IELTS READING – Autumn leaves S18AT2


Autumn leaves

Canadian writer Jay Ingram investigates the mystery of why leaves turn red in the fall

A. One of the most captivating natural events of the year in many areas throughout North America is the turning of the leaves in the fall. The colours are magnificent, but the question of exactly why some trees turn yellow or orange, and others red or purple, is something which has long puzzled scientists.

B. Summer leaves are green because they are full of chlorophyll, the molecule that captures sunlight converts that energy into new building materials for the tree. As fall approaches in the northern hemisphere, the amount of solar energy available declines considerably. For many trees – evergreen conifers being an exception – the best strategy is to abandon photosynthesis* until the spring. So rather than maintaining the now redundant leaves throughout the winter, the tree saves its precious resources and discards them. But before letting its leaves go, the tree dismantles their chlorophyll molecules and ships their valuable nitrogen back into the twigs. As chlorophyll is depleted, other colours that have been dominated by it throughout the summer begin to be revealed. This unmasking explains the autumn colours of yellow and orange, but not the brilliant reds and purples of trees such as the maple or sumac.

C. The source of the red is widely known: it is created by anthocyanins, water-soluble plant pigments reflecting the red to blue range of the visible spectrum. They belong to a class of sugar-based chemical compounds also known as flavonoids. What’s puzzling is that anthocyanins are actually newly minted, made in the leaves at the same time as the tree is preparing to drop them. But it is hard to make sense of the manufacture of anthocyanins – why should a tree bother making new chemicals in its leaves when it’s already scrambling to withdraw and preserve the ones already there?

D. Some theories about anthocyanins have argued that they might act as a chemical defence against attacks by insects or fungi, or that they might attract fruit-eating birds or increase a leafs tolerance to freezing. However there are problems with each of these theories, including the fact that leaves are red for such a relatively short period that the expense of energy needed to manufacture the anthocyanins would outweigh any anti-fungal or anti-herbivore activity achieved. photosynthesis: the production of new material from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide


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IELTS READING – Second Nature S17AT2


Second Nature

A. Psychologists have long held that a person’s character cannot undergo a transformation in any meaningful way and that the key traits of personality are determined at a very young age. However, researchers have begun looking more closely at ways we can change. Positive psychologists have identified 24 qualities we admire, such as loyalty and kindness, and are studying them to find out why they come so naturally to some people. What they’re discovering is that many of these qualities amount to habitual behaviour that determines the way we respond to the world. The good news is that all this can be learned.

Some qualities are less challenging to develop than others, optimism being one of them. However, developing qualities requires mastering a range of skills which are diverse and sometimes surprising. For example, to bring more joy and passion into your life, you must be open to experiencing negative emotions. Cultivating such qualities will help you realise your full potential.

B. ‘The evidence is good that most personality traits can be altered,’ says Christopher Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, who cites himself as an example. Inherently introverted, he realised early on that as an academic, his reticence would prove disastrous in the lecture hall. So he learned to be more outgoing and to entertain his classes. ‘Now my extroverted behaviour is spontaneous,’ he says.

C. David Fajgenbaum had to make a similar transition. He was preparing for university, when he had an accident that put an end to his sports career. On campus, he quickly found that beyond ordinary counselling, the university had no services for students who were undergoing physical rehabilitation and suffering from depression like him. He therefore launched a support group to help others in similar situations. He took action despite his own pain – a typical response of an optimist.

D. Suzanne Segerstrom, professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, believes that the key to increasing optimism is through cultivating optimistic behaviour, rather than positive thinking. She recommends you train yourself to pay attention to good fortune by writing down three positive things that come about each day. This will help you convince yourself that favourable outcomes actually happen all the time, making it easier to begin taking action.


