Exercise 1: 

Read the following summary of a book called Deep Work.

“Deep work” is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfilment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep, spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realising there's a better way.

In Deep Work, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four "rules," for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill. A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, Deep Work is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.

Choose the best answer to each of the questions below.

1. What is “deep work”?

A)  a skill that takes a short time to master
B)  a skill that few people develop nowadays
C)  a skill that modern communication tools can enhance

2. What does the author of Deep Work aim to do in the first part of the book?

A)  convince us that working deeply has great value
B)  expose the negative effects of tools like social media
C)  guide readers towards success in life

 

 

Exercise 2: About the environment:

Secondly, environmental groups need to be noticed by the mass media. They also need to keep the money rolling in. Understandably, perhaps, they sometimes overstate their arguments. In 1997, for example, the Worldwide Fund for Nature issued a press release entitled: 'Two thirds of the world's forests lost forever'. The truth turns out to be nearer 20%.

Though these groups are run overwhelmingly by selfless folk, they nevertheless share many of the characteristics of other lobby groups. That would matter less if people applied the same degree of scepticism to environmental lobbying as they do to lobby groups in other fields. A trade organisation arguing for, say, weaker pollution controls is instantly seen as self-interested. Yet a green organisation opposing such a weakening is seen as altruistic, even if an impartial view of the controls in question might suggest they are doing more harm than good.

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

1) The writer quotes from the Worldwide Fund for Nature to illustrate how

A  influential the mass media can be.
B  effective environmental groups can be.
C  the mass media can help groups raise funds.
D  environmental groups can exaggerate their claims.

2) What is the writer's main point about lobby groups?

A  Some are more active than others.
B  Some are better organised than others.
C  Some receive more criticism than others.
D  Some support more important issues than others.

 

Exercise 3:

A Work of Genius

By the beginning of the 15th century, after a hundred years of construction, Florence Cathedral was still missing its dome. The building required an octagonal dome which would be higher and wider than any that had ever been built, with no external buttresses to keep it from spreading and falling under its own weight.

The building of such a masonry dome posed many technical problems. Filippo Brunelleschi, who is now seen as a key figure in architecture and perhaps the first modern engineer, looked to the great dome of the Pantheon in Rome for solutions. The dome of the Pantheon is a single shell of concrete, the formula for which had long since been forgotten. Soil filled with silver coins had held the Pantheon dome aloft while its concrete set. This could not be the solution in the case of the Florence Cathedral dome, due to its size. Another possible solution, the use of scaffolding, was also impractical because there was not enough timber in the whole of the region of Tuscany.

Florence_duomo_fc10

Brunelleschi would have to build the dome out of brick, due to its light weight compared to stone and being easier to form, and with nothing under it during construction. His eventual success can be attributed, in no small degree, to his technical and mathematical genius. Brunelleschi used more than four million bricks to create what is still the largest masonry dome in the world.

Are the following statements true, false or not given?

   1. For many years, people had believed that construction of such a huge dome would be impossible.

   2. The architect Brunelleschi employed a building method that had previously been used by the Romans.

   3. Brunelleschi was not able to use wooden scaffolding when building the dome.

   4. The Cathedral’s dome is still the biggest of its kind.

 

Exercise 4:

about animal behaviour.

Thousands of experiments have been performed to study the preferences of hungry and thirsty animals. The results are universal: all animals are highly sensitive to subtle differences in amount of food or water.

Consider experiments using hungry pigeons. A pigeon is trained to peck at an illuminated button on the wall of its cage, and the experimenter follows each peck with delivery to the pigeon of a small amount of mixed grain. The pigeon soon learns to peck the button. Then the experimenter puts two illuminated buttons, a red one and a green one, side by side on the wall. If the pigeon pecks the red button, it gets 2 ounces of food; if it pecks the green button, it gets 1 ounce of food. Almost all pigeons soon learn to peck the red one and ignore the green one.

However, the results are completely different when a time delay is introduced after the red button is pecked. Virtually all pigeons strongly prefer 1 ounce of food delivered immediately to 2 ounces delayed by only 4 seconds.

(adapted from 'The Science of Self Control' by Howard Rachlin)

Are the statements below true, false or not given?

