IELTS READING – The 7 best running watches S15GT2



The 7 best running watches

Kate Hilpern advises people on the best watches to use when they go running.

A. Soleus FIT 1.0

Soleus claims this has everything you need and nothing you don’t. Water – resistant to 30m and with a built-in rechargeable battery, Q6 it’s accurate at measuring speed, pace, distance and calories burnt.

Attempt full reading test…

B. Nike+ SportWatch GPS

You’ll be hard pushed to find a running watch that finds a GPS signal quicker than this. It will keep you updated on current location, distance covered, number of laps and calories burnt.

C. Garmin Forerunner

This watch, which is small enough to wear at the office, is touchscreen and is packed with impressive features, Q4 although the battery life is limited.

D. Timex Run Trainer 2.0

Q5 The hi-res screen makes this a great watch for athletes at any level. The easy-to-use, upgraded menu system makes monitoring pace, speed and distance child’s play. Q3 Alerts remind you when it’s time to hydrate or top up the nutrition.

E. Garmin Forerunner 10

Q1 This is a well-priced, entry-level watch that’s light as well as waterproof and available in a range of colours. Don’t expect added extras, but do expect good basic functionality.

F. Nike Fuelband

Described by the Huffington Post as ‘the sports watch you never knew you needed,’ Q2 this soft-touch and lightweight watch has been lovingly designed to appear more like a piece of futuristic jewellery than a running watch. But it’s hi-tech too and synchronises with your phone to show the results.

G. Suunto Ambit2 S HR

This is better suited to off-roaders rather than Q7 urban runners and although it’s quite big, it has a functional design and is compatible with the thousands of Suunto apps available.

Attempt full reading test…

Read more

IELTS READING – New York Late-Starters String Orchestra S15GT1


New York Late-Starters String Orchestra

NYLSO, the New York Late-Starters String Orchestra, is something special. It was founded in early 2007, and Q1 grew out of a concept developed by The East London Late Starters Orchestra (ELLSO), an award-winning group in England.

NYLSO is an amateur orchestra for adult players of violin, viola, cello, and double bass. If you played a string instrument when you were younger and would like to start again,

Attempt full reading test…

or if you are learning as an adult and would like the chance to play in a group of similar people, then NYLSO is for you! Our goal is to create a fun, supportive, non-competitive environment for adults 18 to 80+ who wish to participate in collective music-making.

Q2 Participants should have basic music reading skills and a willingness to commit to the group, but are not required to audition. It is recommended that you have studied your instrument for at least one year. Q3 If you have ever been paid to play your instrument, recently graduated with a degree in performance, or have been playing continuously since elementary school, you may decide we are not the appropriate group for you.

How We Work:

We know that New Yorkers are busy people. Q5 It is fine if you miss an entire rehearsal period when an emergency arises. Ultimately, though, too many absences disrupt the function of the group and make it difficult to perform the pieces. Sessions are in six-week rehearsal cycles, with two-hour rehearsals held once a week. We work with the goal of producing one to three very informal ‘friends-and-family’ concerts per year. 

Q4 NYSLO concerts are free to members’ families and friends. NOT GIVEN.

Our professional tutor/facilitator serves as coach and conductor during rehearsals. Substitute conductors also join in to teach different sections, providing groups of players with valuable experience in working with different approaches and styles. Everyone is encouraged to play to their fullest potential, whatever that may be, but please recognize that while we do have a conductor, her role is not to provide one-on-one instruction during rehearsals.

NYLSO is a self-supporting collective; we do not receive any other funding. The cost is $80 for each six-week cycle. Q6 Payments are applied to the costs of rehearsal space, conductor’s fees, and photocopying music.

Materials You Will Need At Rehearsals:

You will need an instrument, a portable music stand, and any other relevant accessories.You should bring a folder to keep your music together and a soft-lead pencil with an eraser for writing in changes. Sheet music is provided.

Q7 The NYLSO gives advice on what instrument to purchase. NOT GIVEN.

Attempt full reading test…

Read more

IELTS READING – Gifted children and learning S15AT2


Gifted children and learning

A Internationally, ‘giftedness’ is most frequently determined by a score on a general intelligence test, known as an IQ test, which is above a chosen cutoff point, usually at around the top 2-5%. Children’s educational environment contributes to the IQ score and the way intelligence is used. For example, a very close positive relationship was found when children’s IQ scores were compared with their home educational provision (Q8 Freeman, 2010).

