Academic Ielts Reading Material

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 186 With Answers

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 186 With Answers



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



When Gabriel García Márquez died in 2014, he was mourned around the world, as readers recalled his 1967 novel, One hundred years of solitude, which has sold more than 25 million copies, and led to Márquez ‘s receipt of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature.


Born in 1927, in a small town on Colombia’s Caribbean coast called Aracataca, Márquez was immersed in Spanish, black, and indigenous cultures. In such remote places, religion, myth, and superstition hold sway over logic and reason or perhaps operate as parallel belief systems. Certainly, the ghost stories told by his grandmother affected the young Gabriel profoundly, and a pivotal character in his 1967 epic is indeed a ghost.

Márquez’s family was not wealthy: there were twelve children, and his father worked as a postal clerk, a telegraph operator, and an occasional pharmacist. Márquez spent much of his childhood in the care of his grandparents, which may account for the main character in One hundred years of solitude resembling his maternal grandfather. Although Márquez left Aracataca aged eight, the town and its inhabitants never seemed to leave him, and suffuse his fiction.


One hundred years of solitude was the fourth of fifteen novels, but Márquez was an equally passionate and prolific journalist.

In Bogota, during his twenties and thirties, Márquez experienced La Violencia, a period of great political and social upheaval, when around 300,000 Colombians were killed. Certainly, life was never safe for journalists, and after writing an article on corruption in the Colombian navy in 1955, Márquez was forced to flee to Europe. Incidentally, in Paris, he discovered that European culture was not richer than his own, and he was disappointed by Europeans who were patronising towards Latin Americans. On return to the southern hemisphere, Márquez wrote for Venezuelan newspapers and the Cuban press agency.


In terms of politics, Márquez was leftwing. And in Chile, he campaigned against the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet; in Venezuela, he financed a political party; and, in Nicaragua, he defended revolutionaries. He considered Fidel Castro, the President of Cuba, as a dear friend. Since the US was hostile towards Castro’s communist regime, which Márquez supported, the writer was banned from visiting the US until invited by President Clinton in 1995. The novels of Márquez are imbued with his politics, but this does not prevent readers from enjoying a good yarn.


Márquez maintained that in Latin America so much that is real would seem fantastic elsewhere, while so much that is magical seems real. He was an exponent of a genre known as Magical Realism.

‘If you can explain it,’ said the Mexican critic, Luis Leal, ‘then it’s not Magical Realism.’ This demonstrates the difficulty of determining what the genre encompasses and which writers belong to it.

The term Magical Realism is usually applied to literature, but its first use was probably in 1925 when a German art critic reviewed paintings similar to those of Surrealism.

Many critics define Magical Realism by what it is not. Realism describes lives that could be real; Magical Realism uses the detail and the tone of a realist work but includes the magical as though it were real. The ghosts in One hundred years of solitude and in the American Toni Morison’s Beloved are presented by their narrators as normal, so readers accept them unhesitatingly. Likewise, a character can live for 200 years in a Magical Realist novel. Surrealism explores dream states and psychological experiences; Magical Realism does not. Science Fiction describes a new or an imagined world, as in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, but Magical Realism depicts the real world. Nor is Magical Realism fantasy, like Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, in which an ordinary man awakens to find he has transformed into a cockroach. This is because the writer and the reader of that story cannot decide whether to ascribe natural or supernatural causes to the event. In contrast, in a work by Márquez, the world is both natural and supernatural, both rational and irrational, and this binary nature fascinates readers.

Magical Realism does share some common ground with post-modernism since the acts of writing and breading are self-reflexive. A narrative may not be linear, but may double back on itself, or be discontinuous, and the notion of character is more illusive than in other genres.

Naturally, some of these elements disturb a reader although the enormous success of One hundred years of solitude and the hundreds of other Magical Realist works from authors as far apart as Norway, Nigeria, and New Zealand would seem to belie it.


Latin America has had a long history of conquest, revolution, and dictatorship; of hunger, poverty, and chaos, yet, at the same time, is endowed with rich cultures, with warm, emotional people, many of whom, like Márquez, remain optimistically utopian. Gabriel Garcia Márquez has passed away, but his fiction will certainly endure.

Questions 1-7

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 186 With Answers

Passage 1 has six sections, A-F.

Which section contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet.

NB:  You may use any letter more than once.

