IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 195 With Answers

IELTS-Academic-Reading-Practice-Test-195-With-Answers
Reading passage 1

Skara Brae

Paragraph 1

Off the Northern tip of Scotland, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea, lies a group of 70 or so islands called the Orkneys. These largely treeless isles are frequently battered by Atlantic storms, gales and rain. It was during one such storm in the winter of 1850, when the combination of wind and high tides stripped away the grass from the top of a small hill called Skerrabra on the west side of the largest island known simply as ‘The Mainland’. This revealed a number of stone dwellings.

The local landowner started excavations on the site, and within twenty years the remains of four ancient houses were unearthed. However, work was later abandoned until 1925 when another storm damaged some of the excavated buildings. A sea wall was proposed to protect the site, and, during construction, yet more buildings were discovered.

Paragraph 2

It was first believed that the village was an Iron Age settlement, dating from around 1500 years ago. However, radiocarbon dating proved that it was in fact much older. It was a Neolithic village and dated back to 3000 B.C. The village had been inhabited for a period of about 600 years. The Neolithic village of Skara Brae now consists of eight dwellings, connected by low, covered passages. The stone buildings are extremely well-preserved, thanks to the layer of sand that protected the settlement. The interior fittings, furniture and household objects also survive to this day. 

The houses were partly built into a mound of waste material known as ‘midden’, which would have provided both stability and a thick layer of thick insulation against the harsh climate. From the outside, the village would have looked like a low, round mound, from which the rooves emerge. Nothing remains of these, so it is assumed that driftwood or whalebone beams supported a roof made of turf, skins, seaweed or straw. The dwellings were all connected by a series of passageways covered by stone slabs. This allowed the villagers to travel from one house to another without stepping outside – not a bad idea, considering the harsh climate. There was only one main passageway leading outside the village, which could be sealed from the inside.

Evidence suggests that there were never more than eight dwellings, suggesting a total population of no more than 100 people. The houses are all very similar in design, consisting of a large square room with a central fireplace. The furnishings were all made of stone, given the shortage of wood on the islands. Two stone-edged compartments on either side of the fireplace appear to be beds. Every house also had a distinctive shelved, stone dresser. Its position, opposite the doorway and illuminated by the fire, indicating that this piece of furniture was not just a useful storage space, but had special significance. There was a sunken floor tank in each dwelling, possibly to supply shell fish. The village also had a remarkably sophisticated drainage system.

Paragraph 3

One of the buildings, now known as ‘house seven’, is intriguingly different from the others. This building is detached from the others, and has a door which door could only be secured from the outside, suggesting that the house may have served as a type of jail – an unusual necessity in a village of less than a hundred people. ‘House eight’ is also unique, having none of the furnishings of the other houses. Excavators have found that the floor of the building is littered with fragments from the manufacture of tools, suggesting that the room was a workshop.

The standardised house design has led some to believe that there was no hierarchy of rank within the settlement at Skara Brae, and that all villagers were equal. Whether or not this is true is debatable. However, it is likely that life here was probably quite comfortable for the Neolithic people. The villagers kept sheep and cattle, and grew wheat and barley. They probably traded these commodities for pottery. And they would have hunted red deer and boar for their meat and skins. They would also have consumed fish, seal and whale meat, and the eggs of sea birds. The skin and bones of these animals would have provided tools such as needles and knives. Flint for cutting tools would have been traded or gathered from the shore.  Fuel probably came from seaweed, making the inside of the dwellings smoky and probably smelly. Driftwood was probably too valuable to burn.

Paragraph 4

Why Skara Brae was deserted is still unknown. For some time it was thought that the people met with disaster. This theory came about when beads from a necklace were found abandoned on the floor.  It was thought that the woman who dropped them was in too much of a panic to pick them

up. However, it is more likely that environmental and social factors forced people to leave. Firstly, the encroachment of sand and salt water would have made farming increasingly difficult. Second, there may have been changes in Neolithic society. Construction of large henge monuments in other parts of the island suggests that an elite ruling body, with the power to control other people, was emerging. Tight-knit communities like the one at Skara Brae were being replaced by larger, organised civilisation.
Questions 1-12

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 195 With Answers

1. The village of Skara Brae is located on an island called  Select Orkney The Mainland Skerrabra

2. In 1925, …  Select excavations at Skara Brae stopped. a storm revealed more buildings. excavations resumed after a storm.

3. The village is about…  Select 1500 years old. 3000 years old. 5000 years old.

Choose the correct material from the list. You may need an answer more than once. You will not need to use them all.

