2001 June | Part A, Section B – Comprehension

2001 June - COMPREHENSION PASSAGE 1

Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions on it.

Bitrus, a middle-aged man, was speeding along the hot tarmac one afternoon, oblivious of the countryside. By his side, reading a magazine was his first son, a twenty-year old university computer science student. On the man’s mind was the contract he was pursuing in the capital city. It was worth several million dollars. Although he had handled bigger contracts before, Bitrus was preoccupied with this new challenge, his mind far away from the road before him.

His son was also buried in the magazine he was reading. So neither saw the goat crossing the road early enough. Like automation, Bitrus jammed on the brakes. In a flash, there was a skid and a somersault. The villagers worked for almost an hour on the huge Mercedes before rescuing the two.

There, in the casualty ward, the duo lay on the stretchers. Bitrus was soon in a fairly stable, but anybody would know that the son needed prompt specialist medical attention. The doctor was sent for, a surgeon who regularly handled such cases. Soon enough, the doctor came. The nurses heaved a sigh of relief. But then... “Oh no, I can’t handle this case. He’s my son!” Everyone was shocked. One of the nurses pleaded. “But doctor, you must do something otherwise,... “No, he’s my son. I’ll have to transfer this case.” And so tearfully, more agitated than anybody around, the doctor hurried away to call a colleague.

Here was Bitrus, with multiple injuries, but not in danger. In the adjoining room was his son, still comatose. How then could a doctor come in and say, “This is my son”? Wasn't Bitrus the father after all? Most people would reason that the doctor was truly the secret biological father. Others, reasoning hard, would conclude that the doctor was Bitrus’s father and thus was right in describing him as his son. But for how long would people continue to think that all doctors must be male? Couldn't the doctor have simply been Mrs. Bitrus? 


Questions

(a)

(i) What was the remote cause of the accident?
(ii) What was the immediate cause?

(b) What does the passage suggest about doctors’ attitude to the cases they handle?

(c) Describe the conditions of Mr. Bitrus and his son at the hospital.

(d) What assumption about doctors does the passage illustrate?

(e) His son was also buried in the magazine he was reading.

(i) What type of figurative expression is this?
(ii) What is its function as it is used in the sentence?

(f) ...that the doctor was truly the secret biological father.

(i) What grammatical name is given to this expression?
(ii) What is its function as it is used in the sentence?

(g) For each of the following, find a word or phrase that means the same and can replace it as it is used in the passage:

(i) oblivious
(ii) prompt
(iii) regularly
(iv) pleaded
(v) agitated
(vi) adjoining 


2001 June - COMPREHENSION PASSAGE 2

Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions on it.

In the 1960s and 1970s undergraduates did not need to apply for employment. Employees usually wooed them by depositing offers of jobs in their halls of residence for those interested to pick and choose from as soon as they finished writing their degree examinations. How things have changed! We have since “progressed” from this age of abundance in which unemployment was hardly heard of to one of economic recession and widespread unemployment. The problem is so acute that one finds unemployment even among engineers and doctors.

What are the causes of this phenomenon? For one thing, our educational system does not train its products for self-employment. Everybody expects the government or the private sector to provide them with a job at the end of their studies. As we have now realized, the government and the private sector combined cannot create enough jobs to go round the army of graduates turned out annually by our universities. For another, many parents encourage their children to enroll in courses leading to prestigious and lucrative professions for which they may be intellectually unsuited. They end up obtaining poor degrees or none at all. Such graduates cannot compete on the job market, so they swell the ranks of the unemployable and the unemployed.

Perhaps the most important single cause of unemployment is economic recession. During periods of boom, economic activities are generated in abundance and these make plenty of jobs available. But the reverse is the case in times of economic recession.

There is no simple solution to the problem. Everyone in the society has a role to play here. The government has a duty to ensure that the economy is buoyant, thus providing the right environment for the creation of jobs. The educational authorities have to orientate the process of education towards the production of job creators rather than job seekers.

Guidance and counseling services should be made available in all secondary institutions. Parents, too, should stop misdirecting their children into choosing careers for which they are ill-suited. 


Questions

(a)

(i) What was the employment situation like in the 1960s and 1970s?
(ii) What is the situation now? It is difficult securing a job now.

(b) In what ways do the education systems, the parents and the students contribute to the unemployment situation?

(c) Mention three suggestions given in the last paragraph for solving the problem.

(d) Why does the writer enclose the word progressed (First paragraph) in quotation marks?

(e) ........for which they may be intellectually unsuited.

(i) What grammatical name is given to this expression?
(ii)What is its function as it is used in the sentence?

(f) For each of the following words, find another word or phrase that means the same and can replace it as it is used in the passage:

(i) recession
(ii) acute
(iii) army
(iv) lucrative
(v) boom
(vi) orientate  

2001 June | Part A, Section B – Comprehension
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2002 June | Part A, Section B – Comprehension

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2002 Comprehension Passage 1
2002 Comprehension Passage 1 Questions
2002 Comprehension Passage 2
2002 Comprehension Passage 2 Questions

2002 June - COMPREHENSION PASSAGE 1 

Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions that follow.

