Here is a sample from our practice tests for the reading section of the IELTS Academic exam.
Celebrating The Good Viruses of 2015
A. It’s been a banner year for microbes, but most of the spotlight has been given to bacteria. They have continually made news over the last 52 weeks with headline topics ranging from antibiotic resistance to foodborne outbreaks to the continuously expanding reach of the bacterial branch of the human microbiome.But while the bacteria have been getting most of the attention, 2015 has also been a respectable year for viruses. Granted, not all the news has been good. Viruses are, after all, parasitic organisms requiring a host to survive and thrive. When that host happens to be human, the result can be illness, morbidity, and possible death. But as a result of some very intriguing studies, the role of viruses in our lives is much more valuable to us than simply cell invaders and killers.
B. While we may think of viruses as occasional infectious agents, we are continually occupied by them. They make up part of our overall microbiome, yet because of the continuing focus of microbiome research on bacteria, researchers developed their own term, the virome. The search for viruses in the human body, particularly the gut, has been ongoing for over a decade, but not until this year have we begun to understand their importance.
C. The reason stems from a change in focus from presence to interaction. The work has unveiled viruses that make up the majority of microbes in the gut and may have a role in a variety of conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The involvement of viruses in other locations such as the lungs, skin, and the oral cavity suggest 2016 will be an excellent year for understanding the role of these microscopic organisms in our everyday lives.
D. Apart from the contribution to our bodies, viruses have also demonstrated their value in other areas of health and medicine. Viral therapeutics have come a long way over the years and 2015 bore witness to some excellent results. For example, bacteriophages – viruses of bacteria – can be used as therapeutics to help control bacterial infections.
E. Phage therapy, as it is known, may offer assistance to cystic fibrosis patients by controlling the various species causing infection and pneumonia. Phages also may be used either to complement or replace antibiotics. In light of the rampant spread of antibiotic resistance, phage therapy has shown the potential to kill these drug-resisting bacteria and save lives.
F. While the potential for saving lives through viral treatments of bacterial infections is just hitting the road, viruses may have proven to be a possible highway to a cure for cancer. All across the world, companies have been working to develop virus-based therapeutics against this potentially deadly disease. The efforts have always held promise but now thanks to a recent decision by the FDA, the dreams may finally come to fruition. In October, the FDA approved the first virus-based cancer therapy for melanoma. This milestone was long coming but it won’t be the first of its kind.
G. Moving forward, gene editing techniques could alter viruses such that they will be able to deliver a plethora of treatments ranging from drugs to vaccines. These could be made individually or in cocktails containing several virus types. Of course, the positives of viruses should never take away from the pathogenic potential of certain species. Though we may look to viruses for improvement of health and medicine, we still have to remain diligent to avoid the types that cause illness and disease. While colds and flu continue to rage on in the United States, other potential troubles such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Ebola still pose a significant threat in other areas ofthe world. Then there’s HIV. Over 1.2 million people are infected and there are about 50,000 new cases every year. As we head to 2016, expect to hear more about the importance of viruses. Whether the focus will be their diversity, their applications, or their impact on health particularly in clinical trials, the vast scope of research will continue to unravel mysteries and fill in the blanks regarding their place on Earth and us. Regardless of what is to come, we will no doubt gain a greater appreciation for these microscopic organisms as both friend and foe.
Do the following statements reflect the claims of the writer in the reading passage?
YES if the statement reflects the claims of the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this
IELTS Reading: General Training Practice Test Sample
Here is a sample from our practice tests for the reading section of the IELTS General Training exam.
Select the letters of the correct paragraphs/sections for each question.
The history of Isle of Man TT Races
The International Isle of Man TT Tourist Trophy race is a race like nothing else you can find anywhere. Today it is regarded as the oldest and most prestigious motorcycle race. It takes place in a two-week period in spring when bikers and enthusiasts descend upon on a small island to take part in an annual motorcycle road racing event.
A. Motor racing first came to the Isle of Man in 1904 when Gordon Bennett, a famous businessman and international yachtsman, held his car trials there. He proposed having a race that was originally aimed for motorcycles which used to be called ‘touring machines’ and soon became known as the Tourist Trophy. The initial race would run with two types of bike with single-cylinder machines to average 90 mpg and twin-cylinder machines to average 75 mpg fuel consumption. To emphasize the road touring nature of the motorcycles there were regulations for the inclusion of saddles, pedals, mudguards, and silencers for exhausts.
B. At that time in England the government had closed all public roads for any sort of motor racing but a proposal to race was made to the Isle of Man local government. The government of the Isle of Man introduced new legislation to enable the closing of public roads for motor racing and the Isle of Man was ready to become the road racing capital of the World, a slogan it has used for many years.
C. The modern-day course is not the one that was used for the first few years. During the early years, the mountain road was little more than a stony, dirt track and there were gates across the road. It was the duty of the first rider round in the morning to open all the gates on his way, and the last one to close them all. During the 1920’s the road conditions began to improve and so did lap times. In 1920 the lap record was 55.62 mph and by the outbreak of World War 2 this rose to over 90 mph.
D. Run in a time-trial format the races got bigger and switched to the Snaefell Mountain Course in 1911, an arduous 60.72-kilometre route consisting of a number of the island’s main public roads closed for racing. This is the identical course that is still used these days. Winding its way from sea level into the mountains and back, with over 200 bends along the way along narrow, twisting roads and streets flanked by walls, buildings, kerbs, trees, bridges and posts.
E. After World War II, the TT resumed again only in 1947 with further upgrading of the course and new regulations followed. German motorcycle manufacturers were not allowed to race until 1949 due to post-war restrictions.
F. The 1950’s marked the era when the TT evolved into the event that it is today. With World Championship status, top competitors from across the globe arrived to give the race more credibility than it had ever experienced before. The classic bikes that had added so much prestige to the event throughout its history were now joined by a new range of bikes that included Italian makes.
G. In early 1970’s many of the leading riders began to express their concerns and chose to boycott the Isle of Man TT Races. This was due to it being considered too dangerous to race after some terrible accidents. As a result, the British Grand Prix took place for the final time in 1976. Many thought this significant loss would seal the destiny of the TT but the races continued independently, initially forming part of the World Formula One Championship which ran from 1977 until 1990.
H. Since then the TT has been a stand-alone event and whilst its experienced some challenging times over the years, its standing now is arguably as high as it has ever been if not higher. Entries continue to be oversubscribed with attendances continuing to rise as fans swarm to the island from all parts of the globe. And the records on the track continue to be broken too with the outright lap record now standing to Peter Hickman at 16m42.778s, a phenomenal 217,99 km/h.
I. The TT mountain circuit is without doubt the greatest challenge any racing motorcyclist can take part in, but it is not for the cowardly. Each year more than 500 riders arrive on the island to take on the gruelling mountain circuit in either the TT races in June or the Manx Grand Prix races in late August and early September. Most come just to compete against the circuit with no thoughts of ultimate victory but just to gain a finishers award or a trophy. It is a risky circuit, but they all know the dangers. No one is forced to race here, they all come for one reason and one reason only, to test themselves against the greatest road race circuit of them all, the TT Mountain Circuit, the road racing capital of the world.
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