Academic Reading Practice Test 2

Score Desired IELTS Band
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Reading Section 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-3, which are based on Reading Section 1 below.

Score Desired IELTS Band
Score Desired IELTS Band
Score Desired IELTS Band
Score Desired IELTS Band

A Bar at the folies (Un bar aux folies)

A. One of the most critically renowned paintings of the 19th-century modernist movement is the French painter edouard Manet’s masterwork. A Bar at the Folies. Originally belonging to the composer Emmanuel Chabrier, it is now in the possession of The Courtauld Gallery in London, where it has also become a favourite with the crowds.

B. The painting is set late at night in a nineteenth-century Parisian nightclub. A barmaid stands alone behind her bar, fitted out in a black bodice that has a frilly white ‘leckline. and with a spray of flowers sitting across her decolletage. She rests her hands on the bar and gazes out forlornly at a point just below the viewer, not quite “laking eye contact. Also on the bar are some bottles of liquor and a bowl of oranges, bumuch of the activity in the room takes place in the reflection of a mirror behind the barmaid. Through this mirror we see an auditorium, oustling with blurred figures and faces: men in top hats, a woman examining the scene below her through omoculars, another in long gloves, even the feet of a trapeze artist demonstrating acrobatic feats above his adoring crowd. In the foreground of the reflection, a man with a thick moustache is talking with the barmaid.

C. Although the Folies (-Bergere) was an actual establishment in late nineteenth-century Paris, and the subject of the painting was a real barmaid who worked there, Manet did not attempt to recapture every detail of the bar in his rendition. The painting was largely completed in a private studio belonging to the painter, where the barmaid posed with a number of bottles, and this was then integrated with quick sketches the artist made at the Folies itself.

D. Even more confounding than Manet’s relaxed attention to detail, however, is the relationship in the painting between the activity in the mirrored reflection and that which we see in the unreflected foreground. In a similar vein to Diego Velazquez’ much earlier work Las Meninas, Manet uses the mirror to toy with our ideas about which details are true to life and which are not. In the foreground, for example, the barmaid is positioned upright, her face betraying an expression of lonely detachment, yet in the mirrored reflection she appears to be leaning forward and to the side, apparently engaging in conversation with her moustachioed customer. As a result of this, the customer’s stance is also altered. In the mirror, he should be blocked from view as a result of where the barmaid is standing, yet Manet has re-positioned him to the side. The overall impact on the viewer is one of a dreamlike dis-juncture between reality and illusion.

E. Why would Manet engage in such deceit? Perhaps for that very reason: to depict two different states of mind or emotion. Manet seems to be conveying his understanding of the modern workplace, a place – from his perspective – of alienation, where workers felt torn from their ‘true’ selves and forced to assume an artificial working identity. What we see in the mirrored reflection is the barmaid’s working self, busy serving a customer. The front-on view, however, bears witness to how the barmaid truly feels at work: hopeless, adrift, and alone.

F. Ever since its debut at the Paris Salon of 1882, art historians have produced reams of books and journal articles disputing the positioning of the barmaid and patron in A Bar at the Some have even conducted staged representations of the painting in order to ascertain whether Manet’s seemingly distorted point of view might have been possible after all. Yet while academics are understandably drawn to the compositional enigma of the painting, the layperson is always likely to see the much simpler, more human story beneath. No doubt this is the way Manet would have wanted it.

Questions 1 – 5

Reading Section 1 has six paragraphs, A – F.

Write the correct  letter, A – F, in the spaces given for questions 1 – 5.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

  1. A description of how Manet created the painting
  2. Aspects of the painting that scholars are most interested in …………….
  3. The writer’s view of the idea that Manet wants to communicate …………….
  4. Examples to show why the bar scene is unrealistic …………….
  5. A statement about the popularity of the painting …………….

Questions 6 – 10

Answer the questions below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in the space given for questions 6 – 10.

6. Who was the first owner of A Bar at the Folies?

7. What is the barmaid wearing?

8. Which room is seen at the back of the painting?

9. Who is performing for the audience?

10. Where did most of the work on the painting take place?

Questions 11 – 13

Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A – F, below.

