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

The Peal


Long known as the “Queen of Gems”, pearls possess a history and allure far beyond what today’s wearer may recognize. Throughout much of recorded history, a natural pearl necklace comprised of matched spheres was a treasure of almost incomparable value, in fact, the most expensive jewelry in the world. Before the creation of cultured pearls in the early 1900s, natural pearls were so rare and expensive that they were reserved almost exclusively for the noble and very rich. The ancient Egyptians were particularly fond of their pearls. Many Egyptian leaders treasured pearls so much that they were often buried along with their cherished pearl collection. In the Orient and Persian Empire, pearls were ground into costly powders to cure anything from heart disease to epilepsy, with possible aphrodisiac uses as well. China’s long recorded history also provides ample evidence of the importance of pearls.


Pearls usually fall into three categories—natural pearls, cultured pearls and simulated pearls. A natural pearl forms when an irritant, such as a piece of sand, works its way into a particular species of oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, the mollusk secretes a fluid to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating is deposited on the irritant until a lustrous pearl is formed. A cultured pearl undergoes the same process. The only difference between natural pearls and cultured pearls is that the irritant is a surgically implanted bead or piece of shell called Mother of Pearl. Often, these shells are ground oyster shells that are worth significant amounts of money in their own right as irritant-catalysts for quality pearls. The resulting core is much larger than in a natural pearl. Imitation pearls are a different story altogether. In most cases, a glass bead is dipped into a solution made from fish scales. This coating is thin and may eventually wear off. One can usually tell an imitation by biting on it. The island of Mallorca in Spain is known for its imitation pearl industry.


Regardless of the method used to acquire a pearl, the process usually takes several years. Mussels must reach a mature age, which can take up to 3 years, and then be implanted or naturally receive an irritant. Once the irritant is in place, it can take up to another 3 years for the pearl to reach its full size. Often, the irritant may be rejected, the pearl will be terrifically misshapen, or the oyster may simply die from disease or countless other complications. By the end of a 5 to 10 year cycle, only 50% of the oysters will have survived. And of the pearls produced, only approximately 5% are of a quality substantial enough for top jewelry makers.


How can untrained eyes determine a pearl’s worth? Luster and size are generally considered the two main factors to look for. Luster, for instance, depends on the fineness and evenness of the layers. The deeper the glow, the more perfect the shape and surface, the more valuable they are. Size, on the other hand, has to do with the age of the oyster that created the pearl (the more mature oysters produce larger pearls) and the location in which the pearl was cultured. The South Sea waters of Australia tend to produce the larger pearls; probably because the water along the coast line is supplied with rich nutrients from the ocean floor. Also, the type of mussel being common to the area seems to possess a predilection for producing comparatively large pearls.


In general, cultured pearls are less valuable than natural pearls, whereas imitation pearls almost have no value. One way that jewelers can determine whether a pearl is cultured or natural is to have a gem lab perform an X-ray of the pearl. If the X-ray reveals a nucleus, the pearl is likely a bead nucleated saltwater pearl. If no nucleus is present, but irregular and small dark inner spots indicating a cavity are visible, combined with concentric rings of organic substance, the pearl is likely a cultured freshwater. Among cultured pearls, Akoya pearls from Japan are some of the most lustrous. Although imitation pearls look the part, they do not have the same weight or smoothness as real pearls, and their luster will also dim greatly.


Historically, the world’s best pearls came from the Persian Gulf, especially around what is now Bahrain. The pearls of the Persian Gulf were naturally created and collected by breath-hold divers. Unfortunately, the natural pearl industry of the Persian Gulf ended abruptly in the early 1930s with the discovery of large deposits of oil. The water pollution resulting from spilled oil and indiscriminate over-fishing of oysters essentially ruined the pristine waters of the Gulf once producing pearls. Still, Bahrain remains one of the foremost trading centers for high quality pearls. In fact, cultured pearls are banned from the Bahrain pearl market, in an effort to preserve the location’s heritage. Nowadays, the largest stock of natural pearls probably resides in India. Ironically, much of India’s stock of natural pearls came originally from Bahrain. Unlike Bahrain, which has essentially lost its pearl resource, traditional pearl fishing is still practiced on a small scale in India.


Pearls also come in many colours. The most popular colours are white, cream, and pink. Silver, black, and gold are also gaining increasing interest. In fact, a deep lustrous black pearl is one of the rarest finds in the pearling industry, usually only being found in the South Sea near Australia. Thus, they can be one of the more costly items. Nowadays, pearls predominately come from Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Myanmar, China, India, the Philippines, and Tahiti. Japan, however, controls roughly 80% of the world pearl market, with Australia and China coming in second and third, respectively.