1.   Márquez ‘s background

2.  how Márquez felt about Europe

3.   influences on Márquez

4.   the extent of Márquez ‘s fame

5.   why the US did not welcome Márquez

6.   what constitutes a Magical Realist work

7.   other writing important to Márquez

Questions 8-13

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 186 With Answers

Complete the summary below using the dates or words, A-L, below.

Write the correct letter, A-L, in boxes 8-13 on your answer sheet.

A   accept        B   adapting    C   adopting

D   believes     E   fantasy       F   non-linear

G   novel          H   rational      I    supernatural

J     use             K   1925           L   1927

What is Magical Realism?

The genre of Márquez ‘s fiction is known as Magical Realism, a term first applied to a painting in 8.……………  Magical Realism is often described in negative terms, as not being Realism, Surrealism, Science Fiction, or 9………… .

In a Magical Realist novel, the world people live in – which is the real world – is described in detail, but magical or 10…………  elements intrude. These are treated like real ones so that a reader 11………….  them. For instance, characters live longer than natural lives, and ghosts exist. Time, in a Magical Realist work, may also be 12…………. .

Despite requiring a suspension of disbelief by readers, Magical Realism has enjoyed great success, with writers from all over the world 13……………  the style.

Reading Passage 2

Acquiring the principles of mathematics and science


It has been pointed out that learning mathematics and science is not so much learning facts as learning ways of thinking. It has also been emphasized that in order to learn science, people often have to change the way they think in ordinary situations. For example, in order to understand even simple concepts such as heat and temperature, ways of thinking of temperature as a measure of heat must be abandoned and a distinction between ‘temperature’ and ‘heat’ must be learned. These changes in ways of thinking are often referred to as conceptual changes. But how do conceptual changes happen? How do young people change their ways of thinking as they learn in school?


Traditional instruction based on telling students how modern scientists think does not seem to be very successful. Students may learn the definitions, the formulae, the terminology, and yet still maintain their previous conceptions. This difficulty has been illustrated many times, for example, when instructed students are interviewed about heat and temperature. It is often identified by teachers as a difficulty in applying the concepts learned in the classroom; students may be able to repeat a formula but fail to use the concept represented by the formula when they explain observed events.


The psychologist Piaget suggested an interested hypothesis relating to the process of cognitive change in the children. Cognitive change was expected to result from the pupils’ own intellectual activity. When confronted with a result that challenges their thinking – that is, when faced with conflict – pupils realize that they need to think again about their own ways of solving problems, regardless of whether the problem is one in mathematics or in science. He hypothesized that conflict brings about disequilibrium, and then triggers equilibration processes that ultimately produce cognitive change. For this reason, according to Piaget and his colleagues, in order for pupils to progress in their thinking they need to be
actively engaged in solving problems that will challenge their current mode of reasoning. However, Piaget also pointed out that young children do not always discard their ideas in the face of contradictory evidence and keep their theory.


Piaget’s hypothesis about how cognitive change occurs was later translator into an educational approach which is now considered the ‘discovery learning’. Discovery learning initially took what is now considered the Tone learner’ route. The role of the teacher was to select situations that challenged the pupils’ reasoning; and the pupils’ peers had no real role in this process. However, it was subsequently proposed  that interpersonal conflict, especially with peers, might play an important role in promoting cognitive change. This hypothesis, originally advanced by Perret-Clermont (1980) and Doise and Mugny (1984), has been investigated in many recent studies of science teaching and learning.


Christine Howe and her colleagues, for example, have compared children’s progress in understanding several types of science concepts when they are given the opportunity to observe relevant events. In one study, Howe compared the progress of 8 to 12-year-old children in understanding what influences motion down a slope. In order to ascertain the role of conflict in group work, they created two kinds of groups according to a pre-test: one in which the children had dissimilar views, and a second in which the children had similar views.

They found support for the idea that children in the groups with dissimilar views progressed more after their training sessions than those who had been placed in groups with similar views. However, they found no evidence to support the idea that the children worked out their new conceptions during their group discussions, because progress was not actually observed in a post-test immediately after the sessions of group work, but rather in a second test given around four weeks after the group work.


In another study, Howe set out to investigate whether the progress obtained through pair work could be a function of the exchange of ideas. They investigated the progress made by 12-15-year-old pupils in understanding the path of falling objects, a topic that usually involves conceptual difficulties. In order to create pairs of pupils with varying levels of dissimilarity in their initial conceptions, the pupils’ predictions and explanations of the path of falling objects were assessed before they were engaged in pair work. The work sessions involved solving computer-presented problems, again about predicting and explaining the paths of falling objects. A post-test, given to individuals, assessed the progress made by pupils in heir conceptions of what influenced the path of falling objects.

