Practical intelligence lends a hand
This year, record numbers of high school students obtained top grades in their final exams, yet employers complain that young people still lack the basic skills to succeed at work. The only explanation offered is that exams must be getting easier. But the real answer could lie in a study just published by Professor Robert Sternberg, an eminent psychologist at Yale University in the USA and the world’s leading expert on intelligence. His research reveals the existence of a totally new variety: practical intelligence.
Professor Sternberg’s astonishing finding is that practical intelligence, which predicts success in real life, has an inverse relationship with academic intelligence. In other words, the more practically intelligent you are, the less likely you are to succeed at school or university. Similarly, the more paper qualifications you hold and the higher your grades, the less able you are to cope with problems of everyday life and the lower your score in practical intelligence.
Many people who are clearly successful in their place of work do badly in standard 10 (academic intelligence) tests. Entrepreneurs and those who have built large businesses from scratch are frequently discovered to be high school or college drop-outs. 10 as a concept is more than 100 years old. It was supposed to explain why some people excelled at a wide variety of intellectual tasks. But IQ ran into trouble when it became apparent that some high scorers failed to achieve in real life what was predicted by their tests.
Emotional intelligence (EQ), which emerged a decade ago, was supposed to explain this deficit. It suggested that to succeed in real life, people needed both emotional as well as intellectual skills. EO includes the abilities to motivate yourself and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulses and delay gratification; to regulate moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think, and to understand and empathize with others. While social or emotional intelligence was a useful concept in explaining many of the real-world deficiencies of super intelligent people, it did not go any further than the 10 test in measuring success in real life. Again, some of the most successful people in the business world were obviously lacking in social charm.
Not all the real-life difficulties we face are solvable with just good social skills – and good social acumen in one situation may not translate to another. The crucial problem with academic and emotional intelligence scores is that they are both poor predictors of success in real life. For example, research has shown that IQ tests predict only between 4% and 25% of success in life, such as job performance.
Professor Sternberg’s group at Yale began from a very different position to traditional researchers into intelligence. Instead of asking what intelligence was and investigating whether it predicted success in life, Professor Sternberg asked what distinguished people who were thriving from those that were not. Instead of measuring this form of intelligence with mathematical or verbal tests, practical intelligence is scored by answers to real-life dilemmas such as: ‘If you were travelling by car and got stranded on a motorway during a blizzard, what would you do?’ An important contrast between these questions is that in academic tests there is usually only one answer, whereas in practical intelligence tests – as in real life – there are several different solutions to the problem.
The Yale group found that most of the really useful knowledge which successful people have acquired is gained during everyday activities – but typically without conscious awareness. Although successful people’s behaviour reflects the fact that they have this knowledge. high achievers are often unable to articulate or define what they know. This partly explains why practical intelligence has been so difficult to identify.
Professor Sternberg found that the best way to reach practical intelligence is to ask successful people to relate examples of crucial incidents at work where they solved problems demonstrating skills they had learnt while doing their jobs. It would appear that one of the best ways of improving your practical intelligence is to observe master practitioners at work and, in particular, to focus on the skills they have acquired while doing the job. Oddly enough, this is the basis of traditional apprentice training. Historically, the junior doctor learnt by observing the consultant surgeon at work and the junior lawyer by assisting the senior barrister.
Another area where practical intelligence appears to resolve a previously unexplained paradox is that performance in academic tests usually declines after formal education ends. Yet most older adults contend that their ability to solve practical problems increases over the years. The key implication for organizations and companies is that practical intelligence may not be detectable by conventional auditing and performance measuring procedures. Training new or less capable employees to become more practically intelligent will involve learning from the genuinely practically intelligent rather than from training manuals or courses.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is in recruitment, as these new studies strongly suggest that paper qualifications are unlikely to be helpful in predicting who will be best at solving your company’s problems. Professor Sternberg’s research suggests that we should start looking at companies in a completely different way – and see them as places where a huge number of problems are being solved all the time but where it may take new eyes to see the practical intelligence in action.
Choose the correct answer, A, B, C or D.
Write the answers in your answer sheet from 1-5.
1. Professor Sternberg’s study showed that
A . qualifications are a good indicator of success at work.
