Academic Ielts Reading Material

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 192 With Answers

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 192 With Answers

Reading Passage 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-12, which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

Harsh marks ‘put pupils off languages’


Harsh and inconsistent marking is putting pupils in England off studying languages beyond age 14, a report says. The dawn of more rigorous GCSEs will further reduce interest in languages, research by the British Council and Education Development Trust suggests. It says a focus on maths and sciences, as well as a perception languages are a hard option, is also de-motivating pupils and teachers.


Exams watchdog Ofqual said last year’s languages results were “very stable”. From September 2016, new GCSE and A-level modern language syllabuses will be taught in England, and new exams will be taken in the summer of 2018. The Language Trends Survey, in its 14th year of charting the state of language learning in England’s schools, suggests these changes – particularly at A-level – will deter pupils from studying languages. It says: “The exam system is seen as one of the principal barriers to the successful development of language teaching. “The comparative difficulty of exams in languages in relation to other subjects, and widely reported harsh and inconsistent marking, are deeply de-motivating for both pupils and teachers.”


The report says the EBacc, where pupils have to study English, a language, maths, science and history or geography to GCSE, “appears to be having very little impact on the numbers of pupils taking languages post-16”. Uptake after GCSE is found to be a particular concern, with some state schools suggesting the small numbers of students opting to take languages at A-level means the subject is becoming “financially unviable”.


The proportion of the total cohort sitting a GCSE in a language dropped by one percentage point (to 48%) between 2014 and 2015, ending the rise in entries seen from 2012 onward, when the EBacc was brought in. Entries for each of the three main languages fell this year compared with 2014, French is down 6%, German is down 10% and Spanish is down 3%. Overall entries for languages at A-level are at 94% of their 2002 level, and they declined by 3% between 2014 and 2015 – French uptake declined by 1% and German by 2.5% while Spanish uptake rose by almost 15%.


The report does note some positive developments, particularly at primary level, saying just over half of England’s primary schools now have access to specialist expertise in the teaching of languages. But primary schools report finding it hard to fit languages into the curriculum time available and to recruit suitably qualified teaching staff. Teresa Tinsley, co-author of the report, said: “Languages are already one of the harder GCSEs, and teachers fear that with the new exams it will be even tougher for pupils to get a good grade. “Combine this with the expectation that a wider range of pupils will be sitting the exam and it is not surprising that teachers feel embattled. “Improving their morale and confidence in the exam system is crucial if languages are to thrive in our schools.”


A spokesman for the exam regulator, Ofqual, said: “We are committed to ensuring that all GCSEs, AS- and A-levels, including those in modern foreign languages, are sufficiently valid, produce fair and reliable results and have a positive impact on teaching and learning. “Last year’s results in modern foreign languages were very stable, with only small changes in the proportions achieving each grade compared to the previous year. “We have looked into concerns that it is harder for students to achieve the highest grades in A level languages. “And we found this is because of the way the exams are designed, rather than the nature of the subject content. “We are keeping this under review and will be further publishing information shortly.”


Referring to the new modern foreign language A-levels and GCSEs being taught from this September, the spokesman added: “Before we accredit a qualification, we check the exams will be designed to allow good differentiation – including that the best students will be able to achieve the highest grades – and whether they are properly based on the new subject content.”


Mark Herbert, head of schools programmes at the British Council, said: “The country’s current shortage of language skills is estimated to be costing the economy tens of billions in missed trade and business opportunities every year. “Parents, schools and businesses can all play their part in encouraging our young people to study languages at school and to ensure that language learning is given back the respect and prominence that it deserves.” Tony McAleavy, director of research and development at the Education Development Trust, said: “The reduction in pupils opting for GCSE and A-level languages is concerning, particularly coupled with teachers’ lack of faith in the exam system. “Solutions are required to give languages a firmer place in the curriculum, to make languages more compelling for pupils who find the examination process a barrier and to boost teacher morale.”

Questions 1-8

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 192 With Answers

Reading Passage 1 has eight paragraphs, A-H.

Choose the most suitable paragraph headings from the list of headings and write the correct letter, A-H, in boxes 1-8 on your answer sheet.

1. Data about studying 

2. Stable results 

3. Heavy economic losses 

4. Fairness of the exams 

5. A hard option 

6. A-level changings 

7. The most important thing for languages to be able to prosper 

8. Weak influence on pupils 

Questions 9-13

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 192 With Answers

Classify the events with the following dates.

