ielts reading test

Bài thi thử ielts reading TEST 8

Insect decision-making

It has long been held that decision made collectively by large groups of people are more likely to turn out to be accurate than decisions made by individuals. The idea goes back to the ‘jury theorem’ of Nicolas de Condorcet, an 18th-century French philosopher who was one of the first to apply mathematics to the social sciences. Condorcet’s theory describes collective decisions, outlining how democratic decisions tend to outperform dictatorial ones. If, for example, each member of a jury has only partial information ,the majority decision is more likely to be correct than a decision arrived at by a single juror. Moreover, the probability of a correct decision increases with the size of the jury.

Now it is becoming clear that group decisions are also extremely valuable for the success of social animals, such as ants ,bees .birds and dolphins .Bees make collective decisions ,and they do it rather well, according to Christian List of the London School of Economics ,who has studied group decision-making in humans and animals. Researchers led by Dr List looked at colonies once the original colony reaches a certain size. The queen goes off with about two-thirds of the worker bees to live in a new home or nest, leaving a daughter queen in the old nest with the remaining workers. Among the bees that depart are some that have searched for and found some new nest sites, and reported back using a characteristic body movement known as a ‘waggle dance’ to indicate to the other bees the suitable places they have located. The longer the dance, the better the site. After a while, other bees start to visit the sites signaled by their companions to see for themselves and, on their return, also perform more waggle dances. The process eventually leads to a consensus on the best site and the breakaway swarm migrates. The decision is remarkably reliable ,with the bees choosing the best site even when there are only small difference between alternative sites.

But exactly how do bees reach such a robust consensus? To find out ,Dr List and his colleagues used a computer generated model of the decision-making process. By experimenting with it they found that, when bees in the model were very good at finding nesting sites but did not share their information, this dramatically slowed down the migration .leaving the swarm homelss and vulnerable .Conversely .bees in the model blindly following the waggle dances of others without first checking. The researchers concluded that the ability of bees to identify successfully and quickly the best site depends on both the bees ‘interdependence in communicating the whereabouts of the bees site, and their independence in confirming this information for themselves.

Another situation in which collective decisions are taken occurs when animals are either isolated from crucial sources of information or dominated by other members of the group. José Halloy of the Free University of Brussels in Belgium used robotic cockroaches to subvert the behaviour of living cockroaches and control their decision-making process. In his experiment, the artificial bugs were introduced to the live ones and soon became sufficiently socially integrated that they were perceived by the real cockroaches as equals. By manipulating the robots, which were in the minority, Halloy was able to persuade the living cockroaches to choose an inappropriate shelter-even one which they had rejected before being infiltrated by the robots.

The way insects put into effect collective decisions can be complex and as important as the decisions themselves .At the University of Bristol, in the UK, Nigel Franks and his colleagues studied how a species of ant establishes a new nest. Franks and his associates reported how the insects reduce the problems associated with making a necessarily swift choice. If the ants’ existing nest become suddenly threatened, the insects choose certain ants to act as scouts to find a new nest.

How quickly they accomplish the transfer to a new home depends not only on how soon the best available site is found, but also on how quickly the migration there can be achieved.

Once the suitable new nest is identified , the chosen ants begin to lead others , which have made it to the new site or which may simply be in the vicinity, back to the original threatened nest. In this way, those ants which are familiar with the route can help transport ,for example ,the queen and young ants to the new site, and simultaneously show the way to those ants which have been left behind to guard the old nest. In this way moving processes are accomplished faster and more efficiently. Thus the dynamics of collective decision-making are closely related to the efficient implementation of those decisions .How this might apply to choices that humans make is , as yet,unclear. But it does suggest, even for humans ,the importance of recruiting dynamic leaders to a cause,because the most important thing about collective decision-making ,as shown by these insect experiments, is to get others to follow.

Questions 1-6

Reading Passage has six paragraphs,A-F

Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number, i-vii, in boxes -16 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings

i                                         The effect of man-made imitations on insects

ii                                       The need to instruct additional insect guides

iii                                     Signals used by certain insects to indicate a discovery

iv                                     How urgency can affect the process of finding a new home

v                                    The use of trained insects in testing scientific theories

vi                                     The use of virtual scenarios in the study of insect behaviour

vii                                   How the number of decision-makers affects the decision

 Paragraph A

 Paragraph B

 Paragraph C

 Paragraph D

 Paragraph E

Paragraph F

Questions 7-10

Look at the following findings (Questions 7-10) and the list of academics below.

