Reading Practice Test 8

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Reading Passage 1

 
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-12 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.
 

 

The last Medicis


Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, held power for 53 years but while his reign broke records, it was very far from a glorious success. Cosimo wasted money as other Medicis had made it, and he became obsessed with trying to ensure his daughter’s right to succeed in a world that wasn’t interested in a female ruler.

Cosimo was the son of Ferdinando II and his wife, Vittoria, who barely got along and who rowed over his education almost from the moment of his birth in 1642. Ferdinando, very much a Medici, wanted his son to learn from modern minds but his mother won the day and implemented an old-fashioned regime. Cosimo grew up sullen and became obsessed with religion, spending hours in church or with monks. But as the heir to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, there was no chance of him entering holy orders. Instead, aged 19, he married Marguerite Louise d’Orleans, granddaughter of Henri IV of France and Marie de’ Medici. It was another unhappy royal marriage. The young couple had a son, another Ferdinando, in 1663 but by then they were constantly fighting. Soon after the birth of their daughter, Anna, in 1667, Cosimo went on several tours of Europe to escape his wife. This pattern of unorthodox behaviour might have continued but for the death of his father. Ferdinando II died on 23 May 1670 and Cosimo became Grand Duke of Tuscany.

There was no grand inheritance for this Medici though. The Tuscan economy had been failing for years and was now in severe trouble. Once-famous towns like Pisa were falling into disrepair, while money lost its value and bartering became a way of life. Cosimo was just as good at spending cash as his predecessors, but lacked their money-making skills, and financial problems would plague his reign. He turned to his mother for help, and in the early part of his rule, Vittoria was an influential and powerful member of his court. His wife resented him even more as a result. They had another son, Gian Gastone, in 1671, but Marguerite Louise finally had enough and in 1674 she agreed to go and live in a convent. Cosimo’s coffers were drained even further when he had to pay her compensation as a result.

The new Grand Duke encountered more problems as he brought in a series of increasingly harsh laws. To try and solve his economic problems he brought in new taxes and many of the criminal offences he created carried large fines. He banned marriage or relationships of any kind between Jewish and Christian people and increased public executions. His obsession with morality led to new laws against prostitution and even with men talking to women in doorways. However, as his reign progressed, his biggest obsession became the continuation of the Medici dynasty.

Both his sons endured unhappy marriages and as time went on, it became clear that the chances of them having families with their wives were slim. Cosimo’s daughter, Anna, also remained childless. The Grand Duke began petitioning the powers of Europe to accept Anna as heir should neither of his sons have families, but he never wholly succeeded. In the last years of his life, he lost his elder son, Ferdinando, and then watched as other powers debated the future of his duchy. On his death, Cosimo left Tuscany with little money and with little chance of the Medici line continuing. His legacy was a set of harsh laws that his successor, Gian Gastone, soon repealed and a family life that ensured this famous dynasty was about to run out.

The last Medici to hold political power in some ways ended as his illustrious ancestors had begun. Gian Gastone, Grand Duke of Tuscany, cultivated people outside the ruling elite – as the early Medicis had done. But his marital misadventures drove him to depression and brought four centuries of power to an end. His political rule was popular – he abolished harsh taxes and stopped public executions – but his personal life was a disaster. Relying heavily on his brother’s widow, Violante Beatrice, to carry out the public side of Medici rule, Gian Gastone retired to bed where he was kept company by the Ruspanti, a group of men whose aim was to please the Duke. Violante tried to lessen their influence by holding huge banquets for Gian Gastone, but by then he was drinking heavily and his behaviour shocked his guests.

His disastrous marriage also meant he had no heir and a succession crisis dominated his reign. He was powerless as the countries around him argued over the future of Tuscany. In the end, his throne became a prize in the treaty following the War of the Polish Succession. Gian Gastone’s death, on 9 July 1737, brought Medici rule to an end with Tuscany passing to Francis of Lorraine. One of his last acts was to erect a statue to Galileo, whose radical teachings he reintroduced to universities. Like many before him, he still had the power to shake things up.