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Dinosaur expert Dr Steve Brusatte continues to investigate the mysteries surrounding these fascinating prehistoric creatures

I was recently part of a team of palaeontologists that discovered a new dinosaur. Living in what is now China, the species would have resembled a strange bird. It was about the size of a sheep and covered in feathers, with a sharp beak that it probably used to crack open shellfish. It was given the formal scientific name Tongtianlong, but we called it ‘Mud Dragon’ because its skeleton was discovered in rock that had hardened from ancient mud. It seems that the creature got trapped in the mud and died. Then its fossil remains were found a few months ago when workmen were excavating a site in order to build a school.

It is every dinosaur-obsessed child’s dearest wish to discover and name a completely new species. In fact what my colleagues and I did wasn’t that unusual. New dinosaurs are appearing everywhere these days – about 50 each year. And this pace shows no signs of slowing, as different areas continue to open up to fossil hunters and a fresh generation of scientists comes of age. Because of this plentiful supply of new fossils, we now know more about dinosaurs than we do about many modern animals. But there are still many unsolved mysteries.

Dinosaurs didn’t start out as huge monsters like Tyrannosaurus Rex. Instead they evolved from a group of angular, cat-sized reptiles called dinosauromorphs. These creatures remained small and rare for millions of years until they developed into dinosaurs. The boundary between dinosauromorphs and dinosaurs is becoming less and less distinct with each new discovery that’s made, but what’s becoming clear is that it took millions of years for these first dinosaurs to spread around the world, grow to huge sizes and become truly dominant.

Some discoveries in the 1970s, like the agile and strangely bird-like Deinonychus, proved that dinosaurs were far more dynamic and intelligent than previously thought. Some palaeontologists even proposed that they were warm-blooded creatures like modern birds with a constant high body temperature that they controlled internally, rather than from warming themselves by lying in the sun. A few decades later opinions are still mixed. The problem is that dinosaurs can’t be observed. Palaeontologists must rely on studying fossils. Some results are convincing: we know from studying their bones that dinosaurs had rapid growth rates, just like modern, warm-blooded animals. Other palaeontologists, however, use the same fossils to suggest that dinosaurs were somewhere between cold-blooded reptiles and warm-blooded birds. More studies are needed to provide more clarity.

The discovery of Deinonychus with its long arms, skinny legs, arched neck and big claws on its feet, helped to strengthen the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs. In the late 1990s, the discovery of thousands of feather- covered dinosaurs closed the argument.


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IELTS READING – A case study of a risk assessment for general office cleaning S16GT3

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A case study of a risk assessment for general office cleaning

A commercial cleaning service took on a new contract to clean an office complex. Before sending cleaning staff to the offices, the manager of the cleaning service carried out a risk assessment using guidance provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

To identify the hazards, the cleaning service manager visited the office complex and walked through the areas where cleaning staff would be working, noting things that might pose potential risks. Following this, he consulted the health and safety representatives of the cleaning service about these risks, taking into account the needs of any particular staff members, such as whether they were pregnant or aged under 18. 

In order to gather further information, he then had a meeting with the client company during which a number of issues were discussed. These included the client company’s own standard of housekeeping, such as the immediate clearing up of spills and keeping walkways clear, as well as the action to be taken if a fire broke out. He also established what facilities and equipment would be available to the cleaners, including the amount of storage space available, as well as the availability of sinks and taps, etc. and agreed on a method of reporting near-miss accidents and risks discovered by cleaners (e.g. damaged floor tiles). 

Following the meeting, the manager created a risk assessment document. He wrote down who could be harmed by each risk or hazard identified and in what way, and he then described what controls, ifany, were in existence to manage these hazards. The manager then compared these to the good practice guidance set out on the HSE’s website and identified any areas where improvement was needed. 

The manager discussed the findings with the cleaning staff, making sure they understood the risks of the job and how these risks would be monitored. One cleaner, whose first language was not English, had difficulty understanding this, so the manager arranged for translation to be done by a bilingual cleaner from another team. Finally, to ensure that all the cleaning staff had access to a copy of the risk assessment, the manager pinned a copy in the cupboard where cleaning equipment was kept. 

