READING PASSAGE 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.
Everyone is familiar with scented flowers, and many people have heard that floral odors help the plant attract pollinators. This common notion is mostly correct, but it is surprising how little scientific proof of it exists. Of course, not all flowers are pollinated by biological agents – for example, many grasses are wind-pollinated – but the flowers of the grasses may still emit volatiles. In fact, plants emit organic molecules all the time, although they may not be obvious to the human nose. As for flower scents that we can detect with our noses, bouquets that attract moths and butterflies generally smell “sweet,” and those that attract certain flies seem “rotten” to us.
Herbivore induced volatiles often serve as indirect defenses. These bulwarks exist in a variety of plant species, including corn, beans, and the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. Plants not only emit volatiles acutely, at the site where caterpillars, mites, aphids or similar insects are eating them but also generally from non-damaged parts of the plant. These signals attract a variety of predatory insects that prey on the plant-eaters. For example, some parasitic wasps can detect the volatile signature of a damaged plant and will lay their eggs inside the offending caterpillar; eventually, the wasp eggs hatch, and the emerging larvae feed on the caterpillar from the inside hatch, and the emerging larvae feed on the caterpillar from the inside out. The growth of infected caterpillars is retarded considerably, to the benefit of the plant. Similarly, volatiles released by plants in response to herbivore egg laying can attract parasites of the eggs, thereby preventing them from hatching and avoiding the onslaught of hungry herbivores that would have emerged. Plant volatiles can also be used as a kind of currency in some very indirect defensive schemes. In the rainforest understory tree Leonardoxa Africana, ants of the species Petalomyrmex phylax patrol young leaves and attack any herbivorous insects that they encounter. The young leaves emit high levels of the volatile compound methyl salicylate, a compound that the ants use either as a pheromone or as an antiseptic in their nests. It appears that methyl salicylate is both an attractant and a reward offered by the tree to get the ants to perform this valuable deterrent role.
Floral scent has a strong impact on the economic success of many agricultural crops that rely on insect pollinators, including fruit trees such as the bee-pollinated cherry, apple, apricot and peach, as well as vegetables and tropical plants such as papaya. Pollination not only affects crop yield, but also the quality and efficiency of crop production. Many crops require most, if not all, ovules to be fertilized for optimum fruit size and shape. A decrease in fragrance emission reduces the ability of flowers to attract pollinators and results in considerable losses for growers, particularly for introduced species that had a specialized pollinator in their place of origin. This problem has been exacerbated by recent disease epidemics that have killed many honeybees, the major insect pollinators in the United States.
One means by which plant breeders circumvent the pollination problem is by breeding self-compatible, or apomictic, varieties that do not require fertilization. Although this solution is adequate, its drawbacks include near genetic uniformity and consequent susceptibility to pathogens. Some growers have attempted to enhance honeybee foraging by spraying scent compounds on orchard trees, but this approach was costly, had to be repeated, had potentially toxic effects on the soil or local biota, and, in the end, proved to be inefficient. The poor effectiveness of this strategy probably reflects inherent limitations of the artificial, topically applied compounds, which clearly fail to convey the appropriate message to the bees. For example, general spraying of the volatile mixture cannot tell the insects where exactly the blossoms are. Clearly, a more refined strategy is needed. The ability to enhance existing floral scent, which could all be accomplished by genetic engineering, would allow us to manipulate the types of insect pollinators and the frequency of their visits. Moreover, the metabolic engineering of fragrance could increase crop protection against pathogens and pests.
Genetic manipulation of the scent will also benefit the floriculture industry. Ornamentals, including cut flowers, foliage and potted plants, play an important aesthetic role in human life. Unfortunately, traditional breeding has often produced cultivars with improved vase life, shipping characteristics, color and shape while sacrificing desirable perfumes. The loss of scent among ornamentals, which have a worldwide value of more than $30 billion, makes them important targets for the genetic manipulation of flower fragrance. Some work has already begun in this area, as several groups have created petunia and carnation plants that express the linalool synthase gene from C. Breweri. These experiments are still preliminary: For technical reasons, the gene was expressed everywhere in the plant, and although the transgenic plants did create small amounts of linalool, the level was below the threshold of detection for the human nose. Similar experiments in tobacco used genes for other monoterpene synthases, such as the one that produces limonene, but gave similar results.