When health workers first came to the village and talked about family planning, no one took them seriously, including Amusa, whose young wife was then pregnant with their first baby. Had their fathers and forefathers before them not had as many wives and children as they desired? And have they not been able to take care of their families? So everyone shunned the family planning clinic which was established in the village shortly afterwards.

Twelve years later, Amusa was a clerical assistant in the city and lived with his wife and eight children in a single room because he could not afford larger quarters. For as long as he could remember, his large family had been going through difficult times, which appeared to be worsening lately. Only yesterday, his third child had been sent away from school because her parents could not replace her old torn school uniform. Last year, their first son could not proceed to the secondary school as the family could not afford the cost. Then recently, the landlord had announced his intention to increase the rent.

Amusa found himself thinking about the days when he himself was a young child. His own father had two wives and thirteen children, yet as far as he could remember, the family had not faced anything similar to what he was going through now. He suddenly realized that this was because the times had changed and that the requirements of modern living put great pressure on large family sizes.

His father’s time and age had been different: he had been a successful farmer in the village, had lived in his own house, employed members of his large family as farm hands and fed everyone from the abundance of the farm. On the other hand, Amusa lived in the city on a limited income. He had no farm land nor even a vegetable garden, and had to pay for everything, from his rented room to the smallest domestic needs of his family. And at four times what they cost a few years before!

It was then that he sadly remembered the health workers and their gospel of family planning. How he wished he had listened and taken their advice! Unfortunately, he had not. And what was even more unfortunate was that the millions in Amusa’s shoes became wiser only when it was too late.   Top


Questions

(a) What advise do you think the health workers gave the villagers?

(b) Give two reasons why the villagers did not take the health workers seriously.

(c) Give two indications of Amusa’s financial difficulties.

(d) Mention any two differences between Amusa’s conditions and his father’s.

(e) And what was even more unfortunate.........

(i) What grammatical name is given to this expression as it is used in the passage?
(ii) What does it mean?

(f) And had they not been able to take care of their families?

(i) What literary device is used in this expression?
(ii) What does it mean?

(g) For each of the following words or phrases, find another word or phrase which means the same and can replace it as it is used in the passage:

(i) shunned
(ii) established
(iii) announced
(iv) going through
(v) limited
(vi) shoes   Top


2002 June - COMPREHENSION PASSAGE 2

Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions on it.

The great white shark is at the top of the marine food chain. In the shark family, it is the king, it will eat anything, even other sharks. But as it gets older, bigger and slower, it develops a preference for seals, penguins and carrion, especially dead whales.

In locating their food, most sharks use all their senses, including excellent vision. Their sense of smell is incredible and their ears are aided by pressure-sensitive cells along each side of their body. Nothing escapes this eavesdropping system, which is attuned to vibrations in the water. Sharks also have a sixth sense which enables them to detect the weak electrical fields emanating from the beating heart or the swimming muscles of a potential prey.

The white shark’s most fearsome assets are its huge head, its black eyes, and its razor-sharp serrated teeth. The circulatory system of the white shark is different from that of most other sharks. Its blood temperature is about three to five degrees Celsius above water temperature, which speeds up digestion and adds to its strength and endurance.

It is known that the white shark pits out its wounded prey after an initial, powerful bite. Then it waits for the victim to die before eating it. Why does it use this bite-and-spit strategy? Experts speculate that this is because of its eyes. Unlike other sharks, the white shark no eyelid-like membrane to protect its eyes, rather, it rotates them in their sockets when a collision is imminent. At the moment of impact, the eye is left exposed, perhaps to the flying claws of a seal. Therefore, for the white shark, a quick mortal strike and release is common behaviour.

The public image of sharks has been greatly coloured by the novel 'Jaws', which was turned into a popular movie. Overnight, the white shark became evil incarnate. However, it is not a demon craving human flesh. The smell of blood does not drive it into a frenzy as it does certain other sharks. Nevertheless it is a dangerous animal and should be treated with caution and respect.   Top


Questions

(a) How do sharks use their sixth sense?

(b) In what significant way is the circulatory system of the white shark different from that of other sharks?

(c) What, according to the passage, is the probable reason why the white shark waits for its victim to die before eating it?

(d)

(i) What is the writer’s attitude to the white shark?
(ii) Quote an expression from the passage to support your answer.

(e) At the moment of impact..........

(i) What figure of speech is given to this expression as it is used in the passage?
(ii) What is its function?

(f) However, it is not a demon craving human flesh.
What figure of speech is contained in this expression?

(g) For each of the following words, find another word or phrase which means the same and can replace it as it is used in the passage:

(i) preference
(ii) incredible
(iii) emanating
(iv) speculate
(v) mortal
(vi) coloured  Top

2002 June | Part A, Section B – Comprehension
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