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IELTS READING – Employees’ health and safety responsibilities S15GT3


Employees’ health and safety responsibilities

As an employee you have rights and you have responsibilities for your own wellbeing and that of your colleagues. This article explains what these responsibilities are, and how you can meet them.

Your rights

Your rights as an employee to work in a safe and healthy environment are set down in law and generally can’t be changed or removed by your employer. The most important of these rights are:
• as far as possible, to have any hazards to your health and safety properly controlled
• to be given any personal protective and safety equipment without being charged for it
• to stop work and leave your work area, without being disciplined, if you have reasonable concerns about your safety
• to tell your employer about any health and safety concerns you have
• not to be disciplined if you contact the Health and Safety Executive, or your local authority, if your employer won’t listen to you
• to have breaks during the time you are at work
• to have time off from work during the working week
• to have annual paid holiday.

Your responsibilities

Your most important responsibilities as an employee are:
• to take reasonable care of your own health and safety
• to remove jewellery and avoid loose clothing when operating machinery
• if you have long hair, or wear a headscarf, make sure it’s tucked out of the way as it could get caught in machinery
• to take reasonable care not to expose fellow employees and members of the public to risk by what you do or don’t do in the course of your work
• to co-operate with your employer, making sure you complete the training that is provided and that you understand and follow the company’s health and safety policies
• not to interfere with or misuse anything that’s been provided for your health, safety or welfare
• to report any injuries you suffer as a result of doing your job – your employer may then need to change the way you work.
If you drive or operate machinery, you have a responsibility to tell your employer if you take medication that makes you feel sleepy. If you do, they should temporarily move you to another job if they have one for you to do.


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IELTS READING – A visit to Oymyakon, the world’s coldest town S13GT5


A visit to Oymyakon, the world’s coldest town

28 A You don’t need a sat nav to drive to Oymyakon. From Yakutsk you cross the Lena River and simply follow the M56 almost all of the way before taking a left at Tomtor for the final few kilometres. The journey takes two days of hard driving; two days of glistening landscapes, frozen rivers and untouched snow; two days of endless forest and breathtaking beauty; two days to penetrate the heart of Siberia and reach the coldest inhabited place on Earth. The beauty surprised me. Siberia isn’t known for its pleasant appearance. It’s always billed as a place of hardship. But for hour after hour, the wintry wonderland was bathed in a crisp, clean sunshine, presenting a continuous panorama of conifer trees wreathed in silence and snow.

29 B As we left the flat plain, the road began to twist and turn, leading us into untouched hills and on towards the Verkhoyansk Mountains. Beneath their snow-clad peaks, the slopes became steeper and the valleys deeper. Down in a valley, we stopped to look at a hot spring beside the road. It was immediately obvious against the snow – a spot shrouded in heavy mist. Trees emerged from the strange haze as ghostly silhouettes.

30 C Despite the magical ambience of the Siberian wilderness, its reputation for hardship hit me every time I climbed out of the vehicle. Within less than a minute, the skin all over my face began to feel as if it were burning. If I wasn’t wearing my two sets of gloves, I rapidly lost the feeling in my fingertips. I learned very quickly not to draw too deep a breath because the shock of the cold air in my lungs invariably set me off on an extended bout of coughing. Siberia in winter is a world barely fit for human habitation. This is a place of such searing cold that it bites through multiple layers of clothing as if they aren’t there.

31 D Oymyakon is a quiet little town – the world’s coldest – of about 550 inhabitants, with its own power station, a school, two shops and a small hospital. It probably originated as a seasonal settlement where reindeer herders spent the summer on the banks of the Indigirka River.


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IELTS READING – Efforts to save a special bird – the spoon-billed sandpiper S12GT5

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Efforts to save a special bird – the spoon-billed sandpiper

Last year an international team of ornithologists devised a bold plan to rescue one of the world’s rarest birds. Gerrit Vyn reports.

