Something in the air to

  Since the 1940s, southern California has had a reputation for smog. Things are not as bad as they once were but, according to the American Lung Association, Los Angeles is still the worst city in the United States for levels of 26. pollutants. Gazing down on the city from the Getty Centre, an art museum in the Santa Monica Mountains, one would find the view of the Pacific Ocean blurred by the haze (霾). Nor is the state’s bad air 27. restricted to its south. Fresno, in the central valley, comes top of the list in America for year-round pollution. Residents’ hearts and lungs are affected as a 28. consequence.
  All of which, combined with California’s reputation as the home of technological 29. innovation, makes the place ideal for developing and testing systems designed to monitor pollution in 30. detail. And that is just what Aclima, a new firm in San Francisco, has been doing over the past few months. It has been trying out monitoring that are 31. intended to yield minute-to-minute maps of 32. outdoor air pollution. Such stations will also be able to keep an eye on what is happening inside buildings, including offices.
  To this end, Aclima has been 33. collaborating with Google’s Street View system. Davida Herzl,  Aclima’s boss, says they have revealed pollution highs on days when San Francisco’s transit workers went on strike and the city’s 34. inhabitants were forced to use their cars. Conversely, “cycle to work” days have done their job by 35. creating pollution lows.

A assisted
B collaborating
C consequence
D consumers
E creating
F detail
G domestic
H frequently
I inhabitants
J innovation
K intended
L outdoor
M pollutants
N restricted
O sum

四级阅读 第一套 

Questions 46 to 50 are based on the following passage.
  Losing your ability to think and remember is pretty scary. We know the risk of dementia (痴呆) increases with age. But if you have memory slips, you probably needn’t worry. There are pretty clear differences between signs of dementia and age-related memory loss.

  After age 50, it’s quite common to have trouble remembering the names of people, places and thing quickly, says Dr. Kirk Daffner of Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston.

  The brain ages just like the rest of the body. Certain parts shrink, especially areas in the brain that are important to learning, memory and planning. Changes in brain cells can affect communication between different regions of the brain. And blood flow can be reduced as blood vessels narrow.

  Forgetting the name of an actor in a favorite movie, for example, is nothing to worry about. But if you forget the plot of the movie or don’t remember even seeing it, that’s far more concerning, Daffner says.

  When you forget entire experiences, he says, that’s “a red flag that something more serious may be involved.” Forgetting how to operate a familiar object like a microwave oven, or forgetting how to drive to the house of a friend you’ve visited many times before can also be signs of something going wrong.

  But even then, Daffner says, people shouldn’t panic. There are many things that can cause confusion and memory loss, including health problems like temporary stoppage of  breathing during sleep, high blood pressure, or depression, as well as medications like antidepressants.

  You don’t have to figure this out on your own. Daffner suggests going to your doctor to check on medications, health problems and other issues that could be affecting memory.And the best defense against memory loss is to try to prevent it by building up your brain’s cognitive (认知的) reserve, Daffner says.

  “Read books, go to movies, take on new hobbies or activities that force one to think in novel ways,” he says. In other words, keep your brain busy and working. And also get physically active, because exercise is a known brain booster.

46. Why does the author say that one needn’t be concerned about memory slips?
A) Not all of them are symptoms of dementia.
B) They occur only among certain groups of people.
C) Not all of them are related to one’s age.
D) They are quite common among fifty-year-olds.

47. What happens as we become aged according to the passage?
A) Our interaction skills deteriorate.
B) Some parts of our brain stop functioning.
C) Communication within our brain weakens.
D) Our whole brain starts shrinking.

48. Which memory-related symptom should people take seriously?
A) Totally forgetting how to do one’s daily routines.
B) Inability to recall details of one’s life experiences.
C) Failure to remember the names of movies or actors.
D) Occasionally confusing the addresses of one’s friends.

49. What should people do when signs of serious memory loss show up?
A) Check the brain’s cognitive reserve.
B) Turn to a professional for assistance.
C) Stop medications affecting memory.
D) Exercise to improve their well-being.

50. What is Dr Daffner’s advice for combating memory loss?
A) Having regular physical and mental checkups.
B) Taking medicine that helps boost one’s brain.
C) Engaging in known memory repair activities.
D) Staying active both physically and mentally.

  A letter written by Charles Darwin in 1875 has been returned to the Smithsonian Institution Archives(档案馆) by the FBI after being stolen twice.

  “We realized in the mid-1970s that it was missing,” says Effie Kapsalis, head of the Smithsonian Institution Archives. “It was noted as missing and likely taken by an intern, from what the FBI is telling us. Word got out that it was missing when someone asked to see the letter for research purposes,” and the intern put the letter back. “The intern likely took the letter again once nobody was watching it.”

