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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.

Computer Games for Preschoolers:

Nintendo’s Research and Design Process

A

Designing computer games for young children is a daunting task for game producers, who, for a long time, have concentrated on more “hardcore” game fans. This article chronicles the design process and research involved in creating the Nintendo DS for preschool gamers.

B

After speaking with our producers who have a keen interest in designing for the DS, we finally agreed on three key goals for our project. First, to understand the range of physical and cognitive abilities of preschoolers in the context of handheld system gameplay; second, to understand how preschool gamers interact with the DS, specifically how they control the different forms of play and game mechanics offered by the games presently on the market for this platform; third, to understand the expectations of preschoolers’ parents concerning the handheld systems as well as the purchase and play contexts within which gameplay occurs. The team of the researchers decided that in-home ethnographies with preschoolers and their families would yield comprehensive database with which to give our producers more information and insights, so we start by conducting 26 in-home ethnographies in three markets across the United States: an East coast urban/suburban area, a West coast urban/suburban area, and a Midwest suburban/rural area.

C

The subjects in this study included 15 girls and 11 boys ranging from 3 years and 3 months old to 5 years and 11 months old. Also, because previous research had shown the effects of older siblings on gameplay (demonstrated, for example, by more advanced motor coordination when using a computer mouse), households were employed to have a combination of preschoolers with and without elder peers. In order to understand both “experienced” and “new” preschool users of the platform, we divided the sample so that 13 families owned at least one Nintendo DS and the others did not. For those households that did not own a DS, one was brought to the interview for the kid to play. This allowed us to see both the instinctive and intuitive movements of the new players (and of the more experienced players when playing new games), as well as the learned movements of the more experienced players. Each of those interviews took about 60 to 120 minutes and included the preschooler, at least one parent, and often siblings and another caregiver.

D

Three kinds of information were collected after each interview. From any older siblings and the parents that were available, we gathered data about: the buying decisions surrounding game systems in the household, the family’s typical gameplay patterns, levels of parental moderation with regard to computer gaming, and the most favorite games played by family members. We could also understand the ideology of gaming in these homes because of these in-home interviews: what types of spaces were used for gameplay, how the systems were installed, where the handheld play occurred in the house (as well as on-the-go play), and the number and type of games and game systems owned. The most important is, we gathered the game-playing information for every single kid.

E

Before carrying out the interviews, the research team had closely discussed with the in-house game producers to create a list of game mechanics and problems tied to preschoolers’ motor and cognitive capabilities that were critical for them to understand prior to writing the games. These ranged from general dexterity issues related to game controllers to the effectiveness of in-game instructions to specific mechanics in current games that the producers were interested in implementing for future preschool titles. During the interviews, the moderator gave specific guidance to the preschooler through a series of games, so that he or she could observe the interaction and probe both the preschooler and his or her parents on feelings, attitudes, and frustrations that arose in the different circumstances.

F

If the subject in the experiment had previous exposure to the DS system, he or she was first asked to play his or her favorite game on that machine. This gave the researchers information about the current of gaming skill related to the complexity of the chosen one, allowing them to see the child playing a game with mechanics he or she was already familiar with. Across the 26 preschoolers, the Nintendo DS selections scope were very broad, including New Super Mario Bros, Sonic Rush. Nintendo, and Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground. The interviewer observed the child play, noting preferences for game mechanics and motor interactions with the device as well as the complexity level each game mechanic was for the tested subject. The researchers asked all of the preschoolers to play with a specific game in consultation with our producers, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. The game was chosen for two major reasons. First, it was one of the few games on the market with characters that appeal to this young age group. Second, it incorporated a large variety of mechanics that highlighted the uniqueness of the DS platform, including using the microphone for blowing or singing.

G

The findings from this initial experiment were extensive. After reviewing the outcomes and discussing the implications for the game design with our internal game production team, we then outlined the designing needs and presented the findings to a firm specializing in game design. We worked closely with those experts to set the game design for the two preschool-targeted DS games under development on what we had gathered.

H

As the two DS games went into the development process, a formative research course of action was set up. Whenever we developed new game mechanics, we brought preschoolers into our in-house utility lab to test the mechanics and to evaluate both their simplicity, and whether they were engaging. We tested either alpha or beta versions of different elements of the game, in addition to looking at the overarching game structure. Once a full version of the DS game was ready, we went back into the field test with a dozen preschoolers and their parents to make sure that each of the game elements worked for the children, and that the overall objective of the game was understandable and the process was enjoyable for players. We also collected parents’ feedback on whether they thought the game is appropriate, engaging, and worth the purchase.