28 At first glance the spoon-billed sandpiper resembles other small migratory birds of the sandpiper family that breed across the Arctic. But it is the only one to have developed a flattened bill that flares out into a ‘spoon’ at the end, and that makes it special. If it becomes extinct, thousands of years of evolution will come to an end, which would be a real tragedy. The bird’s Russian name, kulik-lopaten, means ‘shovel beak’, which is an apt description of a remarkable structure. The bill is 19 mm long and 10 mm wide near the tip and the edges are lined with sharp serrations, called papillae. Theories have varied as to how the bill functions; one suggestion is that the sandpiper sweeps it through the water in a similar fashion to its larger namesake, the spoonbill. But Nigel Clark, a leading authority on the sandpiper, says the comparison is misleading.

29 Until a few years ago, the spoon-billed sandpiper had never been fully documented, which added to its fascination. But an air of mystery is not helpful if you’re a Critically Endangered species. So the organisation ‘Birds Russia’ decided to produce a photographic and audio record of this imperilled bird with the help of experts round the world. In May of last year, I joined the international expedition to one of the species’ last breeding strongholds in North-East Russia. The primary aim of the two-and-a-half month expedition, however, was to collect eggs from wild sandpipers; those eggs would then be hatched in captivity nearby. Later, the chicks would be flown to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) headquarters at Slimbridge in the UK, in order to establish a small, self-sustaining population there. These birds would provide a ‘safety net’, an insurance policy against the wild birds dying out.


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IELTS LISTENING – Early Learning Childcare Centre Enrolment Form S18AT1


Early Learning Childcare Centre Enrolment Form

Childcare Centre:Good morning. Welcome to the early Learning Childcare Centre. How may I help you?

Carol Smith:Hi. I spoke to you last week about enrolling my daughter for next year. Oh, yes.

Childcare Centre:I’ll just get some details from you.So you’re her mother That’s right. And can I have your name?

Carol Smith:It’s Carol Smith

Childcare Centre:and your daughter’s name. It’s Kate. Now we have several groups of the centre, and we cater for children from three to five years old. How old is your daughter?

Carol Smith:She’s three now, but she turns for next month.

Childcare Centre:I’ll put four down because that’s how old she’ll be when she starts.

Carol Smith:Fine. She’s so excited about a birthday in coming to the centre.

Childcare Centre:It’s good to hear. And what’s your address?

Carol Smith:It’s forty six one That road. That’s W. O .N .B. A .T wood side for Oh three to

Childcare Centre:on DH. What’s the phone number?

Carol Smith:Oh, it’s three, three, four five, nine eight, six five.

Childcare Centre:So have you decided on the days you would like to bring your daughter here?

Carol Smith:I prefer Monday and Wednesday of possible

Childcare Centre:I’ll cheque. Monday’s fine, but I think the centre is already full for Wednesday.

Yes, sorry. It seems to be a very popular day. We can offer you a Thursday or a Friday as well.

Carol Smith:Idea. I suppose Thursday would be all right because she has swimming on Friday.

Childcare Centre:OK, got that because a lot of parents work. We do offer flexible start and finish times were open from seven thirty in the morning until six o’clock at night. What time would you like your daughter to start?

Carol Smith:I need to get to work in the city by nine. So our job or offered eight thirty. You’re pretty close to the city here, so that should give me plenty of time to get there.

Childcare Centre:That’s fine Now. We also need to decide which group shall be in. We have two different groups and they’re divided up. According to age. There’s the Green Group, which is for three to four year old’s  Then there’s the Red Group, which is for four to five year old’s.

Carol Smith:She’s quite mature for her age, and she can already write her name and read a little. Well, I’ll put her

Childcare Centre:in the Red Group, and we can always change out of the green one. If there are any problems, Learning Childcare Centre

Carol Smith:it sounds fine.

Childcare Centre:Okay, let’s move on to meals. We can provide breakfast, lunch and dinner as she’s finishing pretty early. She won’t need dinner. Will you give her breakfast before she comes?

Carol Smith:Yes, she’ll only need lunch

Childcare Centre:Now, Does she have any medical conditions we need to know about? Does she have asthma or any hearing problems, for example?

Carol Smith:No, but she does need to wear glasses.

