Exercise 1: New Year’s resolution

A New Year’s resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a personal goal, project, or the reforming of a habit in the coming year. Some examples include resolutions to lose weight, learn something new, or give up a habit such as smoking.

Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. A separate study in 2007 at the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year’s resolutions fail.

Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, a system where small measurable goals are set, while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.

Find the similar words from the text :

   - promise 
   - stop a manner     
   - be assured of something                    
   -  arrange determinable objects  
   - confess something to people   
   - receive friends’ assistance 

 

Exercise 2: What is an 'elevator pitch'?

An “elevator pitch” is an overview of a product, service, person, group, organisation or project, and is often part of a fund-raising, marketing, brand or public relations program. The name "elevator pitch" reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver a short but effective presentation in the time span of an elevator ride from the ground floor to the directors’ boardroom on the top floor of a building.

An elevator pitch is often used by an entrepreneur pitching an idea to an investor to receive funding. Venture capitalists often ask entrepreneurs to give an elevator pitch in order to quickly weed out bad ideas and weak teams. Other uses include job interviewing, dating and professional services. Proposals for books, screenplays, blogs and other forms of publishing are often delivered via an elevator pitch, which may be presented in oral, written or video formats.

Which words or phrases in the passage are similar to those below?

   - a summary
   - succinct
   - gain financial backing
   - eliminate
   - spoken

 

Exercise 3: Cultivation Theory

Cultivation theory examines the long-term effects of television. Its primary proposition is that the more time people spend 'living' in the television world, the more likely they are to believe social reality aligns with reality portrayed on television.

Cultivation theory suggests that exposure to television, over time, subtly "cultivates" viewers' perceptions of reality. Researchers George Gerbner and Larry Gross, the originators of this idea, assert: "Television is a medium of the socialisation of most people into standardised roles and behaviours. Its function is in a word, enculturation”.

Initial research on the theory establishes that concern regarding the effects of television on audiences stem from the unprecedented centrality of television in American culture. Gerbner posited that television as a mass medium of communication had formed into a common symbolic environment that bound diverse communities together, socialising people into standardised roles and behaviours. He thus compared the power of television to that of religion, stating that television was to modern society what religion once was in earlier times.

Find the similar words from the passage:

   - The way we see the world
   - gradually
   - the role of television in society

 

Exercise 4: 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.

 

Find the similar words from the passage:

   - Exaggerate their claims
   - receive criticism

 

Exercise 5: about migrating birds.

A) A tiny bird from the Farne Islands off Northumberland, England has clocked up the longest migration ever recorded. The Arctic tern’s meandering journey to Antarctica and back saw it clock up 59,650 miles, more than twice the circumference of the planet. The bird, which weighs just 100g, left its breeding grounds last July and flew down the west coast of Africa, rounded the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean and arrived in Antarctica in November. Its mammoth trek was recorded by a tiny device attached to its leg, weighing 0.7g - too light to affect its flight.

B) “It’s really quite humbling to see these tiny birds return when you consider the huge distances they’ve had to travel and how they’ve battled to survive,” said Richard Bevan at Newcastle University and part of the tracking team. The birds survive the vast journey by dipping down to the sea surface to catch fish and other food as they travel. “They live in the fast lane all the time, constantly on the move,” said Bevan. “They have to flap all the time. It is an incredibly energetic lifestyle.”

C) Like all migratory animals, the birds travel to take advantage of food that is available in particular seasons. Arctic terns perform the longest migrations but another bird, the bar-tailed godwit, completes its marathon from the Arctic to New Zealand in eight days straight, without stopping to feed. Whales undertake the longest mammal migrations and leatherback turtles and some dragonflies also travel over 9,321 miles.

(Source: theguardian.com)

Find the similar words from the passage:

   - record-setting
   - how do they message such a feat?
   - other incredible animal migrations

 

Exercise 6: about large and important cities.

A ‘megacity’ is usually defined as a metropolitan area with a total population in excess of ten million people. A megacity can be a single metropolitan area or two or more metropolitan areas that converge. The terms conurbation, metropolis and metroplex are also applied to the latter. As of 2017, there are 37 megacities in existence. The largest of these are the metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Shanghai, each of these having a population of over 30 million inhabitants, with 38.8 million and 35.5 million respectively. Tokyo is the world's largest metropolitan area, while Shanghai has the world's largest city proper population. The UN predicts there will be 41 megacities by 2030.

By contrast, a ‘global city’, also called ‘world city’ or sometimes ‘alpha city’ or ‘world center’, is a city generally considered to be an important node in the global economic system. The Institute for Urban Strategies at The Mori Memorial Foundation in Tokyo issued a comprehensive study of global cities in 2016. The ranking is based on six overall categories: Economy, Research & Development, Cultural Interaction, Livability, Environment, and Accessibility. According to this particular ranking system, the top three ‘global cities’ at present are London, New York and Tokyo.

Find the similar words from the passage:

   - The term ‘megacity’ refers to
   - Economic importance
   - currently
   - over 10 million

 

Exercise 7:

Choose the best heading for paragraphs A and B from the list below.

i. Why the elderly are living longer
ii. The impossibility of living beyond a certain age
iii. Medical and healthcare developments since the 1960s
iv. Is there a maximum age for humans?

A) A fundamental question in ageing research is whether humans and other species possess an immutable lifespan limit. A theoretical study suggested the maximum human lifespan to be around 125 years. The longest-living person whose dates of birth and death were verified to the modern norms of Guinness World Records and the Gerontology Research Group was Jeanne Calment, a French lady who lived to 122.

B) Reduction of infant mortality has accounted for most of the increased average life span longevity, but since the 1960s, mortality rates among those over 80 years have decreased by about 1.5% per year. The progress being made in lengthening lifespans and postponing senescence is entirely due to medical and public-health efforts, rising standards of living, better education, healthier nutrition and more salubrious lifestyles.

 

Exercise 8:

A fundamental question in ageing research is whether humans and other species possess an immutable life-span limit. A theoretical study suggested the maximum human lifespan to be around 125 years. The longest-living person whose dates of birth and death were verified to the modern norms of Guinness World Records and the Gerontology Research Group was Jeanne Calment, a French lady who lived to 122.

Reduction of infant mortality has accounted for most of the increased average life span longevity, but since the 1960s, mortality rates among those over 80 years have decreased by about 1.5% per year. The progress being made in lengthening lifespans and postponing senescence is entirely due to medical and public-health efforts, rising standards of living, better education, healthier nutrition and more salubrious lifestyles.

Match the words in column A with their synonyms in column B.
Try to do this without a dictionary; use the passage above instead.

Exercise 9:

Find the similar words from two reading passages from exercise 7,8

   - Maximum age
   - the elderly
   - living longer
   - the project to redevelop
   - should take one week
   - access to the rest of the library
   - library employee

 

Answer keys:

Exercise 1:

make a commitment to something

- give up a habit

- be confident of something

- set measurable goals

- make something public

- get support from

Exercise 2:

1. a summary = an overview
2. succinct = short but effective
3. gain financial backing = receive funding
4. eliminate = weed out

5. spoken = oral

Exercise 3:

Exercise 4:

Exercise 5:

Exercise 6: 

Exercise 7:

A. iv
Keywords:
is there...? = a fundamental question
a maximum age = a life-span limit

B. i
Keywords:
the elderly are living longer = mortality rates among those over 80 years have decreased
why = due to medical and public-health efforts, rising standards of living, better education, healthier nutrition and more salubrious lifestyles

Exercise 8:

fundamental - central
immutable - fixed
norms - standards
longevity - length
senescence - ageing
salubrious - healthy

Exercise 9: