Reading test, level 2

Reading comprehension on level 2 - English test for the military.Thanks to PAFSL you have another level 2 test on reading comprehension. You have 75 minutes to do all 3 tasks. The answer key is provided at the end of the page.

Reading – level 2

Reading – SLP 2222


Task One

Read the text and choose the right answer.

Lifestyle Guide

Martha Stewart was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, to middle-class Polish-American parents. She earned a scholarship to Barbard College in Manhattan and started working part time as a model to pay the bills. Martha married Andrew Stewart when she was at college and kept modelling until her daughter Alexis was born. Later, Stewart worked briefly as a Wall Street broker before finding her calling as a domestic diva when she set up a catering business from the basement of her Connecticut home.

Stewart grew her catering business and built a reputation as an expert in entertaining. However, it wasn’t what turned her into a celebrity. It was her first book, Entertaining, which explained how to receive visitors. The book was a huge success and soon led to television appearances and more books. In 1990, Martha Stewart Living magazine was launched and Martha Stewart Weddings was published. The same year, Martha divorced her husband Andrew. A few years later, Stewart got her own TV show and started a line of home products.

Martha Stewart became one of the country’s wealthiest women when Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia went public in 1999. Stewart herself became omnipresent – she was everywhere with her napkin-folding tips and ambrosia salad recipes.

 In 2002, however, she faced a serious problem as she was investigated for insider trading. What was it all about? The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission believed that Martha had been told by her friend Sam Waksal that his company’s cancer drug had been rejected by the Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) before this information was made public. This fact was a huge blow to his company and the price of shares went down dramatically. However, Martha wasn’t financially hurt because she ordered her lawyer to sell her 4000 shares before this news hit the headlines. She kept saying she was innocent, but resigned as CEO and chairman of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

The trial was held at a New York City media circus. Stewart was in the end found guilty on all four counts against her. She was sentenced to five months in prison, five months of house arrest, and two years’ probation. After the trial, at a press conference, she announced her desire to start serving her sentence immediately. She was sent to minimum-security Alderson Federal Prison Camp, West Virginia, on October 8. Stewart reportedly made friends with her fellow inmates and kept her cell exceptionally clean.

Stewart was released in March 2005 – looking fit and trim as she boarded a private jet. She left jail for five months under house arrest at her home in Bedford, New York. She could leave her home to conduct business, but only while wearing an ankle bracelet that monitored her movements. Despite the ankle bracelet, Stewart didn’t miss a beat. She was soon back in charge at her magazine, re-launching her TV show and expanding her line of home products.

In February 2005, Martha created a major buzz when she announced that she would appear in a new version of The Apprentice. It is a show in which the winner would get a good position at Martha Stewart Omnimedia. The programme was made by a reality show producer and The Survivor creator Mark Burnett. The two had also teamed up to produce another show called The Martha Stewart Show which was broadcast from 1993 until 2004. The hour-long programme featured various segments, centered around cooking and home organization. Most segments were hosted by Stewart who often invited a celebrity guest to work with her on the project.

Martha Stewart is yet another example of someone using success in financial services to make an even more successful second career. On the other hand, the Martha Stewart story is a warning about how even smart people can make foolishly high-risk decisions. The small financial gains were not worth the risks. She should have known that, as a high profile celebrity, she would be a target for prosecutors to make examples.

Despite Martha’s recent trouble, millions of middle-class Americans still look to her to tell them how to live their lives. Undoubtedly, she will remain a lifestyle guide and an American icon for many years to come.

1.      Martha’s modeling career started …

A. after her daughter was born
B. when she was a college student
C. after a call from a Wall Street broker

2.    A turning point in her career came after she …

A. appeared on TV
B. published a book
C. produced a TV show

3.      In 2002, Martha faced serious trouble because …

A. her company had financial problems
B. she used information from her friend
C. she was investigated by the FDA

4.      Right after the trial, Martha spent 5 months …

A. in prison
B. at home
C. on probation

5.      In March 2005, Martha …

A. enjoyed limited freedom
B. was unable to control her business
C. had to stay at home all the time

6.      The programme that gave a chance to get a job was called …

A. The Survivor
B. The Martha Stewart Show
C. The Apprentice

7.      The story of Martha’s life shows …

A. how to make a financial services career
B. how to keep away from trouble
C. how easy it is to make mistakes


Task Two

In this task six phrases have been removed from a text and placed at the bottom. An extra phrase has been included. You must decide which phrase goes into which gap and write the letter in the box bellow the sentences. An example has been done for you.

 Simulation Station

The War in Afghanistan is now in its eighth year and often it is civilians who get hurt. To reduce this, … (0) … . The British military are now using computer games to train their personnel.

At the Air Battlespace Training Centre, the fast jet pilots … (8) … . Artillery troops join Tornado crews to practice tactics on a special simulator. Army fire support teams have been training hard in a series of exercises to prepare them for Afghanistan’s most dangerous areas. And they have been doing this … (9) … . During exercise Mountain Dragon, soldiers and air crews used this modern technology to … (10) … . For example, the soldiers practiced guiding the bombers onto their targets.

