IELTS Reading

IELTS General Reading Test 5 – Best Test with Answers

IELTS General Reading Tests

Reading Passage 1          

Question 1 to 14

 Read the text below and answer question 1 to 7

Otzi the Iceman

Found in 1991 in the Otzi Alps this well-preserved mummy of a man has been affectionately nicknamed Otzi the Iceman. He is Europe’s oldest natural human mummy and has been estimated to have lived around 3,300 BC.

When first found people thought this was the body of a recently deceased climber. It was only when Otzi was taken to the University of Innsbruck that it was fairly quickly determined that this was an ancient mummy.

It was finally determined that Otzi was about 45 years old when he died, weighed 50kg, and was 1.65 meters tall. It was even possible to tell which village he has lived in by the type of pollen and dust grains found on his body.

His diet from several months before he died was determined by hair analysis and shown to be a mixture of different meats, wheat bread, root vegetables, fruits, and other grains. Otzi’s death most likely happened in the spring because of the presence of very fresh pollen that is only seen at this time of year.

High levels of copper and arsenic were also found in his hair suggesting that he might have been involved in making bronze (a mixture of copper, arsenic, and/ or tin). The copper axe found by his side was probably made by him.

Lines on one of the two fingernails found indicate that he had been ill three times in the last six months.

Otzi had several tattoos on his body including a cross behind his right knee and various marks around both ankles. These might have been for decoration but it is thought that they are connected to pain relief treatments similar to acupuncture and acupressure.

He wore a cloak made of woven grass and a coat, a belt, a pair of leggings, a loincloth, and shoes, all made of leather of different skins. This was seen as very sophisticated for the time and suggests that Otzi was a chief of his tribe. The shoes were waterproof and designed for walking across the snow. They were constructed using bearskin for the soles, deer hide for the top panels, and netting made of tree bark.

Question 1 to 7

Complete the summary below:

Chose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer:

Write your answers in boxes 1 – 7 on your answer sheet.

Originally thought to be a climber that had 1………………………. not long ago, Otzi was then found to be an ancient mummy that had lived over 5,000 years ago. Scientists determined the location he had lived in because his body had a certain type of 2……………………. on it. Through 3……………………. we now know that he regularly ate a mixture of different foods including wheat, bread, and root vegetables. The season he died in was also worked out by the presence of 4…………………………….. .

Otzi was not in the best of health and had infect been ill 5………………………. not so long ago as shown by marks on his nails. Different tattoos on his body might have been used for 6………………………. He was a very dressed man with the type of clothes that suggested he was a tribal.


Charles Macintosh

It is difficult to imagine in today’s world of high technology but in the 19th century, it was impossible to find a waterproof coat. Whenever it rained you were sure to get wet from head to toe. This was all to change with a little help from Charles Macintosh a Scottish chemist and inventor.

Born in 1766, he was expected to spend his life working for his father in the family business dyeing wool and silk. Charles and other ideas, after leaving school, he studied chemistry at a university in Glasgow and after graduating was employed as a clerk with a merchant.

This was only a stepping-stone as Charles never gave up his love of science, particularly chemistry, and spent all of his free time studying. By the time he was twenty Charles had given up his job and had opened up his own company manufacturing various chemicals including ammonium chloride and Prussian blue dye.

This became a successful business for Charles but he was not the kind of man just to focus on one thing. He was constantly looking for better ways and easier ways to do things and with the help of James Beaumont Nelson, he developed a process to make high-quality cast iron. This was an essential part of the industrial revolution that was happening in Britain at the time and was used to make machines, tools, bridges, and ships.

After the death of his father, Charles inherited the family business and began to look for ways to invest his money. Around the same time, in 1817, the Glasgow Gas Light Company was established and Charles became interested in finding a use for the waste products from the coal gas industry. One of these was the waste product known as coal tar naptha. With a touch of genius that perhaps no one else at the time could have thought of Charles combined his knowledge of dyeing material with his love of chemistry.

The result was a liquid rubber that when combined with other textiles made them waterproof. The rainproof cloth was quickly adopted by the British army and navy. It was sold to the public as the world’s first raincoat – the Mackintosh. Note the added ‘k’ to Charles’s name.

Questions 8-14

Complete the sentences below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 8-14 on your answer sheet.

