A Although we lack accurate statistics about child mortality in the pre-industrial period, we do have evidence that in the 1660s, the mortality rate for children who died within 14 days of birth was as much as 30 per cent. Nearly all families suffered some premature death. Since all parents expected to bury some of their children, they found it difficult to invest in their newborn children. Moreover, to protect themselves from the emotional consequences of children’s death, parents avoided making any emotional commitment to an infant. It is no wonder that we find mothers leaving their babies in gutters or referring to the death in the same paragraph as a reference to pickles.
B The 18th century witnessed the transformation from an agrarian economy to an industrial one – one of the vital social changes taking place in the Western world. An increasing number of people moved from their villages and small towns to big cities where life was quite different. Social supports which had previously existed in smaller communities were replaced by ruthless problems such as poverty, crime, substandard housing and disease. Due to the need for additional income to support the family, young children from the poorest families were forced into early employment and thus their childhood became painfully short. Children as young as 7 might be required to work full-time, subjected to unpleasant and unhealthy circumstances, from factories to prostitution. Although such a role has disappeared in most wealthy countries, the practice of childhood employment still remains a staple in underdeveloped countries and has rarely disappeared entirely.
C The lives of children underwent a drastic change during the 1800s in the United States. Previously, children from both rural and urban families were expected to participate in everyday labour due to the bulk of manual hard work. Nevertheless, thanks to the technological advances of the mid-1800s, coupled with the rise of the middle class and redefinition of roles of family members, work and home became less synonymous over time. People began to purchase toys and books for their children. When the country depended more upon machines, children in rural and urban areas were less likely to be required to work at home. Beginning from the Industrial Revolution and rising slowly over the course of the 19th century, this trend increased exponentially after the Civil War. John Locke, one of the most influential writers of his period, created the first clear and comprehensive statement of the ‘environmental position’ that family education determines a child’s life, and via this, he became the father of modern learning theory. During the colonial period, his teachings about child care gained a lot of recognition in America.
D According to Jean Jacques Rousseau, who lived in an era of the American and French Revolution, people were ‘noble savages’ in the original state of nature, meaning they were innocent, free and uncorrupted. In 1762, Rousseau wrote a famous novel – Emile – to convey his educational philosophy through a story of a boy’s education from infancy to adulthood. This work was based on his extensive observation of children and adolescents, their individuality, his developmental theory and on the memories of his own childhood. He contrasted children with adults and described their age-specific characteristics in terms of historical perspective and developmental psychology. Johan Heinrich Pestalozzi, living during the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, sought to develop schools to nurture children’s all-round development. He agreed with Rousseau that humans were naturally good but were spoiled by a corrupt society. His approach to teaching consisted of both general and specific methods, and his theory was based upon establishing an emotionally healthy and homelike learning environment, which had to be in place before more specific instruction occurred.
E One of the best-documented cases of Pestalozzi’s theory concerned a so-called feral child named Victor, who was captured in a small town in the south of France in 1800. Prepubescent, mute, naked, and perhaps 11 or 12 years old, Victor had been seen foraging for food in the gardens of the locals in the area, and sometimes accepted people’s direct offers of food before his final capture. Eventually, he was brought to Paris and expected to answer some profound questions about the nature of humanity, but that goal was quashed very soon. A young physician, Jean Marc Gaspard Itard, was optimistic about the future of Victor and initiated a five-year education plan to civilise him and teach him to speak. With a subsidy from the government, Itard recruited a local woman called Madame Guerin to assist him to provide a semblance of a home for Victor, and he spent an enormous amount of time and effort working with Victor. Itard’s goal to teach Victor the basics of speech could never be fully achieved, but Victor had learnt some elementary forms of communication.