4. What preserved the village for such a long time?  Select pottery wood dung sand midden seaweed animal skins stone

5. What surrounded the walls and kept the buildings warm?  Select pottery wood dung sand midden seaweed animal skins stone

6. What building material did the villagers lack?  Select pottery wood dung sand midden seaweed animal skins stone

7. What did villagers obtain from other settlements, by exchanging goods?  Select pottery wood dung sand midden seaweed animal skins stone

8. What did villagers burn for warmth and cooking?  Select pottery wood dung sand midden seaweed animal skins stone

9. What were the passage roofs made of?  Select pottery wood dung sand midden seaweed animal skins stone

Answer the questions with up to three words or a number.

10.Which piece of furniture appears to be most important?   

11.How many of the buildings have identical features?   

12.What discovery caused people to believe there had been a disaster at Skara Brae?  .

Reading passage 2

Energy monitoring software

A

Life is improving for managers at the 2,700 stores of Sainsbury, one of the world’s largest supermarket groups. A program from PA, a big software company, will make a boring job much simpler: collecting data about each shop’s energy consumption, whether from refrigeration, lights or air conditioning. The automated data collection is part of Sainsbury’s plan to reduce by 50% emissions of greenhouse gases from existing shops by 2019.

B

Sainsbury and PA may well be pioneers, but they are not alone. While governments discuss levels of carbon emissions, many companies have already started to make reductions, or are at least preparing to – leading to more and more software firms offering products to help. If predictions are correct the market for carbon-management software could soon become as large as those for other important business applications such as enterprise application software (EAS) programs, a $7 billion market last year.

C

Many companies have measured energy consumption for some time in an attempt to reduce running costs. Other firms have tracked emissions of different types in order to comply with pollution regulations. In recent times, public pressure has led to more companies publishing emissions data in their annual reports or to organizations like the Carbon Monitoring Project. However, most firms will need to upgrade from the basic tools, such as spreadsheets, they they have been using.

D

Things are changing, in spite of the recession, says Jim Scarfe, CEO of CarbonReduct, a consultancy. Increased energy costs and new regulations are all pushing companies to monitor their emissions and do so with appropriate software, he states. In the USA, for example, the Carbon Reduction Plan will come into force next year. Among other things, it requires firms that use more than 8,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per annum to evaluate and report the energy they consume.

E

Expecting an increase in demand, many software-publishers have moved into the market, mostly with internet-based services. In a recent survey SRP Research, another consultancy, listed no fewer than 183 suppliers.  Some emphasise reporting, others compliance and still others improving business processes. There are well-established companies, such as EnergySoft and LMG. Many start-ups, such as CarbonModel and GreenData, have appeared. Even Large software firms like Oracle and IBM have also moved into the market.

F

For the time being, the needs of most firms are simple: making sure that energy data is collected and can be audited. But in the years ahead, this will change, predicts Susanna Sierra of SRP. Companies will need software that collects energy data automatically, while helping them to find the best ways to reduce emissions and allowing them to manage other resources, such as water.

G

Scarfe and Sierra both expect that Oracle and SAP, which already dominate most types of business software, will control the market in this area, too, because it is a good match for their other products. These giants also have the resources to buy the best technology. In June SAP purchased Green Standards, a start-up. Oracle is thought to be planning a similar purchase soon. But they have other rivals. LMG has been buying companies selling environmental software. Some expect great things from X8, a start-up founded by Jana Novic, who pioneered EAS software.

H

All this interest gives an idea of how important the business of monitoring environmental performance  is likely to become. Scarfe recently suggested that in time it could even be as big a market as financial accounting.

Questions 13-15

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 195 With Answers

13.Paragraph A  Select Huge industrial growth predicted A rosy outlook for carbon management systems Higher demands from software to come The main offenders Three reasons why firms must monitor carbon output Basic software will not be enough A fight for a slice of the market New software for a boring job The major players

14.Paragraph B  Select Huge industrial growth predicted A rosy outlook for carbon management systems Higher demands from software to come The main offenders Three reasons why firms must monitor carbon output Basic software will not be enough A fight for a slice of the market New software for a boring job The major players

15. Paragraph C  Select Huge industrial growth predicted A rosy outlook for carbon management systems Higher demands from software to come The main offenders Three reasons why firms must monitor carbon output Basic software will not be enough A fight for a slice of the market New software for a boring job The major players

