IELTS Reading Academic takes 60 minutes. There is a total of 40 questions to answer. It consists of 3 or sometimes 4 reading passages. IELTS Simulator helps the users to practice exam.

IELTS READING – Gifted children and learning S15AT2

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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).

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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.

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IELTS READING – Museums of fine art and their public S15AT3

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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.

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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

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IELTS READING – The psychology of innovation S14AT3

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The psychology of innovation

Why are so few companies truly innovative?

Innovation is key to business survival,and companies put substantial resources into inspiring employees to develop new ideas.Q10 There are, nevertheless, people working in luxurious, state-of-the-art centres designed to stimulate innovation who find that their environment doesn’t make them feel at all creative. And there are those who don’t have a budget, or much space, but who innovate successfully.

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For Robert B. Cialdini, Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, one reason that companies don’t succeed as often as they should is that innovation starts with recruitment. Q5 Research shows that the fit between an employee’s values and a company’s values makes a difference to what contribution they make and whether, two years after they join, they’re still at the company. Studies at Harvard Business School show that, although some individuals may be more creative than others, Q11 almost every individual can be creative in the right circumstances.

One of the most famous photographs in the story of rock’n’roll emphasises Ciaidini’s views. The 1956 picture of singers Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis jamming at a piano in Sun Studios in Memphis tells a hidden story. Sun’s ‘million-dollar quartet’ could have been a quintet. Missing from the picture is Roy Orbison’ a greater natural singer than Lewis, Perkins or Cash. Sam Phillips, who owned Sun, wanted to revolutionise popular music with songs that fused black and white music, and country and blues. Q1 Presley, Cash, Perkins and Lewis instinctively understood Phillips’s ambition and believed in it. Orbison wasn’t inspired by the goal, and only ever achieved one hit with the Sun label.

The value fit matters, says Cialdini, because innovation is, in part, a process of change, and under that pressure we, as a species, behave differently, ‘Q6 When things change, we are hard-wired to play it safe.’ Managers should therefore adopt an approach that appears counterintuitive -they should explain what stands to be lost if the company fails to seize a particular opportunity. Q7 Studies show that we invariably take more gambles when threatened with a loss than when offered a reward.

Q12 Teams work best when their members are of equally matched intelligence. NOT GIVEN

Managing innovation is a delicate art. It’s easy for a company to be pulled in conflicting directions as the marketing, product development, and finance departments each get different feedback from different sets of people. And without a system which ensures collaborative exchanges within the company, it’s also easy for small ‘pockets of innovation‟ to disappear. Innovation is a contact sport. You can‟t brief people just by saying, ‘We’re going in this direction and I’m going to take you with me.’

Cialdini believes that this ‘follow-the-leader syndrome, is dangerous, not least because it encourages bosses to go it alone. ‘It’s been scientifically proven that three people will be better than one at solving problems, even if that one person is the smartest person in the field.’ To prove his point, Cialdini cites an interview with molecular biologist James Watson. Watson, together with Francis Crick, discovered the structure of DNA, the genetic information carrier of all living organisms. ‘When asked how they had cracked the code ahead of an array of highly accomplished rival investigators, he said something that stunned me. He said ”Q2 he and Crick had succeeded because they were aware that they weren’t the most intelligent of the scientists pursuing the answer . The smartest scientist was called Rosalind Franklin who, Watson said, “was so intelligent she rarely sought advice”.’

Teamwork taps into one of the basic drivers of human behaviour. ‘The principle of social proof is so pervasive that we don’t even recognise it,’ says Cialdini. ‘If your project is being resisted, for example, by a group of veteran employees, ask another old-timer to speak up for it.’ Cialdini is not alone in advocating this strategy. Q14 Research shows that peer power, used horizontally not vertically, is much more powerful than any boss’s speech.

Writing, visualising and prototyping can stimulate the flow of new ideas. Cialdini cites scores of research papers and historical events that prove that even something as simple as writing deepens every individual’s engagement in the project. It is, he says, the reason why all those competitions on breakfast cereal packets encouraged us to write in saying, in no more than 10 words: ‘I like Kellogg’s Com Flakes because… .’ Q3 The very act of writing makes us more likely to believe it.

Authority doesn’t have to inhibit innovation but it often does. Q8 The wrong kind of leadership will lead to what Cialdini calls ”captainitis, the regrettable tendency of team members to opt out of team responsibilities that are properly their’. He calls it captainitis because, he says, ”crew members of multipilot aircraft exhibit a sometimes deadly passivity when the flight captain makes a clearly wrong-headed decision”. This behaviour is not, he says, unique to air travel, but can happen in any workplace where the leader is overbearing.

At the other end of the scale is the 1980s Memphis design collective, a group of young designers Q9 for whom ”the only rule was that there were no rule”. This environment encouraged a free interchange of ideas, which led to more creativity with form, function, colour and materials that revolutionised attitudes to furniture design.

