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

Animal minds: Parrot Alex


In 1977 Irene Pepperberg, a recent graduate of Harvard University did something very bold. At a time when animals still were considered automatons, she set out to find what was on another creature’s mind by talking to it. She brought a one-year-old African gray parrot she named Alex into her lab to teach him to reproduce the sounds of the English language. “I thought if he learned to communicate, I could ask him questions about how he sees the world.”



When Pepperberg began her dialogue with Alex, who died last September at the age of 31, many scientists believed animals were incapable of any thought. They were simply machines, robots programmed to react to stimuli but lacking the ability to think or feel. Any pet owner would disagree. We see the love in our dogs’ eyes and know that, of course, they have thoughts and emotions. But such claims remain highly controversial. Gut instinct is not science, and it is all too easy to project human thoughts and feelings onto another creature. How, then, does a scientist prove that an animal is capable of thinking – that it is able to acquire information about the world and act on it? “That’s why I started my studies with Alex,” Pepperberg said. They were seated – she at her desk, he on top of his cage – in her lab, a windowless room about the size of a boxcar, at Brandeis University. Newspapers lined the floor; baskets of bright toys were stacked on the shelves. They were clearly a team – and because of their work, the notion that animals can think is no longer so fanciful.


Certain skills are considered key signs of higher mental abilities: good memory, a grasp of grammar and symbols, self-awareness, understanding others’ motives, imitating others, and being creative. Bit by bit, in ingenious experiments, researchers have documented these talents in other species, gradually chipping away at what we thought made human beings distinctive while offering a glimpse of where our own abilities came from. Scrub jays know that other jays are thieves and that stashed food can spoil; sheep can recognize faces; chimpanzees use a variety of tools to probe termite mounds and even use weapons to hunt small mammals; dolphins can imitate human postures; the archerfish, which stuns insects with a sudden blast of water, can learn how to aim its squirt simply by watching an experienced fish perform the task. And Alex the parrot turned out to be a surprisingly good talker.


Thirty years after the Alex studies began; Pepperberg and a changing collection of assistants were still giving him English lessons. The humans, along with two younger parrots, also served as Alex’s flock, providing the social input all parrots crave. Like any flock, this one – as small as it was – had its share of drama. Alex dominated his fellow parrots, acted huffy at times around Pepperberg, tolerated the other female humans, and fell to pieces over a male assistant who dropped by for a visit. Pepperberg bought Alex in a Chicago pet store where she let the store’s assistant pick him out because she didn’t want other scientists saying later that she’d particularly chosen an especially smart bird for her work. Given that Alex’s brain was the size of a shelled walnut, most researchers thought Pepperberg’s interspecies communication study would be futile.


“Some people actually called me crazy for trying this,” she said. “Scientists thought that chimpanzees were better subjects, although, of course, chimps can’t speak.” Chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas have been taught to use sign language and symbols to communicate with us, often with impressive results. The bonobo Kanzi, for instance, carries his symbol-communication board with him so he can “talk” to his human researchers, and he has invented combinations of symbols to express his thoughts. Nevertheless, this is not the same thing as having an animal look up at you, open his mouth, and speak. Under Pepperberg’s patient tutelage, Alex learned how to use his vocal tract to imitate almost one hundred English words, including the sounds for various foods, although he calls an apple a “banerry.” “Apples taste a little bit like bananas to him, and they look a little bit like cherries, so Alex made up that word for them,” Pepperberg said.


It sounded a bit mad, the idea of a bird having lessons to practice, and willingly doing it. But after listening to and observing Alex, it was difficult to argue with Pepperberg’s explanation for his behaviors. She wasn’t handing him treats for the repetitious work or rapping him on the claws to make him say the sounds. “He has to hear the words over and over before he can correctly imitate them,” Pepperberg said, after pronouncing “seven” for Alex a good dozen times in a row. “I’m not trying to see if Alex can learn a human language,” she added. “That’s never been the point. My plan always was to use his imitative skills to get a better understanding of avian cognition.”


