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READING 1 Questions 1 – 10: Choose the best answer according to the text below. (1 pt. each)

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(1) What started as a few small loans by an economics professor in Bangladesh to help local laborers avoid high-interest loan services has become a booming specialized banking business. This business, microfinance, refers to small loans to poor people who have no access to banks. According to economists, women are the big beneficiaries of microfinance, especially women in South Asia, where the majority of micro-lending takes place. Grameen Bank, the Bangladesh institution at the forefront of micro-lending, reports that almost all of its borrowers are low-income women.

(2) Muhammad Yunus, an economics professor, founded Grameen Bank in the late 1970s. Grameen means village and the bank is so named because its clients are mostly in rural areas. Today, the bank has 23,037 employees and 8.1 million borrowers. As microfinance expands, it increasingly attracts commercial investments and provides other services — like savings accounts, insurance policies, money transfers, and bill-paying services — to those who typically lack access to banks. When Grameen Bank first started, it tried to attract an equal number of men and women borrowers. But the bank quickly saw that women used their earnings to benefit their families much more than male borrowers did. Grameen and other micro-lenders in South Asia now lend overwhelmingly to women.

(3) Borrowers typically take out loans of no more than a few hundred dollars, which they use to finance business activities such as selling food or small items from a market stall, raising chickens or vegetables, or providing services like sewing or cleaning. Mary Ellen Iskenderian, president of Women’s World Banking, a global network supporting microfinance, says the benefits of access to small loans at reasonable interest rates may seem diminutive, but they are significant for these families. “They may be able to move from a mud floor to a wood floor, which has enormous health benefits, or allow a girl to stay longer in school, which has a long-term impact.” Small loans reduce economic shocks to families with few resources to fall back on. If drought hurts their crops or they need money for a medical emergency, families don’t have to sell off productive possessions or reduce their food consumption. The microfinance system has another built-in means of improving the welfare of borrowers and their families. Lending officers often provide information about such topics as health, nutrition, and borrowers’ legal rights in their dealings with landlords.

(4) Although microfinance has spread to most parts of the world, the practice is most highly developed in South Asia, home to half of all current borrowers. Estimates of the number of borrowers worldwide range from 77 million to 150 million. Unlike traditional banks that do almost everything to protect themselves, micro-lenders do not require collateral that would be lost if a loan is not repaid. Instead, many microfinance institutions follow the Grameen model of requiring those who take out a loan to join a group of about a half-dozen fellow borrowers. The group holds regular meetings at which an officer of the lending institution collects repayments. Experts say the support and pressure from the group contribute to very high repayment rates. Typically more than 95 percent of loans are repaid.

(5) Increasingly, local governments and international donors support micro-lending. Also, as the practice continues to expand, microfinance institutions are attracting more capital! from commercial investors $10 billion worldwide in the last four years. Ujjivan Financial Services, a company founded in India in 2005 to bring micro-lending to India’s urban poor, is typical of this trend. The company started with investments from both nonprofit foundations and for-profit investment funds in the United States, Europe, and India.“We’re a social enterprise; our objective is to fight poverty,” says an Ujjivan director.’ “But we’re run as a profit-making enterprise. Otherwise, we wouldn’t attract enough capital or good people to work for us.”

1) According to paragraph I, the practice of microfinance.————–?
A) has improved in spite of its high-interest loan services
B) is favored by few economists in Bangladesh
C) benefits considerably more women than men
D) was started as a reaction to the tyrants in South Asia

2) As we learn from the text, Grameen Bank.—————-?
A) received its name from its target client group
B) has been the biggest bank in Bangladesh since the late 1970s
C) is no longer a leading actor of micro-lending in Bangladesh
D) was established by local laborers who wanted to fight poverty in their region

3) As stated in paragraph II, microfinance institutions provide small loans to poor people.——————?
A) but Muhammad Yunus believes money transfers and bill-paying services are more profitable
B) because they want to be able to exploit them when their businesses expand
C) yet they are disturbed by the fact that more women than men borrow money from them
D) as well as other services like savings accounts and insurance policies

4) According to the text, the clients of the microfinance system.—————?
A) apply to half a dozen banks when they need to borrow money
B) often fail to repay their debts on time
C) pay their debts back in monthly installment of three hundred dollars
D) mostly seek money for minor businesses like raising chickens

5) The word diminutive in paragraph III is closest in meaning to.————?
A) damaging
B) tiny
C) important
D) reliable

6) The phrase falls back on in paragraph III is closest in meaning to.————-?
A) cut out
B) let down
C) depend on
D) run out

7) The word they’re in paragraph III refers to.———–?
A) means
B) borrowers
C) officers
D) topics

8) The word collateral in paragraph IV could best be replaced by.—————?
A) guarantee
B) risk
C) information
D) competence

9) According to paragraph V, Ujjivan Financial Services claims that they wouldn’t collect
enough investment if.———–?
A) they weren’t a profit-making enterprise
B) their head office was in India
C) they employed foreign workers
D) their enterprise continued to expand

10) Which of the following sentences is TRUE according to the text?
A) Grameen Bank has lent $10 billion since its foundation.
B) Muhammad Yunus is a director of Ujjivan Financial Services.
C) Half of all microfinance borrowers are in South Asia.
D) Today there are 8.1 million microfinance borrowers in South Asia.

