Mock Test 2.3 (General Reading)


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


Universities in Britain


A.  Today in Britain there are 124 state universities, but only one private university - the University of Buckingham. Before the 19th century there were only six universities: Oxford. Cambridge, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Universities were usually linked to the Church and were established between the 13th and 15th centuries. They often have good reputations, beautiful old buildings, traditions and usually offer a wide range of courses.


B.  A number of universities were established in the 19th and early 20th centuries as a result of the industrial revolution and they began training highly skilled people for industry. These universities were generally established in major industrial centres such as Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and other big cities. Sometimes called modern or civic universities, these universities have the advantage of well-established libraries, academic specialities and accommodation that is close to campus. These universities are often able to provide accommodation for all first-year students.


C.  A number of new universities were established in the 1960s when children born after World War 2 entered the higher education system. The government decided to expand higher education to educate these students. [Crack IELTS with Rob] The advantage of these universities is that they are well planned and most of the living and teaching facilities are on campus.


D. Before 1992, higher education in the UK was split into polytechnics and universities. The polytechnics provided skilled people for the industries situated in their region - they focused on vocational and professional subjects. For many years, polytechnics didn't have the same influence as universities. However, by 1992, educational standards in polytechnics were as good as universities and many became universities. Many of these universities also offer diploma courses.


E.  These universities are made of several smaller colleges which come together to form a single university under a senate committee. There are only seven of these institutions in the UK - London University, Oxford and Cambridge are examples. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Specialist colleges offer a range of courses in one discipline - for example agriculture, music, design or medicine. Some of these colleges may only offer- postgraduate programmes. These colleges are usually small, with a limited number of students.


F.  Universities have different locations. The older universities often have teaching facilities and student accommodation situated close together. Students in these usually socialise in a particular part of the city and there is a strong sense of community despite being in a large city. Some city campuses are situated on the outskirts of the city. These very often have the space to provide sports facilities and accommodation. They are also close enough to the city for students to enjoy city life. Some universities, notably Oxford and Cambridge, have a collegiate structure - that is, students are members of colleges within the university. These colleges are the centre of social life and academic life. Academic staff usually live at the college, and students and staff enjoy easy relationships.


Questions 28 - 33

The Reading Passage has six paragraphs A–F.

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

Write your answers, i-vii, in boxes 28-33 on your answer sheet.


List of headings

i        Campus types
ii       Old universities
iii      Universities during the industrial revolution
iv      University colleges
v       Rising standards in higher education
vi      The second expansion
vii      Former polytechnics


  • 28.  Paragraph A

  • 29.  Paragraph B

  • 30.  Paragraph C

  • 31.  Paragraph D

  • 32.  Paragraph E

  • 33.  Paragraph F


Questions 34 - 37

Answer the questions below with words taken from Reading Passage 3.

Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 34-37 on your answer sheet.



  • 34. Why were several universities established during the 19th and 20th centuries? 

  • 35. What did the government decide to do in the 1960s? 

  • 36. What qualification do many former polytechnics provide? 

  • 37. What are colleges the centre of? 


Questions 38 - 40

Classify the following descriptions as referring to the list below.

Write the appropriate letters in boxes 38 - 40 on your answer sheet.

NB     You do not need to use them all.


OU     old universities
CU     civic universities
NU     new universities
FP      former polytechnics
UC     university colleges


  • 38. have accommodation and educational facilities on campus. 

  • 39. provide various courses on a single subject. 

  • 40. have lecturers and students living in the same place. 





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

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


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