Daylight Saving Time – IELTS Reading Passage 2

Daylight Saving Time

Each year in many countries around the world, clocks are set forward in spring and then back again in autumn in an effort to ‘save’ daylight hours. Like many modern practices, Daylight Savings Time (DST) dates back to ancient civilisations. The Romans would adjust their routines to the sun’s schedule by using different scales in their water clocks for different months of the year.

This practice fell out of favour, however, and the concept was renewed only when, in 1784, the American inventor Benjamin Franklin wrote a jocular article for The Journal of Paris exhorting the city’s residents to make more use of daylight hours in order to reduce candle use. In 1895, in a more serious effort, New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson proposed a biannual two-hour shift closely resembling current forms of * DST. His cause was not taken up, however, until Germany first pushed their clocks forward in April 1916 as part of a drive to save fuel in World War I.

Over the next several decades, global use of DST was sporadic and inconsistent. Countries such as the UK and USA adopted DST in World Wars I and II, but reverted to standard time after the wars ended. In the USA, the decision to use DST was determined by states and municipalities between 1945 and 1966, causing widespread confusion for transport and broadcasting schedules until Congress implemented the Uniform Time Act in 1966.

Today, DST is used in some form by over 70 countries worldwide, affecting around one sixth of the world’s population. There is still no uniform standard, however. Countries such as Egypt and Russia have adjusted their policies on multiple occasions in recent years, in some instances leading to considerable turmoil. Muslim countries often suspend DST for the month of Ramadan. The European Union finally standardised DST in 2000, while the USA’s most recent adjustments were introduced with the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

In general, the benefits of DST are considerable and well documented. Perhaps the most significant factor in terms of popular support is the chance to make better use of daylight in the evening. With extended daylight hours, office workers coming off a 9 to 5 shift can often take part in outdoor recreational activities for an hour or two. This has other positive effects, such as reducing domestic electricity consumption as more opportunities become available to use sunlight instead of artificial lighting. A further benefit is a reduction in the overall rate of automobile accidents, as DST ensures that streets are well lit at peak hours.

Many industries are supportive of DST due to the opportunities it provides for increased revenue. Extended daylight hours mean people are more likely to stay out later in the evening and spend more money in bars and restaurants, for example, so tourism and hospitality are two sectors that stand to gain a lot from more daylight. In Queensland, Australia, which elected not to implement DST due to complaints from dairy farmers over disruption to milking schedules, the annual drain on the state’s economy is estimated to be as high as $4 billion.

Some research casts doubt on the advantages of DST, however. Although the overall incidence of traffic accidents is lower, for pedestrians the risk of being hit by a car in the evening increases by as much as 186 per cent in the weeks after clocks are set back in autumn, possibly because drivers have not yet adjusted to earlier sunsets. Although this shift does in turn make streets safer in early mornings, the risk to pedestrians is not offset simply because fewer pedestrians use the streets at that time.

A further health concern involves the disruption of our body clock. Setting clocks one hour forward at night can cause many people to lose sleep, resulting in tiredness and all its well-documented effects, such as mood swings, reduced productivity and problems with overall physical well-being. In 2008, a Swedish study found that heart attack rates spike in the few days following the switch to DST for summer. Tiredness may also be a factor behind the increase in road accidents in the week after DST begins.

Finally, safety issues have arisen in parts of Latin America relating to a suspected relationship between DST and higher incidences of street crime. In 2008, Guatemala chose not to use DST because it forced office workers to leave their homes while it was still dark outside in the morning. This natural cover for criminals was thought to increase incidents of crime at this hour.

Questions

Questions 14-19

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2?

In boxes 14-19 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

14 …………… Daylight savings time has been in continual use since ancient times.

15 …………… Today, DST is very similar to how George Vernon Hudson suggested it.

16 …………… DST was not considered successful during World Wars I and II.

17 …………… The USA finalised its DST policy in 1966.

18 …………… Around the world, there is now general agreement on how DST should be used.

19 ……………  19 Frequent changes to DST over a short time span have caused problems in some countries.

Questions 20-26

Complete the table below

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answer in boxes 20-26 on your answer sheet.

Advantages and disadvantages of Daylight Saving Time

AdvantagesDisadvantages
More opportunities for 20 after work.Dairy farmers find that DST upsets their 23 
People use less power in their homes because they don’t need as much lighting.More dangerous for 24 following re-setting of clocks in autumn.
Better lighting during 21 leads to fewer car crashes following the spring change to DST.Loss of sleep can lead to  25 , inferior performance at work and poorer general health because of fatigue.
Some industries, such as 22 earn more money with DST.Darker mornings may lead to more26 
Daylight Saving Time

Answers

Questions 14-19

14. Answer: FALSE 

  • Keywords: continual, ancient time
  • In paragraphs 2 and 3, inference can be made about the use of DST:
  • “This practice fell out of favour, however, and the concept was renewed only when, in 1784, the American inventor Benjamin Franklin wrote a jocular article for The Journal of Paris exhorting the city’s residents to make more use of daylight hours in order to reduce candle use.”
  • “Over the next several decades, global use of DST was sporadic and inconsistent.”
  • > The use of DST started in ancient times, but then was used only on some occasions throughout the centuries.
    • continual >< sporadic
  • The answer is FALSE.

15. Answer: TRUE 

  • Keywords: Today, similar, George Vernon Hudson, suggested
  • The information is provided in paragraph 2: “In 1895, in a more serious effort, New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson proposed a biannual two-hour shift closely resembling current forms of DST.”
    • suggested = proposed
    • similar = closely resembling
    • today~current
  • The answer is TRUE.