Childcare Centre:Oh, I’ll make a note of that.

Carol Smith:Yes. She’s pretty good about wearing them. She can’t see much without

Childcare Centre:them Okay, now, I also need emergency contact details.

Carol Smith:So what sort of information do you need? Just

Childcare Centre:the name and number of a friend or family member we can contact in case we can’t get hold of you at any time.

Carol Smith:Okay, That had better be my sister Jenny Ball. That’s B A double Her phone number is three three four six seven, five to three.

Childcare Centre:Great. So she is the child, aren’t?

Carol Smith:Yes, that’s right.

Childcare Centre:I’ll make a note of that as well.Now is there anything you’d like to ask?

Carol Smith:What about payment? How much of the fees each turn?

Childcare Centre:Well, for two days and the hours you’ve chosen that will be four hundred and fifty dollars all together.

Carol Smith:Okay. And do I have to pay that now?

Childcare Centre:No, we sent out invoices once the children started the centre. You can choose to pay at the end of each term, or we do offer a slightly discounted rate if you pay every month.

Carol Smith:Oh, I’ll do that. Then I find it easier to budget that way. And I’m not used to the term dates just yet.

Childcare Centre:Good. It makes it a lot simpler for us as  Well, that’s everything. Would you like me to show you around the centre?


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IELTS READING – Choosing the right format for your CV S14GT4


Choosing the right format for your CV

A good CV should be clear, simple and easy to understand. Here are four of the most popular CV formats and advice on when to use them:

This is the traditional CV format and is extremely popular because it allows employers to see all the posts you have held in order. It provides flexibility because it works in almost all circumstances, the exception being if you have blocks of unemployment that are difficult to account for. This type of format is particularly useful when you have a solid and complete working history spanning five years or more.

The functional CV is designed to describe your key skills rather than the jobs you have done. The functional CV format is typically used by people who have extensive gaps in their employment history, or have often changed jobs. It also suits those who want to go in a different direction work-wise and change industry. You might choose it if you want to highlight skills learned early in your career, points that might get missed if a chronological format is used. It is also appropriate if you have done little or no actual work, for example, if you are one of the current years graduates.

Because this format is often used to cover a patchy employment history, some interviewers may view such CVs with suspicion, so be very careful should you choose it.

An alternative to the functional CV is to use an achievement-based resume highlighting key achievements in place of skills. This can help show your suitability for a role if you lack direct experience of it.

With the explosion of digital and creative industries over recent years, CV formats have become more and more imaginative. You can present information through graphics, which can be more visually engaging and turn out to be an unusual but winning option. This will definitely make you stand out from the crowd. It also demonstrates design skills and creativity in a way that a potential employer can see and feel. However, a highly creative CV format is only really appropriate for creative and artistic sectors, such as those involving promoting products, though it would also work for the media too.


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IELTS READING – The Context, Meaning and Scope of Tourism S18AT1


The Context, Meaning and Scope of Tourism

Example : A. The history of travel

Travel has existed since the beginning of time, when primitive man set out, often traversing great distances in search of game, which provided the food and clothing necessary for his survival. Throughout the course of history, people have travelled for purposes of trade, religious conviction, economic gain, war, migration and other equally compelling motivations. In the Roman era, wealthy aristocrats and high government officials also travelled for pleasure. Seaside resorts located at Pompeii and Herculaneum afforded citizens the opportunity to escape to their vacation villas in order to avoid the summer heat of Rome. Travel, except during the Dark Ages, has continued to grow and, throughout recorded history, has played a vital role in the development of civilisations and their economies.

B. Tourism in the mass form as we know it today is a distinctly twentieth-century phenomenon. Historians suggest that the advent of mass tourism began in England during the industrial revolution with the rise of the middle class and the availability of relatively inexpensive transportation. The creation of the commercial airline industry following the Second World War and the subsequent development of the jet aircraft in the 1950s signalled the rapid growth and expansion of international travel. This growth led to the development of a major new industry: tourism. In turn, international tourism became the concern of a number of world governments since it not only provided new employment opportunities but also produced a means of earning foreign exchange.

