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IELTS Reading Practice Test 06

Propaganda – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, The Pursuit Of Knowledge – Reading


Reading Passage 1

You should ideally spend 20 minutes on Questions 1-14 based on Reading Passage 1 below.

Propaganda – The good, the bad and the ugly

A. Imagine for a moment that you are an impoverished citizen of ancient Egypt, hopefully hoeing the desert and wondering when it will bloom. Suddenly, a cloud of dust appears on the horizon which eventually resolves itself into a gallop of horses and chariots commanded by heavily armed soldiers followed, eventually, by a crocodile of exhausted slaves lugging building materials.

B. They all come to a halt outside your home and you make a strategic withdrawal indoors, from where you watch them through a slit in the wall. In an amazingly short lime, the slaves build a 40-foot high obelisk which Is then surrounded by it swarm of stonemasons. Then, when the work, whatever it is, has been completed, the entire company withdraws as quickly as it came.


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C. Once the coast is clear, you creep outside to examine their handiwork. The obelisk is covered with carvings of soldiers, looking remarkably like those who have just left, engaged in countless victorious battles, decimating the countryside and gruesomely killing people who look remarkably like you. prominently portrayed, surveying sphinx-like the carnage com­mitted in his same, is the Pharaoh. You can’t read, but you get the picture. You, in consort with your disaffected neigh hours, had been contemplating, in a rather desultory fashion, a small uprising. You change your mind in what is one of the easiest examples of the power of propaganda.

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D. Of course, as is often the case with big ideas when they tire in their infancy, the methods employed. In ancient Egypt were far from subtle, But over subsequent centuries, the use of propaganda was conscientiously honed. It was not until the First World War that propaganda made the quantum leap from the gen­tler arts of persuasion to become the tool of coercion. As Philip Taylor says in War and the Media: “Before 1914, it simply meant the means by which the proponent of a particular doctrine… propagated his beliefs among his audience … propaganda is simply a process of persuasion. As a concept, it is neutral and should be devoid of value judgements”.

E. It is unlikely, at least in the West, that propaganda will ever be rehabilitated as a neutral concept. The very word is now so loaded with sinister connotations that it evokes an immediate and visceral sense of outrage. For the use of propaganda reached its apogee in the machinery of the Third Reich. Hitler and Goebbels between them elevated it to a black art of such diabolical power that it has been permanently discredited among those who wit­nessed its expression. Indeed in 1936 at Nuremberg, Hitler attributed his entire success to the workings of propaganda. He said: “Propaganda brought us to power, propaganda has since enabled us to remain in power, and propaganda will give us the means of conquering the world”.

F. It is therefore unsurprising that Western governments and politicians are liable to perform the most extreme presentational acrobatics in their efforts to avoid the dreaded “p” word being applied to any of their activities. They have developed impressive lexicons of euphemisms and doublespeak to distance themselves from any taint of it, real or imagined. Inevitably, the media is alive to this hypersensitivity and the “p word has become a potent weapon in its arsenal. It is used pejoratively, with intent to discredit and wound, as governments are painfully aware. For propaganda is the spectre that haunts many a government-inspired media fest. It is the uninvited guest, the empty chair which serves to remind the hosts precisely why the gathering has been convened and forces them to run quality tests on the fare on offer — is it factually nutritious, is it presented in a balanced and truthful way, is its integrity intact?

G. In this one respect, at least, the negative connotations attached to propaganda actually per­form a positive function. They offer a salutary reminder of ail that government information is supposed not to be and act as a ferocious curb on any runaway tendency to excess. Most importantly, the public is alive to the dangers of propaganda and alert to its manifestations whether overt or covert. They know that propaganda is the serpent lurking In the tree of knowledge; that it is subtle, it beguiles, it seduces, it obfuscates, it holds out simple dreams and turns them into nightmare realities, it subverts, it pretends to be other than it is. They know that it is the poisoned fruit of the goblin market, not the plain bread of truth that is the staple diet of information. And they will not tolerate It. They succumb instead to the more blatant blandishments of advertising, which might be regarded as the wolf of propaganda, tamed and turned to domestic use. Safe in the knowledge that the wolf has been securely trussed by the rules and regulations of the Advertising Standards Authority, they knowingly consent to be had,

Questions 1-10

Complete the text below, which is a summary of paragraphs.