F Although other educators were beginning to recognise the simple truth embedded in Rousseau’s philosophy, it is not enough to identify the stages of children’s development alone. There must be specific education geared towards those stages. One of the early examples was the invention of kindergarten, which was a word and a movement created by a German-born educator, Friedrich Froebel, in 1840. Froebel placed a high value on the importance of play in children’s learning. His invention would spread around the world eventually in a variety of forms. Froebel’s ideas were inspired through his cooperation with Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. Froebel didn’t introduce the notion of kindergarten until he was 58 years old, and he had been a teacher for four decades. The notion was a haven and a preparation for children who were about to enter the regimented educational system. The use of guided or structured play was a cornerstone of his kindergarten education because he believed that play was the most significant aspect of development at this time of life. Play served as a mechanism for a child to grow emotionally and to achieve a sense of self-worth. Meanwhile, teachers served to organise materials and a structured environment in which each child, as an individual, could achieve these goals. When Froebel died in 1852, dozens of kindergartens had been created in Germany. Kindergartens began to increase in Europe, and the movement eventually reached and flourished in the United States in the 20th century.
Reading Passage 1 has six paragraphs, A-F. Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A and C-E from the list of headings below.
List of Headings
i The evolution and development of educational concepts of different thinkers
ii Why children had to work to alleviate the burden on family
iii Why children are not highly valued
iv An explanation for children dying in hospital at an early age
v The first appearance of modern educational philosophy
vi The application of a creative learning method on a wild child
vii The emergence and spread of the notion of kindergarten
1. Paragraph A
Example Answer Paragraphs B ii
2. Paragraph C
3. Paragraph D
4. Paragraph E
Look at the following events (Questions 5-8) and the list of dates below. Match each event with the correct date, A, B or C. NB You may use any letter more than once.
List of Dates
A the 18th century (1700-1799)
B the 19th century (1800-1899)
C the 20th century (1900-1999)
5. the need for children to work
6. the rise of the middle class
7. the emergence of a kindergarten
8. the spread of kindergartens around the U.S.
Look at the following opinions or deeds (Questions 9-13) and the list of people below. Match each opinion or deed with the correct person, A, B, C or D. NB You may use any letter more than once.
List of People
A Jean Jacques Rousseau
B Johan Heinrich Pestalozzi
C Jean Marc Gaspard Itard
D Friedrich Froebel
9. was not successful in proving a theory
10. observed children’s records
11. suggested a setting for study which prioritized emotional comfort
12. proposed that corruption was not a characteristic of people’s nature
13. was responsible for an increase in the number of a type of school
How are deserts formed?
A A desert refers to a barren section of land, mainly in arid and semi-arid areas, where there is almost no precipitation, and the environment is hostile for any creature to inhabit. Deserts have been classified in a number of ways, generally combining total precipitation, how many days the rainfall occurs, temperature, humidity, and sometimes additional factors. In some places, deserts have clear boundaries marked by rivers, mountains or other landforms, while in other places, there are no clear-cut borders between desert and other landscape features.
B In arid areas where there is not any covering of vegetation protecting the land, sand and dust storms will frequently take place. This phenomenon often occurs along the desert margins instead of within the deserts, where there are already no finer materials left. When a steady wind starts to blow, fine particles on the open ground will begin vibrating. As the wind picks up, some of the particles are lifted into the air. When they fall onto the ground, they hit other particles which will then be jerked into the air in their turn, initiating a chain reaction.
C There has been a tremendous deal of publicity on how severe desertification can be, but the academic circle has never agreed on the causes of desertification. A common misunderstanding is that a shortage of precipitation causes the desertification—even the land in some barren areas will soon recover after the rain falls. In fact, more often than not, human activities are responsible for desertification. It might be true that the explosion in world population, especially in developing countries, is the primary cause of soil degradation and desertification. Since the population has become denser, the cultivation of crops has gone into progressively drier areas. It’s especially possible for these regions to go through periods of severe drought, which explains why crop failures are common. The raising of most crops requires the natural vegetation cover to be removed first; when crop failures occur, extensive tracts of land are devoid of a plant cover and thus susceptible to wind and water erosion. All through the 1990s, dryland areas went through a population growth of 18.5 per cent, mostly in severely impoverished developing countries.
