IELTS® Academic Reading Practice 64

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Australian Perceptions of Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicinal practices, such as herbalism, have become increasingly common all over the world. However, Australia in particular has remained fairly resistant to adopting alternative medicine in comparison with other Western nations. Alternative medicine got its first four-year college course at the University of Technology in Sydney at the start of 1994. Acupuncture, which is based on the ancient Chinese concept of flowing physical energy known as “qi,”  is one example of one of the subjects covered in students’ coursework there. It seems that alternative medicine has slowly become more widely accepted by doctors in Australia.

Alternative medicine, sometimes also known as homeopathic or natural medicine, has long been met with a relatively high amount of skepticism in the Australian medical community. A public health lecturer at the University of Sydney, Dr. Paul Laver, suggests that a culture of medical doctors being fairly influential is the cause of Australia’s unique resistance to the general acceptance of alternative medicine. In other developed countries, both traditional and modern medicinal practices have coexisted and combined for many years. Consider country like Germany, where herbal medicine makes up 10% of all pharmacy requests. Meanwhile in the rest of Europe, only medical doctors may write prescriptions for herbal medicine. Even in the United States, Americans reportedly preferred alternative therapy in the year 1990, and they are typically spending $US 12 billion annually on unorthodox therapy methods.

In Australia, the fading popularity of orthodox medical care has allowed for alternative therapy methods to emerge more substantially. In 1983, an Australian health survey of the nation found that 1.9% of those who responded had consulted with an alternative physician, such as a chiropractor, naturopath, osteopath, acupuncturist or herbalist, within the past two weeks. Just seven years later in 1990, the same response to this question had risen to 2.6%. As according to Dr Laver and his associates in the 1993 Australian Journal of Public Health, “A better educated and less accepting public has become disillusioned with the experts in general, and increasingly skeptical about science and empirically based knowledge,”. According to the 1990 survey, the 550,000 consultations with alternative therapists represented about an eighth of the total number of consultations with medically qualified personnel. It seems that “the high standing of professionals, including doctors, has been eroded as a consequence,” in the words of Dr. Laver.

More recently in Australia, a growing number of alternative medical practices have appeared and offer a variety of alternative therapies. Members of younger generations may regard alternative medicine as a viable option for medical care, with acupuncture and herbalism being the most popular. Dr. Laver suggests that there is a trend in the market which feeds into this increase of alternative medical practices, “The bottom line is that most general practitioners are business people. If they see potential clientele going elsewhere, they might want to be able to offer a similar service.” It seems that these changes could be tied more closely to business trends than they are to medical knowledge.  

In 1993, Dr. Laver et. al conducted a survey of 289 people from Sydney about their experiences after having attended eight alternative therapy sessions. In this study, 25 therapists were brought in for a variety of alternative therapy practices. The 289 people answering the survey all suffered from chronic illnesses that had not been helped by orthodox medical practices. Those surveyed noted their positive experiences with a more holistic approach, and many mentioned their dislike for the sense of orthodox medical practices being “cold” and “unapproachable.” These kind of responses that have contributed to the mainstream acceptance of more alternative approaches within orthodox medicine as more doctors have commented that alternative therapy practices may be able to teach them something more. Dr. Patrick Store, President of the Royal College of General Practitioners, agrees that orthodox doctors may discover more about topics such as bedside manner and advising patients on preventative health from alternative therapists.

As found in the Australian Journal of Public Health, 18% of patients seeking out alternative therapies cited the cause as musculo-skeletal problems, 12% named digestive problems, and 11% identified emotional issues as the reason for their visits. 7% of their patients complained of either respiratory or candida problems equally, those complaining of headaches comprised 6%, 5% were generally ill, and lastly 4% were interested in maintaining their overall health.  

In light of these results, it seems that a new term, such as complementary medicine, could prove more appropriate as a way to refer to these alternative medical practices. Indeed, the term alternative medicine carries a more negative connotation that does not accurately reflect the type of care alternative medical patients may receive.

This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 1-13.
Question 1
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in box 1 on your answer sheet.

1. Historically what has been the difference in the approach of Australian doctors compared to their western counterparts?

Questions 2-10
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 2-10 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.

2. Australian medical students are not given any instruction on alternative therapies.

3. In Germany people prefer the use of alternative medicine to orthodox ones.

4. In 1990, Americans consulted alternative therapists more often than doctors.

5. Fundamentally, most Australian doctors run their practice as a business.

6. The 1993 Sydney survey involved 289 patients who visited alternative therapists for acupuncture treatment.

7. All the patients in the 1993 Sydney survey had long-term medical complaints.

8. There are a number of things, including how to behave with patients, that doctors can learn from alternative therapists.

