BEST IELTS General Reading Test 412

BEST IELTS General Reading Test 412


IELTS General Reading Test



Beauty Pageants

A. Choosing symbolic kings and queens for May Day and other festivities is an ancient custom in Europe, in which beautiful young women symbolise their nation’s virtues and other abstract qualities. Beauty pageants have also long been part of American popular culture. The Miss America Pageant is the most well-known and it was started in 1921 as a ‘bathing beauty’ contest to entice summer holidaymakers to stay in town past Labor Day. Local newsman Herb Test created history by offering to title the girl who won ‘Miss America.’

Out of the eight competitors for the title, Margaret Gorman, who represented the nation’s capital as Miss Washington D.C., was declared the beauty queen, winning the first-ever Miss America title. For several years afterward, the contest was dogged by controversies. First, the contest came under criticism of corruption and bias. Then, 15-year-old Marian Bergeron won the crown. When her age was discovered, she was disqualified, but the crown had already been stolen from her hotel.

IELTS General Reading Test

B. In 1935, the pageant was revived by producer Lenora Slaughter. By this time, the nation was in the grip of Hollywood fever. Pageant-winners were often offered Hollywood screen tests, and film producers from Hollywood started scouring these contests for potential stars of the silver screen. Some women actually did make it to the screen that way, including Dorothy Lamour, who went on to co-star in several successful movies. It was only in 1938 that a skills component became mandatory for the pageant. Slaughter also decided to offer a college scholarship to the winner, the then significant sum of $5,000. In 1948, history was made again when Slaughter announced that henceforth the winners would be crowned in evening gowns only.

C. As times changed, though, so have beauty pageants. Today, this annual U.S. national competition, as well as state and local pageants, claim to showcase the talent, intellect, and beauty of modern women. The pageants provide popular entertainment for those at the competitions and, through the broadcast media, to those watching at home. Funds for sponsoring the pageants and providing the prizes are traditionally drawn from individuals, small businesses, corporations, civic groups, foundations, and universities.

Commercial sponsors reap favourable promotion opportunities, leading to increased product visibility and market share. Prizes include the coveted crown, and may also include trophies, vacations, clothes, jewelry, savings bonds, and cash. Besides prizes, the winner has the opportunity to pursue her career and community service goals, as well as the obligation to represent the pageant sponsors’ commercial interests.

IELTS General Reading Test

D. Beauty contests have various advantages for the contestants. Firstly, in order to compete and be successful in the beauty pageant world, contestants have to have a pretty significant amount of selfdiscipline. They have to train so that they are perfect on stage, keep a strict diet and workout regime in place, and put in the work to make themselves look their best. This quality is a skill that can help participants in many different aspects of life, especially if they begin competing at a young age.

Secondly, contestants have to be well-rounded people in order to succeed in the pageant world. It isn’t all about looking pretty and wearing fancy clothes. They also have to be prepared to answer insightful questions and be able to handle themselves under pressure. These are skills that are needed to be successful, not only in the pageant world, but in real life as well. Thirdly, although some beauty pageants are just about winning the contest, others have some real advantages to participating. Many pageants offer cash rewards for the winner, and pageants for younger girls often give out college scholarships.

IELTS General Reading Test

This is an advantage, because it helps these young people to begin to prepare for their future, and gets them in the mindset of self-improvement. Finally, the pageant world is an interconnected community of parents, participants, and trainers. When people compete in many pageants, they begin to develop bonds with the people that they are competing with on a regular basis. These are friendships that will likely last for a long time.

E. The disadvantages of beauty contests are wide-ranging. Firstly, beauty pageants are for the beautiful. This is harmful to young girls and even adults who feel they cannot compete. The strong focus on physical appearance can cause competing girls to form obsessions, and a loss gives the feeling that they were not pretty enough to win. In addition, beauty pageants also tacitly approve of the ideology for both men and women that women should only be evaluated by their personal appearance.

Secondly, the winners of the big name pageants of the past all have one thing in common: they are thin. This simple fact creates a norm for girls who compete in pageants to live up to. The result is a group of competing young girls within which eating disorders and depression run rampant. Eating disorders are extremely unhealthy, and can cause irreversible damage to girls’ bodies. The resulting depression can naturally lead to severe problems as well. Finally, exploitation is a common word heard with regards to beauty pageants. In child pageants, which are rapidly growing in popularity around the world, the children are taken advantage of because they often have no say as to whether or not they compete.

IELTS General Reading Test

F. Pageant organisers would counter the above arguments by maintaining that the contests offer substantial benefits to the contestants and sponsors and provide a forum to showcase community customs and traditions. The organisers claim that pageants can therefore promote the growth and development of the community, which substantially benefits the said community as a whole. Pageants also offer a recreational outlet for participants and community members.

Questions 27 – 32

The text on the previous pages has 6 paragraphs A – F. Which paragraph contains the following information? Write your answers in boxes 27 –32 on your answer sheet.

27. The movie industry has used beauty pageants to look for new talent.

28. Beauty pageants can allow economic development in local communities.

29. One early beauty pageant was started to raise money from increased tourism.

IELTS General Reading Test

30. Some children have little choice of whether to compete or not in beauty pageants.

31. Competing in beauty pageants can sometimes help with university fee payments.

32. Business sponsorship of beauty pageants can create valuable publicity for the businesses.

IELTS General Reading Test

Questions 33 – 40

Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the text for each answer.

IELTS General Reading Test

IELTS General Reading Test


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BEST IELTS General Reading Test 412

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IELTS General Reading Test


27. B

28. F

29. A

30. E

31. D

32. C







39. NORM


IELTS General Reading Test

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