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  Practice IELTS Reading Test A (Academic Module)



  Since the early work of Halberg(1960),the existence of human "circadian rhythms" has been well-known to biologists and psychologists. Circadian rhythms dictate that there are certain times of the day when we are at our best both physically and psychologically. At its simplest, the majority of us feel more alive and creative in the mornings, while come the evenings we are fit only for collapsing with a good book or in front of the television. Other of us note that in the morning we take a great deal of time to get going physically and mentally, but by the evening are full of energy and bright ideas, while a very few of us feel most alert and vigorous in the late afternoon .

  Irrespective of our personal rhythms, most of us have a productive period between 10a.m. and noon, when the stomach, pancreas, spleen and heart all appear to be in their most active phases. Conversely, the majority of us experience a low period in the hour or two after lunch (a time when people in some societies sensibly take a rest), as most of our energy is devoted to the process of digestion. The simple rules here are: don't waste too much prime time having a coffee break around 11a.m.when you should be doing some of your best work, and don't make the after-lunch period even less productive by overloading your digestion. A short coffee or tea break is ,in fact, best taken on arrival at the office ,when it helps us start the day in a positive mood, rather than mid-morning when it interrupts the flow of our activities. Lunch is best taken early, when we are just beginning to feel hungry, and we are likely to eat less than if we leave it until later. An early lunch also means that we can get back into our productive stride earlier in the afternoon.

  Changes in one's attitude can also enhance personal time management. For example, the notion of pro-action is eminently preferable to reaction. To pro-act means to anticipate events and be in a position to take appropriate action as soon as the right moment arrives. To react, on the other hand, means to have little anticipation and do something only when events force you to do so. Pro-actors tend to be the people who are always one step ahead of other people, who always seem to be in the right place at the right time, and who are always better informed than anyone else. Many of us like an easy life, and so we tend to be reactors. This means that we aren't alert to the challenges and opportunities coming our way, with the consequence that challenges bother us or opportunities pass us by before we're even properly aware they're upon us. We can train ourselves in pro-action by regularly taking the time to sit down and appraise the likely immediate future, just as we sit down and review the immediate past.

  Psychologists recognise that we differ in the way in which we characteristically attribute responsibility for the various things that happen to us in life. One of the ways in which we do this is known as locus of control (Weiner,1979), which refers to assigning responsibility. At its simplest, some individuals have a predominantly external locus of control, attributing responsibility to outside causes (for example, the faults of others or the help given by them) ,while with other individuals the locus of control is predominantly internal, in which responsibility is  attributed to oneself (for example, one's own abilities or lack of them, hard work, etc.).

  However, the picture usually isn't as simple as this. Many people's locus of control is more likely to be specific to a particular situation, for example internal in certain areas, such as their social lives, and external in others, such as their working lives. Or, to take another example, they may attribute certain kinds of results to themselves, such as their successes, and certain kinds of results to other people, such as their failures. Obviously the best kind of locus of control is one that is realistic and able to attribute every effect to its appropriate cause, and this is particularly important when it comes to time management. Certainly, there are occasions when other people are more responsible for our time loss than we are, but for most of us, and for most of the time, the blame must fall fairly and squarely upon ourselves.

  Choose ONE phrase (A-J) from the list in the box below to complete each key point below. Write the appropriate letters (A-J) in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet.

  The information in the completed sentences should be an accurate summary of points made by the writer.

  N.B.    There are more phrases (A-J) than sentences, so you will not use them all. You may use any phrase more than once.

  Questions 1-6

  Time management-key points


  Example   Our patterns of circadian rhythms……        G

  1. A proactive person……

  2. A reactive person……

  3. Analysing circadian rhythms……

  4. The idea that the best time to work is in the morning……

  5. The notion of feeling alert in the late afternoon……

  6. Productivity appears to be enhanced……

  List of phrases

  A) ……agrees with the circadian rhythms of most people.

  B) ……makes us feel alive and creative.

  C) ……conforms to the circadian rhythms of a minority of people.

  D) ……if our energy is in a low phase.

  E) ……is more able to take advantage of events when they happen.

  F) ……enables one to gauge physical potential at particular times throughout the day.

  G) ……can affect us physically and mentally.

  H) ……when several specific internal organs are active.

  I) ……takes a more passive attitude toward events.

  J) ……when we eat lunch early

  Questions 7-13

  Complete the sentences below with words taken from Reading Passage 1,"ersonal Time Management." Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 7-13 on your answer sheet.


  Example   Most people are less productive……       after lunch

  7. Our …… influence our physical and mental performance

  8. We are more likely to be productive in the afternoon if we have…… .

  9. A person who reacts tends not to see …… when they are approaching.

  10. Assessing the …… aids us in becoming proactive.

  11. A person with a mainly internal locus of control would likely direct blame toward …… .

  12. A person with a mainly external locus of control would likely direct failure toward …… .

  13. A person with a healthy and balanced locus of control would attribute a result, whether negative or positive, to …… .


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