Until March 2008, the system was used in a limited way only, … (11) … and now it is used regularly to train people before they are deployed. Wing Commander Mike Costello (RAF) said the latest exercise had been very popular with soldiers and airmen. The training helped also to create a better understanding between them.

In today’s military, it is very important for all three services to be able to cooperate. Ground forces have to be able to… (12) … . Wg Cdr Costello explained how: “The exercise on the simulator helped train soldiers how to work with fast jets and attack helicopters. We can’t eliminate live fire training but we can come close to it.”

Lt Colonel Stuart Gray, gunnery chief instructor, was convinced the troops had learned a great deal in cyberspace. He said: “The course here is amazing. It teaches both soldiers and airmen to work together … (13)… .” The final test, however, will come when the pilots and artillerymen deploy to Afghanistan in the summer.

A …   (Example) NATO has spent millions of dollars on new technology
B …   prepare for situations they could meet in Afghanistan
C …   work well with both air and sea forces
D …   without leaving a hangar in Linconshire (UK)
E …   but it has proved to be successful
F …   and helps them control firepower
G …   vehicles were used in Iraq to give support
H …   are able to fly realistic missions

0 8 9 10 11 12 13


Task Three

Read the text and write if the statements 14 to 20 are true (T) or false (F).

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

The One Thousand and One Nights is the most famous collection of Arabic stories in the world. Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and Sindbad are just three of its most popular stories. The tales come from Persia, India, Arabia and Egypt, and it was in Cairo, from the 11th century, that the stories were improved and developed.

Recently I’ve realized that I’ve lived in Cairo for almost 1, 001 nights. In fact, I’ve turned into a real night owl here. Dusty and crowded by day, by night Cairo has the magnetism of One Thousand and One Nights. The roads are just as busy as in the day, though. Tonight, I take a taxi downtown, and for the next 30 minutes I feel as if I were on a crowded roller coaster.

The best place to watch the sun set should be the famous Oberoi Hotel, but the place has unfriendly staff and poor service. Its view is indeed spectacular, however, I have come to favour the fourth-floor bar of the Sofitel Towers by the Nile. Its panorama is no more beautiful, but the staff bend over backwards to make their customers happy.

The rotating restaurant on the 41st and 40th floors of the Grand Hyatt is also worth visiting for its view. The place has kept its popularity despite the new owner’s eccentricity. He has declared the hotel dry and ordered staff to pour out $1.6 million worth of champagne and wine, not to mention a river of beer. The clients, though, still crowd into the hotel to enjoy its panorama without a drop of alcohol.

One of my favourite clubs is the New Arizona. It is here that you can see male dancers called dervishes. Of course, if it’s authentic dervishes that you want, you should go to one of the Muslim temples rather than a night club. But, at the New Arizona, I can see dancers who look very much like actual dervishes. They spin around and shout loudly as if their dance was part of a religious ceremony. I realize they are not authentic, but I’m hypnotized by their charm all the same.

On leaving the New Arizona, I use a negotiating skill my journalist friend, Khalid Davood, once taught me. “You will be endlessly asked for more tips. Just never get angry. If you keep protesting and moving on towards your car, nobody will be surprised or offended,” he said. Indeed a place like this is a machine for extracting money from people. You have to accept that, but keep saying no and never stop walking.

Davood also took me on my first night visit to the El-Fishavi Café in one of the most labyrinthine bazaars in the world. It was this area that inspired the Nobel-Prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz’s famous book Midaq Alley. Though he died in 2006 I did meet him once at the Napoleon Bar. Mahfouz was almost completely deaf and his assistant was reading a newspaper to him very loudly next to his ear. The writer struck me as very calm, at peace with the world and himself.

The night is long and you have to eat. For cheaper wine and food, I was once taken to the Greek Club. My guide was Maria Golia, author of City of Sand, one of the classic books about Cairo. Normally, there’s a charge to enter the Greek Club, but Golia said: “When you’ve been here as long as I have, you just chat a little and they let you in for free.” They did, though when I came back I had to pay.

Another day dawns in Cairo. I look forward to getting some sleep. My story of Cairo nights never ends.

 0 (Example) The One Thousand and One Nights was created in many countries.  (…T…)
 14.  In Cairo, traffic becomes less intensive at night.    (……)
15.  The Sofitel Towers offers a nicer view than the Oberoi Hotel.       (……)
16.  You can’t buy alcohol at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.     (……)
17.  You can see real dervishes at the New Arizona.     (……)
18.  The staff will get angry if you don’t give them another tip.     (……)
19.  At the Napoleon Bar, Mahfouz was calmly reading a newspaper.      (……)
20.  The man had to pay for his second entrance to the Greek Club.       (……)

Answer key:

1. B      2. B      3. B      4. A     5. A      6. C      7. C
8. H      9. D     10.B      11.E     12.C     13.F
14.F     15.F      16.T      17.F       18.F     19.F       20.T