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Reading Exercise: Mountain Hare

Mountain hare IELTS PTE.jpg

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

The following passage has been extracted from the B.B.C. Visit the B.B.C website to read the complete article. Please read the following passage in 1 minute and mark the keywords.

Mountain Hare

Answer the following questions within 6 minutes.

Write:

True: If the statement agrees with the passage

False: If the statement contradicts the passage.

Not Given: If there is no information on this.

  1. The shooting estates have effectively conserved the species.
  2. The international law mandates the governments to protect endangered species.
  3. The number of hares killed during the past few years cannot be estimated.

Complete the following sentences in no more than three words.

The principle of …….(4)….. has been poorly implemented and has failed to protect the mountain hare. This has resulted in reckless culling and ………..(5)…….. leading to potential local extinction. The unregulated killing of mountain hare means that the Scottish government is violating …….(6)…………

Please go to the comments section to find out the correct answers. Feel free to discuss any question.

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Reading Exercise: Justin Trudeau and Feminism.

Justin_Trudeau IELTS PTE.jpg

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The Following passage is extracted from The Guardian. Please visit the British newspaper to read this article. Read this extract in less than 1 minute and mark the keywords (Proper nouns and numbers).

Justin Trudeau and Faminism.png

Please take not more than 5 minutes to complete the following questions.

Write:

True: If the statement agrees with the passage

False: If the statement contradicts the passage.

Not Given: If there is no information on this.

  1. The Canadian Prime Minister emphasized that the male gender is responsible for the culture of gender discrimination.
  2. If boys learn the virtue of gender equality, they will also develop the feeling of compassion.
  3. The culture of sexism involves giving same opportunities to both men and women.
  4. The Trudeau administration has been successful in implementing its promises on gender equality.
  5. Canada has a dogged salary gap that has resulted in a lower position in the gender gap rankings.

Please go to the comments section to find out the correct answers. Feel free to discuss any question.

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Reading Exercise: Calypso Music

Calypso Music IELTS PTE.jpg

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons – Leonora Enking

The following passage has been extracted from the B.B.C. Please read the complete article HERE.

Please read this passage using the technique of skimming. This technique involves reading really fast by ignoring the regular words and noting down numbers and proper nouns such as names of people, places, organizations, events, etc. Take 30 seconds and mark keywords. I’m sharing the keywords at the end of the passage.

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 4.24.50 AM.png

Keywords: Carribean, Calypso, Cold War, Harry Belafonte, 1956, LP album, Banana Boat, Jamaica, Trinidad, 1993, Mighty Chalkdust.

Once you’re done with the keywords, you have a fair idea of what the passage is about. You need not understand every word. Let us proceed to the questions.

Take FIVE minutes to complete the following seven questions.

The Calypso music, which was born in ……(1)….. has ……(2)……… and ……(3)…….. foundation. It touches various issues ranging from …..(4)…… to …..(5)……. that concern the life of a common citizen. The first album of this genre of music that sold more than a million copies was that of …..(6)…… 1956 album though it was actually a ……(7)……

Congratulations if you completed the reading as well as questions within 5 minutes 30 seconds! I’ve mentioned the answers in the comments section below.

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IELTS PTE Reading Comprehension:

Amazon forests IELTS PTE.jpg

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Amazon Forests PDF: Please click on the link below to download the reading comprehension file. The file contains 13 questions (A to M). You can either answer them on the file or give answers in the comments box below.

I’ll soon write the answers in the comments section below. Please read the passage in 20 minutes and answer the 13 questions before checking.

You can separately request heading/ themes and keywords in the comments section.

Best wishes.

Reading Passage Amazon Forests

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IELTS PTE Reading Comprehension: Earthquakes.

Earthquake IELTS PTE.jpg

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Earthquake PDF: Please click on the link below to download the reading comprehension file. The file contains 13 questions (A to M). You can either answer them on the file or give answers in the comments box below.

I’ll soon write the answers in the comments section below. Please read the passage in 20 minutes and answer the 13 questions before checking.

