Academic Ielts Reading Material

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 185 With Answers

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 185 With Answers


Reading Passage 1

Geoff Brash

Geoff Brash, who died in 2010,was a gregarious Australian businessman and philanthropist who encouraged the young to reach their potential.

Born in Melbourne to Elsa and Afred Brash, he was educated at Scotch College. His sister,Barbara,became a renowned artist and printmaker.His father,Alfred,ran the Brash retail music business that had been founded in 1862 by his grandfather,the German immigarant Marcus Brasch, specializing in pianos. It carried the slogan’s A home is not a home without a piano.’

In his young days, Brash enjoyed the good life, playing golf and sailing, and spending some months travelling through Europe, having a leisurely holiday. He worked for a time at Myer department stores before joining the family business in 1949, where he quickly began to put his stamp on things. In one of his first management decisions, he diverged from his father’s sense of frugal asesthetics by re-carpeting the old man’s office while he was away. After initially complaining of his extravagance, his father grew to accept the change and gave his soon increasing responsibility in the business.

After world war II (1939-1945), Brash’s had begun to focus on white goods, such as washing machines and refrigerators, as the consumer boom took hold. However, while his father was content with the business he had built, the younger Brash viewed expansion as vital. When Geoff Brash took over as managing director in 1957, the company had two stores, but after floating it on the stock exchange the following year, he expanded rapidly and opened suburban stores, as well as buying into familiar music industry names such as Allans, Palings and Suttons, Eventually, 170 stores traded across the continent under the Brash’s banner.

Geoff Brash learned from his father’s focus on customer service. Alfred Brash had also been a pioneer in introducing a share scheme for his staff, and his son retained and expanded the plan following the float.

Geoff Brash was optimistic and outward looking. As a result, he was a pioneer in both accessing and selling new technology and developing overseas relationships. He sourced and sold electric guitars, organs and a range of other modern instruments, as well as state of the art audio and video equipment. He developed a relationship with Taro kakehashi, the founder of Japan’s Roland group, which led to a joint venture that brought electronic musical devices to Australia.

In 1965, Brash and his wife attended a trade fair in Guangzhou, the first of its kind in China, they were one of the first Western business people allowed into the country following Mao Zedog’s Cultural Revolution. He returned there many times, helping advise the Chinese in establishing a high quality piano factory in Beijing; he became the factory’s agent in Australia. Brash also took leading jazz musicians Don Burrows and James Morrison to China. On a trip that reintroduced jazz to many Chinese musicians.

He stood down as Executive Chairman of Brash’s in 1988 , but under the new management debt became a problem , and in 1994 the banks called in administrators. The company was sold in Singaporean interests and continued to trade until 1998, when it again went into administration. The Brash name then disappeared from the retail world. Brash was greatly disappointed by the collapse and the eventual disappearance of the company he had run for so long. But it was not long before he invested in a restructured Allan’s music business.

Brash was a committed philanthropist who ,in the mid-1980s, established the , Brash Foundation, which eventually morphed, with other partners, into the Soundhouse Music Alliance. This  was a not-for-profit organization overseeing and promoting multimedia music making and education for teachers and students. The Soundhouse offers teachers and young people the opportunity to get exposure to the latest music technology , and to use this to compose and record their own music, either alone or in collaboration. The organization has now also established branches in New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland, as well as numerous sites around Australia

Questions 1-5

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 185 With Answers

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

In boxes 1-5 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

1 The Brash business originally sold pianos.

2. Geoff Brash’s first job was with his grandfather’s company.

3. Alfred Brash thought that his son wasted money.

4.By the time Geoff Brash took control, the Brash business was selling some electrical products.

5.Geoff Brash had ambitions to open Brash stores in other countries

Questions 6-10

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 185 With Answers

Answer the questions below.

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

6. Which arrangements did Alfred Brash set up for his employees?

7. Which Japanese company did Geoff Brash collaborate with?

8. What type of event in China marked the beginning of Geoff Brash’s relationship with that country?

9. What style of music did Geoff Brash help to promote in China?

10. When did the Brash company finally stop doing business?

Questions 11-13

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 185 With Answers

Complete the notes below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Sound house Music Alliance

. Grew out of the Brash Foundation

. A non-commercial organization providing support for music and music 11………….

. Allows opportunities for using up-to-date 12…………….

. Has 13…… several countries.