In other words, because Alex was able to produce a close approximation of the sounds of some English words, Pepperberg could ask him questions about a bird’s basic understanding of the world. She couldn’t ask him what he was thinking about, but she could ask him about his knowledge of numbers, shapes, and colors. To demonstrate, Pepperberg carried Alex on her arm to a tall wooden perch in the middle of the room. She then retrieved a green key and a small green cup from a basket on a shelf. She held up the two items to Alex’s eye. “What’s same?” she asked. Without hesitation, Alex’s beak opened: “Co-lor.” “What’s different?” Pepperberg asked. “Shape,” Alex said. His voice had the digitized sound of a cartoon character.

Since parrots lack lips (another reason it was difficult for Alex to pronounce some sounds, such as ba), the words seemed to come from the air around him, as if a ventriloquist were speaking. But the words – and what can only be called the thoughts – were entirely his.


For the next 20 minutes, Alex can through his tests, distinguishing colors, shapes, sizes, and materials (wool versus wood versus metal). He did some simple arithmetic, such as accounting the yellow toy blocks among a pile of mixed hues. And, then, as if to offer final proof of the mind inside his bird’s brain, Alex spoke up. “Talk clearly!” he commanded, when one of the younger birds Pepperberg was also teaching talked with wrong pronunciation. “Talk clearly!” “Don’t be a smart aleck,” Pepperberg said, shaking her head at him. “He knows all this, and he gets bored, so he interrupts the others, or he gives the wrong answer just to be obstinate. At this stage, he’s like a teenager; he’s moody, and I’m never sure what he’ll do.”




Questions 1-6

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

In boxes 1-6 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


1   Firstly, Alex has grasped quite a lot of vocabulary.

2   At the beginning of the study, Alex felt frightened in the presence of humans.

3   Previously, many scientists realized that the animal possesses the ability of thinking.

4   It has taken a long time before people get to know cognition existing in animals.

5   As Alex could approximately imitate the sounds of English words, he was capable of roughly answering Irene’s questions regarding the world.

6   By breaking in other parrots as well as producing the incorrect answers, he tried to be focused.



Questions 7-10

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 7-10 on your answer sheet.


After the training of Irene, Parrot Alex can use his vocal tract to pronounce more than 7…………………….., while other scientists believe that animals have no this advanced ability of thinking, they would rather teach 8………………………. Pepperberg clarified that she wanted to conduct a study concerning 9……………………….. but not to teach him to talk. The store’s assistant picked out a bird at random for her for the sake of avoiding other scientists saying that the bird is 10……………………. afterwards. 


Questions 11-13

Answer the questions 11-13 below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

11   What did Alex reply regarding the similarity of the subjects showed to him?

12   What is the problem of the young parrots except for Alex?

13   To some extent, through the way, he behaved what we can call him?



You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below. 



Stories and poems aimed at children have an exceedingly long history: lullabies, for example, were sung in Roman times, and a few nursery games and rhymes are almost as ancient. Yet so far as written-down literature is concerned, while there were stories in print before 1700 that children often seized on when they had the chance, such as translation of Aesop’s fables, fairy-stories and popular ballads and romances, these were not aimed at young people in particular. Since the only genuinely child-oriented literature at this time would have been a few instructional works to help with reading and general knowledge, plus the odd Puritanical tract as an aid to morality, the only course for keen child readers was to read adult literature. This still occurs today, especially with adult thrillers or romances that include more exciting, graphic detail than is normally found in the literature for younger readers.


By the middle of the 18th century there were enough eager child readers, and enough parents glad to cater to this interest, for publishers to specialize in children’s books whose first aim was a pleasure rather than education or morality. In Britain, a London merchant named Thomas Boreham produced Cajanus, The Swedish Giant in 1742, while the more famous John Newbery published A Little Pretty Pocket Book in 1744. Its contents – rhymes, stories, children’s games plus a free gift (‘A ball and a pincushion’) – in many ways anticipated the similar lucky-dip contents of children’s annuals this century. It is a tribute to Newbery’s flair that he hit upon a winning formula quite so quickly, to be pirated almost immediately in America.


