READING PASSAGE 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13, which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.
Optimism and Health
Mindset is all. How you start the year will set the template for the rest, and two scientifically backed character traits hold the key: optimism and resilience (if the prospect leaves you feeling pessimistically spineless, the good news is that you can significantly boost both of these qualities).
Faced with 12 months of plummeting economics and rising human distress, staunchly maintaining a rosy view might seem deludedly Pollyannaish. But here we encounter the optimism paradox. As Brice Pitt, an emeritus professor of the psychiatry of old age at Imperial College, London, told me: “Optimists are unrealistic. Depressive people see things as they really are, but that is a disadvantage from an evolutionary point of view. Optimism is a piece of evolutionary equipment that carried us through millennia of setbacks.”
Optimists have plenty to be happy about. In other words, if you can convince yourself that things will get better, the odds of it happening will improve - because you keep on playing the game. In this light, optimism “is a habitual way of explaining your setbacks to yourself”, reports Martin Seligman, the psychology professor and author of Learned Optimism. The research shows that when times get tough, optimists do better than pessimists - they succeed better at work, respond better to stress, suffer fewer depressive episodes, and achieve more personal goals.
Studies also show that belief can help with the financial pinch. Chad Wallens, a social forecaster at the Henley Centre who surveyed middle-class Britons’ beliefs about income, has found that “the people who feel wealthiest, and those who feel poorest, actually have almost the same amount of money at their disposal. Their attitudes and behaviour patterns, however, are different from one another.”
Optimists have something else to be cheerful about - in general, they are more robust. For example, a study of 660 volunteers by the Yale University psychologist Dr. Becca Levy found that thinking positively adds an average of seven years to your life. Other American research claims to have identified a physical mechanism behind this. A Harvard Medical School study of 670 men found that the optimists have significantly better lung function. The lead author, Dr. Rosalind Wright, believes that attitude somehow strengthens the immune system. “Preliminary studies on heart patients suggest that, by changing a person’s outlook, you can improve their mortality risk,” she says.
Few studies have tried to ascertain the proportion of optimists in the world. But a 1995 nationwide survey conducted by the American magazine Adweek found that about half the population counted themselves as optimists, with women slightly more apt than men (53 per cent versus 48 per cent) to see the sunny side.
Of course, there is no guarantee that optimism will insulate you from the crunch’s worst effects, but the best strategy is still to keep smiling and thank your lucky stars. Because (as every good sports coach knows) adversity is character-forming - so long as you practise the skills of resilience. Research among tycoons and business leaders shows that the path to success is often littered with failure: a record of sackings, bankruptcies and blistering castigation. But instead of curling into a foetal ball beneath the coffee table, they resiliently pick themselves up, learn from their pratfalls and march boldly towards the next opportunity.
The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the ability to adapt in the face of adversity, trauma or tragedy. A resilient person may go through difficulty and uncertainty, but he or she will doggedly bounce back.
Optimism is one of the central traits required in building resilience, say Yale University investigators in the. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. They add that resilient people learn to hold on to their sense of humour and this can help them to keep a flexible attitude when big changes of plan are warranted. The ability to accept your lot with equanimity also plays an important role, the study adds.
One of the best ways to acquire resilience is through experiencing a difficult childhood, the sociologist Steven Stack reports in the Journal of Social Psychology. For example, short men are less likely to commit suicide than tall guys, he says, because shorties develop psychological defence skills to handle the bullies and mickey-taking that their lack of stature attracts. By contrast, those who enjoyed adversity-free youths can get derailed by setbacks later on because they’ve never been inoculated against aggro.
If you are handicapped by having had a happy childhood, then practising proactive optimism can help you to become more resilient. Studies of resilient people show that they take more risks; 'they court failure and learn not to fear it.
And despite being thick-skinned, resilient types are also more open than average to other people. Bouncing through knock-backs is all part of the process.
It’s about optimistic risk-taking - being confident that people will like you. Simply smiling and being warm to people can help. It’s an altruistic path to self-interest - and if it achieves nothing else, it will reinforce an age-old adage: hard times can bring out the best in you.
Complete the summary below using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from Reading Passage for each answer.