Question 16 -20

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 195 With Answers

16. Paragraph D  Select Huge industrial growth predicted A rosy outlook for carbon management systems Higher demands from software to come The main offenders Three reasons why firms must monitor carbon output Basic software will not be enough A fight for a slice of the market New software for a boring job The major players

17. Paragraph E  Select Huge industrial growth predicted A rosy outlook for carbon management systems Higher demands from software to come The main offenders Three reasons why firms must monitor carbon output Basic software will not be enough A fight for a slice of the market New software for a boring job The major players

18. Paragraph F  Select Huge industrial growth predicted A rosy outlook for carbon management systems Higher demands from software to come The main offenders Three reasons why firms must monitor carbon output Basic software will not be enough A fight for a slice of the market New software for a boring job The major players  

19.Paragraph G  Select Huge industrial growth predicted A rosy outlook for carbon management systems Higher demands from software to come The main offenders Three reasons why firms must monitor carbon output Basic software will not be enough A fight for a slice of the market New software for a boring job The major players

20. Paragraph H  Select Huge industrial growth predicted A rosy outlook for carbon management systems Higher demands from software to come The main offenders Three reasons why firms must monitor carbon output Basic software will not be enough A fight for a slice of the market New software for a boring job The major players

Select True, False, or Not given

21. Most companies now report their carbon emissions in their annual statements.  Select True False Not given

22. The Carbon Reduction Plan is currently working to reduce carbon emissions.  Select True False Not given

23.There now seems to be a gap in the market for internet-based carbon-measurement software.  Select True False Not given

24. Future software is likely to measure a wider range of a company’s resources.  Select True False Not given

25. The market will probably be made up of mainly start-up businesses.  Select True False Not given passage-

Reading passage 3

The gangs behind bars – prison gangs

Part 1

Prison gangs are flourishing across the country. Organized, stealthy and deadly, they are reaching out from their cells to organize and control crime in America’s streets.

Prison gangs are flourishing from California to Massachusetts. In 1996, the Federal Bureau of Prisons found that prison disturbances soared by about 400 percent in the early nineties, which authorities say indicated that gangs were becoming more active. In states such as Illinois, as much as 60 percent of the prison population belong to gangs, Godwin says. The Florida DC has identified 240 street gangs operating in their prisons. Street gangs, as opposed to gangs originating in prisons, are emerging as a larger problem on the East Coast.

Of the 143,000 inmates Texas houses in state pens, 5,000 have been identified as gang members and another 10,000 are under suspicion. Texas prison-gang expert Sammy Buentello says the state’s prisons are not infested with gangs, but those that have set up shop are highly organized. “They have a paramilitary type structure;’ he says. “A majority of the people that come in have had experience with street-gang membership and have been brought up in that environment accepting it as the norm. But some join for survival.”

After James Byrd Jr. was dragged to death in Jasper last June, rumors spread throughout Texas linking two of the suspected assailants to racially charged prison gangs. While authorities and inmates dismiss these rumors, the Jasper murder occurred only weeks after a San Antonio grand jury indicted 16 members of the Mexican Mafia, one of the state’s largest and most lethal prison gangs, for ordering the deaths of five people in San Antonio from within prison walls.

Part 2
Section A

As they are being released into the community on parole, these people are becoming involved in actions related to prison-gang business. Consequently, it is no longer just a corrections problem–it is also a community problem. It is a misnomer that when you lock a gang member up they cease criminal activity. It has only been in the last five years that law enforcement has realized that what happens on the inside can affect what happens on the outside and vice versa.

Section B

According to gang investigators, the gang leaders communicate orders through letters. Where mail is monitored they may use a code–for instance, making every 12th word of a seemingly benign letter significant. They use visits, they put messages into their artwork and in some states they use the telephone.

Section C

Of the two kinds of gangs, prison gangs and street gangs, the prison gangs are better organized, according to gang investigators. They are low-key, discreet–even stealthy. They monitor members and dictate how they behave and treat each other. A serious violation means death, say investigators.

Section D

The street gangs are more flagrant. “Their members are going into the prisons and realizing that one of the reasons they are in prison is that they kept such a high profile” making it easier for the police to catch them, says Buentello. “So, they are coming out more sophisticated and more dangerous because they aren’t as easily detected. They also network and keep track of who is out and so forth.”

Section E

According to gang investigators and prisoners, the prison gangs were formed for protection against predatory inmates, but racketeering, black markets and racism became factors. They developed within the prison system in California, Texas and Illinois in the 1940s.

