IELTS Reading Practice Test 49 with Answer Key

IELTS Reading Practice Test 49
IELTS Reading Practice Test 49


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1.


A. The chances are that you have already drunk a cup or glass of tea today. Perhaps, you are sipping one as you read this. Tea, now an everyday beverage in many parts of the world, has over the centuries been an important part of the rituals of hospitality both in the home and in trader society.

B. Tea originated in China, and in Eastern Asia tea making and drinking ceremonies have been popular for centuries. Tea was first shipped to North Western Europe by English and Dutch maritime traders in the sixteenth century. At about the same time, a land mule from the Ear East, via Moscow, to Europe was opened up. Tea also figured in America’s bid for independence from British rule – the Boston Tea Party.

C. As, over the last four hundred years, tea-leaves became available throughout much of Asia and Europe, the ways in which tea was drunk changed. The Chinese considered the quality of the leaves and the ways in which they w-ere cured all important. People in other cultures added new ingredients besides tea-leaves and hot water. They drank tea with milk, sugar, spices like cinnamon and cardamom, and herbs such as mint or sage. The variations are endless. For example, in Western Sudan on the edge of the Sahara Desert, sesame oil is added to milky tea on cold mornings. In England tea, unlike coffee, acquired a reputation as a therapeutic drink that promoted health. Indeed, in European and Arab countries as well as in Persia and Russia, tea was praised for its restorative and health giving properties. One Dutch physician, Cornelius Blankaart, advised that to maintain health a minimum of eight to ten cups a day should be drunk, and that up to 50 to 100 daily cups could be consumed with safely.

D. While European coffee houses were frequented by men discussing politics and closing business deals, respectable middle-class women stayed at home and held lea parties. When the price of tea fell in the nineteenth century poor people took up the drink with enthusiasm. Different grades and blends of tea were sold to suit every pocket.

E. Throughout the world today, few religious groups object to tea drinking In Islamic cultures, where drinking of alcohol is forbidden, tea and coffee consumption is an important part of social life. However, Seventh-Day Adventists, recognising the beverage as a drug containing the stimulant caffeine, frown upon the drinking of tea.

F. Nomadic Bedouin are well known for traditions of hospitality in the desert. According to Middle Eastern tradition, guests are served both tea and coffee from pots kept ready on the fires of guest tents where men of the family and male visitors gather. Cups of ‘bitter’ cardamom coffee and glasses of sugared tea should be constantly refilled by the host.

G. For over a thousand years, Arab traders have been bringing Islamic culture, including tea drinking; to northern and western Africa, Techniques of tea preparation and the ceremony involved have been adapted, in West African countries, such as Senegal and The Gambia, it is fashionable for young men to gather in small groups to brew Chinese ‘gunpowder’ tea. The tea is boiled with large amounts of sugar for a long time.

H. Tea drinking in India remains an important part of daily life. There, tea made entirely with milk is popular, ‘Chai’ is made by boiling milk and adding tea, sugar and some spices. This form of tea making has crossed the Indian Ocean and is also popular in East Africa, where tea is considered best when it is either very milky or made with water only. Curiously, this ‘milk or water’ formula has been carried over to the preparation of instant coffee, which is served in cafes as either black, or sprinkled on a cup of hot milk.

I. In Britain, coffee drinking, particularly in the informal atmosphere of coffee shops, is currently in vogue. Yet, the convention of afternoon tea lingers. At conferences, it remains common practice to serve coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon. Contemporary’ China, too, remains true to its long tradition. Delegates at conferences and seminars are served lea in cups with lids to keep the infusion hot. The cups are topped up throughout the proceedings. There are as yet no signs of coffee at such occasions.

Questions 1 – 8

Reading Passage 1 has nine paragraphs A-I.

From the list of headings below choose the most suitable heading for each paragraph.

Write the appropriate numbers i – xiii in boxes 1-8 on your answer sheet.

                       List of Headings

i. Diverse drinking methods

ii. Limited objections to drinking tea

iii. Today’s continuing tradition – in Britain and China

iv. Tea – a beverage of hospitality

v. An important addition – tea with milk

vi. Tea and alcohol

vii. The everyday beverage in all parts of the world

viii. Tea on the move

ix. African tea

x. The fall in the cost of tea

xi. The value of tea

xii. Tea-drinking in Africa

xiii. Hospitality among the Bedouin

Example Answer
Paragraph F xiii
1. Paragraph A
2. Paragraph B
3. Paragraph C
4. Paragraph D
5. Paragraph E
6. Paragraph G
7. Paragraph H
8. Paragraph I

 Questions 9-13

Complete the sentences below with words taken from Reading Passage 1.

Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet.

  1. For centuries, both at home and in society, tea has had an important role in…………… .
  2. Falling tea prices in the nineteenth century meant that people could choose the……………………….of the tea they could afford.
  3. Because it…………………..Seventh-Day Adventists do not approve of the drinking of tea.
  4. In the desert, one group that is well known for its traditions of hospitality is the………………………..
  5. In India,……………………, as well as tea, are added to boiling milk to make ‘chai’.


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-27 which are based on Reading Passage 2.

Caveat  Scriptor!

Let the would-be writer beware! Anyone foolhardy enough to embark on a career as a writer – whether it be an academic treatise, a novel, or even an article – should first read this!

People think that writing as a profession is glamorous; that it is just about sitting down and churning out words on a page, or more likely these days on a computer screen. If only it were! So what exactly does writing a book entail? Being a writer is about managing a galaxy of contradictory feelings: elation, despair, hope, frustration, satisfaction and depression-and not all separately! Of course, it also involves carrying out detailed research: first to establish whether there is a market for the planned publication, and second what should be the content of the book. Sometimes, however, instinct takes the place of market research and the contents are dictated not by plans and exhaustive research, but by experience and knowledge.

Once the publication has been embarked upon, there is a long period of turmoil as the text takes shape. A first draft is rarely the final text of the book. Nearly all books are the result of countless hours of altering and re-ordering chunks of text and deleting the superfluous bits. While some people might think that with new’ technology the checking and editing process is sped up, the experienced writer would hardly agree. Unfortunately, advanced technology now allows the writer the luxury of countless editing’s; a temptation many writers find hard to resist. So a passage, endlessly re-worked may end up nothing remotely like the original, and completely out of place when compared with the rest of the text.

After the trauma of self-editing and looking for howlers, it is time to show the text to other people, friends perhaps, for appraisal. At this stage, it is not wise to send it off to a literary agent or direct to publishers, as it may need further fine-tuning of which the author is unaware. Once an agent has been approached and has rejected a draft publication, it is difficult to go and ask for the re vamped text to be considered again. It also helps, at this stage, to offer a synopsis of the book, if it is a novel, or an outline if it is a textbook. This acts as a guide for the author, and a general reference for friends and later for agents.

Although it is tempting to send the draft to every possible agent at one time, it is probably unwise. Some agents may reject the publication out of hand, but others may proffer some invaluable advice, for example about content or the direction to be taken, information such as this may be of use in finally being given a contract by an agent or publisher.

The lucky few taken on by publishers or agents, then have their books subjected to a number of readers, whose job it is to vet a book: deciding whether it is worth publishing and whether the text as it stands is acceptable or not. After a book has finally been accepted by a publisher, one of the greatest difficulties for the warier lies in taking on board the publisher’s alterations to the text. Whilst the overall story and thrust of the book may be acceptable, it will probably have to conform to an in-house style, as regards language, spelling and punctuation. More seriously, the integrity of the text may be challenged, and this may require radical re-drafting which is usually unpalatable to the author. A books creation period is complex and unnerving, but the publisher’s reworkings and text amputations can also be a tortuous process.

For many writers, the most painful period comes when the text has been accepted, and the writer is wailing for it to be put together for the printer. By this stage, it is not uncommon for the writer to be thoroughly sick of the text.

Abandon writing? Nonsense. Once smitten, it is not easy to escape the compulsion to create and write, despite the roller-coaster ride of contradictory emotions.

Questions 14-21

Complete the summary below using words from the box.

Write your answers in boxes 14-21 on your answer sheet.

 People often associate writing with 14…………………… But being a writer involves managing conflicting emotions as well as 15……………………… and instinct. Advanced technology, contrary to what might be thought, does not make the 16……………………….faster. When a writer has a draft of the text        ready, it is a good idea to have a 17……………………. for friends and agents to look at. If an author is accepted by a publisher, the draft of the book is given to 18……………………. for vetting. 19………………………  are then often made, which are not easy for the writer to agree. However, 20…………………..compelling, even though there are 21……………………. .

editing process beware first draft glamour a literary agent
alterations profession publisher challenges writing
dictating research publishing summary ups and downs
roller-coaster readers

Questions 22 and 23

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

Write your answers in boxes 22-23 on your answer sheet.

