READING PASSAGE 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.
What is it and where does it come from?
Ambergris was used to perfume cosmetics in the days of ancient Mesopotamia and almost every civilization on the earth has a brush with ambergris. Before 1,000 AD, the Chinese names ambergris as lung sien hiang, “dragon’s spittle perfume,” as they think that it was produced from the drooling of dragons sleeping on rocks at the edge of a sea. The Arabs knew ambergris as anbar, believing that it is produced from springs near seas. It also gets its name from here. For centuries, this substance has also been used as a flavouring for food.
During the Middle Ages, Europeans used ambergris as a remedy for headaches, colds, epilepsy, and other ailments. In the 1851 whaling novel Moby-Dick, Herman Melville claimed that ambergris was “largely used in perfumery.” But nobody ever knew where it really came from. Experts were still guessing its origin thousands of years later, until the long ages of guesswork ended in the 1720’s, when Nantucket whalers found gobs of the costly material inside the stomachs of sperm whales. Industrial whaling quickly burgeoned. By 20th century ambergris is mainly recovered from inside the carcasses of sperm whales.
Through countless ages, people have found pieces of ambergris on sandy beaches. It was named grey amber to distinguish it from golden amber, another rare treasure. Both of them were among the most sought-after substances in the world, almost as valuable as gold. (Ambergris sells for roughly $20 a gram, slightly less than gold at $30 a gram.) Amber floats in salt water, and in old times the origin of both these substances was mysterious. But it turned out that amber and ambergris have little in common. Amber is a fossilized resin from trees that was quite familiar to Europeans long before the discovery of the New World, and prized as jewelry. Although considered a gem, amber is a hard, transparent, wholly-organic material derived from the resin of extinct species of trees, mainly pines.
To the earliest Western chroniclers, ambergris was variously thought to come from the same bituminous sea founts as amber, from the sperm of fishes or whales, from the droppings of strange sea birds (probably because of confusion over the included beaks of squid) or from the large hives of bees living near the sea. Marco Polo was the first Western chronicler who correctly attributed ambergris to sperm whales and its vomit.
As sperm whales navigate in the oceans, they often dive down to 2 km or more below the sea level to prey on squid, most famously the Giant Squid. It’s commonly accepted that ambergris forms in the whale’s gut or intestines as the creature attempts to “deal” with squid beaks. Sperm whales are rather partial to squid, but seemingly struggle to digest the hard, sharp, parrot-like beaks. It is thought their stomach juices become hyper-active trying to process the irritants, and eventually hard, resinous lumps are formed around the beaks, and then expelled from their innards by vomiting. When a whale initially vomits up ambergris, it is soft and has a terrible smell. Some marine biologists compare it to the unpleasant smell of cow dung. But after floating on the salty ocean for about a decade, the substance hardens with air and sun into a smooth, waxy, usually rounded piece of nostril heaven. The dung smell is gone, replaced by a sweet, smooth, musky and pleasant earthy aroma.
Since ambergris is derived from animals, naturally a question of ethics arises, and in the case of ambergris, it is very important to consider. Sperm whales are an endangered species, whose populations started to decline as far back as the 19th century due to the high demand for their highly emollient oil, and today their stocks still have not recovered. During the 1970’s, the Save the Whales movement brought the plight of whales to international recognition. Many people now believe that whales are “saved”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. All around the world, whaling still exists. Many countries continue to hunt whales, in spite of international treaties to protect them. Many marine researchers are concerned that even the trade in naturally found ambergris can be harmful by creating further incentives to hunt whales for this valuable substance.
One of the forms ambergris is used today is as a valuable fixative in perfumes to enhance and prolong the scent. But nowadays, since ambergris is rare and expensive, and big fragrance suppliers that make most of the fragrances on the market today do not deal in it for reasons of cost, availability and murky legal issues, most perfumeries prefer to add a chemical derivative which mimics the properties of ambergris. As a fragrance consumer, you can assume that there is no natural ambergris in your perfume bottle, unless the company advertises this fact and unless you own vintage fragrances created before the 1980s. If you are wondering if you have been wearing a perfume with this legendary ingredient, you may want to review your scent collection. Here are a few of some of the top ambergris containing perfumes: Givenchy Amarige, Chanel No. 5, and Gucci Guilty.
Classify the following information as referring to
A ambergris only
B amber only
C both ambergris and amber
D neither ambergris nor amber
Write the correct letter, A, B, C, or D in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet.
1 being expensive
2 adds flavor to food
3 used as currency
4 being see-through
5 referred to by Herman Melville
6 produces sweet smell
Complete the sentences below with NO MORE THAN ONE WORD from the passage.
Write your answers in boxes 7-9 on your answer sheet.
7 Sperm whales can’t digest the ______ of the squids.
8 Sperm whales drive the irritants out of their intestines by______.
9 The vomit of sperm whale gradually______ on contact of air before having pleasant smell.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 10-13 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
10 Most ambergris comes from the dead whales today.
11 Ambergris is becoming more expensive than before.
12 Ambergris is still the most frequently used ingredient in perfume production today.
13 New uses of ambergris have been discovered recently.
READING PASSAGE 2
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.
