READING PASSAGE 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.
The Lake Erie Canal
Begun in 1817 and opened in its entirety in 1825, the Erie Canal is considered by some to be the engineering marvel of the nineteenth century. When the federal government concluded that the project was too ambitious to undertake, the State of New York took on the task of carving 363 miles of canal through the wilderness, with nothing but the muscle power of men and horses.
Once derided as ‘Clinton’s Folly’ for the Governor who lent his vision and political muscle to the project, the Erie Canal experienced unparalleled success almost overnight. The iconic waterway established settlement patterns for most of the United States during the nineteenth century, made New York the financial capital of the world, provided a critical supply line that helped the North win the Civil War, and precipitated a series of social and economic changes throughout a young America.
Explorers had long searched for a water route to the west. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the lack of an efficient and safe transportation network kept populations and trade largely confined to coastal areas. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Allegheny Mountains were the Western Frontier. The Northwest Territories that would later become Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio were rich in timber, minerals, and fertile land for farming, but it took weeks to reach these things. Travellers were faced with rutted turnpike roads that baked to hardness in the summer sun. In the winter, the roads dissolved into mud.
An imprisoned flour merchant named Jesse Hawley envisioned a better way: a canal from Buffalo on the eastern shore of Lake Erie to Albany on the upper Hudson River, a distance of almost 400 miles. Long a proponent of efficient water transportation, Hawley had gone bankrupt trying to move his products to market. Hawley’s ideas caught the interest of Assemblyman Joshua Forman, who submitted the first state legislation related to the Erie Canal in 1808, calling for a series of surveys to be made examining the practicality of a water route between Lake Erie and the Hudson River. In 1810, Thomas Eddy, and State Senator Jonas Platt, hoping to get plans for the canal moving forward, approached influential Senator De Witt Clinton, former mayor of New York City, to enlist his support. Though Clinton had been recruited to the canal effort by Eddy and Platt, he quickly became one of the canal’s most active supporters and went on to successfully tie his very political fate to its success.
On April 15th, 1817, the New York State Legislature finally approved construction of the Erie Canal. The Legislature authorised $7 million for construction of the 363-mile long waterway, which was to be 40 feet wide and eighteen feet deep. Construction began on July 4th 1817 and took eight years.
Like most canals, the Erie Canal depended on a lock system in order to compensate for changes in water levels over distance. A lock is a section of canal or river that is closed off to control the water level, so that boats can be raised or lowered as they pass through it. Locks have two sets of sluice gates (top and bottom), which seal off and then open the entrances to the chamber, which is where a boat waits while the movement up or down takes place. In addition, locks also have valves at the bottom of the sluice gates and it is by opening these valves that water is allowed into and out of the chamber to raise or lower the water level, and hence the boat.
The effect of the Erie Canal was both immediate and dramatic, and settlers poured west. The explosion of trade prophesied by Governor Clinton began, spurred by freight rates from Buffalo to New York of $10 per ton by canal, compared with $100 per ton by road. In 1829, there were 3,640 bushels of wheat transported down the canal from Buffalo. By 1837, this figure had increased to 500,000 bushels and, four years later, it reached one million. In nine years, canal tolls more than recouped the entire cost of construction. Within 15 years of the canal’s opening, New York was the busiest port in America, moving tonnages greater than Boston, Baltimore and New Orleans combined. Today, it can still be seen that every major city in New York State falls along the trade route established by the Erie Canal and nearly 80 per cent of upstate New York’s inhabitants live within 25 miles of the Erie Canal.
The completion of the Erie Canal spurred the first great westward movement of American settlers, gave access to the resources west of the Appalachians and made New York the preeminent commercial city in the United States. At one time, more than 50,000 people depended on the Erie Canal for their livelihood. From its inception, the Erie Canal helped form a whole new culture revolving around canal life. For those who travelled along the canal in packet boats or passenger vessels, the canal was an exciting place. Gambling and entertainment were frequent pastimes, and often families would meet each year at the same locations to share stories and adventures. Today, the canal has returned to its former glory and is filled with pleasure boats, fishermen, holidaymakers and cyclists riding the former towpaths where mules once trod. The excitement of the past is alive and well.