C. Tourism today has grown significantly in both economic and social importance. In most industrialised countries over the past few years the fastest growth has been seen in the area of services. One of the largest segments of the service industry, although largely unrecognised as an entity in some of these countries, is travel and tourism. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (1992),Travel and tourism is the largest industry in the world on virtually any economic measure including value-added capital investment, employment and tax contributions,. In 1992’ the industry’s gross output was estimated to be $3.5 trillion, over 12 per cent of all consumer spending. The travel and tourism industry is the world’s largest employer the almost 130 million jobs, or almost 7 per cent of all employees. This industry is the world’s leading industrial contributor, producing over 6 per cent of the world’s national product and accounting for capital investment in excess of $422 billion m direct indirect and personal taxes each year. Thus, tourism has a profound impact both on the world economy and, because of the educative effect of travel and the effects on employment, on society itself.


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IELTS READING – The growth of bike-sharing schemes around the world S16AT2


The growth of bike-sharing schemes around the world

How Dutch engineer Luud Schimmelpennink helped to devise urban bike-sharing schemes

A. The original idea for an urban bike-sharing scheme dates back to a summer’s day in Amsterdam in 1965. Provo, the organisation that came up with the idea, was a group of Dutch activists who wanted to change society. They believed the scheme, which was known as the Witte Fietsenplan, was an answer to the perceived threats of air pollution and consumerism. In the centre of Amsterdam, they painted a small number of used bikes white. They also distributed leaflets describing the dangers of cars and inviting people to use the white bikes. The bikes were then left unlocked at various locations around the city, to be used by anyone in need of transport.

B. Luud Schimmelpennink, a Dutch industrial engineer who still lives and cycles in Amsterdam, was heavily involved in the original scheme. He recalls how the scheme succeeded in attracting a great deal of attention – particularly when it came to publicising Provo’s aims – but struggled to get off the ground. The police were opposed to Provo’s initiatives and almost as soon as the white bikes were distributed around the city, they removed them. However, for Schimmelpennink and for bike-sharing schemes in general, this was just the beginning. The first Witte Fietsenplan was just a symbolic thing,’ he says. ‘We painted a few bikes white, that was all. Things got more serious when I became a member of the Amsterdam city council two years later.’

C. Schimmelpennink seized this opportunity to present a more elaborate Witte Fietsenplan to the city council. ‘My idea was that the municipality of Amsterdam would distribute 10,000 white bikes over the city, for everyone to use,’ he explains. ‘I made serious calculations. It turned out that a white bicycle – per person, per kilometre – would cost the municipality only 10% of what it contributed to public transport per person per kilometre.’ Nevertheless, the council unanimously rejected the plan. They said that the bicycle belongs to the past. They saw a glorious future for the car,’ says Schimmelpennink. But he was not in the least discouraged.


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IELTS READING – Appendix: Dealing with absence in the workplace S13GT4


Appendix: Dealing with absence in the workplace

This appendix considers how to handle problems of absence and gives guidance about the authorised and unauthorised absence of employees from work.

The organisation should be aware of the rights of employees and in particular the requirements of the Equality Act 201O when making any decisions about absences of employees who are disabled. In these cases, the employer should consider what reasonable adjustments could be made in the workplace to help the employee. This might be something as simple as supplying an appropriate chair for the use of the employee. In cases where an employee suffers from an allergy caused by something in the workplace, the employer should consider remedial action or a transfer to alternative work.

If the absence is because of temporary difficulties relating to dependants, the employee may be entitled to have time off under the provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996. In cases where the employee has difficulty managing both work and home responsibilities, employees have the right to request flexible ways of working, such as job-sharing, and employers must have a good business reason for rejecting any such application.