Questions 1-4

Reading Passage 1 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   difficulties in cultivating process

2   causes affecting the size of natural pearls

3   ancient customs around pearls

4   distinctions between cultured pearls and natural ones



Questions 5-10

Complete the summary below.

Choose a letter from A-K for each answer.

Write them in boxes 5-10 on your answer sheet.


Throughout history, people in 5………………… used pearls for medicine and philtres. There are essentially three types of pearls: natural, cultured and imitation. Natural and cultured pearls share a similar growing process, while imitation pearls are different. And 6……………….. owns the reputation for its imitation pearl industry. The country 7……………….. usually produces the larger sized pearls due to the favourable environment along the coast line, while the nation of 8……………….. manufactures some of the most listening cultured pearls. In the past, the country 9 ……………….. in the Persian Gulf, produced the world’s best pearls. At present, the major remaining suppliers of natural pearls are in 10…………………

A   America     B   Philippines             C   Australia


D   Bahrain      E   China                      F   Japan


G   India           H   Egypt                      I   Myanmar

  Persia             Mallorca



Questions 11 – 13

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

In boxes 11-13 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


11   A cultured pearl’s centre is often significantly larger than that in a natural pearl.

12   Imitation pearls are usually the same price as natural ones.

13   The size of pearls produced in Japan is surely smaller than those from Australia.



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



Gesture is any action that sends a visual signal to an onlooker. To become a gesture, an act has to be seen by someone else and has to communicate some pieces of information to them. It can do this either because the gesturer deliberately sets out to send a signal or it can do it only incidentally. The hand-wave is a Primary Gesture, because it has no other existence or function. Therefore, to make it a gesture, first, it should be clear and unambiguous. Others would be able to understand it instantly when it is shown to them. Nor may any component of a gesture, its force, its direction and amplitude of movement, be altered: otherwise, confusion or misunderstanding may occur.


Most people tend to limit their use of the term “gesture” to the primary form the hand-wave type—but this misses an important point. What matters with gesturing is not what signals we think we are sending out, but what signals are being received. The observers of our acts will make no distinction between our intentional primary gestures and our unintentional, incidental ones. This is why it is preferable to use the term “gesture” in its wider meaning as an “observed action”. This can be compared to the ring of a telephone. The speed, tone and intensity of a telephone remain the same for any phone call. Even the length of time before being told that the number you are dialing is not answering, unless the caller hangs up, is the same.


Some gestures people use are universal. The shoulder shrug is a case in point. The shrug is done by bringing the shoulders up, drawing the head in, and turning the palms upwards so as to reveal that nothing is hidden. The shoulder shrug can also demonstrate submission or that what is being said isn’t understood. Another example is that an angry person usually expresses his rage by waving his clenched fist rapidly and forcefully. Surprisingly, you may find that people of different cultures will do the same when they are offended. That is to say, a commonly accepted gesture is shared by them. But if the way the hand is clenched changes, or the amplitude of force and the direction the fist is waved alters, the gesture no longer means the same.


So, is gesture born with us or is it developed as we grow up? Recent research found that gesture is more like a spontaneous reaction when we face certain situations. And we just do that automatically. When people talk, they almost always gesture with their hands. This expressive movement can be coaxed into a choreographic form if observed carefully. People can practice spontaneous gesture by forming pairs, then observing and questioning each other. They then show the group what they have collected from their partners. It is fun to surprise a group using this technique. Because spontaneous gestures are often unconscious, people will sometimes be surprised to have their gestures mirrored back to them, saying “Did I really do that?”


The attention of research was also drawn to cultural themes. Researchers discovered that if a person has a good set of teeth, he or she would be prone to have a bigger smile than he or she should when good things happen. And if a person possesses a bad set of teeth, he or she would tend to have his or her mouth shut when being teased. And people’s reaction to the same joke also varies: some laugh out loud while others titter. However, this does not cause confusion and it helps to develop our “behavioural”, which is an important aspect of our identity. It was referred to as a Gesture Variant, which indicates that individuals’ gesture production is a complex process, in which speakers’ internal and external factors and interactions could play a role in multi-modal communication.


During the research, an interesting phenomenon soon caught researchers’ attention. A hand purse gesture, which is formed by straightening the fingers and thumb of one hand and bringing them together so the tips touch, pointing upwards and shaping like a cone, carries different meanings in different countries. In Malta, it means heavy sarcasm: “you may seem good, but you are really bad.”; in Tunisia, it is against recklessness, saying “slow down”; in Italy, it means “What’s the matter?” or “What are you trying to say?”; in France, it means “I am afraid”. However, this gesture has no clear meaning in American culture. And of course, the way the gesture is conducted is similar in different countries.


