IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 1 – Video Game Research | Bird Migration | The History of the Tortoise
Reading Passage 1
Video Game Research
A. Although video games were first developed for adults, they are no longer exclusively reserved for the grown-ups in the home. In 2006, Rideout and Hamel reported that as many as 29 percent of preschool children (children between two and six years old) in the United States had played console video games, and 18 percent had played hand-held ones. Given young children’s insatiable eagerness to learn, coupled with the fact that they are clearly surrounded by these media, we predict that preschoolers will both continue and increasingly begin to adopt video games for personal enjoyment. Although the majority of gaming equipment is still designed for a much older target audience, once a game system enters the household it is potentially available for all family members, including the youngest. Portable systems have done a particularly good job of penetrating the younger market.
B. Research in the video game market is typically done at two stages: some time close to the end of the product cycle, in order to get feedback from consumers, so that a marketing strategy can be developed; and at the very end of the product cycle to ‘fix bugs’ in the game. While both of those types of research are important, and may be appropriate for dealing with adult consumers, neither of them aids in designing better games, especially when it comes to designing for an audience that may have particular needs, such as preschoolers or senior citizens. Instead, exploratory and formative research has to be undertaken in order to truly understand those audiences, their abilities, their perspective, and their needs.
C. In the spring of 2007, our preschool-game production team at Nickelodeon had a hunch that the Nintendo DS – with its new features, such as the microphone, small size and portability, and its relatively low price point – was a ripe gaming platform for preschoolers. There were a few games on the market at the time which had characters that appealed to the younger set, but our game producers did not think that the game mechanics or design were appropriate for preschoolers. What exactly preschoolers could do with the system, however, was a bit of a mystery. So we set about doing a study to answer the query: What could we expect preschoolers to be capable of in the context of hand-held game play, and how might the child development literature inform us as we proceeded with the creation of a new outlet for this age group? Our context in this case was the United States, although the games that resulted were also released in other regions, due to the broad international reach of the characters. In order to design the best possible DS product for a preschool audience we were fully committed to the ideals of a ‘user-centered approach’, which assumes that users will be at least considered, but ideally consulted during the development process. After all, when it comes to introducing a new interactive product to the child market, and particularly such a young age group within it, we believe it is crucial to assess the range of physical and cognitive abilities associated with their specific developmental stage.
D. Revelle and Medoff (2002) review some of the basic reasons why home entertainment systems, computers, and other electronic gaming devices, are often difficult for preschoolers to use. In addition to their still developing motor skills (which make manipulating a controller with small buttons difficult), many of the major stumbling blocks are cognitive. Though preschoolers are learning to think symbolically, and understand that pictures can stand for real-life objects, the vast majority are still unable to read and write. Thus, using text-based menu selections is not viable. Mapping is yet another obstacle since preschoolers may be unable to understand that there is a direct link between how the controller is used and the activities that appear before them on screen. Though this aspect is changing, in traditional mapping systems real life movements do not usually translate into game-based activity.
E. Over the course of our study, we gained many insights into how preschoolers interact with various platforms, including the DS. For instance, all instructions for preschoolers need to be in voice-over, and include visual representations, and this has been one of the most difficult areas for us to negotiate with respect to game design on the DS. Because the game cartridges have very limited memory capacity, particularly in comparison to console or computer games, the ability to capture large amounts of voice-over data via sound files or visual representations of instructions becomes limited. Text instructions take up minimal memory, so they are preferable from a technological perspective. Figuring out ways to maximise sound and graphics files, while retaining the clear visual and verbal cues that we know are critical for our youngest players, is a constant give and take. Another of our findings indicated that preschoolers may use either a stylus, or their fingers, or both although they are not very accurate with either. One of the very interesting aspects of the DS is that the interface, which is designed to respond to stylus interactions, can also effectively be used with the tip of the finger. This is particularly noteworthy in the context of preschoolers for two reasons. Firstly, as they have trouble with fine motor skills and their hand-eye coordination is still in development, they are less exact with their stylus movements; and secondly, their fingers are so small that they mimic the stylus very effectively, and therefore by using their fingers they can often be more accurate in their game interactions.
Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Section 1?
YES if the statement agrees with the claims of the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this
1. Video game use amongst preschool children is higher in the US than in other countries.
2. The proportion of preschool children using video games is likely to rise.
3. Parents in the US who own gaming equipment generally allow their children to play with it.
4. The type of research which manufacturers usually do is aimed at improving game design.
5. Both old and young games consumers require research which is specifically targeted.
Complete the summary using the list of words/phrases, A-l, below.