Such pleasing levity was not to last. Influenced by Rousseau, whose Emile (1762) decreed that all books for children save Robinson Crusoe were a dangerous diversion, contemporary critics saw to it that children’s literature should be instructive and uplifting. Prominent among such voices was Mrs Sarah Trimmer, whose magazine The Guardian of Education (1802) carried the first regular reviews of children’s books. It was she who condemned fairy-tales for their violence and general absurdity; her own stories, Fabulous Histories (1786) described talking animals who were always models of sense and decorum.


So the moral story for children was always threatened from within, given the way children have of drawing out entertainment from the sternest moralist. But the greatest blow to the improving children’s book was to come from an unlikely source indeed: early 19th-century interest in folklore. Both nursery rhymes, selected by James Orchard Halliwell for a folklore society in 1842, and collection of fairy-stories by the scholarly Grimm brothers, swiftly translated into English in 1823, soon rocket to popularity with the young, quickly leading to new editions, each one more child-centered than the last. From now on younger children could expect stories written for their particular interest and with the needs of their own limited experience of life kept well to the force.


What eventually determined the reading of older children was often not the availability of special children’s literature as such but access to books that contained characters, such as young people or animals, with whom they could more easily empathize, or action, such as exploring or fighting, that made few demands on adult maturity or understanding.


The final apotheosis of literary childhood as something to be protected from unpleasant reality came with the arrival in the late 1930s of child-centered best-sellers intend on entertainment as its most escapist. In Britain novelists such as Enid Blyton and Richmal Crompton described children who were always free to have the most unlikely adventures, secure in the knowledge that nothing bad could ever happen to them in the end. The fact that war broke out again during her books’ greatest popularity fails to register at all in the self-enclosed world inhabited by Enid Blyton’s young characters. The reaction against such dream-worlds was inevitable after World War II, coinciding with the growth of paperback sales, children’s libraries and a new spirit of moral and social concern. Urged on by committed publishers and progressive librarians, writers slowly began to explore new areas of interest while also shifting the settings of their plots from the middle-class world to which their chiefly adult patrons had always previously belonged.


The critical emphasis, during this development, has been divided. For some, the most important task was to rid children’s books of social prejudice and exclusiveness no longer found acceptable. Others concentrated more on the positive achievements of contemporary children’s literature. That writers of these works are now often recommended to the attention of adult as well as child readers echo the 19th-century belief that children’s literature can be shared by the generations, rather than being a defensive barrier between childhood and the necessary growth towards adult understanding.



Questions 14-18

Complete the table below.

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from Reading Passage 2 for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 14-18 on your answer sheet.





Before 1700

Not aimed at young children

Education and morality

Puritanical tract

By the middle of the 18th century

Collection of rhymes 14……………. and games

Read for pleasure

A Little Pretty Pocket Book (exported to 15…………..)

Early 19th century

Growing interest in 16……………

To be more children-centered

Nursery rhymes and 17…………..

Late 1930s

Stories of harm-free 18…………….


Enid Blyton and Richarnal Crompton’s novels




Questions 19-21

Look at the following people and the list of statements below.

Match each person with the correct statement.

Write the correct letter A-E in boxes 19-21 on your answer sheet

19   Thomas Boreham

20   Mrs Sarah trimmer

21   Grimm Brothers

List of statements

A   Wrote criticisms of children’s literature

B   Used animals to demonstrate the absurdity of fairy tales

C   Was not a writer originally

D   Translated a book into English

E   Didn’t write in the English language





Questions 22-26

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

In boxes 22-26 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 on this


22   Children didn’t start to read books until 1700.

23   Sarah Trimmer believed that children’s books should set good examples.

24   Parents were concerned about the violence in children’s books.

25   An interest in the folklore changed the direction of the development of children’s books.

26   Today children’s book writers believe their works should appeal to both children and adults.




You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.


The Rainmaker design


Sometimes ideas just pop up out of the blue. Or in Charlie Paton’s case, out of the rain. ‘I was on a bus in Morocco traveling through the desert,’ he remembers. ‘It had been raining and the bus was full of hot, wet people. The windows steamed up and I went to sleep with a towel against the glass. When I woke, the thing was soaking wet. I had to wring it out. And it set me thinking. Why was it so wet?