D Livestock farming in semi-arid areas accelerates the erosion of soil and becomes one of the reasons for advancing desertification. In such areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses, the breeding of livestock is a major economic activity. Grasses are necessary for anchoring barren topsoil in a dryland area. When a specific field is used to graze an excessive herd, it will experience a loss in vegetation coverage, and the soil will be trampled as well as be pulverised, leaving the topsoil exposed to destructive erosion elements such as winds and unexpected thunderstorms. For centuries, nomads have grazed their flocks and herds to any place where pasture can be found, and oases have offered chances for a more settled way of living. For some nomads, wherever they move to, the desert follows.
E Trees are of great importance when it comes to maintaining topsoil and slowing down the wind speed. In many Asian countries, firewood is the chief fuel used for cooking and heating, which has caused uncontrolled clear-cutting of forests in dryland ecosystems. When too many trees are cut down, windstorms and dust storms tend to occur.
F What’s worse, even political conflicts and wars can also contribute to desertification. To escape from the invading enemies, the refugees will move altogether into some of the most vulnerable ecosystems on the planet. They bring along their cultivation traditions, which might not be the right kind of practice for their new settlement.
G In the 20th century, one of the states of America had a large section of farmland that had turned into desert. Since then, actions have been enforced so that such a phenomenon of desertification will not happen again. To avoid the reoccurence of desertification, people are encouraged to find other livelihoods which do not rely on traditional land uses, that are not as demanding on local land and natural resources, but can still generate viable income. Such livelihoods include but are not limited to dryland aquaculture for the raising of fish, crustaceans, and industrial compounds derived from microalgae, greenhouse agriculture, and activities that are related to tourism. Another way to prevent the reoccurrence of desertification is improving the economic prospects of life in city centres and places outside of drylands. Changing the general economic and institutional structures that generate new chances for people to support themselves would alleviate the current pressures accompanying the desertification processes.
H In society nowadays, new technologies are serving as a method to resolve the problems brought by desertification. Satellites have been utilised to investigate the influence that people and livestock have on our planet Earth. Nevertheless, this does not mean that alternative technologies are not needed to help with the problems and process of desertification.
Reading Passage 2 has eight paragraphs, A-H. Which paragraph contains the following information?
NB You may use any letter more than once.
14. a reference to the irregular movement of particles
15. mention of a productive land turning into a desert in the 20th century
16. types of deserts
17. mention of technical methods used to tackle the problems of deserts
18. the influence of a traditional way of feeding animals on desertification
19. A lack of agreement among scientists about the causes of desertification
20. a description of the adverse effects of growing food crops
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2? In boxes 21-26 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
21. It is difficult to ascertain where the deserts end in some areas.
22. The media is uninterested in the problems of desertification.
23. The most common cause of desertification is the lack of rainfall.
24. Farming animals in semi-arid areas will increase soil erosion.
25. People in Asian countries no longer use firewood as the chief fuel.
26. Technology studying the relationship of people, livestock and desertification has not yet been invented.
The Olympic Torch
Since 776 B.C., when the Greek people held their first-ever Olympic Games, the Games were hosted every four years at the city of Olympia. Back then, a long journey for the Olympic torch was made before the opening ceremony of each Olympic Games. The Greek people would light a cauldron of flames on the altar, a ritual devoted to Hera, the Greek Goddess of birth and marriage.
The reintroduction of flame to the Olympics occurred at the Amsterdam 1928 Games, for which a cauldron was lit yet without a torch relay. The 1936 Berlin Summer Games held the first Olympic torch relay, which was not resumed in the Winter Olympics until 1952. However, in that year the torch was lit not in Olympia, Greece, but in Norway, which was considered as the birthplace of skiing. Until the Innsbruck 1964 Winter Olympics in Austria, the Olympic flame was reignited at Olympia.
The torch is originally an abstract concept of a designer or groups of designers. A couple of design groups hand in their drafts to the Olympic Committee in the hope of getting the chance to create the torch. The group that wins the competition will come up with a design for a torch that has both aesthetic and practical value. After the torch is completed, it has to succeed in going through all sorts of severe weather conditions. The appearance of the modem Olympic torch is attributed to a Disney artist John Hench, who designed the torch for the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. His design laid a solid foundation for all the torches in the future.
