IELTS Course Lesson 39 – IELTS reading test online
IELTS Reading #9
PART 1: Summer activities in the south-west area & Visit to the parliament building
(You are advised to spend 20 minutes on Questions on this section of the IELTS reading test online)
Summer activities in the south-west area
Guided walk in the Poltesco Valley, now a wooded haven for wildlife, but once the centre of a successful stone- polishing industry. Comfortable footwear is recommended.
Meet at Poltesco car park.
£2 per person.
Enjoy a film at the floating cinema, surrounded by the beauty of the Helford River, and from the comfort of your own rowing boat as you tie up at the quay. Weather-dependent.
£6.50 per adult.
Rare chance to visit the only Cold War early warning bunker in the area, equipped as it was when it was operational. Tours led by ex-members of the military unit which once manned the bunker. Park at Kilbrick Cove and walk to Nare Head. Restricted access via a vertical ladder is unsuitable for some.
The chance to camp in a wooded creek on the Fowey River.
Activities and talks, e.g. trekking preparation, search and rescue, and camping skills.
Singing around the campfire after dark.
£15 per person
Jazz picnic in the grounds of Buckland Abbey featuring the Roger Mark jazz band.
Bring your own picnic (and umbrella).
£10 per person
Have a go at ‘putting on the style’ and come dancing in the large Drawing Room of historic Knighsthayes Court.
£12.50 includes tea and cakes.
No high heels, please!
Family fun day on the beach. Arts and crafts, face painting, kite making, juggling, races, coconut shy, tractor rides and more! Some activities £1, lots for free. Meet at Llansallos Cove.
Barbecue and a talk on bats, followed by a chance to see Greater Horseshoe bats emerging from their cliff-top roost as it gets dark. Meet at the park near Pentireglaze Farm.
Bring barbecue food. Best to arrive early as places are limited.
£2 per person.
Comprehension Questions (Exercise 1)
Read the information below and answer Questions
Visit to the parliament building
Dear Ms Foster,
Visit to the parliament building
I am pleased to confirm the following date and time for your visit, which is free of charge:
18th June at 15.30 hours (scheduled admission) for the two people you specified when registering.
Participants are requested to come to the welcome centre for visitors to the Reichstag building, which is located on Scheidemann Street, next to the west portal of the building, no later than 15 minutes before their visit is due to begin (i.e. 15.15 hours), to allow time for the security checks prior to entry. They must each bring a valid identity card or an equivalent form of photo identification with them, and must also show this letter on arrival. Group leaders must ensure that participants come to the admission point as a group.
We reserve the right to reschedule or cancel visits at short notice due to special events being held or heightened security requirements.
On the roof terrace, you can obtain an audio-guide to the dome of the Reichstag Building, which provides a great deal of interesting information about the Reichstag Building and its surroundings, the German Bundestag, the work of the parliament, and the sights you can see from the dome. The audio-guide is available in ten languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. A special audio-guide is available for children (German only).
Cameras are permitted as long as the pictures are for personal rather than for commercial use. Equipment will be checked at the security desk on arrival.
The Berlin Reichstag is the only parliamentary building in the world that features a public restaurant; Restaurant Kaefer and its roof garden are located on the top of the Reichstag, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner at reasonable prices – breathtaking views included.
I wish you an enjoyable and informative visit to the German Bundestag.
Comprehension Questions (Exercise 2)
PART 2: Advice to entrepreneurs on starting a small business & Managing the inventory: advice for business managers
Advice to entrepreneurs on starting a small business
Determine your marketing strategy. When the same aspect of the product appeals to a broad market base an undifferentiated marketing strategy works. Conversely, when advertising to different markets a differentiated strategy highlights different aspects of the product. A concentrated strategy, meanwhile, should be used when just one particular segment of the market is targeted, rather than a range of different segments.
Try out different ways of promoting your product. For example, test a variety of advertising campaigns within the same market base. Make sure each campaign emphasizes your product’s distinct selling point, and appeals to the emotions of each group you market your product to. Or consider testing the same campaign across more than one market base — you may find that one of them likes your product for a reason you hadn’t thought of. Or try placing your product in different types of stores, frequented by different consumer groups. Then evaluate the success of each campaign, and act on customer feedback gained from salespeople or follow-up surveys.
Seed the market, which means giving potential customers product samples, showing them why they need (or want) it. Strive to get your product into the hands of industry leaders, or companies that may need to purchase more than one item. Ask experts to test your product and provide testimonials.
Make your testimonials public by quoting them on your website and in your brochures, particularly the ones provided by experts and industry leaders. This will build credibility. Distribute press releases to the media to announce your product’s appearance, or any surprising and positive findings of the experts who have examined it.
Begin your chosen advertising campaign, targeting the markets you deemed as most receptive to your product. Hold a product release or grand opening event to generate local interest and publicity. Place ads in the publications your target market reads, on local radio and TV stations, and in newspapers.
Evaluate your product’s success on an ongoing basis. Note any longer-term changes in the market base, or in customer expectations of the product, and then reposition it as needed. For example, Proctor & Gamble repositioned its diapers by emphasising their range of sizes. They began marketing them under the name of Pampers Phases, which were geared toward babies and toddlers of different ages.
Comprehension Questions (Exercise 3)
Managing the inventory: advice for business managers
The importance of the inventory
Inventory or stock refers to the goods and materials that a business holds for the ultimate purpose of resale. Inventory is among the more significant sources of revenue for a company. After all, inventory equals profit, so keeping an accurate account of product in stock and inventory to be ordered can have a dramatic financial impact on your business. In fact, bad inventory can affect more than just the bottom line, it can have a damaging effect on your organization in the following ways:
Poor Customer Service:
Lack of inventory control can result in a delay when shipping products to customers. Moreover, it can create a scenario in which you don’t have the proper parts available for a product because you failed to check your inventory. This results in overall poor service to the clients you serve, and customer dissatisfaction.
