IELTS MASTER | ielts reading test 190

ielts reading test 190


The circulation of air in the atmosphere is activated by convection, the transference of heat resulting from the fact that warm gases or fluids rise while cold gases or fluids sink. For example, if one wall of a room is heated whilst the opposite wall is cooled, air will rise against the warm wall and flow across the ceiling to the cold wall before descending to flow back across the floor to the warm wall again. The real atmosphere, however, is like a very long room with a very low ceiling.

The distance from equator to pole is 10,000 km, while the ‘ceiling height’ to the beginning of the stratosphere is only about 10 km. The air therefore splits up into a number of smaller loops or convection cells. Between the equator and each pole there are three such cells and within these the circulation is mainly north-south.

Large-scale air-conditioning
The result of this circulation is a flow of heat energy towards the poles and a levelling out of the climate so that both equatorial and polar regions are habitable. The atmosphere generally retains its state of equilibrium as every north-going air current is counterbalanced by a south-going one. In the same way depressions at lower levels in the troposphere are counterbalanced by areas of high pressure in the upper levels, and vice versa. The atmospheric transference of heat is closely associated with the movement of moisture between sea and continent and between different latitudes. Moist air can transport much greater quantities of energy than dry air.

Because the belts of convection cells run east to west, both climate and weather vary according to latitude. Climatic zones are particularly distinguishable at sea where there are no land masses to disturb the pattern.

Man and the winds
For thousands of years mankind has been dependent upon the winds: they brought rain to the land and carried ships across the seas. Thus the westerly wind belts, the trade winds and the monsoon winds of the global circulation systems have been known to us for many centuries.

As recently as the 20th century, Arab ships sailed on the south-west monsoon winds from East Africa to India and back again on the north-east monsoon winds, without need of a compass. The winds alone were sufficient. In the equatorial convergence zone (the ‘doldrums’), and in the regions around the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn known as the ‘horse latitudes’, sailing ships could drift for weeks unable to steer, while the ‘roaring forties’ of the South Atlantic (40-50°S) were notorious among mariners for their terrible winds.

It was not until the development of the balloon at the end of the 18th century, however, that it became possible to study meteorological conditions at high altitudes. The balloon is still a significant research device although today it carries a radar reflector or a set of instruments and a radio transmitter, rather than the scientists themselves. Nowadays high-flying aircraft and satellites are also important aids to meteorology. Through them we have discovered the west to east jet stream. This blows at speeds of up to 500 km/h at altitudes of 9,000-10,000 m along the border between the Arctic and temperate zone convection belts.

Weather fronts
The circulation within the different convection cells is greater than the exchange of air between them and therefore the temperature in two cells that are close to each other can differ greatly. Consequently, the borders between the different convection cells are areas in which warm and cold air masses oppose each other, advancing and withdrawing. In the Northern Hemisphere, the dividing line between the Arctic and temperate convection zones is the polar front, and it is this which determines the weather in northern Europe and North America. This front is unstable, weaving sometimes northward, sometimes southward, of an average latitude of 60°N. Depressions become trapped within the deep concavities of this front and these subsequently move eastward along it with areas of rain and snowfall. In this way global air circulation determines not only the long-term climate but also the immediate weather.

Questions 1-3
Label the diagram below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

Questions 4-7
Complete the summary below using the list of words and phrases, A-L, below.

A on land
B polar regions
C moisture
D heat
E balanced
F at sea
G offset
H pole
I equatorial regions
J latitude
K in the air
L longitude

Global air circulation spreads heat from the equator towards the (4)……………………Generally, a state of balance in the atmosphere is maintained because the north-moving air currents are continually being (5)………………… the south ones. Within the system of heat transfer in the atmosphere, climate is affected not only by (6)………………..but also by the amount of moisture in the air. The most accurate geographical zone for the study of climate is (7)…………………….., where there are no local wind systems.

Questions 8-12
Write the correct letter, A, B or C in boxes 8-12 on your answer sheet.

Classify the following wind patterns according to whether the writer states they are

A useful
B problematic
C neither useful nor problematic

8. ‘roaring forties’
9. south-west monsoon winds
10. west to east jet stream
11. ‘horse latitudes’
12. north-east monsoon winds

Question 13
Answer the question below. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage.

13. Which border between convection zones determines the weather in the Northern Hemisphere?


The most difficult aspect of money to understand is its function as a unit of account. In linear measurement we find the definition of a yard, or a metre, easy to accept. In former times these lengths were defined in terms of fine lines etched onto brass rods maintained in standards laboratories at constant temperatures. Money, however, is much more difficult to define because the value of anything is ultimately in the mind of the observer, and such values will change with time and circumstance.

Sir Isaac Newton, as Master of the Royal Mint, defined the pound sterling (£) in 1717 as 113 grains of pure gold. This took Britain off silver and onto gold as defining the unit of account. The pound was 113 grains of pure gold, the shilling was 1/20 of that, and the penny 1/240 of it.