  Decades passed. Finally the FBI received a tip that the stolen document was located very close to Washington, D.C. Their art crime team recovered the letter but were unable to press charges because the time of limitations had ended. The FBI worked closely with the Archives to determine that the letter was both authentic and definitely Smithsonian’s property.

  The letter was written by Darwin to thank an American geologist, Dr. Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, for sending him copies of his research into the geology of the region that would become Yellowstone National Park. 

  The letter is in fairly good condition, in spite of being out of the care of trained museum staff for so long.“It was luckily in good shape,” says Kapsalis,“ and we just have to do some minor things in order to be able to unfold it. It has some glue on it that has colored it slightly, but nothing that will prevent us from using it. After it is repaired, we will take digital photos of it and that will be available online. One of our goals is to get items of high research value or interest to the public online.”

  It would now be difficult for an intern, visitor or a thief to steal a document like this. “Archiving practices have changed greatly since the 1970s,”says Kapsalis. “and we keep our high value documents in a safe that I don’t even have access to.”

51.What happened to Darwin’s letter in the 1970s?
A. It was recovered by the FBI.
B. It was stolen more than once.
C. It was put in the archives for research purposes.
D. It was purchased by the Smithsonian Archives.

52. What did the FBI do after the recovery of the letter?
A. They proved its authenticity.
B. They kept it in a special safe.
C. They arrested the suspect immediately.
D. They pressed criminal charges in vain.

53.What is Darwin’s letter about?
A. The evolution of Yellowstone National Park.
B. His cooperation with an American geologist.
C. Some geological evidence supporting his theory.
D. His acknowledgement of help from a professional.

54. What will the Smithsonian Institution Archives do with the letter according to Kapsalis?
A. Reserve it for research purposes only.
B. Turn it into an object of high interest.
C. Keep it a permanent secret.
D. Make it available online.

55.What has the past half century witnessed according to Kapsalis?
A. Growing interest in rare art objects.
B. Radical changes in archiving practices.
C. Recovery of various missing documents.
D. Increases in the value of museum exhibits.

四级第二套 仔细阅读 

Passage One
  Living in an urban area with green spaces has a long-lasting positive impact on people's mental well-being, a study has suggested. UK researchers found moving to a green space had a sustained positive effect, unlike pay rises or promotions, which only provided a short-term boost. Co-author Mathew White, from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter, UK, explained that the study showed people living in greener urban areas were displaying fewer signs of depression or anxiety. "There could be a number of reasons,” he said, “for example, people do many things to make themselves happier: they strive for promotion or pay rises, or they get married. But the trouble with all those things is that within six months to a year, people are back to their original baseline levels of well-being. So, these things are not sustainable; they don’t make us happy in the long term. We found that for some lottery(彩票)winners who had won more than £500,000 the positive effect was definitely there, but after six months to a year, they were back to the baseline."

   Dr. White said his team wanted to see whether living in greener urban areas had a lasting positive effect on people's sense of well-being or whether the effect also disappeared after a period of time. To do this, the team used data from the British Household Panel Survey compiled by the University of Essex.

  Explaining what the data revealed, he said: "What you see is that even after three years, mental health is still better, which is unlike many of the other things that we think will make us happy." He observed that people living in green spaces were less stressed, and less stressed people made more sensible decisions and communicated better.

46. According to one study, what do green spaces do to people?
A) Improve their work efficiency.
B) Add to their sustained happiness.
C) Help them build a positive attitude towards life.
D) Lessen their concerns about material well-being. 

47. What does Dr. White say people usually do to make themselves happier?
A) Earn more money.
B) Gain fame and popularity.
C) Settle in an urban area.
D) Live in a green environment.

48. What does Dr. White try to find out about living in a greener urban area?
A) How it affects different people.
B) How strong its effect is.
C) How long its positive effect lasts.
D) How it benefits physically 

49. What did Dr. White research reveal about people living in a green environment?
A) Their stress was more apparent than real.
B) Their decisions required less deliberation.
C) Their memories were greatly strengthened.
D) Their communication with others improved. 

50. According to Dr. White, what should the government do to build more green spaces in cities?
A) Find financial support.
B) Improve urban planning.
C) Involve local residents in the effort.
D) Raise public awareness of the issue.

Passage Two
Questions 51 to 55 are based on the following passage.

  You probably know about the Titanic, but it was actually just one of three state-of-the art(最先进的) ocean ships back in the day. The Olympic class ships were built by the Harland & Wolff ship makers in Northern Ireland for the White Star Line company. The Olympic class included the Olympic, the Britannic and the Titanic. What you may not know is that the Titanic wasn’t even the flagship of this class. All in all, the Olympic class ships were marvels of sea engineering, but they seemed cursed to suffer disastrous fates.

