READING COMPREHENSION

 

PART III: READING COMPREHENSION (PAIRED PASSAGES) (25 MARKS)

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Instructions: Read Passage 1 and Passage 2 and answer the questions in all parts correctly.

 

Passage 1

 

[1] Many people love watching extreme sports, but at the same time, what many of those same people think is that anyone who participates in extreme sports has some kind of wish to self-destruct. This is understandable, given the high risk of severe injury or death in extreme sports. However, it seems that body chemistry can help explain why some people feel the need to take risks. The thing that is responsible for feelings of pleasure is a neurotransmitter called dopamine. One theory is that people who have more dopamine receptors in their brains need more dopamine, so they look for experiences that will increase their dopamine level. However, many people who do extreme sports say that it is actually a love of life that motivates them. This would suggest the love of the extreme is driven by more than just body chemistry and a self-satisfying dose of dopamine.

 

[2] One reason why sports have become increasingly popular may have to do with human history and modern life. In the distant past, life was difficult and dangerous. Leaving the safety of your house or your town might mean being eaten by a bear or killed by enemy invaders. In the modern world, people are not often faced with physical danger. This means that we don’t have many opportunities to learn how to manage our emotions at times of high stress. When we feel stressed by traffic jams, problems at work, or school deadlines, we don’t always stay calm because getting upset or angry will not negatively affect our chances of survival. However, people who participate in extreme activities have to learn to stay calm because their physical survival depends on it. Therefore, all they are thinking about is what they need to do next.

 

[3] Another misunderstanding about extreme sport athletes is that they have no fear. The opposite is true. What could happen if they fear is important. It is the fear of what could happen. If they make a mistake, that keeps them alive. First, they accept that there are high levels of risk with their sports, and they know exactly what the risks are and how to avoid them. Second, they are extremely self-disciplined. No top athlete goes out to a wild party the night before a dangerous athletic activity. They also have great self-control and do not let their emotions affect their judgement. Fear helps athletes to make decisions, but they do not let it dominate them. Athletes have a great amount of self-confidence, and never will they let self-doubt keep them from trying something difficult. However, they also have a strong sense of self-preservation and self-awareness. What they want is to stay safe, and they know their own limitations.

 

[4] Finally, they are excellent planners. They spend hours and hours going over all of the details of whatever specific activity they are planning. They try to anticipate all the things that could go wrong and figure out what to do in each case. What keep them safe is careful planning and attention to detail. These same characteristics are the qualities that people need to become top athletes, to explore space, or to become police officers. The world needs risk-takers!

 

Passage 2

 

[1] A recent study funded by the Wellcome Trust has investigated the connection between the use of music and the recovery of patients suffering from a variety of medical conditions. The study has brought together musicians, health workers, and researchers to find evidence of the beneficial effects music has on health. Music has long been used to treat patients suffering from different problems. In 400 BCE, its healing properties were documented by the ancient Greeks. More recently, in both world wars in the last century, medical workers used music therapy with people suffering from trauma. Currently, it is used as a treatment for many diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, and it has also been used with patients with long-term pain and learning disabilities.

 

[2] There is growing evidence that music can cause physical changes to the body which can improve our health. In the Wellcome Trust study, which took place over three years at the Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London, patients were asked to listen to musical performances. As a result, it was found that stress levels were significantly reduced, recovery times were improved, and fewer drugs were needed. These very positive results are partly due to general well-being. It is already accepted that when people feel happy and have a positive approach to life, they are more likely to feel better and recover from disease quickly. Music increases this feeling of joy and adds to the recovery process.

 

[3] However, not all these benefits can be attributed to an increase in general well-being. Music has other effects which have not yet been understood. According to Professor Robertson, a scientist and musician, some effects of music are mysterious and are, therefore, being investigated further. It has been suggested that the sounds and rhythms of music help stimulate the brain and send electrical messages to the muscles and limbs. Science, however, demands facts and hard evidence. Many in the medical profession have not yet recognized the healing benefits of music, since reports have been based mainly on anecdotal evidence. These new studies could provide proof to medical practitioners that music is a suitable treatment for many conditions. One day doctors may even ‘prescribe’ music, but that could be a long time in the future.

  1. Back References (2 MARKS):

 

  1. The word ‘them’ in paragraph 1 of passage 1 refers to _______________. (0.5 mark)
  2. The word ‘they’ in paragraph 2 of passage 1 refers to _________________. (0.5 mark)
  3. The word ‘it’ in paragraph 1 of passage 2 refers to ___________________. (0.5 mark)
  4. The word ‘which’ in paragraph 2 of passage 2 refers to __________________. (0.5 mark)

 

  1. Vocabulary: Complete the sentences below with the words in red from the passages. (6 MARKS)

 

  1. All pilots are ____ their passengers’ safety.
  2. The article can be used to ______________discussion among students.
  3. They expect him to ______________ the ceremony.
  4. All complaints against police officers are carefully ______________.
  5. A handful of multinational companies _______________ the economy.
  6. They have taken a very cautious _______________.
  7. Comprehension Questions (9 MARKS): Write answers in your own words.

 

  1. What messages do passages 1 and 2 share in common? Answer in about 40 words. (Content = 2, Grammar = 1)

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  1. According to passage 1, how do extreme athletes prepare for the possibility of very difficult or stressful situations? Answer in about 40 words. (Content = 2, Grammar = 1)

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  1. According to passage 2, what effects does music have on people? Answer in about 40 words. (Content = 2, Grammar = 1)

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  1. Interpretation Questions (8 MARKS):

 

  1. According to passages 1 and 2, which method would be more beneficial to you? How so? Explain in about 40 words. (Content = 3, Grammar = 1)

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  1. After reading passage 2, do you agree with the statement that “music is a suitable treatment for many conditions”? Why or why not? Explain in about 40 words. (Content = 3, Grammar = 1)

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