IELTS Reading – Matching Headings – Exercise 2

Do you Live in a Burglar-Friendly House?


A It’s the last thing you want to hear when you’ve just been burgled but the awful truth is that if you’ve been burgled once you’ll probably be burgled again. In fact it’s likely to happen another four or five times. Why? Because some of us have “burglar-friendly” houses.
B Burglars think that the bigger the house the richer the owners. “You can’t do much about the size of your house,” says Professor Pease of Huddersfield University, “but if it’s large, you need to be even more careful than if it’s small.”
C You should take a good look at your house – – not as you normally do, but as a burglar would. If you were a burglar, which home would you choose to rob, – a house with a shiny new car parked outside or one with an old vehicle? Anything which signals nice possessions and money will certainly catch the burglar’s eye.
D People may complain about their nosy neighbours, but there’s no better way of stopping burglars than having watchful neighbours around. If a house is far away from others, or hidden from the road, it is more attractive to burglars, who think they can get in and out without being noticed. So a burglar alarm is a good idea. And remember, you may get privacy from a tall hedge or a high wall – but so do burglars.
E Ian Stephen, who works with the Scottish prison service, believes that you’re more at risk if your house looks nice. “Window-boxes, nice curtains and beautifully painted walls all tell the burglar that you’re proud of your home and care about your possessions and are more likely to have nice things in your house,” he says. He advises people to try to make their homes look as plain as possible and not to draw attention to any new things they have bought by leaving the empty boxes next to the dustbin.
F People often leave a light on when they go out. “But be sensible,” advises Ian Stephen. “Don’t leave a light on in the hall as it never makes the burglars believe that you’re in. Have you ever heard of a family enjoying an evening at home in the hall? Leave it on in the living room.” An open window is also an open invitation to burglars. If you sometimes forget to shut and lock doors and windows, stick a note on the inside of the front door to remind you. And make sure any ladders are put away and not left outside where burglars can use them.
G By leaving newspapers and letters sticking out of the letter-box, or full milk bottles on the doorstep, you are giving burglars the green light to break into your home. Similarly, if you’re away from the house at regular times – out at work or doing the shopping – then your home is also in danger of being burgled. Ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your house at these times.
H It’s a good idea to take photos of your valuable possessions. By doing that, if you’re burgled, you’ll be able to identify stolen property, which could lead to the thief being put behind bars. It is also possible to label valuable items such as TVs and videos with your postcode. If they are stolen, this will make them easier to find. One more good idea is to ask for a crime prevention officer to visit your home and identify weak points in its security.


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IELTS Reading – Matching Headings – Exercise 1


A In Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Wrong Men, Manny Ballestero is a musician who lives in New York. Life isn’t easy for Manny. His wife is ill and he has bills to pay. Finally he is forced to cash in an insurance policy. When he goes to the local insurance office, the employees seem strangely nervous. Manny looks just like thief who robbed them the year before. While Manny is waiting, one of them makes a phone call. Several minutes later the police arrive. They arrest Manny and take him to prison.
B The film is a true story of mistaken identity, but with a happy ending. Manny is eventually released. However, what the story shows is that our memory of a face or an event is not always perfect, even in an extreme situation. So just how reliable is it?
C ‘Evidence suggests that our recall of a frightening event is stronger,’ says Professor Frank Turner. ‘But even in these situations our memory can be distorted by certain details. For example, if the crime involves a gun, a witness will probably focus on the weapon. As a result, other things are not easy to remember. Memories of a criminal’s face, what they say or do, or of other people present are less reliable.’
D Experiments have also shown that our ability to identify people often depends on how we saw them. For example, a three-quarter view of a face is much easier to remember than a profile. And then there is the amount of disguise. You’ll still have a good chance of identifying someone if they’re wearing glasses. But if they have a wig or a hat on, you’ll only have a 70% chance of recognition. If you then add or subtract a beard, it drops to 30%.
E In fact, all kinds of things can confuse our memory. In one famous case, a scientist was arrested after a woman in New York picked him out in an identity parade. She was convinced he was the man who had broken into her house. However, the scientist was released a few hours later. Why? He had a very good alibi. He was actually on a live television show while the crime was in progress. The woman was watching the show when the burglar attacked her. What this proves is that our memories are sometimes mixed up, making a victim’s account of a crime even less reliable. When it comes to identifying people, we will more likely choose the wrong person.