Tackling Hunger in Msekeni
There are not enough classrooms at the Msekeni primary school, so half the lessons take place in the shade of yellow-blossomed acacia trees. Given this shortage, it might seem odd that one of the school’s purpose-built classrooms has been emptied of pupils and turned into a storeroom for sacks of grain. But it makes sense. Food matters more than shelter.
Msekeni is in one of the poorer parts of Malawi, a landlocked southern African country of exceptional beauty and great poverty. No war lays waster Malawi, nor is the land unusually crowded or infertile, but Malawians still have trouble finding enough to eat. Half of the children under five are underfed to the point of stunting. Hunger blights most aspects of Malawian life, so the country is as good a place as any to investigate how nutrition affects development, and vice versa.
The headmaster at Msekeni, Bernard Kumanda, has strong views on the subject. He thinks food is a priceless teaching aid. Since 1999, his pupils have received free school lunches. Donors such as the World Food Programme (WFP) provide the food: those sacks of grain (mostly mixes maize and soyabean flour, enriched with vitamin A) in that converted classroom. Local volunteers do the cooking – turning the dry ingredients into a bland but nutritious slop, and spooning it out on to plastic plates. The children line up in large crowds, cheerfully singing a song called “We are getting porridge”.
When the school’s feeding programme was introduced, enrolment as Msekeni doubled. Some of the pupils had switched from nearby schools that did not give out free porridge, but most were children whose families had previously kept them at home to work. These families were so poor that the long-term benefits of education seemed unattractive when set against the short-term gain of sending children out to gather firewood or help in the fields. One plate of porridge a day completely altered the calculation. A child fed at school will not howl so plaintively for food at home. Girls, who are more likely than boys to be kept out of school, are given extra snacks to take home.
When a school takes in a horde of extra students from the poorest homes, you would expect standards to drop. Anywhere in the world, poor kids tend to perform worse than their better-off classmates. When the influx of new pupils is not accompanied by any increase in the number of teachers, as was the case at Msekeni, you would expect standards to fall even further. But they have not. Pass rates at Msekeni improved dramatically, from 30% to 85%. Although this was an exceptional example, the nationwide results of school feeding programmes were still pretty good. On average, after a Malawian school started handing out free food it attracted 38% more girls and 24% more boys. The pass rate for boys stayed about the same, while for girls it improved by 9.5%.
Better nutrition makes for brighter children. Most immediately, well-fed children find it easier to concentrate. It is hard to focus the mind on long division when your stomach is screaming for food. Mr. Kumanda says that it used to be easy to spot the kids who were really undernourished. “They were the ones who stared into space and didn’t respond when you asked them questions,” he says. More crucially, though, more and better food helps brains grow and develop. Like any other organ in the body, the brain needs nutrition and exercise. But if it is starved of the necessary calories, proteins and micronutrients, it is stunted, perhaps not as severely as a muscle would be, but stunted nonetheless. That is why feeding children at schools works so well. And the fact that the effect of feeding was more pronounced on girls than on boys gives a clue to who eats first in rural Malawian households. It isn’t the girls.
On the global scale, the good news is that people are eating better than ever before. Homo sapiens has grown 50% bigger since the industrial revolution. Three centuries ago, chronic malnutrition was more or less universal. Now, it is extremely rare in rich countries. In developing countries, where most people live, plates and rice bowls are also fuller than ever before. The proportion of children under five in the developing world who are malnourished to the point of stunting fell from 39% in 1990 to 30% in 2000, says the World Health Organization (WHO). In other places, the battle against hunger is steadily being won. Better nutrition is making people cleverer and more energetic, which will help them grow more prosperous. And when they eventually join the ranks of the well-off, they can start fretting about growing too fat.
Reading Passage 2 has seven paragraphs, A-G.
Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of heading below.
Write the correct number, i-xi, in boxes 14-20 on your answer sheet.
List of Headings
i Why better food helps students’ learning
ii Becoming the headmaster of Msekeni
iii Surprising use of school premises
iv Global perspective
v Why students were undernourished
vi Surprising academic outcome
vii An innovative program to help girls
viii How food program is operated
ix How food program affects school attendance
x None of the usual reasons
xi How to maintain academic standard
14 Paragraph A
15 Paragraph B
16 Paragraph C
17 Paragraph D
18 Paragraph E
19 Paragraph F
20 Paragraph G
Complete the sentences below using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS / OR A NUMBER from the passage.
Write your answers in boxes 21-24 on your answer sheet.
21 In Kumanda’s school ________ are given to girls after the end of the school day.
22 Many children from poor families were sent to collect ________ from the field.
23 Thanks to the free food program, ________ of students passed the test.
24 The modern human is ________ bigger than before after the industrial revolution.
Choose TWO letters, A-F.
Write the correct letters in boxes 25 and 26 on your answer sheet.
Which TWO of the following statements are true?
A Some children are taught in the open air.
