1: Reading Comprehension
passage below carefully and then answer questions 1-3
REMOTE CONTROL YOUR HOME
WITH PHONE-A-FRIDGE DEVICE
First they transformed our lives by letting us call each other while
travelling. Then teenagers used
them to send secret text messages.
Now mobile phones are to trigger their greatest revolution: by allowing
us to run our homes remotely. If
you are heading home early to a cold house, your mobile will let you switch on
your central heating at the touch of a keypad. If you have left the fridge door
open, it will send you a warning message. If an intruder tries to enter your
house, an alarm will ring on your phone.
It sounds like science fiction. Yet these devices are about to be launched
by some of Japan's leading electronic companies. Last week, at the country's
Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (Ceatec), firms such as Toshiba,
National, Panasonic and Mitsubishi revealed schemes for turning our homes into
'intelligent households'. And the key to all these plans is the mobile
phone. Householders will control
appliances from the system's central unit or via their mobile phones. You will
be able to alter your air conditioner's setting from a train or download a
recipe from the internet and display it on a screen on your microwave or oven.
Computer chips and digital networks are now so cheap, we can use them where we
want, and kitchens and utility rooms are just perfect for
"intelligent" improvements,' said one National official last week.
Japan is already transforming domestic life through its new I-mode
mobile phone that can take and transmit pictures. One unexpected use includes
the ability to buy Coca-Cola cans without handing over cash. Just pass your
phone in front of a scanner on one of several hundred I-mode automated vendors
in Japan and your credit card account will be debited in exchange for a chilled
can of Coke. The system has encouraged companies to believe they might one day
be able to get rid of the credit card completely. Firms such as Mitsubishi have
revealed even more ambitious plans - for example, using mobile phones as aids
for absent-minded shoppers who want to find out how many eggs or tomatoes they
have left at home, by transmitting a video shot of their fridge's interior. Or,
if a package arrives while you are away from home, a front-door camera will
transmit a photo of the delivery man. Satisfied with his identity, you can then
let him enter by opening your door remotely.
The information era has begun to move out of the study and into the
kitchen, bathroom and dining room - mainly because it has nowhere else to go.
Manufacturers of PCs have realised their product has reached near saturation
levels in most Western homes. Persuading the few homeowners who still refuse to
buy one - mainly iconoclasts and elderly people - is a lost cause, it has been
decided. The only answer is to find alternative domestic uses for computer
chips and hardware. This has led Microsoft to develop plans for a house in
which an intelligent kitchen will anticipate what recipes will be required at
different times of the day and what ingredients need to be bought.
However, it is Japan that still drives the world's consumer electronics
market, its people having had a long love affair with domestic gadgets.
'Japanese consumers always want something new, like recordable DVDs,' said
Panasonic director Fumo Ohtsubo. 'By contrast, in America and Europe, people
still only want cheap old VHS videos.' Where J
pan leads, the world follows, at least in domestic electronics.
The Sunday Observer
Questions: (29 points)
Answer questions 1-3 as instructed,
according to the context of the passage.
In question 1(a) circle the number of the
most suitable answer.
Pay careful attention to spelling and
1(a) What is the main point in paragraph I? (1 point)
phones are something new
phones can act as remotes to run our house
phones are great for sending text messages
phones are great to have when travelling
1(b) Fill in the missing information (1 word in each space) according to
the context of paragraph II. (4 points)
Appliances in the house will soon be
controlled by ___________ using their mobile phones as was revealed by some of ________ electronic
1(c) Name 2 things mobile phones
will soon be able to do.
(Paragraph II) (4 points)
2(a) In your own words what makes
credit card companies believe credit cards might be redundant in the
future? (Paragraph III) (4
2(b) Mitsubishi revealed two new
uses for their mobile phones. What
are they? (Paragraph III) (4 points)
2(c) Explain what is meant by
“saturation levels”. (Paragraph IV) (2 points)
2(d) Why have PC manufacturers
decided to find new uses for computer chips and hardware and which type of
people have yet to own a computer?
(Paragraph IV) (6 points)
3(a) What is the difference
between Japan and America in relation to the electronics market? (Paragraph V) (2 points)
3(b) What two products are used
an an example in paragraph V as to why Japan leads in domestic electronics? (2
Part II: Reading Comprehension
Read the text below carefully and answer
ROBINS SING IN WINTER
The sound of a robin chirping in winter is a good sign, say scientists.
It means the bird has built up enough fat reserves to survive the cold nights
and has enough energy left to defend its territory. The bird traditionally sings in spring to attract a
mate but in winter, when food is short, it faces a dilemma. Should it spend its time hunting for
food to get through the next cold snap or burst into song?
Researchers in the west of England think they have the answer: the bird
sings at dawn if it has enough energy left over from keeping warm at night. It
is all part of a complicated biological mechanism to regulate fat reserves.
John McNamara of the University of Bristol said: "Because birds can't
predict exactly how much energy they need to survive the night, they need to
build up enough fat reserves by dusk to cater for the worst-case scenario.
"And as most nights are not that cold, they should have enough energy
reserves left over at dawn to sing."