 

Questions 1-5

Complete the sentences below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

Exploratory Research Project

Main Objectives:

Determine the relevant 1……………………. in the context

Observe how preschoolers manage to play

Investigate attitudes of 2…………………… towards games

Subjects:

26 children from different US 3………………………..

Age range: 3 years and 3 months to 5 years and 11 months

Some children have older 4……………………… in the house as playing peers.

Equal number of new and 5……………………… players

Some households have Nintendo DS and some don’t

Length of Interview:

1-2 hours

Questions 6-9

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

In boxes 6-9 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 an on this

6   One area of research is how far mothers and fathers controlled children’s playing after school.

7   Some researchers are allowed access to the subjects’ houses.

8   The researchers regarded The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure as likely appeal to preschoolers.

9   The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is entirely designed for preschool children.

Questions 10-13

Complete the flow-chart below.

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

Write your answers in boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet.

Using the Results of the Study

Presentation of design requirements to a specialist 10……………………

Testing the mechanics of two new games in the Nintendo lab (assess 11…………………….. and interest)

A field test in 12……………………… trailed by twelve children

Collection of 13……………………….. from parents

READING PASSAGE 2

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

Going nowhere fast

New transport mode PRT RUF

A

This is ludicrous! We can talk to people anywhere in the world or fly to meet them in a few hours. We can even send probes to other planets. But when it comes to getting around our cities, we depend on systems that have scarcely changed since the days of Gottlieb Daimler.

B

In recent years, the pollution belched out by millions of vehicles has dominated the debate about transport. The problem has even persuaded California that home of car culture to curb traffic growth. But no matter how green they become, cars are unlikely to get us around crowded cities any faster. And persuading people to use trains and buses will always be an uphill struggle. Cars, after all, are popular for very good reasons, as anyone with small children or heavy shopping knows.

C

A professor of mechanical engineering sits typing at a computer keyboard, conjuring up a scene on his monitor that looks something like the classic computer game PacMan. White dots stream in from the right of the screen, switch to red and merge with green boxes, which swiftly change colour to yellow and the red while moving through a bewildering maze. But this is not a video game. J. Edward Anderson of Boston University is testing an urban transit system that he believes could revolutionise public transport worldwide.

D

For the past quarter of a century, Anderson has been promoting his version of personal rapid transit (PRT). Other versions came and went in the 1970s, from Europe, Japan and elsewhere in the US, but he was so convinced of the idea’s potential that the stuck with it and, in 1983, founded the Taxi 2000 Corporation to ‘commercialise’ the initiative. Although the University of Minnesota, Anderson’s employer until 1986, holds the patents to the technology, he is licensed to develop it and to sub-license other developers. So politicians should be trying to lure people out of their cars, not forcing them out. There’s certainly no shortage of alternatives. Perhaps the most attractive is the concept known as personal rapid transit (PRT), independently invented in the US and Europe in the 1950s.

E

The idea is to go to one of many stations and hop into a computer-controlled car which can whisk you to your destination along with a network of guideways. You wouldn’t have to share your space with strangers, and with no traffic lights, pedestrians or parked card to slow things down, PRT guideways can carry far more traffic, nonstop, than any inner-city road. It’s a wonderful vision, but the odds are stacked against PRT for a number of reasons. The first cars ran on existing roads, and it was only after they became popular – and after governments started earning revenue from them – that a road network designed specifically for motor vehicles was built. With PRT, the infrastructure would have to come first – and that would cost megabucks.

F

What’s more, any transport system that threatened the car’s dominance would be up against all those with a stake in maintaining the status quo, from private car owners to manufacturers and oil multinationals. Even if PRTs were spectacularly successful in trials, it might not make much difference. Superior technology doesn’t always triumph, as the VHS versus Betamax and Windows versus Apple Mac battles showed.

G

But “dual-mode” systems might just succeed where PRT seems doomed to fail. The Danish RUF system envisaged by Palle Jensen, for example, resembles PRT but with one key difference: vehicles have wheels as well as a lot allowing them to travel on a monorail, so they can drive off the rail onto a normal road. Once on a road, the occupant would take over from the computer, and the RUF vehicle – the term comes from a Danish saying meaning to “go fast” – would become an electric car.

H

Build a fast network of guideways in a busy city centre and people would have a strong incentive not just to use public RUF vehicles, but also to buy their own dual-mode vehicle. Commuters could drive onto the guideway, sit back and read as they are chauffeured into the city. At work, they would jump out, leaving their vehicles to park themselves. Unlike PRT, such a system could grow organically, as each network would serve a large area around it and people nearby could buy into it. And a dual-mode system might even win the support of car manufacturers, who could easily switch to producing dual-mode vehicles.