Write the correct letter, A – F, in the space given for questions 11 – 13.

  1. Manet misrepresents the images in the mirror because he
  2. Manet felt modern workers were alienated because they
  3. Academics have re-constructed the painting in real life because they

A. wanted to find out if the painting’s perspective was realistic

B. felt they had to work very hard at boring and difficult jobs

C. wanted to understand the lives of ordinary people at the time

D. felt like they had to become different people

E. wanted to manipulate our sense of reality

F. wanted to focus on the detail in the painting

Academic Reading Practice Test 2Academic Reading Practice Test 13 with answers

Academic Reading Practice Test 2

Reading Section 2                                   ·

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14 – 26, which are based on Reading Section 2 on the following pages.

Questions 14 – 19

Reading Passage 2 has six paragraphs, A – F.

Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A – F from the list of headings below. Write the correct number, i – ix, in the space given for questions 14 – 19.

  1. Paragraph A …………….
  2. Paragraph B …………….
  3. 1 Paragraph C …………….
  4. Paragraph D …………….
  5. Paragraph E …………….
  6. Paragraph F …………….

Miles Davis

Icon and iconoclast 

A. At the age of thirteen, Miles Davis was given his first trumpet, lessons were arranged with a local trumpet player, and a musical odyssey These early lessons, paid for and supported by his father, had a profound effect on shaping Davis’ signature sound. Whereas most trumpeters of the era favoured the use of vibrato (a wobbly quiver in pitch inflected in the instrument’s tone), Davis was taught to play with a long, straight tone, a preference his instructor reportedly drilled into the young trumpeter with a rap on the knuckles every time Davis began using vibrato. This clear, distinctive style never left Davis. He continued playing with it for the rest of his career, once remarking, ‘If I can’t get that sound, I can’t play anything.’

B. Having graduated from high school in 1944, Davis moved to New York City, where he continued his musical education both in the clubs and in the classroom . His enrolment in the prestigious Julliard School of Music was short-lived, however – he soon dropped out, criticising what he perceived as an over-emphasis on the classical European repertoire and a neglect of Davis did later acknowledge, however, that this time at the school was invaluable in terms of developing his trumpet-playing technique and giving him a solid grounding in music theory. Much of his early training took place in the form of jam sessions and performances in the clubs of 52nd Street, where he played alongside both up-and-coming and established members of the jazz pantheon such as Coleman Hawkins. Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, and Thelonious Monk.

C. In the late 1940s, Davis collaborated with nine other instrumentalists, including a French horn and a tuba player, to produce The Birth of Cool, an album now renowned for the inchoate sounds of what would later become known as ‘cool’ In contrast to popular jazz styles of the day, which featured rapid. rollicking beats. shrieking vocals. and short. sharp horn blasts. Davis’ album was the forerunner of a different kind of sound – thin, light horn-playing, hushed drums and a more restrained, formal arrangement. Although it received little acclaim at the time (the liner notes to one of Davis’ later recordings call it a ‘spectacular failure ‘), in hindsight The Birth of Cool has become recognised as a pivotal moment in jazz history, cementing – alongside his 1958 recording, Kind of Blue – Davis’ legacy as one of the most innovative musicians of his era.

D. Though Davis’ trumpet playing may have sounded effortless and breezy, this ease rarely carried over into the rest of his The early 1950s, in particular, were a time of great personal turmoil. After returning from a stint in Paris, Davis suffered from prolonged depression, which he attributed to the unravelling of a number of relationships, including his romance with a French actress and some musical partnerships that ruptured as a result of creative disputes. Davis was also frustrated by his perception that he had been overlooked by the music critics, who were hailing the success of his collaborators and descendants in the ‘cool’ tradition, such as Gerry Mulligan and Dave Brubeck, but who afforded him little credit for introducing the cool sound in the first place.

E. In the latter decades of his career, Davis broke out of exclusive jazz settings and began to diversify his output across a range of musical styles. In the 1960s, he was influenced by early funk performers such as Sly and the family Stone, which then expanded into the jazz-rock fusion genre – of which he was a frontrunner – in the 1970s. Electronic recording effects and electric instruments were incorporated into his sound. By the 1980s, Davis was  pushing the  boundaries further, covering pop anthems such as Cyndi Lauper’s Time after Time and Michael Jackson’s  Human Nature, dabbling in hip hop, and even appearing in some movies.