A. 2018

B. 2016

C. 2014-2015

D. None of the above

In boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet, write either A, B, C or D.

9. A Drop of GCSE to 48% 

10. New syllabus system arrives in England 

11. The start of new exams 

12. The rise in entries 

13. The decline of French by 1 percent 

Reading Passage 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-25, which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.

Sponging dolphins


In 1984, researchers spotted dolphins doing something unusual in Shark Bay, Western Australia. When the animals got hungry, they ripped a marine basket sponge from the sea floor and fitted it over their beaks like a person would fit a glove over a hand. The scientists suspected that as the dolphins foraged for fish, the sponges protected their beaks, or rostra, from the rocks and broken chunks of coral that litter the sea floor, making this behavior the first example of tool use in this species.


The researchers surmised that a long time ago one ingenious Shark Bay dolphin figured out that by prodding the sediments with a sponge attached to her beak, she could stir up these swim bladder-less fish without being hurt. Eventually, such technique became popular among other dolphins. But why do dolphins go to all of this trouble when they could simply snag a fish from the open sea? The answer is that the bottom-dwelling fish are a lot more nutritious. Some species also don’t have swim bladders, gas chambers that help other fish control their buoyancy as they travel up and down the water column.

In the Bahamas, where dolphins are also known to forage for bottom-dwelling fish, dolphins hunt partly by echolocating these bladders, which give off a strong acoustic signal. That helps the cetaceans find prey even when it’s buried in sea sand. But bottom-dwelling fish, such as barred sandperch, which are favored by some Shark Bay dolphins, don’t have swim bladders and so are harder to find with echolocation. The sea floor is not nearly as soft here as it is in the Bahamas, so if dolphins want to probe for these fish, they risk injuring their rostra.


Not every dolphin in Shark Bay hunts with sponges. “It’s primarily done by females,” says Janet Mann, a behavioral ecologist. She believes the female dolphins invented the method because of the “selective pressures they face while raising a calf as long as they do,” about 4 to 5 years. “These clever dolphins have figured out a way to target fish that other dolphins cannot,” she says, adding that even the local fishermen do not catch, or even know about, this particular species. Mann’s previous research has shown that dolphin mothers pass the sponging method to their daughters and some of their sons, rare evidence of a cultural tradition in an animal other than humans. The team has documented three generations of sponging dolphins.


The foraging technique came to light a few decades ago – very recently in evolutionary terms – when a local fisherman spotted what looked like a strange tumour on a dolphin’s nose. Researchers eventually worked out that the ‘tumour’ was a conically shaped sponge and it became apparent that the dolphins would spend considerable time searching for one the right shape to fit their nose. The sponge is used to scatter the sand gently on the sea floor and disturb buried fish. When a fish is spotted, the dolphin drops the sponge and gives chase. “It has been thought that behaviours which are exclusively learnt from one parent are not very stable. With our model we could now show that sponging can be a stable behaviour,” said Dr Anna Kopps, a biologist at the University of New South Wales.


By modelling the emergence of “sponger” dolphins in a computer simulation, the team of researchers could see different scenarios in which the skill could have spread among the dolphin population over the years. They then compared the results of these simulations with field data on the genetic relationship between the spongers, to estimate the role of mothers teaching their offspring in transmitting the skill. They found that if the likelihood of a sponger’s offspring learning the ability was less than certain, the dolphins that did pick up the technique needed to gain a survival advantage from the skill, in order for the ability to pass on to the next generation. The model also allowed them to attempt to calculate the date that the behaviour was likely to have originated.

“The results suggested that sponging was innovated at least 120 to 180 years ago – it is only a best estimate,” said Dr Kopps. Scientists discovered that although dolphins tried to teach the hunting technique to all their young, it was mainly female offspring that grasped the concept. Why male offspring rarely acquire the same skill remains unclear, though the team put forward one possible explanation: male bottlenose dolphins tend to form close bonds with other males, and such alliances aren’t suited to seabed foraging, since it is a time-consuming, solitary activity.


The US scientists say discovering a new tool is a direct sign of intelligence. “There’s a strong link between animals with larger brains and tool users. Bottlenose dolphins have a brain second in size only to humans.” said Janet Mann, a marine biologist who led the research. “Dolphins are already good at catching fish so they don’t need tools, but they’ve discovered this sponge makes their job easier. Working out how to use tools in a creative way like that is a hallmark of intelligence.” Mann admits we still do not understand dolphins well. “It’s hard to get inside their heads because their brains are constructed differently and it’s very hard to analyse their language, but they do seem very intelligent,” she said.