Match each finding with the correct academic, A-D

Write the correct letter, A-D, in boxes 7-10 on your answer sheet.

NB you may use any letter more than once.

                    Certain members can influence the rest of the group to alter a previous decision.

                    Individual verification of a proposed choice is important for successful decision outcome.

                    The more individuals taking part in a decision, the better the decision will be.

10                     The decision-making process of certain insects produces excellent results even when fine distinctions are required.

List of Academics
A Nicolas de Condorcet
B Christian List and colleagues
C José Halloy
D Nigel Franks and colleagues

Questions 11-13

Complete the summary below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet.

A study of insect decision-making

A Bristol University study looked at how insects make decisions when their home has been 11 .    The ants in the experiment relied on the use of individuals called 12  new nest and efficiently direct the others to go there. The study concluded that the effective implementation of the ants’ decision meant that the insects could change homes quickly. The study emphasized the necessity, for people well as insects,of having active 13  in  order to execute decisions successfully.

Đọc thêm: Giải đề IELTS Writing Task 1 và Task 2 ngày 15/07/2023

Paragraph 2 

Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield was a modernist writer of short fiction who was born and brought up in New Zealand

Katherine Mansfield Beauchamp Murry was born in 1888, into a prominent family in Wellington, New Zealand. She became one of New Zealand’s best-known writers, using the pen name of Katherine Mansfield. The daughter of a banker, and born into a middle-class family, she was also a first cousin of Countess Elizabeth von Arnim, a distinguished novelist in her time. Mansfield had two older sisters and a younger brother. Her father, Harold Beauchamp, went on to become the chairman of the Bank of New Zealand. In 1893, the Mansfield family moved to Karori, a suburb of Wellington, where Mansfield would spend the happiest years of her childhood; she later used her memories of this time as an inspiration for her Prelude story.

Her first published stories appeared in the High School Reporter and the Wellington Girls7 High School magazine in 1898 and 1899. In 1902, she developed strong feelings for a musician who played the cello, Arnold Trowell, although her feelings were not, for the most past, returned. Mansfield herself was an accomplished cellist, having received lesion from Trowell’s father. Mansfied wrote in her journals of feeling isolated to some extent in New Zealand, and, in general terms of her interest in the Maori people ( New Zealand’s native people), who were often portrayed in a sympathetic light in her later stories, such as How Pearl Button was Kidnapped

She moved to London in 1903, where she attended Queen’s college, along with her two sisters. Manfield recommenced playing the cello, an occupation that she believed, during her time at Queen’s, she would take up professionally. She also began contributing to the college newspaper, with such a dedication to it that she eventually became its editor. She was particularly interested in the works of the French writers of this period and on the 19th- century British writer, Oscar Wilde, and she was appreciated amongst fellow students at Queen’s for her lively and charismatic approach to life and work. She met follow writer Ida Baker, a South African, at the college, and the pair became lifelong friends. Mansfield did not actively support the suffragette movement in the Uk. Women in New Zeland had gained the right to vote in 1893.

Mansfield first began journeying into the other parts of Europe in the period 1903-1906, mainly to Belgium and Germany. After finishing her schooling in England, she returned to her New Zealand home in 1906, only then beginning to write short stories in a serious way. She had several works published in Australia in a magazine called Native Comparison, which was her first paid writing work, and by this time she had her mind set on becoming a professional writer. It was also the first occasion on which she used the pseudonym “k.Mansfied”.

Mansfield rapidly grew discontented with the provincial New Zealand lifestyle, and with her family. Two years later she headed again in London. Her father sent her an annual subsidy of €100 for the rest of her life. In later years, she would express both admiration and disdain for New Zealand in her journals.

In 1911, Mansfield met John Middleton Murry, the Oxford scholar and editor of the literary magazine Rhythm. They were later to marry in 1918. Mansfield became a co-editor of Rhythm, which was subsequently called The Blue Review, in which more of her works were published. She and Murry lived in various houses in England and briefly in Paris. The Blue Review failed to gain enough readers and was no longer published. Their attempt to set up as writers in Paris was cut short by Murry’s bankruptcy, which resulted from the failure of this and other journals. Life back in England meant frequently changed addresses and very limited funds.

