IELTS READING – Autumn leaves S18AT2

IELTS FREE ONLINE ACADEMIC TEST READING – Autumn leaves S18AT2 FREE ONLINE COMPUTER DELIVERED ACADEMIC TEST IELTS SIMULATION
IELTS READING

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.

Attempt full reading test…

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

Attempt full reading test…

Read more

IELTS READING – Second Nature S17AT2

IELTS FREE ACADEMIC ONLINE  READING TEST – Second Nature S17AT2 .... FREEE ONLINE COMPUTER DELIVERED TEST ..... IELTS SIMULATION
IELTS READING

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,

Attempt full reading test…

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.

Attempt full reading test…

Read more

IELTS READING – DINOSAURS AND THE SECRETS THEY STILL HOLD S14GT5

IELTS SIMULATOR FREE GENERAL TRAINING ONLINE READING – DINOSAURS AND THE SECRETS THEY STILL HOLD S14GT5 ..... IELTS SIMULATION
IELTS READING

DINOSAURS AND THE SECRETS THEY STILL HOLD

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.

Attempt full reading test…

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.

Attempt full reading test…

Read more

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

IELTS SIMULATOR FREE GENERAL TRAINING ONLINE READING – A case study of a risk assessment for general office cleaning S16GT3 IELTS SIMULATION
IELTS READING

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).

Attempt full reading test…

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. 

Attempt full reading test…

Read more