|How can I prepare for IELTS?
It is not necessary to attend an
IELTS preparation course though it is,
of course, a good idea to prepare thoroughly
for the test. You can arrange a variety
of test materials. British Council itself
offers a preparation kit whereas you
can also buy preparation material from
other publishers as well.
Reading Task 1 (Wind Power
in the Us).
Prompted by the oil crises of
the 1970s, a wind-power industry
flourished briefly in the United
States. But then world oil prices
dropped, and funding for research
into renewable energy was cut. By
the mid 1980s US interest in wind
energy as a large-scale source of
energy had almost disappeared. The
development of wind power at this
time suffered not only from badly
designed equipment, but also from
poor long-term planning, economic
projections that were too optimistic
and the difficulty of finding suitable
locations for the wind turbines.
Only now are technological advances
beginning to offer hope that wind
power will come to be accepted as
a reliable and important source
of electricity. There have been
significant successes in California,
in particular, where wind farms
now have a capacity of 1500 megawatts,
comparable to a large nuclear or
fossil-fuelled power station, and
produce 1.5 per cent of the state's
Nevertheless, in the U.S., the image
of wind power is still distorted
by early failures. One of the most
persistent criticisms is that wind
power is not a significant energy
resource. Researchers at the Battelle
Northwest Laboratory, however, estimate
that today wind turbine technology
could supply 20 per cent of the
electrical power the country needs.
As a local resource, wind power
has even greater potential. Minnesota's
energy commission calculates that
a wind farm on one of the state's
southwestern ridges could supply
almost all that state's electricity.
North Dakota alone has enough sites
suitable for wind farms to supply
more than a third of all electricity
consumed in the continental US.
The prevailing notion that wind
power is too costly results largely
from early research, which focused
on turbines with huge blades that
stood hundreds of meters tall. These
machines were not designed for ease
of production or maintenance, and
they were enormously expensive.
Because the major factors influencing
the overall cost of wind power are
the cost of the turbine and its
supporting systems, including land,
as well as operating and maintenance
costs, it is hardly surprising that
it was thought at the time that
wind energy could not be supplied
at a commercially competitive price.
More recent developments such as
those seen on California wind farms
have dramatically changed the economic
picture for wind energy. These systems,
like installations in Hawaii and
several European countries have
benefited from the economies of
scale that come through standardized
manufacturing and purchasing. The
result has been a dramatic drop
in capital costs: the installed
cost of new wind turbines stood
at $1000 per kilowatt in 1993, down
from about $4000 per kilowatt in
1980, and continues to fall. Design
improvements and more efficient
maintenance programs for large numbers
of turbines have reduced operating
costs as well. The cost of electricity
delivered by wind farm turbines
has decreased from about 30 cents
per kilowatt-hour to between 7 and
9 cents, which is generally less
than the cost of electricity from
conventional power stations. Reliability
has also improved dramatically.
The latest turbines run more than
95 per cent of the time, compared
with around 60 per cent in the early
1980s. Another misconception is
that improved designs are needed
to make wind power feasible. Out
of the numerous wind turbine designs
proposed or built by inventors or
developers, the propeller-blade
type, which is based on detailed
analytical models as well as extensive
experimental data, has emerged as
predominant among the more than
20,000 machines now in commercial
operation world-wide. Like the gas-driven
turbines that power jet aircraft,
these are sophisticated pieces of
rotating machinery. They are already
highly efficient, and there is no
reason to believe that other configurations
will produce major benefits. Like
other ways of generating electricity,
wind power does not leave the environment
entirely unharmed. There are many
potential problems, ranging from
interference with telecommunications
to impact on wildlife and natural
habitats. But these effects must
be balanced against those associated
with other forms of electricity
generation. Conventional power stations
impose hidden costs on society,
such as the control of air pollution,
the management of nuclear waste
and global warming. As wind power
has been ignored in the US over
the past few years, expertise and
commercial exploitation in the field
have shifted to Europe. The European
Union spends 10 times as much as
the US government on research and
development of wind energy. It estimates
that at least 10 per cent of Europe's
electrical power could be supplied
by land-based wind-turbines using
current technology. Indeed, according
to the American Wind Energy Association,
an independent organization based
in Washington, Denmark, Britain,
Spain and the Netherlands will each
surpass the US in the generating
capacity of wind turbines installed
during the rest of the decade.
Fossil fuel: coal, oil and
Kilowatt: 1,000 watts; a
watt is a unit of power
Kilowatt-hour: one kilowatt
for a period of one hour
Megawatt: one million watts
Wind farm: a group of wind
turbines in one location producing
a large amount of electricity
Wind turbine: a machine which
produces energy when the wind turns
Questions 1 - 5
Complete the summary below using
words from the box (given below).
Write your answers in boxes 1-5
on your answer sheet.
NB: There are more words or phrases
than you will need to fill the gaps.
You may use any word or phrase more
The failure during the late 1970s
and early 1980s of an attempt to
establish a widespread wind power
industry in the United States resulted
largely from the ...(1)... in oil
prices during this period. The industry
is now experiencing a steady ...(2)...
due to improvements in technology
and an increased awareness of the
potential in the power of wind.
The wind turbines that are now being
made based in part on the ...(3)...
of wide-ranging research in Europe,
are easier to manufacture and maintain
than their predecessors. This has
led wind-turbine makers to be able
to standardize and thus minimize
...(4).... There has been growing
...(5)... of the importance of wind
power as an energy source.
6 – 10
|Look at the following issues (Questions
6-10) and the list of implications
below (A-C). Match each issue with
the correct implication. Write the
correct letter A-C in boxes 6-10 on
your answer sheet.
N.B. You may use any letter more than
The current price of one wind-generated
kilowatt... Answer A
(6)... The recent installation of
systems taking advantage of economies
of scale...(2) The potential of meeting
one fifth of current US energy requirements
by wind power ... (3)... The level
of acceptance of current wind turbine
technology ...(4)... A comparison
of costs between conventional and
wind power sources.... (5)... The
view of wind power in the European
A. Provides evidence against claims
that electricity produced from wind
power is relatively expensive.
B. Supports claim that wind power
is an important source of energy.
C. Opposes the view that wind power
technology requires further development.
|| Academic Writing Sample
a report for a university lecturer
describing the information below.
should spend about 20 minutes on
at least 150 words.
Writing Task 2
should spend about 40 minutes on
a written argument or case to an
educated reader with no specialist
knowledge of the following topic.
is inevitable that as technology
develops so traditional cultures
must be lost. Technology and tradition
are incompatible - you cannot have
both together. To what extent do
you agree or disagree?
should use your own ideas, knowledge
and experience and support your
arguments with examples and relevant
at least 250 words.
are three main parts to the IELTS
In Part one the
candidate answers general questions
about themselves, their home/family
and other such personal topics. This part lasts about four-five
Part Two is sampled
Speaking Part Two Sample
a teacher who has greatly
influenced you in your education.
you met them;
subject they taught;
was special about them?
explain why this person
influenced you so much.
will have to talk about the
topic for 1 to 2 minutes.
You have one minute to think
about what you are going to
say. You can make some notes
if you wish.
In Part Three
the candidate and Examiner engage
in a discussion of more abstract
issues and concepts which are related
to the topic in Part Two.