A study group from Yale University had discovered that optimism can stretch one's life length by 1______years. And another group from Harvard thinks they have found the biological basis - optimists have better 2______because an optimist outlook boosts one's 3______. The study on 4______was cited as evidence in support of this claim.
Complete each sentence with the correct ending A-H.
5______ Brice Pitt believes
6 ______ The research at Henley Centre discovers
7 ______ The study conducted by Adweek finds
8 ______ The Annual Review of Clinical Psychology reports
9 ______ Steven Stack says in his report
A material wealth doesn't necessarily create happiness.
B optimists tend to be unrealistic about human evolution.
C optimism is advantageous for human evolution.
D adversity is the breeding ground of resilience.
E feelings of optimism vary according to gender.
F good humour means good flexibility.
G evenness of mind under stress is important to building resilience.
H having an optimistic outlook is a habit.
Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Reading Passage?
In boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet write
YES if the statement agrees with the information
NO if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this
10 ______The benefits of optimism on health have been long known.
11 ______Optimists have better relationships with people than pessimists.
12 ______People with happy childhoods won't be able to practise optimism.
13______Resilient people are often open, and even thick-skinned.
READING PASSAGE 2
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26, which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.
The Triune Brain
The first of our three brains to evolve is what scientists call the reptilian cortex. This brain sustains the elementary activities of animal survival such as respiration, adequate rest and a beating heart. We are not required to consciously “think” about these activities.
The reptilian cortex also houses the “startle centre”, a mechanism that facilitates swift reactions to unexpected occurrences in our surroundings. That panicked lurch you experience when a door slams shut somewhere in the house, or the heightened awareness you feel when a twig cracks in a nearby bush while out on an evening stroll are both examples of the reptilian cortex at work. When it comes to our interaction with others, the reptilian brain offers up only the most basic impulses: aggression, mating, and territorial defence. There is no great difference, in this sense, between a crocodile defending its spot along the river and a turf war between two urban gangs.
Although the lizard may stake a claim to its habitat, it exerts total indifference toward the well-being of its young. Listen to the anguished squeal of a dolphin separated from its pod or witness the sight of elephants mourning their dead, however, and it is clear that a new development is at play. Scientists have identified this as the limbic cortex. Unique to mammals, the limbic cortex impels creatures to nurture their offspring by delivering feelings of tenderness and warmth to the parent when children are nearby. These same sensations also cause mammals to develop various types of social relations and kinship networks. When we are with others of “our kind” - be it at soccer practice, church, school or a nightclub - we experience positive sensations of togetherness, solidarity and comfort. If we spend too long away from these networks, then loneliness sets in and encourages us to seek companionship.
Only human capabilities extend far beyond the scope of these two cortexes. Humans eat, sleep and play, but we also speak, plot, rationalise and debate finer points of morality. Our unique abilities are the result of an expansive third brain - the neocortex - which engages with logic, reason and ideas. The power of the neocortex comes from its ability to think beyond the present, concrete moment. While other mammals are mainly restricted to impulsive actions (although some, such as apes, can learn and remember simple lessons), humans can think about the “big picture”. We can string together simple lessons (for example, an apple drops downwards from a tree; hurting others causes unhappiness) to develop complex theories of physical or social phenomena (such as the laws of gravity and a concern for human rights).
The neocortex is also responsible for the process by which we decide on and commit to particular courses of action. Strung together over time, these choices can accumulate into feats of progress unknown to other animals. Anticipating a better grade on the following morning’s exam, a student can ignore the limbic urge to socialise and go to sleep early instead. Over three years, this ongoing sacrifice translates into a first class degree and a scholarship to graduate school; over a lifetime, it can mean groundbreaking contributions to human knowledge and development. The ability to sacrifice our drive for immediate satisfaction in order to benefit later is a product of the neocortex.
Understanding the triune brain can help us appreciate the different natures of brain damage and psychological disorders. The most devastating form of brain damage, for example, is a condition in which someone is understood to be brain dead. In this state a person appears merely unconscious - sleeping, perhaps - but this is illusory. Here, the reptilian brain is functioning on autopilot despite the permanent loss of other cortexes.
Disturbances to the limbic cortex are registered in a different manner. Pups with limbic damage can move around and feed themselves well enough but do not register the presence of their littermates. Scientists have observed how, after a limbic lobotomy2， “one impaired monkey stepped on his outraged peers as if treading on a log or a rock”.