Adapted from History of Royals magazine, December 2016

 

 

Questions 1-5
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 1-5 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

1 There was a dispute among Cosimo’s parents over his upbringing.
2 Cosimo and his wife divorced in 1674.
3 The legislative measures implemented by Cosimo Medici were largely severe.
4 After his father’s death, Gian Gastone supported his father’s laws.
5 Gian Gastone had to stay in bed for medical reasons.

 

 

Questions 6-11
Look at the following statements (Questions 6-11) and the list of people below.
Match each statement with the correct person, A-H.
Write the correct letter, A-H, in boxes 6-11 on your answer sheet.

6 Ruled Tuscany instead of the Duke.
7 Cosimo wanted him/her to become the next ruler of Tuscany after his death.
8 Abused alcohol.
9 Received large sum of money after leaving public life.
10 Had the longest reign among the Dukes mentioned in the passage.
11 Was a non-Medici Grand Duke.

List of people

A Ferdinando II
B Vittoria
C Cosimo
D Gian Gastone
E Anna
F Violante Beatrice
G Marguerite Louise
H Francis of Lorraine

 

 

Question 12
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
Write the correct letter in box 12 on your answer sheet

12 The economic crisis during Cosimo rule was characterized by all of the following except
A people had to exchange goods instead of buying and selling them.
B Tuscan towns needed renovation.
C people suffered from plague.
D money lost its value.

 

 


 

 

Reading Passage 2

 
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 13-27 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.
 

Questions 13-21
Reading Passage 2 has 10 paragraphs, A-J.
Choose the correct headings for paragraphs B-J from the list of headings below.
Write the correct numbers, i-viii or x-xiii, in boxes 13-21 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings

i A new revenue source discovered
ii Tourism in Macau
iii In search for a new Eastern base
iv Art-inspiring environment
v Competition without conflicts
vi A tough neighbor
vii First casino opened
viii Popular attractions
ix Return to China
x Connecting money and culture
xi UNESCO World Heritage Site
xii Religious domination
xiii Following the example

Example: Paragraph A – Answer: ix

13. Paragraph B
14. Paragraph C
15. Paragraph D
16. Paragraph E
17. Paragraph F
18. Paragraph G
19. Paragraph H
20. Paragraph I
21. Paragraph J

Macau: The Last Outpost

Today best known for its gambling industry, the rich cultural history of Europe’s last colonial toehold in China might be the key to its future.


A.
Macau, the Portuguese-administered enclave on the Chinese coast, returned to Beijing’s rule at midnight on December 19th 1999. The tiny outpost of European rule, little more than nine square miles in size, and containing half a million people, joined Hong Kong as the second Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic. For the first time since the mid-sixteenth century, no part of China will be run by a Western government.

B.
Beguiled in 1499 by the profits and dietary benefits of the spice trade initiated in India as a result of the voyages of the explorer, Vasco da Gama, his Portuguese countrymen were inspired to sail still further east towards new discoveries. With land and trading contacts made with China by 1513, and with Japan by 1542, they sought a permanent base in East Asia to facilitate Portugal’s international trade, and with official Chinese approval they achieved this in 1557 on a peninsula with an excellent anchorage at the entrance to the Pearl River delta. (Two adjacent islands were added in the nineteenth century). Thus, in what came to be called Macau developed the first – and for long the only – permanent Western ‘eye’ into China’s empire.

C.
Trading conditions for the Portuguese in East Asia were never again so favourable once competitors – particularly the Dutch and the British – began to take a serious interest in the area from the 17th century. As eras passed, cargoes became more complex, featuring tea, porcelain and latterly opium, and a winter trading season developed at Guangzhou, but the Portuguese traders and those of other nationalities tolerated each other in Macau during the humid summer season. Furthermore, Portuguese officials in Macau evolved a largely non-confrontational relationship with the local Chinese mandarins.

