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  • IELTS Reading Recent Actual Test in 2018 with Answers – topic : Tickling and Laughter, The Farmer! parade of history, John Franklin: “the discovery of the slowness”
IELTS Reading Recent Actual Test in 2018 with Answers - topic : Tickling and Laughter, The Farmer! parade of history, John Franklin: "the discovery of the slowness”
IELTS Reading Recent Actual Test in 2018 with Answers – topic : Tickling and Laughter, The Farmer! parade of history, John Franklin: “the discovery of the slowness”

IELTS Reading Recent Actual Test in 2018 with Answers – topic : Tickling and Laughter, The Farmer! parade of history, John Franklin: “the discovery of the slowness”

‘IELTS Reading Recent Actual Tests in 2018 with Answers’ aims to develop your test-taking skills and language proficiency to help you achieve a high band in IELTS Reading. Each test contains three reading passages which cover various topics and give a lot of practice for a wide range of question types used in the IELTS Exam such as multiple-choice questions, short-answers, sentence completion, summary completion, classification, matching lists/phrases, matching paragraph headings, identification of information, True/False/Not Given and so on. When studying IELTS with this ebook, you will get an idea of how difficult the IELTS Reading section is and what the topmost commonly asked questions are.


Tickling and Laughter

A. The fingers of an outstretched aim are nearing your body; you bend away folding your torso, bending your head to your shoulder in hopes that you don’t get tickled; but the inevitable occurs: yon arc tickled and in hysterics, you chuckle, titter, and burst into uncontrollable laughter. Why do we laugh when we are tickled?


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B. Tickling is caused by a light sensation across our skin. At times the light sensation can cause itching; however, most of the time it causes giggling. If a feather is gently moved across the surface of the skin, it can also cause tickling and giggling. Heavy laughter is caused by someone or something placing repeated pressure on a person and tickling a particular area. The spots tickled often are feet, toes, sides, underarms, and neck which cause a great deal of laughter. Yngve Zotterman from Karolinska Institute has found that tickling sensations involve signals from nerve fibres. These nerve fibres are associated with pain and touch. Also, Zotterman has discovered tickling sensations to be associated not only with nerve fibres but also with a sense of touch because people who have lost pain sensations still laugh when tickled. But really, why do we laugh? Why are we not able to tickle ourselves? What part of the brain is responsible for laughter and humour? Why do we say some people have no sense of humour?

C. Research has shown that laugher is more than just a person’s voice and movement and that it requires the coordination of many muscles throughout the body. Laughter also increases blood pressure and heart rate, changes breathing, reduces levels of certain neurochemicals (catecholamines, hormones) and provides a boost to die immune system. Can laughter improve health? It may be a good way for people to relax because muscle tension is reduced after laughing. Human tests have found some evidence that humorous videos and tapes can reduce feelings of pain, prevent negative stress reactions and boost the brain’s biological battle against infection.

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D. Researchers believe we process humour and laughter through a complex pathway of brain activity that encompasses three main brain components. In one new study, researchers used imaging equipment to photograph the brain activity of healthy volunteers while they underwent a sidesplitting assignment of reading written jokes, viewing cartoons from The New Yorker magazine as well as “The Far Side” and listening to digital recordings of laughter. Preliminary results indicate that the humour-processing pathway includes parts of the frontal lobe brain area, important for cognitive processing the supplementary motor area, important for movement; and the nucleus accumbens, associated with pleasure. Investigations support the notion that parts of the frontal lobe are involved in humour. Subjects’ brains were imaged while they were listening to jokes. An area of the frontal lobe was activated only when they thought a joke was funny. In a study that compared healthy individuals with people who had damage to their frontal lobes, the subjects with damaged frontal lobes were more likely to choose wrong punch lines to written jokes and didn’t laugh or smile as much at funny cartoons or jokes.

