BEST IELTS General Reading Test 301

BEST IELTS General Reading Test 301

IELTS GENERAL READING TEST – PASSAGE – 2

IELTS General Reading Test
IELTS General Reading Test

IELTS GENERAL READING TEST

READING PASSAGE – 2

THE EXISTENCE OF MACHINERY

When were bent-wire paper clips introduced? The first bent-wire paper clip was patented by Samuel B. Fay in 1867. This clip was originally intended primarily for attaching tickets to fabric, although the patent recognized that it could be used to attach papers together. We have found no advertisement or other mention for the Fay paper clip before 1899, and it therefore appears unlikely that it had significant, if any, sales prior to the late 1890s. However, beginning in 1899 and for decades thereafter, the Fay design was widely advertised under many brand names for use in fastening papers.

IELTS General Reading Test

The Gem paper clip, which was never patented, but which eventually became by far the best selling paper clip in the U.S., has been advertised since 1894, and may have been introduced in 1892.

A patent application filed at the end of 1896 indicated that a number of different paper clips were in use. A flood of paper clip patents were issued beginning in 1897. This evidence indicates that bent-wire paper clips came into widespread use in offices in the late 1890s. A 1900 trade publication stated that “The wire clip for holding office papers together has entirely superseded the use of the pin in all up-to-date offices.”

IELTS General Reading Test

Why weren’t bent-wire paper clips marketed earlier? According to Petroski, “Steel wire was still new in the second half of the nineteenth century. The widespread manufacture and use of the paper clip had to await not only the availability of the right wire but also the existence of machinery capable of tirelessly and reliably bending it in a flash into things that could be bought for pennies a box.” (Henry Petroski, “From Pins to Paper Clips,” The Evolution of Useful Things, Vintage, New York, 1992, p. 60)

With what products did paper clips compete most closely? The two earliest patents indicate that bent-wire paper clips could be used in lieu of pins, sewing, “pointed bent-over paper fasteners,” and eyelets. In 1904, Clinch Clips were advertised as “Cheaper than Pins.” Around 1910 advertisements compare paper clips to straight pins for temporary attachment of papers. By contrast, early paper clip advertisements do not refer to staples.

IELTS General Reading Test

Why were bent-wire paper clips sold in so many different designs? Many designs were initially protected by patents. As a result, other manufacturers had to come up with different designs. Also, no single paper clip design is optimal for all purposes. In marketing paper clips, suppliers emphasized the superiority of their designs on one or two of the following characteristics:

1. Does not catch, mutilate, or tear papers

2. Does not get tangled with other clips in the box

3. Holds a thick set of papers

4. Holds papers securely

5. Is thinner and takes less space in files

6. Is easily inserted

7. Is light weight and requires less postage

8. Is cheap (e.g., because it uses less wire)

IELTS General Reading Test

Questions 14 – 21

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS and/or a NUMBER from the text for each answer.

14. The patent filed by Fay in 1867 included the application of keeping papers together and fastening ………………. .

15. Post 1899, Fay used different ………………. to market his paper clips.

16. The number one paper clip in America was called ………………. .

17. A trade magazine seemed to recognise the success of the paper clip around ………………. .

18. Production of the paper clip was held back until the ………………. became available.

19. In 1904, paper clips were sold on the basis of them being ………………. alternatives.

20. The ………………. on paper clip designs forced competitors to be more creative.

21. Some paper clips were marketed as being able to keep a lot of pages together more ………………. .

IELTS General Reading Test

Read the text and answer Questions 22 – 27 

Body Language at Work

News of the world’s largest experiment to investigate telepathy last week set staff tongues wagging. How wonderful it would be to know what Sandra in accounts really thinks of Susan in systems, and what’s behind the faux niceness of Rachel at reception.

But while mind-reading is a skill we’re unlikely to use in the office, the ability to read people’s bodies is not so unfathomable. Understanding Body Language In A Week, published this month by The Institute of Management, aims to show how body language in the workplace betrays your true attitudes, hints at what others really think and can help you become a more effective communicator.

IELTS General Reading Test

The existence of a body language speaks for itself through the statistics. Less than 10% of the messages we communicate occur through our speech; a surprising 40% are conveyed by our tone of voice and 50% simply from our gestures. This is the claim of the book’s authors, Geoff Ribbens and Richard Thompson, who say that “communication without body language would be like writing without punctuation.”