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IELTS online course Reading

Reading – Unit 1 – Exercise 3

The reading passage below has 5 sections A – E. Choose the correct headings for sections A-E from the list of numbered headings below.

List of Headings

i           The science of marriage
ii          The importance of honest communication
iii         The power of thought
iv         The likelihood of marrying again
v          Technological advances
vi         The benefits of avoiding arguments
vii        The real predictor for a lasting marriage
viii       The consequences of early dissatisfaction

Section A        ____________
Section B        ____________
Section C        ____________
Section D        ____________
Section E        ____________

See answer in the comment section.

Section A 

Marriage is a much-researched topic, and the way married couples communicate in particular as been the subject of many studies. These days, research into marriage often involves hours of recordings, followed by a thorough analysis of data with the help of modern software applications.

Section B 

One such study analysed give years’ worth of data, obtained from 750 participating couples. At the start of the study, participants who felt they were in a harmonious relationship reported having happy marriages. In other words, low levels of conflict corresponded to a perceived higher degree of happiness. At the end of the five-year period, however, many couples had separated or had started divorce proceedings. The outcome of this study suggests that keeping the peace rather than talking about problems and working through them can have harmful effects on a relationship.

Section C 

In a more recent, larger scale study, people were observed over a fifteen-year period. The researchers recorded the timings of marriages, divorces and remarriages and discovered patterns that helped them estimate how likely divorce was. If participants admitted the possibility of divorce to themselves during the five years of the study, the probability of it actually happening was ten times greater than for those couples who had not thought about it at all. Clearly, once the idea of divorce is in somebody’s mind, they are more likely to act on it.

Section D 

Yet another piece of research confirms that the way men and women feel at the beginning of their marriage makes a difference to its eventual outcome. Those who feel disappointed, perhaps because marriage itself is different from their expectations, or because their lifestyle is not what they had envisaged, are more likely to divorce.

Section E 

Having said that, relationships are complex and their development is the result of many different influences. The end of a marriage is unlikely to be brought about by one particular factor, and is more probably the result of a combination of small incidents that add up over time. It is also worth bearing in mind that in most countries it is the minority of marriages that fail. No one can truthfully claim that their marriage is happy or perfect all the time, but the fact remains that most married people stay together for life. The secret of a happy marriage, it seems, lies where most people have always thought it does: in the effort made on a daily basis by both partners to treat each other with consideration and courtesy, and to cheerfully accept each other’s faults as well as their good qualities.



IELTS online course Reading

Reading – Unit 1 – Exercise 2

Read the following paragraphs and identify the topic sentence of each paragraph. Reply your answer in the comment section below.

Paragraph 1

The value of grandparents to children should not be underestimated. The report shows the need for the government to address the importance of grandparents in future policy and legislation. It also demonstrates the need to amend the Children Act 1989 to remove the obstacle that requires the biological family to ask permission prior to making an application to the court for contact. Especially when a family is going through difficulties, it is important that the children can turn to someone who is not directly involved and is calm and relaxed, and that person is often a grandparent.


Paragraph 2

To have a society that is family-friendly, anti-discrimination laws will need to be introduced. Parenting would become a school-subject, staircases would be rebuilt so that buggies and prams could access any building and advertising for sweets and non-educational toys would be forbidden. Companies would be forced to only employ people who can travel to work in less than forty minutes and there would also be a thirty-five-hour working week and more holidays. In a world like this, there would be less divorce and crime, but we would be earning and producing less.


Paragraph 3

Almost half of grandparents lose all contact with their grandchildren after a separation or divorce, according to a new report. It found that forty-two percent never see their grandchildren again after the break-up. Even more – sixty-seven percent – are prevented from providing any sort of childcare or taking their grandchildren on outings, even when they had done so regularly in the past.

IELTS online course Reading

Reading – Unit 1 – Exercise 1

The importance of the social environment

The nature-nurture debate 

The roles of nature (what we inherit) and of nurture (what we learn) in making us what we are have long been debated. In the seventeenth century it was generally believed that people became what they were taught to be. By the second half of the nineteenth century, a quite different view was popular. Instead of looking to nurture – what people are taught – to explain human behavior, many social scientists looked to nature – what people inherit from their parents. Opinion on the question has gone back and forth ever since.

