In today's blog we have a complete interactive online IELTS reading text for you to try, including a vocabulary focus to increase your lexical resource.
At the end of each question, read our answer explanations to learn more about these types of questions.
Read the text, then test your skills with the exercises below.
Unexpected Benefits to the Human Brain
Questions 1 - 4
Why are these the correct answers?
Answer D is correct because the paragraph introduces why and how Professor James Paul Gee became interested in the educational value of games. There is mention of different types of games but the paragraph doesn’t just discuss game types. The passage is not just concerned with the game Pajama Sam so option B must also be incorrect. Why and how Professor Gee became interested in the topic is the background of the topic and is as an introduction for the passage.
Statement C is correct. The first part of the paragraph mentions negative views of computer games held by parents and statistics about violence in games are given. Brain rot and violence are mentioned in the paragraph to highlight the negative impression many adults have of games. Towards the end of the paragraph the writer contrasts the negatives with the opinion of Professor Gee and other experts who believe ‘games actually have many benefits – the main one being making kids smart’. Statement C closely paraphrases the paragraph with ‘psychologists see benefits from computer games in terms of children’s intellectual abilities’.
Notice how statement D contains the phrase ‘rot children’s brains’. In the text we have the phrase ‘brain rot’. The question writer is trying to see if you have actually got the meaning of the paragraph or not. A weak candidate may choose statement D because they see the similar phrases without really understanding the meaning of the paragraph. You must watch out for this type of trick.
Statement B is correct as a variety of different improvements in cognitive ability are mentioned. ‘Abstract and high level thinking’ is mentioned as being improved as is ‘following instructions, problem solving, logic, hand-eye coordination, fine motor and spatial skills ... iconic, spatial, and visual attention’. These examples highlight that a various aspects of brain ability are improved by playing computer games.
Statement A and C cannot be correct as the writer doesn’t explicitly state that games are played at school or that surgeons play video games. Statement D is incorrect as we have no information about whether fighter pilots ‘love’ to play video games.
Statement D is correct as in the text it states ‘action game players were up to 25 percent faster at coming to a conclusion and answered just as many questions correctly as their strategy game playing peers’.
Statements A and B are incorrect but they use vocabulary from the text such as ‘percent’ and ‘resources’ in order to trick you into picking them. Be aware of these kinds of false answers.
Statement C is wrong as we are not told if everyone is better at making decisions after playing games.
Questions 5 - 8
Are the statements below true, false or not given?
You should select:
True if the statement is true
False if the statement is false
Not Given if the information is not given in the passage
Why are these the correct answers?
This information is not given. There is statistical information about violence in games but it is not stated that most games are popular because they are violent. Many candidates make mistakes with this type of question because they know that the general topic of the statement – violence in video games - is mentioned in the text and so they assume the statement is true. This is why it is always important to check your answers with the text.
This is false because the text states ‘The action game players … answered just as many questions correctly as their strategy game playing peers’. Therefore, both strategy and action game players made the same number of mistakes.
There is no information given about this although schools are mentioned briefly.
This is true as the writer states in paragraph 3 when discussing how the brain is strengthened by game play that ‘Much like exercise can build muscle, the powerful combination of concentration and rewarding surges of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which strengthens neural circuits, can build the player’s brain’. ‘Dopamine’ is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain and ‘surges’ are releases. It is difficult to answer this question if you don’t know this vocabulary.
Questions 9 - 13
Use the information in the passage to match the people (listed a-f) with opinions or deeds below. Type the appropriate letters, a-f, in the boxes below.
a The writer’s opinion
b James Paul Gee
c Shawn Green
d Daphne Bavelier
e Steven Johnson
f Jacob Benjamin
Why are these the correct answers?
“Video games change your brain” we are told in paragraph 3 by the writer quoting Shawn Green. In the question, the word ‘alter’ is used and in the text we find its synonym ‘change’.
Paragraph 5 contains the answer. We are told ‘Daphne Bavelier, a cognitive scientist, (says) games simulating stressful events such as those found in battle or action games could be a training tool for real-world situations. The study suggests that playing action video games primes the brain to make quick decisions.’ In the statement we read ‘without hesitation’ whereas in the text we see ‘to make quick decisions’. The two phrases have the same meaning.
In paragraph 6 we are told ‘Video games are goal-driven experiences, says Gee’. ‘Goal driven’ and ‘purpose-motivated’ are very similar in meaning and so understanding this vocabulary is the key to answering the question appropriately. Be aware that in English often only the last name (family name) of the person being quoted or referenced is used rather than his or her full name. So we see ‘Gee’ not ‘James Paul Gee’
In paragraph 5 we are informed ‘Steven Johnson … says gamers must deal with immediate problems while keeping their long-term goals on their horizon’. There are two sets of synonyms here that need to be understood. ‘Prompt issues’ and ‘immediate problems’. ‘Future intensions’ and ‘long term goals’
In paragraph 7 the writer gives us the opinion that ‘Video and computer games also help children gain self-confidence and many games are based on history, city building, and governance and so on. Such games indirectly teach children about aspects of life on earth’. ‘Self-confidence’ is found directly in the text and examples of how the games broaden horizons are the examples of ‘aspects of life on earth’ such as ‘city building’ and ‘governance’. As the opinion isn’t referenced to anyone else then it must be the writers own opinion.
While you are preparing for the IELTS test you should try to learn 10-15 new words and phrases a week. Let’s have a look at some interesting items that we encountered in the text and questions above. If any of these are new for you, learn and use them in your writing and speaking to improve your Lexical Resource band score.
Answers of comprehension questions
5 NOT GIVEN
7 NOT GIVEN
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