Such an analogy may ring true for the bumbling fools among us, who can’t get the gist of how to conduct a good office relationship with our peers. While Ribbens and Thompson argue that our ability to interpret others’ behaviour is inherent, they acknowledge that not everyone knows how to use that 90% of unspoken communication for the best.

For the growing number of support staff, the art of body language is a talent worth nurturing. With technology liberating them from the more time-consuming chores, PAs and secretaries are able to pursue more social responsibilities – managing staff, attending meetings and handling clients. But to milk these social settings, their body language has to say “confident and capable” – otherwise they will amount to no more than wasted opportunities.

IELTS General Reading Test

Judi James, business consultant and author of Body Talk: The Skills of Positive Image, offers some advice to the shy secretary. “In America, PAs will give out business cards as a matter of course, but if I suggest this in the UK it tends to provoke nervous laughter,” she says. “People in support roles in this country are terrified that being assertive will be misinterpreted as arrogance, which it won’t.”

Recognising that the nation’s confidence is somewhat lacking, an increasing number of British organisations are encouraging staff to learn how to use body language to communicate better.

IELTS General Reading Test

“I don’t like to portray body language as a bag of tricks, but in terms of marketing yourself more effectively at work, there are tips that make a massive amount of difference,” says James. “Always enter offices and meeting rooms confidently, as if you’re meant to be there. It’s amazing how many people have difficulty going up to someone and confidently shaking their hand with just enough eye contact to make them realise you’re worth speaking to.

Once you’ve made that initial impact you can probably afford to let it drop a little during the meeting, but that first impression is really important. Always avoid tiptoeing into meetings looking apologetic and trying to be invisible. It looks awful and – although it isn’t fair – people will probably question your credibility, however brilliant you might be at your job.”

IELTS General Reading Test

James cautions against being too reticent with our bodies. “If you have to approach a senior colleague at their desk, try to do so with as much purpose as possible. Many people find it very irritating to have someone lurking at their desk, timidly waiting to speak to them, and it can get your conversation off on the wrong foot. I think you can afford to move with a degree of authority without looking like the young pretender.” It can also help to slightly mirror the other person’s body language, although obviously it pays to judge this sensitively.

But let’s not kid ourselves too much with all these career-furthering intentions. The really appealing thing about analysing body language is the idea of interpreting other people’s behaviour. From now on, never believe a colleague who has a habit of rubbing his eyes or touching his nose. He is lying, according to the gospel of body language, and should not be trusted.

IELTS General Reading Test

All of which doesn’t bode well for poor unfortunates struck down with conjunctivitis or for those who can’t resist fingering a snotty nose. The authors’ get-out clause for this little discrepancy is to argue that “it is seldom one gesture or posture, but a combination of body signals that convey the clues. It is also important to put the body language in context.”

So next time someone picks at their clothes while talking to you don’t automatically assume – as the textbook has it – that they privately they disagree with you. They might be trying to remove traces of the morning’s toothpaste from their lapel.

IELTS General Reading Test

Questions 22 – 27

Choose the correct letter, A, B or C.

22. Geoff Ribbens and Richard Thompson state that

A. we understand about half of other people’s body language

B. a significant portion of a message is delivered through intonation

C. the major part of any message is sent through our body language

23. More technology means

A. staff are using their body language less effectively

B. some staff have developed more confidence

C. admin staff carry out more people-related tasks

24. James believes that

A. PAs in America are more confident than in the UK

B. PAs in the UK are arrogant

C. PAs in America are concerned about appearing to be arrogant

25. James believes there is much to be gained from

A. maintaining strong body language throughout a meeting

B. making a high level of eye contact

C. entering a meeting with confidence

26. When addressing senior staff, James thinks

A. you should use your body language to show the required level of respect

B. you should always try to mirror their body language

C. you should not be too timid

27. When attempting to interpret body language, we should remember

A. that it is not difficult to misinterpret the meaning

B. that a single gesture often tells us all we need to know

C. to pay more attention to facial gestures

IELTS General Reading Test

ANSWERS ARE BELOW

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BEST IELTS General Reading Test 301
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IELTS General Reading Test

ANSWERS

14. TICKETS TO FABRIC

15. BRAND NAMES

16. THE GEM

17. 1900

18. RIGHT WIRE

19. CHEAPER THAN

20. PATENTS

21. SECURELY

22. B

23. C

24. A

25. C

26. C

27. A

IELTS General Reading Test

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