Loss of Cost Effectiveness:
Bad inventory can be quite costly to your organization. If you have too much inventory, it will be prone to damage or destruction over time due to reasons beyond your control. If you have no system for accurately monitoring inventory, you also may end up with shrinkage (inventory lost to theft). Finally, if you are spending more on additional inventory that you don’t need – because you don’t know what you have – you are wasting money.
Businesses track inventory so that they are able to fulfil customer orders at all times. However, it is also good business practice to plan ahead, and when you start with a bad cache of inventory, then you can’t properly plan. Moreover, if you have an unexpectedly large order – which is great for business, financially speaking – your bad inventory may again cost you money if you can’t fulfil it.
To mitigate the negative effect of bad inventory on your business, you can integrate a few solutions into your workflow. For example, you can invest in an automated inventory management system, software which can track your inventory and show you where you’ve gone wrong. If you prefer one-on-one advice and fast answers, you may engage an inventory consultant to periodically review your stock, show you where you can make improvements in storage, and advise you on the process by which inventory moves in and out of your business.
Comprehension Questions (Exercise 3)
PART 3: North American Quilts and Coverlets
North American Quilts and Coverlets
The craft traditions which early American colonists from Europe brought to the ‘New World’ centred primarily around the use of linen and wool. These familiar choices were then adapted to America, whose climate and environment enabled the introduction and raising of sheep for wool and, in some areas – though with less success – the growing of flax for linen. The cultivation of silk – an exotic fibre originally brought from China – was attempted for a short time only in the northern states, although by the nineteenth-century silk was being used extensively. Cotton thrived in the southern region, but was restricted to small-scale home production until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when the invention of new mechanical equipment facilitated its harvesting, spinning, and weaving on a large scale.
Quilts and coverlets were created from both homemade and commercially produced cloth. During the early colonial period (seventeenth century) and into the new republic (1776 onwards), most commercial fabric was imported from England. Even goods that had been produced in other regions, such as the popular dye-printed calicoes from India and woven silks from China, were brought into America via English ships. These were used in making quilts and also influenced American quilt design. Eventually, by the mid-nineteenth century, most of the fabrics found in quilts were industrially produced, and reflected the taste and achievements of the American textile industry. Specialty fabrics, particularly silk ribbons, had become popular by the second half of the nineteenth century.
Prior to the development of synthetic dyes in the nineteenth century, early American dyers utilized substances obtained from a variety of plants and animals, to create a wide-ranging colour palette. Red colours ranged from the orange-red hue produced from the madder root to the brilliant scarlet made from cochineal, the scale insect that grows on the cactus from Central and South America. Most of the blue colours were from indigo leaves, and browns derived from a variety of sources, including substances called tannins found in oak trees.
Unwoven yarn or finished cloth was coloured by immersing it into containers of hot dye solution. Numerous shades of colour could be achieved, depending on the quality of the dyes, the purity of water, the type of utensils used (a copper kettle, for example, could affect the colour), and the addition of specific metallic salts to create a strong colour which would not fade in light. These salts, along with other additives such as vinegar or ash, were essential to the dyeing process. The dyeing of textiles with natural dyes was both an art and a science. Indigo blue, for example, with its complex chemistry, required a series of steps in order to produce a durable, lightfast blue colour. Turkey Red was another complicated dye process. Originating in India, it was a method that involved immersing the cloth several times into oils, milk fats or dung. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, books were published on the science and philosophy of dyes, thus heralding a period of experimentation, and the creation of a whole new category of synthetic dyes that flourished at the end of the nineteenth century, and continue to be used today.
Methods of applying designs onto the surface of fabrics ranged from hand painting and stencilling 2 to block and roller printing. Block printing involved the use of carved wooden blocks.
The surfaces of the blocks were covered with the dye which were thickened with gum Arabic or other starchy substances, and pressed directly onto the cloth. Some quilts were made with floral designs from block-printed fabrics. Etched plates of copper were also used for printing, and in 1783 technological developments led to covering cylindrical rollers with etched copperplates for continuous printing, a process called roller printing. This new technology enabled printers to produce more yardage at a much faster rate.
The creation of complex quilts composed of many small pieces of cloth – known as patchwork – requires systematic organization. A template might be used for creating the basic design unit, such as a square, diamond, or hexagon. The template – sometimes a heavy card or paper – ensured an even, regular unit size, thus enabling the quilter to join together the many pieces of fabric, following an overall design arrangement. Appliquéd quilts, also made by using fabric pieces, were put together in a different manner. Appliqué is a versatile technique, enabling the sewer to compose visual patterns with multiple layers of single-colour and printed fabrics, creating depth in the overall composition.
For American woven blankets, simple weaves were woven on simple looms. Creating designs in geometric patterning resulted from a weaver’s meticulous attention to the loom’s operation, along with the artistic use of contrasting colours and materials to highlight the pattern effects. Floral and larger-scale pictorial images generally required more complex patterning mechanisms. For example, the Jacquard mechanism, developed by French weaver Joseph-Marie Jacquard in the late eighteenth century, used a series of cards with pre-punched holes that would control the threads as they were woven on the loom. An early forerunner of the computer, the Jacquard loom was introduced to American weavers by the 1820s, and used extensively to produce woven coverlets with both large- and small-scale designs.
Comprehension Questions for the IELTS reading test online (Exercise 5)
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