By the end of the„19th century the gold standard had spread around most of the trading world, with the result that there was a single world money. It was called by different names in different countries, but all these supposedly different currencies were rigidly interconnected through their particular definition in terms of a quantity of gold.

In economic life the prices of different commodities and services are always changing with respect to each other. If the potato crop, for example, is ruined by frost or flood, then the price of potatoes will go up. The consequences of that particular price increase will be complex and unpredictable. Because of the high price of potatoes, prices of other things will decline, as demand for them declines. Similarly, the argument that the Middle East crisis following the Iraqi annexation of Kuwait would, because of increased oil prices, have led to sustained general inflation is, although widely accepted, entirely without foundation. With sound money (money whose purchasing power does not decline over time) a sudden price shock in any one commodity will not lead to a general price increase, but to changes in relative prices throughout the economy. As oil increases, other goods and services will drop in price, and oil substitutes will rise in price, as the consequences of the oil price increase work their unpredictable and complex way through the economy.

The use of gold as the unit of account during the days of the gold standard meant that the price of all other commodities and services would swing up and down with reference to the price of gold, which was fixed. If gold supplies diminished, as they did when the 1850s gold rushes in California and Australia were finishing, then deflation (a general price level decrease] would set in. When new gold rushes followed in South Africa and again in Australia, in the 1880s and 1890s, the general price level increased, gently, around the world, as there was more money in circulation.

The end of the gold standard began with the introduction of the Bretton-Woods Agreement in 1946. This fixed the value of all world currencies relative to the US dollar, which in turn was fixed to a specific value of gold (US$0.35/oz). However, in 1971 the US government finally refused to exchange US dollars for gold, and other countries soon followed. Governments printed as much paper money or coinage as they wanted, and the more that was printed, the less each unit of currency was worth.

The key problem with these government ‘fiat’ currencies is that their value is not defined; such value is subject to how much money a government cares to print. Their future value is unpredictable, depending as it does on political chance. In past economic calculations of the Australian Institute for Public Policy, incomes and expenditures were automatically converted to dollars of a particular year, using CPI deflators, which are stored in the Institute’s computers. When the Institute performs economic calculations into the future, it guesses at inflation rates and includes these guesses in its figures. The guesses are entirely based on past experience. In Australia most current calculations assume a three to four per cent inflation rate.

The great advantage of the 19th century gold standard was not just that it defined the unit of account, but that it operated throughout almost the entire world. Anthony Trollope tells us in his diaries about his Australian travels in 1872 that a pound of meat, selling in Australia for two pence, would have cost ten pence or even a shilling in the UK. It was this price difference which drove investment and effort into the development of shipboard refrigeration, and opening up of major new markets for Australian meat, at great benefit to the British public.

Today we can determine price differences between countries by considering the exchange rate of the day. In twelve months’ time, even a month’s time, however, a totally different situation may prevail, and investments of time and money made on the basis of an opportunity at an exchange rate of the day, may actually perform poorly because of subsequent exchange rate movements.

The great advantage of having a single stable world currency is that such currency would have very high information content. It tells people where to invest their time, energy and capital, all around the world, with much greater accuracy and predictability than would otherwise be possible.

Questions 14-17
Reading Passage 2 has four sections, A-D. Choose the correct heading for each section from the list of headings below.

List of Headings
i The effects of inflation
ii The notion of money and its expression
iii The rise of problematic modern currencies
iv Stable money compared to modern ‘fiat’ currencies
v The function of money
vi The interrelationship of prices
vii Stability of modern currencies


Questions 18-22
Look at the following causes and the list of results below. Match each cause with the appropriate result.

18. Oil prices rise.
19. The price of potatoes goes up.
20. Gold was the unit of account.
21. The amount of gold available went down.
22. Meat in Australia was cheaper than elsewhere.

List of Results
A The price of goods fluctuated in relation to a fixed gold price
B People developed techniques of transporting it to other places.
C Oil substitutes become more expensive
D More people went to live in Australia
E The price of other things goes down, because fewer people could afford to buy them
F The price of commodities remained fixed
G There is no observable effect.
H All prices went down, everywhere.
I Oil substitutes drop in price

Questions 23-27
Classify the following characteristics as belonging to

A money based on a gold standard
B government ‘fiat’ monopoly currencies
C both money based on a gold standard and ‘fiat’ currencies

23. it has a clearly defined value
24. its value by definition varies over time
25. its future value is predictable
26. its past value can be calculated
27. it makes international investment easier


The Report of the Inquiry by the Senate of the Australian Parliament into a national language policy in Australia proposed five purposes for studying a language other than English in Australian schools.

The first point relates to what might be termed the more strictly utilitarian reasons for language learning: the acquisition of fluency in a language other than English for the purpose of direct communication. The communication in question may be of an informal nature, such as that which occurs during overseas travel, or between members of different groups within Australian society in a variety of social situations. In large measure, however, this language learning objective relates to the rote of languages other than English in various fields of employment, such as interpreting and translating, international trade, diplomacy and defence.

