Main Menu Top Menu


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


The Innovation of Grocery Stores


At the very beginning of the 20th century, the American grocery stores offered comprehensive services: the customers would ask help from the people behind the counters (called clerks) for the items they liked, and then the clerks would wrap the items up. For the purpose of saving time, customers had to ask delivery boys or go in person to send the lists of what they intended to buy to the stores in advance and then went to pay for the goods later. Generally speaking, these grocery stores sold only one brand for each item. Such early chain stores as A&P stores, although containing full services, were very time-consuming and inefficient for the purchase.


Bom in Virginia, Clarence Saunders left school at the age of 14 in 1895 to work first as a clerk in a grocery store. During his working in the store, he found that it was very inefficient for people to buy things there. Without the assistance of computers at that time, shopping was performed in a quite backward way. Having noticed that this inconvenient shopping mode could lead to tremendous consumption of time and money, Saunders, with great enthusiasm and innovation, proposed an unprecedented solution—let the consumers do self-service in the process of shopping—which might bring a thorough revolution to the whole industry.


In 1902, Saunders moved to Memphis to put his perspective into practice, that is, to establish a grocery wholesale cooperative. In his newly designed grocery store, he divided the store into three different areas: ‘A front lobby’ served as an entrance, an exit, as well as the checkouts at the front. ‘A sales department’ was deliberately designed to allow customers to wander around the aisle and select their needed groceries. In this way, the clerks would not do the unnecessary work but arrange more delicate aisle and shelves to display the goods and enable the customers to browse through all the items. In the gallery above the sales department, supervisors can monitor the customers without disturbing them. ‘Stockroom’, where large fridges were placed to maintain fresh products, is another section of his grocery store only for the staff to enter. Also, this new shopping design and layout could accommodate more customers to go shopping simultaneously and even lead to some unimaginable phenomena: impulse buying and later supermarket.


On September 6, 1916, Saunders performed the self-service revolution in the USA by opening the first Piggly Wiggly featured by the turnstile at the entrance store at 79 Jefferson Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Quite distinct from those in other grocery stores, customers in Piggly Wiggly chose the goods on the shelves and paid the items all by themselves. Inside the Piggly Wiggly, shoppers were not at the mercy of staff. They were free to roam the store, check out the products and get what they needed by their own hands. There, the items were clearly priced, and no one forced customers to buy the things they did not need. As a matter of fact, the biggest benefit that the Piggly Wiggly brought to customers was the money-saving effect. Self-service was optimistic for the improvement. ‘It is good for both the consumer and retailer because it cuts costs,’ noted George T. Haley, a professor at the University of New Haven and director of the Centre for International Industry Competitiveness, ‘if you look at the way in which grocery stores (previous to Piggly Wiggly and Alpha Beta) were operated, what you can find is that there are a great number of workers involved, and labour is a major expense.’ Fortunately, the chain stores such as Piggly Wiggly cut the fat.


Piggly Wiggly and this kind of self-service stores soared at that time. In the first year, Saunders opened nine branches in Memphis. Meanwhile, Saunders immediately applied a patent for the self-service concept and began franchising Piggly Wiggly stores. Thanks to the employment of self-service and franchising, the number of Piggly Wiggly had increased to nearly 1,300 by 1923. Piggly Wiggly sold $100 million (worth $1.3 billion today) in groceries, which made it the third-biggest grocery retailer in the nation. After that, this chain store experienced company listing on the New York Stock Exchange, with the stocks doubling from late 1922 to March 1923. Saunders contributed significantly to the perfect design and layout of grocery stores. In order to keep the flow rate smooth, Saunders even invented the turnstile to replace the common entrance mode.


Clarence Saunders died in 1953, leaving abundant legacies mainly symbolised by Piggly Wiggly, the pattern of which spread extensively and lasted permanently.