Dolphins are also often seen engaging in playful behaviour and creating tools to use for entertainment. They have been observed to blow bubbles which they form into rings to play with. After creating the bubble ring, a dolphin will use its nose and body to maintain the shape of the bubble and keep it from floating to the surface. The study provides a “better understanding of the why and how of sponging” by the Shark Bay dolphins, says Louis Herman, a cognitive psychologist.

The work “adds to previously documented” examples of “innovation by this highly intelligent species.” Patterson’s and Mann’s results also “reinforce a pattern” often seen in other tool-using animals, says Simon Reader, a behavioral biologist. “Tool use appears to be almost a last option, taken when other options fail or are unavailable,” he says, noting that woodpecker finches in the Galápagos Islands “turn to tool use only in arid areas,” wielding cactus spines to extract grubs from tree branches. Using tools takes time and energy, Reader says, and animals tend to rely on them only when there’s a guaranteed payoff, such as turning up a fatty fish that most other dolphins (and fishermen) know nothing about.

Questions 14-20

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 192 With Answers

Reading Passage 2 has seven paragraphs, A-G.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-G, in boxes 14-20 on your answer sheet.

14. Hallmark of intelligence 

15. Fisrt example of dolphins using tools 

16. Tool for entertainment 

17. The reason why dolphins go through trouble of getting fish from the bottom of the ocean 

18. The evidence of tradition in dolphins 

19. The estimated time of sponging innovation 

20. The observation of a local fisherman 

Questions 21-25

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 192 With Answers

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write the correct letter in boxes 21-25 on your answer sheet.

21. Dolphins use sponges for hunting fish because:

  1.  they like it.
  2.  it helps them get fish from the bottom of the ocean.
  3.  also it makes hunting easier.
  4.  it helps them to get more fish during the hunt.

22. All the following statements about dolphins are true, EXCEPT:

  1.  Females discovered the method of hunting with sponges.
  2.  The sponging method is passed by female dolphins to their daughters.
  3.  Male dolphins never use the sponging technique.
  4.  Three generations of sponging dolphins have been documented.

23. Biologist Dr. Anna says that

  1.  sponging is very dangerous for dolphins.
  2.  dolphins do not inherit sponging method from their parents.
  3.  she has benn studying dolphins for a few decades now.
  4.  sponging can be a stable behaviour.

24. With the computer simulation that modeled sponging, researchers

  1.  managed to find out approximately when sponging was originated.
  2.  were able to predict the behaviour of dolphins.
  3.  found out the true reason of sponging.
  4.  discovered a new way treating dolphins

25. Accroding to Janet Mann

  1.  bottlenose dolphins have brain as big as humans have.
  2.  we can understand dolphins well now.
  3.  dolphins are very intellegent.
  4.  all of the above.

Reading Passage 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 26-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

Toddlers Bond With Robot


Will the robot revolution begin in nursery school? Researchers introduced a state-of-the-art social robot into a classroom of 18- to 24-month-olds for five months as a way of studying human-robot interactions. The children not only came to accept the robot, but treated it as they would a human buddy – hugging it and helping it – a new study says. “The results imply that current robot technology is surprisingly close to achieving autonomous bonding and socialization with human toddlers,” said Fumihide Tanaka, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego


The development of robots that interact socially with people has been difficult to achieve, experts say, partly because such interactions are hard to study. “To my knowledge, this is the first long-term study of this sort,” said Ronald Arkin, a roboticist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who was not involved with the study. “It is groundbreaking and helps to forward human-robot interaction studies significantly,” he said.


The most successful robots so far have been storytellers, but they have only been able to hold human interest for a limited time. For the new study, researchers introduced a toddler-size humanoid robot into a classroom at a UCSD childhood education center. Initially the researchers wanted to use a 22-inch-tall model, but later they decided to use another robot of the QRIO series, the 23-inch-tall (58-centimeter-tall) machine was originally developed by Sony. Children of toddler age were chosen because they have no preconceived notions of robots, said Tanaka, the lead researcher, who also works for Sony. The researchers sent instructions about every two minutes to the robot to do things like giggle, dance, sit down, or walk in a certain direction. The 45 sessions were videotaped, and interactions between toddlers and the robot were later analyzed.