Employers should investigate unexpected absences promptly and the employee should be asked for an explanation at a return-to-work interview. In order to show both the employee concerned and other employees that absence is regarded as a serious matter and may result in dismissal, it is very important that persistent absence is dealt with firmly and consistently. Records showing lateness and the duration of and explanations for all spells of absence should be kept to help monitor levels of absence or lateness. If the employer wishes to contact the employee’s doctor for more information about a medical condition, he or she must notify the employee in writing that they intend to make such an application and they must secure the employee’s consent in writing. Consideration should be given to introducing measures to help employees, regardless of status or seniority, who may be suffering from stress. The aim should be to identify employees affected and encourage them to seek help and treatment.


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IELTS WRITING – what UK graduate and postgraduate students S18AT1


The charts below show what UK graduate and postgraduate students who did not go into full-time work did after leaving college in 2008.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.




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IELTS READING – How to deal with the annual performance appraisal S12GT4



How to deal with the annual performance appraisal

The annual performance appraisal can help improve your productivity and provide a foundation for your work priorities. It is, however, critical to have the right attitude and approach. Knowing what areas your superiors see as your weaknesses is the most direct way of increasing the likelihood of being considered for promotion, if that is what you are looking for.

Send your boss a summary of your achievements. Reminding your boss of activities, special assignments you did, and projects you were in charge of helps him or her create a more accurate performance appraisal. Consider keeping notes of these on a regular basis to make it easier to provide the data when required.

Create a list of questions you would like to discuss during your appraisal. This one-on-one time with your boss is an excellent opportunity to ask him or her about your role in the company, request any additional responsibilities you would like and clarify your priorities. But it is best to focus your attention around personal and professional improvements, rather than financial considerations, such as an increase in salary.

During the appraisal
Present a positive attitude as soon as you enter the appraisal room. This approach may lead to a more constructive discussion of review items. Avoid taking any negative assessments that are offered as a personal attack, but rather try to take them on board calmly, because if you put the failings right you will improve your performance. A realistic assessment of your strengths and weaknesses can be one of the most beneficial ways of helping you advance in the company.

After the appraisal
Create a list of personal goals based on your performance appraisal. Make the items detailed and measurable if possible. Send this list to your boss so he or she knows you took the appraisal seriously. Use this list to help achieve higher scores on your next performance appraisal. Six months after the appraisal, ask for a mid-term review with your boss to discuss your progress. This session should be more relaxed and informal than the official review. Ask for more feedback to help you improve. Checking in with your boss helps him or her remember your dedication as far as your job is concerned, and may help remove any criticisms before they become a review point on your next formal appraisal.


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IELTS READING – Motivational factors and the hospitality industry S16AT3

IELTS SIMULATOR FREE ACADEMIC ONLINE READING TEST – Motivational factors and the hospitality industry S16AT3 IELTS SIMULATION

Motivational factors and the hospitality industry

A critical ingredient in the success of hotels is developing and maintaining superior performance from their employees. How is that accomplished? What Human Resource Management (HRM) practices should organizations invest in to acquire and retain great employees?

Some hotels aim to provide superior working conditions for their employees. The idea originated from workplaces – usually in the non-service sector – that emphasized fun and enjoyment as part of work-life balance. By contrast, the service sector, and more specifically hotels, has traditionally not extended these practices to address basic employee needs, such as good working conditions.

Pfeffer (1994) emphasizes that in order to succeed in a global business environment, organizations must make investment in Human Resource Management (HRM) to allow them to acquire employees who possess better skills and capabilities than their competitors. This investment will be to their competitive advantage. Despite this recognition of the importance of employee development, the hospitality industry has historically been dominated by underdeveloped HR practices (Lucas, 2002).

Lucas also points out that ‘the substance of HRM practices does not appear to be designed to foster constructive relations with employees or to represent a managerial approach that enables developing and drawing out the full potential of people, even though employees may be broadly satisfied with many aspects of their work’ (Lucas, 2002). In addition, or maybe as a result, high employee turnover has been a recurring problem throughout the hospitality industry. Among the many cited reasons are low compensation, inadequate benefits, poor working conditions and compromised employee morale and attitudes (Maroudas et al., 2008).