   1. Experiments using hungry and thirsty animals give inconsistent results.

   2. Pigeons can be taught to do simple actions in order to get a reward.

   3. Hungry pigeons choose the larger reward, regardless of whether they have to wait for it.

 

Exercise 5

about "mass media".

In the late 20th century, mass media could be classified into eight mass media industries: books, the Internet, magazines, movies, newspapers, radio, recordings, and television. The explosion of digital communication technology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries gave rise to the question: what forms of media should be classified as "mass media"? For example, it is controversial whether to include cell phones and video games in the definition.

Each mass medium has its own content types, creative artists, technicians, and business models. For example, the Internet includes blogs, podcasts, web sites, and various other technologies built atop the general distribution network. Internet and mobile phones are often referred to collectively as digital media, and radio and TV as broadcast media. Some argue that video games have developed into a distinct mass form of media, in the sense that they provide a common experience to millions of people across the globe and convey the same messages and ideologies to all their users.

Are the statements below true, false or not given?

   1. In the 21st century, it is widely accepted that there are now more than eight mass media industries.

   2. Digital media can be subdivided into various content types.

   3. Video games are the newest mass media platform.

 

Exercise 6: Learning languages

Learning a second language can boost thinking skills, improve mental agility and delay the ageing of the brain, according to scientists who believe that speaking minority languages should be positively encouraged in schools and universities. Studies have found that children and adults who learn or speak another language benefit from the extra effort it takes to handle two sets of vocabularies and rules of grammar.

“Fewer parents speak minority languages to their children because of the perceived lack of usefulness. Many people still think that a minority language makes children confused and puts them at a disadvantage at school,” said Antonella Sorace of the University of Edinburgh. “These feelings clash with much research on bilingualism, which shows instead that when there are differences between monolingual and bilingual children, these are almost invariably in favour of bilinguals,” Dr Sorace said.

“Bilingual children tend to have enhanced language abilities, a better understanding of others’ points of view, and more mental flexibility in dealing with complex situations,” she told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington.

(Source: independent.co.uk)

Are the following statements TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN?

   1. Some scientists believe that the teaching of minority languages should be promoted.

   2. Research into bilingualism supports the idea that learning two languages can be detrimental to children.

   3. Bilingual children tend to get high scores in intelligence tests.

 

Exercise 7: Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini (1874 to 1926) was a Hungarian-American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. He first attracted attention as "Harry Handcuff Houdini" on a tour of Europe, where he challenged police forces to keep him locked up. Soon he extended his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water, and having to hold his breath inside a sealed milk can.

In 1904, thousands watched as Houdini tried to escape from special handcuffs commissioned by London's Daily Mirror newspaper. Another stunt saw him buried alive and only just able to claw himself to the surface. While many suspected that these escapes were faked, Houdini presented himself as the scourge of fake magicians and spiritualists. As President of the Society of American Magicians, he was keen to uphold professional standards and expose fraudulent artists. He was also quick to sue anyone who pirated his stunts.

Are the following statements true, false, or not given in the text?

   1. Houdini was more successful in Europe than in America.

   2. Many people were skeptical about Houdini’s escape acts.

   3. He took legal action against those who tried to copy him.

 

Exercise 8: IQ

The term "IQ" comes from German "Intelligenz-Quotient", coined by the German psychologist William Stern in 1912, who proposed a method of scoring children's intelligence tests. Since the early 20th century, scores on IQ tests have increased in most parts of the world. The phenomenon of rising score performance means that if test-takers are scored by a constant standard scoring rule, IQ test scores have been rising at an average rate of around three IQ points per decade. This phenomenon was named the Flynn effect in the book The Bell Curve after James R. Flynn, the author who did the most to bring this phenomenon to the attention of psychologists.

1. “IQ” refers to

A) a type of intelligence test for children
B) a means of rating intelligence tests
C) an area of psychology

2. Flynn noticed that

A) IQ scores were constant around the world
B) IQ was a global phenomenon
C) intelligence scores had gradually risen over several decades

 

Exercise 9

about 'mindsets' and success.

