IELTS READING – How to run a successful project S4GT4

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How to run a successful project

A project manager’s main task is to bring a particular project to completion, both on time and within Q1 budget. There are many factors that can cause a project to veer off its tracks, but steps can be taken to ensure that your project experiences as little disruption as possible.

1. Prepare the framework

If you get everything down in writing at the beginning of the project, you have an excellent foundation to build upon. Change is inevitable, but you have to maintain control. This is critical to avoid problems of ‘Q2 scope creep’, which is when the company paying for the project asks for ‘just one more little thing’ repeatedly, until the project becomes unmanageable.

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2. Select the team

Gather your human resources, and make sure that their Q3 skills align with their roles. This is an important first step: if you assign the wrong person to a task, you are reducing your chances of success.

Make sure each team member is clear on what is expected from them and when. Encourage them to ask questions to clarify anything that may be uncertain, and to always come to you whenever something seems to be out of place or going wrong. Q4 Clear communications is critical.

Make sure the whole team and the client company grasp the project’s limitations in terms of its achievable outcomes. You can finish a task successfully and on time as long as expectations are reasonable.

3. Staying on track

How can you know if your project is going to be successful if you don’t have any way of measuring success? You will need interim Q5 milestones, especially for a long-term project, so that you can determine if you are staying on track or straying from the project’s goals.

4. Manage project risks

Hopefully you have defined the more likely risks up front during the project preparation, so you should now put contingency Q6 plans in place for certain occurrences. If you can see when a risk is imminent, you can take preventive action to avoid it, but be ready to halt a project if the risk becomes unacceptable.

5. Evaluate the project

Once a project has been completed, it’s important to write a Q7 report, even if it is only for internal purposes. You can pinpoint what went right or wrong, determine what could have been done differently, and establish the best practices for use in future undertakings.

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IELTS READING – Neuroaesthetics S2AT3

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Neuroaesthetics

An emerging discipline called neuroaesthetics is seeking to bring scientific objectivity to the study of art, and has already given us a better understanding of many masterpieces. The blurred imagery of Impressionist paintings seems to stimulate the brain’s amygdala, for instance. Since the amygdala plays a crucial role in our feelings, that finding might explain why many people find these pieces so moving.  The discipline of neuroaesthetics aims to bring scientific objectivity to the study of art. Neurological studies of the brain, for example, demonstrate the impact which Impressionist paintings have on our Q5 emotions.

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Could the same approach also shed light on abstract twentieth-century pieces, from Mondrian’s geometrical blocks of colour, to Pollock’s seemingly haphazard arrangements of splashed paint on canvas? Sceptics believe that people claim to like such works simply because they are famous. We certainly do have an inclination to follow the crowd. When asked to make simple perceptual decisions such as matching a shape to its rotated image, for example, Q1 people often choose a definitively wrong answer if they see others doing the same. It is easy to imagine that this mentality would have even more impact on a fuzzy concept like art appreciation, where there is no right or wrong answer.

Angelina Hawley-Dolan, of Boston College, Massachusetts, responded to this debate by asking volunteers to view pairs of paintings – either the creations of famous abstract artists or the doodles of infants, chimps and elephants. They then had to judge which they preferred. A third of the paintings were given no captions, while many were labelled incorrectly -volunteers might think they were viewing a chimp’s messy brushstrokes when they were actually seeing an acclaimed masterpiece. In each set of trials, volunteers generally preferred the work of renowned artists, even when they believed it was by an animal or a child. It seems that the viewer can Q2 sense the artist’s vision in paintings, even if they can’t explain why.

Robert Pepperell, an artist based at Cardiff University, creates ambiguous works that are neither entirely abstract nor clearly representational. In one study, Pepperell and his collaborators asked volunteers to decide how’powerful’they considered an artwork to be, and whether they saw anything familiar in the piece. The longer they took to answer these questions, the more highly they rated the piece under scrutiny, and the greater their neural activity. It would seem that the brain sees these images as puzzles, and the harder it is to decipher the meaning, Q3 the more rewarding is the moment of recognition.