B . education can help people cope with real-life problems.
C . intelligent people do not always achieve well at school.
D . high grades can indicate a lack of practical intelligence.
2. What is the ‘deficit’ referred to in the fourth paragraph?
A . People with high IQ scores could not score well in EO tests.
B . EO tests were unable to predict success at work.
C . High 10 scores did not always lead to personal success.
D . People with high EO scores could not cope with real life.
3. Professor Sternberg’s research differed from previous studies because
A . he used verbal testing instead of mathematics.
B . he began by establishing a definition of intelligence.
C . he analyzed whether intelligence could predict success in real life.
D . he wanted to find out what was different about successful people.
4. Part of the reason why practical intelligence had not been identified before Professor Sternberg’s study is that
A . the behaviour of successful people had never been studied.
B . successful people are too busy with their everyday lives.
C . successful people cannot put their knowledge into words.
D . successful people are unaware of their own abilities.
5. In order to increase the practical intelligence of employees, companies need to
A . adopt an apprentice-style system.
B . organise special courses.
C . devise better training manuals.
D . carry out an audit on all employees.
Classify the following characteristics as belonging to
A academic intelligence (AO) tests
B emotional intelligence (EO) tests
C practical intelligence tests
Write the correct letter A, B or C, next to Questions 6-12 below.
6. measures skills which are likely to improve with age
7. assesses people’s social skills
8. measures the ability to deal with real-life difficulties
9. the oldest of the three tests
10. high scorers learn from their actions
11. high scorers are more likely to stay calm in difficult situations
12. questions have more than one possible answer.
Is There Really a War on Drugs?
A In our contemporary society, the media constantly bombards us with horror stories about drugs like crack-cocaine. From them, and probably from no other source, we learn that crack is immediately addictive in every case, we learn that it causes corruption, crazed violence, and almost always leads to death. The government tells us that we are busy fighting a war on drugs and so it gives us various iconic models to despise and detest: we learn to stereotype inner-city minorities as being of drug-infested wastelands and we learn to “witchhunt” drug users within our own communities under the belief that they represent moral sin and pure evil. I believe that these titles and ideals are preposterous and based entirely upon unnecessary and even detrimental ideals promoted by the government to achieve purposes other than those they claim.
B In Craig Renarman’s and Harry Levine’s article entitled “The Crack Attack: Politics and Media in America’s Latest Drug Scare,” the authors attempt to expose and to deal with some of the societal problems that have resulted from the over-exaggeration of crack-cocaine as an “epidemic problem” in our country. Without detracting attention away from the serious health risks for those few individuals who do use the drug, Renarman and Levine demonstrate how minimally detrimental the current “epidemic” actually is.
C Early in the article, the authors summarize crack-cocaine’s evolutionary history in the U.S. They specifically discuss how the crack-related deaths of two star-athletes which first called wide-spread attention to the problem during the mid-1980’s. Since then, the government has reportedly used crack-cocaine as a political scapegoat for many of the nation’s larger inner-city problems. Thefts, violence, and even socioeconomic depression have been blamed on crack. They assert that the government has invested considerably in studies whose results could be used to wage the constant “war on drugs” while to politicians, that war has amounted to nothing more than a perceptual war on poverty and urban crime.
D Since politicians have had little else of marketable interest to debate over the years, this aggressive attack on drugs has existed as one of their only colorful means by which to create debate, controversy, and campaign fuel. In other words, when balancing the budget and maintaining an effective foreign policy became too boring to handle, Reinarman and Levine assert that the “crack epidemic” became the focus of politicians with the intent of luring public interest to their flashy anti-drug campaigns.
E Finally, in addition to the media’s excess attention on the ‘war against drugs,’Reinarman and Levine make the point the constant coverage of crack in the news media has only been counterproductive to the alleged goals of any anti-drug program. With descriptions of the “crack high” that glorify it considerably- the politically-charged media campaigns to fight drugs have worked somewhat ironically as huge advertising campaigns for crack-increasing public awareness and stimulating the interests of venturous junkies.
F While Reinarman and Levine are rather adamant about their findings, they do maintain an overt respect for the reality that crack has had other causal factors and outcomes besides those described by them. Their main concern seems to be calling for a more realistic spotlight to be placed upon the problem- so that we can begin to deal with it as no more and no less than what should be.