You can separately request heading/ themes and keywords in the comments section.

Best wishes.

Reading Passage Earthquake

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IELTS PTE Reading Comprehension: Machine Learning.

machine learning IELTS PTE.jpg

Image Courtesy: Erik Charlton – Flickr

Machine Learning PDF: Please click on the link below to download the reading comprehension file. The file contains 13 questions. You can either answer them on the file or give answers in the form below.

I’m writing the answers in the comments section below. Please read the passage in 20 minutes and answer the 13 questions before checking.

You can separately request heading/ themes and key words in the comments section.

Best wishes.

Machine Learning Reading Comprehension IELTS PTE

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Why you need expert guidance in IELTS exam?

Most of us live life in an autopilot mode. We leave things to fate. How many times do we blame our condition on circumstances merely by saying “I could not have done anything better.” IELTS students often say “I worked extremely hard this time but could not increase score above 6.5. What else could I have done?”

What else could I have done? That is a million dollar question. To give an answer to that question, let me draw an analogy.

Have you ever wondered why airplanes, mostly, arrive at intended destination in time? The reason is simple and it holds an important lesson in everyone’s life. Airplanes, unlike our lives, are perpetually on course correction mode. Pilots get expert guidance on actual events and course from ground staff. What can happen if they fail to take directions from the ground staff?

Well, a lot of unfortunate things may happen. For instance, a passenger jet left New Zealand in 1979 with 257 passengers on-board for a sight seeing trip to Antarctica. However, a two degree flaw in flight coordinates placed them 28 miles east of their actual position and the plane came in path of an active volcano Mount Erebus. The plane along with its crew and 257 passengers met with an unfortunate end.

A minor error of two degrees brought an unfortunate and enormous tragedy.

It is an analogy of our lives. Imagine how off-course do we live our lives. More specifically, how off-course we are when we’re preparing for IELTS. Most of us prefer to save a few dollars and score 6 bands than paying a well trained tutor and improving to more than 7 bands. Remember:

“Small things – if not corrected – become big hurdles, ALWAYS.”

At ELTEC our trained team makes sure through consistent practice that you are never off-course and that you achieve your targeted bands to cherish your dream of studying in a western country.

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Connective words in IELTS: Part 1

CONNECTIVE words are those words that are used to connect one part of sentence to another. I have noticed that many students fail to connect clauses and/ or sentences. This creates lack of cohesion in both task 1 and task 2 leading to lower bands. Examples of connectives are:

connectives_list

For instance, take a look at following article:

You go through a number of websites, absorbing as much as you can about a topic. Before you know it, hours pass and you’re still reading article after article. The problem is: You haven’t actually done anything.

I used to do this for hours at a time. I would research on a topic, whether it was on exercise, writing, or even how to become productive, but nothing would get done. I would take in a lot of information, but none of it seemed to help.

Doing an analysis of what we’re supposed to do is often a way of making ourselves feel productive. It seems as if we’re doing something to reach our goals. But there’s a difference between being busy and productive.

Busy means performing tasks that may or may not produce results, while being productive is when you take concrete steps to achieve a goal.

Consuming information rather than doing something is a way of putting off what we know we should be doing. Postponing what’s important masks our deep-rooted fears, whether they include fear of change, fear of failure, or even a fear that we may become successful.

Okay. Here’s an explanation of underlined words that you should try to use in IELTS exam.

  1. Whether it be X, Y or Z: Do not confuse it with ‘weather’. Whether it is driving, swimming or sleeping, I love all activities.
  2. But: No need to explain this. I guess.
  3. Seems as if: It means that …….
  4. Between X and Y: Standard English idiom
  5. X rather than Y: Standard English idiom

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Reading Tasks: Some practice exercise.

A few interesting reading questions from a few equally interesting articles. Please answer the questions in comments section.

You can read the following passage here.

“I like to think of different writing styles as of a crate of onions. Just imagine a huge crate of onions somewhere at a farmers’ market, baking in the sun. It’s full: that’s multitude of writers in the world. Some big and quite experienced, others young, and yet small. They might look pretty much the same to an unpracticed eye, but you should look closer. They all have differences, visible even with a naked eye.