But what will happen if the gestures of different countries confront each other? The situation is further complicated by the fact that some gestures mean totally different things in different countries. To take one example, in Saudi Arabia, stupidity can be signalled by touching the lower eyelid with the tip of the forefinger. But this same gesture, in various other countries, can mean disbelief, approval, agreement, mistrust, scepticism, alertness, secrecy, craftiness, danger, or criminality. So people are faced with two basic problems where certain gestures are concerned: either one meaning may be signalled by different actions, or several meanings may be signalled by the same action, as we move from culture to culture. The only solution is to approach each culture with an open mind and learn their gestures as one would learn their vocabulary. These all require considerable skill and training and belong in a totally different world from the familiar gestures we employ in everyday life.


Questions 14-19

Reading Passage 2 has seven paragraphs, A-G.

Choose the correct heading for paragraph A-C and from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number, i-x, in boxes 14-19 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings

          The subconscious nature of gestures

ii          The example of regional differences

iii         The key factors of gestures

iv         Sending out important signals

v          How a well-known gesture loses its meaning

vi         Performance in a specific setting

vii        Recent research of Gesture Variant

viii       Comparison to an everyday-use object

ix         How will conflict be handled

x          Individual deviation of cultural norms

14   Paragraph A

15   Paragraph B

16   Paragraph C

Example          Answer

Paragraph D   i

17   Paragraph E

18   Paragraph F

19   Paragraph G



Questions 20 – 22

Choose the correct letter, ABC or D.

Write your answers in boxes 20-22 on your answer sheet.

20   According to the passage, which aspect of the ringing of a telephone is compared with gestures?

A   The length of the ringing.

B   The unchanging sound of the ringing.

C   The telephone ringing intrudes upon our life.

D   The speed of ringing signals the urgency.

21   Which of the diagrams below shows the gesture “Hand Purse”?

22   In which country should the gesture “Hand Purse” be used with caution?


B   Tusinia

C   Italy

D   France


Questions 23 – 25

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

In boxes 23-25 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


23   Angry people are often in the same age range or group.

24   Personal physical characteristics may affect the gesture used.

25   A Gesture Variant can still be understood by the members of the same culture.



Question 26

According to the passage, what is the writer’s purpose in writing this passage?

Choose the correct letter ABC or D

Write you answer in box 26 on your answer sheet.

A   to clarify the origin of gesture-based communication

B   to promote the worldwide use of gestures

C   to investigate whether gesture use affects information content

D   to explain the concept of gesture









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

Tickling and Laughter


The fingers of an outstretched aim are nearing your body; you bend away folding your torso, bending your head to your shoulder in hopes that you don’t get tickled; but the inevitable occurs: yon arc tickled and in hysterics, you chuckle, titter, and burst into uncontrollable laughter. Why do we laugh when we are tickled?


Tickling is caused by a light sensation across our skin. At times the light sensation can cause itching; however, most of the time it causes giggling. If a feather is gently moved across the surface of the skin, it can also cause tickling and giggling. Heavy laughter is caused by someone or something placing repeated pressure on a person and tickling a particular area. The spots tickled often are feet, toes, sides, underarms, and neck which cause a great deal of laughter. Yngve Zotterman from Karolinska Institute has found that tickling sensations involve signals from nerve fibers. These nerve fibers are associated with pain and touch. Also, Zotterman has discovered tickling sensations to be associated not only with nerve fibers but also with sense of touch because people who have lost pain sensations still laugh when tickled. But really, why do we laugh? Why are we not able to tickle ourselves? What part of the brain is responsible for laughter and humor? Why do we say some people have no sense of humor?


Research has shown that laughter is more than just a person’s voice and movement and that it requires the coordination of many muscles throughout the body. Laughter also increases blood pressure and heart rate, changes breathing, reduces levels of certain neurochemicals (catecholamines, hormones) and provides a boost to dying immune system. Can laughter improve health? It may be a good way for people to relax because muscle tension is reduced after laughing. Human tests have found some evidence that humorous videos and tapes can reduce feelings of pain, prevent negative stress reactions and boost the brain’s biological battle against infection.


Researchers believe we process humor and laughter through a complex pathway of brain activity that encompasses three main brain components. In one new study, researchers used imaging equipment to photograph die brain activity of healthy volunteers while they underwent a sidesplitting assignment of reading written jokes, viewing cartoons from The New Yorker magazine as well as “The Far Side” and listening to digital recordings of laughter. Preliminary results indicate that the humor-processing pathway includes parts of the frontal lobe brain area, important for cognitive processing the supplementary motor area, important for movement; and the nucleus accumbens, associated with pleasure. Investigations support the notion that parts of the frontal lobe are involved in humor. Subjects’ brains were imaged while they were listening to jokes. An area of the frontal lobe was activated only when they thought a joke was funny. In a study that compared healthy individuals with people who had damage to their frontal lobes, the subjects with damaged frontal lobes were more likely to choose wrong punch lines to written jokes and didn’t laugh or smile as much at funny cartoons or jokes.


