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For questions 1-8, read the text and choose the correct answer for each gap. Click on a gap and a choice of words will appear. Then choose the correct answer.
- Unusual Flags
You can probably identify a handful of flags from around the world, but do you know which countries really got creative with their designs? While the of flags are rectangular, Switzerland’s and Vatican City’s are square in shape. Nepal also goes the trend, using two triangles on top of one another. The most common colour is the ‘tricolour’ with three stripes, as seen in the flag of France. But South Africa the record for the brightest flag, with a Y-shaped design that includes six colours!
In terms of colour, red appears on nearly 80% of national flags while purple and brown rarely. Qatar’s flag contains the former and Sri Lanka’s the . The flag of Sri Lanka is also unusual in that it features a lion, because when animals appear at all they are generally birds. Other unique are a leaf and a tree, on the flags of Canada and Lebanon respectively, as well as feathers, spices, books and buildings. Is your country’s flag a or a rule-breaker?
Read the text. Think of the word which best fits each gap. Write the correct word in each gap (9 – 16).
- I Can See Clearly Now
The first spectacles, or glasses, were made in Italy in the 12th century. They helped people who were far-sighted – in words, people who could see distant objects but struggled with items close up. Glasses for near-sighted people, who had trouble with objects far , were not invented for another 400 years! Today around 60% of the global population needs glasses, but not everyone needs them can access or afford them. Unsurprisingly, people are likely to need glasses as they get older, with 90% of over-65s in the West wearing ‘specs’.
Spectacles that correct sight problems are most common type, but other specialist glasses are available. Sunglasses, for example, were invented in 1929 in the United States and prevent bright sunlight damaging the eyes. Safety glasses, which have unbreakable, plastic lenses, used in sports such as skiing and professions such as construction. Finally 3D glasses, traditionally containing one red lens and one blue, enhance movie-goers’ experience by creating the feeling being ‘inside’ the film.
Read the text. For questions 17 – 24, use the word on the right to form a word that fits in the gap. For each question, write your answer in the gap.
Keep Stepping Keyword List For many years, doctors’ advice has been to take 10,000 steps a day. That’s the same as walking five miles, or eight kilometres, which many working people find . To address this problem, health in Britain have come up with an alternative method which they call ‘Active 10’. It involves walking quickly for 10 minutes three times a day, the equivalent of just 1.5 miles, which is clearly more . But can the new system deliver the same benefits?
“The important thing is pace,” says expert Sara Todd. “That old of 10,000 steps a day is useless if the steps are slow and your heart rate never rises. Real exercise should make you a little breathless, and that’s why running is so popular, but in fact gentler like walking are fine. Able-bodied adults should have no maintaining a brisk walk for 10 minutes, so leave the car at home and get some fresh air three times a day!”
For questions 25 – 30, complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first sentence, using the word given. Do not change the word given. You must use between two and five words, including the word given.
- 25 It’s too cold to go to the beach today.
It’s to the beach today.
26 It’s possible that someone stole your purse when we were in the restaurant.
Someone when we were in the restaurant.
27 They do not think she is dangerous.
28 They'll make you pay a fine if they see you walking on the grass.
You to pay a fine if they see you walking on the grass.
29 I told nobody about our conversation so I’m sure someone read my emails.
I told nobody about our conversation so my emails by someone.
30 I only apologised because my father made me do it.
If my father hadn’t made me do it, apologised.
You are going to read a review of a hotel on a travel website. For each question 31 – 36, choose the correct answer.
“Hotel from Hell”
This is the first review I’ve ever posted online, but I had such a terrible experience at Samson Hall Hotel it feels like my duty to warn other potential customers. What was meant to be a wonderful celebration felt more like an episode of a bad comedy show!
Samson Hall is not the kind of place we’d usually stay, because I don’t earn much as a library assistant and my wife only works part-time. But our silver wedding anniversary was approaching and I wanted to take Pam somewhere special. When I saw an advert offering half price rooms during November I thought, why not push the boat out for once? The place looked magnificent in the photos, surrounded by parkland and with a real log fire in the reception. I booked three nights and couldn’t wait to surprise my wife.
As the holiday weekend came around, I made the three-hour drive from our home town to the hotel, but I didn’t tell Pam where we were going. I think she was a bit nervous! But as we turned off down a country lane and Samson Hall came into view, she looked thrilled. I was excited, too, imagining a hearty dinner and reading in front of that gorgeous fire.
