in their brains.

Questions 36-40

Use the information in the passage to match the people (listed A-F) with opinions or deeds below. Write the appropriate letters A-F in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.

A. The writer’s opinion

B. James Paul Gee

C. Shawn Green

D. Daphne Bavelier

E. Steven Johnson

F. Jacob Benjamin

36. Video games as other daily life skills alter the brain’s physical structure.

37. Brain is ready to make decisions without hesitation when players are immersed in playing stressful games.

38. The purpose-motivated experience that video games offer plays an essential role in studying.

39. Players are good at tackling prompt issues with future intensions.

40. It helps children broaden their horizon in many aspects and gain self-confidence.


1. E

2. B

3. G

4. C

5. A

6. A

7. C

8. B

9. C

10. (disorder) external area

11. bed

12. storage

13. Sliding doors

14. H

15. F

16. B

17. C

18. J

19. E

20. G

21. C

22. D

23. D

24. optic nerve

25. retina

26. macula

28. D

29. C

30. B

31. D




35. TRUE

36. C

37. D

38. B

39. E

40. A

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