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READING PASSAGE 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

The psychology in Happiness

A

In the late 1990s, psychologist Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania urged colleagues to observe optimal moods with the same kind of focus with which they had for so long studied illnesses: we would never learn about the full range of human functions unless we knew as much about mental wellness as we do about mental illness. A new generation of psychologists built up a respectable body of research on positive character traits and happiness-boosting practices. At the same time, developments in neuroscience provided new clues to what makes us happy and what that looks like in the brain. Self-appointed experts took advantage of the trend with guarantees to eliminate worry, stress, dejection and even boredom. This happiness movement has provoked a great deal of opposition among psychologists who observe that the preoccupation with happiness has come at the cost of sadness, an important feeling that people have tried to banish from their emotional repertoire. Allan Horwitz of Rutgers laments that young people who are naturally weepy after breakups are often urged to medicate themselves instead of working through their sadness. Wake Forest University’s Eric Wilson fumes that the obsession with happiness amounts to a “craven disregard” for the melancholic perspective that has given rise to the greatest works of art. “The happy man,” he writes, “is a hollow man.”

B

After all, people are remarkably adaptable. Following a variable period of adjustment, we bounce back to our previous level of happiness, no matter what happens to us. (There are some scientifically proven exceptions, notably suffering the unexpected loss of a job or the loss of a spouse. Both events tend to permanently knock people back a step.) Our adaptability works in two directions. Because we are so adaptable, points out Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California, we quickly get used to many of the accomplishments we strive for in life, such as landing the big job or getting married. Soon after we reach a milestone, we start to feel that something is missing. We begin coveting another worldly possession or eyeing a social advancement. But such an approach keeps us tethered to a treadmill where happiness is always just out of reach, one toy or one step away. It’s possible to get off the treadmill entirely by focusing on activities that are dynamic surprising, and attention-absorbing, and thus less likely to bore us than, say, acquiring shiny new toys.

C

Moreover, happiness is not a reward for escaping pain. Russ Harris, the author of The Happiness Trap, calls popular conceptions of happiness dangerous because they set people up for a “struggle against reality”. They don’t acknowledge that real life is full of disappointments, loss, and inconveniences. “If you’re going to live a rich and meaningful life,” Harris says, “you’re going to feel a full range of emotions.” Action toward goals other than happiness makes people happy. It is not crossing the finish line that is most rewarding, it is anticipating achieving the goal. University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Richard Davidson has found that working hard toward a goal, and making progress to the point of expecting a goal to be realised, not only activates positive feelings but also suppresses negative emotions such as fear and depression.

D

We are constantly making decisions, ranging from what clothes to put on, to whom we should marry, not to mention all those flavors of ice cream. We base many of our decisions on whether we think a particular preference will increase our well-being. Intuitively, we seem convinced that the more choices we have, the better off we will ultimately be. But our world of unlimited opportunity imprisons us more than it makes us happy. In what Swarthmore psychologist Barry Schwartz calls “the paradox of choice,” facing many possibilities leaves us stressed out – and less satisfied with whatever we do decide. Having too many choices keeps us wondering about all the opportunities missed.

E

Besides, not everyone can put on a happy face. Barbara Held, a professor of psychology at Bowdoin College, rails against “the tyranny of the positive attitude”. “Looking on the bright side isn’t possible for some people and is even counterproductive” she insists. “When you put pressure on people to cope in a way that doesn’t fit them, it not only doesn’t work, it makes them feel like a failure on top of already feeling bad.” The one-size-fits-all approach to managing emotional life is misguided, agrees Professor Julie Norem, author of The Positive Power of Negative Thinking. In her research, she has shown that the defensive pessimism that anxious people feel can be harnessed to help them get things done, which in turn makes them happier. A naturally pessimistic architect, for example, can set low expectations for an upcoming presentation and review all of the bad outcomes that she’s imagining, so that she can prepare carefully and increase her chances of success.

F

By contrast, an individual who is not living according to their values, will not be happy, no matter how much they achieve. Some people, however, are not sure what their values are. In that case, Harris has a great question: “Imagine I could wave a magic wand to ensure that you would have the approval and admiration of everyone on the planet, forever. What, in that case, would you choose to do with your life?” Once this has been answered honestly, you can start taking steps toward your ideal vision of yourself. The actual answer is unimportant, as long as you’re living consciously. The state of happiness is not really a state at all. It’s an ongoing personal experiment.