8. ………………………………………was impossible to buy more than 200 years ago.

9. Macintosh went to university instead of working for the…………………………………………. .

10. By the time he was ………………………………… he had started his own company.

11. Macintosh played a big part in the …………………………………..that was happening at the time.

12. Coal tar naptha was a …………………………………………from the coal gas industry.

13. After some research Macintosh was able to make ……………………………waterproof.

14. The raincoat was finally ready when he added a ………………………………. .



Reading Passage 2:-

Questions 15-27

Job Search Assistance from the Human Resources Dept.

Economic woes

1. Be organized.

First and foremost make sure you are planning your attack on the job market in an organized and professional manner. Apply your talents to the cause for a fixed minimum number of hours per day. Keep records of everything you do. Obtain as much information as possible from reliable sources online and off, and be sure to keep a job search diary. Do not procrastinate. Always return calls when they are made to you, and follow up opportunities the moment they present themselves.

2. Work on your resume.

The important of well-presented, accurate and comprehensive resume cannot be overemphasized. Creating and composing a professional document is essential, but not everyone has specific experience about what and what not to include nor the requisite design skills. To show yourself in your best light, pay someone to perform this task for you. A quality resume be worth a hundred times what you spend on it.

3. The importance of references.

Use relevant references from as many reputable persons and establishments you have worked for in the past as you can. Although current policy forbids the disclosure of reference details, retrenched staff members can expect fair treatment and positive referrals from managers at this company when dismissal is due to unavoidable downsizing.

4. Use a variety of search options.

Use a job search agency to get the best jobs (you should not have to pay up front for this – or usually at all, since commission is obtained later from your employer). Peruse ads online and in the daily papers, both local and statewide. Contact companies direct, and make it known that your talents are for hire. Social media websites, including Twitter and Face book can help. Ask us how.

5. Get networked.

It can help a great deal to get others involved in your search. Te moral support of friends in a similar position to you will combine with your help towards them and create a synergy that opens doors and Moves Mountains!

6. Dress well for the interview.

Job applications do not always look the part. A prospective employer can easily be turned off by a scruffy person with good qualifications. Package yourself as you would a top product, for that is how you must present yourself. Incidentally, women are not advised to wear too much jewellery or make-up to an interview.

7. Send a thank you note.

Once your interview is over, and if you know it went well, consider sending a thank you note to the interviewer. The job application is not oven when you walk out the door. This small step can help resurrect your chance if the number of candidates for the job is large. Surprisingly, few people take advantage of this opportunity to be remembered.

8. Keep a positive outlook.

It is all too easy to become discouraged after failing to secure a job after a number of attempts. Try to learn something from each interview experience so that your failures will count towards your eventual success. Mock interview sessions can be arranged in the evening between managerial and floor staff. Contact Joan Blackwell on 0402-969-465 or speak directly with your manager.

9. Things to avoid.

Don’t imagine that get-rich-quick schemes or gambling with your payout funds will help you through the lean times. Job scams are an unfortunate fact of working life. If the job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never hand over money to a prospective employer in the hope that his or her offer of training will result in employment. More often than not, the job will fail to materialize.


Questions 15-17

Complete the following sentences with suitable words or phrases from the text above. Write your answers in boxes 15-17 on your answer sheet.

Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

EXAMPLE: The economic downturn is the reason that some staff members will be

………………………seeking employment…………………..

15. When an opportunity arises follow it up immediately; in other words, …………………………………….

16. It is not possible to …………………………….the need for a quality resume.

17. When staff lose their jobs due to downsizing, they will receive ………………………………………….


Questions 18-20

Choose the correct letter from A-D. Write your answers in boxes 18-20 on your answer sheet.

Example: A good resume should include references

               A. regardless of their relevance

              B. only if they are relevant.

              C.  from all sources

             D. both positive and negative.                            ANSWER B

18. The Human Recourses Dept.

A. Keeps the content of references private.

B. Always gives a good reference to past employers.

C. Advertises in the daily papers.

D. Will contact companies directly for you.


19. Paying a job search agency is

A. Only necessary once you have landed the job.

B. Not often the obligation of the job-seeker.

C. An option to choose if you wish to get the better jobs.

D. All of the above.


20. At the interview session, you are advised

A. To dress well but not to overdo the accessories.

B. To take something positive from the interview.

C. Not to accept costly training that might result in you being hired.

D. All of the above.


Question 21

Choose THREE letters from A-G. Write your answer in box 21 on your answer sheet.