Try picturing these onions peeled, one by one. Carefully, like you would with the gentlest of creations, take the layers apart. Every layer is different. Some petals are thicker and juicer, some thinner and more delicate. And when you get to the heart of the onion — look — they all are unique, no matter how many onions you peel in your imagination or in your kitchen.”

Question 1: The author talks about layers of an onion to suggest:

  1. Different writing styles of different authors.
  2. Different writing styles of the same author.
  3. Same writing style of different authors.
  4. Multitude of authors in the world.

Please feel free to read this well written article here.

“Over the last several months, some of the leaders of innovative design have taken ‘minimal design’ to the next level. Facebook, Airbnb and Apple have followed a similar blueprint to simplify prominent products in a way that reflects this new trend of ‘Complexion Reduction’ in mobile design.

You’ve never heard of ‘Complexion Reduction’ you say? Well yea, that’s because I just made the term up. Recently I’ve noticed a new trend that is beyond flat design, beyond minimal design and independent of progressive reduction. Some may claim that this is just the next step of minimal design being implemented into the mobile realm but I say it is something more distinct. There are specific similarities and characteristics that define this new trend.

I first started taking notice of this trend back in early May when Instagram released their redesigned User Interface (UI). Some of the changes they introduced included removing much of the blue and dark grey colour used throughout the app, making headlines bolder and simplifying the bottom navigation and icons. What was left was a black and white UI with bold headlines where the content shined and functionality was clear. I appreciated the less cluttered interface.”

Question 2: By “Complexion Reduction” the author refers to:

  1. Reducing clutter on the app.
  2. Reducing complexity of app design.
  3. Improving functionality of the app
  4. All of the above.

Question 3: Yes/ No/ Not Given:

A. The idea of Complexion Reduction is being implemented by most of the major technology players.

B. Complexion Reduction will tremendously transform the way humans interact with mobile applications.

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Reading Module IELTS: Heading Questions.

Feel free to read this wonderful article by Stephanie Buck at www.timeline.com

Please read the following passage and answer the headings questions given at the end of the reading.

A. Individually, the symptoms barely seemed worth mentioning. A runny nose here, a rash there. It could have been allergies or a lingering cold. Until one person started complaining, then another. Over time, a whole floor in an office building might be comparing notes. Many felt a little dizzy. It had been going on for months.

B. Maybe they photocopied a survey and sent it around. Maybe they organized committees. Maybe they even filed a complaint with management. Figure out what’s making everybody sick, they demanded.

C. “Sick building syndrome” floated uneasily into America’s late-1970s news cycle. The Environmental Protection Agency would later define it as a “situation in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.” No one even knew whether it was a real illness. But a of couple things were clear: It was occurring in newer office buildings, among mostly women.

D. The country was used to hearing about hazardous workplace exposure in industrial factories, mills, and mines, but the idea that office workers might be getting sick seemed both implausible and alarming at the same time. What in the world could possibly be making them sick, people wondered? After all, they were insulated inside air-conditioned, carpeted offices with regular cleaning crews.

E. Later, experts would determine these factors actually contributed to the problem. The oil embargo of 1973 called for new buildings to limit outdoor air ventilation to 5 cubic feet per minute (cfm) per person, for the sake of energy conservation. The previous standard was 15 cfm. Building designers complied, and constructed airtight fortresses with very little natural ventilation. Then they glued down a bunch of synthetic carpets, installed some manufactured wood accents, hooked up office machines that contained chemicals and required cooling, and cleaned everything with volatile solutions. The HVAC systems couldn’t work hard enough to filter it all out.

F. In 1984, the World Health Organization estimated that up to 30 percent of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may have been the subject of excessive complaints related to indoor air quality. Collectively, all this could contribute to symptoms like cough, headache, chills, rash, tight chest, fatigue, nausea.