Questions 1-6

Reading Passage 1 has six paragraphs, A-F.

Which paragraph mentions the following?

Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet

NB  You may use any letter more than once.

1   the need for individuals to understand what really matters to them

2   tension resulting from a wide variety of alternatives

3   the hope of success as a means of overcoming unhappy feelings.

4   people who call themselves specialists.

5   human beings’ capacity for coping with change

6   doing things which are interesting in themselves

Questions 7-8

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

Write the correct letters in boxes 7 and 8 on your answer sheet

Which TWO of the following people argue against aiming for constant happiness?

A          Martin Seligman

B          Eric Wilson

C          Sonja Lyubomirsky

D         Russ Harris

E          Barry Schwartz

Questions 9-10

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

Write the correct letters in boxes 9 and 10 on your answer sheet

Which TWO of the following beliefs are identified as mistaken in the text?

A   Inherited wealth brings less happiness than earned wealth.

B   Social status affects our perception of how happy we are.

C   An optimistic outlook ensures success.

D   Unhappiness can and should be avoided.

E   Extremes of emotion are normal in the young.

 

Questions 11-13

Complete the sentences below.

Choose NO MORE THAN ONE WORD from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet

11   In order to have a complete understanding of how people’s minds work, Martin Seligman suggested that research should examine our most positive ……………………… as closely as it does our psychological problems.

12   Soon after arriving at a ……………………….. in their lives, people become accustomed to what they have achieved and have a sense that they are lacking something.

13   People who are ……………………… by nature are more likely to succeed if they make a thorough preparation for a presentation.

READING PASSAGE 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-27 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below. 

The history of salt

A

Salt is so simple and plentiful that we almost take it for granted. In chemical terms, salt is the combination “of a sodium ion with a chloride on, making it one of the most basic molecules on earth. It is also one of the most plentiful: it has been estimated that salt deposits under the state of Kansas alone could supply the entire world’s needs for the next 250,000 years.

B

But is salt is also an essential element. Without it, life itself would be impossible since the human body requires the mineral in order to function properly. The concentration of sodium ions in the blood is directly related to the regulation of safe body fluid levels. And while we are all familiar with its many uses in cooking, we may not be aware that this element is used in some 14,000 commercial applications. From manufacturing pulp and paper to setting dyes in textiles and fabric, from producing soaps and detergents to making our roads safe in winter, salt plays an essential part in our daily lives.

C

Salt has a long and influential role in world history. From the dawn of civilization, it has been a key factor in economic, religious, social and political development. In every corner of the world, it has been the subject of superstition, folklore, and warfare, and has even been used as currency.

D

As a precious and portable commodity, salt has long been a cornerstone of economies throughout history. In fact, researcher M.R. Bloch conjectured that civilization began along the edges of the desert because of the natural surface deposits of salt found there. Bloch also believed that the first war – likely fought near the ancient city of Assault on the Jordan River – could have been fought over the city’s precious supplies of the mineral.

E

In 2200 BC, the Chinese emperor Hsia Yu levied one of the first known taxes. He taxed salt. In Tibet, Marco Polo noted that tiny cakes of salt were pressed with images of the Grand Khan to be used as coins and to this day among the nomads of Ethiopia’s Danakil Plains it is still used as money. Greek slave traders often bartered it for slaves, giving rise to the expression that someone was “not worth his salt.” Roman legionnaires were paid in salt – a salarium, the Latin origin of the word “salary.”

F

Merchants in 12th-century Timbuktu – the gateway to the Sahara Desert and the seat of scholars – valued this mineral as highly as books and gold. In France, Charles of Anjou levied the gabelle, a salt tax, in 1259 to finance his conquest of the Kingdom of Naples. Outrage over the gabelle fueled the French Revolution. Though the revolutionaries eliminated the tax shortly after Louis XVI, the Republic of France re-established the gabelle in the early 19th Century; only in 1946 was is removed from the books.

G

The Erie Canal, an engineering marvel that connected the Great Lakes to New York’s Hudson River in 1825, was called “the ditch that salt built.” Salt tax revenues paid for half the cost of construction of the canal. The British monarchy supported itself with high salt taxes, leading to a bustling black market for the white crystal. In 1785, the earl of Dundonald wrote that every year in England, 10,000 people were arrested for salt smuggling. And protesting against British rule in 1930, Mahatma Gandhi led a 200-mile march to the Arabian Ocean to collect untaxed salt for India’s poor.

