IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 178 with Answers

IELTS-Academic-Reading-Practice-Test-178-with-Answers
Reading Passage 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-14 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

Mungo Man

A

Fifty thousand years ago, a lush landscape greeted the first Australians making their way towards the south-east of the continent. Temperatures were cooler than now. Megafauna – giant prehistoric animals such as marsupial lions, goannas and the rhinoceros-sized diprotodon – were abundant. The Lake Mungo remains are three prominent sets of fossils which tell the archeologists the story: Mungo Man lived around the shores of Lake Mungo with his family. When he was young Mungo Man lost his two lower canine teeth, possible knocked out in a ritual.

He grew into a man nearly 1.7m in height. Over the years his molar teeth became worn and scratched, possibly from eating a gritty diet or stripping the long leaves of water reeds with his teeth to make twine. As Mungo Man grew older his bones ached with arthritis, especially his right elbow, which was so damaged that bits of bone were completely worn out or broken away. Such wear and tear are typical of people who have used a woomera to throw spears over many years. Mungo Man reached a good age for the hard life of a hunter-gatherer and died when he was about 50. His family mourned for him, and carefully buried him in the lunette, on his back with his hands crossed in his lap, and sprinkled with red ochre. Mungo Man is the oldest known example in the world of such a ritual.

B

This treasure-trove of history was found by the University of Melbourne geologist Professor Jim Bowler in 1969. He was searching for ancient lakes and came across the charred remains of Mungo Lady, who had been cremated. And in 1974, he found a second complete skeleton, Mungo Man, buried 300 metres away. Using carbon-dating, a technique only reliable to around 40,000 years old, the skeleton was first estimated at 28,000 to 32,000 years old. The comprehensive study of 25 different sediment layers at Mungo concludes that both graves are 40,000 years old.

C

This is much younger than the 62,000 years Mungo Man was attributed within 1999 by a team led by Professor Alan Thorne, of the Australian National University. The modern-day story of the science of Mungo also has its fair share of rivalry. Because Thorne is the country’s leading opponent of the Out of Africa theory – that Homo sapiens had a single place of origin. “Dr Alan Thorne supports the multi-regional explanation (that modern humans arose simultaneously in Africa, Europe and Asia from one of our predecessors, Homo erectus, who left Africa more than 1.5 million years ago.) if Mungo Man was descended from a person who had left Africa in the past 200,000 years, Thorne argues, then his mitochondrial DNA should have looked like that of the other samples.”

D

However, Out of Africa supporters are not about to let go of their beliefs because of the Australian research, Professor Chris Stringer, from the Natural History Museum in London, UK, said that the research community would want to see the work repeated in other labs before major conclusions were drawn from the Australian research. But even assuming the DNA sequences were correct, Professor Stringer said it could just mean that there was much more genetic diversity in the past than was previously realised.

There is no evidence here that the ancestry of these Australian fossils goes back a million or two million years. It’s much more likely that modern humans came out of Africa.” For Bowler, these debates are irritating speculative distractions from the study’s main findings. At 40,000 years old, Mungo Man and Mungo Lady remain Australian’s oldest human burials and the earliest evidence on Earth of cultural sophistication, he says. Modern humans had not even reached North America by this time. In 1997, Pddbo’s research group recovered an mtDNA fingerprint from the Feldholer Neanderthal skeleton uncovered in Germany in 1865 – the first Neanderthal remains ever found.

E

In its 1999 study, Thorne’s team used three techniques to date Mungo Man at 62,000 years old, and it stands by its figures. It dated bone, teeth enamel and some sand. Bowler has strongly challenged the results ever since. Dating human bones is “notoriously unreliable”, he says. As well, the sand sample Thorne’s group dated was taken hundreds of metres from the burial site. “You don’t have to be a gravedigger … to realize the age of the sand is not the same as the age of the grave,” says Bowler.

F

Thorne counters that Bowler’s team used one dating technique, while he used three. The best practice is to have at least two methods produce the same result. A Thorne team member, Professor Rainer Grün, says the fact that the latest results were consistent between laboratories doesn’t mean they are absolutely correct. We now have two data sets that are contradictory. I do not have a plausible explanation.” Now, however, Thorne says the age of Mungo Man is irrelevant to this origins debate. Recent fossils find show modern humans were in China 110,000 years ago. “So he has got a long time to turn up in Australia. It doesn’t matter if he is 40,000 or 60,000 years old.

G

Dr Tim Flannery, a proponent of the controversial theory that Australia’s megafauna were wiped out 46,000 years ago in a “blitzkrieg” of hunting by the arriving people, also claims the new Mungo dates support this view. In 2001 a member of Bowler’s team, Dr Richard Roberts of Wollongong University, along with Flannery, director of the South Australian Museum, published research on their blitzkrieg theory.