D.
Inevitably, trading ambitions from the beginning were coupled with the interests of the Catholic Church. The Jesuit order became the dominant influence in Macau, even among the rival Dominicans, Franciscans and Augustinians; churches and charitable institutions quickly became a feature of a fastgrowing city. As early as 1576 Macau was elevated to a diocese by Papal decree: significantly one with an original responsibility which encompassed China, Japan, Korea, Formosa (Taiwan) and Indo-China.

E.
News spread far about this flourishing, civilised, European-run port, and through the centuries it has been recorded as a place of risk and danger, spirituality, mystery and romance. Perhaps the presence of the great Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes in early Macau emphasises the spirit of the city, for here, some suggest, he composed the closing stanzas of his epic Os Lusiades.

F.
Once Hong Kong was established by the British, Macau urgently needed patronage from there to buoy its economy. In consequence, the enclave settled into making itself attractive as a relaxing escape from the brasher atmosphere of the nearby British colony. In Macau, in addition to a familiar but different East/West atmosphere, there were more reflective attitudes, fresher breezes, as well as an impressive bay fringed with exuberantly substantial colour-washed houses protected by churches on rising land behind.

G.
The desperate need for local revenue, possibly exacerbated by the draining effect of Macau’s responsibility for Timor, caused an eternally popular Chinese diversion to be officially acknowledged. A licensing system for gambling houses where games like fantan were played had been brought into effect by the 1860s. Thus gambling introduced somewhat different memories of the enclave in both China and the West. A 1934 franchise to a syndicate led to the colony’s first casino being opened. Today, more than 50 per cent of government revenue comes from gambling taxes. As gambling revenues have grown, an obligation to support major Macau government projects has been built into the franchises.

H.
Hong Kong’s status as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China from July 1997, agreed between China and Britain in 1984, was a model for Macau. In 1987 a similar ‘one country, two systems’ handover deal was agreed. In the colony, a spirit of focused energy began to replace a seeming lethargy. The 24-hour ferry service to Hong Kong steadily improved, and a helicopter service was introduced in 1991. Port facilities were deepened to accommodate vessels up to 10,000 tons. By 1995 Macau had an international airport and a new ferry terminal, both opened by the then Portuguese President, Mario Soares, amid Catholic and Buddhist blessing ceremonies.

I.
The heart of the city is the square before the Neo-classical Leal Senado building. Pedestrianised and pattern-paved in a traditional Portuguese style, it is the hub of community events, both Chinese and Western. Nearby is the beautifully restored 16th-century St Dominic’s church. Here too are the ruins of the Church of the Mother of God and its associated colleges, which were almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1835.

J.
In today’s world Macau continues to be dependent on tourism, much of it gambling-related. But the Leal Senado was confirmed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, and the government tourist office endeavours to ensure that at least some of the visitors who come to Macau for the gambling leave with a consciousness of the enclave’s history through its range of older buildings. Even more important is the generation of a sense of cultural identity among the youthful Macanese population, and among those who live and work in Macau, but were born and educated in the nearby rural areas of mainland China.

Adapted from http://www.historytoday.com/cherry-barnett/macau-last-outpost

 

 

Questions 22-27
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2?
In boxes 22-27 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

22 Macau became united with Hong Kong within one SAR of China in 1999.
23 Establishing Macau in close proximity to China had primarily political reasons.
24 In the past, Macau was a major Catholic center in Asia.
25 Luis de Camoes wrote his entire epic Os Lusiades in Macau.
26 Macau’s development in 1990s was based on a model of Hong Kong.
27 Many casinos in Macau are owned by Chinese billionaires.

 

 


 

 

Reading Passage 3

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

Snoozing birds

The bar-tailed godwit, a member of the sandpiper family, is one of the avian world’s record-holders. It may not be as big as an ostrich, as fast as a peregrine or as loud as the South American oilbird, but when it comes to nonstop flying, it surpasses them all. This bird can cover a distance of over 11,000 kilometers from its breeding ground in Alaska back to New Zealand. It completes this entire journey in just eight days without any stopovers – no breaks to allow its muscles to recover, or simply to rest.

