IELTS | Reading | Cambridge 14 | T4 – P1 – The Secret of Staying Young

Welcome back to a breakdown of reading passage 1 on the Cambridge IELTS test 4! This is a first of its kind, and what I’ll be doing is breaking down T/F/NG and fill in the blank. The most difficult part about IELTS reading is finding where the key words are (far more difficult than TOEFL)….so watch how I do this.

Pheidole dentata, a native ant of the south-eastern U.S., isn’t immortal. But scientists have found that it doesn’t seem to show any signs of aging. Old worker ants can do everything just as well as the youngsters, and their brains appear just as sharp. ‘We get a picture that these ants really don’t decline,’ says Ysabel Giraldo, who studied the ants for her doctoral thesis at Boston University.

Such age-defying feats are rare in the animal kingdom. Naked mole rats can live for almost 30 years and stay fit for nearly their entire lives. They can still reproduce even when old, and they never get cancer. But the vast majority of animals deteriorate with age just like people do. Like the naked mole rat, ants are social creatures that usually live in highly organized colonies. ‘It’s this social complexity that makes P. dentata useful for studying aging in people,’ says Giraldo, now at the California Institute of Technology. Humans are also highly social, a train that has been connected to healthier aging. By contrast, most animal studies of aging use mice, worms or fruit flies, which all lead much more isolated lives.

In the lab, P. dentata worker ants typically live for around 140 days. Giraldo focused on ants at four age ranges: 20 to 22 days, 45 to 47 days, 95 to 97 days and 120 to 122 days. Unlike all previous studies, which only estimated how old the ants were, her work tracked the ants from the time the pupae became adults, so she knew their exact ages. Then she put them through a range of tests.

Giraldo watched how well the ants took care of the young of the colony, recording how often each ant attended to, carried and fed them. She compared how well 20-day-old and 95-day-old ants followed the telltale scent that the insects usually leave to mark a trail to food. She tested how ants responded to light and also measured how active they were by counting how often ants in a small dish walked across a line. And she experimented with how ants react to live prey: a tethered fruit fly. Giraldo expected the older ants to perform poorly in all these tasks. But the elderly insects were all good caretakers and trail-followers — the 95-day-old ants could track the scent even longer than their younger counterparts. They all responded to light well, and the older ants were more active. And when it came to reacting to prey, the older ants attacked the poor fruit fly just as aggressively as the young ones did, flaring their mandibles or pulling at the fly’s legs.

Then Giraldo compared the brains of 20-day-old and 95-day old ants, identifying any cells that were close to death. She saw no major differences with age, nor was there any difference in the location of the dying cells, showing that age didn’t seem to affect specific brain functions. Ants and other insects have structures in their brains called mushroom bodies, which are important for processing information, learning and memory. She also wanted to see if aging affects the density of synaptic complexes within these structures — regions where neurons come together. Again, the answer was no. What was more, the old ants didn’t experience any drop in the levels of either serotonin or dopamine — brain chemicals whose decline often coincides with aging. In humans, for example, a decrease in serotonin has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

‘This is the first time anyone has looked at both behavioral and neural changes in these ants so thoroughly,’ says Giraldo, who recently published the findings in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Scientists have looked at some similar aspects in bees, but the results of recent bee studies were mixed — some studies showed age-related declines, which biologists call senescence, and others didn’t. ‘For now, the study raises more questions than it answers,’ Giraldo says, ‘including how P. dentat stays in such good shape.’

Also, if the ants don’t deteriorate with age, why do they die at all? Out in the wild, the ants probably don’t live for a full 140 days thanks to predators, disease and just being in an environment that’s much harsher than the comforts of the lab. ‘The lucky ants that do live into old age may suffer a steep decline just before dying,’ Giraldo says, but she can’t say for sure because her study wasn’t designed to follow an ant’s final moments.

‘It will be important to extend these findings to other species of social insects,’ says Gene E. Robinson, an entomologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This ant might be unique, or it might represent a broader pattern among other social bugs with possible clues to the science of aging in larger animals. Either way, it seems that for these ants, age really doesn’t matter.