The next generation of experiments, already in progress, includes sophisticated schemes that target the expression of scent genes specifically to flowers or other organs – such as special glands that can store antimicrobial or herbivore-repellent compounds.
The Reading Passage has seven paragraphs A-G.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter A-G, in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.
1 Substance released to help plants themselves.
2 Scent helps plant’s pollination.
3 Practice on genetic experiment of fragrance.
4 Plant’s scent attracts herbivore’s enemy for protection.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 5-8 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
5 We have few evidence to support the idea that scent attracts pollinators.
6 Heliothis virescens won’t eat those tobacco leaves on which they laid eggs.
7 Certain ants are attracted by volatiles to guard plants in rainforest.
8 Pollination only affects fruit trees’ production rather than other crop trees.
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
Write your answers in boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet.
9 How do wasps protect plants when they are attracted by scents according to the passage?
A plants induce wasps to prey herbivore.
B wasps lay eggs into caterpillars.
C wasps laid eggs on plants to expel herbivore.
D offending caterpillars and wasp eggs coexist well.
10 What reason caused a number of honeybees decline in the United States.
A pollination process
B spread illness
C crop trees are poisonous
D grower’s overlook
11 Which of the following drawbacks about artificial fragrance is NOT mentioned in the passage?
A it’s very expensive
B it can’t tell correct information to pollinators.
C it needs massive manual labour
D it poisons local environment
12 The number of $30 billion quoted in the passage is to illustrate the fact that:
A favorable perfumes are made from ornamental flowers.
B traditional floriculture industry needs reform.
C genetic operation on scent can make a vast profit.
D Scent plays a significant role in Ornamental industry.
13 What is weakness of genetic experiments on fragrance?
A Linalool level is too low to be smelt by nose
B no progress made in linalool emission.
C experiment on tobacco has a better result
D transgenic plants produce intense scent
READING PASSAGE 2
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.
We have Star performers!
The difference between companies is people. With capital and technology in plentiful supply, the critical resource for companies in the knowledge era will be human talent. Companies full of achievers will, by definition, outperform organisations of plodders. Ergo, compete ferociously for the best people. Poach and pamper stars; ruthlessly weed out second-raters. This, in essence, has been the recruitment strategy of the ambitious company of the past decade. The ‘talent mindset’ was given definitive form in two reports by the consultancy McKinsey famously entitled The War for Talent. Although the intensity of the warfare subsequently subsided along with the air in the internet bubble, it has been warming up again as the economy tightens: labour shortages, for example, are the reason the government has laid out the welcome mat for immigrants from the new Europe.
Yet while the diagnosis – people are important – is evident to the point of platitude, the apparently logical prescription – hire the best – like so much in management is not only not obvious: it is in fact profoundly wrong. The first suspicions dawned with the crash to earth of the dotcom meteors, which showed that dumb is dumb whatever the IQ of those who perpetrate it. The point was illuminated in brilliant relief by Enron, whose leaders, as a New Yorker article called ‘The Talent Myth’ entertainingly related, were so convinced of their own cleverness that they never twigged that collective intelligence is not the sum of a lot of individual intelligence. In fact, in a profound sense, the two are opposites. Enron believed in stars, noted author Malcolm Gladwell, because they didn’t believe in systems. But companies don’t just create: ‘they execute and compete and coordinate the efforts of many people, and the organisations that are most successful at that task are the ones where the system is the star’. The truth is that you can’t win the talent wars by hiring stars – only lose it. New light on why this should be so is thrown by an analysis of star behaviour in this months’ Harvard Business Review. In a study of the careers of 1,000 star-stock analysts in the 1990s, the researchers found that when a company recruited a star performer, three things happened.