Questions 1-5

Reading Passage 1 has six paragraphs, A-F.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

1   layout of Clarence Saunders’ store

2   a reference to a reduction by chain stores in labour costs

3   how Clarence Saunders’ idea had been carried out

4   how people used to shop before Clarence Saunders’ stores opened

5   a description of economic success brought by Clarence Saunders’s stores



Questions 6-10

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

Write your answers in boxes 6-10 on your answer sheet.


6   Clarence Saunders’ first job was as ……………………… in a grocery store.

7   In Clarence Saunders’ store, people should pay for goods at a ……………………….

8   Customers would be under surveillance at the ……………………..

9   Another are in his store was called ‘……………………….’, which was only accessible to the internal staff.

10   In Clarence Saunders’ shopping design, much work was done by ……………………..



Questions 11-13

Choose the correct letter, ABC or D.
Write the correct letter in boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet.


11   Why did Clarence Saunders want to propel the improvement of grocery stores at his age?

A  He wanted to transfer business to retailing.

B  He thought it was profitable.

C  He thought this could enable customers’ life to be more convenient.

D  He wanted to create a new shop by himself.


12   The Piggly Wiggly store was

A  located in Memphis Tennessee.

B  mainly featured in self-service.

C  initially very unpopular with customers.

D  developed with a pessimistic future.


13   Today, the main thing associated with Clarence Saunders is that

A  a fully automatic store system opened soon near his first store.

B  his Piggly Wiggly store was very popular at that time.

C  his name was usually connected with Piggly Wiggly stores.

D  his name was printed together with that of his famous store.








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

Bestcom—Considerate Computing

‘Your battery is now fully charged,’ announced the laptop to its owner Donald A. Norman in a synthetic voice, with great enthusiasm and maybe even a hint of pride. For the record, humans are not at all unfamiliar with distractions and multitasking. ‘We are used to a complex life that gets constantly interrupted by computer’s attention-seeking requests, as much as we are familiar with procreation,’ laughs Ted Selker of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab,

Humanity has been connected to approximately three billion networked telephones, computers, traffic lights and even fridges and picture frames since these things can facilitate our daily lives. That is why we do not typically turn off the phones, shut down the e-mail system, or close the office door even when we have a meeting coming or a stretch of concentrated work. We merely endure the consequences.
Countless research reports have confirmed that if people are unexpectedly interrupted, they may suffer a drop in work efficiency, and they are more likely to make mistakes. According to Robert G. Picard from the University of Missouri, it appears to build up the feeling of frustration cumulatively, and that stress response makes it difficult to focus again. It is. not solely about productivity and the pace of life. For some professionals like pilots, drivers, soldiers and doctors, loss of focus can be downright disastrous. ‘If we could find a way to make our computers and phones realise the limits of human attention and memory, they may come off as more thoughtful and courteous,’ says Eric Horvitz of Microsoft Research. Horvitz, Selker and Picard are just a few of a small but prospering group of researchers who are attempting to make computers, phones, cars and other devices to function more like considerate colleagues instead of egocentric oafs.


To do this, the machines need new skills of three kinds: sensing, reasoning and communicating. First, a system must: sense or infer where its owner is and what he or she is doing. Next, it must weigh the value of the messages it wants to convey against the cost of the disruption. Then it has to. choose the best mode and time to interject: Each of these pushes the limits of computer science and raises issues of privacy, complexity or reliability. Nevertheless, ‘Attentive’ Computing Systems, have started to make an appearance in the latest Volvos, and IBM has designed and developed a communications software called WebSphere that comes with an underlying sense of busyness. Microsoft has been conducting extensive in-house tests of a way more sophisticated system since 2003. In a couple of years, companies might manage to provide each office employee with a software version of the personal receptionist which is only available to corner-suite executives today.