The Bristol team studied wild and captive robins. The captive birds were
trained to weigh themselves on electronic balances. It turned out that the
birds stored extra fat when food started to become scarce and the nights got
colder. When it was warmer at night, they had more fat left at dawn and were
able to sing.
Mike Everett of conservation charity, the Royal Society for the
Protection of Birds, told BBC News Online: "This interesting research
confirms that healthy, well-fed robins have the best chance of survival in
harsh weather. "It also underlines the importance of feeding robins and
other small birds in our gardens during the winter - feeding which, in the most
severe weather, really can mean the difference between life and death."
The research, published in the winter edition of the Natural Environment
Research Council journal Planet Earth, should aid conservation efforts. According to Bristol scientist Innes
Cuthill, it will give us a better understanding of how bird species react to
Questions: (13 points)
Answer question 4 (a-c) as instructed,
according to the context of the text.
Pay careful attention to spelling and
4(a) In which two ways does
the robin face its dilemma in winter? (Paragraph I) (5 points)
4(b) If the robin sings at
dawn what does it mean? (Paragraph II) (3 points)
4(c) Fill in the missing
words, one per space. (Paragraph
III) (4 points)
nights were cold and the food __________ the birds stored extra fat. When the nights were ________ , at dawn
they had more fat left.
Questions: (18 points)
Answer question 5 (items a-d) as instructed,
according to the context of the passage.
Pay careful attention to spelling and
HOW ANCIENT ATHLETES HAD A HELPING HAND
Even Olympic athletes in ancient Greece were not above using aids to
enhance their performances, according to a study published today. But rather
than using drugs, Greek pentathletes swung hand weights, called halteres, when
competing in the standing long jump. Archaeological evidence suggests that the
weights were in use as early as 708 BC.
A vase from ancient Greece showing an athlete using performance
Prof Alberto Minetti and Dr Luca Ardigó, of Manchester Metropolitan
University, Alsager, near Crewe, worked out the likely advantages gained with
the weights after analysing the leaps of four jumpers.
Today, in the journal Nature, they show the effects of swinging the
masses back and forth before take-off, as depicted on ancient Greek vases, and
then swinging them backwards just before landing. The former can help boost the length of the standing long
jump by changing the centre of mass of the body. By throwing the halteres
backwards, the mass of the body is moved further forward. In this way, the
halteres make the muscle mass of the upper limbs work more effectively in the
jump, an idea put forward by Aristotle, said Prof Minetti.
The researchers found that an athlete swinging a mass of about seven
pounds back and forth in each hand would have an increased power on take-off of
about six per cent. The halteres could also add at least seven inches to a
nine-foot jump if swung forwards during take-off and backwards on landing. But when the halteres reach double the
weight, the boost to performance begins to decline. The range of masses found
in the study that enhance performance correspond to the weights of the lead and
stone halteres found by archaeologists.
5(a) Which two ways did the
Greek athletes have of swinging the halteres? (Paragraph II) (4 points)
5(b) Which two ways did the
swinging of the halteres help the Greek pentathletes? (Paragraph III) (6 points)
5(c) Complete the following
sentence: (Paragraph III) (3 points)
that an increased power take off of about 6% could be achieved by _________________________
5(d) How could the
athletes’ performance decline? (Paragraph III) (3 points)
Part IV: Cloze Exercise.
Fill in the missing words (one word in each
space); the missing word may be part of speech. Pay special attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation.
(10 points; 1 point for each word)
Important: Read the whole passage through before doing the exercise.
WHY KEEPING WARM MATTERS
More people get ill in winter, and the number of deaths(1________).
There is a direct link between cold (2__________) and a higher death rate,
especially amongst older people and others in at-risk groups.
About half of all extra deaths in winter are (3_______) to coronary
heart disease or stroke. About a quarter are due to respiratory disease. A drop
in body (4___________) contributes to these deaths. Blood thickens in cold
conditions and makes circulation more (5__________); and persistent exposure to
cold reduces resistance to chest infection. Where there is bronchitis, asthma,
emphysema, a previous stroke or other chronic heart and lung disorder already
present, the (6_________) are greater. This applies also with diabetes and
other diseases affecting major organs.
There is also the increased risk of injury from falls. Icy and wet
surfaces are one hazard, but if your (7________) is cold your muscles react
more slowly which will make you more likely to fall.
The best way to combat winter is to keep (8________). Countries with
much colder winters than ours experience only slight increases in death rates
(9_________) more care and effort goes into keeping warm and safe, at home and
outside. Winter needn’t be (10_________) if you take the right steps.
V: Writing tasks
Write in English on both of the
following topics, no. 7 and no. 8.
Write about 120 –130 words on each topic.
a real or imaginary invention you have had. Describe any or all of the following:
you came about your idea
your invention looks like
its purpose is
may refer to the passage “Remote
Control your Home with Phone-a-Fridge Device”.
an article to your school newspaper about research you have carried out on the
wildlife in your neighbourhood.
Discuss how and where the
research was carried out and over how long.
Give your opinion on the results and the conclusion.
You may refer to the passage “Why Robins Sing in Winter”