First, stardom doesn’t easily transfer from one organisation to another. In many cases, performance dropped sharply when high performers switched employers and in some instances never recovered. More of success than commonly supposed is due to the working environment – systems, processes, leadership, accumulated embedded learning that are absent in and can’t be transported to the new firm. Moreover, precisely because of their past stellar performance, stars were unwilling to learn new tricks and antagonised those (on whom they now unwittingly depended) who could teach them. So they moved, upping their salary as they did – 36 per cent moved on within three years, fast even for Wall Street. Second, group performance suffered as a result of tensions and resentment by rivals within the team. One respondent likened hiring a star to an organ transplant. The new organ can damage others by hogging the blood supply, other organs can start aching or threaten to stop working or the body can reject the transplants altogether, he said. ‘You should think about it very carefully before you do a transplant to a healthy body.’ Third, investors punished the offender by selling its stock. This is ironic since the motive for importing stars was often a suffering share price in the first place. Shareholders evidently believe that the company is overpaying, the hiree is cashing in on a glorious past rather than preparing for a glowing present, and a spending spree is in the offing.
The result of mass star hirings as well as individual ones seems to confirm such doubts. Look at County NatWest and Barclays de Zoete Wedd, both of which hired teams of stars with loud fanfare to do great things in investment banking in the 1990s. Both failed dismally. Everyone accepts the cliche that people make the organisation – but much more does the organisation make the people. When researchers studied the performance of fund managers in the 1990s, they discovered that just 30 per cent of the variation in fund performance was due to the individual, compared to 70 per cent to the company-specific setting.
That will be no surprise to those familiar with systems thinking. W Edwards Deming used to say that there was no point in beating up on people when 90 per cent of performance variation was down to the system within which they worked. Consistent improvement, he said, is a matter not of raising the level of individual intelligence, but of the learning of the organisation as a whole. The star system is glamorous – for the few. But it rarely benefits the company that thinks it is working it. And the knock-on consequences indirectly affect everyone else too. As one internet response to Gladwell’s New Yorker article put it: after Enron, ‘the rest of corporate America is stuck with overpaid, arrogant, underachieving, and relatively useless talent.’
Football is another illustration of the star vs systems strategic choice. As with investment banks and stockbrokers, it seems obvious that success should ultimately be down to money. Great players are scarce and expensive. So the club that can afford more of them than anyone else will win. But the performance of Arsenal and Manchester United on one hand and Chelsea and Real Madrid on the other proves that it’s not as easy as that. While Chelsea and Real have the funds to be compulsive star collectors – as with Juan Sebastian Veron – they are less successful than Arsenal and United which, like Liverpool before them, have put much more emphasis on developing a setting within which stars-in-the-making can flourish. Significantly, Thierry Henry, Patrick Veira and Robert Pires are much bigger stars than when Arsenal bought them, their value (in all senses) enhanced by the Arsenal system. At Chelsea, by contrast, the only context is the stars themselves – managers with different outlooks come and go every couple of seasons. There is no settled system for the stars to blend into. The Chelsea context has not only not added value, but it has also subtracted it. The side is less than the sum of its exorbitantly expensive parts. Even Real Madrid’s galacticos, the most extravagantly gifted on the planet, are being outperformed by less talented but better-integrated Spanish sides. In football, too, stars are trumped by systems.
So if not by hiring stars, how do you compete in the war for talent? You grow your own. This worked for investment analysts, where some companies were not only better at creating stars but also at retaining them. Because they had a much more sophisticated view of the interdependent relationship between star and system, they kept them longer without resorting to the exorbitant salaries that were so destructive to rivals.
The Reading Passage has seven paragraphs A-G
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter A-G, in boxes 14-17 on your answer sheet.
NB You may use any letter more than once.
14 One example from non-commerce/business settings that better system win bigger stars
15 One failed company that believes stars rather than the system
16 One suggestion that the author made to acquire employees than to win the competition nowadays
17 One metaphor to human medical anatomy that illustrates the problems of hiring stars.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2?
In boxes 18-21 on your answer sheet, write
YES if the statement agrees with the information
NO if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this
18 McKinsey who wrote The War for Talent had not expected the huge influence made by this book.
19 Economic condition becomes one of the factors which decide whether or not a country would prefer to hire foreign employees.
20 The collapse of Enron is caused totally by an unfortunate incident instead of company’s management mistake.
21 Football clubs that focus making stars in the setting are better than simply collecting stars
Complete the following summary of the paragraphs of Reading Passage
Using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the Reading Passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 22-26 on your answer sheet.