Obviously we do inherit something of what makes us who we are. But what? Physical traits such as skin color are clearly inherited, but people also appear to inherit temperament – a natural tendency to behave and react in a certain way. For example, some people are naturally active, nervous, or easily annoyed. Others, brought up in a similar environment, tend to be the opposite – passive, calm, and rarely upset. The role of heredity in determining our intelligence and aptitude is less clear, and the debate is far from over. What is clear is that, although nature may limit what we can achieve, socialization plays a very large role in determining what we do achieve. That is, whatever potential ability we inherit from our parents may be enhanced or restricted through socialization. Case studies of children who have not been cared for, and of children who have been stimulated to achieve at a high level, are evidence of the importance of social or environmental learning.

Children who are not cared for 

Since the fourteenth century there have been more than fifty recorded cases of feral children. Feral children have supposedly been brought up by animals in the wild. One of the most famous is “the wild boy of Aveyron.” In 1997, this boy was captured by hunters in the woods of southern France. He was about 11 years old and completely naked. The “wild boy” ran on his arms and legs, could not speak, and liked uncooked food. He could not do most of the simple things that younger children can usually do (Malson 1972; Lane 1976). he was obviously deprived of socialization.

There have been similar stories of social deprivation this century. Anna, for example, was born in 1932 in Pennsylvania to a young unwed mother. The father was outraged by the birth and did not want to have anything to do with the child. The mother tried to give Anna away but could not, so she hid her in the attic and gave her just enough food to keep her alive. Anna was neither touched nor talked to, neither washed nor bathed. When she was found in 1938 at the age of 6, Anna could not talk or walk. She could do nothing but lie quietly on the floor, her eyes and face expressionless.

Children who receive little attention in orphanages suffer similar harmful effects. In 1945, researcher Rene Spitz reported on an orphanage where 18-month-old infants were left lying on their backs in tiny rooms most of the day without any human contact. Within a year, all had become physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially impaired. Two years later, more than a third of the children had died. Those who had survived could not speak, walk, dress themselves, or use a spoon (Spitz 1945).

Child geniuses 

While the lack of of normal socialization can destroy minds, specialized socialization can create geniuses. A young woman named Edith finished grammar school in four years, skipped high school, and went straight to college. She graduated from college at age 15 and obtained her doctorate before she was 18. Was she born a genius? We do not know. However, as soon as she stopped playing with dolls, her father filled her days with reading, mathematics, classical music, and intellectual discussions and debates. When she felt like playing, her father told her to play chess. This very special attention to her academic development is likely to have contributed significantly to her achievements. Another example is Adragon Eastwood Demello who graduated with a degree in mathematics at age 11. When he was a few months old, his father gave up his career as a science writer to educate him.

Many parents of geniuses have deliberately given their children very stimulating environments. In his study of Einstein, Picasso, Gandhi, and other world-famous geniuses in various fields, Howard Gardner (1993) found that they were all born into families that valued learning and achievement with at least one loving adult who especially encouraged their ability.

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IELTS Reading – Family

As said earlier in the post IELTS Vocabulary – Family, this is one of the most common topics in both Speaking and Writing Tests. This is because IELTS focuses on social problems, and family is the fundamental unit of any kind of society.

The followings are some articles that I compiled to help you learn more about family-related issues. They might be too difficult for you at the beginning as there are many academic words and complex sentences. “No pain, no gain”. Reading the academic articles helps to improve your vocabulary and your writing. Believe me, the more you read, the easier it gets.

1. Marriage and Family

This material consists of many articles about marriage and family. It would be great if you have time to read all of them. You can also choose to read the topic of your interest. I would recommend the first section “Marriage and Family in Global Perspective” as it will give you an overview of this social institution around the world.

2. Family Influences on Delinquency

This article discusses family factors that may have influence on juvenile delinquency (teenage crime), such as poor parent-child relations, family size, etc.

3. How we learn to behave 

This is an article  (p.20 & 21) in the book “Academic Encounters”. It explains two important ways of socialisation: by sanctions and by modelling.

Here are the detailed steps on how to read:

  • Step 1: Read the articles and underline main ideas. You do not need to understand every words in order to comprehend the whole article. Try to guess the meaning of new words from the context. However, you would need to look up the meaning of some key words which are repeated many times.
  • Step 2: Write a summary of the article you just read. This is the best way to memorise knowledge while also practising your writing skills.