Part 3
Section 1

Godwin says Texas should never have outlawed smoking in the prisons, adding cigarettes as trade-goods contraband to the prohibited list. “If you go back to the Civil War era, to Andersonville prison,” Godwin says of the prisoner-of-war facility for Union soldiers, “you will see that the first thing that developed was a gang because someone had to control the contraband–that is power. I’m convinced that if you put three people on an island somewhere, two would clique up and become predatory against the other at some point.”

But protection remains an important factor. When a new inmate enters the prison system he is challenged to a fight, according to a Texas state-pen prisoner. The outcome determines who can fight, who will be extorted for protection money and who will become a servant to other prisoners. Those who can’t join a gang or afford to spend $5 a week in commissary items for protection are destined to be servants. Godwin explains: “The environment is set up so that when you put that many people with antisocial behavior and criminal history together, someone is going to be the predator and someone the prey, and that is reality.”

Section 2

The Texas inmate describes a system in which gangs often recruit like fraternities, targeting short-term inmates because they can help the gang–pay them back, so to speak–when they leave prison for the free world. Most of the groups thrive on lifelong membership, according to the Florida DC, with “blood in, blood out” oaths extending leadership and membership beyond the prison into the lucrative drug trade, extortion and pressure rackets.

Prison gangs operating in Texas and Florida include Neta, the Texas Syndicate, the Aztecs, the Mexican Mafia, the New Black Panthers, the Black Guerrilla Family, Mandingo Warriors, Aryan Brotherhood, La Nuestra Familia, the Aryan Circle and the White Knights. Some of these gangs have alliances, and some are mortal enemies. Many on this list originated in California over the decades, some of them (such as the Texas Syndicate) to protect members from the other gangs. In addition, street gangs such as the Crips and Bloods and traditional racial-hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan also operate in the prisons.

Section 3

What prisoners may not realize is that because the gangs are monitored by prison authorities the law-enforcement community is becoming very sophisticated about the gangs. “Sixty percent of what we learn about what is going on in the city streets of Florida” is garnered in prison and not from observing the streets, says Godwin.

Prison officials say they concentrate on inmate behavior to identify gang members. They do not single out gang leaders to strike any deals because acknowledging the gang as anything other than a “security-threat group” gives them too much credibility. This has been a particular problem in Puerto Rico with the native and political Neta gang. Recognizing groups during the 1970s, in a system in which prisoners have the right to vote, has led to a tendency among politicians to award clemency to some inmats.

Questions 26-40

Select headings questions 31-35


31. Section A  Select Secretive leadership from the inside Origins of prison gangs Violence in prison Inter-relationship of prisons and the outside community No need of more sophistication Skills learnt in prison Discretion fails Discipline within prison gangs

32. Section B  Select Secretive leadership from the inside Origins of prison gangs Violence in prison Inter-relationship of prisons and the outside community No need of more sophistication Skills learnt in prison Discretion fails Discipline within prison gangs

33. Section C  Select Secretive leadership from the inside Origins of prison gangs Violence in prison Inter-relationship of prisons and the outside community No need of more sophistication Skills learnt in prison Discretion fails Discipline within prison gangs

34.Section D  Select Secretive leadership from the inside Origins of prison gangs Violence in prison Inter-relationship of prisons and the outside community No need of more sophistication Skills learnt in prison Discretion fails Discipline within prison gangs

35. Section E  Select Secretive leadership from the inside Origins of prison gangs Violence in prison Inter-relationship of prisons and the outside community No need of more sophistication Skills learnt in prison Discretion fails Discipline within prison gangs

Read Part 3 of the text and answer the questions.


36. According to Godwin,

 making smoking illegal aided prison management.
 gangs develop when there is contraband.
 three people on an island would kill each other.
 prohibitions do not favour the development of power.

37. He believes

 antisocial behaviour is an innate human feature.
 criminals in prison decide their own fate.
 the prison environment encourages good behaviour.
 gangs need protection

38. The prison system in Texas

 measures members of the gangs in terms of friendship.
 helps develop disinterested relationships.
 thrives on the “an-eye-for-an-eye” concept.
 sustains friendship with violence and power.

39. Gangs in these prisons

 have different modus operandi.
 had their origin in California.
 originated as street gangs.
 are either friends or foes.

40. Prisoners are unaware that

 the monitoring system has been modified.
 street gangs copy their behaviour.
 they provide information which helps fight crime.
 the community knows a lot about their activities.

Answer Key
Academic Reading Test 194