An investigation carried out on 1000 22…………………………. Participants of a survey by Harvard Business Review found a company hire a 23………………………… has negative effects. For instance, they behave considerably worse in a new team than in the 24………………………….. that they used to be. They move faster than wall street and increase their 25………………………….. Secondly, they faced rejections or refuse from those 26……………………….. within the team. Lastly, the one who made mistakes had been punished by selling his/her stock share.
READING PASSAGE 3
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.
Try this memory test: Study each face and compose a vivid image for the person’s first and last name. Rose Leo, for example, could be a rosebud and a lion. Fill in the blanks on the next page. The Examinations School at Oxford University is an austere building of oak-paneled rooms, large Gothic windows, and looming portraits of eminent dukes and earls. It is where generations of Oxford students have tested their memory on final exams, and it is where, last August, 34 contestants gathered at the World Memory Championships to be examined in an entirely different manner.
In timed trials, contestants were challenged to look at and then recite a two-page poem, memorize rows of 40-digit numbers, recall the names of 110 people after looking at their photographs, and perform seven other feats of extraordinary retention. Some tests took just a few minutes; others lasted hours. In the 14 years since the World Memory Championships was founded, no one has memorized the order of a shuffled deck of playing cards in less than 30 seconds. That nice round number has become the four-minute mile of competitive memory, a benchmark that the world’s best “mental athletes,” as some of them like to be called, is closing in on. Most contestants claim to have just average memories, and scientific testing confirms that they’re not just being modest. Their feats are based on tricks that capitalize on how the human brain encodes information. Anyone can learn them.
Psychologists Elizabeth Valentine and John Wilding, authors of the monograph Superior Memory, recently teamed up with Eleanor Maguire, a neuroscientist at University College London to study eight people, including Karsten, who had finished near the top of the World Memory Championships. They wondered if the contestants’ brains were different in some way. The researchers put the competitors and a group of control subjects into an MRI machine and asked them to perform several different memory tests while their brains were being scanned. When it came to memorizing sequences of three-digit numbers, the difference between the memory contestant and the control subjects was, as expected, immense. However, when they were shown photographs of magnified snowflakes, images that the competitors had never tried to memorize before, the champions did no better than the control group. When the researchers analyzed the brain scans, they found that the memory champs were activating some brain regions that were different from those the control subjects were using. These regions, which included the right posterior hippocampus, are known to be involved in visual memory and spatial navigation.
It might seem odd that the memory contestants would use visual imagery and spatial navigation to remember numbers, but the activity makes sense when their techniques are revealed. Cooke, a 23-year-old cognitive-science graduate student with a shoulder-length mop of curly hair, is a grand master of brain storage. He can memorize the order of 10 decks of playing cards in less than an hour or one deck of cards in less than a minute. He is closing in on the 30-second deck. In the Lamb and Flag, Cooke pulled out a deck of cards and shuffled it. He held up three cards – the 7 of spades, the queen of clubs, and the 10 of spades. He pointed at a fireplace and said, “Destiny’s Child is whacking Franz Schubert with handbags.” The next three cards were the king of hearts, the king of spades, and the jack of clubs.
How did he do it? Cooke has already memorized a specific person, verb, and object that he associates with each card in the deck. For example, for the 7 of spades, the person (or, in this case, persons) is always the singing group Destiny’s Child, the action is surviving a storm, and the image is a dinghy. The queen of clubs is always his friend Henrietta, the action is thwacking with a handbag, and the image is of wardrobes filled with designer clothes. When Cooke commits a deck to memory, he does it three cards at a time. Every three-card group forms a single image of a person doing something to an object. The first card in the triplet becomes the person, the second the verb, the third the object. He then places those images along a specific familiar route, such as the one he took through the Lamb and Flag. In competitions, he uses an imaginary route that he has designed to be as smooth and downhill as possible. When it comes time to recall, Cooke takes a mental walk along his route and translates the images into cards. That’s why the MRIs of the memory contestants showed activation in the brain areas associated with visual imagery and spatial navigation.