Cambridge IELTS 14 Test 4 Passage 1

Choose one word only from the passage for each answer.

Focus on a total of 1 ___________ different age groups of ants, analysing

Behaviour:

– how well ants looked after their 2 ______________

– their ability to locate 3 ____________ using a scent trail

– the effect that 4 _____________ had on them

– how 5 ______________ they attacked prey

Brains:

– comparison between age and the 6 _____________ of dying cells in the brains of ants

– condition of synaptic complexes (areas in which 7 _____________ meet) in the brain’s ‘mushroom bodies’

– level of two 8 ______________ in the brain associated with ageing

Questions 1-8

Second phase

  • True: if the statement agrees with the information
  • False: if the statement contradicts the information
  • NG: If there is no information on this

9. Pheidole dentata ants are the only known animals which remain active for their whole lives.

10. Ysabel Giraldo was the first person to study Pheidole dentata ants using precise data about the insects’ ages.

11. The ants in Giraldo’s experiments behaved as she had predicted that they would.

12. The recent studies of bees used different methods of measuring age-related decline.

13. Pheidole dentata ants kept in laboratory conditions tend to live longer lives.

Tips & Tricks

  • If the question asks you to write two words and/or a number, this means the answer may be: one word, one word + a number, two words, two words + a number

Remember that even if a number is written as a word, it counts as a number (e.g., twenty five trees = one word and a number). You do not need to write full sentences or join words together.

Podcast

IELTS Writing | Part I | Maps | Describing Changes

Welcome back to another IELTS blog on writing maps! About 1 year ago, I was sitting in a cafe at a BTS line here in Bangkok, Thailand and I promised that I would begin doing IELTS writing. However, I failed…but I’m back a year later to deliver. I’m going to get you warmed up with some questions before giving you a description of a map. Now, if you want to see the map, hit my YouTube link down below, scroll down and you’ll see the exact title of this in video format. From there, you’ll be able to see how I explain everything.

  1. What changes have occurred in the place you come from? Do you think they are positive or negative changes?
  2. Imagine you are a young person moving to a new town. Which facilities in the list below would be important to you?

Vocabulary: golf course, skate park, theatre, railway station, concert hall, gallery, stadium, ice rink, park, college, airport.

IELTS | Developing Pronunciation | Word Linking with Vowels/Consonants

Welcome back to a another IELTS blog/podcast, everyone! The YouTube link will be available down below if you want to see the book, and make sure you email me for the book itself. In saying that, I will be discussing down below how to create continuous natural speech. When you do this, the pronunciation points will be high and that can surely put you a band higher than not having that natural speech. Here are some sentences you can practice down below and the podcast.

  1. I’d like to get a place of my own as soon as I can.
  2. I hope I can take early retirement before I’m sixty.
  3. I’d like to start a family when I’m about thirty years old.
  4. Next year I’m planning to take a sabbatical so that I can travel to South America.
  5. I’ve always wanted to get a degree in electronic engineering.
  6. I can’t afford to take a gap year unless I can get a job and save up.

If you want me to grade your pronunciation, make sure you record the above 6 sentences and send them to my email down below. Note: I will probably feature you (not your name and your whereabouts) on my podcast for explanation.

Podcast

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Pronunciation Course Phase 1: https://www.udemy.com/course/arsenios-american-esl-pronunciation-phase-1/?referralCode=8C3941AAFB58102377C4

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IELTS Listening Skills | 1 on 1 Coaching | Section 2 | Map/Diagram

Yes! This is my FAVORITE! Now, remember all blogs and whatnot could be found on thearseniobuckshow.com.

I really want to break down where to listen for answers, as well as identifying areas of the map.  Because there are only four questions, you will have 6-7 potential answers. However, if you look at the map and detail where potential rooms/places could be, it would be much easier for you in the long run. Listen to this if you have problems identifying places on a map.