Ng and Sorensen (2008) demonstrated that when managers provide recognition to employees, motivate employees to work together, and remove obstacles preventing effective performance, employees feel more obligated to stay with the company. This was succinctly summarized by Michel et al. (2013): ‘[Providing support to employees gives them the confidence to perform their jobs better and the motivation to stay with the organization.’ Hospitality organizations can therefore enhance employee motivation and retention through the development and improvement of their working conditions. These conditions are inherently linked to the working environment.


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Customer:Good morning. Is that Mr THORNDYKE

THORNDYKE:speaking? How can I help?

Customer:I’ve got quite a few things which need painting and fixing in the flat. And I wondered whether you’d be able to do the work.

THORNDYKE:I’m sure I’ll be able to help, but let me take down a few details.

Customer:Yes, of course.

THORNDYKE:Well, firstly, how did you hear about us?

Customer:It was my friend May Hampton.

THORNDYKE:Thorne Dykes.

Customer:Good morning. Is that Mr THORNDYKE

THORNDYKE:speaking? How can I help?

Customer:I’ve got quite a few things which need painting and fixing in the flat. And I wonder whether you’d be able to do the work.

THORNDYKE:I’m sure I’ll be able to help, but let me take down a few details.

Customer:Yes, of course.

THORNDYKE:Well, firstly, how did you hear about us?

Customer:It was my friend, May Hampton. You did some excellent work for her a couple of years ago. Do you remember?

THORNDYKE:Oh, yes. That was in West Park Flat’s lovely lady.

Customer:Yes, she is.

THORNDYKE:Andi, what’s your name, please?

Customer:It’s Edith. Part jitter.

THORNDYKE:Can you spell your surname, please?

Customer:It’s P ay Ah G e double T E aw,

THORNDYKE:Double T. Right on. Do you live in West Park Flats as well?

Customer:No, actually, it’s East Park flat for

THORNDYKE:all right. That’s over the road. I seem to remember. Quite difficult to get to.

Customer:Yes, it’s at the back of the library.

THORNDYKE:Right on O on, DA. What’s your phone number?

Customer:Eight, seven, five, nine, three, four. But I’m out a great deal in the afternoons and evenings.

THORNDYKE:So would the best time to ring you be in the morning.


THORNDYKE:Fine. I’ve made a note of that. Can I just ask? I’ll be in a van and I No, parking is rather difficult around your flat. Where would you recommend?

Customer:Well, I always tell people in larger vehicles to park by the post box on the other side of the road from the entrance.

THORNDYKE:Good. Thanks.

Customer:And will you be able to give me a full itemised quote?

THORNDYKE:Oh, yes. I’ll list all the jobs separately with individual prices.

Customer:That would be a great help.

THORNDYKE:No problem. Now. Now, what would you like me to do?

Customer:Firstly and most urgently, is in the kitchen with all the weather damage, the glass in the door has cracked. And I need that fixing,

THORNDYKE:I presume you mean replacing?

Customer:Oh, yes. And as soon as possible

THORNDYKE:we’ll do is come round tomorrow morning and do that immediately.

Customer:Thank you so much. The other things aren’t so urgent. But

THORNDYKE:now, Mike, a note of everything you want doing

Customer:well in the kitchen. I’d like some painting doing

THORNDYKE:all the kitchen walls,

Customer:just the area over the cooker. It’s very greasy,

THORNDYKE:right? It does tend to get that way.


THORNDYKE:well, if you want a proper job done. What needed though we stripped the old pain on plastering about a week before I paint it,

Customer:Of course.Now May tells me you also do work in the garden.

THORNDYKE:That’s right.

Customer:Well, I’d like you to replace offence.


Customer:Yes, at the far

THORNDYKE:Fine. Should be a problem.

Customer:And that’s the lot

THORNDYKE:Fine. Yeah. As I say, I can come round tomorrow morning to look over things with you.

Customer:But that’s great. Thank you.

THORNDYKE:So I look forward to seeing you tomorrow at



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