E. Even though we may know more about what parts of the brain are responsible for humour, it is still hard to explain why we don’t laugh or giggle when we tickle ourselves. Darwin theorized within “The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals” that there was a link between tickling and laughter because of the anticipation of pleasure. Because we cannot tickle ourselves and have caused laughter, Darwin speculated surprise from another person touching a sensitive spot must have caused laughter. Some scientists believe that laughing caused by tickling is a built-in reflex even babies have. If we tickle ourselves in the same spot as our friend tickled us, we do not laugh as we did previously. The information sent to our spinal cord and brain should be the same. Apparently, for tickling to work, the brain needs tension and surprise. When we tickle ourselves, we know exactly what will happen…there is no tension or surprise. How the brain uses this information about tension and surprise is still a mystery, but there is some evidence that the cerebellum may be involved. Because one part of the brain tells another: “It’s just you. Don’t get excited”. Investigations suggest that during self-tickling, the cerebellum tells an area called the somatosensory cortex what sensation to expect, and that dampens the tickling sensation. It looks as if the killjoy is found in the cerebellum. Further explorations to understand tickling and laughter were conducted by Christenfeld and Harris. Within ‘The Mystery of Ticklish Laughter and “Can a Machine Tickleyn they explained that people laughed equally whether tickled by a machine or by a person. The participants were not aware that who or what was tickling them. However, the laughter was equally resounded. It is suggested that tickling response is a reflex, which, like Darwin suggested earlier, is dependent on the element of surprise.

F. Damage to any one part of the brain may affect one’s overall ability to process humour. Peter Derks, a professor of psychology, conducted his research with a group of scientists at NASA-Langley in Hampton. Using a sophisticated electroencephalogram (EEG), they measured the brain activity of 10 people exposed to humorous stimuli. How quickly our brain recognizes the incongruity that deals with most humour and attaches an abstract meaning to it determines whether we laugh. However, different people find different jokes funny. That can be due to several factors, including differences in personality, intelligence, mental state, and probably mood. But according to Derks, the majority of people recognize when a situation is meant to be humorous. In a series of experiments, he noticed that several patients recovering from brain injuries could not distinguish between something funny and something not.

G. Dr Shibata of the University of Rochester School of Medicine said our neurons get tickled when we hear a joke. The brain’s ‘Tunny bone” is located at the right frontal lobe just above the right eye and appears critical to our ability to recognize a joke. Dr Shibata gave his patients MRI scans to measure brain activity, trying to find out what part of the brain is particularly active while telling the punch line of a joke as opposed to the rest of the joke and funny cartoons in comparison to parts of the cartoons that are not funny. The jokes “tickled” the frontal lobes. The scans also showed activity in the nucleus accumbens, which is likely related to our feeling of mirth after hearing a good joke and our “addiction” to humour. While his research was about humour, the results could help lead to answers and solutions to depression. Parts of the brain that are active during humour are actually abnormal in patients with depression. Eventually, brain scans might be used to assess patients with depression and other mood disorders. The research may also explain why some stroke victims lose their sense of humour or suffer from other personality changes. The same part of the brain is also associated with social and emotional judgment and planning.

IELTS Actual Tests Questions (February - May 2021) with Answers

Question 1-7

Reading Passage 1 has 7 paragraphs A-G

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the appropriate letter, A-G, in boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet.

NB you may use any letter more than once

  1. Location of a brain section essential to the recognition of jokes
  2. Laughter enhances immunity
  3. Individual differences and the appreciation of humour
  4. Parts of the brain responsible for tickling reflex
  5. Neuropsychological mechanisms by which humour and laughter work
  6. The connection between tickling and nerve fibres
  7. Patients with emotional disorders

Questions 8-11

Look at the following researchers (listed 8-11) and findings (listed A~F).

Match each researcher with the correct finding(s).

Write your answers in boxes 8-11 on your answer sheet.

NB There are more findings than researchers.

You may choose more than one finding for any of the researchers.

  1. The surprise factor, combined with the anticipation of pleasure, cause laughter when tickled.
  2. Laughing caused by tickling is a built-in reflex even babies have.
  3. People also laugh when tickled by a machine if they are not aware of it.
  4. People have different tastes for jokes and humour.
  5. Jokes and funny cartoons activate the frontal lobes.
  6. Tickling sensations involve more than nerve fibres.

