Test your reading comprehension skills with this new set, courtesy of PASFL. In Poland, you have 65 minutes to read and mark the right answers. You can find the answer key at the end of the page. If you prefer to do the test online, you can go directly to the interactive version of task 1, and task 2, where you will get the final score immediately. Good luck!
Level 3 – reading
You are going to read short texts. For questions 1 to 13 choose the answer (A, B or C), which fits best according to the texts.
1. The world has let down the people of Syria. The neighbouring nations wage proxy wars instead of working to prevent the bloodshed. The former UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, said that in a response to the world crises, the international community seemed unable to focus on more than one emergency at a time. It had also become increasingly reluctant to stage military interventions. Annan resigned as UN envoy to Syria in 2012. He described his role as “mission impossible” due to growing militarisation and lack of unity among world powers.
According to Kofi Annan, the international community …
A. stages too many military interventions
B. depends too much on the world powers
C. concentrates only on selected problems
2. Ethiopia has become home to one of the world’s fastest-growing higher education systems. Increasing the number of graduates is a key part of the government’s industrialisation strategy and its plan to become a middle-income country by 2025. Since the 1990s, when there were just two public universities, 30 new institutions have sprung up. On the face of it, this is good news. But dig a little deeper and tales abound of students required to join government parties. There are reports of restricted curricula, classroom spies and crackdowns on student protests.
According to the text, university students in Ethiopia suffer due to …
A. fierce competition among colleges
B. manipulation from the authorities
C. complicated university syllabuses
3. An agreement to improve safety in Bangladesh’s clothing factories is facing the threat of legal action, as factory owners demand compensation for the cost of closures and repair work. Some repair programmes are expected to take months. The owners say they cannot cover the costs of paying staff while factories are closed, alongside the expense of works needed to ensure buildings are safe. The building overhauls are being carried out in the wake of the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex in Dhaka, in which 1,138 people died.
Factory owners have recently announced that they intend to …
A. claim damages for the losses they suffered
B. improve safety in their factory buildings
C. make a lot of their personnel redundant
4. For residents of New Delhi, jogging, cycling and even crossing the road can be a death-defying feat. In recent days, several homeless people sleeping on the pavement were run over by New Delhi’s drunken drivers. But in a new initiative called Raahgiri, meaning “boss of the road” in Hindi slang, people are taking back the streets. This unique new campaign bans automobiles in the heart of the city for a few hours every Sunday.
People of New Delhi have launched a campaign which is meant to …
A. give support to homeless people in the city
B. reduce the volume of traffic in the city centre
C. promote sports activities among the residents
5. The 6th Circuit Appellate Court has suspended gay marriages in Michigan. The suspension contradicts Federal Judge Bernard Friedman’s previous decision to overturn Michigan’s gay marriage ban as unconstitutional. The appellate court’s decision came after dozens of gay couples had wed. Same-sex marriage licenses will not be issued, depending on further review by the Cincinnati court. As for whether the licenses issued before the suspension will be honoured, “the courts will sort it out,” spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill Schuette said.
Federal Judge Bernard Friedman has …
A. suspended the homosexuals’ right to marry
B. annulled the licenses that have been issued
C. removed the ban on single-sex marriages
6. Syrian rebels have issued three demands for the release of Fijian peacekeepers they’ve held captive for five days, Fiji’s military commander Gen. Tikoitoga has told the press. He said the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front wants to be taken off the UN terrorist list. It demands immediate humanitarian aid for Damascus and compensation for its 3 fighters killed in a shootout with UN officers. Tikoitoga did not say if the demands would be seriously considered. He said the UN had sent hostage negotiators to Syria to take over discussions from military leaders.
According to Gen. Tikoitoga, the rebels’ demands …
A. will be satisfied immediately
B. cannot be regarded as serious
C. will be dealt with by experts
7. India’s national radio broadcaster was reported to have fired about 100 presenters for being over its new age limit of 35. But the reports have been challenged in a statement by All India Radio. The broadcaster says the story is a misreporting of a press conference in which it was stated that “radio jockeys” aged over 35 would have to undergo a “voice modulation test”. This was necessary to “infuse freshness in the programmes”. The presenters will keep their jobs if the test proves they don’t sound “too mature and boring”.
From the text we learn that radio presenters in India …
A. are sacked if they are older than thirty-five
B. need to take a test if they are over thirty-five
C. should sound mature if they are over thirty-five
8. For years, the US telecom business has lured clients with discounted phones and hooked them with two-year contracts and sky-high termination fees. That way customers can’t easily switch if a better deal appears elsewhere. And although telecom firms competed to ensure superior quality and technological support, they didn’t challenge the business fundamentals. But now T-Mobile has announced an unprecedented offer: if you switch to its service, it will pay your termination fee to another carrier and give you $300 in credit toward a new phone.
