Read the following four texts. Answer the questions below each text by choosing [A], [B], [C], or [D]. Mark your answers on ANSWER SHEET 1. (40 points)
If you were to examine the birth certificates of every soccer player in 2006’s World Cup tournament, you would most likely find a noteworthy quirk: elite soccer players are more likely to have been born in the earlier months of the year than in the later months. If you then examined the European national youth teams that feed the World Cup and professional ranks, you would find this strange phenomenon to be even more pronounced.
What might account for this strange phenomenon? Here are a few guesses: a) certain astrological signs confer superior soccer skills; b) winter-born babies tend to have higher oxygen capacity, which increases soccer stamina; c) soccer-mad parents are more likely to conceive children in springtime, at the annual peak of soccer mania; d) none of the above.
Anders Ericsson, a 58-year-old psychology professor at Florida State University, says he believes strongly in “none of the above.” Ericsson grew up in Sweden, and studied nuclear engineering until he realized he would have more opportunity to conduct his own research if he switched to psychology. His first experiment, nearly 30 years ago, involved memory: training a person to hear and then repeat a random series of numbers. “With the first subject, after about 20 hours of training, his digit span had risen from 7 to 20,” Ericsson recalls. “He kept improving, and after about 200 hours of training he had risen to over 80 numbers.”
This success, coupled with later research showing that memory itself is not genetically determined, led Ericsson to conclude that the act of memorizing is more of a cognitive exercise than an intuitive one. In other words, whatever inborn differences two people may exhibit in their abilities to memorize, those differences are swamped by how well each person “encodes” the information. And the best way to learn how to encode information meaningfully, Ericsson determined, was a process known as deliberate practice. Deliberate practice entails more than simply repeating a task. Rather, it involves setting specific goals, obtaining immediate feedback and concentrating as much on technique as on outcome.
Ericsson and his colleagues have thus taken to studying expert performers in a wide range of pursuits, including soccer. They gather all the data they can, not just performance statistics and biographical details but also the results of their own laboratory experiments with high achievers. Their work makes a rather startling assertion: the trait we commonly call talent is highly overrated. Or, put another way, expert performers – whether in memory or surgery, ballet or computer programming – are nearly always made, not born.
21. The birthday phenomenon found among soccer players is mentioned to
[A] stress the importance of professional training.
[B] spotlight the soccer superstars in the World Cup.
[C] introduce the topic of what makes expert performance.
[D] explain why some soccer teams play better than others.
22. The word “mania” (Line 4, Paragraph 2) most probably means
23. According to Ericsson, good memory
[A] depends on meaningful processing of information.
[B] results from intuitive rather than cognitive exercises.
[C] is determined by genetic rather than psychological factors.
[D] requires immediate feedback and a high degree of concentration.
24. Ericsson and his colleagues believe that
[A] talent is a dominating factor for professional success.
[B] biographical data provide the key to excellent performance.
[C] the role of talent tends to be overlooked.
[D] high achievers owe their success mostly to nurture.
25. Which of the following proverbs is closest to the message the text tries to convey?
[A] “Faith will move mountains.”
[B] “One reaps what one sows.”
[C] “Practice makes perfect.”
[D] “Like father, like son.”
For the past several years, the Sunday newspaper supplement Parade has featured a column called “Ask Marilyn.” People are invited to query Marilyn vos Savant, who at age 10 had tested at a mental level of someone about 23 years old; that gave her an IQ of 228 – the highest score ever recorded. IQ tests ask you to complete verbal and visual analogies, to envision paper after it has been folded and cut, and to deduce numerical sequences, among other similar tasks. So it is a bit confusing when vos Savant fields such queries from the average Joe (whose IQ is 100) as, What’s the difference between love and fondness? Or what is the nature of luck and coincidence? It’s not obvious how the capacity to visualize objects and to figure out numerical patterns suits one to answer questions that have eluded some of the best poets and philosophers.
Clearly, intelligence encompasses more than a score on a test. Just what does it mean to be smart? How much of intelligence can be specified, and how much can we learn about it from neurology, genetics, computer science and other fields?
The defining term of intelligence in humans still seems to be the IQ score, even though IQ tests are not given as often as they used to be. The test comes primarily in two forms: the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale and the Wechsler Intelligence Scales (both come in adult and children’s version). Generally costing several hundred dollars, they are usually given only by psychologists, although variations of them populate bookstores and the World Wide Web. Superhigh scores like vos Savant’s are no longer possible, because scoring is now based on a statistical population distribution among age peers, rather than simply dividing the mental age by the chronological age and multiplying by 100. Other standardized tests, such as the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), capture the main aspects of IQ tests.
Such standardized tests may not assess all the important elements necessary to succeed in school and in life, argues Robert J. Sternberg. In his article “How Intelligent Is Intelligence Testing?”, Sternberg notes that traditional test best assess analytical and verbal skills but fail to measure creativity and practical knowledge, components also critical to problem solving and life success. Moreover, IQ tests do not necessarily predict so well once populations or situations change. Research has found that IQ predicted leadership skills when the tests were given under low-stress conditions, but under high-stress conditions, IQ was negatively correlated with leadership – that is, it predicted the opposite. Anyone who has toiled through SAT will testify that test-taking skill also matters, whether it’s knowing when to guess or what questions to skip.
26. Which of the following may be required in an intelligence test?
[A] Answering philosophical questions.
[B] Folding or cutting paper into different shapes.
[C] Telling the differences between certain concepts.
[D] Choosing words or graphs similar to the given ones.
27. What can be inferred about intelligence testing from Paragraph 3?
[A] People no longer use IQ scores as an indicator of intelligence.
[B] More versions of IQ tests are now available on the Internet.
[C] The test contents and formats for adults and children may be different.
[D] Scientists have defined the important elements of human intelligence.
28. People nowadays can no longer achieve IQ scores as high as vos Savant’s because
[A] the scores are obtained through different computational procedures.
[B] creativity rather than analytical skills is emphasized now.
[C] vos Savant’s case is an extreme one that will not repeat.
[D] the defining characteristic of IQ tests has changed.
29. We can conclude from the last paragraph that
[A] test scores may not be reliable indicators of one’s ability.
[B] IQ scores and SAT results are highly correlated.
[C] testing involves a lot of guesswork.
[D] traditional test are out of date.
30. What is the author’s attitude towards IQ tests?