Section III Reading Comprehension

Read the following four texts. Answer the questions below each text by choosing [A], [B], [C] or [D] Mark your answers on ANSWER SHEET (40 points)

  Text 1

The period of adolescence, i.e., the period between childhood and adulthood, may be long or short, depending on social expectations and on society’s definition as to what constitutes maturity and adulthood. In primitive societies adolescence is frequently a relatively short period of time, while in industrial societies with patterns of prolonged education coupled with laws against child labor, the period of adolescence is much longer and may include most of the second decade of one’s life. Furthermore, the length of the adolescent period and the definition of adulthood status may change in a given society as social and economic conditions change. Examples of this type of change are the disappearance of the frontier in the latter part of the nineteenth century in the United States, and more universally, the industrialization of an agricultural society.

In modern society, ceremonies for adolescence have lost their formal recognition and symbolic significance and there no longer is agreement as to what constitutes initiation ceremonies. Social ones have been replaced by a sequence of steps that lead to increased recognition and social status. For example, grade school graduation, high school graduation and college graduation constitute such a sequence, and while each step implies certain behavioral changes and social recognition, the significance of each depends on the socio-economic status and the educational ambition of the individual. Ceremonies for adolescence have also been replaced by legal definitions of status roles, right, privileges and responsibilities. It is during the nine years from the twelfth birthday to the twenty-first that the protective and restrictive aspects of childhood and minor status are removed and adult privileges and responsibilities are granted. The twelve-year-old is no longer considered a child and has to pay full fare for train, airplane, theater and movie tickets. Basically, the individual at this age loses childhood privileges without gaining significant adult rights. At the age of sixteen the adolescent is granted certain adult rights which increases his social status by providing him with more freedom and choices. He now can obtain a driver’s license; he can leave public schools; and he can work without the restrictions of child labor laws. At the age of eighteen the law provides adult responsibilities as well as rights; the young man can now be a soldier, but he also can marry without parental permission. At the age of twenty-one the individual obtains his full legal rights as an adult. He now can vote, he can buy liquor, he can enter into financial contracts, and he is entitled to run for public office. No additional basic rights are acquired as a function of age after majority status has been attained. None of these legal provisions determine at what point adulthood has been reached but they do point to the prolonged period of adolescence.

41. The period of adolescence is much longer in industrial societies because ________.

[A] the definition of maturity has changed

[B] the industrialized society is more developed

[C] more education is provided and laws against child labor are made(C)

[D] ceremonies for adolescence have lost their formal recognition and symbolic significance

42. Former social ceremonies that used to mark adolescence have given place to ________.

[A] graduations from schools and colleges

[B] social recognition

[C] socio-economic status(A)

[D] certain behavioral changes

43. No one can expect to fully enjoy the adulthood

privileges until he is ________.

[A] eleven years old

[B] sixteen years old

[C] twenty-one years old(C)

[D] between twelve and twenty-one years old

44. Starting from 22, ________.

[A] one will obtain more basic rights

[B] the older one becomes, the more basic rights he will have

[C] one won’t get more basic rights than when he is 21(C)

[D] one will enjoy more rights granted by society

45. According to the passage, it is true that ________.

[A] in the late 19th century in the United States the dividing line between adolescence and adulthood no longer existed

[B] no one can marry without the permission of his parents until the age of twenty-one

[C] one is considered to have reached adulthood when he has a driver’s license(A)

[D] one is not free from the restrictions of child labor laws until he can join the


  Text 2

Well, no gain without pain, they say. But what about pain without gain? Everywhere you go in America, you hear tales of corporate revival. What is harder to establish is whether the productivity revolution that businessmen assume they are presiding over is for real.

The official statistics are mildly discouraging. They show that, if you lump manufacturing and services together, productivity has grown on average by 1.2% since 1987. That is somewhat faster than the average during the previous decade. And since 1991, productivity has increased by about 2% a year, which is more than twice the 1978-1987 average. The trouble is that part of the recent acceleration is due to the usual rebound that occurs at this point in a business cycle, and so is not conclusive evidence of a revival in the underlying trend. There is, as Robert Rubin, the treasury secretary, says, a “disjunction” between the mass of business anecdote that points to a leap in productivity and the picture reflected by the statistics.

Some of this can be easily explained. New ways of organizing the workplace—all that re-engineering and downsizing—are only one contribution to the overall productivity of an economy, which is driven by many other factors such as joint investment in equipment and machinery, new technology, and investment in education and training. Moreover, most of the changes that companies make are intended to keep them profitable, and this need not always mean increasing productivity: switching to new markets or improving quality can matter just as much.

Two other explanations are more speculative. First, some of the business restructuring of recent years may have been ineptly done. Second, even if it was well done, it may have spread much less widely than people suppose.

Leonard Schlesinger, a Harvard academic and former chief executive of Au Bong Pain, a rapidly growing chain of bakery cafes, says that much “re-engineering” has been crude. In many cases, he believes, the loss of revenue has been greater than the reductions in cost. His colleague, Michael Beer, says that far too many companies have applied re-engineering in a mechanistic fashion, chopping out costs without giving sufficient thought to long term profitability. BBDO’s Al Rosenshine is blunter. He dismisses a lot of the work of re-engineering consultants as mere rubbish—“the worst sort of ambulance cashing.”

46. According to the author, the American economic situation is ________.

[A] not as good as it seems

[B] at its turning point

[C] much better than it seems(A)

[D] near to complete recovery

47. The official statistics on productivity growth ________.

[A] exclude the usual rebound in a business cycle

[B] fall short of businessmen’s anticipation

[C] meet the expectation of business people(B)

[D] fail to reflect the true state of economy

48. The author raises the question “what about pain without gain?” because ________.

[A] he questions the truth of “no gain without pain”

[B] he does not think the productivity revolution works

[C] he wonders if the official statistics are misleading(B)

[D] he has conclusive evidence for the revival of businesses

49. Which of the following statements is NOT mentioned in the passage?

[A] Radical reforms are essential for the increase of productivity.

[B] New ways of organizing workplaces may help to increase productivity.

[C] The reduction of costs is not a sure way to gain long term profitability.(A)

[D] The consultants are a bunch of good-for-nothings.

50. According to the passage, the author’s attitude towards the productivity revolution in the U.S.A is ____.

[A] biased

[B] optimistic

[C] ambiguous

[D] negative







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