The Reading section of the IELTS Academic lasts 60 minutes. It is made up of 40 questions. It is composed of 3 long texts on general academic subjects from books, newspapers, journals, or magazines, written for a non-specialist public. There will be 2150 to 2750 words and 40 questions (of 1 point each) in total.
The texts can be in different formats (a story, a description, an argument, etc.) and at least one of them will have an argument. They can also be accompanied by graphics such as a diagram or illustration. These 3 exercises are of the same kind. There are no directions that differ from text to text.
The Reading exercises of the IELTS Academic evaluate your general comprehension of a text as well as its structure and details.
CELEBRATING QUEEN ELIZABETH’S PLATINUM JUBILEE
A Nobody could deny that the British royal family is somewhat of an institution. Veritable cultural icons, its members have a valuable role to play in public life both at home and abroad. They are called on to attend important events of all kinds and to provide patronage to various charities and worthy causes, whilst also acting as ambassadors for the UK when they travel to engagements in other countries.
B As the head of such an important family, Queen Elizabeth II is a force to be reckoned with. Although politically neutral, she carries out a certain number of governmental duties, such as officially appointing each freshly elected Prime Minister and declaring each new session of Parliament open. She is also the nominal leader of the nation and as such, acts as a unifying influence over UK citizens, providing a sense of stability and identity to all those over whom she rules.
C For all these reasons and more, when she completed the 70th year of her reign on the 6th of February 2022, her subjects had plenty of cause to celebrate! The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was always bound to be a major event and in order to make time for it, there were even changes made to the UK calendar, with an extra bank holiday being added and another moved from May to June to accommodate all the events planned over a four-day period.
D The celebrations began with the traditional military parade known as trooping the colour and continued with special festivities all around the country, including a religious ceremony at Saint Paul’s Cathedral, a star-studded concert at Buckingham Palace, a huge pageant, street parties and even a parade in central London featuring one hundred corgis and organized by two clubs of dog owners who share their sovereign’s tastes in canines!
E On top of this, thanks to an initiative known as ‘The Queen’s Green Canopy’ (or, to quote Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, ‘plant a tree for the jubilee’) people all around the UK have been encouraged to plant trees to honour the Queen while also making a lasting positive impact on their local environment. It was, in fact, Elizabeth who got the ball rolling by planting the first sapling at Windsor Castle in company of her eldest son, Charles. Deeply touched by this idea, she said she hoped jubilee trees would ‘flourish and grow for many years to come’, perhaps, some might say, as she has done herself during her seventy years as queen.
F It is thus a little ironic to think that Elizabeth was in fact never considered a likely candidate to rise to the throne. When she was born, the ruling monarch was her grandfather, King George V, who was expected to be succeeded by his eldest son, Edward, followed by any offspring he might sire in the years to come. After George died, things initially followed their expected course and Edward was indeed crowned king in January 1936. However, after causing a fluster in royal circles due to his unwillingness to respect established procedures, he soon gave rise to a constitutional crisis by insisting on marrying an American woman called Wallis Simpson, who had already divorced one husband and was planning to divorce a second. As such, she was viewed as an entirely unsuitable spouse for a monarch, and Edward received such strong opposition from the UK government that he decided to abdicate after a mere 326 days as head of state in order to follow his heart. Who could have guessed back then that a monarch with such a short reign would engender the possibility of the monarch with the longest reign of all several decades on? For it is only due to Edward abandoning his responsibilities that Elizabeth’s father George VI took over as sovereign and, following his untimely demise, that Elizabeth in turn acceded to the throne and was thus able to begin her long rule.
G Perhaps, in this, she could be said to be following the example of her great-great grandmother, Victoria, who was queen of England for sixty-three years (of which she spent forty wearing black in mourning for her beloved Albert). They certainly have a certain number of things in common: from their successful marriages to their love of dogs and horses – also shared with Elizabeth’s namesake, the Queen Mother – and their large families. Just like Elizabeth, Victoria arrived on the throne in exceptional circumstances, simply because none of her father’s older brothers ever had children who might succeed them. Furthermore, they are both known for their incredibly strong sense of commitment to their royal duties: and what better example of this than Elizabeth’s Accession Day message to her people, thanking them for their goodwill and loyalty and signing with the greatest simplicity, ‘your servant’.
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