Ce Phan biên soạn bài kiểm tra này dành cho lớp IELTS trung cấp với chủ đề Earning and Spending money (Kiếm tiền và tiêu tiền) sau khi đã học xong lý thuyết và các kỹ năng làm bài thi. 

Passage 1:

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-12 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below. 

A Workaholic Economy

For the first century or so of the industrial revolution, increased productivity led to decreases in working hours. Employees who had been putting in 12-hour days, six days a week, found their time on the job shrinking to 10 hours daily, then finally to eight hours, five days a week. Only a generation ago social planners worried about what people would do with all this new-found free time. In the US, at least it seems they need not have bothered.

Although the output per hour of work has more than doubled since 1945, leisure seems reserved largely for the unemployed and underemployed. Those who work full-time spend as much time on the job as they did at the end of World War II. In fact, working hours have increased noticeably since 1970 — perhaps because real wages have stagnated since that year. Bookstores now abound with manuals describing how to manage time and cope with stress. 

There are several reasons for lost leisure. Since 1979, companies have responded to improvements in the business climate by having employees work overtime rather than by hiring extra personnel, says economist Juliet B. Schor of Harvard University. Indeed, the current economic recovery has gained a certain amount of notoriety for its “jobless” nature: increased production has been almost entirely decoupled from employment. Some firms are even downsizing as their profits climb. “All things being equal, we'd be better off spreading around the work," observes labour economist Ronald G. Ehrenberg of Cornell University. 

Yet a host of factors pushes employers to hire fewer workers for more hours and at the same time compels workers to spend more time on the job. Most of those incentives involve what Ehrenberg calls the structure of compensation: quirks in the way salaries and benefits are organised that make it more profitable to ask 40 employees to labour an extra hour each than to hire one more worker to do the same 40-hour job. 

Professional and managerial employees supply the most obvious lesson along these lines. Once people are on salary, their cost to a firm is the same whether they spend 35 hours a week in the office or 70. Diminishing returns may eventually set in as overworked employees lose efficiency or leave for more arable pastures. But in the short run, the employer’s incentive is clear. Even hourly employees receive benefits - such as pension contributions and medical insurance - that are not tied to the number of hours they work. Therefore, it is more profitable for employers to work their existing employees harder. 

For all that employees complain about long hours, they too have reasons not to trade money for leisure. “People who work reduced hours pay a huge penalty in career terms,” Schor maintains. “It's taken as a negative signal’ about their commitment to the firm.’ [Lotte] Bailyn [of Massachusetts Institute of Technology] adds that many corporate managers find it difficult to measure the contribution of their underlings to a firm’s well-being, so they use the number of hours worked as a proxy for output. “Employees know this,” she says, and they adjust their behaviour accordingly. 

“Although the image of the good worker is the one whose life belongs to the company,” Bailyn says, “it doesn't fit the facts.’ She cites both quantitative and qualitative studies that show increased productivity for part-time workers: they make better use of the time they have and they are less likely to succumb to fatigue in stressful jobs. Companies that employ more workers for less time also gain from the resulting redundancy, she asserts. "The extra people can cover the contingencies that you know are going to happen, such as when crises take people away from the workplace." Positive experiences with reduced hours have begun to change the more-is-better culture at some companies, Schor reports. 

Larger firms, in particular, appear to be more willing to experiment with flexible working arrangements... 

It may take even more than changes in the financial and cultural structures of employment for workers successfully to trade increased productivity and money for leisure time, Schor contends. She says the U.S. market for goods has become skewed by the assumption of full-time, two-career households. Automobile makers no longer manufacture cheap models, and developers do not build the tiny bungalows that served the first postwar generation of home buyers. Not even the humblest household object is made without a microprocessor. As Schor notes, the situation is a curious inversion of the “appropriate technology” vision that designers have had for developing countries: U.S. goods are appropriate only for high incomes and long hours.        ----- Paul Walluh

Questions 1-6
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in reading passage 1? In boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet write: 

YES              if the statement agrees with the writer
NO                if the statement contradicts the writer
NOT GIVEN  if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this 

  Example                                                                                             Answer

During the industrial revolution, people worked harder                       NOT GIVEN

1.    Today, employees are facing a reduction in working hours.
2.    Social planners have been consulted about US employment figures.
3.    Salaries have not risen significantly since the 1970s.
4.    The economic recovery created more jobs.
5.    Bailyn’s research shows that part-time employees work more efficiently.
6.    Increased leisure time would benefit two-career households.

