IELTS Reading Forecast 6


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 28-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.


Children’s acquiring the principles of mathematics and science


A.     It has been pointed out that learning mathematics and science is not so much learning facts as learning ways of thinking. It has also been emphasised that in order to learn science, people often have to change the way they think in ordinary situations. [Crack IELTS with Rob] For example, in order to understand even simple concepts such as heat and temperature, ways of thinking of temperature as a measure of heat must be abandoned and a distinction between ‘temperature’ and ‘heat’ must be learned. These changes in ways of thinking are often referred to as conceptual changes. But how do conceptual changes happen? How do young people change their ways of thinking as they develop and as they learn in school? 


B.   Traditional instruction based on telling students how modern scientists think does not seem to be very successful. Q35Students may learn the definitions, the formulae, the terminology, and yet still maintain their previous conceptions. [Crack IELTS with Rob] This difficulty has been illustrated many times, for example, when instructed students are interviewed about heat and temperature. It is often identified by teachers as a difficulty in applying the concepts learned in the classroom; students may be able to repeat a formula but fail to use the concept represented by the formula when they explain observed events.


C.   The psychologist Piaget suggested an interesting hypothesis relating to the process of cognitive change in children. Q28Cognitive change was expected to result from the pupils’ own intellectual activity. When Q34confronted with a result that challenges their thinking - that is, when faced with conflict - pupils realise that they need to think again about their own ways of solving problems, regardless of whether the problem is one in mathematics or in science. [Crack IELTS with Rob] He hypothesised that conflict brings about disequilibrium, and then triggers equilibration processes that ultimately produce cognitive change. For this reason, according to Piaget and his colleagues, in order for pupils to progress in their thinking they need to be actively engaged in solving problems that Q29will challenge their current mode of reasoning. However, Piaget also pointed out that young Q30children do not always discard their ideas in the face of contradictory evidence. They may actually discard the evidence and keep their theory.


D.   Piaget’s hypothesis about how cognitive change occurs was later translated into an Q38educational approach which is now termed ‘discovery learning’. Discovery learning initially took what is now considered the Tone learner’ route. The role of the teacher was to select situations that challenged the pupils’ reasoning; and the pupils’ peers had no real role in this process. [Crack IELTS with Rob] However, it was subsequently proposed that interpersonal conflict, especially with peers, might play an important role in promoting cognitive change. This hypothesis, originally advanced by Perret-Clermont (1980) and Doise and Mugny (1984), has been investigated in many recent studies of science teaching and learning.


E.  Christine Howe and her colleagues, for example, have compared children’s progress in understanding several types of science concepts when they are given the opportunity to observe relevant events. In one study, Q31Howe compared the progress of 8 to 12-year-old children in understanding what influences motion down a slope. In order to ascertain the role of conflict in group work, they created two kinds of groups according to a pre-test: one in which the children had dissimilar views, and a second in which the children had similar views. [Crack IELTS with Rob] They Q32found support for the idea that children in the groups with dissimilar views progressed more Q33after their training sessions than those who had been placed in groups with similar views. However, they found no evidence to support the idea that the children worked out their new conceptions during their group discussions, because progress was not Q39actually observed in a post-test immediately after the sessions of group work, but rather in a second test given around four weeks after the group work.


F.   In another study, Q40Howe set out to investigate whether the progress obtained through pair work could be a function of the exchange of ideas. They investigated the progress made by 12-15-year-old pupils in understanding the path of falling objects, a topic that usually involves conceptual difficulties. In order to create pairs of pupils with varying levels of dissimilarity in their initial conceptions, the pupils’ predictions and explanations of the path of falling objects were assessed before they were engaged in pair work. [Crack IELTS with Rob] The work sessions involved solving computer-presented problems, again about predicting and explaining the paths of falling objects. A post-test, given to individuals, assessed the progress made by pupils in their conceptions of what influenced the path of falling objects.


Questions 28 - 30

Choose THREE letters, A-F.

Which THREE of these statements are attributed to Piaget by the writer of the passage?

  • Mental challenge is a stimulus to learning.
  • Teachers play a big role in learning by explaining difficult concepts.


  • Teaching should be consistent in order to easily acquire knowledge.
  • Children sometimes ignore evidence that conflicts with their original beliefs.


  • Cognitive progress is mainly relied on children’s own intellectual activity.
  • Children can help each other make cognitive progress.

Questions 31 - 33

Choose THREE letters, A-F.

Which THREE of these statements describe Howe’s experiment with 8-12-year-olds children?

  • The difference of learning progress between groups was obvious.
  • The most active children made the least progress.


  • The children were evaluated on their abilities to understand a physics phenomenon.
  • A total of three tests were given to the children.


  • All the children were working in mixed-ability groups.
  • The teacher aided the children to understand a scientific problem.

Questions 34 - 37

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Passage 3?

In boxes 34-37 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


  • 34.  facing incompatible problems in different disciplines, students may be required to rethink their approach to solve the problem.

  • 35.  Pupils learn new solutions by keep questioning their original ways of thinking.

  • 36.  With clear instructions, students could acquire new concepts with few problems.

  • 37.  Young children are less likely to change their concepts in problems of science than in mathematics.


Questions 38 - 40

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

Write your answers on boxes, 38-40, on your answers sheet.

38. The ‘lone learner’ route is an educational approach which

  • relies on how the teacher guides the students heavily.
  • missed an important part for discovery learning.
  • is the main approach for discovery learning in many teaching now.
  • requires help from the pupils’ peers.


39. It can be inferred from the passage as experiment in paragraph E

  • researchers should check feedback right after the first test.
  • there can be a satisfying result thanks to the duration of it.
  • that children acquire more when learning in groups.
  • that children opposing each other would learn slower.


40. Howe set out the pair work experiment in order to

  • predict and explain the path of falling objects.
  • study how 12-15-years old pupils learn scientific concepts.
  • assess whether teammates would have the features of exchange ideas.
  • investigate pupils the ability of solving physics problems.



Please click the red words below for other Sections in this Mock Test:

Reading Forecast 5
Reading Forecast 4
Reading Forecast 3 


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