IELTS MASTER | ielts reading test 150

ielts reading test 150

Andrea Palladio: Italian Architect

Vicenza is a pleasant, prosperous city in the Veneto, 60 km west of Venice. Its grand families settled and farmed the area from the 16th century. But its principal claim to fame is Andrea Palladio, who is such an influential architect that a neoclassical style is known as Palladian. The city is a permanent exhibition of some of his finest buildings, and as he was born — in Padua, to be precise — 500 years ago, the International Centre for the Study of Palladio’s Architecture has an excellent excuse for mounting la grande mostra, the big show.

The exhibition has the special advantage of being held in one of Palladio’s buildings, Palazzo Barbaran da Porto. Its bold facade is a mixture of rustication and decoration set between two rows of elegant columns. On the second floor the pediments arc alternately curved or pointed, a Palladian trademark. The harmonious proportions of the atrium at the entrance lead through to a dramatic interior of fine fireplaces and painted ceilings. Palladio’s design is simple, clear and not over-crowded. The show has been organised on the same principles, according to Howard Bums, the architectural historian who co-curated it.

Palladio’s father was a miller who settled in Vicenza, where the young Andrea was apprenticed to a skilled stonemason. How did a humble miller’s son become a world renowned architect? The answer in the exhibition is that, as a young man, Palladio excelled at carving decorative stonework on columns, doorways and fireplaces. He was plainly intelligent, and lucky enough to come across a rich patron, Gian Giorgio Trissino, a landowner and scholar, who organised his education, taking him to Rome in the 1540s, where he studied the masterpieces of classical Roman and Greek architecture and the work of other influential architects of the time, such as Donato Bramante and Raphael.

Burns argues that social mobility was also important. Entrepreneurs, prosperous from agriculture in the Veneto, commissioned the promising local architect to design their country villas and their urban mansions. In Venice the aristocracy were anxious to co-opt talented artists, and Palladio was given the chance to design the buildings that have made him famous – the churches of San Giorgio Maggiore and the Redentore, both easy to admire because the can be seen from the city’s historical centre across a stretch of water.

He tried his hand at bridges — his unbuilt version of the Rialto Bridge was decorated with the large pediment and columns of a temple — and, after a fire at the Ducal Palace, he offered an alternative design which bears an uncanny resemblance to the Banqueting House in Whitehall in London. Since it was designed by Inigo Jones, Palladio’s first foreign disciple, this is not as surprising as it sounds.

Jones, who visited Italy in 1614, bought a trunk full of the master’s architectural drawings; they passed through the hands of the Dukes of Burlington and Devonshire before settling at the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1894. Many are now on display at Palazzo Barbaran. What they show is how Palladio drew on the buildings of ancient Rome as models. The major theme of both his rural and urban building was temple architecture, with a strong pointed pediment supported by columns and approached by wide steps.

Palladio s work for rich landowner alienates unreconstructed critics on the Italian left but among the papers in the show are designs for cheap housing in Venice. In the wider world, Palladio’s reputation has been nurtured by a text he wrote and illustrated, “Quattro Libri dell’ Architettura”. His influence spread to St Petersburg and to Charlottesville in Virginia, where Thomas Jefferson commissioned a Palladian villa he called Monticello.

Vicenza’s show contains detailed models of the major buildings and is leavened by portraits of Palladio’s teachers and clients by Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto; the paintings of his Venetia buildings are all by Canaletto, no less. This is an uncompromising exhibition; many of the drawings are small and faint, and there are no sideshows for children, but the impact of harmonious lines and satisfying proportions is to impart in a viewer a feeling of benevolent calm. Palladio is history’s most therapeutic architect.

“Palladio, 500 Anni: La Grande Mostra” is at Palazzo Barbaran da Porto, Vicenza, until January 6th 2009. The exhibition continues at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, from January 31st to April 13th, and travels afterwards to Barcelona and Madrid.

Question 1-7
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1? In boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet, 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. The building where the exhibition is staged has been newly renovated.
2. Palazzo Barbaran da Porto typically represents the Palladio’s design.
3. Palladio’s father worked as an architect.
4. Palladio’s family refused to pay for his architectural studies.
5. Palladio’s alternative design for the Ducal Palace in Venice was based on an English building.
6. Palladio designed for both wealthy and poor people.
7. The exhibition includes paintings of people by famous artists.

Questions 8-13
Complete the sentences below. Choose NO MORE THAN FOUR WORDS from the passage for each answer.

8. What job was Palladio training for before he became an architect?
9. Who arranged Palladio’s architectural studies?
10. Who was the first non-Italian architect influenced by Palladio?
11. What type of Ancient Roman buildings most heavily influenced Palladio’s work?
12. What did Palladio write that strengthened his reputation?
13. In the writer’s opinion, what feeling will visitors to the exhibition experience?