Questions 7-8
Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 7 and 8 on your answer sheet. 

7. Bailyn argues that it is better for a company to employ more workers because
      A.    it is easy to make excess staff redundant.
      B.    crises occur if you are under-staffed.
      C.    people are available to substitute for absent staff.
      D.    they can project a positive image at work. 

8. Schor thinks it will be difficult for workers in the US to reduce their working hours because
      A.    they would not be able to afford cars or homes.
      B.    employers are offering high incomes for long hours.
      C.    the future is dependent on technological advances.
      D.    they do not wish to return to the humble post-war era. 

Questions 9-12
The writer mentions a number of factors that have resulted, in employees working longer hours. Which FOUR of the following factors are mentioned? Write your answers (A-H) in boxes 9-12 on your answer sheet. 

List of Factors
A   Books are available to help employees cope with stress.
B   Extra work is offered to existing employees.
C   Increased production has led to joblessness.
D   Benefits and hours spent on the job are not linked.
E   Overworked employees require longer to do their work.
F    Longer hours indicate a greater commitment to the firm.
G   Managers estimate staff productivity in terms of hours worked.
H   Employees value a career more than a family.

 

Passage 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 13-25 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below. 

DELIVERING THE GOODS

The vast expansion in international trade owes much to a revolution in the business of moving freight

    International trade is growing at a startling pace. While the global economy has been expanding at a bit over 3% a year, the volume of trade has been rising at a compound annual rate of about twice that. Foreign products, from meat to machinery, play a more important role in almost every economy in the world, and foreign markets now tempt businesses that never much worried about sales beyond their nation's borders.

B     What lies behind this explosion in international commerce? The general worldwide decline in trade barriers, such as customs duties and import quotas, is surely one explanation. The economic opening of countries that have traditionally been minor players is another. But one force behind the import-export boom has passed all but unnoticed: the rapidly falling cost of getting goods to market. Theoretically, in the world of trade, shipping costs do not matter. Goods, once they have been made, are assumed to move instantly and at no cost from place to place. The real world, however, is full of frictions. Cheap labour may make Chinese clothing competitive in America, but if delays in shipment tie up working capital and cause winter coats to arrive in spring, trade may lose its advantages.

    At the turn of the 20th century, agriculture and manufacturing were the two most important sectors almost everywhere, accounting for about 70% of total output in Germany, Italy and France, and 40-50% in America, Britain and Japan. International commerce was therefore dominated by raw materials, such as wheat, wood and iron ore, or processed commodities, such as meat and steel. But these sorts of products are heavy and bulky and the cost of transporting them relatively high.

    Countries still trade disproportionately with their geographic neighbours. Over time, however, world output has shifted into goods whose worth is unrelated to their size and weight. Today, it is finished manufactured products that dominate the flow of trade, and, thanks to technological advances such as lightweight components, manufactured goods themselves have tended to become lighter and less bulky. As a result, less transportation is required for every dollar's worth of imports or exports.

E     To see how this influences trade, consider the business of making disk drives for computers. Most of the world's disk-drive manufacturing is concentrated in South-east Asia. This is possible only because disk drives, while valuable, are small and light and so cost little to ship. Computer manufacturers in Japan or Texas will not face hugely bigger freight bills if they import drives from Singapore rather than purchasing them on the domestic market. Distance, therefore, poses no obstacle to the globalisation of the disk-drive industry.

F     This is even more true of the fast-growing information industries. Films and compact discs cost little to transport, even by aeroplane. Computer software can be 'exported' without ever loading it onto a ship, simply by transmitting it over telephone lines from one country to another, so freight rates and cargo-handling schedules become insignificant factors in deciding where to make the product. Businesses can locate based on other considerations, such as the availability of labour, while worrying less about the cost of delivering their output.