Because it’s difficult for me to upload the photo here, I’ve instead put up the book as a PDF down below. The segment we’re doing is on page 36, so make sure to download, tune in and tag along!

Website

Podcast

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: IELTS Reading – False vs. NG [Not Given] – IELTS Book 14/Test 1

I was standing and putting my clothes on while a gym mate of mine asked me, “AJ (my nickname), I can’t seem to understand the difference between F/NG questions!” Yes, they can be unbelievably confusing, so I made it an oath to quickly find the IELTS book 14 online and to write out one of the paragraphs or passages so that we can practice and identify how to find the correct answers…as well as the differentiation between the both.

Basic Rules of F/NG

  • True agrees with the information in the reading passage.
  • False does not agree with the information in the reading passage.
  • NG is not mentioned in the reading passage.

Remember that your answer should be based only on the information in the text, not on what you already know.

Tips

  1. Look for keywords in the statement in the question.
  2. Look for familiar words or phrases in the passage to find the section that refers to the statement.
  3. Decide whether the statement matches the information in the text.
  • When the information is not given, you will not find any information about this topic in the reading passage.
  • When the information is false, this may be indicated by a negative, a comparative, or a conditional statement in the text.
  • – Remember that not all negatives use a simple no, not, or nobody. Expressions like instead of, having failed to, without +….can also indicate a negative.
  • False information may also be found in parts of the text that contain comparisons. Make sure you check these.
  • Conditional sentences may also be indicators of false information. Compare the tenses of the verbs in the question statements with the verbs in the text to make sure they have the same meaning.

IELTS Reading Passage

  1. Children with good self-control are known to be likely to do well at school later on.
  2. The way a child plays may provide information about possible medical problems.
  3. Playing with dollars was found to benefit girls’ writing more than boys’ writing.
  4. Children had problems thinking up ideas when they first created the story with Lego.
  5. People nowadays regard children’s play as less significant than they did in the past.

Now thanks to the university’s new Center for Research on Plan in Education, Development and Learning (PEDAL), Whitebread, Baker, Gibson and a team of researchers hope to provide evidence on the role played by play in how a child develops.

‘A strong possibility is that play supports the early development of children’s self-control,’ explains Baker. ‘This is our ability to develop awareness of our own thinking processes – it influences how effectively we go about undertaking challenging activities.’

In a study carried out by Baker with toddlers and young preschoolers, she found that children with greater self-control solved problems more quickly when exploring an unfamiliar set-up requiring scientific reasoning. ‘This sort of evidence makes us think that giving children the chance to play will make them more successful problem-solvers in the long run.’

If playful experiences do facilitate this aspect of development, say the researchers, it could be extremely significant for educational practices, because the ability to self-regulate has been shown to be a key predictor of academic performance.

Gibson adds: “Playful behavior is also an important indicator of healthy social and emotional development. In my previous research, I investigated how observing children at play can give us important clues about their well-being and can even be useful in the diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorders like autism.”

Whitebread’s recent research has involved developing a play-based approach to supporting children’s writing. ‘Many primary school children find writing difficult, but we showed up in a previous study that a playful stimulus was far more effective than an instructional one.’ CHildren wrote longer and better-structured stories when they first played with dolls representing characters in the story. In the latest study, children first created their story with Lego*, with similar results. ‘Many teachers commented that they had always previously had children saying they didn’t know what to write about. With the Lego building, however, not a single child said this through the whole year of the project.’

Whitebread, who directs PEDAL, trained as a primary school teacher in the early 1970s’, when, as he describes, ‘the teaching of young children was largely a quiet backwater, untroubled by any serious intellectual debate or controversy.’ Now, the landscape is very different, with hotly debated topics such as school starting age.

‘Somehow the importance of play has been lost in recent decades. It’s regarded as something trivial, or even as something negative that contrasts with “work”. Let’s not lose sight of its benefits, and the fundamental contributions it makes to human achievements in the arts, sciences and technology. Let’s make sure children have a rich diet of play experiences.’

IELTS Cambridge 14

Podcast – Coming Soon

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