16. Answer: NOT GIVEN 

  • Keywords: not considered, successful, World War I & II
  • In paragraph 3, “Countries such as the UK and USA adopted DST in World Wars I and II, but reverted to standard time after the wars ended.”
  • DST was said to have been used by the UK and USA during two wars and then these countries changed back to standard time, but its efficiency was not mentioned. Therefore, we do not know whether it was successful or not.
  • The answer is NOT GIVEN.

17. Answer: FALSE 

  • Keywords: USA, finalise, DST policy, 1966
  • In paragraph 3, it is stated that the Uniform Time Act was introduced in 1966.  However, in paragraph 4, we learn that:  “…the USA’s most recent adjustments were introduced with the Energy Policy Act of 2005”. 
  • Therefore, the Act of 1966 did not make the final changes to US policy on DST.
  • The answer is FALSE.

18. Answer: FALSE 

  • Keywords: general agreement, world
  • In paragraph 4, “Today, DST is used in some form by over 70 countries worldwide, affecting around one sixth of the world’s population. There is still no uniform standard, however”. 
  • It can be understood that although DST is used by more than 70 countries, the standard is not the same in every country.
  • Paragraph 4 then gives examples of these differences in standards, at various places over the years.
  • The answer is FALSE.

19. Answer: TRUE 

  • Keywords: frequent changes, short time span, problems, some countries
  • In paragraph 4 it is stated that:  “Countries such as Egypt and Russia have adjusted their policies on multiple occasions in recent years, in some instances leading to considerable turmoil.
    • frequent = on multiple occasions
    • over a short time span~in recent years
    • problems = turmoil
  • So, examples are given of some countries which have often changed their policies on DST in recent years, and some problems and confusion have resulted.
  • The answer is TRUE.

Questions 20-26

20. Answer: (outdoor) recreational activities 

  • Keywords: opportunities, after work
  • Paragraph 5, “With extended daylight hours, office workers coming off a 9 to 5 shift can often take part in outdoor recreational activities for an hour or two.”
    • after work~co`ming off a 9 to 5 shift
  • The answer is (outdoor) recreational activities.

21. Answer: peak hours 

  • Keywords: better lighting, fewer car crash, spring change
  • In paragraph 5, “This has other positive effects, such as reducing domestic electricity consumption as more opportunities become available to use sunlight instead of artificial lighting. A further benefit is a reduction in the overall rate of automobile accidents, as DST ensures that streets are well lit at peak hours.”  fewer~a reduction in the overall rate
  • car crashes = automobile accidents
  • During the peak hours, when most traffic is using the roads, DST ensures that the streets are well-lit, reducing the number of car crashes.
  • The answer is peak hours.

22. Answer: tourism (and) hospitality/hospitality (and) tourism 

  • Keywords: industries, more money
  • Paragraph 6: “Extended daylight hours mean people are more likely to stay out later in the evening and spend more money in bars and restaurants, for example, so tourism and hospitality are two sectors that stand to gain a lot from more daylight.” 
  • Extended daylight means that people have more chance to stay out later at night and, as a result, tourism and hospitality sectors will benefit.industries ~ two sectors
  • earn more money ~gain a lot
  • The answer is tourism (and) hospitality/hospitality (and) tourism.

23. Answer: milking schedules 

  • Keywords: dairy farmers, upset
  • It is stated in paragraph 6: “In Queensland, Australia, which elected not to implement DST due to complaints from dairy farmers over disruption to milking schedules, the annual drain on the state’s economy is estimated to be as high as $4 billion.” 
  • Therefore, dairy farmers in Queensland did not want DST because it disrupted the milking schedules.upset = disrupt
  • The answer is milking schedules.

24. Answer: pedestrians 

  • Keywords: dangerous, re-setting, autumn
  • Paragraph 7 states that “Although the overall incidence of traffic accidents is lower, for pedestrians the risk of being hit by a car in the evening increases by as much as 186 per cent in the weeks after clocks are set back in autumn, possibly because drivers have not yet adjusted to earlier sunsets.” 
  • Therefore, for pedestrians, the risk of being hit is higher after the clocks are reset.more dangerous ~the risk of being hit by a car in the evening increases 
  • following the re-setting of clocks in autumn ~after clocks are set back in autumn.
  • The answer is pedestrians.

25. Answer: mood swings 

  • Keywords: Loss of sleep, inferior performance, poorer general health, fatigue.
  • Paragraph 8 states: “A further health concern involves the disruption of our body clock. Setting clocks one hour forward at night can cause many people to lose sleep, resulting in tiredness and all its well-documented effects, such as mood swings, reduced productivity and problems with overall physical well-being.”inferior performance = reduced productivity
  • poorer general health ~ overall physical well-being
  • fatigue = tiredness
  • The passage mentions three effects of the loss of sleep and tiredness:  mood 
  • So, the answer is mood swings.

26. Answer: (street) crime/incidents of crime 

  • Keywords: darker mornings
  • Paragraph 10 states: “In 2008, Guatemala chose not to use DST because it forced office workers to leave their homes while it was still dark outside in the morning. This natural cover for criminals was thought to increase incidents of crime at this hour.” 
  • When the morning hours are set earlier and the sun has not risen yet, it will be a big opportunity to carry out more street crime.
  • The answer is (street) crime/incidents of crime.

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