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Part 1


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-14, which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.


Writing was first invented by the Sumerians in ancient Mesopotamia before 3,000 BC. It was also independently invented in Meso-America before 600 BC and probably independently invented in China before 1,300 BC. It may have been independently invented in Egypt around 3,000 BC although given the geographical proximity between Egypt and Mesopotamia the Egyptians may have learnt writing from the Sumerians.

There are three basic types of writing systems. The written signs used by the writing system could represent either a whole word, a syllable or an individual sound. Where the written sign represents a word the system is known as logographic as it uses logograms which are written signs that represent a word. The earliest writing systems such as the Sumerian cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Mayan glyphs are predominantly logo graphics as are modern Chinese and Japanese writing systems. Where the written sign represents a syllable the writing system is known as syllabic. Syllabic writing systems were more common in the ancient world than they are today. The Linear A and B writing systems of Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece are syllabic. The most common writing systems today are alphabetical. These involve the written sign (a letter) representing a single sound (known as a phoneme). The earliest known alphabetical systems were developed by speakers of semetic languages around 1700 BC in the area of modern day Israel and Palestine. All written languages will predominantly use one or other of the above systems. They may however partly use the other systems. No written language is purely alphabetic, syllabic or logographic but may use elements from any or all systems.

Such fully developed writing only emerged after development from simpler systems. Talley sticks with notches on them to represent a number of sheep or to record a debt have been used in the past. Knotted strings have been used as a form of record keeping particularly in the area around the Pacific rim. They reached their greatest development with the Inca quipus where they were used to record payment of tribute and to record commercial transactions. A specially trained group of quipu makers and readers managed the whole system. The use of pictures for the purpose of communication was used by native Americans and by the Ashanti and Ewe people in Africa. Pictures can show qualities and characteristics which can not be shown by tally sticks and knot records. They do not however amount to writing as they do not bear a conventional relationship to language.

An alternative idea was that a system by which tokens, which represented objects like sheep, were placed in containers and the containers were marked on the outside indicating the number and type of tokens within the container gave rise to writing in Mesopotamia. The marks on the outside of the container were a direct symbolic representation of the tokens inside the container and an indirect symbolic representation of the object the token represented. The marks on the outside of the containers were graphically identical to some of the earliest pictograms used in Sumerian cuneiform, the world's first written language. However cuneiform has approximately 1,500 signs and the marks on the outside of the containers can only explain the origins of a few of those signs.

The first written language was the Sumerian cuneiform. Writing mainly consisted of records of numbers of sheep, goats and cattle and quantities of grain. Eventually clay tablets were used as a writing surface and were marked with a reed stylus to produce the writing. Thousands of such clay tablets have been found in the Sumerian city of Uruk. The earliest Sumerian writing consists of pictures of the objects mentioned such as sheep or cattle. Eventually the pictures became more abstract and were to consist of straight lines that looked like wedges.

The earliest cuneiform was an accounting system consisting of pictograms representing commodities such as sheep and a number. The clay tablets found might for example simply state “ten sheep''. Such writing obviously has its limitations and would not be regarded as a complete writing system. A complete writing system only developed with the process of phonctization. This occurs when the symbol ceases to represent an object and begins to represent a spoken sound, which in early cuneiform would be a word. This process was assisted when the symbols which initially looked very like the object they represented gradually became more abstract and less clearly related to an object. However while the symbol became more closely connected to words, it was words dealing with objects, such as sheep, bird or pot. It was still not possible to write more abstract ideas such as father, running, speech or foreigner.

The solution to this problem was known as the rebus principle. Words with the same or similar pronunciation to an abstract word could be used to represent the abstract word. The sign for eye could be used to represent the word “I”. The sign for deer could represent the word “dear”. Which word is referred to by the picture is decided by an additional sign. Pictographs which originally represented a word began to represent the sound of the word. The rebus principle is used to represent abstract words in all word writing systems in Sumer, Egypt, China and in the Aztec and Mayan writing in central America.

The Rebus principle lead to cuneiform becoming a form of logo-syllabic writing consisting of both logograms and syllabic writing. The effect of the change from logographic to logo-syllabic writing was substantial. Logographic writing cannot produce normal prose and is restricted to nouns, numbers, names and adjectives. The vast majority of early Sumerian writing consisted of bureaucratic records of products received or products distributed. Only when syllabic writing was introduced into cuneiform did it become possible to write prose such as myths and royal propaganda.

The next major development in writing in the old world was the development of the alphabet. The alphabet was developed out of Egyptian hieroglyphs which contained 24 signs for 24 Egyptian consonants. About 1700 BC Semites who knew Egyptian hieroglyphs began making certain changes in their writing system. They put the letters in a particular sequence and gave them simple names to assist learning and ease of memory. They also dropped the logograms and other signs used in hieroglyphs and just kept the Egyptian consonants and restricted the signs to those for individual consonants. Finally, they introduced vowels into their alphabet. Alphabets were soon to spread over most of the world as they provide both flexibility and simplicity for a writing system

Part 2


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 15-27, which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.