The long trip to the Olympic area is not completed by one single torch, but by thousands of them, so the torch has to be replicated many times. Approximately 10,000 to 15,000 torches are built to fit thousands of runners who take the torches through every section of the Olympic relay. Every single runner can choose to buy his or her torch as a treasurable souvenir when he or she finishes his or her part of the relay.
The first torch in the modem Olympics (the 1936 Berlin Games) was made from a slender steel rod with a circular platform at the top and a circular hole in the middle to jet flames.
The name of the runner was also inscribed on the platform as a token of thanks. In the earlier days, torches used everything from gunpowder to olive oil as fuels. Some torches adopted a combination of hexamine and naphthalene with a flammable fluid. However, these materials weren’t exactly the ideal fuel sources, and they could be quite hazardous sometimes. In the 1956 Olympics, the torch in the final relay was ignited by magnesium and aluminium, but some flaming pieces fell off and seared the runner’s arms.
To improve safety, liquid fuels made their first appearance at the 1972 Munich Games. Since then, torches have been using fuels which are pressurised into the form of a liquid. When the fuels are burnt, they turn into gas to produce a flame. Liquid fuel is safer for the runner and can be stored in a light container. The torch at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics is equipped with an aluminium base that accommodates a tiny fuel tank. As the fuel ascends through the modified handle, it is squeezed through a brass valve that has thousands of little openings. As the fuel passes through the tiny openings, it accumulates pressure. Once it makes its way through the openings, the pressure decreases and the liquid becomes gas so it can bum up.
The torch in 1996 was fuelled by propylene, a type of substance that could give out a bright flame. However, since propylene was loaded with carbon, it would produce plenty of smoke which was detrimental to the environment. In 2000, the designers of the Sydney Olympic torch proposed a lighter and cheaper design, which was harmless to the environment. For the fuel, they decided to go with a combination of 35 per cent propane (a gas that is used for cooking and heating) and 65 per cent butane (a gas that is obtained from petroleum), thus creating a powerful flame without generating much smoke.
Both the 1996 and 2000 torches adopted a double flame burning system, enabling the flames to stay lit even in severe weather conditions. The exterior flame bums at a slower rate and at a lower temperature. It can be perceived easily with its big orange flame, but it is unstable. On the other hand, the interior flame bums faster and hotter, generating a small blue flame with great stability, due to the internal site offering protection from the wind. Accordingly, the interior flame would serve as a pilot light, which could relight the external flame if it should go out.
As for the torch of 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, the top section was made of glass in which the flame burned, for the purpose of echoing the theme of ‘Light the Fire Within’ of that Olympics. This torch was of great significance for the designs of following torches.
Complete the summary below. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.
The Olympic torch, as requested by the Olympic Committee, will be carefully designed so that it is capable of withstanding all kinds of (27)……………………Generally, the design of the modern Olympic torch has both (28)…………………value. The torch must be copied, and thousands of torches are constructed to accommodate thousands of runners who will carry them through each leg of the Olympic relay. Each runner has an opportunity to purchase the torch as a(n) (29)…………………….at the end of his or her leg of the relay.
Look at the following statements (Questions 30-35) and the list of Olympic torches below. Match each statement with the correct Olympic torch, A-H.
List of Olympic Torches
A ancient Greek Olympic flames
B Berlin Games torch (1936)
C 1952 Winter Games flame
D 1956 Games torch
E Munich Games torch (1972)
F 1996 torch (Atlanta)
G 2000 torch (Sydney)
H 2002 torch (Salt Lake City)
30. first liquid fuel
31. not environmentally friendly
32. beginning to record the runners’ name
33. potentially risky as it burnt the runner’s arms
34. specially designed for a theme of ‘Light’
35. not lit in Greece
Label the diagram below. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Academic Reading Practice Tests
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