Free Resources for Students and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China - by Paul Sparks

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Paul Sparks, Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for Semester 2 Reading Lessons...



Reading: Test No.1


Chinese Name:___________________

English Name:___________________

Class:______      Student No:________


Instructions: Answer all questions in pen, using the space provided.

Question 1 (The Main Idea):  
Read the following news article then write the main idea of the article, in your own words, using the space provided: (worth 10 marks)

"Friends Too Sexy For China"

Friends is causing controversy in China because the characters talk about sex too much.

Qin Mingxin, deputy director of the international department at China Central Television said: "I had thought the play focused on friendship.

"In many of the episodes, a man would meet a woman and immediately go to bed with her. This is not good according to Chinese people.

"The attitudes portrayed in the show cannot be generally accepted by Chinese audiences."

Bosses at the channel had considered cutting episodes which they considered to have an especially high sexual content.

But as many of the show's viewers had already seen the programmes on DVD they thought it would disappoint these people to cut them.

CCTV officials are in talks with Warner Brothers, the makers of Friends, to find a solution to the problem.








Question 2 (Conjunctions): There are seven words which we call “coordinating conjunctions”. Five of the coordinating conjunctions are given below. In the two spaces write the other two words that can be used as coordinating conjunctions: (4 marks each)


·        or

·        yet

·        for

·        nor

·        so

·        __________

·        __________


Question 3 (Fact & Opinion): Read the following article then make a list of five facts in the space provided. (3 marks each)


“More Jobseekers Finding Work Online”

One in 10 people have found a new job via the internet despite concerns over a lack of human response and technical problems, according to a report.

More than 1.3 million people have been recruited over the web in the past five years and that figure is set to increase, research shows.

A poll of 1,600 people by recruitment firm showed that most people praised the speed, ease of use and availability of the Internet in searching for work.

Concerns included lack of personal feedback, not enough relevant jobs, and technical problems.

"Our research shows that almost everyone thinks internet recruitment is going to get more important in the future, as technological improvements make it an even faster and easier route to the right job," said Dan Ferrandino, director of 







Question 4 (Compound Words):
Read the following article then underline all of the compound words that use either closed form or hyphenated form: (total of 10 marks)


“M&S Celebrates 21 Years Of Ready-Made Sweet And Sour”


Marks & Spencer is celebrating 21 years since launching what it claims was the first range of Chinese ready-made meals in the UK.

The retailer brought the taste of the Orient to shoppers in 1983 with products such as sweet and sour pork, spare ribs, Chinese-style chow mein and egg fried rice.

The first dedicated Chinese ready-meal factory was built for M&S in Nottingham a year later.

Since 1983, the range has grown to more than 50 products. M&S says it now sells more than 13 million ready-made Chinese meals a year - enough to span the length of the Great Wall of China over 1,000 times.

Helena Fleming, the chain's oriental product developer, said: "We've taken our customers' taste buds on a real 'Orient Express' over the last 21 years - bringing them exotic ingredients.

"In the early days we sourced water chestnuts from Hong Kong and black bean sauce from Singapore.

"Today we use green tea leaves from the Jiangxi region in China, Shaoxing rice wine from the Zhejiang region and pickled chilli paste from chillies grown in Sichuan."

M&S is marking the 21st anniversary by launching a new range of dishes to coincide with the Chinese New Year tomorrow.


Question 5 (Abbreviations) : The following abbreviations are used in job adverts. Write the full meaning for each: (3 marks each)


·         FT -    ___________________________________________

·         20 hrs -    ________________________________________

·         am/pm -     _______________________________________

·         eves -    _________________________________________

·         No exp req -   _____________________________________

Question 6 (Abbreviations) : The following abbreviations are used in business. Underline the correct meaning: (2 marks each)



a.       as soon as possible 

b.       please reply 

c.       per week 

d.       value added tax 

e.       paid



a.       thanks 

b.       for the attention of 

c.       estimated time of arrival 

d.       quantity 

e.       with reference to



a.          as soon as possible 

b.          please reply 

c.          please 

d.          quantity 

e.          with reference to 


a.          public limited company 

b.          I owe you 

c.          pound (weight) 

d.          junior 

e.          month 



a.          not applicable 

b.          I owe you 

c.          pound (weight) 

d.          junior 

e.           month 


Question 7 (Homonyms): Select the correct answer for each homonym or confusable words: (2 marks each)

a.    I couldn't tell _______________ she was serious or not. (whether / weather)

b.    ___________ are too many possible answers to this question. (They're / There / Their)

c.    _________ going to help me with this? (Whose / Who's)

d.    I'm afraid she's going to _____________ her grandmother's wedding band. (loose / lose)

e.    She has apparently found it difficult to ___________ the circumstances. (accept / except)

Question 8 (Speed Reading & Comprehension): Read the following essay then answer the questions that follow:

“Soccer: Why It Can't Make the Big Time in the U.S.A.”

by Dewey Cheatham


Soccer - or football (or foosball or futbol), as it is called by the rest of the world outside the United States - is surely the most popular sport in the world. Every four years, the world championship of soccer, the World Cup, is watched by literally billions all over the world, beating out the United States professional football's Superbowl by far. It is estimated that 1.7 billion television viewers watched the World Cup final between France and Brazil in July of 1998. And it is also a genuine world championship, involving teams from 32 countries in the final rounds, unlike the much more parochial and misnamed World Series in American baseball (that doesn't even involve Japan or Cuba, two baseball hotbeds). But although soccer has become an important sport in the American sports scene, it will never make inroads into the hearts and markets of American sports the way that football, basketball, hockey, baseball, and even tennis and golf have done. There are many reasons for this.