G     In many countries deregulation has helped to drive the process along. But, behind the scenes, a series of technological innovations known broadly as containerisation and inter-modal transportation has led to swift productivity improvements in cargo-handling. Forty years ago, the process of exporting or importing involved a great many stages of handling, which risked portions of the shipment being damaged or stolen along the way. The invention of the container crane made it possible to load and unload containers without capsizing the ship and the adoption of standard container sizes allowed almost any box to be transported on any ship. By 1967, dual-purpose ships, carrying loose cargo in the hold* and containers on the deck, were giving way to all-container vessels that moved thousands of boxes at a time.

    The shipping container transformed ocean shipping into a highly efficient, intensely competitive business. But getting the cargo to and from the dock was a different story. National governments, by and large, kept a much firmer hand on truck and railroad tariffs than on charges for ocean freight. This started changing, however, in the mid-1970s, when America began to deregulate its transportation industry. First airlines, then road hauliers and railways, were freed from restrictions on what they could carry, where they could haul it and se what price they could charge. Big productivity gains resulted. Between 1985 and 1996, for example, America's freight railways dramatically reduced their employment, trackage, and their fleets of locomotives - while increasing the amount of cargo they hauled. Europe's railways have also shown marked, albeit smaller, productivity improvements.

I     In America the period of huge productivity gains in transportation may be almost over, but in most countries, the process still has far to go. State ownership of railways and airlines, regulation of freight rates and toleration of anti-competitive practices, such as cargo-handling monopolies, all keep the cost of shipping unnecessarily high and deter international trade. Bringing these barriers down would help the world's economies grow even closer.

 

Questions 13-16: Reading Passage 2 has six sections, A-I.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter A-I in boxes 13-16 on your answer sheet.


13. a suggestion for improving trade in the future  
14. the effects of the introduction of electronic delivery  
15. the similar cost involved in transporting a product from abroad or from a local supplier  
16. the weakening relationship between the value of goods and the cost of their delivery  

Questions 187-21: Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 90?

In boxes 17-21 on your answer sheet, write -

TRUE    if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE    if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN    if there is no information on this


17. International trade is increasing at a greater rate than the world economy.  
18. Cheap labour guarantees effective trade conditions.  
19. Japan imports more meat and steel than France.  
20. Most countries continue to prefer to trade with nearby nations.  
21. Small computer components are manufactured in Germany.  

Questions 22-25: Complete the summary using the list of words, A-K, below.
Write the correct letter, A-K, in boxes 22-25 on your answer sheet.

THE TRANSPORT REVOLUTION
Modern cargo-handling methods have had a significant effect on 22 ....................... as the business of moving freight around the world becomes increasingly streamlined.
Manufacturers of computers, for instance, are able to import 23 ....................... from overseas, rather than having to rely on a local supplier. The introduction of 24 ....................... has meant that bulk cargo can be safely and efficiently moved over long distances. While international shipping is now efficient, there is still a need for governments to reduce 25 ....................... in order to free up the domestic cargo sector. 

A tariffs            B components               C container ships         D output
E employees     F insurance costs         G trade                        freight
I fares               J software                    K international standards

 

PASSAGE 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 26– 38, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below. 

As More Tech Start-Ups Stay Private, So Does the Money

Not long ago, if you were a young, brash technologist with a world-conquering start-up idea, there was a good chance you spent much of your waking life working toward a single business milestone: taking your company public.

  Though luminaries of the tech industry have always expressed skepticism and even hostility toward the finance industry, tech’s dirty secret was that it looked to Wall Street and the ritual of a public offering for affirmation — not to mention wealth.

  But something strange has happened in the last couple of years: The initial public offering of stock has become déclassé. For start-up entrepreneurs and their employees across Silicon Valley, an initial public offering is no longer a main goal. Instead, many founders talk about going public as a necessary evil to be postponed as long as possible because it comes with more problems than benefits.