Choose SIX letters, A-K.
What SIX of the following were effects of the Lake Erie Canal?
Write the correct letter, A-K, in any order in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet.
A It brought building materials to expand the city of Chicago.
B It established the financial dominance of New York City.
C It generated taxes that stimulated the whole region.
D It helped the north win the US Civil War.
E It was used for training troops in World War One.
F It helped boost a politician’s career.
G It stimulated the shipbuilding industry.
H It led to cheaper distribution for goods.
I It influenced New York State’s population distribution.
J It allowed damaging species of fish to travel to different ecosystems.
K It became a boost for tourism.
Label the diagram below.
Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the text for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 7-9 on your answer sheet.
Questions 10 -13
Answer the questions below.
Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the text for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet.
10 What was the beneficial factor for productive agriculture in the Northwest Territories at the beginning of the nineteenth century?
11 In what commodity did the person who first came up with the idea of the Erie Canal trade?
12 How long did it take to build the Erie Canal?
13 How were the Erie Canal’s building costs recovered?
READING PASSAGE 2
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.
The Story of Opium
Opium is a substance that is derived by collecting and later drying the milky juice that comes from the seed pods of the poppy plant. The substance can vary in colour and may be yellow or could range all the way to a very dark brown colour. Opium has a very bitter taste that is comparable to other plants from similar families and a distinct odour that is clearly identifiable. The primary component of opium is twelve per cent morphine, which is an alkaloid that is often processed chemically to produce illegal drugs, such as heroin. Codeine and other nonnarcotic alkaloids are also found in the latex that is derived from the opium poppy plant.
The history of opium dates back as far as the Neolithic and ancient times, when the drug was widely used in anaesthesia, as well as for ritualistic purposes. In ancient Egypt, opium was used as an analgesic and the Indians as well as the Romans both used opium during surgical procedures. Throughout the American Civil War, opium and various derivatives of opium were used. Morphine, opiods and synthetic opiates are all derived or come directly from the opium poppy, even in today’s medical use. While the medical world has evolved greatly and has manipulated opium to meet the needs of patients, the most raw form of opium, morphine, continues to be one of the most widely used analgesic drugs, even today.
Opium use has many long- and short-term consequences that can be harmful to the body. Initially, the euphoric state that is caused by the drug can be relaxing and comforting, but long-term use of opium can lead to addiction and physical dependence. Many of the harmful consequences of using opium are related to the damage caused to the lungs from smoking the drug or to the consequences that are caused by derivatives of the drug. For many, the harmful consequences of opium will not present themselves until many years of use. However, for some, the effects of opium use are dangerous almost immediately and an overdose can lead to a risk of death.
Today, heroin’s long journey to final use begins with the planting of opium poppy seeds. Opium is grown mainly by impoverished farmers on small plots in remote regions of the world. It flourishes in dry, warm climates and the vast majority of opium poppies are grown in a narrow, 4,500-mile stretch of mountains extending across central Asia from Turkey through Pakistan and Burma. Recently, opium has been grown in Latin America, notably Colombia and Mexico. The farmer takes his crop of opium to the nearest village, where he will sell it to the dealer who offers him the best price.
Legal growing of opium for medicinal use currently takes place in India, Turkey, and Australia. Two thousand tons of opium are produced annually and this supplies the world with the raw material needed to make medicinal products. Traditionally, opium was obtained from the latex of the poppy plant by scoring the seed pods by hand and allowing the latex to leak out and dry up. The sticky yellowish/brown residue is then scraped off and harvested for use. Today, modern methods of opium harvest include processing the mature poppy plant by machine in order to get the latex out of the flowering plant. Overall, opium production has changed very little over the years, however, selective breeding of the plant has led to an increase in the content of the phenanthrene alkaloids morphine, codeine and thebaine. Currently, there are three main sources for illegal opium: Burma, Afghanistan, and Colombia. Opium and heroin are ideal trade products: they are in great demand, are very profitable to produce, and the products take up little space. With modern transportation, opium and heroin can be moved from one country to another within days or a few weeks. Both drugs have a long and stable shelf life, allowing the products to be stored for long periods of time.