Which THREE of the job search tips below are NOT mentioned in the text?

A. Be regular in your job-seeking efforts

B. Be selective when you record events in your job search diary

C. Send your resume to as many companies as possible

D. Team up with other job-seekers

E. sharpen your interview skills with role-plays

F. follow up on potentially successful interviews

G. upgrade your job skills while looking for work


Questions 22-27

Read the text below and answer Question 22-27.

Work Overtime – Facts and Fiction

Working overtime for no pay has become standard practice in most offices and factories throughout the U.K., U.S., and even Australia and New Zealand – countries where Workers’ Union once ruled supreme. Gone are the days when union bosses could and would order workers to down tools and strike if employers so much as requested a minute of voluntary unpaid work time. What has gone wrong? Or right, depending on your viewpoint?

The financial crisis that overwhelmed the world in September 2008 has been labeled the villain that finally put to rest any notion of compensation for overtime. Airline crews have regularly worked 15-hour shifts for many years with no such luxury. Restaurant staff starting at lunchtime can easily put in 12 hours a day with no expectation of extra pay for their trouble. The difference is that now, right across the board, workers are being asked to stay back at work or run the risk of not being asked to return. It might not be legal just yet, but it is happening.

In Australia, a new Nation Employment Standard says “an employer must not request an employee work more than 38 hours unless the additional hours are reasonable”. But how does an employee argue that additional hours are unreasonable? Unreasonable for Whom and Why? What exactly constitute an unreasonable request to work back later? Working more than 50 hours a week is considered the uppermost limit before work starts to affect your health – according to the International Labour Organisation – but many workers are expected to work as many or more hours to satisfy the ever-increasing consumer demand for a shop or business to stay open and compete in the modern economy.

This situation does not come as news to most older Asian workers who have long been used to working vast numbers of hours per week for a little or no extra monetary reward; however, there is a recent argument that is hard not to accept: worldwide living standards have increased to very high levels for many millions of consumers in the West, and large parts of Asia and fast catching up.

In China and India for example, once considered slow-growth economies, the reward for exceptionally hard work is beginning to pay off, with millions of people now able to afford cars and white goods that were once luxuries enjoyed in the West.

The fact is that working long and hard pays dividends; if not in the pay packet, then at the pump or at the local supermarket where prices are kept well within reasonable limits while living standards climb slowly higher for the benefit of all. Workers find it difficult to argue for higher wages for more work achieved when consumer rewards are already being felt across the entire world economy. At the same time, the boss can extract more and more hours from staff without having to pay for it. Paid overtime is becoming a distant memory.


Questions 22-27

Look at the following statements


TRUE    if the statement is true

FALSE if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN   if the information is not given in the text.

Write your answers in boxes 22-27 on your answer sheet.

22. Unpaid overtime is limited to the airline and restaurant industry. ……………………………..

23. Workers who refuse to perform unpaid overtime can be lawfully sacked. ………………………….

24. Working back late is bad for your health. …………………………………………

25. Asian workers now spend more than Western workers. …………………………..

26. Living standards across the globe are steadily increasing. …………………………………

27. Paid overtime may not be necessary when living standards are high. ……………………………


Reading Passage 3:-

Questions 28-40

The reading passage “A Brief Look at the Indian Economy” on the following pages has nine paragraphs (A-I).

Choose the most suitable headings for paragraphs B-H from the list of headings below:

Write the appropriate numbers (i-xii) in boxes 28-34 o your answer sheet.

NB: There are more headings than paragraphs, so you will not use all of them.

List of headings

i. Layman’s Distance from ‘India Shining’ myth.

ii. China-a role model for India.

iii. Hindrances in India’s Export Efforts.

iv. Need for efficiency through competition

v. Warming Lessons from Turkey, Mexico & Thailand.

vi. Corporate executives and economic reforms.

vii. Skepticism about Indian economy.

viii. And of the Period of Collective Instanity.

ix. India’s inability to beat even small countries.

x. Signs of recovery in Exports.

xi. Possibility of economic progress that export of food items.

xii. Corruption- the root cause of stagnation in India economy.