Choose a suitable word from the text for each blank.

Write your answers in Boxes 1-10 on your answer sheet.

You may use any word more than once.

Example: propaganda – the good, the bad and the____________.

Answer: ugly.


_____ 1______ that you are a poor__________ 2______ living in ancient Egypt, when a band of soldiers accompanied by a_________ 3_____ of slaves carrying building materials appears on the scene. While you are inside your house, the slaves erect an __________4_____ and the whole company disappears. The__________ 5______ features figures like those soldiers who have just left engaged in victorious battles and, in a prominent position, the figure of the sphinx-like______6________. After briefly considering an_________ 7_____ , you and the other in­habitants change your____________ 8______ In what is one of the earliest Instances of the power of______ 9_______ , albeit a not very _______ 10_____ one.

Questions 11-14

Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in Boxes 11-14 on your answer sheet.

11. According to Philip Taylor, propaganda …

A.  is needed to propagate people’s beliefs

B.  was a tool of coercion before 1914

C.  has always been a neutral force

D.  was merely a process of persuading people to do things prior to 1914

12. According to Philip Taylor, propaganda …

A.  is not a neutral concept

B.  is value loaded up until 1914

C.  is ti neutral concept

D.  was a neutral concept up until 1914

13. Politicians in the West …

A.  will do anything to avoid using the word  propaganda

B.  like using the word propaganda  in  the media

C.  do not dread the “p” word

D.  are consummate acrobats

14. The public …

A.  are happy to be deceived by advertisers

B.  are deceived by advertisers

C.  are not deceived by advertisers

D.  respect the advertisers

Also check: 

Reading Passage 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 15-28, which are based on reading passage 2 below.

The pursuit of knowledge

A. According to the great English lexicographer Samuel Johnson, knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it (Boswell Life vol. 2 p, 383 18 April 1775). In the information-driven world we now inhabit, the latter has assumed a much greater level of importance.

B. At the time of the European Renaissance, which spanned the fourteenth, fifteenth and si­x-teenth centuries, it was considered possible for the educated, well-read man, the so-called Renaissance man, to possess the sum total of human knowledge. Admittedly, the body of knowledge then available was restricted, being held firmly in check by several important factors; the paucity of books in circulation at that time; the difficulty of acquiring copies of the texts; the need to copy texts by hand; and the cost of doing so. The example of Lupus of Ferrieres’ search for the Arsrhetorica of Fortunatus in the ninth century was repeated again and again throughout the Latin West until the momentous advent of printing in the middle of the fifteenth century. Printed books saw the end of some of the practical limitations placed on the spread of human knowledge. The first revolution in Information tech­nology had begun.

C. Renaissance man was rapidly left behind by this development; and, henceforth, it would be increasingly difficult for the educated man to cope with the expansion of knowledge that flowed through Europe via the medium of movable type. In today’s world, the scenario could hardly be more different. The most well-read indi­vidual, whom we could legitimately call information man, or homo sapiens, would certainly be considerably more knowledgeable than Renaissance man, Yet, because of the ever-expand­ing increase in the sum total of human knowledge over the latter half of the last millen­nium, and the changes in the world of technology, easy access to information has reduced the stature of the educated individual. All that he can hope to be now is an expert in a narrow field, not the all-knowing polymath of yesteryear.


D. It Is not surprising to see people overwhelmed by the unlimited stream of Information. There is simply too much of it to assimilate, and it is difficult to know what to do with the data once it is received; which brings us back to Johnson’s words. But we need to add an­other dimension to his dictum, one which was probably true in his time, but is even more pertinent today: people need to be able to live the knowledge they acquire and not just know it or know where to find it. Our deficiency in this regard is, perhaps, the most singular failure of the modern information age.