Opium was used for recreational purposes in China during the fifteenth century and on through the seventeenth century. It was nearly 300 years before the Chinese first realised that smoking opium was actually dangerous and could lead to physical dependence. In 1909, the International Opium Commission was formed to help regulate the shipping, sale and use of opium due to the dangers that were now widely known pertaining to the regular use of the drug. At this time, opium was first being purified into morphine and heroin, which are both highly potent drugs that have proved to be very much more dangerous than the raw opium itself. Recreational use of these drugs is now illegal in most countries around the world.
In the early days, people did not worry too much about the physical dependence that opium and its derivatives created. Today, the dangers are well recognised and there are a variety of ways to help people who have fallen victim to it. Most of the time, inpatient or residential treatment will be the basis for recovery. These programs will utilise counselling in both individual and group sessions to provide a foundation for success in recovery. Following the counselling in an inpatient treatment facility, those in recovery will continue treatment in an outpatient facility that provides similar counselling and therapy in a less supervised environment.
The text on the previous pages has 7 paragraphs (A – G).
Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.
Write the correct number (i – x) in boxes 14-20 on your answer sheet.
i From Seed to Sale
ii Government Agencies Chase Criminals
iii Illegal Use
v Modern Production
vii High Profits Cause Conflicts
viii Treating Addiction
ix What is it?
xi Famous Users
14 Paragraph A
15 Paragraph B
16 Paragraph C
17 Paragraph D
18 Paragraph E
19 Paragraph F
20 Paragraph G
Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D.
Write the correct letter in boxes 21-23 on your answer sheet.
21 Opium can be easily recognised by
A its smell.
B its colour.
C its taste.
D its packaging.
22 Opium has been used throughout history as
A a drug to induce childbirth.
B a poison.
C a pain reliever.
D a currency.
23 The dangerous properties of opium are
A always apparent quite a long time after the first use.
B not often experienced by users.
C never experienced if opium is used in moderation.
D sometimes experienced straight away in some users.
Complete the sentences below.
Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the text for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.
24 The medicinal content of opium has been increased by the ……………… of the opium poppy.
25 It was the ……………… who first found that using opium was harmful.
26 ……………… for groups and individuals is often used to treat people addicted to opium.
READING PASSAGE 3
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.
Video Games and Violence
For quite some time now, video games that involve significant amounts of violence have been blamed for growing numbers of violence by young people, the demographic most likely to play these games. Debate about this has even reached the courts, with both sides of the argument claiming that the scientific literature supports their opinions. Some experts involved have proclaimed that the debate is scientifically settled and that only people holding personal concerns and biases oppose these established truths. Scientifically, two competing social theories have been formulated about the potential effects of video game violence. The first is that video games increase violence because they teach players how to be violent and reinforce violent tendencies. The second theory is that video games have a possibly beneficial effect, because they provide a socially acceptable outlet for the release of aggression and thereby promote better mental health.
Articles reviewing the effects of video games on general populations have found links between playing violent video games and changes in behaviour, and/or thought process, with some finding that people who played realistic violent games for 45 minutes had a greater increase in violent and aggressive feelings than persons who played unrealistic violent video games or non-violent video games for the same period. What seems clear though is that certain populations are more at risk and/or are more likely to play violent video games than others. Studies suggest that at-risk individuals are usually male, have pre-existing personality disorders or traits, for example a conduct disorder, have pre-existing mental health conditions, have had difficult or traumatic upbringings, and are insecure with poor self-esteem. Children with attention deficit disorder were also seen to be at a higher risk of showing addictive behaviour to violent video games and that violent video games might be a significant risk variable for aggressive behaviour in persons who already have aggressive personality traits. There are, of course, plenty of other groups of people (probably the majority of users) who play and enjoy video games, with or without violence, that have no character disorders at all. Another recent key report which relied on parents’ self-report of their children’s video gameplaying behaviours suggests that spending a large amount of time playing violent video games was correlated with troublesome behaviour and poor academic achievement. The same study also indicated that children who played more educational games had more positive outcomes.