8. Darwin

9. Christenfeld and Harris

10. Yngve Zotterman

11. Peter Derks

Questions 12-14

Complete the summary below using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each blank.

Write your answers in boxes 12-14 on your answer sheet.

Researchers believe three brain components to be involved in the processing of humour and laughter. Results from one study using brain 12……………indicate that parts of the brain responsible for 13……….. movement and pleasure are involved through a sophisticated pathway. Test subjects who suffered from frontal lobes damages had greater chances of picking 14……..of jokes or did not respond to funny cartoons or jokes.

Also check: 


The Farmer! parade of history

A. History of Fanner trading company: In 1909 Robert Laidlaw establishes mail-order company Laidlaw Leeds in Fort Street, Auckland. Then, Branch expansion: purchase of Green and Colebrook chain store; further provincial stores in Auckland and Waikato to follow. Opening of first furniture and boot factory. In 1920, Company now has 29 branches; the Whangarei store purchased. Doors open at Hobson Street for direct selling to the public. The firm establishes London and New York buying offices. With permission from the Harbour Board, the large FARMERS electric sign on the Wyndham Street frontage is erected.

B. In 1935, if the merchandise has changed, the language of the catalogues hasn’t Robert Laidlaw, the Scottish immigrant who established the century-old business might have been scripting a modern-day television commercial when he told his earliest customers: Satisfaction or your money back. “It was the first money-back guarantee ever offered in New Zealand by any firm,” says Ian Hunter, business historian. “And his mission statement was, potentially, only the second one ever found in the world.” Laidlaw’s stated aims were simple to build the greatest business in New Zealand, to simplify every transaction, to eliminate all delays, to only sell goods it would pay the customer to buy.

C. This year, the company that began as a mail-order business and now employs 3500 staff across 58 stores turns 100. Its centenary will be celebrated with the release of a book and major community fundraising projects, to be announced next week. Hunter, who is writing the centenary history, says “coming to a Fanners store once a week was a part of the New Zealand way of life”. By 1960, one in every 10 people had an account with the company. It was the place where teenage girls shopped for their first bra, where newlyweds purchased their first dinner sets, where first paycheques were used to pay off hire purchase furniture, where Santa paraded every Christmas.

D. Gary Blumenthal’s mother shopped there, and so does he. The fondest memory for the Rotorua resident? “We were on holiday in Auckland … I decided that upon the lookout tower on top of the Farmers building would be a unique place to fit the ring on my new fiancee’s finger.” The lovebirds, who had to wait for “an annoying youth” to leave the tower before they could enjoy their engagement kiss, celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in June.

E. Farmers, says Hunter, has always had a heart. This, from a 1993 North & South interview with a former board chairman, Rawdon Busfield: “One day I was in the Hobson Street shop and I saw a woman with two small children. They were clean and tidily dressed, but poor, you could tell. That week we had a special on a big bar of chocolate for one shilling. I heard the woman say to her boy, ‘no, your penny won’t buy that’. He wasn’t wearing shoes. So I went up to the boy said, ‘Son, have you got your penny?’ He handed it to me. It was hot, he’d had it in his hand for hours. I took the penny and gave him the chocolate.”

F. Farmers were once the home of genteel tearooms, children’s playgrounds and an annual sale of celebration for the birthday of Hector the Parrot (the store mascot died, aged 131, in the 1970s his stuffed remains still occupy pride of place at the company’s head office). You could buy houses from Farmers. Its saddle factory supplied the armed forces, and its upright grand overstrung pianos offered “the acme of value” according to those early catalogues hand-drawn by Robert Laidlaw himself. Walkthrough a Farmers store today and get hit by bright lights and big brands. Its Albany branch houses 16 international cosmetics companies. It buys from approximately 500 suppliers, and about 30% of those are locally owned.

