Dear readers, it has been long since we corresponded with each-other.
I have always tried to make my readers well-acquainted with the fact that the strategy of IELTS preparation should not be confined to some common guides found from the local book-shops or any other sources as such. There should be a standard way to develop the language skill-set in order make the skill work for the candidate. Unless those skill-sets are functional and permanent, they will never work properly. Nevertheless, growing a reading habit for IELTS is a bit different from any other way of growing reading habit. If we compare with GRE/GMAT, there reading passage or comprehension means how deep is your understanding regarding the passage. However if we are talking about IELTS, it is all about information gathering. The more information you will be able to gather, the better your score is going to be. However, timing is also a fact here. If you cannot make it in time, there is no point what-so-ever. So maintaining time and gathering information happens to be the first and foremost duty for any candidate in the exam hall if he wants to do better in IELTS reading part.
Now, I have picked one article from the NY Times; so let’s dive deep into it:
THE MAIN PASSAGE
Source: NY Times
This week, Facebook is embroiled in a different kind of election interference scandal. The current controversy stems from two separate but related events. The first revolves around leaked audio of Mark Zuckerberg speaking privately to employees at recent town hall meetings, where he called Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plans to break up Facebook an “existential” threat to the company and one he would fight. The second is a recent announcement by Facebook that it is exempting political figures from its policy forbidding spreading misinformation in advertisements (yes, politicians spreading false claims in their ads is just a part of the political conversation, according to Facebook). Both developments have attracted the ire of Warren who, in a series of tweets this week, argued that the public has a right to know how Facebook “intends to use their influence in this election” and implied that Mr. Zuckerberg and Facebook might be intentionally emboldening the Trump campaign by relaxing advertising rules. Fellow Democrats echoed the concerns: Seema Nanda, C.E.O. of the Democratic National Committee, told CNN that the social network’s ad policy “is a serious missed opportunity by Facebook.” At the same time, old fears that the company’s “I Voted” button, which has proved effective at boosting get-out-the-vote efforts, could give an outsize advantage to Mr. Trump are recirculating. But Ms. Warren’s concerns miss a key point about the social network’s roles in elections. Yes, Facebook’s willingness to let politicians lie sets a worrying precedent. And yes, lack of oversight into the platform’s decisions opens up a host of plausible election interference conspiracies. But Facebook’s essential threat to democracy isn’t that Mr. Zuckerberg will intervene on behalf of his preferred candidate — it’s more fundamental than that. Mark Zuckerberg need not intervene, because Facebook, the platform, will do so instinctively. With its algorithmic mandate of engagement over all else, Facebook has redefined what it means to be a good candidate — and provided a distinct natural advantage to those who distort the truth and seek to divide.
Few politicians have evidenced this phenomenon better than President Trump, the natural Facebook candidate. He’s light on policy but heavy on the sort of sweeping imagery that translates so easily to memes (some of his memes, like “The Wall,” eventually do become policy). Almost every iteration of his messaging is the type of polarizing content that is candy for Facebook’s algorithms. To its credit, the Trump campaign seemed to intuit the candidate’s symbiotic relationship with Facebook back in late 2015, well before most of us took notice. The campaign spent millions of dollars on advertising as Facebook employed a detailed marketing model called “Test, Learn, Adapt” to plaster the social network with ads. They worked, in large part because of their incendiary content, tailored to stoke fears on divisive issues like immigration. In the Philippines, the autocratic leader Rodrigo Duterte utilized a similar Facebook campaign in 2016 to win the presidency. A Duterte campaign document, obtained by BuzzFeed News and titled “Winning the Social Media Wars of 2016,” detailed how the campaign used Facebook’s algorithms to gin up anger, hope and pride with an onslaught of fake news and incendiary memes. “To fight with limited funds, the campaign must organize a series of dramatic events that stoke these emotions in escalating fashion,” Pompee La Viña, a Duterte supporter and social media director for his 2016 campaign, told BuzzFeed News. Mr. Duterte was lauded by Facebook itself as the “undisputed king of Facebook conversations.” Both the Trump and Duterte campaigns wielded controversy to drive virality. On a platform like Facebook, designed to promote engagement, their behavior creates a vicious cycle: Incendiary content means more reach, which means more effective campaign ads. More effective campaign ads increase the likelihood a campaign will spend more on Facebook ads to fund-raise.
