IELTS® General Reading Practice 4

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Read the text below and answer Questions 15-21.

Section A 

Sensible work practices are an important factor in the prevention of muscular fatigue; discomfort or pain in the arms, neck, hands or back; or eye strain which can be associated with constant or regular work at a keyboard and visual display unit (VDU).

Section B

It is vital that the employer pays attention to the physical setting such as workplace design, the office environment, and placement of monitors as well as the organisation of the work and individual work habits. Operators must be able to recognise work-related health problems and be given the opportunity to participate in the management of these. Operators should take note of and follow the preventive measures outlined below.

Section C 

The typist must be comfortably accommodated in a chair that is adjustable for height with a back rest that is also easily adjustable both for angle and height. The back rest and sitting ledge (with a curved edge) should preferably be cloth-covered to avoid excessive perspiration.

Section D

When the keyboard operator is working from a paper file or manuscript, it should be at the same distance from the eyes as the screen. The most convenient position can be found by using some sort of holder. Individual arrangement will vary according to whether the operator spends more time looking at the VDU or the paper – whichever the eyes are focused on for the majority of time should be put directly in front of the operator.

Section E

While keying, it is advisable to have frequent but short pauses of around thirty to sixty seconds to proofread. When doing this, relax your hands. After you have been keying for sixty minutes, you should have a ten minute change of activity. During this spell it is important that you do not remain seated but stand up or walk around. This period could be profitably used to do filing or collect and deliver documents. 

Section F

Generally, the best position for a VDU is at right angles to the window. If this is not possible then glare from the window can be controlled by blinds, curtains or movable screens. Keep the face of the VDU vertical to avoid glare from overhead lighting. 

Section G

Unsatisfactory work practices or working conditions may result in aches or pain. Symptoms should be reported to your supervisor early on so that the cause of the trouble can be corrected and the operator should seek medical attention.

 
15. vi - Since this is a short paragraph, it is acceptable to quickly scan the sentences for the key words while skimming for information. Paragraph A contains the key word VDU, but the heading does not focus on VDU. Just using the scanning technique (without the skimming technique) may lead some candidates to choose ix Why does a VDU create eye fatigue? Note, however, that this is not the correct answer because the paragraph does not contain reasons (another key word that we wrote next to the heading), despite containing the key word, “eye fatigue”. This is a common trick for this question type. Instead, the paragraph contains common health problems such as muscle fatigue, discomfort, or eye strain. Since these are problems (a key word that we wrote next to the heading after paying attention to the key word), you should be drawn to this heading: vi  What are the common health problems? 
 
16. viii - This is another short paragraph, but it is not necessary to skim each and every sentence. Immediately, we see the word “employer” and understand that the paragraph involves different people in the office setting. With this in mind, we should start thinking of viii What are the roles of management and workers?, since this specifies different roles. To verify this, we can continue reading and skim read while underlining key words. As you will note in our example passage, words such as “placement” “monitors” and “work habits” stick out from others. This shows that the roles of management are to provide a proper workplace environment for employees. Thus, our original idea was correct. 
 
17. v - Section C provides yet another short paragraph. Immediately, we have underlined the word “typist”, which shifts the focus from the employer (in Section B) to the employee (or typist, in this case). As we continue to skim read, we should be made aware of the various positions of a seat (with the key words “chair”, “back”, and “adjustable”). These various explanations and features make it clear that v What makes a good seat? is the best choice.
 
18. x - Section D features a longer paragraph, and we will first focus on the first and last sentences. As such, the first sentence contains words such as “operator”, “manuscript”, “distance”, “screen”. Thus, we know we are reading about an employee (an operator, specifically) and the proper eye distance regarding the screen. The last sentence contains more key words, such as “VDU” and “time”. With this in mind, we should be directed to either ix Why does a VDU create eye fatigue? or x Where should I place the documents?. With a closer examination of Section D, we are made aware of the mention of “paper” (in this case, a synonym for “document”). Since there are specific instructions on this, option x Where should I place the documents? is the best option. Option ix Why does a VDU create eye fatigue? does not provide an adequate answer nor does it provide a reason to answer the question.
 