F. Not everyone was supportive of Davis’ change of tune. Compared  to  the  recordings  of  his  early  career, universally applauded as linchpins of the jazz oeuvre, trumpeter Wynston Marsalis derided his fusion work as being ‘not true jazz’, and pianist Bill Evans denounced the ‘corrupting influence’ of record companies, noting that rock and pop ‘draw wider audiences’. In the face of this criticism, Davis remained defiant, commenting that his earlier recordings were part of a moment in time that he had no ‘feel’ for any more. He firmly believed that remaining stylistically inert would have hampered his ability to develop new ways of producing music. From this perspective, Davis’ continual revamping of genre as  not  merely  a  rebellion,  but  an  evolution,  a ‘necessary  path that  allowed  him to  release  his full musical potential.

Qestions 20 – 26

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Section 2?

In the space given for questions 20 – 26, write

TRUE    if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE   if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

  1. Davis’ trumpet teacher wanted him to play with vibrato ._ ………… ..
  2. According to Davis, studying at Julliard helped him to improve his musical abilities …………
  3. Playing in jazz clubs in New York was the best way to become famous …………….
  4. The Birth of Cool featured music that was faster and louder than most jazz at the time …………….
  5. Davis’ personal troubles had a negative effect on his trumpet playing …………….
  6. Davis felt that his contribution to cool jazz had not been acknowledged …………….
  7. Davis was a traditionalist who wanted to keep the jazz sound pure …………….

Academic Reading Practice Test 2

Reading Section 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27 – 40, which are based on Reading Section 3 below.

A. In the early days of mountaineering, questions of safety, standards of practice, and environmental impact were not widely considered. The sport gained traction following the successful 1786 ascent of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe, by two French mountaineers, Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard. This event established the beginning of modern mountaineering, but the sole consideration over the next hundred years was the success or failure of climbers in reaching the summit and claiming the prestige of having made the first ascent.

B. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, however, developments in technology spurred debate regarding climbing Of particular concern in this era was the introduction of pitons (metal spikes that climbers hammer into the rock face for leverage) and the use of belaying 2 techniques_ A few, such as Italian climber Guido Ray, supported these methods as ways to render climbing less burdensome and more ‘acrobatic’. Others felt that they were only of value as a safety net if all else failed. Austrian Paul Preuss went so far as to eschew all artificial aids, scaling astonishing heights using only his shoes and his bare hands. Albert Mummery, a well known British mountaineer and author who climbed the European Alps, and, more famously, the Himalayas, where he died at the age of 39 attempting a notoriously difficult ascent, developed the notion of ‘fair means’ as a kind of informal protocol by which the use of ‘walk-through ‘ guidebooks and equipment such as ladders and grappling hooks were discouraged .

C. By the 1940s, bolts had begun to replace pitons as the climber’s choice of equipment, and criticism surrounding their use was no less In 1948, when two American climbers scaled Mount Brussels in the Canadian Rockies using a small number of pitons and bolts, climber Frank Smythe wrote of their efforts: ‘I still regard Mount Brussels as unclimbed, and my feelings are no different from those I should have were I to hear that a helicopter had deposited its passenger on the summit of that mountain just so that he could boast that he had trodden an untrodden mountain top.’

D. Climbing purists aside, it was not until the 1970s that the general tide began to turn against bolting and pitons. The USA, and much of the western world, was waking up to the damage it had been causing to the planet, and environmentalist campaigns and new government policies were becoming widespread. This new awareness and sensitivity to environmental issues spilled over into the rock climbing community. As a result, a stripped- down style of rock climbing known as ‘clean climbing’ became widely adopted. Clean climbing helped preserve rock faces and, compared with older approaches , it was much simpler to practise. This was partly due to the hallmark of clean climbing – the use of nuts – which were favoured over bolts because they could be placed into the rock wall with one hand while climbers maintained their grip on the rock with the other.