Corporate Social Responsibility

Broadly speaking, proponents of CSR have used four arguments to make their case: moral obligation, sustainability, license to operate, and reputation. The moral appeal – arguing that companies have a duty to be good citizens and to “do the right thing” – is prominent in the goal of Business for Social Responsibility, the leading nonprofit CSR business association in the United States. It asks that its members “achieve commercial success in ways that honour ethical values and respect people, communities, and the natural environment. “Sustainability emphasises environmental and community stewardship.

A An excellent definition was developed in the 1980s by Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlen Brundtland and used by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development: “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Nowadays, governments and companies need to account for the social consequences of their actions. As a result, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a priority for business leaders around the world. When a well-run business applies its vast resources and expertise to social problems that it understands and in which it has a stake, it can have a greater impact than any other organization. The notion of license to operate derives from the fact that every company needs tacit or explicit permission from governments, communities, and numerous other stakeholders to justify CSR initiatives to improve a company’s image, strengthen its brand, enliven morale and even raise the value of its stock.

B To advance CSR we must root it in a broad understanding of the interrelationship between a corporation and society. Successful corporations need a healthy society. Education, health care, and equal opportunity are essential lo a productive workforce. Safe products and working conditions not only attract customers but lower the internal costs of accidents. Efficient utilization of land, water, energy, and other natural resources makes business more productive. Good government, the rule of law, and property rights are essential for efficiency and innovation. Strong regulatory standards protect both consumers and competitive companies from exploitation. Ultimately, a healthy society creates expanding demand for business, as more human needs are met and aspirations grow. Any business that pursues its ends at the expense of the society in which it operates will find its success to be illusory and ultimately temporary. At the same time, a healthy society needs successful companies. No social program can rival the business sector when it comes lo creating the jobs, wealth, and innovation that improve standards of living and social conditions over time.

C A company’s impact on society also changes over time, as social standards evolve and science progresses. Asbestos, now understood as a serious health risk was thought to be safe in the early 1900s, given the scientific knowledge then available. Evidence of its risks gradually mounted for more than 50 years before any company was held liable for the harms it can cause. Many firms that failed to anticipated the consequences of this evolving body of research have been bankrupted by the results. No longer can companies be content to monitor only the obvious social impacts of today. Without a careful process for identifying evolving social effects of tomorrow, firms may risk their very survival.

D No business can solve all of society’s problems or bear the cost of doing so. Instead, each company must select issues that intersect with its particular business. Other social agendas are best left to those companies in other industries, NGOs, or government institutions that are better positioned to address them. The essential test that should guide CSR is not whether a cause is worthy but whether it presents an opportunity to create shared value – that is, a meaningful benefit for society that is also valuable to the business. Each company can identify the particular set of societal problems that it is best equipped to help resolve and from which it can gain the greatest competitive benefit.

E The best corporate citizenship initiatives involve far more than writing a check: They specify clear, measurable goals and track results over time. A good example is General Electronics’s program to adopt underperforming public high schools near several of its major U.S. facilities. The company contributes between $250,000 and $1 million over a five-year period to each school and makes in-kind donations as well. GE managers and employees take an active role by working with school administrators to assess needs and mentor or tutor students. In an independent study of Ion schools in the program between 1989 and 1999, nearly all showed significant improvement, while the graduation rate in four of the five worst performing schools doubled from an average of 30% to 60%. Effective corporate citizenship initiatives such as this one create goodwill and improve relations with local governments and other important constituencies. What’s more, GE’s employees feel great pride in their participation. Their effect is inherently limited, however. No matter how beneficial (he program is, it remains incidental to the company’s business, and the direct effect on GE’s recruiting and retention is modest.

F Microsoft’s Working Connections partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is a good example of a shared-value opportunity arising from investments in context. The shortage of information technology workers is a significant constraint on Microsoft’s growth; currently, there are more than 450,000 unfilled IT positions in the United States alone. Community colleges, with an enrollment of 11.6 million students, representing 45% of all U.S. undergraduates, could be a major solution. Microsoft recognizes, however, that community colleges face special challenges: IT curricula are not standardized, technology used in classrooms is often outdated, and there are no systematic professional development programs to keep faculty up to date. Microsoft’s $50 million five-year initiative was aimed at all three problems. In addition to contributing money and products, Microsoft sent employee volunteers to colleges to assess needs, contribute to curriculum development, and create faculty development institutes. Microsoft has achieved results that have benefited many communities while having a direct-and potentially significant-impact on the company.

