BEST IELTS General Reading Test 431

BEST IELTS General Reading Test 431

IELTS General Reading Test

Objects From Different Civilizations

Objects from lost civilisations can tell us about the social relationships and the way of life of the people belonging to those societies. The Indus valley civilisation and the Chinese civilisation have been influential with their innovations and contributions to advanced technology. The Indus Valley civilization is also called the Harappan civilization. Developing along the mighty Indus River, it was at its peak around 2500 and 3500 BC.

This Bronze Age civilisation is believed to be among the oldest world civilisations together with the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations. The famous figurine of the dancing girl from the Harappa region shows the advances made in art and metallurgy at the time. The statue describes details such as the hairstyle and ornaments prevalent then such as the more than 20 bangles in her left arm and four on her right arm, and the necklace. Although the bronze statuette is in standing position, it was named the dancing girl by assuming that it was her profession. 

IELTS General Reading Test

The seals are other famous objects from the Bronze Age. Seals are beautifully carved out of stone and then fired for durability. Over 3,500 seals discovered are mostly square with different symbols at the top, an animal in the centre and a few more symbols at the bottom are, which are presumed to be the inscription of the Indus valley language. The inscription indicates that people of this age wrote the first line from right to left, the second line from left to right and so on. Some common animal inscriptions on these seals include elephants, unicorns, rhinoceros, and bulls.

On the reverse face, most seals have projections with a hole to possibly carry it comfortably. The imprint on some of the seals suggests that they were used as clay tags for sacks of traded goods such as grain, which means that the Harappan people were involved in long-distance trading networks. Hunting tools show that the Indus people were fond of game. Many of the toys are carts and animals made from baked clay, and most were for children, which has led to the conclusion that the people had an active social life. 

IELTS General Reading Test

Standardised measurement is another valuable contribution of the Indus valley people. The oldest ruler with markings was a copper alloy rod found by a German archaeologist and he claims that it was used as a standard measurement unit. He mentions that the measurements on the ruler are divided into units that correspond to 1.32 inches which are further divided into perfectly calculated decimal subdivisions. Measurements of the bricks found in excavations of the Mohenjo Daro and Harappan civilisations match with those on the ruler mentioned by the German archaeologist. 

China was the first nation to invent paper. In the older civilisations, words were written on natural materials such as grass stalks, earthen plates, wood and bamboo strips, tree leaves, and sheepskins. The first paper from the Chinese people was known as bo and was made of silk. However, it was expensive. In the 2nd century, a new kind of paper was produced from rags, bark, wheat stalks, and other materials, which was not only cheaper but was also durable and could be used for brush writing. Papermaking had spread to other parts of the world in the beginning of the third century.

IELTS General Reading Test

Ancient China also gets credit for the invention of gunpowder. In a collection of most important military techniques as described in Wujing Zongyao that was edited in 1044 by Zeng Gong Liang, three formulas of making gunpowder were discovered and have been described as the earliest formulas of such kinds.

Another significant gift from China was the compass. It was developed after some miners got hold of a piece of a natural magnetite that attracted iron and pointed north. The compass that we use today is a result of a series of improvements to the earliest design. Before it was invented, navigators depended on the position of the moon, sun, and the polestar for their bearings. 

IELTS General Reading Test

The reading passage mentions a number of objects/achievements related to Indus Valley and Chinese civilisations and their relevance.

Match each object/ achievement (Questions 1-7) in List A with its relevance (A-J) in List B.

Write the correct letter, A-J, as your answer.

List A

1. figurine of the dancing girl 

2. seals for marking goods

3. weapons for hunting

4. toys for children

5. copper alloy ruler

6. production of paper from plant material

7. invention of the compass

IELTS General Reading Test

List B

A. strength and affordability of a product

B. the various uses of clay

C. spread of commerce in a wide area

D. advancements in metal craft

E. recognition of dance as a profession

F. social activity

G. a consequence of the discovery of natural magnet

H.  navigators depended on astronomical bodies

I. use of standard measurements in construction

J. the consumption of wild birds and animals as food

IELTS General Reading Test

Travel is the best form of education

One learns a lot while serving in the United States Army. Foreing places, stressful conditions, and absence from home can foster an out-of-the-classroom education that crosses the boundary of the odd and unusual. Today, tales of strange sea creatures and haunted islands seem like a bad Sci-Fi marathon. But these were realities for one U.S. Army soldier stationed overseas at the thrun of the 20th century.