H

In religion and culture, salt long held an important place with Greek worshippers consecrating it in their rituals. Further, in Buddhist tradition, salt repels evil spirits, which is why it is customary to throw it over your shoulder before entering your house after a funeral: it scares off any evil spirits that may be clinging to your back. Shinto religion also uses it to purify an area. Before sumo wrestlers enter the ring for a match – which is, in reality, an elaborate Shinto rite – a handful is thrown into the center to drive off malevolent spirits.

I

In the Southwest of the United States, the Pueblo worship the Salt Mother. Other native tribes had significant restrictions on who was permitted to eat salt Hopi legend holds that the angry Warrior Twins punished mankind by placing valuable salt deposits far from civilization, requiring hard work and bravery to harvest the precious mineral. Today, a gift of salt endures in India as a potent symbol of good luck and a reference to Mahatma Gandhi’s liberation of India.

J

The effects of salt deficiency are highlighted in times of war, when human bodies and national economies are strained to their limits. Thousands of Napoleon’s troops died during the French retreat from Moscow due to inadequate wound healing and lowered resistance to disease – the results of salt deficiency.

  

Questions 14-16

Choose THREE letters A-H.

Write your answers in boxes 14-16 on your answer sheet.

NB  Your answers may be given in any order.

Which THREE statements are true of salt?

A   A number of cities take their name from the word salt.

B   Salt contributed to the French Revolution.

C   The uses of salt are countless.

D   Salt has been produced in China for less than 2000 years.

E   There are many commercial applications for salt

F   Salt deposits in the state of Kansas are vast.

G   Salt has few industrial uses nowadays.

H   Slaves used salt as a currency.

 

Questions 17-21

Complete the summary.

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 17-21 on your answer sheet.

Salt is such an 17…………………… that people would not be able to live without it. As well as its uses in cooking, this basic mineral has thousands of business 18……………………. ranging from making paper to the manufacture of soap. Being a prized and 19…………………….. it has played a major part in the economies of many countries. As such, salt has not only led to war, but has also been used to raise 20…………………… by governments in many parts of the world. There are also many instances of its place in religion and culture, being used as a means to get rid of evil 21………………………

Questions 22-27

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2?

In boxes 23-26 on your answer sheet write

TRUE               if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE              if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN     if there is no information about the statement

22   It has been suggested that salt was responsible for the first war.

23   The first tax on salt was imposed by a Chinese emperor.

24   Salt is no longer used as a form of currency.

25   Most of the money for the construction of the Erie Canal came from salt taxes.

26   Hopi legend believes that salt deposits were places far away from civilization to penalize mankind.

27   A lack of salt is connected with the deaths of some soldiers.

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READING PASSAGE 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 28-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

Bright Children

A

By the time Laszlo Polgar’s first baby was born in 1969 he already had firm views on child-rearing. An eccentric citizen of communist Hungary, he had written a book called “Bring up Genius!” and one of his favourite sayings was “Geniuses are made, not born”. An expert on the theory of chess, he proceeded to teach little Zsuzsa at home, spending up to ten hours a day on the game. All three obliged their father by becoming world-class players. The youngest, Judit, is currently ranked 13th in the world, and is by far the best female chess player of all time. Would the experiment have succeeded with a different trio of children? If any child can be turned into a star, then a lot of time and money are being wasted worldwide on trying to pick winners.

B

America has long held “talent searches”, using test results and teacher recommendations to select children for advanced school courses, summer schools and other extra tuition. This provision is set to grow. In his state-of-the-union address in 2006, President George Bush announced the “American Competitiveness Initiative”, which, among much else, would train 70,000 high-school teachers to lead advanced courses for selected pupils in mathematics and science. Just as the superpowers’ space race made Congress put money into science education, the thought of China and India turning out hundreds of thousands of engineers and scientists is scaring America into prodding its brightest to do their best.

C

The philosophy behind this talent search is that ability is innate; that it can be diagnosed with considerable accuracy; and that it is worth cultivating. In America, bright children are ranked as “moderately”, “highly”, “exceptionally” and “profoundly” gifted. The only chance to influence innate ability is thought to be in the womb or the first couple of years of life. Hence the fad for “teaching aids” such as videos and flashcards for newborns, and “whale sounds” on tape which a pregnant mother can strap to her belly.