E. Not everyone embraced the clean climbing movement, A decade later, debates over two more developments were erupting. The first related to the practice of chipping, in which climbers chip away pieces of rock in order to create tiny cracks in which to insert their fingers. The other major point of contention was a process that involves setting bolts in reverse from the top of the climb down. Rappel bolting makes almost any rock face climbable with relative ease, and as a result of this new technique, the sport has lost much of its risk factor and sense of pioneering spirit; indeed, it has become more about muscle power and technical mastery than a psychological trial of fearlessness under pressure. Because of this shift in focus, many amateur climbers have flocked to indoor climbing gyms, where the risk of serious harm is negligible.

F. Given the environmental damage rock climbing can cause, this may be a positive It is ironic that most rock climbers and mountaineers love the outdoors and have great respect for the majesty of nature and the impressive challenges she poses, but that in the pursuit of their goals they inevitably trample sensitive vegetation, damaging and disturbing delicate flora and lichens which grow on ledges and cliff faces. Two researchers from a Canadian university, Doug Larson and Michelle McMillan, have found that rock faces that are regularly climbed have lost up to 80% of the coverage and diversity of native plant species. If that were not bad enough, non-native species have also been inadvertently introduced, having been carried in on climbers’ boots.

G. This leaves rock climbing with an uncertain Climbers are not the only user group that wishes to enjoy the wilderness – hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders visit the same areas, and more importantly, they are much better organised, with long-established lobby groups protecting their interests. With increased pressure on limited natural resources, it has been suggested that climbers put aside their differences over the ethics of various climbing techniques, and focus on the effect of their practices on the environment and their relationship with other users and landowners.

H. In any event, there can be no doubt that the era of the rock climber as a lone wolf or intrepid pioneer is Like many other forms of recreation, rock climbing has increasingly come under the fold of institutional efforts to curb dangerous behaviour and properly manage our natural environments. This may have spoiled the magic, but it has also made the sport safer and more sustainable, and governing bodies would do well to consider heightening such efforts in the future.

Questions 27- 32

Reading Section 3 has eight paragraphs, A – H.

Write the correct letter, A – H, in the spaces given for questions 27 – 32.

  • Which paragraph contains the following information?
  1. Examples of the impact of climbers on ecosystems
  2. An account of how politics affected rock climbing
  3. A less dangerous alternative to climbing rock faces
  4. A recommendation for better regulation …………….
  5. A reference to a climber who did not use any tools or ropes for assistance …………… .
  6. Examples of different types of people who use the outdoors for recreation …………….

Questions 33 – 39 Complete the flow chart.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in spaces given for questions 33 – 39.

A rock climbing time line

Late 19th Century

Some climbers discuss whether pitons and ropes should only be considered 33 ………………….

34    ………………  calls for  guidelines  based on unwritten rules which discourage climbing aids.


New equipment becomes controversial. Frank Smythe says that Mt Brussels is effectively 35   ·-·-················ because of the techniques that were used in order to scale the mountain.


36   ……………….. is more environmentally friendly.  37  … … …………..  are  introduced  as  a climbing aid.

1990s – till today

Climbers discuss the merits of new techniques for making hand holds, and also of 38 ………………….. Many say that climbing is now a test of physical strength and 39 ………………… rather than of courage.

Questions 40

Choose the correct letter, A, B, c or D. Circle the correct letter in 40.

  • Choose the most appropriate title for the reading
  1. A history of rock climbing
  2. Ethics and issues in rock climbing
  3. Current trends in rock climbing
  4. Sport climbers versus traditional climbers

Academic Reading Practice Test 13 with answers

Each question correctly answered scores 1 mark. Correct spelling is needed in all

Academic Training Test Two:

Section 1
1. c
2. F
3. E
4. D
5. A
6. Emmanuel Chabrier
7. A black bodice
8. An auditorium
9. A trapeze artist
10. A private studio I Manet’s private studio
11. E
12. D 13.A

Section 2
14. viii
15. iii
16. i
17. ix
18. iv
19. vi
25. TRUE

Section 3
28. D
29. E
30. H
31. B
32. G
33. a safety net
34. Albert Mummery
35. unclimbed
36. Clean climbing
37. Nuts
38. rappel bolting
39. technical mastery
40. B

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