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Learning By Examples Reading Answers: IELTS Reading Practice Test

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Updated on Jul 02, 2024, 11:57

The IELTS Reading section tests your ability to comprehend and analyse written texts in English. It consists of 40 questions and three reading passages, which progressively increase in difficulty. You will encounter a range of text types, including descriptive, factual, and analytical passages taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. The aim is to evaluate your reading skills, including understanding the main ideas, details, inferences, and the ability to identify the writer’s opinion or purpose.
 

The passage on “Learning By Examples” explores how individuals, especially students, benefit from learning through specific instances and practical applications rather than theoretical instruction alone. It delves into the cognitive processes involved and the advantages of this learning method in educational settings.

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1. Learning By Examples Reading Passage

You should spend approximately 20 minutes answering Questions 1 - 13 based on the Reading Passage below. This approach can help manage time effectively during a reading comprehension activity or exam. 

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2. Learning By Examples Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Learning By Examples

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1.

Learning By Examples Reading Passage

General Information

  • Read Instructions: Understand each question before answering.
  • Manage Time: Spend about 20 minutes per passage.
  • Skim and Scan: Quickly get the main idea and find specific information.
  • Highlight Key Info: Underline essential words or phrases.
  • Answer All Questions: Attempt every question; no penalty for wrong answers.
  • Stay Focused: Avoid distractions and keep your attention on the task.
  • Check Spelling: Ensure correct spelling and grammar.
  • Transfer Answers Clearly: Write answers neatly on the answer sheet.
  • Don’t Dwell: Move on if stuck and return later.
  • Review: If time allows, review your answers.

 

 

 

 

 Learning By Examples Reading Passage


 

Paragraph A
Learning Theory is rooted in the work of Ivan Pavlov, the famous scien­tist who discovered and documented the principles governing how animals (humans included) learn in the 1900s. Two basic kinds of learning or condi­tioning occur, one of which is famously known as classical conditioning. Classical conditioning happens when an animal learns to associate a neutral stimulus (signal) with a stimulus that has intrinsic meaning based on how closely in time the two stimuli are presented. The classic example of classical conditioning is a dog's ability to associate the sound of a bell (something that originally had no meaning to the dog) with the presentation of food (something that has a lot of meaning to the dog) a few moments later. Dogs are able to learn the association between bell and food and will salivate im­mediately after hearing the bell once this connection has been made. Years of learning research have led to the creation of a highly precise learning theory that can be used to understand and predict how and under what cir­cumstances most any animal will learn, including human beings, and eventu­ally help people figure out how to change their behaviours.

 

Paragraph B
Role models are a popular notion for guiding child development, but in re­cent years, very interesting research has been done on learning by examples in other animals. If the subject of animal learning is taught very much in terms of classical or operant conditioning, it places too much emphasis on how we allow animals to learn and not enough on how they are equipped to learn. To teach a course of mine, I have been dipping profitably into a very interesting and accessible compilation of papers on social learning in mammals, including chimps and human children, edited by Heyes and Galef (1996).

 

Paragraph C
The research reported in one paper started with a school field trip to Israel to a pine forest where many pine cones were discovered, stripped to the central core. So, the investigation started with no weighty theoretical intent but was directed at finding out what was eating the nutritious pine seeds and how they managed to get them out of the cones. The culprit proved to be the versatile and athletic black rat (Rattus rattus), and the technique was to bite each cone scale off at its base, in sequence from base to top, following the spiral growth pattern of the cone.

 

Paragraph D
Urban black rats were found to lack the skill and were unable to learn it even if housed with experienced cone strippers. However, infants of urban mothers cross-fostered by stripper mothers acquired the skill, whereas in­fants of stripper mothers fostered by an urban mother could not. Clearly, the skill had to be learned from the mother. Further elegant experiments showed that naive adults could develop the skill if they were provided with cones from which the first complete spiral of scales had been removed, rather like our new photocopier, which you can work out how to use once someone has shown you how to switch it on. In the case of rats, the young­sters take cones away from the mother when she is still feeding on them, allowing them to acquire the complete stripping skill.

 

Paragraph E
A good example of adaptive bearing we might conclude, but let’s see the economies. This was determined by measuring oxygen uptake of a rat stripping a cone in a metabolic chamber to calculate energetic cost and compar­ing it with the benefit of the pine seeds measured by calorimeter. The cost proved to be less than 10% of the energetic value of the cone. An acceptable profit margin.

