Answer for Complete IELTS (Bands 6.5 – 7.5) - Reading Practice Test 2

1. NO 21. mass communication
2. YES 22. exhibition
3. NOT GIVEN 23. unique cultural institutions
4. YES 24. FALSE
5. NO 25. TRUE
6. H 26. TRUE
7. A 27. NOT GIVEN
8. C 28. D
9. G 29. E
10. E 30. A
11. C 31. G
12. B 32. C
13. A 33. sediment layers
14. A 34. ivory and bone
15. storage space 35. new technologies
16. invention 36. skull shapes
17. colour and design 37. C
18. greasy crayon 38. B
19. transfer paper 39. A
20. words and images 40. B

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Other modules in this test:

Marking Scheme

Level Band Listening Score Reading Score
Expert 9 39-40 39-40
Very Good 8.5 37-38 37-38
Very Good 8 35-36 35-36
Good 7.5 32-34 33-34
Good 7 30-31 30-32
Competent 6.5 26-29 27-29
Competent 6 23-25 23-26
Modest 5.5 18-22 19-22
Modest 5 16-17 15-18
Limited 4.5 13-15 13-14
Limited 4 10-12 10-12
Extremely Limited 3.5 8-10 8-9
Extremely Limited 3 6-7 6-7


Test details


Questions 1-5

Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer?


YES                   if the statement agrees with the claims of the writer

NO                    if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer

NOT GIVEN       if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

1    Merck’s experience with MK-869 was unique.
Answer: NO   (Locate)

2     These days, a small number of unsuccessful test results can ruin a well-established drugs company.
Answer: YES   (Locate)

3     Some medical conditions are more easily treated by a placebo than others.

4     It was to be expected that the third group in Kaptchuk’s trial would do better than the other two groups.
Answer: YES   (Locate)

5     Kaptchuk’s research highlights the fact that combined drug and placebo treatments should be avoided.
Answer: NO   (Locate)

Questions 6-10

Complete the summary using the list of words A-l below.

iMerck and MK-869

As a result of concerns about increasing 6 in the drugs industry, the pharmaceutical company Merck decided to increase its 7 in the anti-depressant

market. The development of the drug MK-869 was seen as the way forward.

Initially, MK-869 had some 8 , but later trials revealed a different picture. Although key 9 could be treated with the drug, a sugar pill was proving equally effective. In the end, the 10 indicated that it was pointless continuing with the development of the drug.

A activity

D patients


B prices

E tests

H competition

C success

F diseases

I criticism

6. Answer: H   (Locate) 

7. Answer: A   (Locate) 

8. Answer: C   (Locate) 

9. Answer: G   (Locate) 

10. Answer: E   (Locate) 

Questions 11-14

Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D.

11    Which of the following is true of William Potter’s research?

A It was based on recently developed drugs that he had recommended.

B It included trial results from a range of drugs companies.

C Some of the trial results he investigated had not been made public.

D Some of his findings were not accepted by the drugs industry.
Answer: C   (Locate)

12     What did William Potter's research reveal about the location of drugs trials?

A The placebo effect was weakest in the US.

B Results were not consistent around the world.

C Results varied depending on the type of hospital.

D The FDA preferred drugs to be tested in different countries.
Answer: B   (Locate)

13    What does the tight race refer to in line 80?

A the standard tests

B consistent results

C ratings by trial observers

D testing sites
Answer: A   (Locate)

14     What significant discovery was made by Ted Kaptchuk?

A The effects of a placebo can last longer than previously thought.

B Patients’ health can improve while waiting to undergo a trial.

C Patients respond better to a placebo if they are treated by the same clinician throughout the trial.

D Those conducting a placebo trial need to know the subjects’ disorder well.
Answer: A   (Locate)

Questions 15-19

Complete the table below. 

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

Early Printing Methods




Metal type

• produced large print

•    cost, weight and 15 difficulties
Answer: storage space   (Locate)

•   mixed styles

Wood type

•    Darius's wood drill used in connection with another 16
Answer: invention   (Locate)

•    produced a range of letters

•    lacked both 17
Answer: colour and design   (Locate)

•    mixed type


•    letters drawn by hand

•    design tool - a 18
Answer: greasy crayon   (Locate)

• had to use a mirror or 19 to achieve correct image
Answer: transfer paper   (Locate)

Questions 20-23 

Complete the flow chart below.

Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Jules Cheret

1860s - invention of 'three-stone lithographic process’
combination of both 20 on coloured posters
Answer: words and images   (Locate)
1870s - posters used for advertising and 21 in Europe
Answer: mass communication   (Locate)
1884-86 - Cheret’s poster 22 and book on poster art
Answer: exhibition   (Locate)
1890s - posters represent 23 around the world
Answer: unique cultural institutions   (Locate)

Questions 24-27

Do the following statements agree with the information in the reading passage?


TRUE    if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE   if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

24    By the 1950s. photographs were more widely seen than artists' illustrations on posters.
Answer: FALSE   (Locate)

25  Features of the Typographic Style can be seen in modern-day posters.
Answer: TRUE   (Locate)

26  The Typographic Style met a global need at a particular time in history.
Answer: TRUE

27  Weingart got many of his ideas from his students in Basel.

Questions 28-32

The reading passage has seven paragraphs, A-G.

Which paragraph contains the following information? 

28    a comparison of a range of physical features of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens
Answer: D   (Locate)

29    reference to items that were once used for trade
Answer: E   (Locate)

30    mention of evidence for the existence of a previously unknown human species
Answer: A   (Locate)

31    mention of the part played by i.l fortune in the downfall of Neanderthal society
Answer: G   (Locate)

32    reference to the final geographical location of Nediidei tlials
Answer: C   (Locate)

Questions 33-36

Complete the sentences below.

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

33     Analysis of stone tools and has enabled Petraglia’s team to put forward an arrival date for Homo sapiens in eastern India.
Answer: sediment layers   (Locate)

34    Homo sapiens used both  to make sewing implements.
Answer: ivory and bone   (Locate)

35     The territorial nature of Neanderthals may have limited their ability to acquire resources and
Answer: new technologies   (Locate)   

36    Archaeologists examined  in order to get an insight into Neanderthal and Homo sapiens' capacity for language and thought.
Answer: skull shapes   (Locate)

Questions 37-40

Look at the following statements and the list of researchers, A-C, below.

Match each statement with the correct researcher.

37     No evidence can be found to suggest that Neanderthal communities allocated tasks to different members.
Answer: C   (Locate)

38    Homo sapiens may have been able to plan ahead.
Answer: B   (Locate)

39    Scientists cannot be sure whether a sudden natural disaster contributed to the loss of a human species.
Answer: A   (Locate)

40    Environmental conditions restricted the areas where Homo sapiens and Neanderthals could live.
Answer: B   (Locate)


List of Researchers

A Mike Petraglia

B Chris Stringer

C Penny Spikins





Legend:       Academic word (?)            New word


Examining the placebo effect

The fact that taking a fake drug can powerfully improve some people's health - the so-called placebo effect - was long considered an embarrassment to the serious practice of pharmacology, but now things have changed.

Several years ago. Merck, a global pharmaceutical company, was falling behind its rivals in sales . To make matters worse, patents on five blockbuster drugs were about to expire, which would allow cheaper generic products to flood the market. In interviews with the press. Edward Scolnick. Merck's Research Director, presented his plan to restore the firm to pre-eminence. Key to his strategy was expanding the company’s reach into the anti depressant , market, where Merck had trailed behind, while competitors like Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline had created some of the best-selling drugs in the world. "To remain dominant in the future.” he told one media company, "we need to dominate the central nervous system."

His plan hinged on the success of an experimental anti-depressant codenamed MK-869. Still in clinical trials, it was a new kind of medication that exploited brain chemistry in innovative ways to promote feelings of well-being. The drug tested extremely well early on . with minimal side effects. Behind the scenes, however, MK-869 was starting to unravel. True, many test subjects treated with the medication felt their hopelessness and anxiety lift. But so did nearly the same number who took a placebo, a look-alike pill made of milk sugar or another ineit substance given to groups of volunteers in subsequent clinical trials to gauge the effectiveness of the real drug by comparison. Ultimately Merck's venture into the anti-depressant market failed. In the jargon of the industry, the trials crossed the "futility boundary".