Impressive though this may be, godwits are far from topping the list when it comes to long-distance flying: frigatebirds remain in the air for over two months without interruption, and common swifts are able to fly for 300 days straight without landing. But how can these animals do this without any sleep at all?

Niels Rattenborg is Leader of the Avian Sleep Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, south of Munich. An American with Danish roots, he has been working in this field for a good two decades. He has been carrying out research in Seewiesen since 2005. He and his colleague Bryson Voirin have now provided proof that birds can actually sleep while flying.

Rattenborg had already observed a fascinating phenomenon while doing his doctoral work on mallard ducks: in a group of sleeping ducks, those sitting at the edge kept their outwardly directed eye open and the corresponding brain hemisphere remained awake. In this way, the birds can rest a part of their brain while keeping an eye out for potential predators. Unihemispheric sleep, when only one half of the brain sleeps while the other remains awake, is found not only in birds, but also in dolphins, seals and manatees, for instance.

To find out how flying birds manage their sleep requirement, Niels Rattenborg and his colleagues joined forces with neurophysiologist Alexei Vyssotski from Zurich. Vyssotski developed miniature data-logging devices that are so light that they can be carried by birds even when flying. The devices record the birds’ head movements and wing beats and simultaneously measure their brain activity. To do this, the researchers attach sensors to the animals’ heads to measure variations in the voltage generated by the brain. The sensors record the electrical activity of millions of neurons in the waking state and during the different sleep phases, and depict characteristic wave patterns on an electroencephalogram (EEG). This development enabled the scientists to study the waking and sleep behavior of flying birds for the first time.

As their research subject, they chose the great frigatebird (Fregata minor). This is one of the biggest seabirds, with a weight of up to 1.5 kilograms and a wingspan of over 2 meters. The measuring device, including batteries, weighs just 12 grams and presents no great burden for the animals when flying. Frigatebirds spend most of their time in the air and are perfectly adapted to this lifestyle. They mostly sail above the oceans without beating their wings, watching for flying fish and squid that are driven to the surface of the water by dolphins and predatory fish.

Back in Seewiesen, Rattenborg studied the recorded EEG graphs obtained from frigatebirds. “When they’re awake, the amplitudes are small, but the frequencies are high,” explains the Max Planck researcher. A kind of slow-wave sleep was evident on the EEGs recorded during flight. That was their proof: frigatebirds sleep while they fly and, to the scientists’ surprise, not only with half of the brain, but with both halves at the same time. “Even though they are able to fly when both halves of the brain are asleep, one side usually stays awake: the side associated with the eye that looks in the direction of flight. This is probably how the birds avoid collisions with other members of their species cruising through the same air stream.”

In addition to slow-wave sleep, the logging devices occasionally recorded short episodes of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. EEG graphs with low amplitudes and high frequencies, which also occur in wakeful birds, are typical of REM sleep. REM sleep always occurs in both brain hemispheres, and is present not only in birds, but also in mammals, including humans. In birds, in contrast, REM sleep lasts only a few seconds and, although their muscle tone also falls, they can still stand or fly.

The function of REM sleep remains a mystery. Researchers assume, however, that it plays an important role in normal brain development. Thus, both slow-wave and REM sleep occur in flying frigatebirds. They apparently don’t need to keep one part of the brain awake to keep themselves in the air. Nevertheless, the birds allow themselves hardly any time for sleeping while flying. Over a 24-hour period, they slept on average for a total of just 42 minutes, and the average stretch of sleep lasted just 12 seconds. The longest uninterrupted stretch of sleep recorded was just under six minutes. On land, in contrast, the animals slept over 12 hours. These sleep phases were not nly longer (52 seconds), but also deeper. It would therefore appear that the animals make up for lost sleep, just as we humans do.