  The Olympic launched first in 1910, followed by the Titanic in 1911, and lastly the Britannic in 1914. The ships had nine decks, and White Star Line decided to focus on making them the most luxurious ships on the water.

  Stretching 269.13 meters, the Olympic class ships were wonders of naval technology, and everyone thought that they would continue to be so for quite some time. However, all suffered terrible accidents on the open seas. The Olympic got wreaked before the Titanic did, but it was the only one to survive and maintain a successful career of 24 years. The Titanic was the first to sink after famously hitting a huge iceberg in 1912. Following this disaster, the Britannic hit a naval mine in 1916 and subsequently sank as well.

  Each ship was coal-powered by several boilers constantly kept running by exhausted crews below deck. Most recognizable of the ship designs are the ship’s smoke stacks, but the fourth stack was actually just artistic in nature and served no functional purpose. While two of these ships sank, they were all designed with double hulls(船体) believed to make them “unsinkable”, perhaps a mistaken idea that led to the Titanic’s and the Britannic’s tragic end.

  The Olympic suffered two crashes with other ships and went on to serve as a hospital ship and troop transport in World War I. Eventually, she was taken out of service on 1935, ending the era of the luxurious Olympic class ocean liners.

51. What does the passage say about the three Olympic class ships?

A) They performed marvellously on the sea.
B) They could all break the ice in their way.
C) They all experienced terrible misfortunes.
D) They were models of modern engineering.

52. What did White Star Line have in mind when it purchased the three ships?

A) Their capacity of sailing across all waters.
B) The utmost comfort passengers could enjoy.
C) Their ability to survive disasters of any kind.
D) The long voyages they were able to undertake.

53. What is said about the fourth stack of the ships?

A) It was a mere piece of decoration.
B) It was the work of a famous artist.
C) It was designed to let out extra smoke.
D) It was easily identifiable from afar.

54. What might have led to the tragic end of theTitanic and the Britannic?

A) Their unscientific designs.
B) Their captains' misjudgment.
C) The assumption that they were built with the latest technology.
D) The belief that they could never sink with a double-layer body.

55. What happened to the ship Olympic in the end?

A) She was used to carry troops.
B) She was sunk in World War Ⅰ.
C) She was converted into a hospital ship. 
D) She was retired after her naval service.




In recent years, more and more cities in China begin to build the subway. Developing the subway helps to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in cities. The subway has the advantages of being safe, fast and comfortable. More and more people choose the subway as the main means of transportation to work or school every day. Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly convenient to take the subway in China. In some cities, passengers can take the subway simply by using cards or mobile phones. Many local elderly people can also take the subway.



In the past, traveling by plane was unimaginable to most Chinese people. Today, with the development of China’s economy and the improvement of its people’s living standards, an increasing number of Chinese people, including many farmers and migrant workers, can travel by air. They can fly to all major cities, and many cities are building airports. Air services continue to improve, and there are often cheap air tickets. In recent years, a growing number of Chinese people have chosen to travel by air during holidays.



Buses used to be the main means of transportation for the Chinese people. In recent years, traffic problems in cities are becoming increasingly severe due to the growing number of private cars. To encourage more people to take the bus, many cities have been making efforts to improve bus services. Bus facilities have been upgraded, and buses are now much faster. However, bus fares remain very low. Now, many local senior citizens can take the bus for free in most cities. 



Directions: For this part, you are allowed 30 minutes to write a short essay on the importance of reading ability and how to develop it. You should write at least 120 words but no more than 180 words. 

任何时候,拿到写作题目之后的第一件事,一定是审题,且应关注三个要素:体裁、话题、内容要求。本题要求写的是“a short essay”,话题和内容要求是一个整体,即“the importance of reading ability and how to develop it” ,因此考生需要写到两点:一是阅读能力的重要性;而是如何培养阅读能力。


Whether in history or in the present-day society, it is a common phenomenon for a host of people to regard reading ability as a vital quality in one’s work, life and study. Why? With excellent reading ability, one will find it easy to acquire knowledge from various books.

Then, how to cultivate one’s reading ability? I am convinced that there are at least two ways. Firstly, practice makes perfect. A typical example is me. During my first year in college, I had various difficulties or troubles in understanding either English or Chinese reading materials. Fortunately, my teacher told me “Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.” It was through constant practice that I improved my ability to read. Secondly, based on a survey, a majority of successful learners acknowledge that they prefer writing reviews after reading. They deem that writing reviews brings them systematic knowledge, arouses their enthusiasm for further reading and helps them enhance their reading ability. 

We, as college students, should bear in mind that knowledge originates from reading. Thus, I believe that if we try our utmost to practice reading and write reviews after reading every day, we are likely to be knowledgeable persons.