They dated 28 sites across the continent, arguing their analysis showed the megafauna died out suddenly 46,000 years ago. Flannery praises the Bowler team’s research on Mungo Man as “the most thorough and rigorous dating” of ancient human remains. He says the finding that humans arrived at Lake Mungo between 46,000 and 50,000 years ago was a critical time in Australia’s history. There is no evidence of a dramatic climatic change then, he says. “It’s my view that humans arrived and extinction took place in almost the same geological instant.”

H

Bowler, however, is skeptical of Flannery’s theory and says the Mungo study provides no definitive new evidence to support it. He argues that climate change at 40,000 years ago was more intense than had been previously realized and could have played a role in the megafauna’s demise. “To blame the earliest Australians for their complete extinction is drawing a longbow.”

Questions 1-8

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 178 with Answers

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 1-8 on your answer sheet.

NB  You may use any letter more than once.

A     Jim Bowler

B     Alan Thorne

C     Pddbo

D     Tim Flannery

E     Chris Stringer

F     Rainer Grün

1   He was searching for ancient lakes and came across the charred remains of Mungo Lady, who had been cremated.

2   Professor who hold a skeptical attitude towards reliability for DNA analysis on some fossils.

3   Professor whose determination of the age of Mungo Man to be much younger than the former result which is older than the 62,000 years.

4   determining the age of Mungo Man has little to do with controversy for the origins of Australians.

5   research group who recovered a biological proof of the first Neanderthal found in Europe.

6   a supporter of the idea that Australia’s megafauna was extinct due to the hunting by the ancient human beings.

7   Instead of keep arguing a single source origin, multi-regional explanation has been raised.

8   Climate change rather than prehistoric human activities resulted in megafauna’s extinction.

Questions 9-14

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 178 with Answers

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

In boxes 9-14 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE               if the statement is true

FALSE              if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN    if there is no information in the passage

9   The Lake Mungo remains offer the archeologists the evidence of graphic illustration of human activities around.

10   In Lake Mungo remains, weapons had found used by the Mungo.

11   Mungo Man is one of the oldest known archeological evidence in the world of cultural sophistication such as a burying ritual.

12   Mungo Man and woman’s skeletons had uncovered in the same year.

13   There is controversy among scientists about the origin of the oldest Homo sapiens.

14   Out of Africa supporters have criticised Australian professors for using an outmoded research method.

Reading Passage 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-27 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below. 

Motor car

A

The history of the automobile begins as early as 1769, with the creation of steam engine automobiles capable of human transport. In 1806, the first cars powered by an internal combustion engine running on fuel gas appeared, which led to the introduction in 1885 of the ubiquitous modern petrol-fueled internal combustion engine.

B

It is generally acknowledged that the first really practical automobiles with petrol/gasoline-powered internal combustion engines were completed almost simultaneously by several German inventors working independently: Karl Benz built his first automobile in 1885 in Mannheim. Benz was granted a patent for his automobile on 29 January 1886, and began the first production of automobiles in 1888 in a company later became the famous Mercedes-Benz.

C

At the beginning of the century, the automobile entered the transportation market for the rich. The drivers of the day were an adventurous lot, going out in every kind of weather, unprotected by an enclosed body, or even a convertible top. Everyone in town knew who owned what car and the cars were soon to become each individual’s token of identity. However, it became increasingly popular among the general population because it gave travelers the freedom to travel when they wanted to and where the wanted. As a result, in North America and Europe, the automobile became cheaper and more accessible to the middle class. This was facilitated by Henry Ford who did two important things. First, he priced his car to be as affordable as possible and second, he paid his workers enough to be able to purchase the cars they were manufacturing.

D

The assembly line style of mass production and interchangeable parts had been pioneered in the U.S. This concept was greatly expanded by Henry Ford, beginning in 1914. The large-scale, production-line manufacturing of affordable automobiles was debuted Ford’s cars came off the line in fifteen-minute intervals, much faster than previous methods, increasing productivity eightfold (requiring 12.5 man-hours before, 1 hour 33 minutes after), while using less manpower.

E

The original Jeep vehicle that first appeared as the prototype Bantam BRC became the primary light 4-wheel-drive vehicle of the United States Army and Allies and made a huge leap in sale during World War II, as well as the postwar period. Throughout the 1950s, engine power and vehicle speeds rose, designs became more integrated and artful, and cars spread across the world. Captive imports and badge engineering swept through the US and UK as amalgamated groups like the British Motor Corporation consolidated the market.

BMC’s revolutionary space-saving Mini, which first appeared in 1959, captured large sales worldwide. Minis were marketed under the Austin and Morris names, until Mini became a marque in its own right in 1696. The trend for corporate consolidation reached Italy as niche makers like Maserati, Ferrari, and Lancia were acquired by larger companies. By the end of the decade, the number of automobile marques had been greatly reduced.