G. “Eight, 10 years ago,” says current chief executive Rod McDermott, “lots of brands wouldn’t partner with us. The stores were quite distressed. We were the first price point focused, we weren’t fashion-focused. “Remove the rose-tinted nostalgia, and Farmers is, quite simply, a business, doing business in hard times. Dancing with the Stars presenter Candy Lane launches a clothing line? “We put a trial on, and we thought it was really lovely, but the uptake wasn’t what we thought it would be. It’s got to be what the customer wants,” says McDermott.

H. He acknowledges retailers suffer in a recession: “We’re celebrating 100 years because we can and because we should.” Farmers almost didn’t pull through one economic crisis. By the mid-1980s, it had stores across the country. It had acquired the South Island’s Calder Mackay chain of stores and bought out Playwrights. Then, with sales topping $375 million, it was taken over by Chase Corporation. Lincoln Laidlaw, now aged 88, and the son of the company’s founder, remembers the dark days following the stock market crash and the collapse of Chase. “I think, once, Farmers was like a big family and all of the people who worked for it felt they were building something which would ultimately be to their benefit and the benefit of New Zealand… then the business was being divided up and so that kind of family situation was dispelled and it hasn’t been recovered.” For a turbulent few years, the stores were controlled, first by a consortium of Australian banks and later Deka, the Maori Development Corporation and Foodland Associated Ltd. In 2003, it went back to “family” ownership, with the purchase by the James Pascoe Group, owned by David and Anne Norman the latter being the great-granddaughter of James Pascoe, whose first business interest was jewellery.

I. “Sheer power of the brand,” says McDermott, “pulled Farmers through and now we’re becoming the brand it used to be again.” Farmers were the company that, during World War, topped up the wages of any staff member disadvantaged by overseas service. Robert Laidlaw a committed Christian who came to his faith at a 1902 evangelistic service in Dunedin concluded his original mission statement with the words, “all at it, always at it, win the success”. Next week, 58 Farmers stores across the country will announce the local charities they will raise funds for in their centenary celebration everything from guide dog services to hospices to volunteer fire brigades will benefit. Every dollar raised by the community will be matched by the company. “It’s like the rebirth of an icon,” says McDermott.

Questions 15-18

The above reading Passage has seven paragraphs A-I Which paragraph contains the following information.

Write the correct letter A-I, in boxes 15-18 on your answer sheet.

15. The innovation of offer made by the head of the company.

16. Fashion was not its strong point.

17. A romantic event on the roof of farmers.

18. Farmers were sold to a privately owned company.

Questions 19-23

Complete the sentence below.

Complete the following summary of the paragraphs of Reading Passage* using no more than two words from the Reading Passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 19-23 on your answer sheet.

  1. Farmers was first founded as a____________in Auckland by Mr. Laidlaw.
  2. Farmers developed fast and bought one____________then.
  3. During oversea expansion, Farmers set up____________in cities such as London.
  4. Farmers held a______________once a year for the well-known parrot.
  5. In the opinion of Lincoln Laidlaw, Farmers are like a ______for employees, not just for themselves but for the whole country.


Questions 24-26

Use the information in the passage to match the people (listed A-C) with opinions or deeds below. Write the appropriate letters A-C in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.

NB you may use any letter more than once

A Lincoln Laidlaw

B Rod McDermott

C Ian Hunter

  1. The product became worse as the wrong aspect focused.
  2. An unprecedented statement made by Farmers in New Zealand.
  3. The character of the company was changed.


John Franklin: “the discovery of the slowness”

A. John Franklin (1786-1847) was the most famous vanisher of the Victorian era. He joined the Navy as a midshipman at the age of 14 and fought in the battles of Copenhagen and Trafalgar. When peace with the French broke out. he turned his attention to, and in particular to solve the conundrum of the Northwest Passage, the mythical clear-water route which would, if it existed, link the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans above the northern coast of the American continent. The first expedition Franklin led to the Arctic was an arduous overland journey from Hudson Bay to the shores of the so-called Polar Ocean east of the Coppermine River. Between 1819 and 1822. Franklin and his twenty-strong team covered 5550 miles on foot. Their expedition was a triumph of surveying – they managed to chart hundreds of miles of previously unknown coastline.