MK-869 has not been the only much-ited medical breakthrough to be undone in recent years by the placebo effect . And it's not only trials of new drugs that are crossing the futility boundary. Some products that have been on the market for decades are faltering in more recent follow-up tests It's not that the old medications are getting weaker, drug developers say It's as if the placebo effect is somehow getting stronger The fact that an increasing number of medications are unable to beat sugar pills has thrown the industry into crisis The stakes could hardly be higher. To win FDA* approval, a new medication must beat placebo In at least two authenticated trials. In today’s economy, the fate of a well-established company can hang on the outcome of a handful of tests .

Why are fake pills suddenly overwhelming promising new drugs and established medicines alike? The reasons are only just beginning to be understood. A network of independent researchers is doggedly uncovering the inner workings and potential applications of the placebo effect A psychiatrist. William Potter, who knew that some patients really do seem to get healthier for reasons that have more to do with a doctor's empathy than with the contents of a pill, was baffled by the fact that drugs he had been prescribing for years seemed to be struggling to prove their effectiveness Thinking that a crucial factor may have been overlooked, Potter combed through his company’s database of published and unpublished trials—including those that had been kept secret because of high placebo response . His team aggregated the findings from decades of anti-depressant trials, looking for patterns and trying to see what was changing over time. What they found challenged some of the industry’s basic assumptions about its drug-vetting process Assumption number one was that if a trial were managed correctly, a medication would perform as well or badly in a Phoenix hospital as in a Bangalore dinic. Potter discovered, however, that geographic location alone could determine the outcome . By the late 1990s, for example, the anti-anxiety drug Diazepam was still beating placebo in France and Belgium But when the drug was tested
in the U.S. it was likely to fail. Conversely, a similar drug. Prozac, performed better in America than it did in western Europe and South Africa. It was an unsettling prospect FDA approval could hinge on where the company chose to conduct a trial.

Mistaken assumption number two was that the standard tests used to gauge volunteers' improvement in trials yielded consistent results. Potter and his colleagues discovered that ratings by trial observers varied significantly from one testing site to another. It was like finding out that the judges in a tight race each had a different idea about the placement of the finish line .

After some coercion by Potter and others, the National Institute of Health (NIH) focused on the issue in 2000, hosting a three-day conference in Washington, and this conference launched a new wave of placebo research in academic laboratories in the U.S. and Italy that would make significant progress toward solving the mystery of what was happening in clinical trials.

In one study last year. Harvard Medical School researcher Ted Kaptchuk devised a clever strategy for testing his volunteers’ response to varying levels of therapeutic ritual The study focused on a common but painful medical condition that costs more than $40 billion a year worldwide to treat. First, the volunteers were placed randomly in one of three groups. One group was simply put on a waiting list; researchers know that some patients get better just because they sign up for a trial. Another group received placebo treatment from a clinician who declined to engage in small talk. Volunteers in the third group got the same fake treatment from a clinician who asked them questions about symptoms, outlined the causes of the illness, and displayed optimism about their condition.

Not surprisingly, the health of those in the third group improved most . In fact, just by participating in the trial, volunteers in this high-interaction group got as much relief as did people taking the two leading prescription drugs for the condition. And the benefits of their “bogus” treatment persisted for weeks afterward, contrary to the belief—widespread in the pharmaceutical industry- that the placebo response is short-lived.

Studies like this open the door to hybrid treatment strategies that exploit the placebo effect to make real drugs safer and more effective . As Potter says. “To really do the best foi your patients, you want the best placebo response plus the best drug response'' adapted from Wired Magazine

* The Food and Drugs Administration (an agency in the United States responsible for protecting public health by assunng the safety of human drugs)


The history of the poster

The appearance of the poster has changed continuously over the past two centuries.

The first posters were known as ‘broadsides’ and were used for public and commercial announcements. Printed on one side only using metal type, they were quickly and crudely produced in large quantities. As they were meant to be read at a distance, they required large lettering.

There were a number of negative aspects of large metal type. It was expensive, required a large amount of storage space and was extremely heavy. If a printer did have a collection of large metal type, it was likely that there were not enough letters. So printers did their best by mixing and matching styles.

