IELTS Practice Reading # Christmas Pickle

The below passage has been taken from the below link –

NEW YORK TIMES

A great many people in the American Midwest have family roots in Germany, and a good number of them can tell you all about a beloved old-country holiday tradition: the Weihnachtsgurke, or Christmas Pickle.

They will tell you that an ornament in the shape of a pickle is always the last one hung on the tree on Christmas Eve, camouflaged somewhere among the pine needles. It might be shiny or matte; it might have gold swirls or a little Santa hat. But whatever the style, the story goes that the first child to find the pickle in the morning is assured of good luck in the coming year and a special gift.

It sounds plausible: Germans tend to love traditions, Christmas and pickles. Versions of the story and speculation over its origins proliferate on the internet. There is only one snag: It is all but unknown in Germany.

The Statista polling agency surveyed 2,057 Germans in November and found that 91 percent had never even heard of this holiday legend attributed to their country.

Sascha Müller of the Lauscha glass center, in the eastern German region where the making of glass Christmas ornaments started in the mid-19th century, said he had learned of the Christmas pickle for the first time in the 1990s, on a trip to Frankenmuth, Mich.

He brought the story home with him, and his artisans now churn out 50,000 pickle ornaments a year, making it a best seller behind only Santa Claus and colored glass balls.

Dieter Dressler, a glass artisan in Weimar, also makes glossy green pickle ornaments, slightly curved and as thick as a large man’s thumb. He said there could be something to the idea that people in the Spreewald region, where cucumbers are grown and pickled, might have once been so poor that they had nothing else to hang on their trees, and that émigrés took the memory with them.

Mr. Dressler said that over the past three years he had been selling more and more pickle ornaments to Germans, who laugh when they hear the story of the Weihnachtsgurke.

“Lots of people ask me if I have a smaller one,” Mr. Dressler said. But being German, he knows you cannot go against tradition. “I tell them: ‘No, that wouldn’t be a pickle. It would be a cornichon.’”

Given below are the meaning of the tough words highlighted in the passage above. So, practice reading and increase chances of getting high band.

 

WORDSMEANING
beloveddearly loved.
traditionthe transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.
ornamenta thing used or serving to make something look more attractive but usually having no practical purpose, especially a small object such as a figurine.
picklea relish consisting of vegetables or fruit preserved in vinegar or brine.
camouflagedthe disguising of military personnel, equipment, and installations by painting or covering them to make them blend in with their surroundings.
matteÊdull and flat; without a shine.
swirlsmove in a twisting or spiralling pattern.
plausible(of an argument or statement) seeming reasonable or probable.
proliferateincrease rapidly in number; multiply.
snagan unexpected or hidden obstacle or drawback.
artisana worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.
cucumbersa long, green-skinned fruit with watery flesh, usually eaten raw in salads or pickled.
ŽmigrŽsa person who has left their own country in order to settle in another, typically for political reasons.
cornichona sour gherkin usually flavored with tarragon.

IELTS BAND 7

IELTS Reading Sample Questions # Climate Change

READING PASSAGE 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14–26, which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.

[A]Temperatures in the Arctic in the last two months have hit more than 20C above normal for the time of year. Temperatures that unusual in the UK and Europe would produce 45C summers. As a result, sea ice has shrunk to levels that scientists describe as “off the scale”. Mapping the changes to the extent of sea ice over the last 40 years confirms that: on a graph, the lines are clustered together like threads in a hank of silk, warming and cooling in line with each other – until this year. This year’s line drops down like a thin thread dangling into the void.

[B]Extrapolating data from a single year must be done with caution. When El Niño boosted global temperatures to make 1998 the hottest year on record, a position it held until 2014, deniers claimed that this showed that global warming had “paused”. In fact, several years after 1998 came within 0.3C of the record. The rise of a huge 20C over normal in the Arctic, the region that acts as one of the most important regulators in the global climate system, means that all expectations must now be rewritten.

[C]Arctic snow and ice reflect heat back into space – the albedo effect. When there is less ice, less sunlight is reflected and the sea, newly exposed, absorbs more heat, which melts more ice, and so on in a cycle. This is of vital importance: it could represent a tipping point, beyond which the Arctic ice cap, by some projections, might soon disappear altogether in summer and this is not the only crucial climate role the Arctic plays. Sea and air currents swirling over and under the ice cool the globe and affect weather systems on the other side of the world, sometimes in ways that are still not fully understood.