However, the truth is that most people are not as busy as they claim to be, which explains why we can often stand interruptions from our inconsiderate electronic paraphernalia. To find out the extent to which such disruption may claim people’s daily time, an IBM Research team led by Jennifer Lai from Carnegie Mellon University studied ten managers, researchers and interns at the workplace. They had the subjects on videotape, and within every period of a specific time, they asked the subjects to evaluate their ‘interruptibility’. The time a worker spent in leave-me-alone state varied from individual to individual and day to day, and the percentage ranged from 10 to 51. Generally, the employees wished to work without interruption for roughly 1/3 of the time. Similarly, by studying Microsoft workers, Horvitz also came to the discovery that they ordinarily spend over 65 per cent of their day in a low-attention mode.

Obviously, today’s phones and computers are probably correct about two-thirds of time by assuming that their users are always available to answer a call, check an email, or click the ‘OK’ button on an alert box. But for the considerate systems to be functional and useful, their accuracy has to be above 65 in sending when their users are about to reach their cognitive limit.

Inspired by Horvitz’s work, Microsoft prototype Bestcom-Enhanced Telephony (Bestcom-ET) digs a bit deeper into every user’s computer to find out clues about what they are dealing with. As I said earlier, Microsoft launched an internal beta test of the system in mid-2003. Horvitz points out that by the end of last October, nearly 3,800 people had been relying on the system to field their incoming calls.

Horvitz is, in fact, a tester himself, and as we have our conversation in his office, Bestcom silently takes care of all the calls. Firstly, it checks if the caller is in his address book, the company directory, or the ‘recent call’ list. After triangulating all these resources at the same time, it attempts to figure out what their relationship is. The calls that get through are from family, supervisors and people he called earlier that day. Other callers will get a message on their screens that say he cannot answer now because he is in a meeting, and will not be available until 3pm. The system will scan both Horvitz’s and the caller’s calendar to check if it can reschedule a callback at a time which works for both of them. Some callers will take that option, while others simply leave a voicemail. The same happens with e-mails. When Horvitz is not in his office, Bestcom automatically offers to transfer selected callers to his cellphone, unless his calendar implies that he is in a meeting.


Questions 14-19

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2?
In boxes 14-19 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   According to Ted Selker, human reproduction has been disturbed throughout history.

15   If people are interrupted by calls or e-mails, they usually put up with it.

16   Microsoft is now investigating a software which is compatible with ordinary offices.

17   People usually have a misperception about whether they are busy or not.

18   Experts in Carnegie Mellon University conducted a research observing all occupations of IBM.

19   Current phone and computer systems have shortcut keys for people receiving information immediately.


Questions 20-26

Complete the flow-chart below.
Choose ONLY ONE WORD from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 20-26 on your answer sheet.






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


The Olympic Torch

Since 776 B.C., when the Greek people held their first-ever Olympic Games, the Games were hosted every four years at the Olympia city. Back then, a long journey for the Olympic torch was made before the opening ceremony of each Olympic Games. The Greek people would light a cauldron of flames on the altar, a ritual devoted to Hera, the Greek Goddess of birth and marriage.

The reintroduction of flame to the Olympics occurred at the Amsterdam 1928 Games, for which a cauldron was lit yet without a torch relay. The 1936 Berlin Summer Games held the first Olympic torch relay, which was not resumed in the Winter Olympics until in 1952. However, in that year the torch was lit not in Olympia, Greece, but in Norway, which was considered as the birthplace of skiing. Until the Innsbruck 1964 Winter Olympics in Austria, the Olympic flame was reignited at Olympia.

The torch is originally an abstract concept of a designer or groups of designers. A couple of design groups hand in their drafts to the Olympic Committee in the hope that they would get the chance to create the torch. The group that wins the competition will come up with a design for a torch that has both aesthetic and practical value. After the torch is completed, it has to succeed in going through all sorts of severe weather conditions. The appearance of the modem Olympic torch is attributed to a Disney artist John Hench, who designed the torch for the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. His design laid a solid foundation for all the torches in the future.