19. ii - Section E features a paragraph similar in length to Section D. Starting with the first sentence, the key words “pauses” and “thirty to sixty seconds”. After having paid attention to key words, Similarities, and Differences in Step 3, we should start thinking about the fact that “time” is in a few headings. With the last sentence, key words such as “period”, “filing”, “documents” pop out, providing further proof that the paragraph involves something related to time. The two options we had gathered for time include ii     How long should I work without a break?  And iv  When is the best time to do filing chores? . This is perhaps the most difficult question of the group, so let's dissect the correct answer. Key words from both ii and iv are included in this paragraph, and we must focus on which question is correctly answered. Going back to our information in Step 3, option ii requires an answer of a specific time, whereas option iv requires a specific time. The paragraph contains the answer to heading ii in the first statement, “While keying, it is advisable to have frequent but short pauses of around thirty to sixty seconds to proofread.”. The specific time makes this the best answer for heading ii. 
 
20. i - The short paragraph in Section F contains key words “position” and “VDU” in its first sentence. In the last sentence, the words “vertical”, “avoid glare”, and “lighting” should make the reader shift attention to the heading i How can reflection problems be avoided?. Section F contains a procedure (or “method”) for how to avoid glare. After having recognized that this heading was looking for a “method” in Step 3, we can correctly choose heading i for this question.
 
21. iii - Lastly, Section G closes the passage with a few sentences. The first sentence contains the key words, “unsatisfactory” and “conditions”. A resolution to the “trouble” (a key word in the last sentence) is also provided. With this, the heading iii     What if I experience any problems? should be immediately considered. Although the heading vi contains key words regarding health problems, Section G does not discuss “common” problems. Additionally, vi should have been eliminated since it was the correct answer for the first question. 
This reading practice simulates the Matching Headings question type of the IELTS General Reading test. Read the passage(s) and answer questions 15-21.
Questions 15-21
The reading passage has seven sections, A-G.

Choose the correct heading for sections A-G from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number i-x in boxes 15-21 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings
  1. How can reflection problems be avoided?
  2. How long should I work without a break?
  3. What if I experience any problems?
  4. When is the best time to do filing chores?
  5. What makes a good seat?
  6. What are the common health problems?
  7. What is the best kind of lighting to have?
  8. What are the roles of management and workers?
  9. Why does a VDU create eye fatigue?
  10. Where should I place the documents?

15. Section A

16. Section B

17. Section C

18. Section D

19. Section E

20. Section F

21. Section G





Answer Sheet
1
N/A
2
N/A
3
N/A
4
N/A
5
N/A
6
N/A
7
N/A
8
N/A
9
N/A
10
N/A
11
N/A
12
N/A
13
N/A
14
N/A
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
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
Beneficial work practices (“Matching Headings” Strategy Video Included)

Read the text below and answer Questions 15-21.

Section A 

Sensible work practices are an important factor in the prevention of muscular fatigue; discomfort or pain in the arms, neck, hands or back; or eye strain which can be associated with constant or regular work at a keyboard and visual display unit (VDU).

Section B

It is vital that the employer pays attention to the physical setting such as workplace design, the office environment, and placement of monitors as well as the organisation of the work and individual work habits. Operators must be able to recognise work-related health problems and be given the opportunity to participate in the management of these. Operators should take note of and follow the preventive measures outlined below.

Section C 

The typist must be comfortably accommodated in a chair that is adjustable for height with a back rest that is also easily adjustable both for angle and height. The back rest and sitting ledge (with a curved edge) should preferably be cloth-covered to avoid excessive perspiration.

Section D

When the keyboard operator is working from a paper file or manuscript, it should be at the same distance from the eyes as the screen. The most convenient position can be found by using some sort of holder. Individual arrangement will vary according to whether the operator spends more time looking at the VDU or the paper – whichever the eyes are focused on for the majority of time should be put directly in front of the operator.

Section E

While keying, it is advisable to have frequent but short pauses of around thirty to sixty seconds to proofread. When doing this, relax your hands. After you have been keying for sixty minutes, you should have a ten minute change of activity. During this spell it is important that you do not remain seated but stand up or walk around. This period could be profitably used to do filing or collect and deliver documents. 

Section F

Generally, the best position for a VDU is at right angles to the window. If this is not possible then glare from the window can be controlled by blinds, curtains or movable screens. Keep the face of the VDU vertical to avoid glare from overhead lighting. 