Attempt full reading test…

Q1 The higher the children’s IQ scores, especially over IQ 130, the better the quality of their educational backup, measured in terms of reported verbal interactions with parents, number of Q10 books and activities in their home etc. Because IQ tests are decidedly influenced by what the child has learned, they are to some extent measures of current achievement based on age-norms; that is, how well the children have learned to manipulate their knowledge and know-how within the terms of the test. The vocabulary aspect, for example, is dependent on having heard those words. But IQ tests can neither identify the processes of learning and thinking nor predict creativity.

B Excellence does not emerge without appropriate help. To reach an exceptionally high standard in any area very able children need the means to learn, which includes material to work with and focused challenging tuition -and the encouragement to follow their dream. There appears to be a qualitative difference in the way the intellectually highly able think, compared with more average-ability or older pupils, for whom external regulation by the teacher often compensates for lack of Q11 internal regulation. To be at their most effective in their self-regulation, all children can be helped to identify their own ways of learning – metacognition – which will include strategies of planning, monitoring, evaluation, and choice of what to learn. Q12 emotional awareness is also part of metacognition, so children should be helped to be aware of their feelings around the area to be learned, feelings of curiosity or confidence, for example.

C High achievers have been found to use self-regulatory learning strategies more often and more effectively than lower achievers, and are better able to transfer these strategies to deal with unfamiliar tasks. This happens to such a high degree in some children that they appear to be demonstrating talent in particular areas. Overviewing research on the thinking process of highly able children, (Q5 Shore and Kanevsky, 1993) put the instructor’s problem succinctly: ‘If they [the gifted] merely think more quickly, then we need only teach more quickly. If they merely make fewer errors, then we can shorten the practice’. But of course, this is not entirely the case; adjustments have to be made in methods of learning and teaching, to take account of the many ways individuals think.

D Yet in order to learn by themselves, the gifted do need some support from their teachers.Q2 Conversely, teachers who have a tendency to ‘overdirect’ can diminish their gifted pupils’ learning autonomy. Although ‘Q13 spoon-feeding’ can produce extremely high examination results, these are not always followed by equally impressive life successes. Too much dependence on the teachers risks loss of autonomy and motivation to discover. However, when teachers o pupils to reflect on their own learning and thinking activities, they increase their pupils’ self-regulation. For a young child, it may be just the simple question ‘What have you learned today?’ which helps them to recognise what they are doing. Given that a fundamental goal of education is to transfer the control of learning from teachers to pupils, improving pupils’ learning to learn techniques should be a major outcome of the school experience, especially for the highly competent.Q4 There are quite a number of new methods which can help, such as child- initiated learning, ability-peer tutoring, etc. Such practices have been found to be particularly useful for bright children from deprived areas.

E But scientific progress is not all theoretical, knowledge is a so vital to outstanding performance: individuals who know a great deal about a specific domain will achieve at a higher level than those who do not (Q9 Elshout, 1995). Research with creative scientists by Q6 Simonton (1988) brought him to the conclusion that above a certain high level, characteristics such as independence seemed to contribute more to reaching the highest levels of expertise than intellectual skills, due to the great demands of effort and time needed for learning and practice. Creativity in all forms can be seen as expertise se mixed with a high level of motivation (Weisberg, 1993).

F To sum up, learning is affected by emotions of both the individual and significant others. Positive emotions facilitate the creative aspects of earning and negative emotions inhibit it. Q3 Fear, for example, can limit the development of curiosity, which is a strong force in scientific advance, because it motivates problem-solving behaviour. In Q7 Boekaerts’ (1991) review of emotion the learning of very high IQ and highly achieving children, she found emotional forces in harness. They were not only curious, but often had a strong desire to control their environment, improve their learning efficiency and increase their own learning resources.

Attempt full reading test…

Read more

IELTS READING – Museums of fine art and their public S15AT3


Museums of fine art and their public

The fact that people go to the Louvre museum in Paris to see the original painting Mona Lisa when they can see a reproduction anywhere leads us to question some assumptions about the role of museums of fine art in today’s world.