A natural Facebook candidate both dominates the news cycle and stokes emotions — which, in turn, increases that person’s ability to raise money. Once campaigns realize that divisive rhetoric pays, the incentive to up the ante with hyperpartisan ads and misinformation grows. And the campaigns have certainly taken notice. “I believe Facebook was a great platform for the president,” Mr. Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, told me in 2018 in reference to the platform’s ability to raise money and get supporters out to rallies in the last election. The inverse effect is equally powerful: Just look at the 2020 hopeful Joe Biden. He entered the presidential contest as a big spender on Facebook ads, only to cut back substantially. As Shane Goldmacher reported in The Times last week, the Biden campaign spent just $32,000 on Facebook ads in September, behind almost every Democratic candidate. Strategists suggested the former vice president was seeing few returns on the platform. It’s probably because of his moderate positions and don’t-rock-the-boat campaigning style, which, according to a former Sanders strategist, Keegan Goudiss, “hasn’t thrown the kind of red meat he needs to throw to do well online.” Meanwhile, the Trump campaign spent over $1.5 million for ads in just the past week, some of which featured debunked or misleading claims, according to Popular Information’s Judd Legum.
Elizabeth Warren is right that Facebook’s influence and scale are a “serious concern for our democratic process.” There’s plenty of reason to be concerned about its contradictory policies around policing misinformation and to demand increased transparency and accountability. And regarding political campaign ads — which make up only a meager percentage of the company’s gargantuan ad revenue — there’s a compelling case to be made that Facebook should be forced out of the game entirely to counter the spread of divisive, toxic content. But Facebook’s “incredible power,” as Ms. Warren tweeted, has less to do with Facebook’s opaque moderation policy and far more to do with a structural flaw in the platform’s original architecture. Mr. Zuckerberg is worried that the 2020 election could create existential concerns for the company. But the specter of a Warren presidency should concern him less than another possible result of the coming campaign: that his platform self-selects for a specific type of candidate. Just as television favored a new brand of well-coiffed, charismatic and dynamic political figures, Facebook offers a disproportionate advantage to those most likely to stoke negative emotions. Facebook’s algorithm might not be picking which person ends up on the ticket, but it’s providing our most divisive politicians with something nearly as precious: a bottomless pool of attention.
TYPES OF QUESTIONS THAT MAY BE VISIBLE DURING THE IELTS TEST “READING”
Source: IELTS Exam Preparation
- Which THREE/FOUR/FIVE of the following sentences are mentioned as characteristics of election campaigning algorithm of Facebook? [Here in this part of the question, there will be five or six characteristics mentioned, all you have to do is to point out which ones are mentioned as characteristics of election campaigning algorithm of Facebook according to the passage.]
- Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1/2/3/4? [Here there will be several sentences mentioned and then we have to find out which sentences either agree with the passage (write YES beside that one) or disagree with the passage (write NO beside that one) or irrelevant according to the passage (write NOT GIVEN) and so on.]
- Classify the following election campaigning as generally occurring: Before the election / During the election / After the election / Both while and during the election; [Here there will be several options from the passage which has to match with the options mentioned above.]
- Fill in the gap according to the passage, picturesque process may be involved here. [This part is simply filling the blanks according to what information is given in the passage.]
- Choose the most suitable heading or title for the passage or a certain paragraph. [Here there will be several confusing options and from there, one must choose a suitable title for the passage.]
- Complete each of the following statements with words taken from the passage. [Here there will be several sentence in individual forms or in a form of paragraph, and the candidate has to fill them up according to the passage and with the exact words used in the passage.]
- Question/answers [This is the most seen and the common part of IELTS exam as we all know that where there is a passage, there will be questions to answer for.]
NOW THE QUESTION IS – HOW DO ONE PREPARE FOR THESE KINDS OF QUESTIONS INSTANTLY AFTER READING THE PASSAGE IN THE TEST CENTER;
There are several steps a candidate may follow during the exam; such as:
- Skim through the whole passage first to locate which information is set where for the later references.
- Extract or gather as much information as possible from the whole passage. This is very much important because as we can see that the whole set of questions are based on nothing but information gathering. The more information you will be able to gather, the better your performance is going to be.
- PLEASE WATCH THE TIME. This is the most crucial part of test as there will be only a limited amount of time allocated for each of the passages. Three passages will have to be faced by each candidate and the time will be only 20 minutes each, which makes one hour in total for three passages. This is a very limited amount of time and I have witnessed a lot of people not being able to keep up with the given or allocated time-frame.
In this article I am not going to show how to extract information from the passage and what kind of questions there should be made from passages like this. This time I am leaving this up to the readers. However, from the next article, I am about to show how to extract information and then how to answer questions with it. Till then, happy reading.