Q13 It is easier for smaller companies to be innovative. NOT GIVEN

Many theorists believe the ideal boss should lead from behind, taking pride in collective accomplishment and giving credit where it is due. Cialdini says:”Leaders should encourage everyone to contribute and simultaneouslyQ4 assure all concerned that every recommendation is important to making the right decision and will be given full attention”. The frustrating thing about innovation is that there are many approaches, but no magic formula. However, a manager who wants to create a truly innovative culture can make their job a lot easier by recognising these psychological realities.

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IELTS READING – European transport systems 1990-2010 S14AT2

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European transport systems 1990-2010

A – The rapid growth of private transport 

It is difficult to conceive of vigorous economic growth without an efficient transport system. Q10 Although modern information technologies can reduce the demand for physical transport by facilitating teleworking and teleservices, the requirement for transport continues to increase.

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There are two key factors behind this trend. Q1 For passenger transport, the determining factor is the spectacular growth in car use. The number of cars on European Union (EU) roads saw an increase of three million cars each year from 1990 to 2010, and in the next decade the EU will see a further substantial increase in its fleet.

B – Changes affecting the distances goods may be transported

Q2 As far as goods transport is concerned, growth is due to a large extent to changes in the European economy and its system of production. In the last 20 years, as internal frontiers have been abolished, the EU has moved from a ”stock” economy to a ”flow” economy. Q11 This phenomenon has been emphasised by the relocation of some industries, particularly those which are labour intensive, to reduce production costs, even though the production site is hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away from the final assembly plant or away from users.

C – Transport trends in countries awaiting EU admission

Q3 The strong economic growth expected in countries which are candidates for entry to the EU will also increase transport flows, in particular road haulage traffic. In 1998, some of these countries already exported more than twice their 1990 volumes and imported more than five times their 1990 volumes. And although many candidate countries inherited a transport system which encourages rail, the distribution between modes has tipped sharply in favour of road transport since the 1990s. Between 1990 and 1998,road haulage increased by 19.4%, while during the same period rail haulage decreased by 43.5%, although – and this could benefit the enlarged EU – it is still on average at a much higher level than in existing member states.

Q12 Cars are prohibitively expensive in some EU candidate countries. NOT GIVEN

D – A fresh and important long-term goal

However, a new imperative-sustainable development – offers an opportunity for adapting the EU’s common transport policy. This objective, agreed by the Gothenburg European Council, has to be achieved by integrating environmental considerations into Community policies, and shifting the balance between modes of transport lies at the heart of its strategy. Q4 The ambitious objective can only be fully achieved by 2020, but proposed measures are nonetheless a first essential step towards a sustainable transport system which will ideally be in place in 30 years‟ time, that is by 2040.

E – The environmental costs of road transport

Q5 In 1998, energy consumption in the transport sector was to blame for 28% of emissions of CO2,the leading greenhouse gas. According to the latest estimates, if nothing is done to reverse the traffic growth trend, Q14 CO2 emissions from transport can be expected to increase by around 50% to 1,113 billion tonnes by 2020,compared with the 739 billion tonnes recorded in 1990. Once again, road transport is the main culprit since it alone accounts for 84% of the CO2 emissions attributable to transport. Using alternative fuels and improving energy efficiency is thus both an ecological necessity and a technological challenge.

F

Q6 At the same time greater efforts must be made to achieve a modal shift. Such a change cannot be achieved overnight, all the less so after over half a century of constant deterioration in favour of road. This has reached such a pitch that today rail freight services are facing marginalisation, with just 8% of market share, and with international goods trains struggling along at an average speed of 18km/h. Three possible options have emerged.

G – Restricting road use through charging policies alone

Q7 The first approach would consist of focusing on road transport solely through pricing. This option would not be accompanied by complementary measures in the other modes of transport. In the short term it might curb the growth in road transport through the better loading ratio of goods vehicles and occupancy rates of passenger vehicles expected as a result of the increase in the price of transport. However, the lack of measures available to revitalise other modes of transport would make it impossible for more sustainable modes of transport to take up the baton.

H – Charging for roads and improving other transport methods

The second approach also concentrates on road transport pricing but is accompanied by measures to increase the efficiency of the other modes (better quality of services, logistics, technology). However, Q8 this approach does not include investment in new infrastructure, nor does it guarantee better regional cohesion. It could help to achieve greater uncoupling than the first approach, but road transport would keep the lion‟s share of the market and continue to concentrate on saturated arteries, despite being the most polluting of the modes. It is therefore not enough to guarantee the necessary shift of the balance.

I – Taking all the steps necessary to change transport patterns

Q9 The third approach, which is not new, comprises a series of measures ranging from pricing to revitalising alternative modes of transport and targeting investment in the trans-European network. This integrated approach would allow the market shares of the other modes to return to their 1998 levels and thus make a shift of balance. It is far more ambitious than it looks, bearing in mind the historical imbalance in favour of roads for the last fifty years, but would achieve a marked break in the link between road transport growth and economic growth, without placing restrictions on the mobility of people and goods.

Q13 The Gothenburg European Council was set up 30 years ago. NOT GIVEN

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