Commercial pressure for large type was answered with the invention of a system for wood type production. In 1827, Darius Wells invented a special wood drill - the lateral router - capable of cutting letters on wood blocks. The router was used in combination with William Leavenworth’s pantograpn (1834) to create decorative wooden letters of all shapes and sizes. The first posters began to appear, but they had little colour and design ; often wooden type was mixed with metal type in a conglomeration of styles.

A major development in poster design was the application of lithography, invented by Alois Senefelder in 1796, which allowed artists to hand-draw letters, opening the field of type design to endless styles. The method involved drawing with a greasy crayon onto finely surfaced Bavarian limestone and offsetting that image onto paper. This direct process captured the artist's true intention; however, the final printed image was in reverse. The images and lettering needed to be drawn backwards, often reflected in a mirror or traced on transfer paper .

As a result of this technical difficulty, the invention of the lithographic process had little impact on posters until the 1860s, when Jules Cheret came up with his ‘three-stone lithographic process’. This gave artists the opportunity to experiment with a wide spectrum of colours.

Although the process was difficult, the result was remarkable, with nuances of colour impossible in other media even to this day. The ability to mix words and images in such an attractive and economical format finally made the lithographic poster a powerful innovation.

Starting in the 1870s, posters became the main vehicle for advertising prior to the magazine era and the dominant means of mass communication in the rapidly growing cities of Europe and America. Yet in the streets of Paris, Milan and Berlin, these artistic prints were so popular that they were stolen off walls almost as soon as they were hung. Cheret, later known as ‘the father of the modern poster’, organised the first exhibition of posters in 1884 and two years later published the first book on poster art. He quickly took advantage of the public interest by arranging for artists to create posters, at a reduced size, that were suitable for in-home display.

Thanks to Cheret. the poster slowly took hold in other countries in the 1890s and came to celebrate each society’s unique cultural institutions : the cafe in France, the opera and fashion in Italy, festivals in Spain, literature in Holland and trade fairs in Germany. The first poster shows were held in Great

Britain and Italy in 1894, Germany in 1896 and Russia in 1897. The most important poster show ever, to many observers, was held in Reims, France, in 1896 and featured an unbelievable 1,690 posters arranged by country.

In the early 20th century, the poster continued to play a large communication role and to go through a range of styles. By the 1950s, however, it had begun to share the spotlight with other media, mainly radio and print. By this time, most posters were printed using the mass production technique of photo offset, which resulted in the familiar dot pattern seen in newspapers and magazines. In addition, the use of photography in posters, begun in Russia in the twenties, started to become as common as illustration.

In the late fifties, a new graphic style that had strong reliance on typographic elements in black and white appeared. The new style came to be known as the International Typographic Style. It made use of a mathematical grid, strict graphic rules and black-and-white photography to provide a clear and logical structure. It became the predominant style in the world in the 1970s and continues to exert its influence today.

It was perfectly suited to the increasingly international post-war marketplace, where there was a strong demand for clarity. This meant that the accessibility of words and symbols had to be taken into account. Corporations wanted international identification, and events such as the Olympics called for universal solutions, which the Typographic Style could provide.

However, the International Typographic Style began to lose its energy in the late 1970s. Many criticised it for being cold, formal and dogmatic.

A young teacher in Basel. Wolfgang Weingart, experimented with the offset printing process to produce posters that appeared complex and chaotic, playful and spontaneous - all in stark contrast to what had gone before. Weingart's liberation of typography was an important foundation for several new styles. These ranged from Memphis and Retro to the advances now being made in computer graphics.

Adapted from


Last man standing

Some 50,000 years ago, Homo sapiens beat other hominids to become the only surviving species. Kate Ravilious reveals how we did it.

A Today, there are over seven billion people living on Earth. No other species has exerted as much influence over the planet as us. But turn the clock back 80,000 years and we were one of a number of species roaming the Earth. Our own species. Homo sapiens (Latin for ’wise man'), was most successful in Africa. In western Eurasia, the Neanderthals dominated, while Homo erectus may have lived in Indonesia. Meanwhile, an unusual finger bone and tooth, discovered in Denisova cave in Siberia in 2008, have led scientists to believe that yet another human population - the Denisovans - may also have been widespread across Asia . Somewhere along the line, these other human species died out, leaving Homo sapiens as the sole survivor. So what made us the winners in the battle for survival?