According to Carol Dweck, individuals can be placed on a continuum according to their implicit views of where ability comes from. Some believe their success is based on innate ability; these are said to have a "fixed" theory of intelligence (fixed mindset). Others, who believe their success is based on having opposite mindset, which involves hard work, learning, training and doggedness are said to have a "growth" or an "incremental" theory of intelligence (growth mindset).

Individuals may not necessarily be aware of their own mindset, but their mindset can still be discerned based on their behaviour. It is especially evident in their reaction to failure. Fixed-mindset individuals dread failure because it is a negative statement on their basic abilities, while growth mindset individuals do not mind or fear failure as much because they realise their performance can be improved and learning comes from failure. These two mindsets play an important role in all aspects of a person's life. Dweck argues that the growth mindset will allow a person to live a less stressful and more successful life.

Which TWO of the following statements agree with the ideas of the writer?

A) Dweck believes that success depends on inherited intelligence.
B) Dweck classifies people according to their beliefs about ability and success.
C) We do not always realise which mindset we have.
D) Fixed-mindset individuals fail more often than those who have a growth mindset.

 

Exercise 10: Ecotourism

Ecotourism is a form of tourism where tourists visit fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas. Its purpose may be to educate the traveller, to provide funds for ecological conservation, to directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, or to foster respect for different cultures and for human rights.

However, ecotourism operations occasionally fail to live up to conservation ideals. Even a modest increase in population puts extra pressure on the local environment and necessitates the development of additional infrastructure. The construction of water treatment plants, sanitation facilities, and lodges come with the exploitation of non-renewable energy sources and the utilisation of already limited local resources. The environment may suffer because local communities are unable to meet these infrastructure demands.

1. One aim of ecotourism is to

A) allow people to visit areas that were previously restricted.
B) educate local communities in fragile areas.
C) raise money for environmental projects in natural areas.

2. However, ecotourism can cause problems when

A) the local population does not welcome visitors.
B) extra facilities and amenities are required to cope with a population increase.
C) communities do not have the funds to improve local facilities.

 

 

Answer Keys:

Exercise 1:

1. B
2. A

Note: In question 1, answer 'A' was a trick. It doesn't say that deep work is "quick to master", it says that deep work allows you to master complicated information quickly.

Exercise 2

1 D
exaggerate their claims = overstate their arguments

2. C
Some receive more criticism than others = A trade organisation is seen as self-interested. Yet a green organisation is seen as altruistic.

Exercise 3

1. Not given
No information about whether people thought it was impossible.

2. False
"This (the method used for the Pantheon in Rome) could not be the solution in the case of the Florence Cathedral dome"

3. True
"the use of scaffolding, was also impractical because there was not enough timber in the whole of the region of Tuscany"

4. True
still the biggest of its kind = still the largest masonry dome in the world

Exercise 4:

1. FALSE

Results are not inconsistent, they are consistent (universal = always the same)

2. TRUE

pigeons can be taught = the pigeon soon learns
do simple actions = peck the button
reward = delivery of mixed grain (food)

3. FALSE

They don't always choose the larger reward. When a time delay is introduced, pigeons choose the smaller amount of food because it is immediate.

 

Exercise 5:

1. False (it is not widely accepted - the question of how many there are is controversial)
2. True
3. Not given

 

Exercise 6:

1. True
should be promoted = should be encouraged
teaching = in schools and universities

2. False
The key word is "clash", meaning "goes against"

3. Not given
No information about scores

 

Exercise 7

1. Not Given
(there isn’t a comparison between Europe and America)

2. True
(people were skeptical = many suspected that these escapes were faked)

3. True
(legal action against those who tried to copy him = sue anyone who pirated his stunts)

 

Exercise 8

1. B

2. C

1. a means of rating intelligence tests = a method of scoring (children's) intelligence tests

2. intelligence scores had gradually risen over several decades = IQ test scores have been rising at an average rate of around three IQ points per decade

Exercise 9

B
(classifies people according to their beliefs about ability and success = individuals can be placed on a continuum according to their implicit views of where ability comes from. Some believe their success...)

C
(We do not always realise which mindset we have = Individuals may not necessarily be aware of their own mindset)

Exercise 10

1. C
2. B

Note:
For question 2, nothing is mentioned in the passage about local communities not having 'funds'. It only says they are unable to meet demand. For this reason, we can't choose answer C.