G. The fact that women made up the majority of SBS complainants made it easy to write off the potential ventilation issues as a simple case of hysteria. Too much gossip. Too much time to ruminate. In reality, it made sense that women were the ones to complain. More middle-class women entered offices in the 1970s and 1980s, following a decade of cultural liberalization and gender activism. However, women were relegated to menial office tasks, clerical labor, and machine work, while male professionals generally worked in larger, more flexible, established office environments that contributed to better physical health and psychological security.

H. But the organization (and division) of the modern office around patriarchal structures is actually what helped identify sick building syndrome in the first place. Despite their cordoned situation, women employed tactics they learned from the women’s liberation movement to identify the problem, organize, and draw attention to the injustice of gendered office work. It was consciousness raising around health issues.

I. “Office workers are not falling off tall buildings, emerging at 5 p.m. covered with soot, or getting their hands caught in dangerous machines,” said Ellen Cassedy, founder of women’s organization 9to5. “But as an understanding of chemical and psychological hazards has increased, we have learned that office workers are exposed to severe dangers, all the more severe because they are often invisible and unrecognized.”

J. And notoriously hard to prove. Though women office workers helped determine there was a problem, diagnosing it was another task entirely. A Yale biophysicist first coined “sick building syndrome” in a Swedish medical publication in 1984. It quickly rippled through Western medical communities. One camp claimed it a legitimate medical condition, the other a gendered psychosocial delusion or “mass psychogenic illness” (aka female hysteria). It wasn’t until the 1990s that the definition was extended to men experiencing Gulf War Syndrome.

K. By then, the sick building scare became even more widespread. The media called the alleged disease a “ticking time bomb,” in light of the recent rise in office jobs. A few cases entered the courts, as nervous contractors replaced potentially toxic building materials with more organic solutions. The ventilation minimum in enclosed buildings was raised to 20 cfm per person in office spaces.

L. The buzz behind SBS ultimately fizzled in the late 1990s to its current status, a curious convergence of physical symptoms among Information Age office workers who were, at the very least, cooped up and stressed out. To say the illness applied only to women is unfair. That they helped identify the phenomenon is certain. Whether today’s workforce is out of danger is debatable.

Give suitable headings to each paragraph:

  1. Reducing building standards to conserve energy.
  2. Defining SBS.
  3. The danger still persists.
  4. Doubting the existence of SBS.
  5. Role of gender in SBS.
  6. Raising consciousness on SBS.
  7. Initial indicators of disease.
  8. Statistics on new buildings and related indicators of SBS.
  9. Office workers are in as much danger as workers in hazardous industries.
  10. Methods to raise initial awareness on SBS.
  11. Steps to control SBS.
  12. First identification of SBS as a disease.

Please share your answers in comments section. One of our team members will love to discuss them with you.

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Suitable Headings: Reading Exercise

The way I believe students should train for IELTS/ GRE/ GMAT reading is not by reading blindly but CONSCIOUSLY. A simple strategy is to read each paragraph carefully and note down HEADING while carrying out first reading.

Here’s what you need to do. Read each paragraph carefully and note down HEADING/ THEME of the paragraph.

Reading passages this way will help students find most of the answers in the exam since questions are usually based on theme of the paragraphs. These issues will become more clear as you practice with ELTEC’s trained staff.

To assist you in this process I’m underlining words that will help you write suitable headings.

“The Synthesis Report of the UN ‘Millennium Ecosystem Assessment’ (2005) called agriculture the largest threat to biodiversity and ecosystem function of any single human activity. Everything we do is dependent on agriculture and many current agricultural practices are deeply unsustainable. In redesigning the way we ‘do’ agriculture, we can create the basis for the emergence of regenerative cultures everywhere.”

Heading 1: …………………………….

“The so called ‘green revolution’ of large scale industrial agriculture with its addiction to fossil resources and its systematic degradation of local farming communities and bio-cultural diversity in favour of predatory multinational corporations has been a failure with disastrous effects. Alternatives do exist. The Soil Association in the UK was started in 1946 and the Rodale Institute in the USA in 1947; both institutions promote and develop organic farming approaches. In 1972, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) was founded. It now has member organizations in 120 countries.”

