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Why some women cross the finish line ahead of men: Reading Answers

Cambridge 1 Academic Test 4 – Passage 02: Why some women cross the finish line ahead of men reading answers location, explanation and pdf summary. This reading paragraph has been taken from our huge collection of Academic & General Training (GT) Reading practice test PDF’s.

IELTS reading module focuses on evaluating a candidate’s comprehension skills and ability to understand English. This is done by testing the reading proficiency through questions based on different structures and paragraphs (500-950 words each). There are 40 questions in total and hence it becomes extremely important to practice each and every question structure before actually sitting for the exam.

This reading passage mainly consists of following types of questions:

  • Match the paragraphs
  • Short-answer questions

We are going to read about the factors behind the success of women in real world. You must read the passage carefully and try to answer all questions correctly. 

Why some women cross the finish line ahead of men

A. Women who apply for jobs in middle or senior management have a higher success rate than men, according to an employment survey. But of course far fewer of them apply for these positions. The study, by recruitment consultants NB Selection, shows that while one in six men who appear on interview shortlists get jobs, the figure rises to one in four for women.

B. The study concentrated on applications for management positions in the $45,000 to $110,000 salary range and found that women are more successful than men in both the private and public sectors Dr Elisabeth Marx from London-based NB Selection described the findings as  encouraging for women, in that they send a positive message to them to apply for interesting management positions. But she added, “We should not lose sight of the fact that significantly fewer women apply for senior positions in comparison with men.”

C. Reasons for higher success rates among women are difficult to isolate. One explanation suggested is that if a woman candidate manages to get on a shortlist, then she has probably already proved herself to be an exceptional candidate. Dr Marx said that when women apply for positions they tend to be better qualified than their male counterparts but are more selective and conservative in their job search. Women tend to research thoroughly before applying for positions or attending interviews. Men, on the other hand, seem to rely on their ability to sell themselves and to convince employers that any shortcomings they have will not prevent them from doing a good job.

D. Managerial and executive progress made by women is confirmed by the annual survey of boards of directors carried out by Korn/Ferry/Carre/ Orban International. This year the survey shows a doubling of the number of women serving as non-executive directors compared with the previous year. However, progress remains painfully slow and there were still only 18 posts filled by women out of a total of 354 non-executive positions surveyed. Hilary Sears, a partner with Korn/Ferry, said, “Women have raised the level of grades we are employed in but we have still not broken through barriers to the top.”

E. In Europe a recent feature of corporate life in the recession has been the delayering of management structures. Sears said that this has halted progress for women in as much as de-layering has taken place either where women are working or in layers they aspire to. Sears also noted a positive trend from the recession, which has been the growing number of women who have started up on their own.

F. In business as a whole, there are a number of factors encouraging the prospect of greater equality in the workforce. Demographic trends suggest that the number of women going into employment is steadily increasing. In addition a far greater number of women are now passing through higher education, making them better qualified to move into management positions.

G. Organisations such as the European Women’s Management Development Network provide a range of opportunities for women to enhance their skills and contacts. Through a series of both pan-European and national workshops and conferences the barriers to women in employment are being broken down. However, Ariane Berthoin Antal, director of the International Institute for Organisational Change of Archamps in France, said that there is only anecdotal evidence of changes in recruitment patterns. And she said, “It’s still so hard for women to even get on to shortlists -there are so many hurdles and barriers.’ Antal agreed that there have been some positive signs but said “Until there is a belief among employers, until they value the difference, nothing will change.”

Questions 14-19

Reading Passage has 7 paragraphs (A-G). State which paragraph discusses each of the points below.

Write the appropriate letter (A-G) in boxes 14-19 on your answer sheet.

Why some women cross the finish line ahead of men Reading Answers

14. The drawbacks of current company restructuring patterns.

15. Associations that provide support for professional women.

16. The success rate of female job applicants for management positions.

17. Male and female approaches to job applications.

18. Reasons why more women are being employed in the business sector.

19. The improvement in female numbers on company management structures.

Questions 20-23

The author makes reference to three consultants in the Reading Passage. Which of the list of points below do these consultants make?

In boxes 20-23 write

M – if the point is made by Dr Marx

S – if the point is made by Hilary Sears

A – if the point is made by Ariane Berthoin Antal

20. Selection procedures do not favour women.

21. The number of female-run businesses is increasing.

22. Male applicants exceed female applicants for top posts.

23. Women hold higher positions now than they used to.

Questions 24-27

Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS answer the following questions.

Write your answers in boxes 24-27 on your answer sheet.

24. What change has there been in the number of women in top management positions detailed in the annual survey?

25. What aspect of company structuring has disadvantaged women?

26. What information tells us that more women are working nowadays?

27. Which group of people should change their attitude to recruitment?


Check out your Why some women cross the finish line ahead of men reading answers below with locations and explanations given in the text.

QuestionsTaskSkills tested
14-19Identifying paragraphs• skimming for detailed information
• understanding paraphrase and summary
20-23Matching• skimming/scanning for speakers and information
• understanding gist and paraphrase
24-27Short-answer questions• skimming for specific information
• identifying question focus

Questions 24-27

(Suggested approach)

• Read the task rubric carefully. Note that you must use a maximum of three words for each answer.

• You can take a straightforward approach to this set of questions.

• Read question 24. Note that it makes reference to the annual survey.

• Skim through the text until it discusses an annual survey. This is in paragraph D.

• Look for a comment on changing numbers of female managers or directors. In the text the survey is quoted as showing a “doubling of the numbers”. Thus the change referred to in the question is the fact that the numbers have doubled.

• Repeat this procedure with questions 25 to 27.

QuestionAnswerLocation of answer in text
24(it has) double(d)// doubling“This year the survey shows a doubling of the number of women serving as non- executive directors …”
25de-layering“Sears said that this (de-
layering) has halted progress for women …”
26demographic trends“Demographic trends suggest that the number of women going into employment is steadily increasing.”
27employers“Until there is a belief among employers until they value the difference nothing will change.”
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