D

In Britain, there is a broadly similar belief in the existence of innate talent, but also an egalitarian sentiment which makes people queasy about the idea of investing resources in grooming intelligence. Teachers are often opposed to separate provision for the best-performing children, saying any extra help should go to stragglers. In 2002, in a bid to help the able while leaving intact the ban on most selection by ability in state schools, the government set up the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth. This outfit runs summer schools and master classes for children nominated by their schools. To date, though, only seven in ten secondary schools have nominated even a single child. Last year all schools were told they must supply the names of their top 10%.

E

Picking winners is also the order of the day in ex-communist states, a hangover from the times when talented individuals were plucked from their homes and ruthlessly trained for the glory of the nation. But in many other countries, opposition to the idea of singling out talent and grooming it runs deep. In Scandinavia, a belief in virtues like modesty and social solidarity makes people flinch from the idea of treating brainy children differently.

F

And in Japan, there is a widespread belief that all children are born with the same innate abilities – and should, therefore, be treated alike. All are taught together, covering the same syllabus at the same rate until they finish compulsory schooling. Those who learn quickest are expected then to teach their classmates. In China, extra teaching is provided, but to a self-selected bunch. “Children’s palaces” in big cities offer a huge range of after-school classes. Anyone can sign up; all that is asked is excellent attendance.

G

Statistics give little clue as to which system is best. The performance of the most able is heavily affected by factors other than state provision. Most state education in Britain is nominally non-selective, but middle-class parents try to live near the best schools. Ambitious Japanese parents have mad private, out-of-school tuition a thriving business. And Scandinavia’s egalitarianism might work less well in places with more diverse populations and less competent teachers. For what it’s worth, the data suggest that some countries – like Japan and Finland, see table – can eschew selection and still thrive. But that does not mean that any country can ditch selection and do as well.

H

Mr Polgar thought any child could be a prodigy given the right teaching, an early start and enough practice. At one point he planned to prove it by adopting three baby boys from a poor country and trying his methods on them. (His wife vetoed the scheme). Some say the key to success is simply hard graft. Judit, the youngest of the Polgar sisters, was the most driven, and the most successful; Zsofia, the middle one, was regarded as the most talented, but she was the only one who did not achieve the status of grand master. “Everything came easiest to her,” said her older sister. “But she was lazy.”

 

Questions 28-33

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3?

In boxes 28-33 on your answer sheet, write

YES                  if the statement is true

NO                   if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN     if the information is not given in the passage

28   America has a long history of selecting talented students into different categories.

29   Teachers and schools in Britain held welcome attitude towards the government’s selection of gifted students.

30   Some parents agree to move near reputable schools in Britain.

31   Middle-class parents participate in their children’s education.

32   Japan and Finland comply with selected student’s policy.

33   Avoiding-selection-policy only works in a specific environment.

Questions 35-40

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 34-45 on your answer sheet.

34   What’s Laszlo Polgar’s point of view towards geniuses of children?

A   Chess is the best way to train geniuses

B   Genius tend to happen on first child

C   Geniuses can be educated later on

D   Geniuses are born naturally

35   What is the purpose of citing Zsofia’s example in the last paragraph?

A   Practice makes genius

B   Girls are not good at chessing

C   She was an adopted child

D   Middle child is always the most talented

 

Questions 36-40

Use the information in the passage to match the countries (listed A-E) with correct connection below.

Write the appropriate letters A-E in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.

A          Scandinavia

B          Japan

C          Britain

D          China

E          America

36   Less gifted children get help from other classmates

37   Attending extra teaching is open to anyone

38   People are reluctant to favor gifted children due to social characteristics

39   Both view of innate and egalitarian co-existed

40   Craze of audio and video teaching for pregnant women.

Passage 1

1. F

2. D

3. C

4. A

5. B

6. B

7. B/D

8. D/B

9. C/D

10. D/C

11. moods

12. milestone

13. pessimistic

Passage 2

14. B

15. E

16. F

17. essential element

18. applications

19. portable commodity

20. taxes

21. spirits

22. TRUE

23. NOT GIVEN

24. FALSE

25. FALSE

26. TRUE

27. TRUE

Passage 3

28. YES

29. NO

30. YES

31. NOT GIVEN

32. NO

33. YES

34. C

35. A

36. B

37. D

38. A

39. C

40. E

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