The long trip to the Olympic area is not completed by one single torch, but by thousands of them, so the torch has to be replicated many times. Approximately 10,000 to 15,000 torches are built to fit thousands of runners who take the torches through every section of the Olympic relay. Every single runner can choose to buy his or her torch as a treasurable souvenir when he or she finishes his or her part of the relay.

The first torch in the modem Olympics (the 1936 Berlin Games) was made from a slender steel rod with a circular platform at the top and a circular hole in the middle to jet flames.

The name of the runner was also inscribed on the platform as a token of thanks. In the earlier days, torches used everything from gunpowder to olive oil as fuels. Some torches adopted a combination of hexamine and naphthalene with a flammable fluid. However, these materials weren’t exactly the ideal fuel sources, and they could be quite hazardous sometimes. In the 1956 Olympics, the torch in the final relay was ignited by magnesium and aluminium, but some flaming pieces fell off and seared the runner’s arms.

To promote the security rate, liquid fuels made its first appearance at the 1972 Munich Games. Since then, torches have been using fuels which are pressurised into the form of a liquid. When the fuels are burnt, they turn into gas to produce a flame. Liquid fuel becomes safer for the runner and can be stored in a light container. The torch at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics is equipped with an aluminium base that accommodates a tiny fuel tank. As the fuel ascends through the modified handle, it is squeezed through a brass valve that has thousands of little openings. As the fuel passes through the tiny openings, it accumulates pressure. Once it makes its way through the openings, the pressure decreases and the liquid becomes gas so it can bum up.

The torch in 1996 was fuelled by propylene, a type of substance that could give out a bright flame. However, since propylene was loaded with carbon, it would produce plenty of smoke which was detrimental to the environment. In 2000, the designers of the Sydney Olympic torch proposed a lighter and cheaper design, which was harmless to the environment. For the fuel, they decided to go with a combination of 35 per cent propane (a gas that is used for cooking and heating) and 65 per cent butane (a gas that is obtained from petroleum), thus creating a powerful flame without generating much smoke.

Both the 1996 and 2000 torches adopted a double flame burning system, enabling the flames to stay lit even in severe weather conditions. The exterior flame bums at a slower rate and at a lower temperature. It can be perceived easily with its big orange flame, but it is unstable. On the other hand, the interior flame bums faster and hotter, generating a small blue flame with great stability, due to the internal site offering protection of it from the wind. Accordingly, the interior flame would serve as a pilot light, which could relight the external flame if it should go out.

As for the torch of 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, the top section was made of glass in which the flame burned, for the purpose of echoing the theme of ‘Light the Fire Within’ of that Olympics. This torch was of great significance for the following designs of the torches.


Questions 27-29

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

Write your answers in boxes 27-29 on your answer sheet. 


The Olympic torch, as requested by the Olympic Committee, will be carefully designed so that it is capable of withstanding all kinds of 27 ………………….. Generally, the design of the modern Olympic torch enjoys the 28 ……………………….. value. The torch must be copied, and thousands of torches are constructed to accommodate thousands of runners who will carry them through each leg of the Olympic relay. Each runner has an opportunity to purchase the torch as a(n) 29……………………… at the end of his or her leg of the relay.


Questions 30-35

Look at the following statements (Questions 30-35) and the list of Olympic torches below.
Match each statement with the correct Olympic torch, A-H.

Write the correct letter, A-H, in boxes 30-35 on your answer sheet.

List of Olympic Torches

A          ancient Greek Olympic flames
B          Berlin Games torch (1936)
C          1952 Winter Games flame
D          1956 Games torch
E          Munich Games torch (1972)
F          1996 torch (Atlanta)
G         2000 torch (Sydney)
H         2002 torch (Salt Lake City)


30   first liquid fuel

31   not environmentally friendly

32   beginning to record the runners’ name

33   potentially risky as it burnt the runner’s arms

34   special for a theme of ‘Light’

35   not lit in Greek


Questions 36-40

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

Write your answers in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.