Preschool children find many electronic games difficult, because neither their motor skills nor their 6 __________ are sufficiently developed.
Certain types of control are hard for these children to manipulate, for example, 7 __________ can be more effective than styluses.
Also, although they already have the ability to relate 8 __________ to real-world objects, preschool children are largely unable to understand the connection between their own 9 __________ and the movements they can see on the screen. Finally, very few preschool children can understand 10 __________
|A actions||B buttons||C cognitive skills|
|D concentration||E fingers||F pictures|
|G Sounds||H Spoken instructions||I Written menus|
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D
11. In 2007, what conclusion did games producers at Nickelodeon come to?
A. The preschool market was unlikely to be sufficiently profitable.
B. One of their hardware products would probably be suitable for preschoolers.
C. Games produced by rival companies were completely inappropriate for preschoolers.
D. They should put their ideas for new games for preschoolers into practice.
12. The study carried out by Nickelodeon
A. was based on children living in various parts of the world.
B. focused on the kinds of game content which interests preschoolers.
C. investigated the specific characteristics of the target market.
D. led to products which appealed mainly to the US consumers.
13. Which problem do the writers highlight concerning games instructions for young children?
A. Spoken instructions take up a lot of the available memory.
B. Written instructions have to be expressed very simply.
C. The children do not follow instructions consistently.
D. The video images distract attention from the instructions.
14 Which is the best title for Reading Passage 3?
A. An overview of video games software for the preschool market
B. Researching and designing video games for preschool children
C. The effects of video games on the behaviour of young children
D. Assessing the impact of video games on educational achievement
Reading Passage 2
Section 2 has seven paragraphs, A-G
Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.
Write the correct number, i-x, in boxes 14-20 on your answer sheet.
List of headings
i The best moment to migrate
ii The unexplained rejection of closer feeding ground
iii The influence of weather on the migration route
iv Physical characteristics that allow birds to migrate
v The main reason why birds migrate
vi The best wintering grounds for birds
vii Research findings on how birds migrate
viii Successful migration despite the trouble of wind
ix Contrast between long-distance migration and short-distance migration
x Mysterious migration despite lack of teaching
15. Paragraph B
16. Paragraph C
17. Paragraph D
18. Paragraph E
19. Paragraph F
20. Paragraph G
Birds have many unique design features that enable them to perform such amazing feats of endurance. They are equipped with lightweight, hollow bones, intricately designed feathers providing both lift and thrust for rapid flight, navigation systems superior to any that man has developed, and an ingenious heat conserving design that, among other things, concentrates all blood circulation beneath layers of warm, waterproof plumage, leaving them fit to face life in the harshest of climates. Their respiratory systems have to perform efficiently during sustained flights at altitude, so they have a system of extracting oxygen from their lungs that far exceeds that of any other animal. During the later stages of the summer breeding season, when food is plentiful, their bodies are able to accumulate considerable layers of fat, in order to provide sufficient energy for their long migratory flights.
The fundamental reason that birds migrate is to find adequate food during the winter months when it is in short supply. This particularly applies to birds that breed in the temperate and Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, where food is abundant during the short growing season. Many species can tolerate cold temperatures if food is plentiful, but when food is not available they must migrate. However, intriguing questions remain.
One puzzling fact is that many birds journey much further than would be necessary just to find food and good weather. Nobody knows, for instance, why British swallows, which could presumably survive equally well if they spent the winter in equatorial Africa, instead of several thousands of miles further to their preferred winter home in South Africa Cape Province. Another mystery involves the huge migrations performed by arctic terns and mudflat-feeding shorebirds that breed close to Polar Regions. In general, the further north a migrant species breeds, the further south it spends the winter. For arctic terns, this necessitates an annual round trip of 25,000 miles. Yet, en route to their final destination in far-flung southern latitudes, all these individuals overfly other areas of seemingly suitable habitat spanning two hemispheres. While we may not fully understand birds’ reasons for going to particular places, we can marvel at their feats.
