Mock Test 9.3 | General Reading


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 28-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.


The Construction of the White House


A. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, Q28the White House was originally designed by James Hoban, an Irish-born American architect. In 1792, after defeating eight other entrants, Hoban won a contest to design a mansion for the president of the United States. [Crack IELTS with Rob] President George Washington oversaw the original construction, which began on October 13, 1792. Prior to the design contest, Q35engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant had worked with President Washington to design the capital city. L’Enfant’s vision of the president’s house was four times larger than the mansion Hoban built. Labor and material expenses required Hoban to build the house on a much smaller scale, with only two main floors instead of three. In addition, rather than using the expensive imported stone of his original plan, the majority of the brick he used was made right on site. Hoban employed builders and craftsmen from overseas as well as local slaves and laborers. The total expenditure for the project was $232,372. This was just a fraction of what L’Enfant’s proposed palace would have cost.


B.  James Q36Hoban’s design was a near copy of a residence in James Gibbs’s Q29Book of Architecture, published in 1728. Neoclassicism, influenced by the Greco—Roman style, was the popular choice for architects throughout Europe during that time. When Napoleon became emperor, he employed the best architects he knew to transform Paris into a classical Roman capital. Roman triumphal arches and Corinthian columns adorned all of Paris’s major structures. Architects in Germany built monuments, halls, and theatres inspired by classic Greek structures such as the Acropolis in Athens. The popularity of the neoclassical style grew internationally, spreading as far as America. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Though the architectural styles were borrowed from classical designs, each country added a unique flair in order to achieve a sense of nationalism in its capital.


C.  The Q37house that James Hoban designed was not completed until after the second president of the United States took office. Despite the unfinished interior, President John Adams and his family moved from the temporary capital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, into the president’s house on November 1, 1800. Throughout his term, Adams lived in the mansion with half-finished walls, no heating, and no running water. The Q30interior of the building was completed in 1801 during Thomas Jefferson’s term. Before Jefferson moved in, he hired architect Benjamin Latrobe to install coal-burning fireplaces and two water closets. Latrobe also created two terraces on the east and west sides of the building and installed a furnace that relied on kettles and pipes in the basement.


D.  Just over twenty years after the construction of the president’s house began, the Q31building was burned down during the War of 1812. Q38After British troops torched the house on August 25, 1814, rumors surfaced as to whether the capital would be moved inland. [Crack IELTS with Rob] However, the Battle of New Orleans, an encounter in which the Americans came out victorious over Britain, evoked a sense of nationalism in the country’s heart. The victory inspired the rebuilding of the president’s house, a task that was once again handed over to James Hoban.


E.  Hoban worked on the Q32rebuilding for two years before President JaniesMonroe moved into the unfinished home and purchased a number of furnishings. Benjamin Latrobe, who later built the Capitol building, designed large porticos for the house with columns that supported the roof. In 1824, his south portico was completed with a double staircase leading up to the new porch. The north portico was completed in 1830 during the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Though these columns give the White House its distinguishing features today, there was some criticism at the time that they overshadowed the intricate stone carvings on the house. During Jackson’s term, running water was installed, though a furnace and gas lighting were not introduced until the 1840s.


F.  Major Q34renovations on the president’s house continued through the 1800s, including modern innovations such as the telephone and electric wiring. A hot water system, a greenhouse, a private bath, and a number of conservatories were also added. [Crack IELTS with Rob] The conservatories, including the rose and orchid houses were removed in 1902, when construction began on the West Wing. The Q39president’s Oval Office was added to the West Wing at the order of President Taft in 1909. Each succeeding president and first lady contributed to the interior and its furnishings. Inspectors ordered a full renovation of the White House after the building almost collapsed while a balcony was being added for Harry Truman in the late 1940s. During the temporary closure, all of the modern conveniences, including central air conditioning were added. The last major modification to the White House was the removal of over forty layers of paint from the exterior walls in 1978.


G. For over 100 years, the White House was only a nickname associated with the presidents’ home. This term was likely related to the whitewashed exterior that stonemasons completed in 1798. The home was either referred to as the “President’s House” or the “Executive Mansion” until Q40Theodore Roosevelt formally established it as the White House soon after taking office in 1901.


Questions 28 - 34

Passage 3 has seven paragraphs, A-G.

Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of heading below.

Write the correct number, i-x, on boxes 28-34 on your answer sheet.


NB      There are more headings than paragraphs, so you will not use them all.


List of headings

i           the neoclassical architectural style

ii          choosing a location

iii         naming the president’s house

iv         first ladies and interior design

v          a designer is chosen

vi         reconstruction of the president’s house

vii        the president’s house burns down

viii       funding the construction

ix         renovation and modernization

x          completion of the first president’s house


  • 28.  Paragraph A

  • 29.  Paragraph B

  • 30.  Paragraph C

  • 31.  Paragraph D

  • 32.  Paragraph E

  • 33.  Paragraph F

  • 34.  Paragraph G


Questions 35 - 40

Choose the correct letter, ABC or D.

Write the correct letter in boxes 35-40 on your answer sheet.

35. Pierre Charles L’Enfant was

  • the winner of a contest to build the president’s house.
  • the material provider for building the president’s house.
  • an importer of stone.
  • the designer of the capital city.


36. The influential Book of Architecture was written by

  • James Gibb
  • Napoleon
  • James Adams
  • James Hoban


37. The first president to live in the original president’s house was

  • George Washington
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • John Adams
  • Thomas Jefferson


38. The White House burned down in

  • 1816.
  • 1800.
  • 1812.
  • 1814.


39. The Oval Office was built during the presidency of 

  • Jefferson.
  • Taft.
  • Truman.
  • Jackson.


40. In 1901,

  • Theodore Roosevelt became president.
  • the White House was rebuilt.
  • the White House was repainted.
  • the first lady bought new furniture.



Please click the red words below for other Sections of this Mock Test:

Mock Test 9 | Listening Test
Mock Test 9 | General Reading Passage 2
Mock Test 9 | General Reading Passage 1


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