And what about artists such as Mondrian, whose paintings consist exclusively of horizontal and vertical lines encasing blocks of colour? Mondrian’s works are deceptively simple, but eye-tracking studies confirm that they are Q4 meticulously composed, and that simpiy rotating a piece radically changes the way we view it.

With the originals, volunteers’eyes tended to stay longer on certain places in the image, but with the altered versions they would flit across a piece more rapidly. As a result, the volunteers considered the altered versions less pleasurable when they later rated the work.

In a similar study, Oshin Vartanian of Toronto University asked volunteers to compare original paintings with ones which he had altered by moving objects around within the frame. He found that almost everyone preferred the original, whether it was a Van Gogh still life or an abstract by Miro. Vartanian also found that changing the composition of the paintings reduced activation in those brain areas linked with meaning and interpretation.

In another experiment, Alex Forsythe of the University of Liverpool analysed the visual intricacy of different pieces of art, and her results suggest that many artists use a key level of detail to please the brain. –> Alex Forsythe of the University of Liverpool believes many artists give their works the precise degree of Q6 complexity which most appeals to the viewer’s brain.

Too little and the work is boring, but too much results in a kind of ‘perceptual overload’, according to Forsythe. What’s more, appealing pieces both abstract and representational, show signs of ‘Q8 fractals‘ – repeated motifs recurring in different scales, fractals are common throughout nature, for example in the shapes of mountain peaks or the branches of trees. –> She also observes that pleasing works of art often contain certain repeated Q7 images which occur frequently in the natural world. .

It is possible that our visual system, which evolved in the great outdoors, finds it easier to process such patterns.

It is also intriguing that the brain appears to process movement when we see a handwritten letter, as if we are replaying the writer’s moment of creation. This has led some to wonder whether Pollock’s works feel so dynamic because the brain reconstructs the energetic actions the artist used as he painted. This may be down to our brain’s ‘mirror neurons’, which are known to mimic others’ actions. The hypothesis will Q9 need to be thoroughly tested, however it might even be the case that we could use neuroaesthetic studies to understand the longevity of some pieces of artwork.

While the fashions of the time might shape what is currently popular, works that are best adapted to our visual system may be the most likely to linger Q10 once the trends of previous generations have been forgotten.

It’s still early days for the field of neuroaesthetics – and these studies are probably only a taste of what is to come. It would, however, be foolish to reduce art appreciation to Q11 a set of scientific laws.

We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the style of a particular artist, Q12 their place in history and the artistic environment of their time.

Q14 Abstract art offers both a challenge and the freedom to play with different interpretations. In some ways, it’s not so Q13 different to science, where we are constantly looking for systems and decoding meaning so that we can view and appreciate the world in a new way.

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IELTS READING – BENTLEY HOSPITAL CATERING SERVICE S25GT2

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BENTLEY HOSPITAL CATERING SERVICE

BENTLEY HOSPITAL CATERING SERVICE

TO ALL PERMANENT AND TEMPORARY MEMBERS OF STAFF

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Meal Breaks

(minimum company guidelines)

HOURS WORKED

BREAK TO BE TAKEN

Q1 0-4 hrs

nil

4-6 hrs

15 min

6-8 hrs

30 min

Q2 8-12 hrs

60 min(taken as2 × 30 mins)

12-24 hrs

70 min(taken as 2 × 30 mins + 1 × 15 mins )

Q3 Your section staffing board will show the times when these breaks are to be taken
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Please note

It is your responsibility to check that the total break time shown on the staffing sheets accurately reflects the breaks that you take. Any discrepancies should be raised with your Staff Co-ordinator immediately.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS – FOOD HANDLERS

Food handlers are those concerned with preparing and serving unwrapped food. Food handlers should report any instance of sickness, diarrhoea and/or stomach upset experienced either while at work or during a holiday to a member of the Personnel Management team. Q5 Any infections of ear, nose, throat, mouth, chest or skin should also be reported to a member of the Personnel Management team.

Q4 Food handlers need to have an annual dental examination by the company dentist. Alternatively, a current certificate of dental fitness may be produced from their own dentist. This applies to all permanent staff who handle food.

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IELTS READING – Second Nature S17AT2

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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,

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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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