Reading Question Types Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

Today we are going to practice matching headings and sentence completion questions. Can you remember the tips from Reading Practice 1 on how to deal with matching headings?
  1. Familiarise yourself with the list of headings.
  2. Look for and underline keywords/phrases in each heading. As you do this think of synonyms for the key words. Be careful of headings that seem similar. Think about what makes them different.
  3. Skim over the passage to get the overall gist of each paragraph and match the headings to the paragraphs as you read. Reading the first and last sentence of each paragraph should help you to do this. Don’t get stuck on words that you don’t understand, this type of task is about the general meaning.
  4. In the test, write you answers on your answer paper straight away. You will not receive any extra time to transfer your answers.

Questions 1-8

In the text, paragraphs are labelled A-H.

​Match the correct heading to the paragraph. 


List of headings:
  1. Failing relationships and negative feelings
  2. Winning the lottery may not make you happier
  3. What is Hedonic Adaptation?
  4. Philanthropy benefits the giver
  5. Wealth management issues
  6. Spend your winnings wisely
  7. What you do, not what you buy
  8. Behavioral Changes

WOULD WINNING THE LOTTERY MAKE YOU HAPPIER?

Picture
Imagine spending your last bit of cash on a lottery ticket as a whimsical solution to your penniless state and then finding out one morning that you had won, what would you feel? First off, you were truly lucky with odds of 1 in 13,983,816, you’ve got a higher chance of dying from animal attacks or diseases than winning the lottery.
Like any rational being would, a surge of happiness would instantly fill your body; you can finally afford your mortgage or even get a larger house, buy a nice car, get the latest gadgets, and everything you have ever wanted in life. However, would having large sums of money in your bank account elevate your level of happiness for the rest of your life?
A study in 1978 by three researchers from the University of Massachusetts and Northwestern University wanted answers. So, they asked recent Illinois State lottery winners about their levels of happiness and comparing them to paraplegic and quadriplegic survivors of catastrophic accidents. Each group was asked to rate how much pleasure they derive from normal everyday activities such as chatting with a friend, hearing a joke or receiving a compliment. After analysing their results, they found out that the victim group felt happier in their everyday life compared to those who won the lottery.
A.
This is partially due to a phenomenon called hedonic adaptation or the hedonic treadmill. This describes our tendency to become used to the happiness after experiencing it for the first time. For example, landing the job that you have always wanted may give you happiness but the thrill wears off after a certain period of time. Though it may sound a little bit counterintuitive, hedonic adaptation helps us maintain a steady and emotional equilibrium which makes us less sensitive to any changes including negative events. This phenomenon allows us to revert back to our default emotional state after experiencing high levels of emotion whether good or bad.
B.
Piecing together this information, winning the lottery would make you happy but only for a short period of time. After getting used to the luxuries of having enough funds for grandiose homes, better food, and nicer clothes, we go back to how we used to feel before we won the prize. Therefore, winning the lottery doesn’t guarantee happiness, in fact, lottery winners even reported being unhappy after they have won the prize.
C.
One of the reasons why this is so is because large sums of money can be a lot to manage. Take for example the case of Lisa Arcand from Massachusetts. She won $1 million in 2004 and like all winners, she went on lavish vacations and bought a nice house. However, a million dollars isn’t much for taxes; she even opened a restaurant to keep the cash flowing but to no avail, losing everything in 2007. Another example is Michael Caroll who turned from lottery winner to factory worker, even after winning £9.7 million in 2002. Janite Lee, Willie Hurt, and Lou Eisenberg, are just some of the many names that have won the lottery but went from rags to riches and back to rags because of poor financial decisions.
D.
Aside from difficulty in managing finances, winning the lottery can be an isolating experience. Unwanted attention and unwanted requests for money from peers can make us paranoid and anxious. Eventually, lottery winners wind up cutting themselves from others because of the fear of being used as a just a source of money than a source of friendship.
E.
While the constant fear of losing everything can haunt lottery winners, some even become greedier than they were before winning. A study conducted by social-psychologist Paul Piff at the UC Berkeley Campus in California, proves that gaining wealth can actually change our behaviour drastically. Using a rigged game of Monopoly, Piff chose a player at random to play the game at a certain advantage such as more starting money, and better ability to move around the board. In just after 15 minutes, the advantaged players displayed dramatic change in behaviour including forceful movement of boardgame pieces, speaking louder, and even minute things such as eating more snacks compared to other players.
F.
Winning the lottery will make you happy but thanks to hedonic adaptation, the thrill and excitement of spending all that cash won’t last long. While most of us would indulge in a fabulous lifestyle after winning, there are ways that winning the lottery can make us happier than having the latest supercar in your garage. It’s that old saying it’s not what you have, but what you do that counts. The key to happiness, it seems, is to invest in experiences. Think carefully before you start spending.
G.
Having a lot of money can open new opportunities for us to enjoy life more than just having expensive things. With hedonic adaptation embedded in our systems, finding what really guarantees happiness can be a hurdle on the way. However, findings show that people tend to adapt faster to extrinsic and material things than we do on experience. Travelling, exploring, and even learning a new skill, gives us more gratification than having the latest clothes from your favourite designer or luxury brand. Therefore, investing in experiences makes us happier than investing in things.
H.
Another thing that would help you convert your money into happiness is through charity. Believe it or not, giving others provides more happiness than spending it on yourself. A study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School proved that spending more on others provides more happiness than spending it on yourself. Participants were asked to spend money however they wish, be it on themselves or unto others. Afterwards, a survey was conducted to rate their level of happiness. The group who donated their money to charity feel happier than those who spent it on themselves.
While having money does make us happy today, it doesn’t guarantee our happiness in the long-run. Thanks to hedonic adaptation, we get used to the emotions that we feel but we can get around it by making every penny count – not on materialistic things – but on experiences and by giving back to the community.