T-Mobile’s new strategy is to …
A. ease clients transition from other cell phone firms
B. bind its new customers by long-term agreements
C. offer technological support to its new customers
9. How can you be sure that the product you’re buying on-line is the real thing? Counterfeiters are now duping consumers with websites designed to mirror real company sites. Sometimes, the phony websites look more elaborate than the actual ones, attractively presenting a broad range of goods, from luxury handbags to Viagra pills. Lev Kubiak, head of the Intellectual Property Rights Center, says the best way to tell a website is real is to “look at the manufacturer’s site. Check where these firms say their products are distributed,” he says.
The text gives advice on how to …
A. choose luxury products sensibly
B. recognize a reliable online shop
C. make a firm’s website attractive
10. On Monday four Russian bombers entered the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). The ADIZ is an international airspace, but when military aircraft enter it, the U.S. sends fighter jets to get a visual identification. That’s what happened on Monday: two American F-22 fighter jets went up to observe the Russian aircraft. At some point the bombers left the ADIZ – two headed towards Russia and the other two headed south and entered the ADIZ off the California coast. This time they were monitored by a pair of F-15 fighters. At no time did any of the aircraft enter U.S. airspace. Since 2012 there have been ten such incidents near the California coast.
We learn from the text that …
A. Russian bombers entered the American airspace
B. Russian aircraft followed American fighter jets
C. Russian aircraft have repeatedly entered the ADIZ
11. As states liberalize marijuana laws, some worry that more drivers high on pot will cause an increase in traffic deaths. Researchers, though, are divided on the question. Studies show that marijuana can impede decision-making and multitasking, which are critical driving skills. But unlike with alcohol, drivers high on pot are aware of their impairment and they avoid risky actions such as overtaking other cars. On the other hand, combining marijuana with alcohol increases driving impairment beyond the effects of either substance alone.
According to the text, marijuana …
A. makes people drive with caution
B. causes drivers to take more risks
C. improves certain driving skills
12. Higher demands are being placed on the Finnish military’s cost-reduction programs. The crisis is driving the Armed Forces Command (AFC) to turn to second-hand equipment. Five years of cost-cutting have stalled Finland’s defense budget at US $3.82 billion. It is less than 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, one of the lowest ratios in the EU. The savings are straining the AFC’s ability to allocate the customary one-third of its budget to procurement. Thus, the AFC has adjusted its policy to procure second-hand equipment.
From the text we learn that Finland has decided to …
A. stop buying military gear
B. purchase used equipment
C. spend more on equipment
13. A U.S. Navy retention survey found that a growing number of sailors want to leave the service. The respondents complained about increasing operational tempo and poor work/life balance. The survey also showed a widespread distrust of Navy leadership. Fewer servicemen aspire to earn their superiors’ positions, because they don’t look up to them anymore. On the other hand, 80 percent of the respondents said the current retirement system and pay were the most important reasons to remain in uniform. Yet, with the ongoing discussions to reduce sailor pay and benefits, the Navy is likely to lose its most desirable attributes.
According to the survey, more and more sailors complain about …
A. inadequate retirement benefits
B. growing service requirements
C. lack of promotion prospects
You are going to read a newspaper article. Choose the best answer A, B, C, or D.
The Fight Against Fake Drugs
In November 2008, 84 children in Nigeria were killed by a medicine called My Pikin Baby Teething Mixture. The syrup was fake, the standard glycerin replaced with cheaper diethylene glycol, which is an industrial solvent that attacks the central nervous system, kidneys and liver. In this case counterfeit drugs killed its victims outright. More frequently, they kill by robbing patients of the real drugs they need. And some counterfeits contain a small amount of active ingredient – not enough to cure an illness, but enough to promote resistance that renders the real medicine powerless. That is the most deadly effect of all.
It turns out that there is no way to tell if a pill is fake or real before taking it – or, for that matter, afterward. Malaria treatments are a good example. A study in Western Kenya found that only 38 percent of people who sought treatment for malaria actually had the disease. What people believed to be malaria, then, might have been another fever that resolved on its own — “cured” by a counterfeit with no active ingredient. Conversely, a drug’s failure is not proof that it is counterfeit, as real drugs don’t always work. And there is always the question of whether patients take them correctly.