Children Tested to Destruction?

English primary school pupils subjected to more tests than in any other country.

English primary school pupils have to deal with unprecedented levels of pressure as they face tests more frequently, at a younger age, and in more subjects than children from any other country, according to one of the biggest international education inquiries in decades. The damning indictment of England’s primary education system revealed that the country’s children are now the most tested in the world. From their very earliest days at school they must navigate a set-up whose trademark is ’high stakes’ testing, according to a recent report

Parents are encouraged to choose schools for their children based on league tables of test scores. But this puts children under extreme pressure which could damage their motivation and self-esteem, as well as encouraging schools to ’teach to the test’ at the expense of pupils’ wider learning, the study found. The findings are part of a two-year inquiry – led by Cambridge University – into English primary schools. Other parts of the UK and countries such as France, Norway and Japan used testing but it was,’less intrusive, less comprehensive, and considerably less frequent’, Cambridge’s Primary Review concluded.

England was unique in using testing to control what is taught in schools, to monitor teaching standards and to encourage parents to choose schools based on the results of the tests, according to Kathy Hall, from the National University of Ireland in Cork, and Kamil Ozerk, from the University of Oslo, who conducted the research. ‘Assessment in England, compared to our other reviewed countries, is pervasive, highly consequential, and taken by officialdom and the public more generally to portray objectively the actual quality of primary education in schools,’ their report concluded. Teachers’ leaders said the testing regime was ‘past its sell-by date’ and called for a fundamental review of assessment

Steve Sinnott, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said England’s testing system was having a ’devastating’ impact on schools.’Uniquely, England is a country where testing is used to police schools and control what is taught,’ he said.’When it comes to testing in England, the tail wags the dog. It is patently absurd that even the structure and content of education is shaped by the demands of the tests. I call on the Government to initiate a full and independent review of the impact of the current testing system on schools and on children’s learning and to be prepared to dismantle a system which is long past its sell-by date.’

John Dunford, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned that the tests were having a damaging effect on pupils. The whole testing regime is governed by the need to produce league tables,’ he said. ‘It has more to do with holding schools to account than helping pupils to progress.’ The fear that many children were suffering intolerable stress because of the tests was voiced by Mick Brookes, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers. There are schools that start rehearsing for key stage two SATs [Standard Assessment Tests] from the moment the children arrive in September. That’s just utterly ridiculous/ he said. There are other schools that rehearse SATs during Christmas week. These are young children we are talking about. They should be having the time of their lives at school not just worrying about tests. It is the breadth and richness of the curriculum that suffers. The consequences for schools not reaching their targets are dire – heads can lose their jobs and schools can be closed down. With this at stake it’s not surprising that schools let the tests take over.’

David Laws, the Liberal Democrat schools spokesman, said 'The uniquely high stakes placed on national tests mean that many primary schools have become too exam focused.’ However, the Government rejected the criticism. The idea that children are over-tested is not a view that the Government accepts/a spokesman said. The reality is that children spend a very small percentage of their time in school being tested. Seeing that children leave school up to the right standard in the basics is the highest priority of the Government.’

In another child-centred initiative, both major political parties in the UK – Labour and the Conservatives – have announced plans to make Britain more child-friendly following a report by UNICEF which ranked the UK the worst place to be a child out of 21 rich nations.

Parents were warned that they risked creating a generation of ’battery-farmed children’ by always keeping them indoors to ensure their safety. The family’s minister, Kevin Brennan, called for an end to the ’cotton wool’ culture and warned that children would not learn to cope with risks if they were never allowed to play outdoors.

Part 3


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 28-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.


A. Students who want to enter the University of Montreal’s Athletic Complex need more than just a conventional ID card – their identities must be authenticated by an electronic hand scanner. In some California housing estates, a key alone is insufficient to get someone in the door; his or her voiceprint must also be verified. And soon, customers at some Japanese banks will have to present their faces for scanning before they can enter the building and withdraw their money.

B. All of these are applications of biometrics, a little-known but fast-growing technology that involves the use of physical or biological characteristics to identify individuals. In use for more than a decade at some high-security government institutions in the United States and Canada, biometrics are now rapidly popping up in the everyday world. Already, more than 10,000 facilities, from prisons to day-care centres, monitor people’s fingerprints or other physical parts to ensure that they are who they claim to be. Some 60 biometric companies around the world pulled in at least $22 million last year and that grand total is expected to mushroom to at least $50 million by 2020.

C. Biometric security systems operate by storing a digitised record of some unique human feature. When an authorised user wishes to enter or use the facility, the system scans the person’s corresponding characteristics and attempts to match them against those on record. Systems using fingerprints, hands, voices, irises, retinas and faces are already on the market. Others using typing patterns and even body odours are in various stages of development.

D. Fingerprint scanners are currently the most widely deployed type of biometric application, thanks to their growing use over the last 20 years by law-enforcement agencies. Sixteen American states now use biometric fingerprint verification systems to check that people claiming welfare payments are genuine. In June, politicians in Toronto voted to do the same, with a pilot project beginning next year.