The more resonant the images are, the more difficult they are to forget. But even meaningful information is hard to remember when there’s a lot of it. That’s why competitive memorizers place their images along an imaginary route. That technique, known as the loci method, reportedly originated in 477 B.C. with the Greek poet Simonides of Ceos. Simonides was the sole survivor of a roof collapse that killed all the other guests at a royal banquet. The bodies were mangled beyond recognition, but Simonides was able to reconstruct the guest list by closing his eyes and recalling each individual around the dinner table. What he had discovered was that our brains are exceptionally good at remembering images and spatial information. Evolutionary psychologists have offered an explanation: Presumably, our ancestors found it important to recall where they found their last meal or the way back to the cave. After Simonides’ discovery, the loci method became popular across ancient Greece as a trick for memorizing speeches and texts. Aristotle wrote about it, and later a number of treatises on the art of memory were published in Rome. Before printed books, the art of memory was considered a staple of classical education, on a par with grammar, logic, and rhetoric.
The most famous of the naturals was the Russian journalist S.V. Shereshevski, who could recall long lists of numbers memorized decades earlier, as well as poems, strings of nonsense syllables, and just about anything else he was asked to remember. “The capacity of his memory had no distinct limits,” wrote Alexander Luria, the Russian psychologist who studies Shereshevski also had synesthesia, a rare condition in which the senses become intertwined. For example, every number may be associated with a color or every word with a taste. Synesthetic reactions evoke a response in more areas of the brain, making memory easier.
K. Anders Ericsson, a Swedish-born psychologist at Florida State University, thinks anyone can acquire Shereshevski’s skills. He cites an experiment with S. F., an undergraduate who was paid to take a standard test of memory called the digit span for one hour a day, two or three days a week. When he started, he could hold, like most people, only about seven digits in his head at any given time (conveniently, the length of a phone number). Over two years, S. F. completed 250 hours of testing. By then, he had stretched his digit span from 7 to more than 80. The study of S. F. led Ericsson to believe that innately superior memory doesn’t exist at all. When he reviewed original case studies of naturals, he found that exceptional memorizers were using techniques – sometimes without realizing it – and lots of practice. Often, exceptional memory was only for a single type of material, like digits. “If we look at some of these memory tasks, they’re the kind of thing most people don’t even waste one hour practicing, but if they wasted 50 hours, they’d be exceptional at it,” Ericsson says. It would be remarkable, he adds, to find a “person who is exceptional across a number of tasks. I don’t think that there’s any compelling evidence that there are such people.”
The Reading Passage has seven paragraphs A-G.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter A-G, in boxes 27-31 on your answer sheet.
27 The reason why the competence of super memory is significant in academic settings
28 Mention of a contest for extraordinary memory held in consecutive years
29 A demonstrative example of extraordinary person did an unusual recalling game
30 A belief that extraordinary memory can be gained through enough practice
31 A depiction of the rare ability which assists the extraordinary memory reactions
Complete the following summary of the paragraphs of Reading Passage.
Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the Reading Passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 32-36 on your answer sheet.
Using visual imagery and spatial navigation to remember numbers are investigated and explained. A man called Ed Cooke in a pub, spoke a string of odd words when he held 7 of the spades (the first one of any cards group) was remembered as he encoded it to a 32………………………. and the card deck to memory are set to be one time of an order of 33………………………..; When it comes time to recall, Cooke took a 34………………………….. along his way and interpreted the imaginary scene into cards. This superior memory skill can be traced back to Ancient Greece, the strategy was called 35……………………… which had been a major subject was in ancient 36………………………..
Choose TWO correct letters, A-E.
Write your answers in boxes 37-38 on your answer sheet.
According to World Memory Championships, what activities need good memory?
A order for a large group of each digit
B recall people’s face
C resemble a long Greek poem
D match name with pictures and features
E recall what people ate and did yesterday
Choose TWO correct letters, A-E.
Write your answers in boxes 39-40 on your answer sheet.
What is the result of Psychologists Elizabeth Valentine and John Wilding’s MRI Scan experiment find out?
A the champions’ brains are different in some way from common people
B difference in the brain of champions’ scan image to control subjects are shown when memorizing sequences of three-digit numbers
C champions did much worse when they are asked to remember photographs
D the memory-champs activated more brain regions than control subjects
E there is some part in the brain coping with visual and spatial memory