Adapted from Max Planck Research magazine, April 2016

 

 

Questions 28-31
According to the passage, which four statements are true?

Write the correct letter, A-H, in boxes 28-31 on your answer sheet.

A. A godwit makes multiple stops on its way to New Zealand.
B. In mallard ducks, a brain hemisphere responsible for the awake eye may stay active when the bird is flying.
C. The recording device created by Vyssotski logs information about a bird’s brain activity.
D. Electroencephalogram (EEG) measures the wing beats of a bird.
E. Predatory fish drives frigatebirds to the upper layer of the water.
F. According to the scientists, frigatebirds are able to sleep while they fly.
G. REM sleep occurs only in birds, but not mammals.
H. Science still needs to study the REM sleep patterns to understand this phenomenon better.

 

 

Questions 32-35
Choose the correct letter, A, B, or C.
Write the correct letter in boxes 32-35 on your answer sheet

32 While sleeping in flight, a duck keeps one eye open because
A. it looks for fish on water surface.
B. it observes a possible approach of a danger.
C. it rests one part of its brain.

33 What is the flying technique of frigatebirds?
A. They do not beat their wings.
B. Their wing-beating is infrequent.
C. Their amplitudes are high.

34 What part or parts of a frigatebird’s brain can be asleep while flying?
A. None.
B. One half.
C. Two halves.

35 How is a frigatebird’s sleep in the air different from the sleep on land?
A. A frigatebird sleeps shorter and deeper in the air.
B. A frigatebird sleeps shorter and deeper on land.
C. A frigatebird sleeps longer when it is not flying.

 

 

Questions 36-40

Complete the summary below.

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

Write your answers in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.

The small data-logging devices developed by Alexei Vyssotski use sensors on 36 ……..……… to measure their brain voltage. It was the first time in science when people could study the waking and 37 …..………… of birds. The measuring device including 38 …………..… has a light weight and gives a negligible additional burden to birds while they fly. The device records tiny episodes of 39 ……..……… sleep which may last several seconds and is essential for normal 40 ………..…… development.

 

 


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Reading Test 8 Answer Key

Reading Passage 1 – The last Medicis

1 TRUE
In paragraph 2, look at the sentence: Ferdinando, very much a Medici, wanted his son to learn from modern minds but his mother won the day and implemented an old-fashioned regime.

2 NOT GIVEN
The passage does not mention any information about the divorce. 1674 was the year when Cosimo’s wife went to live in a convent (paragraph 3).

3 TRUE
In paragraph 4, look at the sentence: The new Grand Duke encountered more problems as he brought in a series of increasingly harsh laws.

4 FALSE
In paragraph 5, look at the sentence: His legacy was a set of harsh laws that his successor, Gian Gastone, soon repealed (meaning ‘cancelled’) and a family life that ensured this famous dynasty was about to run out.

5 FALSE
In paragraph 6, look at the sentence: Gian Gastone retired to bed where he was kept company by the Ruspanti, a group of men whose aim was to please the Duke. The author does not give any details about any medical reason for his staying in bed – instead, the Duke chose to stay in bed for entertainment reasons.

6 F
In paragraph 6, the author says that Relying heavily on his brother’s widow, Violante Beatrice, to carry out the public side of Medici rule, Gian Gastone retired to bed.

7 E
In paragraph 5, the author says that The Grand Duke began petitioning the powers of Europe to accept Anna as heir.

8 D
In paragraph 6, look at this sentence: Violante tried to lessen their influence by holding huge banquets for Gian Gastone, but by then he was drinking heavily and his behaviour shocked his guests.

9 G
In paragraph 3, look at this sentence: Marguerite Louise finally had enough and in 1674 she agreed to go and live in a convent. Cosimo’s coffers were drained even further when he had to pay her compensation as a result.

10 C
Look at the very first sentence of the passage: Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, held power for 53 years but while his reign broke records…

11 H
Look at paragraph 7: Gian Gastone’s death, on 9 July 1737, brought Medici rule to an end with Tuscany passing to Francis of Lorraine.