Nations with a counterfeiting problem can solve it by acquiring effective regulation and liability laws. Rwanda seems to be on its way. In Uganda, two organizations are co-operating to improve village health. The nongovernmental organization BRAC has long equipped its workers with medicines to sell. The other group, Living Goods, is using an Avon Lady style of direct sale: women buy medicines to sell to their neighbours. This gives villages access to reliable drugs, reducing other retailers’ sale of counterfeits. Before the NGOs came in, 37 percent of pharmacies sold counterfeit malaria drugs. Now, the amount of counterfeits sold in pharmacies has fallen by half. “You can get away with selling fakes if villagers have nothing to compare them to,” says Yanagizawa-Drott from BRAC. “When consumers try a reliable drug, they are able to observe quality.”
Providing genuine drugs is achievable in other ways. Tanzania is creating a network of Accredited Pharmacies which are given subsidies and are then tightly regulated and inspected. Another strategy was developed by an American company – Sproxil. Its CEO, Ashifi Gogo, created a cellphone identification system allowing shoppers to verify the authenticity of Whole Foods’ organic produce. “The system won a number of awards, but nobody bought it, because clients trusted Whole Foods,” Gogo says. “So I turned to emerging markets, like Nigeria, where that trust is absent, and from organic-food to pharmaceuticals,” he explains. Today, Sproxil makes labels, each with a unique scratch-off number, that are affixed to each medicine. Purchasers text the ID to a number on the box and get a text back saying whether the drug is fake or real.
Sproxil has provided 9 million verifications so far. One reason for its success is that in most countries its verification texts are free. “Setting up that deal with cell-phone companies has been a nightmare. It can take them a year to provide lifesaving service to their own customers,” Gogo says. But free is necessary. It allows people to send a text or to borrow someone else’s phone if they don’t have one. India doesn’t allow free texts, which has been a disadvantage for another mobile verification firm, PharmaSecure, which began in India in 2009. Also, free-text arrangements keep counterfeiters from faking the verification process. They do put fake numbers on products, but they aren’t going to sign any deals with phone companies.
PharmaSecure’s CO, Nathan Sigworth, says the response rate on its verification labels is just a few percent in India and Nigeria. Sproxil’s rates vary between 10 and 30 percent – mostly because they cover more chronic diseases and use number-only codes which are easier to type on basic phones than PharmaSecure’s alphanumeric codes. However, Sigworth sees great growth potential in Nigeria and India. PharmaSecure has already followed in Sproxil’s footsteps in sending patients personalised medical advice. “We began in anti-counterfeiting and realized the service opens a world of possibilities,” Sigworth says. “At the moment we are the only firm verifying the authenticity of agricultural products. Farmers in Africa could increase their yields 10-fold by buying hybrid seeds. However, 30% of hybrid seeds are fakes that fail to germinate. The risk of buying counterfeits keeps farmers from investing in products that could lift them out of poverty,” Sigworth explains. That’s another area in which counterfeits kill.
14. Fake drugs that contain small amounts of active ingredient …
A. are most dangerous because they kill quickly
B. are more likely to cure the disease in question
C. damage patients’ ability to react to real drugs
D. have a neutral influence on patients’ organisms
15. In Western Kenya, fake malaria drugs were hard to recognize because …
A. they provoked the onset of another illness
B. they actually helped some malaria patients
C. they were given to wrongly diagnosed patients
D. they were effective against other kinds of fever
16. Judging from the context, the word “conversely” in paragraph two means …
A. on the other hand
C. at any rate
17. BRAC and Living Goods managed to …
A. introduce effective anti-counterfeit laws
B. eliminate fake medicines from pharmacies
C. give clients a chance to see the real drugs’ effect
D. do away with direct sales of counterfeit medicines
18. Gogo’s first attempt to introduce his solution failed because it was …
A. criticised for being untrustworthy
B. launched in the wrong market
C. denied government subsidies
D. rejected by certified pharmacies
19. The problem with mobile verification system in India is that …
A. counterfeiters are starting to use free verification
B. legal regulations make free verification impossible
C. phone companies secretly co-operate with counterfeiters
D. too few clients have phones to check drug authenticity
20. In contrast to Sproxil, PharmaSecure does not offer …
A. specialized medicines for chronic diseases
B. a user friendly mobile-verification system
C. mobile verification of agricultural goods
D. a customized medical-guidance service
Test – answer key:
1 C 2 B 3 A 4 B 5 C 6 C 7 B 8 A 9 B 10 C 11 A 12 B 13 B 14 C 15 C 16 A 17 C 18 B 19 B 20 B