Heading 2: ……………………………

“In April 2014, the Rodale Institute published a white paper that outlines how agricultural techniques available today could sequester sufficient amounts of atmospheric carbon to slow down climate change and reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the long term by fixing carbon in agricultural soil. Regenerative agricultural practices can help to build fertile soils, to maintain and often increase agricultural yields, and to support ecological abundance by nurturing healthy ecosystem functioning.”

Heading 3: ……………………………….

“Robert Rodale coined the term ‘regenerative organic agriculture’ to indicate that these practices are more than simply ‘sustainable’, taking advantage of the natural tendencies of ecosystems to regenerate when disturbed. Regenerative organic agriculture is “a holistic systems approach to agriculture that encourages continual on-farm innovation for environmental, social, economic and spiritual wellbeing”. In general, “regenerative organic agriculture is marked by tendencies towards closed nutrient loops, greater diversity in the biological community, fewer annuals and more perennials, and greater reliance on internal rather than external resources” (Rodale Institute, 2014).”

Heading 4: …………………………………

“The techniques and methodologies used include the reduction or elimination of tillage in combination with planting cover crops on fallows in crop rotation cycles and maintaining the residue of these crops on the land (green mulch). Composting — the controlled aerobic decomposition of organic materials — and adding this nutrient and carbon-rich compost to the soil as fertilizer is a central practice of organic farming. It helps to accumulate carbon in the soil while increasing fertility and yields. The use of perennial plants, increased crop diversity including tree crops and maintaining a rich soil structure through plants with deep, bushy root systems, all support a healthy network of mycorrhizal fungi and encourage the long-term fixing of carbon in soils.”

Heading 5: ………………………….

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Yes/ No/ Not Given questions tips and practice.

Presentation1

These types of questions are really difficult to answer because these involve not just understanding the question statement but also correlating it with the passage and finding a link between the two. Establishing the link is the greatest challenge. Take a look at the paragraph below:

“For many environmentalists the world seems to be getting worse. They have developed hit list of four main fears: that natural resources are running out, that the population is ever growing, leaving less and less to eat, that species are becoming extinct in vast numbers and that planet’s air and water are becoming more and more polluted.”

Yes/ No/ Not Given

The Environmentalists take a pessimistic view of the world for a number of reasons.

Now, here is a test of your vocabulary. Can you establish the link between ‘getting worse’ and ‘pessimistic’? If you can, the job is done. Please check the dictionary and try to link the two. Similarly, try to solve the questions below. Please give answers in comments section.

“Men of action — people who are totally involved in tackling what they believe to be real life — tend to dismiss poetry and all forms of creative writing as a frivolous distraction. Our great Polar explorer Mawson wrote in a letter to his wife some instructions concerning their children’s education. He insisted that they should not waste their time reading novels, but should instead acquire factual information from books of history and biography.”

Yes/ No/ Not Given

People with pragmatic view believe that writing literature is a wastage of time.

“A few years ago, when I was first discovering the wonders of philosophy, I was delighted to discover the existence of a meet up in Thailand titled “The Socrates Cafe.” When I attended, though, I was disappointed to find that nobody seemed to be doing any philosophy at all. Rather than exchange ideas or attempt to understand others, the purpose of the event was to allow attendees to congratulate one another on their superiority in recognising that the Earth was indeed billions of years old (and not the “irrational” 6,000 years).

Later that night (I was still confused as to how such an event ended up named after Socrates) the discussion turned to death. One young man quipped,“ Why respect the dead? They’re dead. Just skin and bones and stuff. Let’s be RATIONAL. We could free up those graves for buildings and roads — for the future.” When I heard him say that, I got that feeling again, the same feeling that when my parents told me it was time to stop reading and do something useful.”

Yes/ No/ Not Given

The purpose of discussion at The Socrates Cafe was to show the dominance of science over literature and philosophy.