  22. In the planning stages of a book,

A. instinct can replace market research.

B. market research can replace instinct.

C. market research is essential.

D. instinct frequently replaces market research.

  23. The problem with the use of advanced technology in editing is that

A. it becomes different from the original.

B. it is unfortunate.

C. it is a luxury.

D. many writers cannot resist changing the text again and again.

Questions 24-27

Complete the sentences below with words taken from Reading Passage 2.

Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 24-27 on your answer sheet.

  1. Once a text is finished, the writer needs to get the………………..of other people.
  2. Some agents may reject the draft of a book, while others may offer………………………..
  3. Apart from the need for a draft to conform to an in-house style, a publisher’s changes to a text may include…………………..
  4. The publisher’s alterations to a book are difficult for a writer, as is the………………….as the book grows.


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 28-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3.

Pronunciation and physiognomy

Imagine the scene: you are sitting on the tube and on gets someone you instinctively feel is American. To make sure you ask them the time, and arc fight, but how did you know?

When we say someone ‘looks American’, we take into consideration dress, mannerism and physical appearance. However, since the Americans do not constitute one single race, what exactly is meant by ‘look’? In fact, one salient feature is a pronounced widening around the jaw – a well-documented phenomenon.

Writer Arthur Koestler once remarked that friends of his, whom he had met thirty years after they’ emigrated to the United States, had acquired an ‘American physiognomy’, i.e. a broadened jaw, an appearance which is also prevalent in the indigenous population. An anthropologist friend of his attributed this to the increased use of the jaw musculature in American enunciation. This ‘change of countenance’ in immigrants had already been observed by the historian M. Fishberg in 1910.

To paraphrase the philosopher Emerson, certain national, social and religious groups, such as ageing actors, long-term convicts and celibate priests, to give just a few examples, develop a distinguishing ‘look’, which is not easily defined, but readily recognised. Their way of life affects their facial expression and physical features, giving the mistaken impression that these traits are of hereditary or ‘racial’ origin. All the factors mentioned above contribute, as well as heredity. But the question of appearance being affected by pronunciation – as in the case of American immigrant including those from other English speaking countries over the course of many years – is of great interest, and calls for further study into the science of voice production. This can only benefit those working in the field of speech therapy, elocution and the pronunciation of foreign languages, and help the student from a purely physiological point of view. Naturally, the numerous psychological and socio-linguistic factors that inhibit most adult learners of foreign languages from acquiring ‘good’ pronunciation constitute a completely different and no less important issue that require separate investigation.

The pronunciation of the various forms of English around the world today is affected by the voice being ‘placed’ in different, parts of the mouth. We use our Speech organs in certain ways to produce specific sounds, and these muscles have to practise to learn new phonemes. Non-Americans should look in the mirror while repeating ‘1 really never heard of poor reward for valourwith full use of tile USA retroflex /r/ phoneme, and note what happens to their jawbones after three or four repetitions. Imagine the effect of these movements on the jaw muscles after twenty years! This phoneme is one of the most noticeable features of US English and one that non-Americans always exaggerate when mimicking the accent. Likewise, standard British RP is often parodied, and its whine of superiority mocked to the point of turning the end of one’s nose up as much as possible. Not only does this enhance the ‘performance, but also begs the question of whether this look is the origin of the expression ‘stuck up’?

Once on a Birmingham bus, a friend pointed to a fellow passenger and said, ‘That man’s Brummie accent is written all over his face.’ This was from someone who would not normally make crass generalisations. The interesting thing would be to establish whether thin lips and a tense, prominent chin are a result of the way Midlands English is spoken, or its cause, or a mixture of both. Similarly, in the case of Liverpool one could ask whether the distinctive ‘Scouse accent was a reason for, or the frequency of high cheekbones in the local population.

When one learns another accent, as in the theatre for example, voice coaches often resort to images to help their students acquire the distinctive sound of the target pronunciation. With ‘Scouse’, the mental aid employed is pushing your cheekbones up in a smile as high as they will go and you have got a very slack mouth full of cotton wool. The sound seems to spring off die sides of your face-outwards and upwards. For a Belfast accent, one has to tighten the sides of the jaws until there is maximum tension, and speak opening the lips as little as possible, This gives rise to the well-known ‘Ulster jaw’ phenomenon. Learning Australian involves imagining the ordeals of the first westerners transported to the other side of the world. When exposed to the merciless glare and unremitting heat of the southern sun, we instinctively screw up our eyes and grimace for protection.