G The “war on drugs” is indeed based upon an exaggeration of facts. Although it is also evident that substances such as crack-cocaine may serve to pose great health risks to those that use them, there is not any widespread “epidemic” use of the drug nor any validity to the apparent myths that it causes such immediate devastation and is life-wrecking in every single case.
It is obvious that we do indeed need to maintain a greater and more focused emphasis on the important and more widespread problems in society. Important energies and well-needed monies are being diverted from them to fight in an almost-imaginary battle against a controlled substance. Conclusively, we should allow drugs like crack-cocaine receive their due attention as social problems, but let them receive no more than that!
Questions 13 – 16
Choose the appropriate letter A–D and write your answers in boxes 1–4 on your answer sheet.
13. From the media we learn that crack-cocaine …
A. gives us various iconic models to despise and detest.
B . represents moral sin can evil.
C . is addictive in every case, causes corruption and violence and almost always leads to death.
D . bombards us with horror.
14. According to Craig Renarman and Harry Levine, …
A . crack-cocaine is an ‘epidemic problem‘ in our country.
B . crack-cocaine does not pose serious health risks for users.
C . the current ̳epidemic‘ is really very serious.
D . the current ̳epidemic‘ is not so serious despite the serious health risks for the few individual users.
15. Based on Paragraph C, we know that …
A . crack-cocaine became widely known as a problem since the mid -1980s.
B crack-cocaine has caused many problems –from thefts, violence to socio-economic depression.
C . the government has invested little fighting the ̳war on drugs‘.
D . drugs have led to political as well as social problems.
16. Politicians use the drug issue …
A . to attack the drug dealers at the market.
B . to lure the public interest to their flashy anti-drug campaign.
C . to balance the budget and maintain an effective foreign policy.
D . to attack drug users only.
Questions 17 and 18
Complete the table below describing the causes and effects. Write your answers in boxes 5–6 on your answer sheet.
crack-cocaine corruption, violence and deaths
media‘s excess attention on the war against drugs‘ 17…………………..
Politically-charged media campaigns to fight drugs 18………………….
Questions 19 – 25
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 123?
In boxes 19-25 on your answer sheet write
YES if the statement agrees with the writer
NO if the statement does not agree with the writer.
NOT GIVEN if there is no information about this in the passage
19. In our contemporary society, people all over the world should launch a war on drugs.
20. Drug users within our won communities represent moral sin and pure evil.
21. The ̳war on drugs‘ waged by the government is really a perceptual war on poverty and urban crimes.
22. Drug use may lead to poverty and divorce.
23. We should spend more money and maintain a more focused emphasis on the importance and more wide-spread problems in society rather than on an almost imaginary battle against drugs.
24. We should not pay too much attention to drug users, instead, we should fight against the drug dealers.
25. Drugs like crack-cocaine have received much more attention than is necessary.
The Family of Germanicus
Germanicus is not a name that many people are familiar with today, but the man and his family are central figures in the story of one of the most colourful imperial dynasties the world has ever known – the Julio-Claudians.
The Julio-Claudians get their name from two families of the old Roman republic. Both families were old. The Julians had an impeccable aristocratic pedigree, while the Claudians were one of the most politically powerful families in the state. The two were thrown together into an alliance during the troubles which gripped Rome during the fall of the Republic.
Julius Caesar, the most famous member of the Julian family, led his legions in the conquest of Rome. Though Caesar was a great general, he lacked the political skills to control the Roman Senate and Caesar was killed by the senators during one of their meetings. Another round of civil wars followed, and Caesar’s great-nephew, Augustus, became the ruler of Rome.
In contrast to Caesar, Augustus was a superb, uncompromising and ruthless politician. Early in his career, he realized that his family could not rule alone, and he allied himself with the Claudians by marrying a woman called Livia Drusilla. Livia was not only a Claudian herself, but the former wife of another Claudian. She had two children by her first marriage, Tiberius and Drusus.
When he grew up, Drusus married Antonia, the daughter of Mark Antony. They had two children, one called Claudius and the other named Tiberius after his uncle and grandfather (Tiberius was a common Roman name, and often used for members of the Claudian family.)