“There’s no way for any Gen X person (those born between 1960 and 1980) to tell their story of the 80s and the 90s without using pop culture as a set of coordinates. After all, in our time, we were the most commercially targeted and defined generation in the history of the species. We found each other, and connected with each other, through a strange material language of television shows, movies, magazines, paperback novels, and band-names. We defined our politics through the cultural products we consumed. We explained our identity through taste.”

Yes/ No/ Not Given

The Gen X people defined everything around themselves in the form of an art.

“The case — Juliana v. United States — pits a group of children and young adults against the federal government. The youth plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the federal government in August of 2015, arguing that actions taken by the government were endangering their constitutional right to a liveable climate. In November, U.S. Federal Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the plaintiffs had enough standing for the case to move forward. Since then, the federal government and fossil fuel consuming companies have been trying to keep the case from going to trial.”

Yes/ No/ Not Given

The 2015 case against the government aims at reducing emission of poisonous gases from vehicles.

“The rise of artificial intelligence in recent years is grounded in the success of deep learning. Three major drivers caused the breakthrough of (deep) neural networks: the availability of huge amounts of training data, powerful computational infrastructure, and advances in academia. Thereby deep learning systems start to outperform not only classical methods, but also human benchmarks in various tasks like image classification and face recognition. This creates the potential for many disruptive new businesses leveraging deep learning to solve real-world problems.

Yes/ No/ Not Given

Increase in computing power is the principal reason behind deep learning’s success over traditional systems.

Okay. Once you’re done with these questions, please give answers in comments sections and we’ll discuss them. Good Luck.

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IELTS Reading: Reinventing yourself

You can share your answers in comments section.


Reinventing yourself one day at a time.

It’s been a short time since I transitioned out of the military and started a new career in Corporate America. Since then, I’ve had a minute to reflect back on what I now clearly know was overcoming one of the biggest hurdles of my adult life — reinventing myself. I’m sure some of you reading this may not necessarily associate the word “reinvent” with career transition but those who’ve done it well know exactly what I mean… it just seems to fit.

But I’ll be honest… after talking with dozens of people who I’ve considered to be successful in both military and civilian careers alike, reinvention of oneself is a difficult commitment and even tougher to do without pain to fuel it. I believe our lives turn on small hinges and every small move represents choices. It’s easy to get complacent spending a little too much time going down a path and then wonder how you got so far from where you wanted to be. In my case this wasn’t an option, my young family was counting on me to make it happen, so I chose to rise to the occasion.

Taking on an entrepreneurial mindset I treated myself like a startup. Needing to get off the ground, I bootstrapped with mentors and other learning resources like books and podcasts. I sought out new skills and took advantage of every program I possibly could to gain a competitive edge.

My focus was spending any and all free time with my head down, I couldn’t help but notice my children watch me work. There is something miraculous about being a father that fuels my drive, I saw my wife and kids belief in where we were going. Without their unwavering support I could not have done this.

Recognizing the need to stand out I felt that college wouldn’t be enough. How could I differentiate myself when there were so many people earning the same credentials? Don’t get me wrong, college is good — but only if you grasp the underlying juxtaposition of why you’re attending in the first place. A degree isn’t always a requisite to create value, in many cases there are other ways to create the same outcomes or better if you’re just willing to find solutions and take action.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

I self-studied marketing & social media and learned how to bring more value to my work while also lending credibility to my personal brand. This took years of consistency that often became tiresome and even lonely at times. However, the struggle was worth it because the personal and professional rewards helped lead me to my current role.

Question: Yes/No/Not Given

1. The author transition from military to corporate world was smooth.

2. The author does not favour going to college because a degree has no value for anyone.

3. The author treats himself like a startup because he has little resources to go to college

4. When author uses the word “reivent” he actually means:

A. Understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses.

B. Switching from a less rewarding career path from to a more rewarding one.

C. Overcoming hurdles in adult life.

D. Creating a new career for oneself.

5. According to the author, to become successful one needs

A. Excellent academic credentials

B. A genius mind

C. An ability to do things against all odds

D. Ability to connect with mentors

You can read the full article by Dan Evans click here.

