This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 29-40.
Could it be that the very essence of reasoning itself is found in the way we behave? Clark Hull, an acclaimed American psychologist, theorized that it was, describing that reasoning is achieved by the way two “behavior segments” are combined in new ways to achieve goals. Howard and Tracey Kendler, who were two of Hull’s followers, used Hull’s principle ideas to design a reasoning test for children. In this test, children needed to learn how to use a machine in a two-step process. The children learned each of the two steps individually, with the first being to correctly choose and press one of two buttons, and the second to place a marble into a small opening. If both steps were completed successfully, a toy would be released as rewards to the children.
From this test, the Kendlers learned that although the children were able to learn each step, they were not able to “integrate” the two tasks without intervention. In other words, the children could not successfully perform the first step, pushing the button, and then proceed to the second step, inserting the marble into the hole, by themselves. This failure to independently integrate the steps led the Kendlers to believe that children of this age were not able to use deductive reasoning.
According the the work of psychologist and professor Michael Cole and his associates, some adults from specific African tribes are also unable to successfully complete the Kendlers' two-step test of deductive reasoning. However, this finding remains questionable in light of the findings of a similar test to the Kenders’, which revealed that the African tribes people were, in fact, able to complete the test.
In this test, Cole substituted a locked box for the machine with the buttons, and then used two matchboxes of different colors. One of the matchboxes held a key for the locked box. Just like with the Kendlers’ test, Cole’s test also involved two behavior segments, these being to first open the right match-box to get the key, and second to use the key to open the box. However, Cole’s test differs quite a bit psychologically. Instead of subjects being presented with a strange machine, they are given familiar objects in a simpler context. Cole found the difficulty of 'integration' was greatly reduced here.
It seems that the same truth which Cole discovered can be extended to explain the deductive reasoning skills of young children. Psychologist Simon Hewson believes that perhaps the task’s difficulty is not in inferential processes themselves, but is instead tied to confusing features of the test apparatus, such as the button machine, as well as the context of the procedure being tested. When these factors are adjusted in order to prevent the inferential nature of the problem being affected, five-year-old children are able to successfully complete these tests as well as college students did in the Kendlers' test.
Hewson made two essential changes to the test in order to build on this idea. First, he replaced the button-pressing mechanism with drawers that a child could slide open and shut. This removed confusion on what to do with the original button apparatus from the first stage of training. Secondly, Hewson made sure that children understood that there was nothing special or magical about the marble which was used to successfully complete the second step of the task and get the reward.
This is important because a child cannot easily comprehend a mechanism in which a marble put into a hole can open a little door. It would then be safe to say that the child will not assume that any marble of similar size could be used the same way. But, to solve the problem, this assumption must be made. Hewson clearly demonstrated the functional equivalence of different marbles to the children by playing a 'swapping game.” Hewson's two modifications to the experiment led to a rise in success rates from 30 percent to 90 percent for five-year old children and from 35 percent to 72.5 per cent for four-year-olds. Strangely enough for three-year olds, Hewson’s changes did not lead to any improvement, and instead there was a slight drop in performance from the change. Hewson's experiments showed that children faced with the Kendler apparatus experienced difficulty not related to reasoning, but to the nature of the tasks themselves, and that difficulty cannot be taken as proof that they are incapable of deductive reasoning.
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Tips to improve your reading speed
Keep in mind, having a slow reading speed makes skimming or scanning a reading passage more difficult. The process of quickly skimming through a reading passage for specific keywords or main ideas is a requirement for you to employ successful reading strategies to improve your IELTS reading score. In other words, skimming and scanning are critical skills to ensure you complete all questions in the allotted time frame.
IELTS Reading Strategies
Step 1: Read questions first
One of the most common mistakes that candidates make when approaching the reading exam is reading every single word of the passages. Although you can practice for the exam by reading for pleasure, "reading blindly" (reading without any sense of what the questions will ask) will not do you any favors in the exam. Instead, it will hurt your chances for effectively managing your time and getting the best score.
The main reason to read the questions first is because the type of question may determine what you read in the passage or how you read it. For example, some question types will call for the "skimming" technique, while others may call for the "scanning" technique.
It is important to answer a set of questions that are of the same question type. You'll need to determine which question type you want to tackle first. A good strategy would be to start with the easier question type and move on to more difficult question types later. The Easiest question types are the ones where you spend less time reading. For example, the Matching Heading question type is an easier one because you only need to find the heading that best describes the main idea of a paragraph. An example of a difficult question type would be Identifying Information. For this question type, you'll need to read each paragraph to find out if each statement is TRUE, FALSE, or NOT GIVEN according to the passage.
Here is a table that lists the difficulty levels for each question type. Use this table as a reference when choosing which question type you want to tackle first.
Difficulty level Question Type Easy Sentence Completion
Medium Matching Features
Summary, Table, Flow-Chart Completion
Difficult Matching Sentence Endings
Identifying Information (TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN)
Identifying Viewer's claims (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN)
Step 2: Read for an objective
After you've read the questions for the passage, you will be able to read for an objective. What does this mean? For example, if you come across a question that includes the year "1896", you can make a note of when this year comes up in the text, using it to answer the question later on. There are two reading techniques that will help you stay on track with reading for an objective. The first one, skimming, is best defined as reading fast in order to get the "gist", or general idea, or a passage. With this technique, you are not stopping for any unfamiliar words or looking for specific details. The second technique, scanning, is best defined as reading for specific information. With this technique, you are not reading for the overall gist, but rather, specific information. Notice how each of these techniques has a specific objective in mind. This will help you find information more quickly.
Step 3: Take notes
As you're reading for an objective, you should also be making notes on the margins of the passage, placing stars next to key information, or underlining things that you believe will help you answer the various questions. This will make it easier for you to check back when you are asked certain things in the questions. Choose whichever note-taking system is right for you - just make sure you do it!
Step 4: Answer wisely
After you've read the questions, read the passage, and have taken any appropriate notes, you you should have located the part of the text where you where you need to read carefully. Then just read carefully and think critically to determine the correct answer.
IELTS Reading Question Types
The IELTS reading test contains many different question types:
|Matching Headings||IELTS Reading Lesson: Matching Headings|
|Matching Information||IELTS Reading Lesson: Matching Information|
|Matching Features||IELTS Reading Lesson: Matching Features|
|Summary Completion||IELTS Reading Lesson: Summary Completion|
|Identifying Information||IELTS Reading Lesson: Identifying Information|
|Identifying Writer's claims||IELTS Reading Lesson: Identifying Writer's claims|
|Multiple Choice||IELTS Reading Lesson: Multiple Choice|
|Short Answer||IELTS Reading Lesson: Short Answer|
|Match Sentence Ending||IELTS Reading Lesson: Match Sentence Ending|
|Sentence Completion||IELTS Reading Lesson: Sentence Completion|
|Table Completion||IELTS Reading Lesson: Table Completion|