 

Paragraph F
A paper in 1996, Animal Behaviour by Bednekoff and Baida, provides a differ­ent view of the adaptiveness of social learning. It concerns the seed caching behaviour of Clark's Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) and the Mexican Jay (Aphelocoma ultramarina). The former is a specialist, caching 30,000 or so seeds in scattered locations that it will recover over the months of winter; the Mexican Jay will also cache food but is much less dependent upon this than the Nutcracker. The two species also differ in their social structure: the Nutcracker is rather solitary, while the Jay forages in social groups.

 

Paragraph G
The experiment is to discover not just whether a bird can remember where it hid a seed but also if it can remember where it saw another bird hide a seed. The design is slightly comical, with a cacher bird wandering about a room with lots of holes in the floor, hiding food in some of the holes, while watched by an observer bird perched in a cage. Two days later, cachers and observers are tested for their discovery rate against an estimated random performance. In the role of cacher, not only the Nutcracker but also the less specialised Jay performed above chance; more surprisingly, however, Jay obser­vers were as successful as Jay cachers, whereas Nutcracker observers did no better than chance. It seems that, whereas the Nutcracker is highly adapted at remembering where it hid its own seeds, the social living Mexican Jay is more adept at remembering, and so exploiting, the caches of others.

2.

Learning By Examples Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Learning By Examples

Questions and Answers 1-4
  • The reading passage has seven paragraphs: A-G.
  • Which paragraph contains the following information?
  • Write the correct letter A-G in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.

 

 

1. A comparison between rats’ learning and human learning
2. A reference to the earliest study in animal learning
3. The discovery of who stripped the pine cone
4. A description of a cost-effectiveness experiment

 

Learning By Examples Reading Answers with Explanations (1-5)

 

Type of question: Matching information

 

In this question type, you will be asked to match specific pieces of information, often dates, names, or events, from the reading passage with corresponding options provided in the question.

 

How to best answer: 
 

  • Read each statement carefully to understand the specific information being asked for.
  • Scan the passage for relevant dates or events in the reading passage that corresponds to each statement.
  • Eliminate incorrect options that do not match the information found in the passage.
  • Match the remaining options based on the information provided in the passage.
  • Verify your answers to ensure they match the information in the passage before finalising them.

 

 

1. D

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph D: "Further elegant experiments showed that naive adults could develop the skill if they were provided with cones from which the first complete spiral of scales had been removed, rather like our new photocopier, which you can work out how to use once someone has shown you how to switch it on."
 

Explanation

This line compares the rats' learning process to humans learning to use a photocopier, highlighting a similarity in how both learn through demonstration and practice.


 

2. A

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph A: "Learning Theory is rooted in the work of Ivan Pavlov, the famous scientist who discovered and documented the principles governing how animals (humans included) learn in the 1900s."
 

Explanation

This line mentions Ivan Pavlov's pioneering research in classical conditioning, recognized as one of the earliest and most significant studies in animal learning, setting the stage for subsequent theories and experiments.


 

3. C

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph C:  "The culprit proved to be the versatile and athletic black rat, (Rattus rattus), and the technique was to bite each cone scale off at its base, in sequence from base to top following the spiral growth pattern of the cone."

 

Explanation

This discovery identifies the black rat as the pine cone stripper and details its methodical approach, providing insight into the rat's problem-solving abilities and feeding behaviour.


 

4. E

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph E: "A good example of adaptive bearing, we might conclude, but let’s see the economies."

 

Explanation

The reference to "economies" introduces an analysis of the energy cost versus nutritional benefit of the rat's cone-stripping behaviour, demonstrating the efficiency and adaptive nature of this feeding strategy.

Questions and Answers 5-8
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage?
In boxes 5-8 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 in the passage

 

 

5. The field trip to Israel was to investigate how black rats learn to strip pine cones.

6. The pine cones were stripped from bottom to top by black rats.

7. It can be learned from other relevant experiences to use a photocopier.

8. Stripping the pine cones is an instinct of the black rats.

 

 

Learning By Examples Reading Answers with Explanations (5-8)

 

Type of question: True/False/Not Given

 

In this question type, you are required to determine whether the statements provided agree with, contradict, or are not mentioned in the reading passage. 

 

How to best answer: 
 

  • Understand what information is being presented and what is being asked.
  • Find relevant information in the reading passage that relates to the statement.
  • Determine if the statement agrees with, contradicts, or is not mentioned in the passage.
  • If the information is not explicitly provided in the passage, select 'Not Given' rather than making assumptions.
  • Base your answers solely on the information presented in the passage, avoiding personal opinions or outside knowledge.


 

5. False

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph C: "The research reported in one paper started with a school field trip to Israel to a pine forest where many pine cones were discovered, stripped to the central core."

