Free IELTS General Reading Practice Test 1- Section 2 (13-26 questions)

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SECTION 2

Read and answer the questions Q.13-26

READING PASSAGE 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on questions 13-26, which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.

 Stress

A Stress is a word that is often very loosely bandied around, indicating that things are overwhelming, that we are finding it difficult to cope. While anything that threatens or poses a challenge is construed as stress, what most of us do not know is that all stress is not severe. Sometimes stress is just what you need to get you going and is, therefore, a positive factor. However, it is only when stress affects our mental and physical health that it becomes a worry.

B The use of the word stress started with experiments conducted by Hans Selye in 1930. A Hungarian endocrinologist, Hans Selye was the first to present a biological explanation of stress. The word stress referred to not only the agent but also the response and adaptation of the affected individual to the environment. Selye’s theories on stress garnered significant interest in academic circles, underlining the need for further study.

C Stress is the body’s way of reacting to harmful or unpleasant situations. These situations need not be real all the time; sometimes they are perceived. When faced with a threat, the chemical reaction in the body tries to prevent the threat or injury. It is called the ‘fight or flight’ response. Large quantities of cortisol and adrenaline are produced as a response, triggering a rapid heart rate, tightening of muscles, alertness and sweating. During this period, functions that are not immediately essential, such as digestion and immunity slow down. The body puts all its resources into combating the threat.

D A neuroscientist at the Weill Cornell Medical School in New York, Nim Tottenham has conducted extensive studies on children who were adopted from orphanages and then taken abroad, and who had been through tremendous anxiety and emotional issues. Brain Scans indicated that due to a stressful upbringing, there was increased activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain that is involved in emotion. Tottenham says, ‘Adverse rearing environments can produce long-lasting changes in the ability to regulate emotion.’

E Whether we talk of children or adults, various health issues manifest themselves when there is stress. Constant stress leads to depression, heart attack, stroke, anxiety, hypertension and disturbances in the immune system. The weakening of the immune system,in turn, makes us vulnerable to a variety of diseases and viral ailments such as herpes, the common cold and certain cancers. Direct effects of stress are skin ailments like hives and rashes and gastrointestinal problems such as GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and insomnia. Acute stress, as well as chronic stress, affects three major regulatory systems in our body. They are the catecholamine systems, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis and the serotonin systems.

F Through experiments, scientists have been able to reveal how stress, be it emotional, physical or mental, can physically reshape the brain, ultimately causing long-term damage to humans and even animals. ``Stress causes neurons to shrink or grow,’ says Bruce McEwen, a renowned neuroscientist at the Rockefeller University in New York. ‘The wear and tear on the body from stress changes the nervous system.’ He further adds that stress is, ‘particularly worrying in the developing brain, which appears to be programmed by early stressful experience.’

G To avoid the adverse effects on health, it is important to manage stress. Altering a situation that is stressful or learning to cope with a situation that cannot be changed is the crux of stress management. Various methods can be used to cope with stress. Learning to say no to unreasonable demands made by employers or family members and controlling the source of stress is important. The capacity to endure a stressful situation can be increased by listening to music, participating in a favourite hobby or spending time outdoors in peaceful surroundings. Procrastination is counterproductive as it causes more stress when work piles up. Exercise, yoga, breathing exercises and taking breaks are also helpful. Last but not least, moral and emotional support is essential in stressful times. Support from friends, family or the community has the power to reduce stress levels dramatically.
There is a limit to the stress the human body can take and although stress is unavoidable, it can and must be managed to avoid long-term issues in overall wellbeing and fitness levels.

Questions 13-18

Reading passage 2 has six paragraphs ( A-G ). Which paragraph contains the following information? 

    A B C D E F G
13 reference to a study on emotional stress and upbringing              
14 stress as a positive trigger              
15 a range of stress busters              
16
the term for a typical response to stress
             
17 reference to pioneering studies on stress              
18
reference to the impact of stress on brain structure
             

Questions 19-22

Write FOUR correct letters ( A-G ).

Which FOUR of the following are reported by the writer as the effects of stress in the text? 

A chemical reactions and injury due to perceptions
B palpitation due to some hormone release
C reduced muscle growth
D heightened pace of non-essential body functions
E susceptibility to infections
F irritable skin 
G inefficient digestive system
19 
20 
21 
22 

Questions 23-26

Choose YES if the statement agrees with the claims of the writer of the passage, choose NO  if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer, or choose NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this.

23 There have been conclusive studies on the connection between stress and brain functions. 
24 Maladaptation is a situation that most people struggle with. 
25 It is difficult to balance between professional and personal expectations. 
26 Stress is managed better when the workload builds on.  

Also check:

IELTS General Reading Practice test 1- section 3 

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IT/ Digital Campus

Chennai Office

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