The answer, of course, was condensation. Back home in London, a physicist friend, Philip Davies, explained that the glass, chilled by the rain outside, had cooled the hot humid air inside the bus below its dew point, causing droplets of water to form on the inside of the window. Intrigued, Paton – a lighting engineer by profession – started rigging up his own equipment. ‘I made my own solar stills It occurred to me that you might be able to produce water in this way in the desert, simply by cooling the air. I wondered whether you could make enough to irrigate fields and grow crops.’


Today, a decade on, his dream has taken shape as a giant greenhouse on a desert island off Abu Dhabi in the Persian Gulf – the first commercially viable version of his ‘seawater greenhouse’. Local scientists, working with Paton, are watering the desert and growing vegetables in what is basically a giant dew-making machine that produces freshwater and cool air from sun and seawater. In awarding Paton first prize in a design competition two years ago, Marco Goldschmied, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, called it ‘a truly original idea which has the potential to impact on the lives of millions of people living in coastal water-starved areas around the world’.


The seawater greenhouse as developed by Paton has three main parts. They both air-condition the greenhouse and provide water for irrigation. The front of the greenhouse faces into the prevailing wind so that hot dry air blows in through a front wall. The wall is made of perforated cardboard kept moist by a constant trickle of seawater pumped up from the ocean. The purpose is to cool and moisten the incoming desert air. The cool moist air allows the plants to grow faster. And, crucially, because much less water evaporates from the leaves, the plants need much less moisture to grow than if they were being irrigated in the hot dry desert air outside the greenhouse.


The air-conditioning of the interior of the greenhouse is completed by the second feature: the roof. It has two layers: an outer layer of clear polyethylene and an inner coated layer that reflects infrared radiation. This combination ensures that visible light can stream through to the plants, maximizing the rate of plant growth through photosynthesis but at the same time heat from the infrared radiation is trapped in the space between the layers, and kept away from the plants. This helps keep the air around the plants cool.


At the back of the greenhouse sits the third elements. This is the main water production unit. Here, the air hits a second moist cardboard wall that increases its humidity as it reaches the condenser, which finally collects from the hot humid air the moisture for irrigating the plants. The condenser is a metal surface kept cool by still more seawater. It is the equivalent of the window on Paton’s Morcoccan bus. Drops of pure distilled water from on the condenser and flow into a tank for irrigating the crops.


The Abu Dhai greenhouse more or less runs itself. Sensors switch everything on when the sun rises and alter flows of air and seawater through the day in response to changes in temperature, humidity, and sunlight. On windless days, fans ensure a constant flow of air through the greenhouse. ‘Once it is turned to the local environment, you don’t need anymore there for it to work,’ says Paton. “We can run the entire operation of one 13-amp plug, and in the future, we could make it entirely independent of the grid, powered from a few solar panels.’


Critics point out that construction costs of around $4 a square foot are quite high. By illustration, however, Paton presents that it can cool as efficiently as a 500-kilowatt air conditioner while using less than 3 kilowatts of electricity. Thus the plants need only an eighth of the volume of water used by those grown conventionally. And so the effective cost of the desalinated water in the greenhouse is only a quarter that of water from a standard desalinator, which is good economics. Besides it really suggests an environmentally-friendly way of providing air conditioning on a scale large enough to cool large greenhouses where crops can be grown despite the high outside temperatures.





Questions 27-31

Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 3?

In boxes 27-31 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


27   The idea just came to Charlie Paton by accident.

28   The bus was well ventilated.

29   After waking up, Paton found his towel was wet.

30   The fan on the bus did not work well.

31   Paton immediately operated his own business in the Persian Gulf after talking with Philip Davies.


Questions 32-36

Label the diagram below.

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

Write your answers in boxes 32-36 on your answer sheet.


Questions 37-40

Complete the summary below.

Using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the Reading Passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 37-40 on your answer sheet.


To some extent, the Abu Dhai greenhouse functions automatically. When the day is sunny, the equipment can respond to the changes in several natural elements. When there is no wind, 37………………….. help to retain the flow of air. Even in the future, we have an ideal plan to power the greenhouse from 38………………………. However, there are still some critics who argue that 39………………………. are not good economics.

To justify himself, Paton presents favorable arguments against these critics and suggests that it is an 40……………………… approach to provide air conditioning in a scale large sense.