Section G

Unsatisfactory work practices or working conditions may result in aches or pain. Symptoms should be reported to your supervisor early on so that the cause of the trouble can be corrected and the operator should seek medical attention.

 
15. vi - Since this is a short paragraph, it is acceptable to quickly scan the sentences for the key words while skimming for information. Paragraph A contains the key word VDU, but the heading does not focus on VDU. Just using the scanning technique (without the skimming technique) may lead some candidates to choose ix Why does a VDU create eye fatigue? Note, however, that this is not the correct answer because the paragraph does not contain reasons (another key word that we wrote next to the heading), despite containing the key word, “eye fatigue”. This is a common trick for this question type. Instead, the paragraph contains common health problems such as muscle fatigue, discomfort, or eye strain. Since these are problems (a key word that we wrote next to the heading after paying attention to the key word), you should be drawn to this heading: vi  What are the common health problems? 
 
16. viii - This is another short paragraph, but it is not necessary to skim each and every sentence. Immediately, we see the word “employer” and understand that the paragraph involves different people in the office setting. With this in mind, we should start thinking of viii What are the roles of management and workers?, since this specifies different roles. To verify this, we can continue reading and skim read while underlining key words. As you will note in our example passage, words such as “placement” “monitors” and “work habits” stick out from others. This shows that the roles of management are to provide a proper workplace environment for employees. Thus, our original idea was correct. 
 
17. v - Section C provides yet another short paragraph. Immediately, we have underlined the word “typist”, which shifts the focus from the employer (in Section B) to the employee (or typist, in this case). As we continue to skim read, we should be made aware of the various positions of a seat (with the key words “chair”, “back”, and “adjustable”). These various explanations and features make it clear that v What makes a good seat? is the best choice.
 
18. x - Section D features a longer paragraph, and we will first focus on the first and last sentences. As such, the first sentence contains words such as “operator”, “manuscript”, “distance”, “screen”. Thus, we know we are reading about an employee (an operator, specifically) and the proper eye distance regarding the screen. The last sentence contains more key words, such as “VDU” and “time”. With this in mind, we should be directed to either ix Why does a VDU create eye fatigue? or x Where should I place the documents?. With a closer examination of Section D, we are made aware of the mention of “paper” (in this case, a synonym for “document”). Since there are specific instructions on this, option x Where should I place the documents? is the best option. Option ix Why does a VDU create eye fatigue? does not provide an adequate answer nor does it provide a reason to answer the question.
 
19. ii - Section E features a paragraph similar in length to Section D. Starting with the first sentence, the key words “pauses” and “thirty to sixty seconds”. After having paid attention to key words, Similarities, and Differences in Step 3, we should start thinking about the fact that “time” is in a few headings. With the last sentence, key words such as “period”, “filing”, “documents” pop out, providing further proof that the paragraph involves something related to time. The two options we had gathered for time include ii     How long should I work without a break?  And iv  When is the best time to do filing chores? . This is perhaps the most difficult question of the group, so let's dissect the correct answer. Key words from both ii and iv are included in this paragraph, and we must focus on which question is correctly answered. Going back to our information in Step 3, option ii requires an answer of a specific time, whereas option iv requires a specific time. The paragraph contains the answer to heading ii in the first statement, “While keying, it is advisable to have frequent but short pauses of around thirty to sixty seconds to proofread.”. The specific time makes this the best answer for heading ii. 
 
20. i - The short paragraph in Section F contains key words “position” and “VDU” in its first sentence. In the last sentence, the words “vertical”, “avoid glare”, and “lighting” should make the reader shift attention to the heading i How can reflection problems be avoided?. Section F contains a procedure (or “method”) for how to avoid glare. After having recognized that this heading was looking for a “method” in Step 3, we can correctly choose heading i for this question.
 
21. iii - Lastly, Section G closes the passage with a few sentences. The first sentence contains the key words, “unsatisfactory” and “conditions”. A resolution to the “trouble” (a key word in the last sentence) is also provided. With this, the heading iii     What if I experience any problems? should be immediately considered. Although the heading vi contains key words regarding health problems, Section G does not discuss “common” problems. Additionally, vi should have been eliminated since it was the correct answer for the first question. 
 
Video Answer Explanation
IELTS General 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.

 
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