F

In America, performance became a prime focus of marketing, exemplified by pony cars and muscle cars. But everything changed in the 1970s as the 1973 oil crisis automobile emissions control rules, Japanese and European imports, and stagnant innovation wreaked havoc on the American industry. Though somewhat ironically, full-size sedans staged a major comeback in the years between the energy crisis, with makes such as Cadillac and Lincoln staging their best sales years ever in the late 70s. Small performance cars from BMW, Toyota, and Nissan took the place of big-engined cars from America and Italy.

G

On the technology front, the biggest developments in the Post-war era were the widespread use of independent suspensions, wider application of fuel injection, and an increasing focus on safety in the design of automobiles. The hottest technologies of the 1960s were NSU’s “Wankel engine”, the gas turbine, and the turbocharger. Of these, only the last, pioneered by General Motors but popularised by BMW and Saab, was to see widespread use. Mazda had much success with its “Rotary” engine which, however, acquired a reputation as a polluting gas-guzzler.

H

The modern era has also seen rapidly rising fuel efficiency and engine output. Once the automobile emissions concerns of the 1970s had conquered with computerised engine management systems, power began to rise rapidly. In the 1980s, a powerful sports car might have produced 200 horsepower (150 kW) – just 20 years later, average passenger cars have engines that powerful, and some performance models offer three times as much power.

I

Most automobiles in use today are propelled by an internal combustion engine, fueled by gasoline or diesel. Both fuels are known to cause air pollution and are also blamed for contributing to climate change and global warming. Rapidly increasing oil prices, concerns about oil dependence, tightening environmental laws and restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions are propelling work on alternative power systems for automobiles. Efforts to improve or replace existing technologies include the development of hybrid vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles. Vehicles using alternative fuels such as ethanol flexible-fuel vehicles and natural gas vehicles are also gaining popularity in some countries.

Questions 15-19

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 178 with Answers

Look at the following statements (Questions 15-19) and the list of auto companies for car types in the box belong:

Match each statement with the correct person A-H

Write the appropriate letter A-H in boxes 15-19 on your answer sheet.

15   The company which began the first manufacture of automobiles

16   The company that produces the industrialised cars that consumers can afford

17   The example of auto which improved the space room efficiency

18   The type of auto with greatest upgraded overall performance in Post-was era

19   They type of autos still keeping an advanced sale even during a seemingly unproductive period

A     The Ford (American, Henry Ford)            F     Jeep

B     The BMC’s Mini                                        G     NSU’s “Wankel engine” car

C     Cadillac and Lincoln (American)              H     Maserati, Ferrari, and Lancia

D     Mercedes-Benz (German)

E     Mazda

Questions 20-26

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 178 with Answers

Answer the questions below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 20-26 on your answer sheet.

20   What is a common feature of modern cars’ engine type since the late 19th century

21   In the past, what did the rich take owing a car as?

22   How long did Ford’s assembly line take to produce a car?

23   What do people call the Mazda car designed under the Wankel engine?

24   What is the major historical event that led American cars to suffer when competing with Japanese imported cars?

25   What has greatly increased with computerised engine management systems?

26   What factor is blamed for contributing to pollution, climate change and global warming?

Question 27

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 178 with Answers

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

Write your answers in boxes 27 on your answer sheet.

What is the main idea of this passage?

A   The historical contribution of Ford’s mass production assembly line

B   The historical development and innovation in car designs

C   the beginning of the modern designed gasoline engines

D   the history of human and the Auto industry

Reading Passage 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 28-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

Decision making and Happiness

A

Americans today choose among more options in more parts of life than has ever been possible before. To an extent, the opportunity to choose enhances our lives. It is only logical to think that if some choice is good, more is better; people who care about having infinite options will benefit from them, and those who do not can always just ignore the 273 versions of cereal they have never tried. Yet recent research strongly suggests that, psychologically, this assumption is wrong. Although some choice is undoubtedly better than none, more is not always better than less.

B

Recent research offers insight into why many people end up unhappy rather than pleased when their options expand. We began by making a distinction between “maximizers” (those who always aim to make the best possible choice) and “satisficers” (those who aim for “good enough,” whether or not better selections might be out there).

C

In particular, we composed a set of statements-the Maximization Scale-to diagnose people’s propensity to maximize. Then we had several thousand people rate themselves from 1 to 7 (from “completely disagree” to “completely agree”) on such statements as “I never settle for second best.” We also evaluated their sense of satisfaction with their decisions. We did not define a sharp cutoff to separate maximizers from satisficers, but in general, we think of individuals whose average scores are higher than 4 (the scale’s midpoint) as maximizers and those whose scores are lower than the midpoint as satisficers.