One of the greatest mysteries is how young birds know how to find the traditional wintering areas without parental guidance. Very few adults migrate with juveniles in tow, and youngsters may even have little or no inkling of their parents’ appearance. A familiar example is that of the cuckoo, which lays its eggs in another species’ nest and never encounters its young again. It is mind-boggling to consider that, once raised by its host species, the young cuckoo makes its own way to ancestral wintering grounds in the tropics before returning single-handedly to northern Europe the next season to seek out a mate among its own kind. The obvious implication is that it inherits from its parents an inbuilt route map and direction-finding capability, as well as a mental image of what another cuckoo looks like. Yet nobody has the slightest idea as to how this is possible. ieltsxpress
Mounting evidence has confirmed that birds use the positions of the sun and stars to obtain compass directions. They seem also to be able to detect the earth’s magnetic field, probably due to having minute crystals of magnetite in the region of their brains. However, true navigation also requires an awareness of position and time, especially when lost. Experiments have shown that after being taken thousands of miles over an unfamiliar landmass, birds are still capable of returning rapidly to nest sites. Such phenomenal powers are the product of computing several sophisticated cues, including an inborn map of the night sky and the pull of the earth’s magnetic field. How the birds use their ‘instruments’ remains unknown, but one thing is clear: they see the world with a superior sensory perception to ours. Most small birds migrate at night and take their direction from the position of the setting sun. however, as well as seeing the sun go down, they also seem to see the plane of polarized light caused by it, which calibrates their compass. Traveling at night provides other benefits. Daytime predators are avoided and the danger of dehydration due to flying for long periods in warm, sunlit skies is reduced. Furthermore, at night the air is generally cool and less turbulent and so conducive to sustained, stable flight.
Nevertheless, all journeys involve considerable risk, and part of the skill in arriving safely is setting off at the right time. This means accurate weather forecasting, and utilizing favorable winds. Birds are adept at both, and, in laboratory tests, some have been shown to detect the minute difference in barometric pressure between the floor and ceiling of a room. Often birds react to weather change before there is any visible sign of them. Lapwings, which feed on grassland, flee west from the Netherlands to the British Isles, France and Spain at the onset of a cold snap. When the ground surface freezes the birds could starve. Yet they return to Holland ahead of a thaw, their arrival linked to a pressure change presaging an improvement in the weather.
In one instance a Welsh Manx shearwater carried to America and released was back in its burrow on Skokholm Island, off the Pembrokeshire coast, one day before a letter announcing its release! Conversely, each autumn a small number of North American birds are blown across the Atlantic by fast-moving westerly tailwinds. Not only do they arrive safety in Europe, but, based on ringing evidence, some make it back to North America the following spring, after probably spending the winter European migrants in sunny African climes.
Choose TWO letters, A-E
Write the correct letters in boxes 21 and 22 on your answer sheet.
Which TWO of the following statements are true of bird migration?
A. Birds often fly further than they need to.
B. Birds traveling in family groups are safe.
C. Birds flying at night need less water.
D. Birds have much sharper eyesight than humans.
E. Only shorebirds are resistant to strong winds.
Complete the sentences below using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage.
Write your answers in boxes 23-26 on your answer sheet.
23. It is a great mystery that young birds like cuckoos can find their wintering grounds without _________
24. Evidence shows birds can tell directions like a _________ by observing the sun and the stars.
25. One advantage for birds flying at night is that they can avoid contact with _________
26. Laboratory tests show that birds can detect weather without _________ signs.
Reading Passage 3
The History of The Tortoise
A. If you go back far enough, everything lived in the sea. At various points in evolutionary history, enterprising individuals within many different animal groups moved out onto the land, sometimes even to the most parched deserts, taking their own private seawater with them in blood and cellular fluids. In addition to the reptiles, birds, mammals and insects which we see all around us, other groups that have succeeded out of water include scorpions, snails, crustaceans such as woodlice and land crabs, millipedes and centipedes, spiders and various worms. And we mustn’t forget the plants, without whose prior invasion of the land none of the other migrations could have happened.
B. Moving from water to land involved a major redesign of every aspect of life, including breathing and reproduction. Nevertheless, a good number of thoroughgoing land animals later turned around, abandoned their hard-earned terrestrial re-tooling, and returned to the Water Seals have only gone part way back. They show us what the intermediates might have been like, on the way to extreme cases such as whales and dugongs. Whales (including the small whales we call dolphins) and dugongs, with their close cousins the manatees, ceased to be land creatures altogether and reverted to the full marine habits of their remote ancestors. They don‘t even come ashore to breed. They do, however, still breathe air, having never developed anything equivalent to the gills of their earlier marine incarnation. Turtles went back to the sea a very long time ago and, like all vertebrate returnees to the water, they breathe air. However, they are, in one respect, less fully given back to the water than whales or dugongs, for turtles still lay their eggs on beaches.