 MJ Mendoza, “WOULD WINNING THE LOTTERY MAKE YOU HAPPIER?” groundreport, http://www.groundreport.com/would-winning-the-lottery-make-you-happier/ Accessed 11.8.2017

Answer EXPLANATIONS

Not sure about some of the answers? Hopefully our answer explanations will help.
​What is Hedonic Adaptation?

Paragraph A states ‘This is partially due to a phenomenon called hedonic adaptation‘ and goes on to explain what that means: ‘This describes our tendency to become used to the happiness after experiencing it for the first time.‘  
Winning the lottery may not make you happier

Paragraph B informs us that ‘winning the lottery would make you happy but only for a short period of time‘.
Wealth management issues

Paragraph C tells us that ‘large sums of money can be a lot to manage‘.
​Failing relationships and negative feelings

In paragraph D we learn ‘Eventually, lottery winners wind up cutting themselves from others because of the fear of being used as a just a source of money than a source of friendship.‘ The words in bold highlight the paraphrasing of the terms ‘failing relationships’ and ‘negative feelings’.
Behavioral Changes

In paragraph E, the phrase ‘​some even become greedier than they were before winning‘ is an example of a behavioral change. Later the paragraph says ‘A study… …proves that gaining wealth can actually change our behaviour drastically.
Spend your winnings wisely

Paragraph F informs us that ‘​While most of us would indulge in a fabulous lifestyle after winning, there are ways that winning the lottery can make us happier than having the latest supercar in your garage‘ and then goes on to introduce us to the best way of spending our winnings (the money we won).
What you do, not what you buy

Paragraph G is an extension of the ideas in the previous paragraph. It states that ‘findings show that people tend to adapt faster to extrinsic and material things than we do on experience‘. Extrinsic and material things are what we buy. Experience is what we do.
Philanthropy benefits the giver

‘giving to others’ and ‘spending on others’ is a paraphrase of philanthropy. Paragraph H tells us that ‘the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School proved that spending more on others provides more happiness than spending it on yourself.‘  

Sentence Completion

​Can you remember our tips on how to answer these types of questions? Check out this post on sentence completion to refresh your memory. 
Step 1
Skim read the passage. Try and get the general meaning of each paragraph. Don’t read every word, don’t worry about unfamiliar vocabulary. Some people like to make notes at the side of the text about the ‘gist’ (general meaning) of a paragraph, however, for this sort of text it is probably not necessary. Skim reading the text first will allow you to come back and easily find the answers for questions in step 3.
 
Step 2 
Carefully read the instructions for the questions. How many words can you answer with? Remember spelling and grammar is important!
It seems like a simple thing to do but many candidates don’t read the instructions or misunderstand the instructions and so answer questions incorrectly. Make sure you understand what you have to do before you write any answers.
 
Step 3
Read the questions. You skim read the text in step 1 and so you should have an idea where in the text the answer should be found. Locate the answer and write it. Remember:
  • Synonyms of words in the questions will help you to find answers in the text.
  • Make sure you don’t write too many words.
  • Make sure the words you write fit into the grammar of the sentence.
  • Check your spelling.


​Questions 9-13

Complete the following sentences with NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the text.
9. You must be to win the lottery as the odds do not favour you.
10. Being successful in the lottery is less likely than being killed by beasts or .
11. When people are successful in some endeavor or competition they experience a .
12. Researchers in America compared the opinions of disabled victims of to those of lottery winners.
13. Questions required the subjects to how much happiness they felt they received from various unremarkable situations.

​Don’t forget that the best way to improve your reading skill is by frequent practice. If you are serious about getting a higher band, then you need to be doing reading practice every day. If you have any tips on how people can improve their reading, then leave your tips in the comments section below.

Up next is Reading Practice 4!

Don’t forget to see our other reading practice exercises:

Reading Practice 1
Reading Practice 2