E. Acquisitiveness is a natural human Instinct. Children collect cards of footballers, or whatever is the latest fad, Stamps, coins and books are targets for children and adult collectors (dike, as their basic instincts are played upon and nurtured by market forces. The desire to gather knowledge is nothing new. What is astonishing, however, Is the way in which people treat the knowledge ones It has been collected. It is as if the collection were an end in Itself; and herein lies the great deception, We have turned the world into a large machine of informa­tion, a veritable vortex into which we are all being Inexorably sucked, People beaver away amassing raw data, labouring under the misapprehension that they are doing something worthwhile when all that is really happening is the movement of information from one place to another, We should hardly be surprised that, as this becomes apparent, disillusion­ment and stress in the workplace arc becoming sadly the all too common consequences.

F. The world Is not really the richer for having the current wealth of knowledge at its fingertips. It is like standing amongst the wealth of the British Library, the Bibliothèque Nationals in Paris or other great libraries and not being able to read. So what is to be done? Training in collecting and processing relevant information, followed by learning to collate, analyse and select or discard is the obvious solution, But there is such a dearth of people who know what to do that one remains pessimistic.

The pursuit of knowledge is sadly not all it is cracked up to be.

Questions 15-21

Complete the sentences below.

Use NO MORE THAN FOUR WORDS from the passage to complete each blank space.

Write your answers in Boxes 15-21 on your answer sheet.

15. Samuel Johnson was an___________________ .

  1. Renaissance man supposedly possessed all__________________.
  2. The spread of knowledge changed with the all important___________________ .
  3. According to the writer, today’s information man knows more than_______________ .
  4. The standing of the modern educated man has been diminished by _________________.
  5. The polymath of the Renaissance is described as_______________________ .
  6. In today’s world, people are weighed down by the endless__________________.

Questions 22-25

Answer the questions below. 

Use NO MORE THAN FOUR WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in Boxes 22-25 on your answer sheet.

22. How does the writer describe people’s inability in the modern world to use the knowledge that they obtain?

  1. What is the desire to collect things described as?
  2. According to the author, what has the world turned into?
  3. What are the consequences in the workplace of moving large amounts of raw data around?

Questions 26-28

Do the statements below agree with the information in Reading Passage 1?

In Boxes 26-28, 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

Example: The European Renaissance spanned the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.

Answer: Yes.

26. As the world has a wealth of knowledge within easy reach, it is now richer,

  1. Knowledge processing courses will soon be obligatory for all library workers.
  2. The author believes that the pursuit of knowledge is worthwhile.

Reading Passage 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 29-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

A. Between the Inishowen peninsula, north-west of Derry, and the Glens of Antrim, in the cast beyond the Sperrin Mountains, are found some of Western Europe’s most captivating and alluring landscape. The Roe Valley Park, some 15 miles east of Deny is a prime example. The Park, like so many Celtic places, is steeped in history and legend. As the Roe trickles down through heather bogs in the Sperrin Mountains to the South, it is a river by the time it cuts through what was once called the “garden of the soul” – in Celtic “Gortenanima”.

B. The castle of O’Cahftn once stood here and a number of houses which made up the town of Limavady. The town takes its name from the legend of a dog leaping into the river Roe carrying a message, or perhaps chasing a stag. This is a magical place, where the water traces its way through rock and woodland; at times, lingering in brooding pools of dark cool water under the shade of summer trees, and, at others, forming weirs and leads for water mills now long gone.

C. The Roe, like all rivers, is witness to history and change. To Mullagh Hill, on the west bank of the River Roe just outside the present-day town of Limavady, St, Columba came in 575 AD for the Convention of Drumccatl, The world is probably unaware that it knows something of Limavady; but the town is, in fact, renowned for Jane Ross’s song Danny Boy, written to a tune once played by a tramp in the street.