 

Explanation

The field trip to Israel was not to investigate how black rats learn to strip pine cones but to discover what was eating the pine seeds.


 

6. True

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph C: "The culprit proved to be the versatile and athletic black rat, (Rattus rattus), and the technique was to bite each cone scale off at its base, in sequence from base to top following the spiral growth pattern of the cone."
 

Explanation

This statement is accurate as it directly aligns with the detailed description of how black rats strip pine cones, following a specific sequence from the base to the top.


 

7. True

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph D: "Further elegant experiments showed that naive adults could develop the skill if they were provided with cones from which the first complete spiral of scales had been removed; rather like our new photocopier which you can work out how to use once someone has shown you how to switch it on."
 

Explanation

The analogy in the paragraph confirms that, like learning to use a photocopier after being shown how, rats can learn the stripping skill when given an initial, simplified example.


 

8. False

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 3: "Urban black rats were found to lack the skill and were unable to learn it even if housed with experienced cone strippers."
 

Explanation

This statement is false because the paragraph clearly states that urban black rats do not possess an innate ability to strip pine cones and cannot learn the skill through mere exposure.

Questions and Answers 9-13
  • Complete the summary below using words from the box.
  • Write your answers in boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet.

 

 

While the Nutcracker is more able to cache seed, Jay relies on 9 ……………………… 
 
on caching food and is thus less specialised in this ability, but more 10 ………………………
 
To study their behaviour of caching and finding their caches, an experiment was designed and carried out to test these two birds for their ability to remember where they hid the seeds. In the experiment, the catcher bird hid seeds in the ground while the other 11 ……………………… 
 
As a result, the Nutcracker and the Mexican Jay showed different performances in the role of 12 ……………………… 
 
at finding the seeds—observing 13 ……………………… didn’t do as well as its counterpart.


 

Learning By Examples Reading Answers with Explanations (9-13)

Type of question: Summary completion

Under this task, you will be given a summary with incomplete sentences. However, you will not be given any list of words/phrases to choose the missing information. You must refer to the main passage to fill in the missing information. 

 

How to answer: 
 

  • Read the summary to understand what information it’s missing
  • Identify keywords and locate them in the main passage to find missing words 
  • Review the context of the words you’ve chosen to match the summary
  • Finalise your answers 


 

9. less

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph E: "The cost proved to be less than 10% of the energetic value of the cone."

 

Explanation

This line uses "less" to describe a comparison in energetic cost, indicating a lower percentage, which aligns with the context of Jay being less specialised in caching.


 

10. social

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph B: "I have been dipping profitably into a very interesting and accessible compilation of papers on social learning in mammals, including chimps and human children, edited by Heyes and Galef (1996)."
 

Explanation

This line discusses "social learning," emphasising the aspect of social behaviour, which highlights the Mexican Jay's reliance on social interactions rather than specialised caching abilities.


 

11. watched

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph G: "The design is slightly comical with a cacher bird wandering about a room with lots of holes in the floor hiding food in some of the holes, while watched by an observer bird perched in a cage."

 

Explanation

This reference details the experiment setup where the observer bird is watching the catcher bird, which matches the description of the bird's role in the experiment.


 

12. observer

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph G: "The design is slightly comical, with a cacher bird wandering about a room with lots of holes in the floor, hiding food in some of the holes, while watched by an observer bird perched in a cage."
 

Explanation

The term "observer" directly refers to the bird's role of watching the cacher bird hide seeds, fitting the context of identifying the bird's role in the experiment.


 

13. Nutcracker

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph F: "It concerns the seed caching behaviour of Clark's Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) and the Mexican Jay (Aphelocoma ultramarine)."

 

Explanation

This reference introduces the Nutcracker and contrasts its specialised caching behaviour with the Mexican Jay, underscoring the Nutcracker's role in the experiment.

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FAQs

Q. Is there a penalty for incorrect answers in the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. No, there is no penalty for incorrect answers. You should attempt to answer every question to the best of your ability, even if you're unsure. There's always a chance of getting it right, and you won't lose marks for guessing.

Q. Can I use a dictionary during the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. No, you are not allowed to use a dictionary during the test. The aim is to assess your ability to understand and interpret English texts without external aids. However, you can use the knowledge of English vocabulary and reading strategies you've developed during your preparation.

Q. How should I approach the True/False/Not Given questions in the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. For True/False/Not Given questions, check if the information in the passage matches or contradicts or is not mentioned in the question statement. Be cautious of subtle differences in wording, as these can affect your answer.