9. 12% of the Australian population use alternative medicine to help treat stomach disorders.

10. Alternative medicine is the most accurate way of describing non-orthodox therapies.

Questions 11-13
Complete the sentences below.

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in 11-13 on your answer sheet.

Alternative medicine has become more popular following the of orthodox practices.

In a 1993 survey people responded very positively to a , as opposed to the ‘colder’, less accessible nature of orthodox practices.

A better way to refer to alternative medical practices such as acupuncture may be medicine.


Answer Sheet
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
N/A
15
N/A
16
N/A
17
N/A
18
N/A
19
N/A
20
N/A
21
N/A
22
N/A
23
N/A
24
N/A
25
N/A
26
N/A
27
N/A
28
N/A
29
N/A
30
N/A
31
N/A
32
N/A
33
N/A
34
N/A
35
N/A
36
N/A
37
N/A
38
N/A
39
N/A
40
N/A


Reading Passage Vocabulary
Australian Perceptions of Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicinal practices, such as herbalism, have become increasingly common all over the world. However, Australia in particular has remained fairly resistant to adopting alternative medicine in comparison with other Western nations. Alternative medicine got its first four-year college course at the University of Technology in Sydney at the start of 1994. Acupuncture, which is based on the ancient Chinese concept of flowing physical energy known as “qi,”  is one example of one of the subjects covered in students’ coursework there. It seems that alternative medicine has slowly become more widely accepted by doctors in Australia.

Alternative medicine, sometimes also known as homeopathic or natural medicine, has long been met with a relatively high amount of skepticism in the Australian medical community. A public health lecturer at the University of Sydney, Dr. Paul Laver, suggests that a culture of medical doctors being fairly influential is the cause of Australia’s unique resistance to the general acceptance of alternative medicine. In other developed countries, both traditional and modern medicinal practices have coexisted and combined for many years. Consider country like Germany, where herbal medicine makes up 10% of all pharmacy requests. Meanwhile in the rest of Europe, only medical doctors may write prescriptions for herbal medicine. Even in the United States, Americans reportedly preferred alternative therapy in the year 1990, and they are typically spending $US 12 billion annually on unorthodox therapy methods.

In Australia, the fading popularity of orthodox medical care has allowed for alternative therapy methods to emerge more substantially. In 1983, an Australian health survey of the nation found that 1.9% of those who responded had consulted with an alternative physician, such as a chiropractor, naturopath, osteopath, acupuncturist or herbalist, within the past two weeks. Just seven years later in 1990, the same response to this question had risen to 2.6%. As according to Dr Laver and his associates in the 1993 Australian Journal of Public Health, “A better educated and less accepting public has become disillusioned with the experts in general, and increasingly skeptical about science and empirically based knowledge,”. According to the 1990 survey, the 550,000 consultations with alternative therapists represented about an eighth of the total number of consultations with medically qualified personnel. It seems that “the high standing of professionals, including doctors, has been eroded as a consequence,” in the words of Dr. Laver.

More recently in Australia, a growing number of alternative medical practices have appeared and offer a variety of alternative therapies. Members of younger generations may regard alternative medicine as a viable option for medical care, with acupuncture and herbalism being the most popular. Dr. Laver suggests that there is a trend in the market which feeds into this increase of alternative medical practices, “The bottom line is that most general practitioners are business people. If they see potential clientele going elsewhere, they might want to be able to offer a similar service.” It seems that these changes could be tied more closely to business trends than they are to medical knowledge.  

In 1993, Dr. Laver et. al conducted a survey of 289 people from Sydney about their experiences after having attended eight alternative therapy sessions. In this study, 25 therapists were brought in for a variety of alternative therapy practices. The 289 people answering the survey all suffered from chronic illnesses that had not been helped by orthodox medical practices. Those surveyed noted their positive experiences with a more holistic approach, and many mentioned their dislike for the sense of orthodox medical practices being “cold” and “unapproachable.” These kind of responses that have contributed to the mainstream acceptance of more alternative approaches within orthodox medicine as more doctors have commented that alternative therapy practices may be able to teach them something more. Dr. Patrick Store, President of the Royal College of General Practitioners, agrees that orthodox doctors may discover more about topics such as bedside manner and advising patients on preventative health from alternative therapists.