B Bernard Kumanda became the headmaster in 1991.
C No new staffs were recruited when attendance rose.
D Girls are often treated equally with boys in Malawi.
E Scientists have devised ways to detect the most underfed students in school.
F WHO is worried about malnutrition among kids in developing countries.
READING PASSAGE 3
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.
Source of Knowledge
What counts as knowledge? What do we mean when we say that we know something? What is the status of different kinds of knowledge? In order to explore these questions we are going to focus on one particular area of knowledge medicine.
How do you know when you are ill? This may seem to be an absurd question. You know you are ill because you feel ill; your body tells you that you are ill. You may know that you feel pain or discomfort but knowing you are ill is a bit. more complex. At times, people experience the symptoms of illness, but in fact they are simply tired or over-worked or they may just have a hangover. At other times, people may be suffering from a disease and fail to be aware of the illness until it has reached a late stage in its development. So how do we know we are ill, and what counts as knowledge?
Think about this example. You feel unwell. You have a bad cough and always seem to be tired. Perhaps it could be stress at work, or maybe you should give up smoking. You tool worse. You visit the doctor who listens to your chest and heart, take’s your temperature and blood pressure, and then finally prescribes antibiotics for your cough.
Things do not improve but you struggle on thinking you should pull yourself together, perhaps things will ease off at work soon. A return visit to your doctor shocks you. This time the doctor, drawing on yours of training and experience, diagnoses pneumonia. This means that you will need bed rest and a considerable time off work. The scenario is transformed. Although you still have the same symptoms, you no longer think that these are caused by pressure at work. You now have proof that you are ill. This is the result of the combination of your own subjective experience and the diagnosis of someone who has the stains of a medical expert. You have a medically authenticated diagnosis and it appears that you are seriously ill; you know you are ill and have evidence upon which to base this knowledge.
This scenario shows many different sources of knowledge. For example, you decide to consult the doctor in the first place because you feel unwell – this is personal knowledge about your own body. However, the doctor’s expert diagnosis is based on experience and training, with sources of knowledge as diverse as other experts, laboratory reports, medical textbooks and yours of experience.
One source of knowledge is the experience of our own bodies; the personal knowledge we have of change’s that might be significant, as well as the subjective experience of pain and physical distress. These experiences are mediated by other forms of knowledge such as the words we have available to describe our experience and the common sense of our families and friends as well as that drawn from popular culture. Over the past decade, for example, Western culture has seen a significant emphasis on stress-related illness in the media. Reference to being ‘stressed end’ has become a common response in daily exchanges in the workplace and has become part of popular common-sense knowledge. It is thus not surprising that we might seek such an explanation of physical symptoms of discomfort.
We might also rely on the observations of others who know us. Comments from friends and family such as ‘you do look ill’ or ‘that’s a bad cough’ might be another source of knowledge. Complementary health practices, such as holistic medicine, produce their own sets of knowledge upon which we might also draw in deciding the nature and degree of our ill health and about possible treatments.
Perhaps the most influential and authoritative source of knowledge is the medical knowledge provided by the general practitioner. We expect the doctor to have access to expert knowledge. This is socially sanctioned. It would not be acceptable to notify our employer Unit we simply felt too unwell to turn up for work or that our faith healer, astrologer, therapist or even our priest thought it was not a good idea. We need an expert medical diagnosis in order to obtain the necessary certificate if we need to be off work for more than the statutory self-certification period. The knowledge of the medical sciences is privileged in this respect in contemporary Western culture. Medical practitioners are also seen as having the required expert knowledge that permits them legally to prescribe drugs and treatment to which patients would not. otherwise have access. However there is a range of different knowledge upon which we draw when making decisions about our own state of health.
However, there is more than existing knowledge in this little story; new knowledge is constructed within it. Given the doctor’s medical training and background, she may hypothesise ‘is this now pneumonia?’ and then proceed to look for evidence about it. She will use observations and instruments to assess the evidence and – critically – interpret it in the light of her training and new experience both for you and for the doctor. This will then be added to the doctor’s medical knowledge and may help in future diagnosis of pneumonia.
Reading Passage 3 has nine paragraphs, A-I.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter, A-I, in boxes 27-34 on your answer sheet.
NB You may use any letter more than once.
27 the contrast between the nature of personal judgment and the nature of doctor’s diagnosis
28 a reference of culture about pressure
29 sick leave will not be permitted without professional diagnosis
30 how doctors’ opinions are regarded in the society
31 the illness of patients can become part of new knowledge
32 a description of knowledge drawn from non-specialised sources other than personal knowledge
33 an example of collective judgment from personal experience and professional doctor
34 a reference that some people do not realise they are ill
Complete the notes below.
Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 35-40 on your answer sheet.
Source of knowledge
Symptoms of a 35 ________ and tiredness
Doctor’s measurement by taking 36 ________ and temperature
Common judgment from 37 ________ around you
Medical knowledge from the general 38 ________
e.g. doctor’s medical 39 ________
Examine the medical hypothesis with the previous drill and 40 ________