What is interesting is that the comic book debate of the 1950’s is eerily similar when compared to the current debate about the effects of video games on children. In 1954, the US Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency held hearings on the effects of comic books on America’s youth. The primary focus of the Senate hearings was ‘crime and horror’ comic books, some of which graphically showed horrific images, such as dismembered bodies. Concerns were voiced that these comics would lead to a decline in public morals, an increase in violence and aggression, an increase in general lawlessness, and societal disrespect and deterioration. Medical and social science experts became involved in the debate, writing articles in reputable journals. Many of the concerns that dominate the current video game debate were also expressed and it could show the frequently experienced perception that violent behaviour is always more prevalent in the present than in the past and that people just search for a scapegoat on which to blame it.
Although many articles have suggested a connection between violent video games and aggression, several studies have found no such relationship. One study in fact showed that non-gamers and excessive gamers both had lower self-reported mental wellness scores than low to moderate gamers. This finding suggests that excessive playing may be detrimental, but that there are some protective and non-harmful consequences to playing in moderation. This finding is in line with social theory, which suggests that video games, like sports, may provide an outlet for individuals to work through aggression and, therefore, have better mental functioning and overall lower levels of aggression. The same study pointed to the positive attributes of violent video game playing, such as improved visual-spatial coordination, increased peripheral attention, and increased decision-making capabilities. People who play a lot of video games also generally have better overall computer skills than people who do not.
Another study examining the multivariate risk issues for youth violence showed that the most common positive predictors of youth violence were delinquent peer influences, antisocial personality traits, depression, and parents or guardians who use psychological abuse in family relationships. The factors that were not found to be predictive of youth violence included neighbourhood quality, parental use of domestic physical violence in intimate relationships, and exposure to violent television or video games.
A recent neurological study provided further evidence that video games do not increase violent behaviour by users. The study examined whether there was a change in brain imaging that suggested a loss of distinction between virtual and actual violence in players of violent video games compared with controls. What was found was that the ability to differentiate automatically between real and virtual violence was not diminished by a long-term history of violent video game play, and nor were gamers’ neural responses to real violence subject to desensitisation processes. This would indicate that video games do not cause people to lose their grip on what is real in comparison with what is fantasy.
Many questions are raised by the split nature of the scientific literature regarding violence and video games and it should also be remembered that a correlation does not prove a causation. Stakeholders need to examine the current video game debate in order to decide how to sensibly influence social policy.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the text?
In boxes 27-33 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
27 Violent video games are most likely to be played by people in their youth and middle age.
28 It has been claimed that people who still feel the effects of violent video games are not decided and clear have vested interests in the debate.
29 It is claimed that men and women are more or less equally threatened by the effects of violent video games.
30 One study has found a link between usage of violent video games and poor school performance.
31 Various violent video games are based on stories previously published in comic books.
32 Some of the comic books of the 1950’s had shocking images of mutilated people.
33 It has been claimed that violence has always been present in society and video games are just the latest thing to blame it on.
Complete the table below.
Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the text for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 34-39 on your answer sheet.
Studies Defending the Use of Violent Video Games
● Non-gamers and excessive gamers had similar grading in terms of 34………………..
● It shows excessive gaming can have protective effects.
● Similar ideas in social theory – users can rid themselves of 35………………. and therefore have a better mental condition.
● Gaming can improve visual-spatial coordination, peripheral attention, 36………………. And computer skills.
● It examined the various risk factors for youth violence – peers, personality, depression and psychological abuse.
● Non-factors were 37………………., violence at home and violent TV and video games.
● A neurological study examining variations in 38………………. when users interacted with virtual or real violence.
● Results showed that users’ differentiation between virtual or real violence was not affected by the use of violent video games.
● The 39………………. with regards to real violence in users’ neural reactions were also not affected.
● It shows video games do not affect people’s perceptions of what is real or what is fantasy.
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
Write the correct letter in box 40 on your answer sheet.
40 What is the writer’s purpose in Reading Passage 3?
A To defend the use of violent video game usage.
B To discourage people from using violent video games.
C To examine examples of violence by users of violent video games.
D To review what has been discovered about the effects of violent video games.