Example:                     Answer

Paragraph A                   (vii)       

   Paragraph I                    (iv)

28. Paragraph B

29. Paragraph C

30. Paragraph D

31. Paragraph E

32. Paragraph F

33. Paragraph G

34. Paragraph H


A brief look at the Indian Economy


Only a few years ago, Indian economy was not that bright as it is today. There was skepticism about it even at the start of the current century. It was then that a renowned daily wrote in general about it: while we all remain preoccupied with politics and state – level troubles, certain extremely disturbing portends on the economic front have gone altogether unnoticed. The establishment naturally dislikes the negative side to be highlighted. The business magnates feel embarrassed to see their own pet projects go haywire. Instead, the emphasis is on applying a still higher dose of the same medicine. Thus, the truth about the state of the economy gets buried under layers of unreal projections and misleading interpretations. Contrary to the public perception, things have begun really turning topsy-turvy. Every economic indicator tells stories of stagnation or downward trend.


Things have drastically changed now, even though it would be grossly wrong to be complacent or overoptimistic. We should not summarily dismiss the warning, albeit now it may seem unnecessary: some years back Turkey was forced into a similar crisis after it had allowed unrestricted imports following its joining the European Union. The imports grew at 30 per cent a year whereas the export growth was only 10 per cent. Through as a price the EU brought some foreign direct investment, this did not make up for the subsequent destruction of its domestic industry and massive unemployment with all its social and criminal consequences. We cannot forget that even the worse happened in Mexico, and economies like Thailand which had shown greatly rising trend at one time seemed to slip down suddenly.


However, even earlier an expert said: economic reforms in India will continue irrespective of which party comes to power in the coming general elections: Liberalization and globalization are today dictated by the ‘zeitgeist’ – (the spirit of the times), which were long over – due and which were more powerful than policies of any government. The economic transformation had come after 40 years of India’s history as a republic when “the so-called leaders suffocated the people by state ownership and state control. But ever since the new industrial policy of 1991 was enunciated, a metamorphosis began ending the period of collective insanity.


Three main reasons are attributed to Indian’s inability to make tremendous progress in the export sector: First, Indian industry is constantly subjected to the compelling pull of a large domestic market which makes exports a much less attractive proposition. Unlike small countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, India need not have an export-led growth. Second, India was an over-protected economy for a long time and it is only in 1991 that things begin to change. The result is that India’s mollycoddled manufacturing sector has become in inefficient, producing sub-standard goods which sell high profit in a captive market. Third, India’s rotten infrastructure is not at all equipped for a high export growth rate. The cost of transport by road and rail is high compared to our competitors. The turning around our ship in Indian ports varies from four to seven days, whereas it is hardly twelve hours in Sri Lanka and four to five hours in South Korea and Singapore. The container facility is not available in time. Loading and unloading of air cargo is too slow to meet international delivery schedules. And the whole system is reeking of corruption, with exporters having to pay “speed money” at every step.


We must remember that now many of the bottlenecks in the streamline are being removed and efforts are being made to streamline the exports. A new culture of producing high quality goods for exports is being created. There is still the sad aspect that corruption in the system, as in almost all fields of society, is not being satisfactorily controlled. In spite of certain negative points being still prevalent while some innonative have also be taken, the Indian exports have for quite some time past been showing great signs of recovery, as is clear from the newspaper reports which occasionally depict the situation.


As for the present it has become a fashion to boast of India’s economic growth, and the political leaders both at the centre and in the states are reaping rich dividends in one or the other form by orchestrating this mantra, and in this, now even Left parties that previously frowned at reforms, are not lagging behind. However, the learned reviewer of a book on India’s economy has thus expressed his views: the economic boom, which our leaders and media luminaries never tire of celebrating, appears an entirely remote abstraction to many lay people. The magic of soaring Sensex figures, which put stars in the eyes of the dreamers of Dalal Street, hardly seems related to any material progress in living standards even for the majority of the middle class, let alone the masses.