The outside of the hotel was impressive, but when we walked into the entrance hall we got a nasty shock. It was dim, the fire wasn’t lit, and we actually shivered though we were wearing coats. There was nobody behind the reception desk. Pam waited in the lobby and I wandered down a corridor until I found the kitchen, where two women in black were standing on chairs. An anxious-looking man had a broom over his shoulder.
It took me a moment to understand what they were doing, but then it dawned on me: there was a rat, or a mouse, or – well, something that shouldn’t have been in a food preparation area. I probably should have picked up our bags and driven right home. But instead I kept quiet about what I’d seen, and reassured Pam that someone was coming in a minute. I suppose I wasn’t ready to accept I might have wasted a lot of time and money.
After 20 minutes we finally got the key to our room, which was a bit dusty but spacious, at least. We had just lain down to relax before dinner when the phone rang. I answered it, with a rising sense of panic.
“Hello, this is reception. I’m afraid there won’t be any restaurant service tonight. There’s a problem with the, uh, oven. I’m very sorry about that.”
A problem with the oven! A problem with four-legged guests, more like. I covered my frustration as I told Pam I’d read about a fantastic Chinese restaurant in town, and that I thought she deserved a treat. Put your best dress on! I smiled tightly. She seemed pleased with the suggestion and padded into the bathroom. I sighed and rubbed my forehead. Almost as soon as the shower started up, I heard a scream.
Dashing into the room, fearing Pam had injured herself, I followed her eyes to the floor of the bath and saw the pile of dirty bandages. Even now I can’t imagine what they were doing there, but it was a disgusting sight. I decided right then that we were leaving. We told the receptionist about the bandages and he didn’t even seem surprised. He apologised, of course, but didn’t offer us another room, or a discount, or any of the things you might expect. It was like the staff had received no training at all.
In the end, we went to that Chinese restaurant – the Crystal Inn – and their hot and sour soup comes highly recommended! I wish I could say the same about Samson Hall, but our special weekend turned into a nightmare. I did learn one important lesson: it’s wise to be suspicious of bargain offers! Next time I’ll stick with a cheap and cheerful guesthouse.
31. In paragraph two, what do we learn about Samson Hall Hotel?
32. When Keith entered the hotel, he
33. In paragraph five, when Keith says ‘it dawned on me’, he means that he
34. Why does Keith receive a call from reception?
35. In paragraph eight, what is the writer trying to do?
36. In the final paragraph, when Keith says ‘I wish I could say the same about
Samson Hall Hotel’, he means that
You are going to read a magazine article about how to improve your memory. Six sentences have been removed from the article. For questions 37 – 42, choose the correct sentence and move it into the gap. There is one extra sentence which you do not need to use.
Can You Remember?
We’ve all been there. Walking into a room only to forget why we came in. Searching everywhere for our glasses then remembering they’re on our head. We laugh, and tease ourselves that we must be getting old – but the reality is that our memories do get worse as we age. Fortunately, there are plenty of things we can do to minimise the impact of that process.
Many aspects of modern life can affect brain function, including poor diet, stress, insufficient sleep and urban living. So the first step you can take to improve your memory is to eat right, try to avoid stressful situations, get eight hours of shut-eye each night and spend time in nature. Being outdoors is crucial, in fact, as we need sunlight to make the vitamin D essential for brain function. Exercising is also thought to be beneficial, since it encourages nerve cells to multiply. The more of these cells you have in your brain, the more mental connections you can make. Once these basics are in place, there are lots of specific techniques you can use to train your memory.
The first techniquehing you can try is to stop multi-tasking. We live in an information age, and it’s affecting our ability to concentrate. Millions of companies compete for our attention as we use laptops, tablets and phones at the same time. A typical online habit is to read one-third of an article before being distracted by something in the sidebar. Be honest: how often do you click the new link instead of finishing the original article? Psychologists liken this behaviour to addiction, because it seems we need more and more entertainment. Whenever possible, prioritise your tasks and give yourself quiet space to complete each one, with social media switched off for the duration.
Another thing you can do is to challenge your brain regularly. You may remember the sudden trend for brain training apps that promised to improve thinking speed, logical deduction and recall. Sadly, scientific studies suggest these apps rarely deliver what they promise – but the good news is that other activities really can help. More traditional brain workouts such as playing chess, completing puzzles or learning a language have been shown to have a positive effect on brainpower, including memory.