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

Recent stock-market crashes

For as long as there have been financial markets, there have been financial crises. Most economists agree, however, that from 1994 to 2013 crashes were deeper and the resultant troughs longer-lasting than in the 20-year period leading up to 1994. Two notable crashes, the Nifty Fifty in the mid-l 970s and Black Monday in 1987, had an average loss of about 40% of the value of global stocks, and recovery took 240 days each, whereas the Dot-com and credit crises, post-1994, had an average loss of about 52%, and endured for 430 days. What economists do not agree upon is why recent crises have been so severe or how to prevent their recurrence.

John Coates, from the University of Cambridge in the UK and a former trader for Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, believes three separate but related phenomena explain the severity. The first is dangerous but predictable risk-taking on the part of traders. The second is a lack of any risk-taking when markets become too volatile. (Coates does not advocate risk-aversion since risk-taking may jumpstart a depressed market.) The last is a new policy of transparency by the US Federal Reserve – known as the Fed – that may have encouraged stock-exchange complacency, compounding the dangerous risk-taking.

Many people imagine a trader to have a great head for maths and a stomach for the rollercoaster ride of the market, but Coates downplays arithmetic skills, and doubts traders are made of such stern stuff. Instead, he draws attention to the physiological nature of their decisions. Admittedly, there are women in the industry, but traders are overwhelmingly male, and testosterone appears to affect their choices.

Another common view is that traders are greedy as well as thrill-seeking. Coates has not researched financial incentive, but blood samples taken from London traders who engaged in simulated risk-taking exercises for him in 2013 confirmed the prevalence of testosterone, cortisol, and dopamine – a neurotransmitter precursor to adrenalin associated with raised blood pressure and sudden pleasure.

Certainly anyone faced with danger has a stress response involving the body’s preparation for impending movement – for what is sometimes called ‘Fight or flight’, but, as Coates notes, any physical act at all produces a stress response: even a reader’s eye movement along words in this line requires cortisol and adrenalin. Neuroscientists now see the brain not as a computer that acts neutrally, involved in a process of pure thought, but as a mechanism to plan and carry out a movement, since every single piece of information humans absorb has an attendant pattern of physical arousal.

For muscles to work, fuel is needed, so cortisol and adrenalin employ glucose from other muscles and the liver. To burn the fuel, oxygen is required, so slightly deeper or faster breathing occurs. To deliver fuel and oxygen to the body, the heart pumps a little harder and blood pressure rises. Thus, the stress response is a normal part of life, as well as a resource in fighting or fleeing. Indeed, it is a highly pleasurable experience in watching an action movie, making love or pulling off a multi-million-dollar stock-market deal.

Cortisol production also increases during exposure to uncertainty. For example, people who live next to a train line adjust to the noise of passing trains, but visitors to their home are disturbed. The phenomenon is equally well-known of anticipation being worse than an event itself: sitting in the waiting room thinking about a procedure may be more distressing than occupying the dentist’s chair and having one. Interestingly, if a patient does not know approximately when he or she will be called for that procedure, cortisol levels are the most elevated of all. This appeared to happen with the London traders participating in some of Coates’ gambling scenarios.

When there is too much volatility in the stock market, Coates suspects adrenaline levels decrease while cortisol levels increase, explaining why traders take fewer risks at that time. In fact, typically traders freeze, becoming almost incapable of buying or selling anything but the safest bonds. In Coates’ opinion, the market needs investment as it falls and at rock bottom – at such times, greed is good.

The third matter – the behaviour of the Fed – Coates thinks could be controlled, albeit counterintuitively. Since 1994, the US Federal Reserve has adopted a policy called Forward Guidance. Under this, the public is informed at regular intervals of the Fed’s plans for short-term interest rates. Recently, rates have been raised by small but predictable increments. By contrast, in the past, the machinations of the Fed were largely secret, and its interest rates fluctuated apparently randomly. Coates hypothesises these meant traders were on guard and less likely to indulge in wild speculation. In introducing Forward Guidance, the Fed hoped to lower stock and housing prices; instead, before the crash of 2008, the market surged from further risk-taking, like an unleashed pit bull terrier.

There are many economists who disagree with Coates, but he has provided some physiological evidence for both traders’ recklessness and immobilisation and made the radical proposal of greater opacity at the Fed. Although, as others have noted, we could just let more women onto the floor.

Questions 14-19

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 185 With Answers

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

Write the correct letter in boxes 14-19 on your answer sheet.

14.   What do most economists agree about the financial crashes from 1994 to 2013?

A   They were the worst global markets had ever experienced.

B   Global stocks fell around 40% for a period of 240 days.

C   They were particularly acute in the US.

D   They were more severe than those between 1974 and 1993.