One of the most famous works of art in the world is Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Nearly everyone who goes to see the original will already be familiar with it from reproductions, but they accept that fine art is more rewardingly viewed in its original form.

Attempt full reading test…

However, if Mona Lisa was a famous novel, few people would bother to go to a museum to read the writer’s actual manuscript rather than a printed reproduction. This might be explained by the fact that the novel has evolved precisely because of technological developments that Q1 made it possible to print out huge numbers of texts, whereas oil paintings have always been produced as unique objects. In addition, it could be argued that the practice of interpreting or ‘reading’ each medium follows different conventions. With novels, the reader attends mainly to the Q2 meaning of words rather than the way they are printed on the page, whereas the ‘reader’ of a painting must attend just as closely to the material form of marks and shapes in the picture as to any ideas they may signify.

Yet it has always been possible to make very accurate facsimiles of pretty well any fine art work. The seven surviving versions of Mona Lisa bear witness to the fact that in the 16th century, artists seemed perfectly content to assign the reproduction of their creations to their Q3 workshop apprentices as regular ‘bread and butter’ work. And today the task of reproducing pictures is incomparably more simple and reliable, with reprographic techniques that allow the production of high-quality prints made exactly Q4 to the original scale, with faithful colour values, and even with duplication of the surface relief of the painting.

But despite an implicit recognition that the spread of good reproductions can be culturally valuable, museums continue to promote the special status of original work. Unfortunately, Q5 this seems to place severe limitations on the kind of experience offered to visitors.

One limitation is related to the way the museum presents its exhibits. As repositories of unique historical objects, art museums are often called ‘treasure houses’. We are reminded of this even before we view a collection by the presence of security guards, attendants, ropes and display cases to keep us away from the exhibits. In many cases, the architectural style of the building further reinforces that notion. In addition, a major collection like that of London’s National Gallery is housed in numerous rooms, each with dozens of works, any one of which is likely to be worth more than all the average visitor possesses. In a society that judges the personal status of the individual so much by their material worth, Q6 it is therefore difficult not to be impressed by one’s own relative ‘worthlessness’ in such an environment.

Furthermore, consideration of the ‘value’ of the original work in its treasure house setting impresses upon the viewer that, since these works were originally produced, they have been assigned a huge monetary value by some person or institution more powerful than themselves. Evidently, nothing the viewer thinks about the work is going to alter that value, and Q7 so today’s viewer is deterred from trying to extend that spontaneous, immediate, self-reliant kind of reading which would originally have met the work.

Q8 The visitor may then be struck by the strangeness of seeing such diverse paintings, drawings and sculptures brought together in an environment for which they were not originally created. This ‘displacement effect’ is further heightened by the sheer volume of exhibits. In the case of a major collection, there are probably more works on display than we could realistically view in weeks or even months.

This is particularly distressing because time seems to be a vital factor in the appreciation of all art forms. Q9 A fundamental difference between paintings and other art forms is that there is no prescribed time over which a painting is viewed. By contrast, the audience encourage an opera or a play over a specific time, which is the duration of the performance. Similarly novels and poems are read in a prescribed temporal sequence, whereas a picture has no clear place at which to start viewing, or at which to finish. Thus art works themselves encourage us to view them superficially, without appreciating the richness of detail and labour that is involved.

Q10 Art history should focus on discovering the meaning of art using a range of media. NOT GIVEN

Consequently, the dominant critical approach becomes that of the art historian, a specialised academic approach devoted to ‘discovering the meaning’ of art within the cultural context of its time. Q11 This is in perfect harmony with the museum s function, since the approach is dedicated to seeking out and conserving ‘authentic’, original, readings of the exhibits. Again, this seems to put paid to that spontaneous, participators criticism which can be found in abundance in criticism of classic works of literature, but is absent from most art history.

Q12 The displays of art museums serve as a warning of what critical practices can emerge when spontaneous criticism is suppressed. The museum public, like any other audience, experience art more rewardingly when given the confidence to express their views. If appropriate works of fine art could be rendered permanently accessible to the public by means of high-fidelity reproductions, as literature and music already are, the public may feel somewhat less in awe of them. Q14 Unfortunately, that may be too much to ask from those who seek to maintain and control the art establishment..

Q13 Reproductions of fine art should only be sold to the public if they are of high quality. NOT GIVEN

Attempt full reading test…

Read more