This is where mnemonics come in. A mnemonic is a device that helps your brain to remember particular information. For example, the word ‘necessary’ is hard to spell, so you might memorise the phrase Never Eat Cheese! Eat Salmon Sandwiches And Remain Young! to help you. Experts say that rhymes and mental images are especially useful mnemonics. Let’s say you have a colleague whose name (Joan) and birthday (8 March) you want to commit to memory. Depending on her character, a rhyme such as Joan, Joan, on the phone or Joan, Joan, loves to moan can help with the name. A visualisation of Joan with the numbers 8 and 3 above her head, meanwhile, could help to fix her birthday in your mind.
We cannot escape the effects of ageing, but forgetting where you left your keys need not be a cause for despair. If you follow the advice given here, most importantly taking care of your physical and mental health, you may yet become a 90-year-old with the memory of an elephant!
- Sometimes memory loss can be a serious problem, for example if you forget to take your medication.
- Of course, doing these things will benefit your body as well as your mind!
- What about individual tasks that regularly cause you problems, like forgetting facts and appointments?
- When your mind is less busy, your memory should also improve.
- Telling a story and struggling to recall the details.
- Sure, it’s frustrating, but it doesnt signal the beginning of the end.
- Who wouldn’t want those advantages?
You are going to read a blog post about working from home. For questions 43 – 52, choose the correct section. The sections may be chosen more than once.
Working from Home
The world of work is changing. More and more people are rejecting the traditional 9-5 and choosing to work from home, which offers greater independence. But what kind of jobs can you do from the comfort of your living room? Jess Bennett shares a few ideas…
The great thing about transcription is that you don’t need any previous experience. All that’s required is an internet connection and a decent pair of earphones. A company will send you a video or audio file, you listen, and type the text. Easy, right? Well, it’s not quite as simple as that – you need to have fast fingers and reasonable spelling and grammar. But transcription is still a good choice for anyone dipping in their toes into the world of home working for the first time. You can earn around $20 an hour, with slightly higher rates available if you have a legal or medical background and can deal with the specialised language of those fields. While there will be deadlines, you can generally choose your own schedule. This makes transcription a good choice for those who already have part-time jobs offline, or parents looking to make some extra cash.
B. ONLINE TEACHING
There are millions of potential English students all over the world, from kids in China to CEOs in France. Why not help them improve their language skills? Of course, for this kind of work it helps a lot to have a teaching certificate, but some people just want conversation practice with a more advanced speaker. There’s less freedom with teaching than with transcription, as lessons have to be delivered to a schedule and take into account global time differences. However, you should have some input on this to avoid dragging yourself out of bed at 3am! Rates vary enormously, but even an unqualified teacher should expect $15 an hour or more. You don’t have to be a native speaker – you just have to be a confident user of English. And of course, you should be friendly and willing to offer useful feedback.
C. CUSTOMER SERVICE
In the past, companies would have huge call centres with hundreds of operators on hand to speak to customers. These days, organisations save money by recruiting freelance customer service assistants, who take calls from their own homes. The work can be challenging, as people usually get in touch to complain, so you need a calm phone voice even when you want to scream. Conflict resolution is the skill that recruiters prioritise for this work! You will need to make yourself available for a block of time each day, say four or five hours, and be prepared for a remote supervisor to listen in to your calls occasionally. You might be provided with a headset, or be asked to invest in one yourself. But you can make up to $20 per hour once you have some experience under your belt, and there’s no complex software to learn.
D. VOICE ARTIST
Have you ever fancied being an actor? You can make money by lending your voice to advertisements, short films, online courses and more. This job really has the fun factor. And in case you’re worried that your accent might be a barrier, a surprising number of jobs ask for people with specific accents. The main thing is that you can speak clearly, and of course you’ll need a quality microphone at home. This type of work tends to be varied and you’ll find yourself learning a lot about random subjects! The downside is that the jobs are usually short-term. Voice artists often register with a website, and then bid for individual projects as they come up. Again, pay varies according to the client brief and your level of experience, but $30 is average and some voice artists report earning as much as $50 per hour. Next stop, the Academy Awards…
According to the blog post, which job
43. might involve working early mornings and/or late nights?
44. requires above-average typing skills?
45. is easier if you have a formal qualification?
46. could lead to new knowledge of unusual topics?
47. might require you to hide your true emotions?
48. is likely to offer the highest rate of pay?
49. does not require any specific equipment?
50. can easily be combined with other work in the real world?
51. offers higher rates for those with experience in the law?
52. requires working shifts of several hours at once?