Tiberius joined the army while he was still a young man, and turned out to be an excellent soldier. At the time, the Romans were busy with a major war in Germany. This war had not been going well, and the Romans lost a number of legions during a major battle in the Teutonwald forest. Tiberius was one of the commanders who helped to restore the power of Rome, and to celebrate his victories, and to distinguish him from his uncle, the soldiers started calling him Germanicus.
Germanicus, or Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus to give him his proper name, was not only an excellent commander, but one who took great care that his soldiers were well supplied and looked after. He was loved by the troops he commanded and this love helped him to bring the legions back under control when they mutinied on hearing of the death of Augustus.
Since Augustus had no sons he had adopted Tiberius, the uncle of Germanicus. As the son of Augustus, Tiberius became emperor after him. Augustus had known how popular Germanicus was, and considered adopting him instead of Tiberius, but instead adopted Tiberius and made Tiberius adopt Germanicus. His plan was that power should go from himself, to Tiberius and then to Germanicus and his sons. Germanicus had already become closer to the Julian family by his marriage to Agrippina, the granddaughter of Augustus.
Sadly, the glittering career of Germanicus did not happen. From Germany, he went to Asia Minor where he again won victories for Rome, but on his return from a trip to Egypt he became ill and died. Some modern historians believe that Germanicus died of malaria, but Germanicus and his wife were both convinced that he had been poisoned by his enemies. Among those they suspected was Tiberius, the emperor, since it was felt he wanted power to pass to his own son rather than to Germanicus.
With the clear line of succession destroyed, members of the imperial court started to plot and scheme to see who would be emperor after Tiberius, who was already an old man. The conspiracies drew in the surviving members of the family of Germanicus, and the two eldest boys were accused of treason and killed. One daughter, Julia Livilla, was married to the son of Tiberius and is believed to have poisoned him – partly to help the plots of her lover and partly to avenge the ‘poisoning’ of her father. Agrippina, the wife of Germanicus was exiled and starved herself to death.
One boy survived, a young man called Gaius. Tiberius made him live in his house where he could watch him carefully, but also because Tiberius was true to his promise that when he died the children of Germanicus would come to power. Gaius did indeed become emperor, but the mental stress of the earlier years could not be undone, and he is known today as the mad emperor Caligula.
Gaius Caligula was assassinated, but history had not done with the children of Germanicus. The next emperor was Claudius, the brother of Germanicus. He married, another daughter of Germanicus called Agrippina after her mother. Agrippina, a direct descendant of Augustus, was thus the wife and niece of Claudius, the sister of Caligula, and eventually, the mother of another emperor. This was Nero, the tyrant emperor whose death marked the end of the descendants of Germanicus and the Julio-Claudian dynasty of emperors.
Questions 26 – 28
Look at the diagram (Family Diagram of Augustus) and Fill in the missing names in this family tree.
Questions 29 – 36
In boxes 29-36 on your answer sheet, write
YES if the statement agrees with the claims of the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this
29. Agrippina, wife of Germanicus killed herself
30. Augustus was the great-great-grandfather of Nero
31. Claudius was the father-in-law of Caligula
32. Antonia was Livia’s daughter-in-law
33. Agrippina was the daughter of Tiberius
34. Two of Germanicus’ children died soon after birth
35. Nero had no brothers or sisters
36. Julia Livilla plotted to poison her lover
Questions 37 – 41
A-G shows the family relationship.
Fill in the family relationship described in the reading passage and write the answers on your answer sheet from 37-41
A . Grandmother
B . Stepson
C . Brother
D . Mother-in-law
E . Daughter
F . Grandson
G . Nephew
37. Livia was Antonia’s ………………..
38. Gaius Caligula was Claudius’ ………………..
39. Germanicus was Livia’s ………………
40. Antonia was Gaius Caligula’s …………………
41. Drusus was Augustus’ …………………..
17. counterproductive to the alleged goals of any anti-drug program
18. increasing public awareness and stimulating the interests of venturous junkies
22. NOT GIVEN
24. NOT GIVEN
28. Julia Livilla
34. Not given
35. Not given
Academic Reading Practice Tests
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