In our own species, limbic damage is closely related to sociopathic behaviour. Sociopaths in possession of fully-functioning neocortexes are often shrewd and emotionally intelligent people but lack any ability to relate to, empathise with or express concern for others.
One of the neurological wonders of history occurred when a railway worker named Phineas Gage survived an incident during which a metal rod skewered his skull, taking a considerable amount of his neocortex with it. Though Gage continued to live and work as before, his fellow employees observed a shift in the equilibrium of his personality. Gage’s animal propensities were now sharply pronounced while his intellectual abilities suffered; garrulous or obscene jokes replaced his once quick wit. New findings suggest, however, that Gage managed to soften these abrupt changes over time and rediscover an appropriate social manner. This would indicate that reparative therapy has the potential to help patients with advanced brain trauma to gain an improved quality of life.
Classify the following as typical of the reptilian cortex the limbic cortex the neocortex
Write the correct letter, A, B or C, in boxes 14-22 on your answer sheet.
14 ______giving up short-term happiness for future gains
15 ______maintaining the bodily functions necessary for life
16 ______experiencing the pain of losing another
17 ______forming communities and social groups
18 ______making a decision and carrying it out
19 ______guarding areas of land
20 ______developing explanations for things
21 ______looking after one’s young
22 ______responding quickly to sudden movement and noise
Complete the sentences below.
Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 23-26 on your answer sheet.
23 A person with only a functioning reptilian cortex is known as...........
24 .....................in humans is associated with limbic disruption.
25 An industrial accident caused Phineas Gage to lose part of his........
26 After his accident, co-workers noticed an imbalance between Gage’s and higher-order thinking.
READING PASSAGE 3
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.
Pottery production in ancient Akrotiri
Excavations at the site of prehistoric Akrotiri, on the coast of the Aegean Sea, have revealed much about the technical aspects of pottery manufacture, indisputably one of the basic industries of this Greek city. However, considerably less is known about the socio-economic context and the way production was organised.
The bulk of pottery found at Akrotiri is locally made, and dates from the late fifteenth century BC. It clearly fulfilled a vast range of the settlement’s requirements: more than fifty different types of pots can be distinguished. The pottery found includes a wide variety of functional types like storage jars, smaller containers, pouring vessels, cooking pots, drinking vessels and so on, which all relate to specific activities and which would have been made and distributed with those activities in mind. Given the large number of shapes produced and the relatively high degree of standardisation, it has generally been assumed that most, if not all, of Akrotiri pottery was produced by specialised craftsmen in a nondomestic context. Unfortunately neither the potters’ workshops nor kilns have been found within the excavated area. The reason may be that the ceramic workshops were located on the periphery of the site, which has not yet been excavated. In any event, the ubiquity of the pottery, and the consistent repetition of the same types in different sizes, suggests production on an industrial scale.
The Akrotirian potters seem to have responded to pressures beyond their households, namely to the increasing complexity of regional distribution and exchange systems. We can imagine them as fulltime craftsmen working permanently in a high production-rate craft such as pottery manufacture, and supporting themselves entirely from the proceeds of their craft. In view of the above, one can begin to speak in terms of mass-produced pottery and the existence of organised workshops of craftsmen during the period 1550-1500 BC. Yet, how pottery production was organised at Akrotiri remains an open question, as there is no real documentary evidence. Our entire knowledge comes from the ceramic material itself, and the tentative conclusions which can be drawn from it.
The invention of units of quantity and of a numerical system to count them was of capital importance for an exchange-geared society such as that of Akrotiri. In spite of the absence of any written records, the archaeological evidence reveals that concepts of measurements, both of weight and number, had been formulated. Standard measures may already have been in operation, such as those evidenced by a graduated series of lead weights - made in disc form - found at the site. The existence of units of capacity in Late Bronze Age times is also evidenced by the notation of units of a liquid measure for wine on excavated containers.
It must be recognised that the function of pottery vessels plays a very important role in determining their characteristics. The intended function affects the choice of clay, the production technique, and the shape and the size of the pots. For example, large storage jars (pithoi) would be needed to store commodities, whereas smaller containers would be used for transport. In fact, the length of a man’s arm limits the size of a smaller pot to a capacity of about twenty litres; that is also the maximum a man can comfortably carry.