While dwelling NDA government’s “India Shining” theme a leading economist said that the false presentation of this aspect which was not all-inclusive became a cause for the governments defeat. He says: the previous government went into the collection under the slogan “Indian Shining” suggesting that its economic policies had produced results which justified its re-election. The electorate clearly thought otherwise. Such growth that occurred was also seen as benefitting only a few the software and business process outsourcing sectors were clearly “shining” but performance in critical area such as agriculture was unforgivably poor. Another economist looking with equal eye at India’s and China’s “dramatic” rise explains: Indian and Chinese elites borrow no less eagerly than their western counter-parts from the discourse of neo-orientalism as they attribute India and China’s recent economic growth to the free markets they embraced in the 1980s and 1990s. But even a casual glance at their claims will reveal them to be caricatures of a complex political and economic reality.


Nobody can deny that now India is progressing rapidly, the growth rate hovering around 9 percent. But it needs to be further accelerated. According to an expert, growth will be possible by public and private investment and technological intervention. Food and agriculture will continue to be the growth drivers of the North. What is needed is innovation in product mix and cutting-edge technologies. He was talking about the possibilities of economic progress through export of food items. He further said: we found that a number of agencies (over 30) were involved in allowing export of agri-commodities and the exporters have to fill innumerable documents. The committee has now recommended that a single export document be introduced for exporters which will be electronically filed. When the documents will be electronically filed, various government agencies can pick up the information they require. It has also been recommended to setup a nodal agency to deal with these agri-exports which will have simplified documentation and procedure. We must, however, remember that any slacking in agricultural growth can be suicidal for India: India’s domestic market is very large and any shortage of food items can cause widespread unrest, especially among the lower classes of society. Fortunately the past year has witnessed an unprecedented agricultural growth, being 3.5 per cent, which is close to the targeted 4 per cent.


One bane of the economic reforms is said to be the creation of vast inequalities of income. An expert says: Since the economic reforms began, the top 20 per cent have also benefited from tax reforms which has meant lower and lower taxes. The politicians in power have favoured the corporate sector and today the top echelons of society comprise of top bureaucrats, politicians, business magnets and executives. India’s corporation sector has been flourishing in recent years and Indian corporate executives, according to the economist, London, are the highest paid in the world because of high/monetary compensation and a lower cost of living. But there only a few thousand in number and are busy job-hopping for higher and higher pay.

However, Swraj Paul has a different option. He spells out the mantra for growth, Poverty alleviation and increasing employment avenues. According to him, the right action is that which benefit over one million people of India. What we really need is efficiency which will come with competition. It means the more the people can afford the more the products. The government should not allow abuse by allowing monopolies that’s why competition is necessary. There is not a too much difference between private and public monopolies. Reforms do not create unemployment. They will lead to more employment, bring costs down and create our bigger market.

Glossary: Zeitgeist = the spirit of the times


Question 35 to 40

Using the information in the passage, complete the chart below:

Write your answer in the boxes 35 – 40 on your answer sheet.

Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer


The skeptical view of Indian economy is that the 

The interpretations are ………………………………………       

ANSWER – misleading     

There were 35……………………………… that played havoc with the Turkish economy.

It is the zeitgeist which is now dictating 36………………………………

The new industrial policy was started in India in 37……………………………….

India’s export proportion losses lustre because of its having a 38…………………………………

India’s and China’s “dramatic“rise only present 39……………………………….. of a particular type of economy.

The job of most highly paid Indian corporate executives seems only to be 40…………………. nothing more.


Thanks for visiting our Reading Test. Answers are below


IELTS Reading practice 5 - Answers


  1. Recently deceased
  2. Pollen
  3. Hair analysis
  4. Pollen
  5. 3/ three times
  6. Pain relief
  7. Chief
  8. A waterproof coat
  9. Family business
  10. 20/ twenty
  11. Industry revolution
  12. Waste product
  13. Textiles
  14. K
  15. Do not procrastinate /(Always) return calls/ be organized
  16. Overemphasis
  17. Fair treatment/ positive referrals
  18. A
  19. B
  20. D
  21. B, C, G  (answers to 21 may be in any order, but all 3 answers must be given)
  22. FALSE
  23. FALSE
  26. TRUE
  27. TRUE
  28. (v)
  29. (Viii)
  30. (iii)
  31. (x)
  32. (i)
  33. (xi)
  34. (vi)
  35. Unrestricted imports
  36. Liberalization and globalization
  37. 1991
  38. Large domestic market
  39. Caricatures
  40. Job hopping


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