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IELTS reading: Gene Editing Technology

To understand the technique of skimming visit our blog post on reading strategy here.

The passage below is derived from the Wall Street Journal, April 29th, 2017. The questions are designed by the ELTEC team. You have 20 minutes to complete the 13 questions.

Why Gene Editing Technology has Scientists Excited?

  1. A new technology for “editing” defective genes has raised hopes for a future generation of medicines treating intractable diseases like cancer, cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell anaemia. Such drugs could home in on a specific gene causing a disease, then snip it out and, if necessary, replace it with a healthy segment of DNA.
  2. Drugs of this type wouldn’t hit the mass market for years, if ever; pharmaceutical firms are only now exploring how to make drugs using gene editing technology called Crispr-Cas9. But the approach offers tremendous potential for developing new treatments for diseases caused by a mutated gene.
  3. “What if you could go right to the root cause of that disease and repair the broken gene? That’s what people are excited about” says Katrine Bosley, Chief Executive of privately held Editas Medicine. Its projects include developing a gene-editing drug treating one type of Leber congenital amaurosis, a rare disease that causes blindness in children.
  4. Crispr-Cas9 isn’t the only technology capable of editing genes, but researchers consider it easier to use than other methods, says Dana Carroll, a professor of Biochemistry at University of Utah Schoold of Medicine, who helped pioneer another gene editing technology called Zinc Finger Nucleases.
  5. Among other efforts underway using Crispr-Cas9 technology, privately held Intellia Therapeutics, in partnership with Novartis AG, is probing how to create a gene editing drug that could harness the immune system to fight certain blood cancers. The two companies are also exploring the treatment of hereditary blood disorders such as sickle-cell anaemia.
  6. Intellia CEO Nessan Birmingham says drugs based on Crispr-Cas9 promise to complement the pills and biotech drugs currently available, targetting diseases that aren’t very well treated by existing therapies. “This is a new tool to target and treat disease,” he says.
  7. Industry and academic laboratories are also using the technology for more immediate effect: to genetically engineer mice and other animals so that they have human like diseases that researchers can then readily study.
  8. Using Crispr-Cas9 to make animal models “is much quicker, easier than other methods that have been available,” says Tim Harris, senior vice president of precision medicine Biogen Inc. The company is using the technology to study Amayotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, which has lacked good animal models.
  9. Crispr-Cas9 attracted notoriety in April when Chinese scientists reported trying to repair the genes that cause beta thalassemia in 86 human embryos obtained from a fertilization clinic. The work raised fears that gene editing could be used to tweak babies in many ways before they were born.
  10. Drugs companies say such ethical fears do not apply to their research using Crispr-Cas9 which they are conducting in non-reproductive cells, not embryos.

Question: Match the paragraphs with suitable sentences.

1. Ethical and moral issues related to Gene Editing Technology.

2. A targeted approach to cure diseases.

3. Developing animal models

4. Crispr-Cas9 technology is more convenient than other gene editing technologies.

Question: Yes/No/Not Given

5. Gene Editing Technology will be a permanent solution to all diseases.

6. Medicines for curing diseases by replacing genes will hit the market by 2020.

7. According to Katrine Bosley, the excitement about gene editing is due to the fact that it will replace all possibly mutated genes.

8. Caspr-Cas9 is the only way to replace broken genes.

9. Crispr-Cas9 technology will eliminate the need for drugs being used today for treating hereditary blood disorders such as Sickle Cell Anaemia.

10. Gene Editing Technology is being used to create organisms that have diseases similar to those of human beings.

Answer in not more than 2 words:

Gene editing technology is more successful in treating diseases like cancer than traditional medicine because it …..11……… the mutated gene. However, this technology is still under development. It is being used to …….12……… animal models. However, it is much easier to create animal models using one particular gene editing technology called …….13……. than others.

Please mention your answers in the comments section.

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IELTS reading: skimming the paragraph for heading – Part 1.