As found in the Australian Journal of Public Health, 18% of patients seeking out alternative therapies cited the cause as musculo-skeletal problems, 12% named digestive problems, and 11% identified emotional issues as the reason for their visits. 7% of their patients complained of either respiratory or candida problems equally, those complaining of headaches comprised 6%, 5% were generally ill, and lastly 4% were interested in maintaining their overall health.  

In light of these results, it seems that a new term, such as complementary medicine, could prove more appropriate as a way to refer to these alternative medical practices. Indeed, the term alternative medicine carries a more negative connotation that does not accurately reflect the type of care alternative medical patients may receive.

 
IELTS Academic Reading Tips for Success
These are general tips that will appear on all reading questions.

Tips to improve your reading speed
To get a high score on the IELTS reading section, you need to have a fast reading speed. To have a fast reading speed, you need to improve your vocabulary and practice dissecting sentences. One strategy to dissect a sentence is to look for the subject and verb of the sentence. Finding the subject and verb will help you better understand the main idea of said sentence. Keep in mind, a common feature of a IELTS reading passage is to join strings of ideas to form long compound sentences. This produces large chunks that students have a hard time absorbing. Do not get overwhelmed by its length, just look for the subject and verb, the rest of the ideas will flow.

Keep in mind, having a slow reading speed makes skimming or scanning a reading passage more difficult. The process of quickly skimming through a reading passage for specific keywords or main ideas is a requirement for you to employ successful reading strategies to improve your IELTS reading score. In other words, skimming and scanning are critical skills to ensure you complete all questions in the allotted time frame.
IELTS Reading Strategies
Once you can read and comprehend a passage with a rate of, at least, 220 words per minute, you'll be ready to start implementing our strategies. All too often, students spend too much time reading the passages and not enough time answering the questions. Here is a step by step guide for tackling the reading section.

  1. Step 1: Read questions first

    One of the most common mistakes that candidates make when approaching the reading exam is reading every single word of the passages. Although you can practice for the exam by reading for pleasure, "reading blindly" (reading without any sense of what the questions will ask) will not do you any favors in the exam. Instead, it will hurt your chances for effectively managing your time and getting the best score.

    The main reason to read the questions first is because the type of question may determine what you read in the passage or how you read it. For example, some question types will call for the "skimming" technique, while others may call for the "scanning" technique.

    It is important to answer a set of questions that are of the same question type. You'll need to determine which question type you want to tackle first. A good strategy would be to start with the easier question type and move on to more difficult question types later. The Easiest question types are the ones where you spend less time reading. For example, the Matching Heading question type is an easier one because you only need to find the heading that best describes the main idea of a paragraph. An example of a difficult question type would be Identifying Information. For this question type, you'll need to read each paragraph to find out if each statement is TRUE, FALSE, or NOT GIVEN according to the passage.

    Here is a table that lists the difficulty levels for each question type. Use this table as a reference when choosing which question type you want to tackle first.

    Difficulty level Question Type
    Easy Sentence Completion
    Short answer
    Medium Matching Features
    Multiple choice
    Matching Headings
    Summary, Table, Flow-Chart Completion
    Difficult Matching Sentence Endings
    Matching Information
    Identifying Information (TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN)
    Identifying Viewer's claims (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN)

  2. Step 2: Read for an objective

    After you've read the questions for the passage, you will be able to read for an objective. What does this mean? For example, if you come across a question that includes the year "1896", you can make a note of when this year comes up in the text, using it to answer the question later on. There are two reading techniques that will help you stay on track with reading for an objective. The first one, skimming, is best defined as reading fast in order to get the "gist", or general idea, or a passage. With this technique, you are not stopping for any unfamiliar words or looking for specific details. The second technique, scanning, is best defined as reading for specific information. With this technique, you are not reading for the overall gist, but rather, specific information. Notice how each of these techniques has a specific objective in mind. This will help you find information more quickly.

  3. Step 3: Take notes

    As you're reading for an objective, you should also be making notes on the margins of the passage, placing stars next to key information, or underlining things that you believe will help you answer the various questions. This will make it easier for you to check back when you are asked certain things in the questions. Choose whichever note-taking system is right for you - just make sure you do it!

  4. Step 4: Answer wisely

    After you've read the questions, read the passage, and have taken any appropriate notes, you you should have located the part of the text where you where you need to read carefully. Then just read carefully and think critically to determine the correct answer.

IELTS Reading Question Types
 
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