  “If you can get $200 million from private sources, then yeah, I don’t want my company under the scrutiny of the unwashed masses who don’t understand my business,” said Danielle Morrill, the chief executive of Mattermark, a start-up that organizes and sells information about the start-up market. “That’s actually terrifying to me. 

  Silicon Valley’s sudden distaste for the I.P.O. — rooted in part in Wall Street’s skepticism of new tech stocks — may be the single most important psychological shift underlying the current tech boom. Staying private affords start-up executives the luxury of not worrying what outsiders think and helps them avoid the quarterly earnings treadmill.

  It also means Wall Street is doing what it failed to do in the last tech boom: using traditional metrics like growth and profitability to price companies. Investors have been tough on Twitter, for example, because its user growth has slowed. They have been tough on Box, the cloud-storage company that went public last year, because it remains unprofitable. And the e-commerce company Zulily, which went public last year, was likewise punished when it cut its guidance for future sales.

  Scott Kupor, the managing partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, and his colleagues said in a recent report that despite all the attention start-ups have received in recent years, tech stocks are not seeing unusually high valuations. In fact, their share of the overall market has remained stable for 14 years, and far off the peak of the late 1990s.

  That unwillingness to cut much slack to young tech companies limits risk for regular investors. If the bubble pops, the unwashed masses, if that’s what we are, aren’t as likely to get washed out.

  Private investors, on the other hand, are making big bets on so-called unicorns — the Silicon Valley jargon for start-up companies valued at more than a billion dollars. If many of those unicorns flop, most Americans will escape unharmed, because losses will be confined to venture capitalists and hedge funds that have begun to buy into tech start-ups, as well as tech founders and their employees.

  The reluctance — and sometimes inability — to go public is spurring the unicorns. By relying on private investors for a longer period of time, start-ups get more runway to figure out sustainable business models. To delay their entrance into the public markets, firms like Airbnb, Dropbox, Palantir, Pinterest, Uber and several other large start-ups are raising hundreds of millions, and in some cases billions, that they would otherwise have gained through an initial public offering.

  “These companies are going public, just in the private market,” Dan Levitan, the managing partner of the venture capital firm Maveron, told me recently. He means that in many cases, hedge funds and other global investors that would have bought shares in these firms after an I.P.O. are deciding to go into late-stage private rounds. There is even an oxymoronic term for the act of obtaining private money in place of a public offering: It’s called a “private I.P.O.”

  The delay in I.P.O.s has altered how some venture capital firms do business. Rather than waiting for an initial offering, Maveron, for instance, says it now sells its stake in a start-up to other, larger private investors once it has made about 100 times its initial investment. It is the sort of return that once was only possible after an I.P.O.

  But there is also a downside to the new aversion to initial offerings. When the unicorns do eventually go public and begin to soar — or whatever it is that fantastical horned beasts tend to do when they’re healthy — the biggest winners will be the private investors that are now bearing most of the risk.

  It used to be that public investors who got in on the ground floor of an initial offering could earn historic gains. If you invested $1,000 in Amazon at its I.P.O. in 1997, you would now have nearly $250,000. If you had invested $1,000 in Microsoft in 1986, you would have close to half a million. Public investors today are unlikely to get anywhere near such gains from tech I.P.O.s. By the time tech companies come to the market, the biggest gains have already been extracted by private backers.

  Just 53 technology companies went public in 2014, which is around the median since 1980, but far fewer than during the boom of the late 1990s and 2000, when hundreds of tech companies went public annually, according to statistics maintained by Jay Ritter, a professor of finance at the University of Florida. Today’s companies are also waiting longer. In 2014, the typical tech company hitting the markets was 11 years old, compared with a median age of seven years for tech I.P.O.s since 1980.

  Over the last few weeks, I’ve asked several founders and investors why they’re waiting; few were willing to speak on the record about their own companies, but their answers all amounted to “What’s the point?”

  Initial public offerings were also ways to compensate employees and founders who owned lots of stock, but there are now novel mechanisms — such as selling shares on a secondary market — for insiders to cash in on some of their shares in private companies. Still, some observers cautioned that the new trend may be a bad deal for employees who aren’t given much information about the company’s performance.