I

The RUF system can reduce the energy consumption from individual traffic. The main factor is the reduction of air resistance due to close coupling of vehicles. The energy consumption per ruf can be reduced to less than 1/3 at 100 km/h. Since RUF is an electric system, renewable sources can be used without problems. A combination of windmills and a RUF rail could be used over water. Solar cells can also be integrated into the system and ensure completely sustainable transportation.

J

Of course, creating a new transport system will not be cheap or easy. But unlike adding a dedicated bus lane here or extending the underground railway there, an innovative system such as Jensen’s could transform cities. The vehicles in a RUF system “rides” very safely on top of a triangular monorail. This means that derailments are impossible and that the users will feel safe because it is easy to understand that when the rail is actually inside the vehicle it is absolutely stable. The special rail brake ensures that braking power is always available even during bad weather. The brake can squeeze as hard against the rail as required in order to bring the vehicle to a safe stop. If a vehicle has to be evacuated, a walkway between the two rails can be used.

K

And it’s not just a matter of saving a few minutes a day. According to the Red Cross, more than 30 million people have died in road accidents in the past century – three times the number killed in the First World War – and the annual death toll is rising. And what’s more, the Red Cross believes road accidents will become the third biggest cause of death and disability by 2020, ahead of diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis. Surely we can find a better way to get around. 

  

Questions 14-17

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 is true

FALSE              if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN    if the information is not given in the passage

14   City transport developed slower than other means of communication.

15   Many states in the US consider reducing cars growth.

16   Car pollution has been concerned these days.

17   Trains and buses are not suitable to drive on an uphill road.

  

Questions 18-24

Use the information in the passage to match the category (listed A-C) with the description below.

Write the appropriate letters A-C in boxes 18-24 on your answer sheet.

A          ONLY PRT

B          ONLY RUF

C          BOTH OF THEM

18   Totally apply computer system

19   Opposition to the system from companies

20   Reach destination fast

21   Not necessary to share with the public

22   Work on existing road

23   Individuals can buy cars after all

24   Controlled both by computer and manual

Questions 25-27

Choose THREE correct letters from followings that are advantages of developing a NEW TRANSPORT SYSTEM:

Write your answers in boxes 25-27 on your answer sheet.

A          Stimulating economy

B          Successful application in Europe

C          Safety consideration

D         Less pollution to the environment

E          Economical budget

F          Public popularity

G         Fast speed

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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.

Internal and External Marketing

A

Employees need to hear the same messages that you send out to the marketplace. At most companies, however, internal and external communications are often mismatched. This can be very confusing, and it threatens employees’ perceptions of the company’s integrity: They are told one thing by management but observe that a different message is being sent to the public. One health insurance company, for instance, advertised that the welfare of patients was the company’s number one priority, while employees were told that their main goal was to increase the value of their stock options through cost reductions. And one major financial services institution told customers that it was making a major shift in focus from being a financial retailer to a financial adviser, but, a year later, research showed that the customer experience with the company had not changed. It turned out that company leaders had not made an effort to sell the change internally, so employees were still churning out transactions and hadn’t changed their behavior to match their new adviser role.

B

Enabling employees to deliver on customer expectations is important, of course, but it’s not the only reason a company needs to match internal and external messages. Another reason is to help push the company to achieve goals that might otherwise be out of reach. In 1997, when IBM launched its e-business campaign (which is widely credited for turning around the company’s image), it chose to ignore research that suggested consumers were unprepared to embrace IBM as a leader in e-business. Although to the outside world this looked like an external marketing effort, IBM was also using the campaign to align employees around the idea of the Internet as the future of technology. The internal campaign changed the way employees thought about everything they did, from how they named products to how they organized staff to how they approached selling. The campaign was successful largely because it gave employees a sense of direction and purpose, which in turn restored their confidence in IBM’s ability to predict the future and lead the technology industry. Today, research shows that people are four times more likely to associate the term “e-business” with IBM than with its nearest competitor, Microsoft.

C

The type of “two-way branding” that IBM did so successfully strengthens both sides of the equation. Internal marketing becomes stronger because it can draw on the same “big idea” as advertising. Consumer marketing becomes stronger because the messages are developed based on employees’ behavior and attitudes, as well as on the company’s strengths and capabilities – indeed, the themes are drawn from the company’s very soul. This process can result in a more distinct advertising idea because marketers are more likely to create a message that’s unique to the company.