Professor M. Halliday, a witness to the Inquiry, cautioned against placing too heavy an emphasis on utilitarian goals, stating that ‘one should not be too restricted to the practical arguments which are in a sense dishonest if you say to someone: “If you spend all this time learning a language you will immediately be able to go and find a use for it”.’

The Committee agrees that, taken in isolation, practical arguments tend to give an incomplete picture of the value of language learning. In the early school years, for example, utilitarian objectives may well be less important than they are at tertiary level where employment considerations exert a strong influence.

The second purpose concerns the link between a language and the cultural context from which it emerges. Many submissions stressed the value of the language learning experience as a means of understanding other cultures, and hence of developing sensitive and tolerant cross-cultural attitudes. This proposition is applied to cultures both within Australia and overseas. Thus, it is argued that language study can contribute in important ways both to harmonious community relationships within Australia, and to an understanding of the cultural values of other countries.

It is also contended that language provides the key to major historical cultures, such as the civilisations of classical antiquity which have exerted a profound influence on the Western tradition.

In the course of hearings, Dr David Ingram of the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations referred to evidence which lends some empirical support to the claim that the experience of language learning fosters the development of a better understanding of other cultures. The Committee does not find the proposition difficult to accept. It believes, however, that the measure of success achieved is likely to be largely dependent on the teaching methodology adopted, and the degree of teacher commitment to the goal of cultural awareness and sensitivity.

The third objective relates to the role of language learning is the maintenance of ethnic languages and cultures within Australia. It was argued in submissions that a central element in Australia’s policy of multiculturalism is a recognition of the value of the cultural heritages of the different groups within Australian society. Since language and culture are inextricably intertwined, the preservation of cultural heritages necessarily entails the retention of the languages associated with them. In the case of Aboriginal communities this issue takes on a special note of urgency since, in many instances, Aboriginal cultures and languages are on the verge of disappearing completely. The objective in this context, therefore, is not simply to assist in the maintenance of a cultural and linguistic heritage but to aid in preserving that heritage from extinction.

Prominent amongst the purposes of language learning described in submissions was the fourth point: the development of the general cognitive and linguistic capacities of students. The educational outcomes at stake here were described in a number of ways. Professor M. Halliday, for example, spoke of language learning as an educational exercise of the first importance, as a development of thinking.’ Another submission referred to the development of ‘a sharpened, more critical awareness of the nature and mechanism of language.’ Professor Clyne pointed to research conducted particularly in Canada which, he states, ‘suggests that bilinguals are superior to monolinguals in logical thought and conceptual development, verbal intelligence and divergent thinking.’

Finally, several submissions spoke of the role of language learning is the general development of personality. To a large extent, this objective builds upon and sums up aspects of those already covered. The possibility of direct communication with speakers of another language, for example, offers the opportunity for a broadening of personal horizons. A similar outcome may be expected from the encounter with another culture made possible through language study. Where the language concerned is the child’s mother tongue, either the language of a migrant group or an Aboriginal language, an additional factor emerges. In this context, it is argued, language study contributes significantly to the development of individual self-esteem, since the introduction of the language into the school encourages children of that language background to value it and appreciate it as an asset. As a result, their estimation of their family’s value as well as of their own worth is likely to rise.

The Committee believes that submissions have been correct in drawing attention to these personal development issues. Naturally, the benefits of language learning in question here are less easy to quantify than those involved in the objectives previously discussed. Nonetheless, the Committee believes that, if appropriately taught, languages can play an important part in assisting young people to establish their identity, and develop their individual and social personalities.

Questions 28-32
Reading Passage 3 proposes five points for the Purpose of Language Study. Choose the correct heading for each of the five points from the list of headings below.

28. Point One
29. Point Two
30. Point Three
31. Point Four
32. Point Five

List of Headings
i Maintenance of ethnic languages and outlines as part of Australia’s policy of multiculturalism
ii Tolerance and acceptance of other races and cultures through language classes
iii Successful communication with non-English speaking people both within Australia and overseas
iv A better appreciation of the multicultural nature of Australian society
v Developing a better understanding of other cultures
vi Developing better cognitive and general linguistic abilities in students
vii Assessment whether bilinguals are superior to monolinguals
viii Developing the personality of students and sense of individual identity
ix The prevention of Aboriginal languages disappearing

Questions 33-37
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3? In boxes 33-37 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

33. Fluency skills in a language other than English are acquired for the purpose of communicating in informal settings.
34. There is evidence which suggests that language learning does not necessarily promote a better understanding of cultures.
35. Learning a second language produces greater tolerance, better understanding of others and acceptance of difference.
36. Preserving a culture involves retaining the language associated with it.
37. Learning a language facilitates a child’s communication with family members of non-English speaking backgrounds.

Questions 38-40
Complete the sentences below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer.

Understanding of other cultures whether within Australia or overseas is one of the benefits gained through (38)………………..

Ability to study one’s background language at school seemingly raises an individual’s (39)………………….

Provided they are competently taught, languages can help to form the (40)…………………..of individuals and develop their personalities.


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