[D]Arctic sea ice has recovered in extent from previous lows. But that does not tell the whole story. When temperatures are less volatile, sea ice forms in layers over multiple years to a thick and solid mass. Ice that forms under this year’s conditions is likely to be thinner and less stable than what it replaces, more vulnerable to another year’s warming and less effective as a temperature regulator. For these reasons, the current drastic melting of the Arctic cannot be regarded merely as an outlier. While the effects of an ice-free Arctic on global weather systems are still in the realm of known unknowns, it is a known known that they will be disruptive. Also, the current Arctic temperature and sea ice charts look like the beginning of a whole new trend, one that could change the global climate system for ever.

[E]The imperative for action is therefore overwhelming. Reducing carbon dioxide is vital, and it is encouraging that annual emissions have been flat for three years. But now it is necessary to move further, faster. Some experts advocate cutting the amount of black, unburnt carbon – soot – as a matter of urgency. Much of this soot is borne by air currents to the Arctic, depositing it on pristine snow that turns black, and so more heat-absorbent. Some measures to stop soot, like capping coal-fired power stations and banning agricultural burning, are relatively easy. Others – cleaner vehicles and spreading the use of solar cookers in developing countries – might take longer.

[F]Getting rid of potent hydrofluorocarbon gases, commonly used in refrigeration, has the broad backing of governments and industry, and will buy time. Methane, often a byproduct of fossil fuel exploration, should be used as an energy source, or at least flared, which is less harmful. Cutting these “short-lived climate pollutants” could prevent 0.5C of warming over the next 30 years, the research suggests. These are opportunities that must be taken; they are necessary, though not sufficient. And, so governments should also convene an Arctic council to explore other ways of protecting the region.

[G]Driving progress demands just the kind of leadership that looks very much to have disappeared from the global scene. Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been laying claim to vast Arctic areas, anticipating the realms of new possibility for commerce – new shipping lanes, cutting thousands of miles from current journeys – as well as oil and gas exploration that an ice-free Arctic would open up. For Donald Trump, such an unfrozen Arctic might allow the US to control key shipping routes, and find new oilfields and gas fields. Mr. Trump’s choice of Rex Tillerson, former head of Exxon Mobil and cheerleader for Mr. Putin, as secretary of state is deeply worrying. Two friendly world leaders facing one an other across a vanishing Arctic ice cap and the thawing of the cold war is no longer a metaphor.

Which paragraph contains the following information? Write the correct letter, A–F, in boxes 14-20 on your answer sheet.

14. Methane is a good alternative for fuel exploration.

15. Changing Arctic temperatures can lead to complete change in the world temperature.

16. A rise of a score was observed  in less than a decade after the world hit its highest temperature.

17. A drop in the level of sea ice has been observed by scientists.

18. The ice and the snow in Arctic reflect back the heat into space.

19. We have a long way before developing countries massively use cleaner vehicles.

20. There are lot of commercial opportunities in Arctic, according to Russia.

Answers

14. F

15. D

16. B

17. A

18. C

19. E

20. G

 

IELTS Band7 Dehradun

IELTS Band7 Dehradun

IELTS BAND 7

 

IELTS Practice Reading # New Nation

The article below has been taken from TIME. You can read the entire article by clicking on the link. Today, we are looking at a part of it and try to cover the vocabulary that we come across.

Movies, and sometimes the people who make them, work on us at strange, subterranean levels we can’t even begin to comprehend. That’s why, even though relatively few people have seen it, few know quite how to feel about Nate Parker’sBirth of a Nation, which premiered here at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday to a rousing response from the audience, some seven months after its sensational Sundance unveiling. Parker’s debut picture—about Nat Turner, the enslaved African American who led a violent revolt against slave owners in 1831—is distinctive for one notable reason: Movies about the history of blacks in this country are rarely made, and if you rule out the usual suspects like Spike Lee and Lee Daniels—and count back to the days before 12 Years a Slave and Selma—they have rarely been made by people of color. But months ahead of its release in the United States, in October, The Birth of a Nation has also become infamous for a thornier reason: In 1999, while they were students at Penn State University, Parker and his roommate and wrestling teammate Jean Celestin—cowriter of The Birth of a Nation—were accused of raping a fellow student. Parker was acquitted. Celestin was found guilty, though the verdict was overturned. Their accuser committed suicide in 2012. In the context of this terrible blot, should Parker be lauded as a filmmaker? Should people show tacit support of him and his actions by seeing the film? Is his work, or his view on anything, in any way trustworthy?

