Read the text below. For questions 87 to 92, choose the best answer (a, b, c or d)

Standards of spelling and grammar among an entire generation of English-speaking university students are now so poor that there is ‘a degree of crisis’ in their written use of the language, the publisher of a new dictionary has warned. Its research revealed that students have only a limited grasp of the most basic rules of spelling, punctuation and meaning, blamed in part on an increasing dependence on ‘automatic tools’ such as computer spellcheckers and unprecedented access to rapid communication using e-mail and the Internet. The problem is not confined to the US, but applies also to students in Australia, Canada and Britain.

Students were regularly found to be producing incomplete or rambling, poorly connected sentences, mixing metaphors ‘with gusto’ and overusing dull, devalued words such as ‘interesting’ and ‘good’. Overall they were unclear about appropriate punctuation, especially the use of commas, and failed to understand the basic rules of subject/verb agreement and the difference between ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’.

Kathy Rooney, editor-in-chief of the dictionary, said, ‘We need to be very concerned at the extent of the problems with basic spelling and usage that our research has revealed. This has significant implications for the future, especially for young people. We thought it would be useful to get in touch with teachers and academics to find out what problems their students were having with their writing and what extra help they might need from a dictionary. The results were quite shocking. We are sure that the use of computers has played a part. People rely increasingly on automatic tools such as spellcheckers that are much more passive than going to a dictionary and looking something up. That can lull them into a false sense of security.’

Beth Marshall, an English professor, said, ‘The type of student we’re getting now is very different from what we were seeing 10 years ago and it is often worrying to find out how little students know. There are as many as 800 commonly misspelled words, particularly pairs of words that are pronounced similarly but spelled differently and that have different meanings – for example, “faze” and “phase”, and “pray” and “prey”.’

(87) grasp (line 4) is closest in meaning to:

a) ability

b) use

c) understanding

d) skill

(88) We can infer from the style of the text that this article was printed in a…

a) newspaper.

b) dictionary.

c) novel.

d) guidebook.


(89) Kathy Rooney carried out research to see…

a) if students could spell certain words.

b) how widespread the use of computers is.

c) if academics were in touch with their students.

d) how dictionaries can help students.

(90) them (line 22) refers to:

a) spellcheckers

b) computers

c) people

d) dictionaries

(91) According to Beth Marshall, students today…

a) spell 800 words incorrectly on average.

b) like using spellcheckers.

c) mispronounce and misspell words.

d) are not as knowledgeable as they were in the past.

(92) Choose the best title for the article.

a) Standards of spelling and grammar

b) Dictionaries of the future

c) Students don’t know their ‘there’ from their ‘they’re’

d) Automatic tools

Section 12 (93 to 100)

Write a review of a film you have seen for a local English-language newspaper. Include information about the plot, the acting, the cinematography and anything else you think is relevant. You should write 300–500 words. (8 points)

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EXTRA (Business English)

Question 1:

To: All staff

From: HR Department

Please remember that your manager must agree any holiday dates before you complete a form.

Why is the HR department sending this email?

to ask staff for some information

to explain how something is done

to tell managers about a problem


Question 2:

FINEFOODS

Agent required for nationwide distribution. Some experience in food retail an advantage. Refrigerated van provided.

Finefoods requires an agent to:

own a suitable vehicle for delivery.

be a specialist in food distribution.

deliver goods all over the country.


Question 3:


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