G At the heart of any strategy is a unique value proposition: a set of needs a company can meet for its chosen customers that others cannot. The most strategic CSR occurs when a company adds a social dimension to its value proposition, making social impact integral to the overall strategy. Consider Whole Foods Market, whose value proposition is to sell organic, natural, and healthy food products to customers who are passionate about food and the environment. The company’s sourcing emphasises purchases from local farmers through each store’s procurement process. Buyers screen out foods containing any of nearly 100 common ingredients that the company considers unhealthy or environmentally damaging. The same standards apply to products made internally. Whole Foods’ commitment to natural and environmentally friendly operating practices extends well beyond sourcing. Stores are constructed using a minimum of virgin raw materials. Recently, the company purchased renewable wind energy credits equal to 100% of its electricity use in all of its stores and facilities, the only Fortune 500 company to offset its electricity consumption entirely. Spoiled produce and biodegradable waste are trucked to regional centers for composting. Whole Foods’ vehicles are being converted to run on biofuels. Even the cleaning products used in its stores are environmentally friendly. And through its philanthropy, the company has created the Animal Compassion Foundation to develop more natural and humane ways of raising farm animals. In short, nearly every aspect of the company’s value chain reinforces the social dimensions of its value proposition, distinguishing Whole Foods from its competitors.

Questions 14-20
Reading passage 2 has seven paragraphs, A–G. Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of heading below.

List of Headings
i How CSR may help one business to expand
ii CSR in many aspects of a company’s business
iii A CSR initiative without a financial gain
iv Lack of action by the state of social issues
v Drives or pressures motivate companies to address CSR
vi The past illustrates business are responsible for future outcomes
vii Companies applying CSR should be selective
viii Reasons that business and society benefit each other

14. Paragraph A
15. Paragraph B
16. Paragraph C
17. Paragraph D
18. Paragraph E
19. Paragraph F
20. Paragraph G

Questions 21-22
Complete the summary below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage of each answer.

The implement of CSR, HOW?

Promotion of CSR requires the understanding of interdependence between business and society. Corporations workers’ productivity generally needs health care, education, and given (21)……………….Restrictions imposed by government and companies both protect consumers from being treated unfairly. Improvement of the safety standard can reduce the (22)………………………….of accidents in the workplace. Similarly society becomes a pool of more human needs and aspirations.

Questions 23-26
Look at the following opinions or deeds (Questions 23-26) and the list of companies below. Match each opinion or deed with the correct company, A, B or C. NB You may use any letter more than once

23. The disposable waste
24. The way company purchases as goods
25. Helping the undeveloped
26. Ensuring the people have the latest information

A General Electronics
B Microsoft
C Whole Foods Market

The Significant Role of Mother Tongue in Education

One consequence of population mobility is an increasing diversity within schools. To illustrate, in the city of Toronto in Canada, 58% of kindergarten pupils come from homes where English is not the usual language of communication. Schools in Europe and North America have experienced this diversity for years, and educational policies and practices vary widely between countries and even within countries. Some political parties and groups search for ways to solve the problem of diverse communities and their integration in schools and society. However, they see few positive consequences for the host society and worry that this diversity threatens the identity of the host society. Consequently, they promote unfortunate educational policies that will make the “problem” disappear. If students retain their culture and language, they are viewed as less capable of identifying with the mainstream culture and learning the mainstream language of the society.

The challenge for educator and policy-makers is to shape the evolution of national identity in such a way that rights of all citizens (including school children) are respected, and the cultural linguistic, and economic resources of the nation are maximised. To waste the resources of the nation by discouraging children from developing their mother tongues is quite simply unintelligent from the point of view of national self-interest. A first step in providing an appropriate education for culturally and linguistically diverse children is to examine what the existing research says about the role of children’s mother tongues in their educational development.

In fact, the research is very clear. When children continue to develop their abilities in two or more languages throughout their primary school, they gain a deeper understanding of language and how to use it effectively. They have more practice in processing language, especially when they develop literacy in both. More than 150 research studies conducted during the past 25 years strongly support what Goethe, the famous eighteenth-century German philosopher, once said: the person who knows only one language dose not truly know that language. Research suggests that bilingual children may also develop more flexibility in their thinking as a result of processing information through two different languages.

The level of development of children’s mother tongue is a strong predictor of their second language development. Children who come to school with a solid foundation in their mother tongue develop stronger literacy abilities in the school language. When parents and other caregivers (e.g. grandparents) are able to spend time with their children and tell stories or discuss issues with them in a way that develops their mother tongue, children come to school well-prepared to learn the school language and succeed educationally. Children’s knowledge and skills transfer across languages from the mother tongue to the school language. Transfer across languages can be two-way: both languages nurture each other when the educational environment permits children access to both languages.