Has this contributed to an Australian ‘look’, and affected the way ‘Aussies’ speak English, or vice versa? It is a curious chicken and egg conundrum, but perhaps the answer is ultimately irrelevant Of course other factors affect the way people look and sound, and it would certainly be inaccurate to suggest that all those who speak one form of a language or dialect have a set physiognomy because of their pronunciation patterns. But a large enough number do, and that alone is worth investigating. What is important, however, is establishing pronunciation as one of the factors that determine physiognomy, and gaining a deeper insight into the origins and nature of the sounds of speech And of course, one wonders what ‘look’ one’s own group has!

Questions 28-30

 Look at the following people (Questions 28-30) and the list of statements below.

Match each person with the correct statement.

Write the correct letter A-G in boxes 28-30 on your answer sheet.

 28. Koestler

29. Fish berg

30.  Emerson

A. Americans use their jaw more to enunciate

B. immigrants acquire physiognomical features common among the indigenous population

C. facial expression and physical features are hereditary

D. lifestyle affects physiognomy

E. Americans have a broadened jaw

F. His friends appearance had changed since they moved to the United States.

G. the change of countenance was unremarkable

Questions 31-36

Do the following statements reflect the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 3?

In boxes 31-36 on your answer sheet write

YES                       if the statement agrees with the information in the passage

NO                         if the statement contradicts the information in the passage

NOT GIVEN        if there is no information about the statement in the passage

  1. Further study into the science of voice production will cost considerable sums of money.
  2. The psychological and socio-linguistic factors that make it difficult for adult learners of foreign languages to gain ‘good’ pronunciation are not as important as other factors.
  3. Speech organs are muscles.
  4. New phonemes are difficult to learn.
  5. People often make fun of standard British RP.
  6. Facial features contribute to the incomprehensibility of Midlands English.

 Questions 37- 40

Complete each of the following statements (Questions 37-40) with the best ending A-I from the box below.

Write the appropriate letters A-I in boxes 37-40 on your answer sheet

  1. Voice coaches
  2. The Scouse accent
  3. Whether the way we look affects the way we speak or the other way round
  4. It is important to prove that pronunciation

A     can be achieved by using a mental aid.

B      is irrelevant.

C      is worth investigating.

D     use images to assist students with the desired pronunciation.

E      is a chicken and egg conundrum.

F      get the target.

G     can affect appearance.

H     is not as easy as a Belfast one.

I      makes you smile.


  1. iv

The paragraph is about the link between tea and hospitality. The answer is not iii, because the paragraph is about the continuing tradition of the past it b not limited to Britain and China. It is tempting to put vii as the answer, but, if you look at the text, you will see that the information relating to this heading is between commas. It is additional information and can easily be removed. You can compare it to a non-defining relative clause. So it is not central to the meaning of the whole paragraph. Moreover, the passage states in many parts of the world, not in all.

  1. viii

The heading here should be fairly obvious.

  1. i

The paragraph deals with the various ways in which tea has been drunk. The answer is not v; see paragraph H, where the whole paragraph deals with milk in relation to tea drinking. Compare the answer to Paragraph A for background/foreground information.

  1. x

The paragraph is about the cost of tea, in financial terms. The paragraph sets the scene, showing that tea is for the middle classes, but when the price falls the poor stall drinking it. The answer is not xi, as value has a different meaning.

  1. ii

The theme of the paragraph is the fact that most religious groups do not object to tea drinking, i.e. few do. The answer is not vi, aï this does not reflect the theme of the paragraph. It is again subsidiary or background information. So it is important for you to see how the pieces of information in a paragraph relate to each other. A plan of the paragraph is as follows:

Foreground Background
Few objections to tea drinking In Islamic cultures no objection Tea/coffee versus alcohol
Seventh-Day Adventists/caffeine frowned upon

Note how the points in italics give background information to the main point in the text. It is sometimes difficult for students to make the distinction between these two types of information. The example of the Islamic cultures supports the point of there being no objections. The second piece of background information develops this further comparing tea/coffee with alcohol. The paragraph then comes back to the central issue of there being few objections, by giving the example of a group who object to tea. You may use this mechanism to look at the other paragraphs here and elsewhere.

  1. xii

This paragraph focuses on tea drinking in Africa. The answer is not ix, as the origin of the tea itself is not said to be African.

  1. v

The paragraph is about the importance of the addition of milk to tea in many parts of the world. Compare paragraph C. Heading xii would not be right here, as it describes only part of the paragraph.

  1. iii

See the answer for Paragraph A.