E. To date, the most widely used commercial biometric system is the hand key, a type of hand scanner which reads the unique shape, size and irregularities of people’s hands. Originally developed for nuclear power plants in the 1960s, the hand key received its big break when it was used to control access to the Olympic Village in Atlanta by more than 65,000 athletes, trainers and support staff. Now there are scores of other applications.

F. Around the world, the market is growing rapidly. Malaysia, for example, is preparing to equip all of its airports with biometric face scanners to match passengers with luggage. And Japan’s largest maker of cash dispensers is developing new machines that incorporate iris scanners. The first commercial biometric, a hand reader used by an American firm to monitor employee attendance, was introduced in 1974. But only in the past few years has the technology improved enough for the prices to drop sufficiently to make them commercially viable. ‘When we started four years ago, I had to explain to everyone what a biometric is,’ says one marketing expert. ‘Now, there’s much more awareness out there.’

G. Not surprisingly, biometrics raises thorny questions about privacy and the potential for abuse. Some worry that governments and industry will be tempted to use the technology to monitor individual behaviour. ‘If someone used your fingerprints to match your health-insurance records with a credit card record showing you regularly bought lots of cigarettes and fatty foods,’ says one policy analyst, ‘you would see your insurance payments go through the roof.’ In Toronto, critics of the welfare “fingerprint plan complained that it would stigmatise recipients by forcing them to submit to a procedure widely identified with criminals.

H. Nonetheless, support for biometrics is growing in Toronto as it is in many other communities. In an increasingly crowded and complicated world, biometrics may well be a technology whose time has come.

Part 1

Question 1-3

Complete the summary below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 1 – 3 on your answer sheet.

There are three types of writing systems. Logography utilizes written signs representing a Syllabic writing systems were more common in the ancient world, as they adopted written sign symbolizing a The most common alphabetical systems use a letter to represent a

Question 4-10

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

On your answer sheet please 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

4. There is no language that adopts elements from only one writing system.

5. Inca quipus used talley sticks to track payments and commercial transactions.

6. The marks on the outside of the containers originated from pictograms used in Sumerian cuneiform.

7. The first written language was created to document the quantities and types of livestock and food.

8. Cuneiform could not express abstract concepts at all.

9. Affected by the rebus principle, cuneiform combined the elements of both logograms and syllabic writing.

10. Most countries adopt alphabetical writing systems due to their flexibility and simplicity.

Question 11-14

Use the information in the passage to match the options (listed A – E) with statements (listed 11-14) below.

Write the appropriate letter (A – E) in boxes 11 – 14 on your answer sheet.

NB Some options may match more than one statement.

B.Native Americans

11. developed the alphabet from Egyptian hieroglyphs. 12. used pictures for the purpose of communication. 13. invented a written language which consisted of signs looked like wedges. 14. might have independently invented writing 5,000 years ago.

Part 2

Questions 15-19

Complete the sentences.

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.

According to the inquiry, the amount of testing puts a lot of on young children.

The education report describes testing in England as testing.

Parents often select their childrens schools after studying test results in

Kathy Hall and Kamil Ozerk believe testing in England is also used to evaluate in schools.

The major political parties have promised to make Britain in view of the UNICEF report.

Question 20-23

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

20. Steve Sinnott says what is taught at school should be more tightly controlled.

21. According to John Dunford, children would make more progress with much shorter and easier tests.

22. Mick Brookes wants to see earlier student preparation for SATs.

23. David Laws agrees with the opinions of Mick Brookes.

Questions 24-27

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

24. What does the government argue?
25. The government spokesman
26. According to UNICEF, children in the UK
27. What is the point Kevin Brennan makes?

Part 3

Questions 28-33

Reading Passage has eight paragraphs (A-H).Choose the most suitable headings for paragraphs B-H from the list of headings below.

Write the appropriate numbers (i-x) in boxes 28-33 on your answer sheet.

NB There are more headings than paragraphs, so you will not use all of them.

List of Headings
i.Common objections
ii.Who's planning what
iii.This type sells best in the shops
iv.The figures say it all
v.Early trials
vi.They can't get in without these
vii.How does it work?
viii.Fighting fraud
ix.Systems to avoid
x. Accepting the inevitable

Example : Paragraph B - iv

28. Paragraph C

29. Paragraph D

30. Paragraph E

31. Paragraph F

32. Paragraph G

33. Paragraph H

Questions 34-40

Look at the following groups of people (Questions 34-40) and the list of biometric systems(A-F) below.

Match the groups of people to the biometric system associated with them in Reading Passage.

Write the appropriate letters A-F in boxes 34-40 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any biometric system more than once.

List of Biometric Systems
A.fingerprint scanner
B.hand scanner
C.body odour
E.face scanner
F.typing pattern

34. sports students

35. Olympic athletes

36. airline passengers

37. welfare claimants

38. business employees

39. home owners

40. bank customers

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