  “One thing employees may be confused about is when companies tell them, ‘We’re basically doing a private I.P.O.,’ it might make them feel like there’s less risk than there really is,” said Ms. Morrill of Mattermark. But she said it was hard to persuade people that their paper gains may never materialize. “The Kool-Aid is really strong,” she said.

  If the delay in I.P.O.s becomes a normal condition for Silicon Valley, some observers say tech companies may need to consider new forms of compensation for workers. “We probably need to fundamentally rethink how do private companies compensate employees, because that’s going to be an issue,” said Mr. Kupor, of Andreessen Horowitz.

  During a recent presentation for Andreessen Horowitz’s limited partners — the institutions that give money to the venture firm — Marc Andreessen, the firm’s co-founder, told the journalist Dan Primack that he had never seen a sharper divergence in how investors treat public- and private-company chief executives. “They tell the public C.E.O., ‘Give us the money back this quarter,’ and they tell the private C.E.O., ‘No problem, go for 10 years,’ ” Mr. Andreessen said.

  At some point this tension will be resolved. “Private valuations will not forever be higher than public valuations,” said Mr. Levitan, of Maveron. “So the question is, Will private markets capitulate and go down or will public markets go up?”

  If the private investors are wrong, employees, founders and a lot of hedge funds could be in for a reckoning. But if they’re right, it will be you and me wearing the frown — the public investors who missed out on the next big thing. 

 

Questions 26–30: Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write the correct letter in boxes 28–31 on your answer sheet.

26. How much funds would you gain by now, if you had invested 1000$ in the Amazon in 1997? 

  1. 250,000$
  2. close to 500,000$
  3. It is not stated in the text
  4. No funds

27. Nowadays founders talk about going public as a: 

  1. necessity.
  2. benefit.
  3. possibility.
  4. profit.

28. In which time period was the biggest number of companies going public? 

  1. early 1990s
  2. late 1900s and 2000s
  3. 1980s
  4. late 1990s

29. According to the text, which of the following is true? 

  1. Private valuations may be forever higher than public ones.
  2. Public valuations eventually will become even less valuable.
  3. The main question is whether the public market increase or the private market decrease.
  4. The pressure might last for a long time.

 

 

Questions 30–34: Complete the sentences below. 

Write ONLY ONE WORD from the passage for each answer. 

Write your answers in boxes 30–34 on your answer sheet.

30. Skepticism was always expected by the _________________ of tech industry. 

31. The new aversion to initial offerings has its_________________ . 

32. Selling shares on a secondary market is considered a_________________ mechanism. 

33. Workers' compensation might be an_________________.

34. The public investors who failed to participate in the next big thing might be the ones wearing the _________________ . 


 

Questions 35–38: Do the following statements agree with the information in the IELTS reading text? 

In boxes 35–38 on your answer sheet, write 

TRUE                          if the statement agrees with the information 

FALSE                        if the statement contradicts the information 

NOT GIVEN                if there is no information on this 

 

35. Private investors are bearing most of the risk. 

36. Not many investors were willing to speak on the record. 

37. The typical tech company hitting the markets in 1990s was 5 years old. 

38. Marc Andreessen, the firm's co-founder, expressed  amazement with divergency in how investors treat public.

 

 

Answer keys:

1.  No    
2.  Not Given    
3.  Yes    
4.  No    
5.  Yes   
6.  Not Given    
7.  C    
8.  A   
9.  B. Extra work is offered to existing employees.   
10.  D. Benefits and hours spent on the job are not linked    
11.  F. Longer hours indicate greater commitment to the firm.    
12. G. Managers estimate staff productivity in terms of hours worked.

13. I    
14. F   
15. E   
16. D    
17. TRUE  
18. FALSE  
19. NOT GIVEN   
20. TRUE   
21. NOT GIVEN  
22. trade  
23. components  
24. container ships 
25. tariffs

26.A
27. A
28. B
29. C
30. luminaries
31. downside
32. novel
33. issue
34. frown
35. True
36. True
37. Not Given
38. False

 

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