The art of journal keeping, letter writing and daily diary entries are becoming extinct as methods of memory management are changing in today’s technology driven world. What once was detailed on paper with memory fresh at hand is now posted on YouTube Today, blogs replace diary entries. Hand-written letters to loved ones are far slower than a quick Facebook ‘poke’ or a cell phone text message.

IELTS General Reading Test

Historians enjoy a deep appreciation for the written word. They savour the ability to see the world through the eyes of someone who never had satellite TV, the Internet or cell phone. Where explanation was not readily at hand in the strange lands of the Philippine Islands, the environment was ripe for adventure and the unknown. Placing one’s self in such situations fosters an education that cannot be duplicated in any classroom, book or blockbuster movie. A survivor of deadly and savage situations, Colonel Horace P. Hoobs recorded these well-documented experiences that lend a degree of depth to the retelling and re-imagining of Army history.

The odd education of Colonel Horace P. Hobbs is revealed in his voluminous personal papers held at the U.S. Army Military History Institute. A letter of August 16, 1918, soothes his wife while he is stationed in France during World War I. “You see it is the women who suffer most during a war. Now I know you and mother are worrying about me and I am living in the most luxurious comfort and perfect safety just now.”

He goes to great lengths to explain his lush surroundings and the comfort he is experiencing, from bathing in a nearby brook to the size of his room and the servants who provide for him, as he attempts to console a worry-sick wife. It would seem, however, that Mrs Hobbs had been through worse as a military spouse.

IELTS General Reading Test

Her husband was stationed in the Philippines during the insurrection from 1899 to 1901. Colonel Hobbs wrote a book from his collected journals and memoirs entitled, “Kris and Krag: Adventures among the Moros of the Southern Philippine Islands”. Among his many tales, the Colonel tells about a strange native custom on one of the small islands of taking their boats across a narrow strait to another island and returning before dark. They explained to him that the island was the home of the ‘wok-wok’, a powerful ghost who must be appeased with gifts of rice so they will not harm the people. Upon further inspection, the Army discovered the ‘wok-wok’ to be large apes.

Another bizarre chapter in the Colonel’s education came when he was asked by some villagers to kill a sea creature which wreaked havoc among the people whenever they Slaughtered an animal for food. The blood would run into the water, and out would come the creature. The Colonel waited for the apparition to appear after a slaughter, and he was not disappointed. Upon further inspection he described the animal as being some kind of mix between an alligator and a crocodile, but one he had never seen before.

IELTS General Reading Test

Experience in foreign places, blended with curiosity and a desire to learn, enabled Colon to obtain a far greater grasp of the world. These traits provided him with an education that the average person today cannot obtain from watching television or searching the web.

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

8. What offers a non-traditional form of education?

A. Being away from home

B. Being in foreign countries

C. Situations that cause stress

D. All of the above

9. Historians enjoy the chance to see

A. Satellite TV.

B. The world through other’s eyes.

C. The world.

D. Popular documented experiences.

IELTS General Reading Test

10. While in France, the Colonel

A. Looked after his sick wife.

B. Lived with his wife.

C. Wrote letters to the U.S. Army Military History Institute,

D. Comforted his wife with his letters.

11. A sea creature would appear

A. Whenever the Colonel was in the village.

B. And make the Colonel disappointed.

C. When blood from a dead animal ran into the water.

D. And slaughter an animal.

IELTS General Reading Test

12. What traits helped a Colonel to get a good education?

A. A desire to travel to foreign places

B. Curiosity and a good grasp of the world

C. Watching TV and using the Internet 

D. Curiosity and a desire to learn

IELTS General Reading Test

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BEST IELTS General Reading Test 431

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IELTS General Reading Test

1. D

2. C

3. J

4. F

5. I

6. A

7. G

8. D

9. B

10. D 

11. C

12. D

IELTS General Reading Test

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