D. Some 30 miles along the coast road from Limavady, one comes upon the forlorn but im­posing ruin of Dunluce Castle, which stands on a soft basalt outcrop, in defiance of the turbulent Atlantic lashing it on all sides. The jagged – toothed ruins sit proudly on their rock top commanding the coastline to cast and west. The only connection to the mainland is by a narrow bridge. Until the kitchen court fell into the sea in 1639 killing several servants, the castle was fully inhabited, In the next hundred years or so, the structure gradually fell into Its present dramatic state of disrepair, stripped of its roofs by wind and weather and robbed by a man of its carved stonework. Ruined and forlorn its aspect may be, yet, in the haunting Celtic twilight of the long summer evenings, it is redolent of another age, another dream.

E. A mile or so to the cast of the castle lies Port na Spanish, where the Neapolitan Gaileas, Girona, from the Spanish Armada went down one dark October night in 1588 on its way to Scotland. Of the 1500’Odd men on board, nine survived. Even further to the east, is the Giant’s Causeway, a stunning coastline with strangely sym­metrical columns of dark basalt – a beautiful geological two under, someone once said of the causeway that it was worth seeing, but not worth going to see, That was in the days of horses and carriages when travelling was difficult. But it is certainly well worth a visit. The last lingering moments of the twilight hours are the best time to savour the full power of the coastline’s magic; the time when the place comes into its own.

F. The tourists are gone and if you are very lucky you will be alone, It is not frightening, but there is a power in the place; tangible, yet inexplicable. The feeling is one of eeriness and longing, uni of something missing, something not quite fulfilled; the loss of light and the promise of darkness; a time between two worlds, Once experienced, this feeling never leaves you: the longing haunts and pulls at you for the rest of your days. Beyond the Causeway, connecting the mainland with an outcrop of rock jutting out of the turbulent Atlantic is the Carrick-a-Hede Hope Bridge- Not a crossing for the faint-hearted. The Bridge swings above a chasm of rushing, foaming water that seeks to drag the unwary down, and away.

Questions 29-33

Choose one phrase (A-E) from the list of places to label the map below,

Write the appro­priate letters (A-li) in Boxes 29-33 on your answer sheet,

List of places

A. The Sperrin Mountains

B. Dunluce Castle

C. Inishowen

D. The Glens of Antrim

E. Limavady

Questions 34-37

Do the statements below agree with the Information in Reading Passage 3?

In Boxes 34-37, 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

Example: Inishowen is in the north-west of Ireland. Answer: Yes.

After 1639 the castle of Dunluce was not completely uninhabited.

35. For the author, Dunluce castle evokes another period of history.

  1. There were more than 1500 men on the Girona when it went down.
  2. The writer disagrees with the viewpoint that the Giant’s Causeway is not worth going to

Questions 38-40

Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in Boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet.

38. The writer feels that the Giant’s Causeway is …

A. un unsettling place

B. relaxing place

C. a boring place

D. a place that helps one unwind

39. Where was this passage taken from?

A. the news section of a newspaper

B. A travel section in a newspaper

C. a biography

D. an academic journal on geography

40. Which of the following would be a good title for the passage?

A.The Roe Valley Park

B. The Giant’s Causeway

C. Going Hast to West

D. A leap into history


Reading passage 1

1. Imagine

2. Citizen

3. Crocodile

4. Obelisk

5. Obelisk

6. Pharaoh

7. Uprising

8. Mind/minds

9. Propaganda

10. Subtle

12. D

13. D

14. A

15. B

Reading passage 2

16. English lexicographer

17. (of) human knowledge

18. Advert of printing

19. Renaissance man

20. Easy access to information/easily accessible information/easy information access

21. All-knowing

22. Stream of information

23. The most singular failure

24. A natural human instinct

25. A vortex/ a veritable vortex/ a large information machine

26. Disillusionment and stress

27. No

28. Not given

29. No


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Reading passage 3

30. C

31. E

32. B

33. D

34. A

35. Not Given

36. Yes

37. Yes

38. Yes

39. A

40. B

41. D

Continue with…Practice Test 9

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