People who score highest on the test – the greatest maximisers-engages in more product comparisons than the lowest scorers, both before and after they make purchasing decisions, and they take longer to decide what to buy. When satisficers find an item that meets their standards, they stop looking. But maximizers exert enormous effort to read labels, checking out consumer magazines and trying new products. They also spend more time comparing their purchasing decisions with those of others.

D

We found that the greatest maximizers are the least happy with the fruits of their efforts. When they compare themselves with others, they get little pleasure from finding out that they did better and substantial dissatisfaction from finding out that they did worse. They are more prone to experiencing regret after purchase, and if their acquisition disappoints them, their sense of well-being takes longer to recover. They also tend to brood or ruminate more than satisficers do.

E

Does it follow that maximizers are less happy in general than satisficers? We tested this by having people fill out a variety of questionnaires known to be reliable indicators of well-being. As might be expected, individuals with high maximization scores experienced less satisfaction with life and were less happy, less optimistic and more depressed than people with low maximization scores. Indeed, those with extreme maximization ratings had depression scores that placed them in the borderline clinical range.

F

Several factors explain why more choice is not always better than less, especially for maximizers. High among these are “opportunity costs.” The quality of any given option cannot be assessed in isolation from its alternatives. One of the “costs” of making a selection is losing the opportunities that a different option would have afforded. Thus an opportunity cost of vacationing on the beach in Cape Cod might be missing the fabulous restaurants in the Napa Valley. Early decision-making research by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky showed that people respond much more strongly to losses than gains. If we assume that opportunity costs reduce the overall desirability of the most preferred choice, then the more alternatives there are, the deeper our sense of loss will be and the less satisfaction we will derive from our ultimate decision.

G

The problem of opportunity costs will be worse for a maximizer than for a satisficer. The latter’s “good enough” philosophy can survive thoughts about opportunity costs. In addition, the “good enough” standard leads to much less searching and inspection of alternatives than ‘the maximizer’s “best” standard. With fewer choices under consideration, a person will have fewer opportunity costs to subtract.

H

Just as people feel sorrow about the opportunities they have forgone, they may also suffer regret about the option they settle on. My colleagues and I devised a scale to measure proneness to feeling regret, and we found that people with high sensitivity to regret are less happy, less satisfied with life, less optimistic and more depressed than those with low sensitivity. Not surprisingly, we also found that people with high regret sensitivity tend to be maximizers. Indeed, we think that worry over future regret is a major reason that individuals become maximizers. The only way to be sure you will not regret a decision is by making the best possible one. Unfortunately, the more options you have and the more opportunity costs you incur, the more likely you are to experience regret.

I

In a classic demonstration of the power of sunk costs, people had offered season subscriptions to a local theater company. Some had offered the tickets at full price and others at a discount. Then the researchers simply kept track of how often the ticket purchasers actually attended the plays over the course of the season. Full-price payers were more likely to show up at performances than discount payers. The reason for this, the investigators argued, was that the full-price payers would experience more regret if they did not use the tickets because not using the more costly tickets would constitute a bigger loss. To increase the sense of happiness, we can decide to restrict our options when the decision is not crucial. For example, make a rule to visit no more than two stores when shopping for clothing.

Questions 28-31

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 178 with Answers

Use the information in the passage to match the category (listed A-D) with descriptions or deeds below.

Write the appropriate letters A-D in boxes 28-31 on your answer sheet.

A     Maximiser

B     Satisficer

C     Both

D     Neither of them

28   finish transaction when the items match their expectation

29   buy the most expensive things when shopping

30   consider repeatedly until they make a final decision

31   participate in the questionnaire of the author

Questions 32-36

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 178 with Answers

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3?

In boxes 32-36 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE               if the statement is true

FALSE              if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN    if there is no information in the passage

32   With society’s advancement, more chances make our lives better and happier.

33   There is a difference of findings by different gender classification.

34   The feeling of loss is greater than that of acquisition.

35   ‘Good enough’ plays a more significant role in pursuing ‘best’ standards of the maximizer.

36   There are certain correlations between the “regret” people and the maximisers.

Questions 37-40

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 178 with Answers

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

Write your answers in boxes 37-40 on your answer sheet.

37   What is the subject of this passage?

A   regret makes people less happy

B   choices and Well-being

C   an interesting phenomenon

D   advices on shopping

38   According to the conclusion of questionnaires, which of the following statement is correct?

A   maximisers are less happy

B   state of being optimistic is important

C   uncertain results are found.

D   maximisers tend to cross the bottom line

39   The experimental on theater tickets suggested:

A   sales are different according to each season

B   people like to spend on the most expensive items

C   people feel depressed if they spend their vouchers

D   people will feel regret more when they fail to use a higher-priced purchase

40   What is the author’s suggestion on how to increase happiness:

A   focus on the final decision

B   be sensitive and smart

C   reduce the choice or option

D   read the label carefully

Answer Key
Academic Reading Test 177