The results showed that the quality of those interactions improved steadily over 27 sessions. The tots began to increasingly interact with the robot and treat it more like a peer than an object during the first 11 sessions. The level of social activity increased dramatically when researchers added a new behavior to QRIO’s repertoire: If a child touched the humanoid on its head, it would make a giggling noise. The interactions deteriorated quickly over the next 15 sessions, when the robot was reprogrammed to behave in a more limited, predictable manner. Finally, the human-robot relations improved in the last three sessions, after the robot had been reprogrammed to display its full range of behaviors. “Initially the children treated the robot very differently than the way they treated each other,” Tanaka said. “But by the end they treated the robot as a peer rather than a toy.”


Early in the study some children cried when QRIO fell. But a month into the study, the toddlers helped QRIO stand up by pushing its back or pulling its hands. “The most important aspect of interaction was touch”, Tanaka said. “At first the toddlers would touch the robot on its face, but later on they would touch only on its hands and arms, like they would with other humans”. Another robotlike toy named Robby, which resembled QRIO but did not move, was used as a control toy in the study. While hugging of QRIO increased, hugging of Robby decreased throughout the study. Furthermore, when QRIO laid down on the floor as its batteries ran down, a toddler would put a blanket over his silver-colored “friend” and say “night-night.”


“Our work suggests that touch integrated on the time-scale of a few minutes is a surprisingly effective index of social connectedness,” Tanaka says. “Something akin to this index may be used by the human brain to evaluate its own sense of social well-being.” He adds that social robots like QRIO could greatly enrich classrooms and assist teachers in early learning programs. Hiroshi Ishiguro – robotics expert at Osaka University in Japan – says, “I think this study has clearly reported the possibilities of small, almost autonomous humanoid robots for toddlers. Nowadays robots can perform a variety of functions that were thought to be incident to people only – in short time we’ll have electronic baby-sitters and peer-robots in every kindergarten,” said Ishiguro, who was not involved with the study but has collaborated with its authors on other projects.


Now this study has taken a new direction – the researchers are now developing autonomous robots for the toddler classroom. “I cannot avoid underlining how great potential it could have in educational settings assisting teachers and enriching the classroom environment,” Tanaka said. However, some scientists don’t share his opinion.


Arkin, the Georgia Tech roboticist, said he was not surprised by the affection showed by the toddlers toward the robot. “Humans have a tremendous propensity to bond with artifacts with any or all sort, whether it be a car, a doll, or a robot,” he said. But he also cautioned that researchers don’t yet understand the consequences of increased human-robot interaction. “Just studying how robots and humans work together can give us insight into whether this is a good thing or a bad thing for society,” Akrin said. “What are the consequences of introducing a robot artifact into a cadre of children? How will that enhance, or potentially interfere with, their social development? It might make life easier for the teacher, but we really don’t understand the long-term impact of having a robot as a childhood friend, do we?”

Questions 26-32

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 192 With Answers

Reading Passage 3 has eight paragraphs, A-H.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-H, in boxes 26-32 on your answer sheet. You may use any letter more than once.

26. Changes in toddler-robot interactions quality. 

27. Comparison of two different robots. 

28. The fact that previous robots could maintain people’s interest only for a short time. 

29. The importance of touch. 

30. The new direction of the study. 

31. Technical parameters of the introduced robot. 

32. The significance and novelty of the conducted study. 

Questions 33-37

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 192 With Answers

Connect each of the statements below with the name of scientist who expressed it. Answer AB, or C to questions 33-37.

AFumihide Tanaka
BRonald Arkin
CHiroshi Ishiguro

33. Robots will perform duties of baby-sitters in the nearest future. 

34. By the end of the study children treated the robot as a living creature rather than a toy. 

35. The long-term impact of having a robot as a childhood friend can be negative. 

36. The conducted study is the first major study of this sort. 

37. Robots can be used in classrooms and assist teachers. 

Questions 38-40

IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 192 With Answers

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write the correct letter in boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet.

  1. For the study, researchers introduced a toddler-size humanoid robot that was
    1.  58-inch-tall
    2.  22-inch-tall
    3.  23-inch-tall
    4.  45-inch-tall
  1. The researchers sent instructions to the robot to perform different actions EXCEPT
    1.  laugh
    2.  dance
    3.  sit down
    4.  crawl
  1. The toddlers began to increasingly interact with the robot during
    1.  the first 11 sessions
    2.  the next 15 sessions
    3.  the first 27 sessions
    4.  the last 15 sessions
Answer Key
Academic Reading Test 191

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