Recently the New England Revolution beat the Tampa Bay Mutiny in a game played during a horrid rainstorm. Nearly 5000 fans showed up, which shows that soccer is, indeed, popular in the United States. However, the story of the game was buried near the back of the newspaper's sports section, and there was certainly no television coverage. In fact, the biggest reason for soccer's failure as a mass appeal sport in the United States is that it doesn't conform easily to the demands of television. Basketball succeeds enormously in America because it regularly schedules what it calls "television time-outs" as well as the time-outs that the teams themselves call to re-group, not to mention half-times and, on the professional level, quarter breaks. Those time-outs in the action are ideally made for television commercials. And television coverage is the lifeblood of American sports. College basketball lives for a game scheduled on CBS or ESPN (highly recruited high school players are more likely to go to a team that regularly gets national television exposure), and we could even say that television coverage has dictated the pace and feel of American football. Anyone who has attended a live football game knows how commercial time-outs slow the game and sometimes, at its most exciting moments, disrupt the flow of events. There is no serious objection, however, because without television, football knows that it simply wouldn't remain in the homes and hearts of Americans. Also, without those advertising dollars, the teams couldn't afford the sky-high salaries of their high-priced superstars.

Soccer, on the other hand, except for its half-time break, has no time-outs; except for half-time, it is constant run, run, run, run, back and forth, back and forth, relentlessly, with only a few seconds of relaxation when a goal is scored, and that can happen seldom, sometimes never. The best that commercial television coverage can hope for is an injury time-out, and in soccer that happens only with decapitation or disembowelment.

Second, Americans love their violence, and soccer doesn't deliver on this score the way that American football and hockey do. There are brief moments, spurts of violence, yes, but fans can't expect the full-time menu of bone-crushing carnage that American football and hockey can deliver minute after minute, game after game. In soccer, players are actually singled out and warned - shamed, with embarrassingly silly "yellow cards," for acts of violence and duplicity that would be smiled at in most American sports other than tennis and golf.

Third, it is just too difficult to score in soccer. America loves its football games with scores like 49 to 35 and a professional basketball game with scores below 100 is regarded as a defensive bore. In soccer, on the other hand, scores like 2 to 1, even 1 to 0, are commonplace and apparently desirable; games scoreless at the end of regulation time happen all the time. (In the 515 games played in the final phase in the history of the World Cup games through 1994, only 1584 goals have been scored. That's three a game!) And if there is no resolution at the end of overtime, the teams resort to a shoot-out that has more to do with luck than with real soccer skills. Worse yet, it is possible for a team to dominate in terms of sheer talent and "shots-on-goal" and still lose the game by virtue of a momentary lapse in defensive attention, a stroke of bad luck, and the opponent's break-away goal. Things like that can happen, too, in baseball, but the problem somehow evens out over baseball's very long season of daily games. In soccer, it just isn't fair. Soccer authorities should consider making the goal smaller and doing away with the goalie to make scoring easier. And the business of starting over after each goal, in the middle of the field, has to be reconsidered. It's too much like the center-jump after each goal in the basketball game of yesteryear.

It seems unlikely that Americans will ever fully comprehend or appreciate a sport in which players are not allowed to use their arms and hands. Although the footwork of soccer players is a magnificent skill to behold, most American fans are perplexed by straitjacketed soccer players' inability and unwillingness to "pick up the darn ball and run with it!" The inability to use substitutes (unless the player to be substituted for is lying dead or maimed on the field of play) is also bewildering to Americans, who glorify the "sixth man" in basketball and a baseball game in which virtually the entire roster (including an otherwise unemployable old man called "the designated hitter") is deployed on the field at one time or another.

Finally, the field in soccer is enormous. Considerably larger than the American football field, the soccer field could contain at least a dozen basketball courts. Americans like their action condensed, in a small field of vision - ten enormous sweaty people bouncing off one another and moving rapidly through a space the size of a medium-sized bedroom, twenty-two even larger people in bulky uniforms converging on a small, oddly shaped ball. In soccer, on the other hand, there is a premium on "spreading out," not infringing upon the force field occupied by a team-mate, so that fancy foot-passing is possible. This spreading out across the vast meadow of the soccer playing field does not lend itself, again, to close get-down-and-dirty television scrutiny.

Soccer is a great sport and it certainly deserves the increased attention and popularity it is getting on all levels. But - primarily, again, because it does not lend itself to television - it will never make it big in the United States the way these other sports have, not until it changes some of its fundamental strategies.



List three facts from the essay: (2 marks each)






List three opinions from the essay: (2 marks each)





What is the main idea of the essay?: (10 marks)









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