Between 1915 and 1918, Mansfield moved between England and Bandoi, France. She and Murry developed close contact with other well-known writers of the time such as DH Lawrence, Bertrand Russell and Aldous Huxley. By October 1918 Mansfield had become seriously ill; she had been diagnosed with tuberculosis and was advised to enter a sanatorium. She could no longer spend time with writers in London. In the autumn of 1918 she was so ill that she decided to go to Ospedale in Italy. It was the publication of Bliss and Other Stories in 1920 that was to solidify Mansfield’s reputation as a writer.

Mansfied also spent time in Menton, France, as the tenant of her father’s cousin at ” The Villa Isola Bella”. There she wrote she pronounced to be “…the only story that satisfies me to any extent”.

Mansfield produced a great deal of work in the final years of her life, and much of her prose and poetry remained unpublished at her death in 1923. After her death, her husband, Murry, took on the task of editing and publishing her works. His efforts resulted in two additional volumes of short stories. The Doves’ Nest and Something Childish, published in 1923 and 1924 respectively, the publication of her Poems as well as a collection of critical writings (Novels and Novelist) and a number of editions of Mansfield’s previously unpublished letters and journals.

Questions 1-6

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

In boxes 1 – 6 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


                   The name Katherine Mansfield, that appears on the writer’s book, was exactly the same as her origin name

                   Mansfield won a prize for a story she wrote for the High School Reporter.

                   How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped portrayed Maori people in a favorable way.

                   when Mansfield was at Queen’s college, she planned to be a professional writer.

                   Mansfield was unpopular with the other students at Queen’s college

                   In London, Mansfield showed little interest in politics.

Questions 7-13

Complete the notes below

Choose ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer

Write your answers in boxes 7-13 on your answer sheet

Katherine Mansfield’s adult years


– moved from England back to New Zealand

– first paid writing work was in a publication based in 

– her and the New Zealand way of life made her feel dissatisfied

  •       1908: returned to London
  •       1911-1919:
    – Met John Middleton Murry in 1911

– 10  perverted…. Mansfield and Murry from staying together in Paris
– spent time with distinguished 11 

– from 1916, tuberculosis restricted the time she spent in London

  •       1920

her 12  was consolidated when Bliss and Other Stories was published

wrote several stories at “Villa Isola Bella

  •       1923-1924

Mansfield’s 13  published more of her works after her death

Đọc thêm: CAMBRIDGE IELTS 10 MỚI NHẤT (pdf+audio)