Questions 14-19

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 186 With Answers

Choose the correct heading for paragraph A-F from the list of headings below. Write the correct number, i-ix, in boxes 14-19 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings

i     A suggested modification to a theory about learning.

ii    the problem of superficial understanding.

iii   the relationship between scientific understanding and age.

iv   the rejection of a widely held theory.

v    the need to develop new concepts in daily life.

vi   the claim that a perceived contradiction can assist mental development.

vii  implications for the training of science teachers.

viii  an experiment to assess the benefits of exchanging views with a partner.

ix  evidence for the delayed benefits of disagreement between pupils.

14. Paragraph A

15. Paragraph B

16. Paragraph C

17. Paragraph D

18. Paragraph E

19. Paragraph F

Questions 20-21

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 186 With Answers

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

The list below contains some possible statements about learning.

Which TWO of these statements are attributed to Piaget by the writer of the passage?

Teachers can assist learning by explaining difficult concepts.

Mental challenge is a stimulus to learning.

Repetition and consistency of input aid cognitive development.

Children sometimes reject evidence that conflicts with their preconceptions.

Children can help each other make cognitive progress.

Questions 22-23

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 186 With Answers

Choose TWO letter, A-E.

Which TWO of these statements describe Howe’s experiment with 8-12-year-old?

The children were assessed on their ability to understand a scientific problem.

All the children were working in mixed-ability groups.

The children who were the most talkative made the least progress.

The teacher helped the children to understand a scientific problem.

The children were given a total of three tests, at different times.

Questions 24-26

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 186 With Answers

Complete the summary below.

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

How children learn

Piaget proposed that learning takes place when children encounter ideas that do not correspond to their current beliefs. The application of this theory gave rise to a teaching method known as 24…………….

At first this approach only focused on the relationship between individual pupils and their 25…………..

Later, researchers such as Perret-Clermont become interested in the role that interaction with 26………….. might also play in a pupil’s development.

Reading Passage 3.

The Art Of Healing

You should spend about 20 minutes on questions 27-40, which are based on Reading passage 3.

As with so much, medicine of the Tang dynasty left its European counterpart in the shade. It boast edits own ‘National health service’, and left behind the teachings of the incomparable Sun Simiao.If no further evidence was available of the sophistication of China in the Tang era, then a look at Chinese medicine would be sufficient. At the western end of the Eurasian continent, the Roman empire had vanished, and there was nowhere new to claim the status of the cultural and political centre of the world. In fact, for a few centuries, this centre happened to be the capital of the Tang empire, and Chinese medicine under Tang was far ahead of its European counterpart. The organizational context of health and healing was structured to a degree that had no precedence in Chinese history and found no parallel elsewhere.

An Imperial Medical Office had been inherited from previous dynasties: it was immediately restructured and staffed with directors and deputy directors, chief and assistant medical directors, pharmacists and curators of medicinal herb gardens and further personnel. Within the first two decades after consolidating its role, the Tang administration set up one central and several provincial medical colleges with professors, lecturers, clinical practitioners and pharmacists to train students in one or all of the four departments of medicine, acupuncture, physical therapy and exorcism.

Physicians were given positions in governmental medical service only after passing qualifying examinations. They were remunerated in accordance with the number of cures they had effected during the past year.

In 723 Emperor Xuanzong personally composed a general formulary of prescriptions recommended to him by one of his pharmacists and sent to all the provincial medical schools. An Arabic traveler, who visited China in 851, noted with surprise that prescriptions from the emperor’s formulary were publicized on notice boards at crossroads to enhance the welfare of the population.

The government took care to protect the general populace from potentially harmful medical practice. The Tang legal code was the first in China to include laws concerned with harmful and heterodox medical practices. For example, to treat patient for money without adhering to standard procedures was defined as fraud combined with theft and had to be tired in accordance with the legal statutes on theft. If such therapies resulted in the death of a patient, the healer was to be banished for two and a half years. In case a physician purposely failed to practice according to the standards, he was to be tired in accordance with the statutes on premeditated homicide. Even if no harm resulted, he was to be sentenced to sixty strokes with a heavy cane.