The various sizes of container would thus represent standard quantities of a commodity, which is a fundamental element in the function of exchange. Akrotirian merchants handling a commodity such as wine would have been able to determine easily the amount of wine they were transporting from the number of containers they carried in their ships, since the capacity of each container was known to be 14-18 litres. (We could draw a parallel here with the current practice in Greece of selling oil in 17 kilogram tins)
We may therefore assume that the shape, capacity, and, sometimes decoration of vessels are indicative of the commodity contained by them. Since individual transactions would normally involve different quantities of a given commodity, a range of ‘standardised’ types of vessel would be needed to meet traders’ requirements.
In trying to reconstruct systems of capacity by measuring the volume of excavated pottery, a rather generous range of tolerances must be allowed. It seems possible that the potters of that time had specific sizes of vessel in mind, and tried to reproduce them using a specific type and amount of clay. However, it would be quite difficult for them to achieve the exact size required every time, without any mechanical means of regulating symmetry and wall thickness, and some potters would be more skilled than others. In addition, variations in the repetition of types and size may also occur because of unforeseen circumstances during the throwing process. For instance, instead of destroying the entire pot if the clay in the rim contained a piece of grit, a potter might produce a smaller pot by simply cutting off the rim. Even where there is no noticeable external difference between pots meant to contain the same quantity of a commodity, differences in their capacity can actually reach one or two litres. In one case the deviation from the required size appears to be as much as 10-20 percent.
The establishment of regular trade routes within the Aegean led to increased movement of goods; consequently a regular exchange of local, luxury and surplus goods, including metals, would have become feasible as a result of the advances in transport technology. The increased demand for standardised exchanges, inextricably linked to commercial transactions, might have been one of the main factors which led to the standardisation of pottery production. Thus, the whole network of ceramic production and exchange would have depended on specific regional economic conditions, and would reflect the socio-economic structure of prehistoric Akrotiri.
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
27 What does the writer say about items of pottery excavated at Akrotiri?
A There was very little duplication.
B They would have met a big variety of needs.
C Most of them had been imported from other places.
D The intended purpose of each piece was unclear.
28 The assumption that pottery from Akrotiri was produced by specialists is partly based on
A the discovery of kilns.
B the central location of workshops.
C the sophistication of decorative patterns.
D the wide range of shapes represented.
Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A-F, below.
Write the correct letter, A-F.
29 The assumption that standard units of weight were in use could be based on
30 Evidence of the use of standard units of volume is provided by
31 The size of certain types of containers would have been restricted by
32 Attempts to identify the intended capacity of containers are complicated by
A the discovery of a collection of metal discs.
B the size and type of the sailing ships in use.
C variations in the exact shape and thickness of similar containers.
D the physical characteristics of workmen.
E marks found on wine containers.
F the variety of commodities for which they would have been used.
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 3? Write
YES if the statement agrees with the claims of the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this
33 There are plans to excavate new areas of the archaeological site in the near future.
34 Some of the evidence concerning pottery production in ancient Akrotiri comes from written records.
35 Pots for transporting liquids would have held no more than about 20 litres.
36 It would have been hard for merchants to calculate how much wine was on their ships.
37 The capacity of containers intended to hold the same amounts differed by up to 20 percent.
38 Regular trading of goods around the Aegean would have led to the general standardisation of quantities.
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
39 What does the writer say about the standardisation of container sizes?
A Containers which looked the same from the outside often varied in capacity.
B The instruments used to control container size were unreliable.
C The unsystematic use of different types of clay resulted in size variations.
D Potters usually discarded containers which were of a non-standard size.
40 What is probably the main purpose of Reading Passage 3?
A To evaluate the quality of pottery containers found in prehistoric Akrotiri.
B To suggest how features of pottery production at Akrotiri reflected other developments in the region.
C To outline the development of pottery-making skills in ancient Greece.
D To describe methods for storing and transporting household goods in prehistoric societies.
1. 7/seven :
2. lung function
3. immune system
4. heart patients
10. NOT GIVEN
11. NOT GIVEN
23. brain dead
24. sociopathic behavior
26. animal propensities
33. NOT GIVEN