15.   What does John Coates think about risk-taking among stock-market traders?

A   It is almost invariably dangerous.

B   It was prevalent at Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.

C   It should be regulated by the US Federal Reserve.

D   It can sometimes assist a weak market.

16.   What is some popular belief about traders?

A   They are clever, calm, and acquisitive.

B   They are usually men who are good at maths.

C   They love danger and seek it out.

D   They do not deserve their high salaries.

17.   What did Coates find in blood samples from London traders in 2013?

A   They had high levels of testosterone and dopamine.

B   They produced excessive glucose and oxygen.

C   They experienced high blood pressure.

D   They drank large amounts of alcohol.

18.   How do neuroscientists now view the brain?

A   As an extraordinary computer.

B   As an organ to control movement.

C   As the main producer of adrenaline and cortisol.

D   As a significant enhancer of pleasure.

19.   Why might a person wait to see a dentist have extremely high cortisol levels?

A   He or she may dislike going to the dentist.

B   He or she may be worried about the procedure.

C   He or she may not have a specific appointment.

D   He or she may not be able to afford the consultation.

Questions 20-24

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 185 With Answers

Complete the flowchart below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer

Write your answers in boxes 20-24 on your answer sheet.

Questions 25-27

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 185 With Answers

Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Passage 2?

In boxes 25-27 on your answer sheet, write:

YES                  if the statement agrees with the claims of the writer.

NO                   if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer.

NOT GIVEN    if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this.

25.   Coates’ views are held by many other economists.

26.   Coates’ suggestion of less transparency at the Fed is sound.

27.   Raising the number of female traders may solve the problem.


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


Aristotle, a 4th-century-BC Greek philosopher, created the Great Chain of Being, in which animals, lacking reason, ranked below humans. The Frenchman, Rene Descartes, in the 17th century AD, considered animals as more complex creatures; however, without souls, they were mere automatons. One hundred years later, the German, Immanuel Kant, proposed animals are treated less cruelly, which might seem an improvement, but Kant believed this principally because he thought acts of cruelty affect their human perpetrators detrimentally. The mid-19th century saw the Englishman, Jeremy Bentham, questioning not their rationality or spirituality, but whether animals could suffer irrespective of the damage done to their victimisers; he concluded they could; and, in 1824, the first large organisation for animal welfare, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was founded in England.

In 1977, the Australian, Peter Singer, wrote the highly influential book Animal liberation, in which he debated the ethics of meat-eating and factory farming, and raised awareness about inhumane captivity and experimentation. Singer’s title deliberately evoked other liberation movements, like those for women, which had developed in the post-war period.

More recently, an interest in the cognitive abilities of animals has resurfaced. It has been known since the 1960s that chimpanzees have sophisticated tool use and social interactions, but research from the last two decades has revealed they are also capable of empathy and grief, and they possess self-awareness and self-determination. Other primates, dolphins, whales, elephants, and African grey parrots are highly intelligent too. It would seem that with each new proof of animals’ abilities, questions are being posed as to whether creatures so similar to humans should endure the physical pain or psychological trauma associated with habitat loss, captivity, or experimentation. While there may be more laws protecting animals than 30 years ago, in the eyes of the law, no matter how smart or sentient an animal may be, it still has a lesser status than a human being.

Steven Wise, an American legal academic, has been campaigning to change this. He believes animals, like those listed above, are autonomous – they can control their actions, or rather, their actions are not caused purely by reflex or from innateness. Steven wants these animals categorized legally as nonhuman persons because he believes existing animal-protection laws are weak and poorly enforced. He famously quipped that an aquarium may be fined for cruel treatment of its dolphins but, currently, the dolphins can’t sue the aquarium.

While teaching at Vermont Law School in the 1990s, Wise presented his students with a dilemma: should an anencephalic baby be treated as a legal person? (Anencephaly is a condition where a person is born with a partial brain and can breathe and digest, due to reflex, but otherwise is barely alert, and not autonomous.) Overwhelmingly, Wise’s students would say ‘Yes’. He posed another question: could the same baby be killed and eaten by humans? Overwhelmingly, his students said ‘No’. His third question, always harder to answer, was: why is an anencephalic baby legally a person yet not so a fully functioning bonobo chimp?

Wise draws another analogy: between captive animals and slaves. Under slavery in England, a human was a chattel, and if a slave were stolen or injured, the thief or violator could be convicted of a crime, and compensation paid to the slave’s owner though not to the slave. It was only in 1772 that the chief justice of the King’s Bench, Lord Mansfield, ruled that a slave could apply for habeas corpus, Latin for: ‘You must have the body’, as fee men and women had done since ancient times. Habeas corpus does not establish innocence or guilt; rather, it means a detainee can be represented in court by a proxy.