12 C
The author does not mention any detail about people being suffered from the disease called plague. The phrase in paragraph 3 “financial problems would plague his reign” has nothing to do with the disease.

Reading Passage 2 – Macau: The Last Outpost

13 iii (In search for a new Eastern base)
Paragraph B: Portuguese explorers were looking for a new base to facilitate international trade.

14 v (Competition without conflicts)
Paragraph C: The Portuguese competed with the Dutch and British, as well as with the Chinese, but these relations were peaceful (“those of other nationalities tolerated each other”). With the Chinese there was a “largely non-confrontational relationship”.

15 xii (Religious domination)
Paragraph D provides information the role of the Catholic Church in Macau, and that Macau because an official diocese (or religious center) for a large region.

16 iv (Art-inspiring environment)
Paragraph E: the Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes was inspired by the spirit of Macau.

17 vi (A tough neighbor)
Paragraph F: located very close to Hong Kong, Macau felt more favorable and relaxing as compared to “the brasher (meaning ‘tougher’ or ‘bolder’) atmosphere” of its neighbor.

18 i (A new revenue source discovered)
Paragraph G: gambling and casinos became a vital part of Macau’s economy since the 19th century.

19 xiii (Following the example)
Paragraph H: Macau experienced a rapid development just like Hong Kong, which was ‘a model for Macau’.

20 viii (Popular attractions)
Paragraph I: places of interest and historical sites are mentioned.

21 x (Connecting money and culture)
Paragraph J: the Macau government is trying to interest foreign people visiting Macau’s casinos in its rich history and culture.

22 FALSE
Paragraph A: the author says that Macau “joined Hong Kong as the second Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic”, not joined Hong Kong in one SAR.

23 FALSE
In paragraph B, look at this sentence: they sought a permanent base in East Asia to facilitate Portugal’s international trade. Therefore, the reason for establishing Macau was not political, according to the author.

24 TRUE
Look at the last sentence of paragraph D.

25 FALSE
In paragraph E, the author says that Camoes finished his work in Macau (he composed the closing stanzas of his epic Os Lusiades).

26 TRUE
Look at the first sentence of paragraph H.

27 NOT GIVEN
No information is provided about the owners of Macau’s casinos.

Reading Passage 3 – Snoozing birds

28-31 (in any order) B, C, F and H
B: paragraph 4 – in a group of sleeping ducks, those sitting at the edge kept their outwardly directed eye open and the corresponding brain hemisphere remained awake.
C: paragraph 5.
F: paragraph 7: …frigatebirds sleep while they fly.
H: paragraph 9: The function of REM sleep remains a mystery.

32 B
Paragraph 4: In this way, the birds can rest a part of their brain while keeping an eye out for potential predators.

33 A
Paragraph 6: They mostly sail above the oceans without beating their wings.

34 C
Paragraph 7: Even though they are able to fly when both halves of the brain are asleep, one side usually stays awake: the side associated with the eye that looks in the direction of flight.

35 C
Paragraph 9: Nevertheless, the birds allow themselves hardly any time for sleeping while flying. Over a 24-hour period, they slept on average for a total of just 42 minutes, and the average stretch of sleep lasted just 12 seconds. The longest uninterrupted stretch of sleep recorded was just under six minutes. On land, in contrast, the animals slept over 12 hours.

36 animals’ heads
Paragraph 5: the researchers attach sensors to the animals’ heads.

37 sleep behavior
Paragraph 5: This development enabled the scientists to study the waking and sleep behavior of flying birds for the first time.

38 batteries
Paragraph 6: The measuring device, including batteries, weighs just 12 grams and presents no great burden for the animals when flying.

39 REM // rapid eye movement
Paragraph 8: In addition to slow-wave sleep, the logging devices occasionally recorded short episodes of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

40 brain
Paragraph 9: The function of REM sleep remains a mystery. Researchers assume, however, that it plays an important role in normal brain development.

 

 

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