  1. rituals of hospitality OR hospitality

The answer is in paragraph A. The first phrase is probably the better of the two.

  1. grade(s) and blend(s) OR different grades OR different blends

The answer is in the last sentence of paragraph D.

  1. contains caffeine

The answer is in paragraph E. Because of the word limit and the grammar of the sentence in the exercise, the words the stimulant cannot be included.

  1. nomadic Bedouin(s) OR Bedouin(s)

The answer is in paragraph F.

  1. sugar and spices

The answer is in paragraph H. Because of the word limit, the word some has to be excluded from the phrase.

  1. glamour

The answer is in the first sentence of the second paragraph.

  1. research

The answer is in the second paragraph towards the end.

  1. editing process

The answer is in paragraph 3, the fourth sentence. The phrase first draft does not fit here, as the sentence would not then reflect the meaning of the passage. Nor is the word writing correct for the same reason. And it would not fit the grammar of the summary; the article the in the summary would have to be omitted, as the writer is talking about all writers not specifically himself.

  1. summary

The answer is at the end of the fourth paragraph. Note the word summary is a synonym for synopsis/outline.

  1. readers

At the start of the sixth paragraph, it says that readers (not publishers) vet books.

  1. Alterations

The answer is in the sixth paragraph.

  1. Writing

The answer is in the last paragraph. The word publishing is not correct, because the writer is talking about writing throughout the passage; publishing comes afterwards.

  1. ups and downs

The answer is in the last paragraph. Note the word roller- coaster is not possible here. It does not make sense. The word does not carry the meaning of the latter part of the last sentence on its own. Nor is it grammatically lot possible: the summary has a plural verb and the word roller- coaster is singular.

  1. A

The answer is a paraphrase of the last sentence of paragraph 2: Sometimes, instinct takes the place of market research…

B is the opposite. As for C, the text does not say whether it is essential. D is not correct, because the text says sometimes – therefore, note the word can in A.

  1. D

The answer is a paraphrase of the penultimate sentence of the third paragraph. A is not correct, because although e the text says that a passage may end up nothing remotely like the original, the writer does not say that this is a problem. B is not possible, because the writer does not say the use is unfortunate; he is expressing an opinion, when he says unfortunately. C is in correct, because the problem is not a luxury.

  1. appraisal

The answer is at the beginning of paragraph 4.

  1. some invaluable advice OR invaluable advice OR some advice OR advice OR hints

The answer is in the fifth paragraph. Note you cannot give the examples here as there would be too many words. You can use the word hints from the last sentence of the paragraph as it is a synonym, which summarises the advice and the examples.

  1. radical redrafting OR redrafting OR reworkings OR text amputations

The answer is at the end of paragraph 6­

  1. creation period

The answer is in the last sentence of paragraph 6.

  1. F

The answer is in the third paragraph in the first sentence. A is incorrect, because it was an anthropologist friend of Koestler who said this. B is not correct, because Koestler was talking about his friends rather than immigrants in general; and E is not stated as a general principle.

  1. B

The answer is in paragraph 3, in the last sentence. F is incorrect, because Fishberg was talking about immigrants in general, not his friends.

  1. D

The answer can be found in the fourth paragraph, in the second sentence. C is incorrect, because Emerson says this is a mistaken impression.

  1. Not Given

The text does not mention anything about this statement.

  1. No

The answer can be found in paragraph 4, in the last sentence: a completely different and no less important issue, which means, in effect, equally important.

  1. Yes

The answer is in the second sentence of paragraph 5. The word these refers back to speech organs.

  1. Not Given

The answer is in the same place as question 33. The passage says that practice is needed to learn new phonemes, but does not mention whether or not they are difficult to learn.

  1. Yes

The answer is at the end of paragraph 5. The words parody and mock are synonyms of make fun of.

  1. Not Given

The text does not mention anything about this statement.

  1. D

The answer is in paragraph 7, and is a paraphrase of help their students acquire, the distinctive sound of the target pronunciation. F is incorrect, as it is incomplete.

  1. A

This answer can also be found in the seventh paragraph. A mental aid is said to be employed, i.e. used. I is incorrect, because the cause and effect are the wrong way round. H is not correct, because there is no mention of which of the two accents is easier.

  1. E

The answer is in the first part of the last paragraph. B is incorrect, because it is the answer to the question that is said to be irrelevant.

  1. G

The answer is in the second part of the last paragraph. C is incorrect, because it is not pronunciation that is worth investigating, but the link between pronunciation and physiognomy.

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