Some educators and parents are suspicious of mother tongue-based teaching programs because they worry that they take time away from the majority language. For example, in a bilingual program when 50% of the time is spent teaching through children’s home language and 50% through the majority language, surely children won’t progress as far in the latter? One of the most strongly established findings of educational research, however, is that well-implemented bilingual programs can promote literacy and subject-matter knowledge in a minority language without any negative effects on children’s development in the majority language. Within Europe, the Foyer program in Belgium, which develops children’s speaking and literacy abilities in three languages (their mother tongue, Dutch and French), most clearly illustrates the benefits of bilingual and trilingual education (see Cummins, 2000).

It is easy to understand how this happens. When children are learning through a minority language, they are learning concepts and intellectual skills too. Pupils who know how to tell the time in their mother tongue understand the concept of telling time. In order to tell time in the majority language, they do not need to re-learn the concept. Similarly, at more advanced stages, there, is transfer across languages in other skills such as knowing how to distinguish the main idea from the supporting details of a written passage or story, and distinguishing fact from opinion. Studies of secondary school pupils are providing interesting findings in this area, and it would be worth extending this research.

Many people marvel at how quickly bilingual children seem to “pick up” conversational skills in the majority language at school (although it takes much longer for them to catch up with native speakers in academic language skills). However, educators are often much less aware of how quickly children can lose their ability to use their mother tongue, even in the home context. The extent and rapidity of language loss will vary according to the concentration of families from a particular linguistic group in the neighborhood. Where the mother tongue is used extensively in the community, then language loss among young children will be less. However, where language communities are not concentrated in particular neighborhoods, children can lose their ability to communicate in their mother tongue within 2-3 years of starting school. They may retain receptive skills in the language but they will use the majority language, in speaking with their peers and siblings and in responding to their parents. By the time children become adolescents, the linguistic division between parents and children has become an emotional chasm. Pupils frequently become alienated from the cultures of both home and school with predictable results.

Questions 27-30
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D. Write the correct letter in boxes 27-30 on your answer sheet.

27. What point did the writer make in the second paragraph?
A Some present studies on children’s mother tongues are misleading/
B A culturally rich education programme benefits some children more than others.
C Bilingual children can make a valuable contribution to the wealth of a country.
D The law on mother tongue use at school should be strengthened

28. Why does the writer refer to something that Goethe said?
A to lend weight to his argument
B to contradict some research
C to introduce a new concept
D to update current thinking

29. The writer believes that when young children have a firm grasp of their mother tongue
A they can teach older family members what they learnt at school
B they go on to do much better throughout their time at school.
C they can read stories about their cultural background.
b they develop stronger relationships with their family than with their peers

30. Why are some people suspicious about mother tongue-based teaching programmes?
A They worry that children will be slow to learn to read in either language.
B They think that children will confuse words in the two languages.
C They believe that the programmes will make children less interested in their lessons.
D They fear that the programmes will use up valuable time in the school day.

Questions 31-35
Complete the summary using the list of word, A-J, below

Bilingual Children

It was often recorded that bilingual children acquire the (31)…………………to converse in the majority language remarkable quickly. The fact that the mother tongue can disappear at a similar (32)…………… less well understood. This phenomenon depends, to a certain extent, on the proposition of people with the same linguistic background that have settled in a particular (33)………………If this is limited, children are likely to lose the active use of their mother tongue. And thus no longer employ it even with (34)………………….., although they may still understand it. It follows that teenager children in these circumstances experience a sense of (35)………………….in relation to all aspects of their lives.

A teachers
B schools
C dislocation
D rate
E time
F family
G communication
H type
I ability
J area

Questions 36-40
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3? In boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet, write

YES if the statement agrees with the views of the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the views of the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

36. Less than half of the children who attend kindergarten in Toronto have English as their mother tongue.
37. Research proves that learning the host country language at school can have an adverse effect on a child’s mother tongue.
38. The Foyer program is accepted by the French education system.
39. Bilingual children are taught to tell the time earlier than monolingual children.
40. Bilingual children can apply reading comprehension strategies acquired in one language when reading in the other.

1. NG
2. True
3. False
4. NG
5. False
6. True
7. True
8. (skilled) stonemason
9. Gian Giorgio Trissino
10. Inigo Jones
11. temple (architecture)
12. Quattro Libri dell’ Architettura
13. benevolent calm
14. v
15. viii
16. vi
17. vii
18. iii
19. i
20. ii
21. equal opportunity
22. internal costs
23. C
24. C
25. A
26. B
27. C
28. A
29. B
30. D
31. I
32. D
33. J
34. F
35. C
36. Yes
37. No
38. NG
39. NG
40. Yes