IELTS exam gives only 20 minutes to complete a passage and its related questions (usually 13). If you fix 1 minute 10 seconds to complete a question, that leaves only 4 minutes 50 seconds.

If a passage has 10 paragraphs, you have only 29 seconds to skim each paragraph. Can you read the following passage in 29 seconds? Use a stop clock to measure time.

Some art takes its subject from literature. It is far more unusual for literature to take its inspiration from art. But that is exactly what 15 writers – many of them prize winners or best sellers – have done for the new exhibition. Each has focused on one of the 15 paintings in Linden Fredrick’s show at New York’s forum gallery, opening May 11th. Visitors to “Linden Fredrick: Night Stories” can read the short stories – which average a few thousand words on electronic tablets as they view the new paintings. Many of the pictures are moody, photorealistic images of downtrodden New England towns at dusk.

(Source: Wall Street Journal; April 29, 2017)

Here’s the thing. You do not have to read everything in 29 seconds. It’s simply not possible. You just have to focus on 2 things:

1. The overall theme in the paragraph (that is, a suitable heading). This is usually found in first two lines of the passage.

2. Terms and names (of people and organizations).

Let me present the given paragraph again.

Some art takes its subject from literature. It is far more unusual for literature to take its inspiration from art. But that is exactly what 15 writers – many of them prize winners or best sellers – have done for the new exhibition. Each has focused on one of the 15 paintings in Linden Fredrick’s show at New York’s forum gallery, opening May 11th. Visitors to “Linden Fredrick: Night Stories” can read the short stories – which average a few thousand words on electronic tablets as they view the new paintings. Many of the pictures are moody, photorealistic images of downtrodden New England towns at dusk.

Theme: Art inspires literature

Terms and Names: Use short forms to save time. LF, NY, Stories, New Eng town, etc.

Let me present more paragraph and then ask questions.

  1. The exhibition, seven years in making, features works by Pulitzer Prize winners Anthony Doerr (“All the light we can not see”), Richard Russo (“Empire Falls”), Elizabeth Strout (“Olive Kitteridge”). Other contributors include Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River”), Ann Patchett (“Bel Canto”), and the screen writer Lawrence Kasden (“The Big Chill” and several “Star Wars” films). 
  2. “The mandate for the show is not necessarily to write about the picture but just to be inspired by the picture,” said Mr. Fredrick, 64, who splits time between Maine cities of Portland and Belfast. “I see it as a kind of triggar.” A book of the stories and paintings, on sale at the gallery, will be widely available this fall.
  3. The project took off after Mr. Fredrick told his friend Mr. Russo about the idea at dinner one night. Mr. Russo started reaching out to his writer friends about the venture and word spread to other authors. 
  4. Mr. Fredrick and Mr. Russo, both upstate New York natives knew of each other long before they met in Maine about eight years ago. “I kept hearing stories about this painter up in Belfast. People would say ‘he paints like you write,'” Mr. Russo said. “Linden’s paintings, beside the fact that there are never any people in them, they’re all narrative. You’ve got that beautiful wonderful image. It’s easy to come up with a story once you get that image in your brain.”

Question 1: Who among the following says that purpose of the exhibition is to use art to inspire literature:

A. Lawrence Kasden

B. Anthony Doerr

C. Dennis Lehane

D. Linden Fredrick

Now, while reading really fast, we have to skip quotes. The idea is to cature theme and names/terms only. You can either try to find the statement in the paragraph OR read the names in the answer and try to find out “who said what”.

If we move backward – from names to statements – we know that the answer is D.

Question 2: D Give suitable headings to each paragraph.

Paragraph 1

Paragraph 2

Paragraph 3

Paragraph 4

Options

A. Mr. Fredrick’s and Mr. Russo’s conversation.

B. Begining of the idea to use art to inspire literature.

C. Various authors inspired from art.

D. The purpose of the exhibition.

E. One artist talking about another artist.

F. Book of stories and paintings.

You can give an answer to this question in the comments section.

In this blog post, I have explained the basics of reading exercise. From next post onwards, you will face only questions. Please keep referring to this post.

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