In fact, physicians practising during the Tang era had access to a wealth of pharmaceutical and medical texts, their contents ranging from purely pragmatic advice to highly sophisticated theoretical considerations. Concise descriptions of the position, morphology, and functions of the organs of the human body, seasonal and annual climatic conditions of cycles of sixty years and to understand and predict their effects on health.

Several Tang authors wrote large collections of prescriptions, continuing a literary tradition. Documented since the 2nd century BC. The two most outstanding works to be named here were those by Sun Simiao (581-628?) and Wang Tao (c.670-755). The latter was a librarian who copied more than six thousand formulas, categorized in 1, 104 sections, from sixty-five older works and published them under the title Wciitai Miyao. Twenty-four sections, for example, were devoted to ophthalmology. They reflect the Indian origin of much Chinese knowledge on ailments of the eye and, in particular, of cataract surgery.

Sun Simiao was the most eminent physician and author not only of the Tang dynasty, but of the entire first millennium AD. He was a broadly educated intellectual and physician; his world view integrated notions of all three of the major currents competing at his time-Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism. Sun Simiao gained fame during his lifeline as a clinical (he was summoned to the imperial court at least once) and as the author of the Prescriptions Worth Thousands in Gold (Qianjinfang) and its sequel. In contrast to developments in the 12th century, physicians relied on prescriptions and single substances to treat their patients’ illness. The theories of systematic correspondences, characteristic of the acupuncture tradition, had not been extended to cover pharmacology yet.

Sun Simiao rose to the pantheon of Chinese popular Buddhism in about the 13th century. He was revered as paramount Medicine God. He gained this extraordinary position in Chinese collective memory not only because he was outstanding clinical and writer, but also for his ethical concerns. Sun Simiao was the first Chinese author known to compose an elaborate medical ethical code. Even though based on Buddhism and Confucian values, his deontology is comparable to the Hippocratic Oath. It initially a debate on the task of medicine, its professional obligations, social position and moral justification that continued until the arrival of Western medicine in 19th century.

Despite or-more likely-because of its long-lasting affluence and political stability, the Tang dynasty did not any significantly new ideas to the interpretation of illness, health and healing. Medical thought reflects human anxieties; changes in medical thought always occur in the context of new existential fears or of fundamentally changed social circumstances. Nevertheless, medicine was a most fascinating ingredient of Tang civilization and it left a rich legacy to subsequent centuries.

 Questions 27-30

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 186 With Answers

Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 28-30 on your answer sheet.

27. The writer think that Ms Costa

A.  provides strong evidence to support her theory.

B.  displays serious flaws in her research methods.

C.  attempts to answer too many questions.

D.  has a useful overall point to make.

28 In the first paragraph, the writer draws particular attention to

A. The lack of medical knowledge in China prior to the Tang era.

B. The Western interest in Chinese medicine during the Tang era.

C. The systematic approach taken to medical issues during the Tang era.

D. The rivalry between Chinese and Western cultures during the Tang era.

29. During the Tang era, a government doctor’s annual salary depended upon

A. The effectiveness of his treatment.

B. The extent of his medical experience.

C. The number of people he had successfully trained

D. The breadth of his medical expertise.

30. Which of the following contravened the law during the Tang era?

   A. A qualified doctor’s refusal to practice.

B. The use of unorthodox medical practices.

C. A patient dying under medical treatment

D. The receipt of money for medical treatment.

Questions 31-37

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 186 With Answers

Do the following statements agree with the information given in reading passage 3?

In boxes 31-37 on your answer sheet write-

YES if the statement agree with the information

NO if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if three is no information on this in the passage

31. Academic staff sometimes taught a range of medical subjects during the Tang era.

32. The medical knowledge available during the Tang era only beneficial the wealthy.

33. Tang citizens were encourage to lead a healthy lifestyle.

34. Doctors who behaved in a fraudulent manner were treated in the same way as ordinary criminals during the Tang era.

35. Medical reference books published during the Tang era covered practical and academic issues.

36. Waitai Miyao contained medical data from the Tang era.

37. Chinese medical authors are known to have influenced Indian writing.

Questions 38-40

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 186 With Answers

Complete the sentences below with words taken from Reading Passage 3.

Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet.

The first known medical writing in China dates back to the 38…….

During the Tang era, doctors depended most on 39……. and single substances to treat their patients

40………. is famous for producing a set of medical rules for Chinese physicians.

Academic Reading Test 185

Answer Key

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