Paragraph 3

Toxic Stress: A Slow Wear And Tear

  1. Our bodies are built to respond when under attack. When we sense danger, our brain goes on alert, our heart rate goes up, and our organs flood with stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. We breathe faster, taking in more oxygen, muscles tense, our senses are sharpened and beads of sweat appear. This combination of reactions to stress is also known as the “fight-or-flight” response because it evolved as a survival mechanism, enabling people and other mammals to react quickly to life-threatening situations. The carefully orchestrated yet near-instantaneous sequence of hormonal changes and physiological responses helps someone to fight the threat off or flee to safety. Unfortunately, the body can also overreact to stressors that are not life-threatening, such as traffic jams, work pressure, and family difficulties.
  2. That’s all fine when we need to jump out of the way of a speeding bus, or when someone is following us down a dark alley. In those cases, our stress is considered “positive”, because it is temporary and helps us survive. But our bodies sometimes react in the same way to more mundane stressors, too. When a child faces constant and unrelenting stress, from neglect, or abuse, or living in chaos, the response stays activated, and may eventually derail normal development. This is what is known as “toxic stress”. The effects are not the same in every child, and can be buffered by the support of a parent or caregiver, in which case the stress is considered “tolerable”. But toxic stress can have profound consequences, sometimes even spanning generations. Figuring out how to address stressors before they change the brain and our immune and cardiovascular systems is one of the biggest questions in the field of childhood development today.
  3. In 1998, two researchers, Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda, pioneered in publishing a study demonstrating that people who had experienced abuse or household dysfunction as children were more likely to have serious health problems, like cancer or liver diseases, and unhealthy lifestyle habits, like drinking heavily or using drugs as adults. This became known as the “ACE Study,” short for “adverse childhood experiences.” Scientists have since linked more than a dozen forms of ACEs – including homelessness, discrimination, and physical, mental, and sexual abuse – with a higher risk of poor health in adulthood.
  4. Every child reacts to stress differently, and some are naturally more resilient than others. Nevertheless, the pathways that link adversity in childhood with health problems in adulthood lead back to toxic stress. As Jenny Anderson, senior reporter at Quartz, explains, “when a child lives with abuse, neglect, or is witness to violence, he or she is primed for that fight or flight all the time. The burden of that stress, which is known as ‘allostatic load or overload,’ referring to the wear and tear that results from either too much stress or from inefficient management of internal balance, eg, not turning off the response when it is no longer needed, can damage small, developing brains and bodies. A brain that thinks it is in constant danger has trouble organising itself, which can manifest itself later as problems of paying attention, or sitting still, or following instructions – all of which are needed for learning”.
  5. Toxic is a loaded word. Critics say the term is inherently judgmental and may appear to blame parents for external social circumstances over which they have little control. Others say it is often misused to describe the source of stress itself rather than the biological process by which it could negatively affect some children. The term, writes John Devaney, centenary chair of social work at the University of Edinburgh, “can stigmatise individuals and imply traumatic happenings in the past”.
    Some paediatricians do not like the term because of how difficult it is to actually fix the stressors their patients face, from poverty to racism. They feel it is too fatalistic to tell families that their child is experiencing toxic stress, and there is little they can do about it. But Nadine Burke Harris, surgeon general of California, argues that naming the problem means we can dedicate resources to it so that paediatricians feel like they have tools to treat “toxic stress”.
  6. The most effective prevention for toxic stress is to reduce the source of the stress. This can be tricky, especially if the source of the stress is the child’s own family. But parent coaching, and connecting families with resources to help address the cause of their stress (sufficient food, housing insecurity, or even the parent’s own trauma), can help. Another one is to ensure love and support from a parent or caregiver. Young children’s stress responses are more stable, even in difficult situations, when they are with an adult they trust.
    As Megan Gunnar, a child psychologist and head of the Institute of Child at the University of Minnesota, said: “When the parent is present and relationship is secure, basically the parent eats the stress: the kid cries, the parent comes, and it doesn’t need to kick in the big biological guns because the parent is the protective system”. That is why Havard’s Center on the Developing Child recommends offering care to caregivers, like mental health or addiction support, because when they are healthy and well, they can better care for their children.

Question 1-6


The reading passage has six paragraphs, A-F.

Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number (i – vii) in boxes.

List of Headings

i The controversy around the word “toxic”

ii Effects of different types of stress

iii How to protect children from toxic stress

iv An association of adverse experience with health problems and unhealthy habits

v Body’s reactions in response to the perceived harmful event

vi Signs of being under sustained stress

vii Negative impacts of toxic stress on children’s mental health

 Paragraph A

 Paragraph B

 Paragraph C

 Paragraph D

 Paragraph E

 Paragraph F

Question 7-9


Choose TRUE if the statement agrees with the information given in the text, choose FALSE if the statement contradicts the information, or choose NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this.

 Felitti and Anda were the first to show that ACEs create impacts regarding health and habits later on in life.

 Some children have the same level of vulnerability to stressful events.

 Several paediatricians consider poverty and racism the primary contributors to toxic stress.

Question 10-13


Look at the following people and the list of statements below.

Match each person with the correct statement, A-E.

Write the correct letter A-E in boxes.

List of statements

A Traumatic experiences in childhood might lead to poor self-management.

B Supportive and responsive relationships with caring parents can prevent or reverse the damaging effects of toxic stress responses.

C Properly naming a type of stress can facilitate its treatment process.

D The real name of a particular form of stress could denounce a number of people.

E Toxic stress can cause the next generations to suffer from negative consequences on both mental and physical health problems.

10  Megan Gunnar

11  Jenny Anderson

12  John Devaney

13  Nadine Burke Harris


Đọc thêm: Bài thi thử ielts reading TEST 7

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