B Some 74.000 years ago, the Toba ‘supervolcano' on the Indonesian island of Sumatra erupted. The scale of the event was so great that ash from the eruption was flung as far as eastern India, more than 2,000 kilometres away. Oxford archaeologist Mike Petraglia and his team have uncovered thousands of stone tools buried underneath the Toba ash. The mix of hand axes and spear tips have led Petraglia to speculate that Homo sapiens and Homo erectus were both living in eastern India prior to the Toba eruption. Based on careful examination of the tools and dating of the sediment layers where they were found. Petraglia and his team suggest that Homo sapiens arrived in eastern India around 78.000 years ago. migrating out of Africa and across Arabia during a favourable climate period. After their arrival, the simple tools belonging to Homo erectus seemed to lessen in number and eventually disappear completely. 'We think that Homo sapiens had a more efficient hunting technology, which could have given them the edge.' says Petraglia. ' Whether the eruption of Toba also played a role in the extinction of the Homo erectus-like species is unclear to us.'

C Some 45.000 years later, another fight for survival took place. This time, the location was Europe and the protagonists were another species, the Neanderthals.

They were a highly successful species that dominated the European landscape for 300.000 years. Yet within just a few thousand years of the arrival of Homo sapiens, their numbers plummeted. They eventually disappeared from the landscape around 30.000 years ago with their last known refuge being southern Iberia, including Gibraltar . Initially. Homo sapiens and Neanderthals lived alongside each other and had no reason to compete. But then Europe’s climate swung into a cold, inhospitable, dry phase. ‘Neanderthal and Homo sapiens populations had to retreat to refugia (pockets of habitable land). This heightened competition between the two groups,’ explains Chris Stringer, anthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London.

D Both species were strong and stockier than the average human today, but Neanderthals were particularly robust . ‘Their skeletons show that they had broad shoulders and thick necks,' says Stringer. ‘Homo sapiens, on the other hand, had longer forearms, which undoubtedly enabled them to throw a spear from some distance, with less danger and using relatively little energy,’ explains Stringer. This long-range ability may have given Homo sapiens an advantage in hunting. When it came to keeping warm. Homo sapiens had another skill: weaving and sewing. Archaeologists have uncovered simple needles fashioned from ivory and bone alongside Homo sapiens, dating as far back as 35,000 years ago. ‘Using this technology, we could use animal skins to make ourselves tents, warm clothes and fur boots,’ says Stringer. In contrast. Neanderthals never seemed to master sewing skills, instead relying on pinning skins together with thorns.

E A thirst for exploration provided Homo sapiens with another significant advantage over Neanderthals. Objects such as shell beads and flint tools, discovered many miles from their source, show that our ancestors travelled over large distances, in order to barter and exchange useful materials, and share ideas and knowledge . By contrast. Neanderthals tended to keep themselves to themselves, living in small groups. They misdirected their energies by only gathering resources from their immediate surroundings and perhaps failing to discover new technologies outside their territory.

F Some of these differences in behaviour may have emerged because the two species thought in different ways. By comparing skull shapes , archaeologists have shown that Homo sapiens had a more developed temporal lobe - the regions at the side of the brain, associated with listening, language and long-term memory. ' We think that Homo sapiens had a significantly more complex language than Neanderthals and were able to comprehend and discuss concepts such as the distant past and future.' says Stringer . Penny Spikins, an archaeologist at the University of York, has recently suggested that Homo sapiens may also have had a greater diversity of brain types than Neanderthals.

‘Our research indicates that high-precision tools, new hunting technologies and the development of symbolic communication may all have come about because they were willing to include people with "different" minds and specialised roles in their society,’ she explains. ' We see similar kinds of injuries on male and female Neanderthal skeletons, implying there was no such division of labour ,' says Spikins. 

G Thus by around 30,000 years ago. many talents and traits were well established in Homo sapiens societies but still absent from Neanderthal communities. Stringer thinks that the Neanderthals were just living in the wrong place at the wrong time. 'They had to compete with Homo sapiens during a phase of very unstable climate across Europe. During each rapid climate fluctuation, they may have suffered greater losses of people than Homo sapiens, and thus were slowly worn down,’ he says. ‘If the climate had remained stable throughout, they might still be here.’

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