B. There followed a career as a travel writer and salon-goer {‘the man who ate his boots’ was Franklin’s tag-line), a second long Arctic expedition, and a controversial spell as Governor of Van Diemen’s Land. Then, in May 1845, Franklin set off with two ships – the Erebus and the Terror – and 129 men on the voyage that would kill him. In July, the convoy was seen by two whalers, entering Lancaster Sound. Nothing more would be heard of it for 14 years. Had the ships sunk or been iced in? Were the men dead, or in need of rescue? Or had they broken through to the legendary open polar sea, beyond the ‘ice barrier’?

C. In his correspondence and his published memoirs. Franklin comes across as a man dedicated to the external duties of war and exploration, who kept introspection and self-analysis to a minimum. His blandness makes him an amenably malleable subject for a novelist, and Sten Nadolny has taken full advantage of this license. Most important, he has endowed his John Franklin with a defining character trait for which there is no historical evidence: (‘slowness’, or ‘calmness’).

D. Slowness influences not only Franklin’s behaviour but also his vision, his thought, and his speech. The opening scene of  ‘The Discovery of Slowness (The Discovery of Slowness by Sten Nadolny) – depicts Franklin as a young boy. playing catch badly because his reaction time is too slow. Despite the bullying of his peers, Franklin resolves not to fall into step with ‘their way of doing things’. For Nadolny, Franklin’s fated fascination with the Arctic stems from his desire to find an environment suited to his peculiar slowness.

E. He describes Franklin as a boy dreaming of the ‘open water and the time without hours and days’ which exist in the far north, and of finding in the Arctic a place ‘where nobody would find him too slow’. Ice is a slow mover. Ice demands corresponding patience from those who venture onto it. The explorers who have thrived at high latitude and high altitudes haven’t usually been men of great speed. They have tended instead to demonstrate unusual self-possession, a considerable capacity for boredom, and a talent for what the Scots call ‘tholing’, the uncomplaining endurance of suffering.

F. These were all qualities that the historical Franklin possessed in abundance, and so Nadolny’s concentration and exaggeration of them isn’t unreasonable. Even as an adult, his slowness of thought means that he is unable to speak fluently, so he memorizes ‘entire fleets of words and batteries of response’, and speaks a languid, bric-a-brac language. In the Navy, his method of thinking first and acting later initially provokes mockery from his fellow sailors. But Franklin persists in doing things his way, and gradually earns the respect of those around him. To a commodore who tells him to speed up his report of an engagement, he replies: ‘When I tell something, sir. I use my own rhythm.’ A lieutenant says approvingly of him: ’Because Franklin is so slow, he never loses time.’

G. Since it was first published in Germany in 1983. The Discovery of Slowness has sold more than a million copies and been translated into 13 languages. It has been named as one of German literature’s twenty ‘contemporary classics’, and it has been as a manual and by European pressure groups and institutions representing causes as diverse as sustainable development, the Protestant Church, management science, motoring policy, and pacifism.

H. The various groups that have taken the novel up have one thing in common: a dislike of the high-speed culture of Postmodernity. Nadolny’s Franklin appeals to them because he is immune to ‘the compulsion to be constantly occupied’, and to the idea that ‘someone was better if he could do the same thing fast.’ Several German churches have used him in their and focus groups as an example of peacefulness, piety, and self-confidence. A centre scheme (a ‘march of slowness’ or ‘of the slow’), inspired by the novel. Nadolny has appeared as a guest speaker for RIO. a Lucerne-based organization which aims to reconcile management principles with ideas of environmental sustainability. The novel has even become involved in the debate about speed limits on German roads. Drive down an autobahn today, and you will see large road-side signs proclaiming ‘unhurriedness’ a slogan that deliberately plays off the title of the novel.

