Cognitive preferences of Israeli 12th grade students were studied as part of the Second IEA Science Study. It was found that during the last ten years Israeli students have become more oriented toward application. Higher sociocultural status, higher achievement in science, liking of science studies, more time devoted to science homework, and intentions to study science in college were all associated with a higher preference for principles and critical questioning as well as with a lower preference for recall. Science majors compared with non-science majors exhibited a higher level of intellectual curiosity. There were no differences between cognitive preferences of boys and girls.