C. There is evidence that all modem turtles are descended from a terrestrial ancestor which lived before most of the dinosaurs. There are two key fossils called Progaochelys quenstedtiand Palaeochersis talampayensis dating from early dinosaur times, which appear to be close to the ancestry of all modem turtles and tortoises. You might wonder how we can tell whether fossil animals lived on land or in water, especially if only fragments are found. Sometimes it`s obvious. Ichthyosarus were reptilian contemporaries of the dinosaurs, with fins and streamlined bodies. The fossils look like dolphins and they surely lived like dolphins, in the water. With turtles it is a little less obvious. One way to tell is by measuring the bones of their forelimbs.
Walter Joyce and Jacques Gauthier, at Yale University, obtained three measurements in these particular bones of 71 species of living turtles and tortoises. They used a kind of triangular graph paper to plot the three measurements against one another. All the land tortoise species formed a tight cluster of points in the upper part of the triangle; all the water turtles cluster in the lower part of the triangular graph. There was no overlap, except when they added some species that spend time both in water and on land. Sure enough, these amphibious species show up on the triangular graph approximately half way between the ‘wet cluster’ of sea turtles and the ‘dry cluster’ of land tortoises. ‘The next step was to determine where the fossil fell. The bones of P quenstedti and P. talampayensis leave us in no doubt. Their points on the graph are right in the thick of the dry cluster. Both these fossils were dry-land tortoises. They come from the era before our turtles returned to the water.
E. You might think, therefore, that modem land tortoises have probably stayed on land ever since those early terrestrial times, as most mammals did after a few of them went back to the sea. But apparently not. If you draw out the family tree of all modern turtles and tortoises, nearly all the branches are aquatic. Today’s land tortoises constitute a single branch, deeply nested among branches consisting of aquatic turtles. This suggests that modern land tortoises have not stayed on land continuously since the time of P. quenstedti and P. talampayensis. Rather, their ancestors were among those who went back to the water, and they then re-emerged back onto the land in (relatively) more recent times.
F. Tortoises therefore represent a remarkable double return. In common with all mammals, reptiles and binds, their remote ancestors were marine fish and before that various more or less worm-like creatures stretching back, still in the sea, to the primeval bacteria. Later ancestors lived on land and stayed there for a very large number of generations. Later ancestors still evolved back into the water and became sea turtles. And finally, they returned yet again to the land as tortoises, some of which now live in the driest of deserts.
Answer the questions below
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer
Write your answers in boxes 27-30 on your answer sheet.
27. What had to transfer from sea to land before any animals could migrate?
28. Which TWO processes are mentioned as those in which animals had to make big changes as they moved onto land?
29. Which physical feature. possessed by their ancestors, do whales lack?
30. Which animals might ichthyosaurs have resembled?
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3?
In boxes 31-33 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 more than once.
31. Turtles were among the first group of animals to migrate back to the sea.
32. It is always difficult to determine where an animal lived when its fossilized remains are incomplete.
33. The habitat of ichthyosaurs can be determined by the appearance of their fossilized remains.
Complete the flow-chart below
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 34-39 on your answer sheet.
Method of determining where the ancestors of turtles and tortoises come from
Step 1: 71 species of living turtles and tortoises were examined and a total of 34 __________ were taken from the bones of their forelimbs.
Step 2: The data was recorded on a 35 __________ (necessary for comparing the information). Outcome: Land tortoises were represented by a dense 36 __________ of points towards the top. Sea turtles were grouped together in the bottom part.
Step 3: The same data was collected from some living 37 __________ species and added to the other results. Outcome: The points for these species turned out to be positioned about 38 __________ up the triangle between the land tortoises and the sea turtles.
Step 4: Bones of R quenstedti and P tampanensis were examined in a similar way and the results added.
Outcome: The position of the points indicated that both these ancient creatures were 39 __________
Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D.
Write the correct letter in box 40 on your answer sheet.
According to the writer, the most significant thing about tortoises is that
A. they are able to adapt to life in extremely dry environments.
B. their original life form was a kind of primeval bacteria,
C. they have so much in common with sea turtles.
D. they have made the transition from sea to land more than once.
IELTS Academic Reading Practice Test 1 Answers
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Video Game Research IELTS Reading Answers
1. NOT GIVEN
3. NOT GIVEN
Bird Migration IELTS Reading Answers
23. parental guidance
The History of The Tortoise IELTS Reading Answers
28. breathing reproduction
31. NOT GIVEN
34. 3 measurements
35. (triangular) graph
39. dryland tortoises
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