Even though we may know more about what parts of the brain are responsible for humor, it is still hard to explain why we don’t laugh or giggle when we tickle ourselves. Darwin theorized within “The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals” that there was a link between tickling and laughter because of the anticipation of pleasure. Because we cannot tickle ourselves and have caused laughter, Darwin speculated surprise from another person touching a sensitive spot must have caused laughter. Some scientists believe that laughing caused by tickling is a built-in reflex even babies have. If we tickle ourselves in the same spot as our friend tickled us, we do not laugh as we did previously. The information sent to our spinal cord and brain should be exactly the same. Apparently, for tickling to work, the brain needs tension and surprise. When we tickle ourselves, we know exactly what will happen…there is no tension or surprise. How the brain uses this information about tension and surprise is still a mystery, but there is some evidence that the cerebellum may be involved. Because one part of the brain tells another: “It’s just you. Don’t get excited”. Investigations suggest that during self-tickling, the cerebellum tells an area called the somatosensory cortex what sensation to expect, and that dampens the tickling sensation. It looks as if the killjoy is found in the cerebellum. Further explorations to understand tickling and laughter were conducted by Christenfeld and Harris. Within ‘The Mystery of Ticklish Laughter and “Can a Machine Tickleyn they explained that people laughed equally whether tickled by a machine or by a person. The participants were not aware that who or what was tickling them. However, the laughter was equally resounded. It is suggested that tickling response is a reflex, which, like Darwin suggested earlier, is dependent on the element of surprise.


Damage to any one part of the brain may affect one’s overall ability to process humor. Peter Derks, a professor of psychology, conducted his research with a group of scientists at NASA-Langley in Hampton. Using a sophisticated electroencephalogram (EEG), they measured the brain activity of 10 people exposed to humorous stimuli. How quickly our brain recognizes the incongruity that deals with most humor and attaches an abstract meaning to it determines whether we laugh. However, different people find different jokes funny. That can be due to a number of factors, including differences in personality, intelligence, mental state and probably mood. But according to Derks, the majority of people recognize when a situation is meant to be humorous. In a series of experiments, he noticed that several patients recovering from brain injuries could not distinguish between something funny and something not.


Dr Shibata of the University of Rochester School of Medicine said our neurons get tickled when we hear a joke. The brain’s ‘Tunny bone” is located at the right frontal lobe just above the right eye and appears critical to our ability to recognize a joke. Dr Shibata gave his patients MRI scans to measure brain activity, trying to find out what part of the brain is particularly active while telling the punch line of a joke as opposed to the rest of the joke and funny cartoons in comparison to parts of the cartoons that are not funny. The jokes “tickled” the frontal lobes. The scans also showed activity in the nucleus accumbens, which is likely related to our feeling of mirth after hearing a good joke and our “addiction” to humor. While his research was about humor, the results could help lead to answers and solutions to depression. Parts of the brain that are active during humor are actually abnormal in patients with depression. Eventually, brain scans might be used to assess patients with depression and other mood disorders. The research may also explain why some stroke victims lose their sense of humor or suffer from other personality changes. The same part of the brain is also associated with social and emotional judgment and planning.



Questions 27-33

The Reading Passage has 7 paragraphs, A-G.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the appropriate letter, A-G, in boxes 27-33 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.


27   Location of a brain section essential to the recognition of jokes

28   Laughter enhances immunity

29   Individual differences and the appreciation of humour

30   Parts of the brain responsible for tickling reflex

31   Neuropsychological mechanisms by which humor and laughter work

32   The connection between tickling and nerve fibers

33  Patients with emotional disorders



Questions 34-37

Look at the following researchers (listed 34-37) and findings (listed A-F).

Match each researcher with the correct finding(s).

Write your answers in boxes 34-37 on your answer sheet.

 NB There are more findings than researchers. You may choose more than one finding for any of the researchers.


A   The surprise factor, combined with the anticipation of pleasure, cause laughter when tickled.

B   Laughing caused by tickling is a built-in reflex even babies have.

  People also laugh when tickled by a machine if they are not aware of it.

D   People have different tastes for jokes and humour.

E   Jokes and funny cartoons activate the frontal lobes.

F   Tickling sensations involve more than nerve fibers.

34   Darwin

35   Christenfeld and Harris

36   Yngve Zotterman

37   Peter Derks



Questions 38-40

Complete the summary below using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each blank.

Write your answers in boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet.


Researchers believe three brain components to be involved in the processing of humor and laughter Results from one study using brain 38……………… indicate that parts of the brain responsible for 39……………… movement and pleasure are involved through a sophisticated pathway. Test subjects who suffered from frontal lobes damages had greater chances of picking 40 ……………… of jokes or did not respond to funny cartoons or jokes.