WORDMEANING
 strange unusual or surprising; difficult to understand or explain.
 subterranean existing, occurring, or done under the earth's surface.
 comprehend grasp mentally; understand.
 relatively in relation, comparison, or proportion to something else.
 premiered give the first performance of.;(of a musical or theatrical work or a film) have its first performance
 rousing exciting; stirring;(of a fire) blazing strongly.
 response a verbal or written answer.;a reaction to something.
 audience the assembled spectators or listeners at a public event such as a play, film, concert, or meeting.;a formal interview with a person in authority.
 sensational causing great public interest and excitement.;very good indeed; very impressive or attractive.
 unveiling remove a veil or covering from, in particular uncover (a new monument or work of art) as part of a public ceremony.;show or announce publicly for the first time.
 enslaved make (someone) a slave.;cause (someone) to lose their freedom of choice or action.
 violent using or involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something;(especially of an emotion or a destructive natural force) very strong or power
 revolt take violent action against an established government or ruler; rebel.;cause to feel disgust.
 slave a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.;work excessively hard.
 distinctive characteristic of one person or thing, and so serving to distinguish it from other
 notable worthy of attention or notice; remarkable.;a famous or important person
 thornier having many thorns or thorn bushes.;causing distress, difficulty, or trouble.
 accused a person or group of people who are charged with or on trial for a crime.
 acquitted free (someone) from a criminal charge by a verdict of not guilty.
.
conduct oneself or perform in a specified way.
 verdict a decision on an issue of fact in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.
 overturned tip (something) over so that it is on its side or upside down.;abolish, invalidate, or reverse (a previous system, decision, situation, etc.)
 blot a dark mark or stain made by ink, paint, dirt, etc.;a procedure in which proteins or nucleic acids separated on a gel are transferred directly to an immobilizing medium for identification.
 tacit understood or implied without being stated.

IELTS BAND7

IELTS Vocabulary # Power And People

The following article has been taken from historytoday.com. Read the article at –

History Today

The idea of taking back ‘control’ has come to dominate political debate in Britain. Much of the discussion has centred on the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU). Indeed, the aim of achieving control substantially shaped the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. For the victorious Leave campaign, the promise of this kind of power resides in the restoration of sovereignty. Yet the analysis is based on a misunderstanding. While the future of Britain outside the EU is obviously hard to determine, one thing is certain: the possession of sovereignty does not guarantee the exercise of control.

The modern debate about sovereignty began with the French thinker Jean Bodin (1530-96). Having joined the Carmelite brotherhood as a monk in his early manhood, Bodin was released from his vows in 1549 and then opted to study law at the University of Toulouse. Much of his education involved attention to Roman law and included the humanistic study of classical texts in political and legal philosophy. It was out of these materials that Bodin developed his conception of supreme power.

In his most famous work, the Six Books of the Commonwealth, which originally appeared in French in 1576, Bodin presented a definition of sovereignty. He claimed that it was ‘the absolute and perpetual power of a commonwealth, which the Latins call maiestas [majesty]’. Later in his text, Bodin made clear that the Romans had yet other terms for sovereignty, summum imperium (ultimate authority) being conspicuous among them. Yet, while the Romans, like the Greeks and the Hebrews, had a conception of supreme authority, Bodin believed that they had not fully understood its implications. Above all, he insisted, they had failed to grasp that the highest power of command was indivisible. It could not be shared among competing powers in the commonwealth.

This meant in effect that, while a state might possess a mixed system of government, it could not be based on a system of ‘shared’ sovereignty. This insight has proved confusing to posterity, above all to admirers of the American constitution: since the United States can be seen as a mixed regime, surely its sovereignty is divided among the different organs of state? This thought was later used to characterize the European Union, too, which is similarly taken to exemplify the ‘pooling’ of sovereignty.

Let us now have a look at the meaning of the difficult words stated above.

WORDMEANING
dominatehave power and influence over.
substantiallyto a great or significant extent;for the most part; essentially.
referenduma general vote by the electorate on a single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision.
victorioushaving won a victory; triumphant.
campaigna series of military operations intended to achieve a goal, confined to a particular area, or involving a specified type of fighting.
restorationthe action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition.;the return of a monarch to a throne, a head of state to government, or a regime to power.
sovereigntysupreme power or authority;the authority of a state to govern itself or another state.
misunderstandinga failure to understand something correctly.;a disagreement or quarrel.
possessionthe state of having, owning, or controlling something.;something that is owned or possessed.
debatea formal discussion on a particular matter in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward and which usually ends with a vote.;argue about (a subject), especially in a formal manner.
monka member of a religious community of men typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
legalpermitted by law.
conceptionthe action of conceiving a child or of one being conceived.;the forming or devising of a plan or idea.
posterityall future generations of people.;the descendants of a person.
regimea government, especially an authoritarian one.;a system or ordered way of doing things.
conspicuousclearly visible;attracting notice or attention.
characterizedescribe the distinctive nature or features of.;) be typical or characteristic of.

IELTS BAND7
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