I. A management journal in the US described The Discovery of Slowness is a ‘major event not only for connoisseurs of fine historical fiction, but also for those of us who concern themselves with leadership, communication, and systems-thinking, issues’. It’s easy to see where the attraction lies for the management crowd. The novel is crammed with quotations about time-efficiency, punctiliousness, and profitability: ‘As a rule, there are always three points in time: the right one. the lost one and the premature one’. ‘What did too late mean? They hadn’t waited for it long enough, that’s what it meant.’


Questions 27-32

Reading Passage 1 has seven paragraphs A-H.

Which paragraph contains the following information? Write the correct letter A-H, in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet. NB You may use any letter more than once.

  1. What was Sir John Franklin’s occupation before he went on a career in Arctic exploration?
  2. A story John Franklin reacted strangely when he met bullies by other children.
  3. Reason of popularity for the book The Discovery of Slowness
  4. A depiction that Sten Nadolny’s biography on John Franklin is not much based on facts.
  5. The particular career Sir John Franklin took after his expedition unmatched before.
  6. what is the central scheme and environment conveyed by the book The Discovery of Slowness

Questions 33-36


Complete the Summary paragraph described below. In boxes 33-36 on your answer sheet, write the correct answer with one word chosen from the box below

In his personal correspondence to and in his published memoirs by Sten Nadolny, John Franklin was depicted as a man dedicated to the exploration, and the word of “slowness” was used to define his 33…….when Franklin was in his childhood, his determination to the 34………of the schoolboys was too slow for him to fall into step. And Franklin was said to be a boy dreaming finding in a place he could enjoy the 35………in the Arctic. Later in 20th, His biography of the discovery of slowness has been adopted as a 36______ as for the movement such as sustainable development, or management science, motoring policy.

An exploration B blandness C personality           D policy
E pressure F guidebook G management
H timelessness I sports J bully                      K evidence

Questions 37-40

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

Write your answers in boxes 37-40 on your answer sheet

37. Why does the author mention “the ice is slow in the geological arctic”, to demonstrate the idea

  1. of the difficulties Franklin conquered
  2. that Franklin had a dream since his childhood
  3. of fascination with the Arctic exploration
  4. that explorer-like Franklin should possess the quality of being patient

38. When Franklin was on board with sailors, how did he speak to his fellow sailors

  1. he spoke in a way mocking his followers
  2. he spoke a bric-a-brac language to show he languish attitude
  3. he spoke in the words and phrases he previously memorized
  4. he spoke in a rhythmical tune to save chatting time

39. His effort to overcome his slowness in marine time life had finally won the

  1. understanding of his personality better
  2. capacity for coping with boredom
  3. respect for him as he insisted to overcome his difficulties
  4. the valuable time he can use to finish a report

40. Why is the book The Discovery of Slowness sold more than a million copies

  1. it contains aspects of the life people would like to enjoy
  2. it contains the information for the flag language applied in ships
  3. it induces a debate about speed limits German
  4. it contains the technique for symposia German churches

Answer Key

Section 1

  1. G
  2. C
  3. F
  4. E
  5. D
  6. B
  7. G
  8. A
  9. C
  10. F
  11. D
  12. imaging equipment
  13. cognitive processing
  14. wrong punch lines

Section 2

  1. B
  2. G
  3. D
  4. I
  5. mail-order company
  6. chain store
  7. buying offices
  8. celebration
  9. big family
  10. B
  11. C
  12. A

Section 3

  1. A
  2. D
  3. H
  4. C
  5. D
  6. H
  7. C
  8. J
  9. H
  10. F
  11. D
  12. C
  13. C
  14. A


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Misbah Kagad is a Content Marketing Specialist, currently working as IELTS Trainer at Experience Expert with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. Skilled in Copywriting, Web Content writing, Management, IELTS and Research. Strong professional with a Diploma focused in Computer Science... Currently helping aspirants to crack IELTS, with tips and tricks to score a bandwidth of 8 and more. Handles the ideation and creation of compelling content including content for IELTS website, writing e-books and solving previous IELTS question papers…

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