D

Perhaps even more important, by taking employees into account, a company can avoid creating a message that doesn’t resonate with staff or, worse, one that builds resentment. In 1996, United Airlines shelved its “Come Fly the Friendly Skies” slogan when presented with a survey that revealed the depth of customer resentment toward the airline industry. In an effort to own up to the industry’s shortcomings, United launched a new campaign, “Rising,” in which it sought to differentiate itself by acknowledging poor service and promising incremental improvements such as better meals. While this was a logical premise for the campaign given the tenor of the times, a campaign focusing on customers’ distaste for flying was deeply discouraging to the staff. Employee resentment ultimately made it impossible for United to deliver the improvements it was promising, which in turn undermined the “Rising” pledge. Three years later, United decided employee opposition was undermining its success and pulled the campaign. It has since moved to a more inclusive brand message with the line “United,” which both audiences can embrace. Here, a fundamental principle of advertising – find and address a customer concern – failed United because it did not consider the internal market.

E

When it comes to execution, the most common and effective way to link internal and external marketing campaigns is to create external advertising that targets both audiences. IBM used this tactic very effectively when it launched its e-business campaign. It took out an eight-page ad in the Wall Street Journal declaring its new vision, a message directed at both customers and internal stakeholders. This is an expensive way to capture attention, but if used sparingly, it is the most powerful form of communication; in fact, you need do it only once for everyone in the company to read it. There’s a symbolic advantage as well. Such a tactic signals that the company is taking its pledge very seriously; it also signals transparency – the same message going out to both audiences.

F

Advertising isn’t the only way to link internal and external marketing. At Nike, a number of senior executives now hold the additional title of “Corporate Storyteller.” They deliberately avoid stories of financial successes and concentrate on parables of “just doing it,” reflecting and reinforcing the company’s ad campaigns. One tale, for example, recalls how legendary coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, in an effort to build a better shoe for his team, poured rubber into the family waffle iron, giving birth to the prototype of Nike’s famous Waffle Sole. By talking about such inventive moves, the company hopes to keep the spirit of innovation that characterizes its ad campaigns alive and well within the company.

G

But while their messages must be aligned, companies must also keep external promises a little ahead of internal realities. Such promises provide incentives for employees and give them something to live up to. In the 1980s, Ford turned “Quality is Job!” from an internal rallying cry into a consumer slogan in response to the threat from cheaper, more reliable Japanese cars. It did so before the claim was fully justified, but by placing it in the public arena, it gave employees an incentive to match the Japanese. If the promise is pushed too far ahead, however, it loses credibility. When a beleaguered British Rail launched a campaign announcing service improvement under the banner “We’re Getting There,” it did so prematurely. By drawing attention to the gap between the promise and the reality, it prompted destructive press coverage. This, in turn, demoralized staff, who had been legitimately proud of the service advances they had made.

 

Questions 28-34

Use the information in the passage to match the company (listed A-F) with correct category or deeds below.

Write the appropriate letters A-F in boxes 28-34 on your answer sheet.

NB  You may use any letter more than once

A   legendary anecdote inspire employee successfully

B   advertisement campaign inspire employees and ensure a leading role in business

C   improper ads campaign brings negative effect

D   internal and external announcement are different

E   campaign brings positive and realistic expectation internally

F   a bad slogan that failed both to win support internally and raise standard to its poor service

28   One health insurance Company

29   British Rail

30   IBM

31   United Airline

32   A financial service company

33   A Shoemaking company (Nike)

34   The Company of (Ford)

Questions 35-38

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

In boxes 35-38 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE               if the statement is true

FALSE              if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN    if the information is not given in the passage

35   Employers in almost all companies successfully make their employees fully understand the outside campaign.

36   Currently IBM is more prominent in the area of E-business

37   United Airline finally gave up an ads slogan due to a survey in 1996.

38   Nike had improved company performance through telling employees legendary corporation stories.

 

Questions 39-40

Choose TWO correct letters below

Write your answers in boxes 39-40 on your answer sheet.

Please choose TWO approaches in the passage mentioned that were employed as company strategy:

A   promoting the visual effect of their products’ advertisement

B   launching inspiring campaigns internally

C   introducing inner competition

D   learning how to sell stories among senior executives

E   applying an appropriate slogan

Passage 1

1. abilities

2. parents

3. markets

4. siblings

5. experienced

6. NOT GIVEN

7. TRUE

8. TRUE

9. FALSE

10. firm

11. simplicity

12. full version

13. feedback

Passage 2

14. TRUE

15. NOT GIVEN

16. TRUE

17. NOT GIVEN

18. A

19. A

20. C

21. C

22. B

23. B

24. B

25. C

26. D

27. G

Passage 3

28. D

29. C

30. B

31. F

32. C

33. A

34. E

35. FALSE

36. TRUE

37. TRUE

38. NOT GIVEN

39. B

40. E

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