Once slaves had been granted habeas corpus, they existed as more than chattels within the legal system although it was another 61 years before slavery was abolished in England. Aside from slaves, Wise has studied numerous cases in which a writ of habeas corpus had been filed on behalf of those unable to appear in court, like children, patients, prisoners, or the severely intellectually impaired. In addition, Wise notes there are entities that are not living people that have legally become non-human persons, including ships, corporations, partnerships, states, a Sikh holy book, some Hindu idols and the Wanganui River in New Zealand.

In conjunction with an organisation called the Non-human Rights Project (NhRP), Wise has been representing captive animals in US courts in an effort to have their legal status reassigned. Thereafter, the NhRP plans to apply, under habeas corpus, to represent the animals in other cases. Wise and the NhRP believe a new status will discourage animal owners or nation-states from neglect or abuse, which current laws fail to do.

Richard Epstein, a professor of law at New York University, is a critic of Wise’s. His concern is that if animals are treated as independent holders of rights there would be little left of human society, in particular, in the food and agricultural industries. Epstein agrees some current legislation concerning animal protection may need overhauling, but he sees no underlying problem.

Other detractors say that the push for personhood misses the point: it focuses on animals that are similar to humans without addressing the fundamental issue that all species have an equal right to exist. Thomas Berry, of the Gaia Foundation, declares that rights do not emanate from humans but from the universe itself, and, as such, all species have the right to existence, habitat, and role (be that predator, plant, or decomposer). Dramatically changing human behaviour towards other species is necessary for their survival – and that doesn’t mean declaring animals as non-human persons.

To date, the NhRP has not succeeded in its applications to have the legal status of chimpanzees in New York State changed, but the NhRP considers it some kind of victory that the cases have been heard. Now, the NhRP can proceed to the Court of Appeals, where many emotive cases are decided, and where much common law is formulated.

Despite setbacks, Wise doggedly continues to expose brutality towards animals. Thousands of years of perceptions may have to be changed in this process. He may have lost the battle, but he doesn’t believe he’s lost the war.

Questions 28-33

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 185 With Answers

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

Write the correct letter in boxes 28-33 on your answer sheet.

28.   Why did Aristotle place animals below human beings?

A   He doubted they behaved rationally.

B   He thought them less intelligent.

C   He considered them physically weaker.

D   He believed they did not have souls.

29.   Why did Kant think humans should not treat animals cruelly?

A   Animals were important in agriculture.

B   Animals were used by the military.

C   Animals experience pain in the same way humans do.

D   Humans’ exposure to cruelty was damaging to themselves.

30.   What concept of animals did Bentham develop?

A   The existence of their suffering

B   The magnitude of their suffering

C   Their surprising brutality

D   Their surprising spirituality

31.   Where and when was the RSPCA funded?

A   In Australia in 1977

B   In England in 1824

C   In Germany in 1977

D   In the US in 1824

32.   Why might Singer have chosen the title Animal liberation for his book?

A   He was a committed vegetarian.

B   He was concerned about endangered species.

C   He was comparing animals to other subjugated groups.

D   He was defending animals against powerful lobby groups.

33.   What has recent research shown about chimpanzees?

A   They have equal intelligence to dolphins.

B   They have superior cognitive abilities to most animals.

C   They are rapidly losing their natural habitat.

D   They are far better protected now than 30 years ago.

Questions 34-40

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 185 With Answers

Complete the summary below.

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

Write your answers in boxes 34-40 on your answer sheet.

A new legal status for animals?
Arguments for:• Steven Wise believes some highly intelligent animals that are 34……………..  should have a new legal status. While animals are not humans, the law has a status for 35……………. , already applied to ships, companies, and a river in New Zealand.
• If the legal status of animals were changed, Wise and the NhRP could file for 36…………. , where a detainee is represented by someone else. Then, they could take more effective action against animal abusers.
Arguments against:• Richard Epstein believes the 37……………  of animals is important, but if animals had rights, the cost to human society would be too great.
• Others, like Thomas Berry, argue that rights are bestowed by the universe and not by humans. Furthermore, 38…………….  species have an equal right to exist.
Current situation in the USAlthough the NhRP has not 39………….  in having the legal status of any animals altered, it continues its struggle. Changing two millennia’s worth of 40…………..  Could prove difficult.
Answer Key
Academic Reading Test 184

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.