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READING 2: Questions 11 – 15: Choose the best answer according to the text below. (1 pt. each)

Mobile Phones and Modem War

1)Mobile phone use around the world is expanding, and nowhere is that more true than in Afghanistan, An estimated 150,000 new subscribers are added every month, with ‘no end in sight according to the country’s telecommunications minister. Out of a population of 28 million, more than 40 percent of Afghans have access to or own a mobile phone, a key means of communication in a country where landline phone infrastructure has been undermined by decades of war. However, every night at dusk in certain parts of Afghanistan, cell phone service is abruptly cut off until early the next morning, leaving users in a black hole of communication. Companies that provide mobile services in Afghanistan cut their services off due to the threat of attack by Taliban militants. These militants aim to stop US and NATO forces from tracking their communications and to block local Afghans from passing tips to the authorities.

2)Altaf Ladak is the chief operating officer for Roshan, which holds 35 percent of the mobile market share in Afghanistan, He does not believe his company is making a mistake by bowing to demands to shut off cellphone access at night, saying instead that it is simply a matter of security, a decision made in consultation with all mobile operators in Afghanistan. “We needed to make sure our people and our assets are secure. So we’ve taken that precaution to make sure that they are not put at risk. In the past, Afghan rebels have blown up and destroyed expensive cell towers and threatened operators, even though they themselves rely on mobile devices to plan their attacks.

3)Cutting off mobile service is just one of many tools that are used as part of an effective communications strategy by Taliban militants. Controlling and shaping the flow of information lies at the heart of their communications strategy. It is designed to play to specific audiences, which, in addition to local populations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, include US and NATO forces, Afghan and Pakistani authorities, and, of course, the larger pan-Islamic world and the West. Another way is to message the media. Some journalists receive SMS messages and regular calls on their mobile phones from Taliban representatives, offering interviews or claiming responsibility for terrorist attacks against Afghan, Pakistani and Western targets. A newer, surprising strategy even involves emailing news alerts written in perfect English to western reporters that detail one successful attack after another on the battlefield. And, of course, there are dozens of websites used to recruit and train militants, and to post their messages and videos.

4)Dr. Carsten Bockstette is a researcher, author, and analyst in Germany. He has written several papers examining the propaganda techniques of the militants. “Officials have to do something about the militants’ strategic communications. It is imperative that officials not lose their own credibility. Ensuring their own credibility while reducing the militant credibility is one of the key elements,” He suggests, for example, that US and NATO forces must quickly and honestly take responsibility for Afghan and Pakistani civilian deaths that occur when pilotless aircraft target militant bases. He also says the most effective way to compete with the militant point of view, even in this digital age, is to start from the bottom up. He says identifying and employing local and trusted storytellers who can conduct what he calls a “mouth-to-mouth” campaign is critical to successfully penetrating the largely rural communities.

11) We learn from the text that mobile communication service in Afghanistan is stopped every night
A) to make people use their landline phones
B) but Afghans do not complain about this
C) as part of the government’s security program
D) as mobile service providers fear Taliban militants
12) The word ‘‘their’’ in paragraph I refers to .———-?
A) companies
B) services
C) Taliban militants
D) US and NATO forces
13) Paragraph II is mainly concerned with .———–?
A) what should be done to prevent Taliban attacks
B) why mobile service providers stop access at night
C) how Roshan manages to control 35 percent of the mobile market
D) why mobile operators provide financial support to the Taliban
14) Which of the following is NOT mentioned in the text as part of the Taliban’s communications
A) Preventing mobile phone access
B) Sending text messages to the media
C) Handing out propaganda leaflets in Pakistan
D) Emailing news alerts to reporters
15) Which of the following sentences is TRUE according to Dr. Carsten Bockstette?
A) The Pakistani government helps the Taliban control the flow of information,
B) The majority of Taliban leaders live in European countries like Germany.
C) Taliban’s credibility has never been lower than it is today.
D) US and NATO forces cause civilian deaths.

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READING 3: Questions 16 – 20: Choose the best answer according to the text below. (1 pt. each)

(1) Governments and industries around the world are investing billions of dollars to position themselves as leaders in the emerging enterprise called nanotechnology, defined as science on the scale of atoms and molecules. Each nation has its own vision and strategy. Last month, representatives from five of the top contenders — the US, the European Union, Japan, Russia, and China — met during a panel, where 800 participants from 44 countries examined nanotechnology’s influence on health, electronics, energy, water, food, construction, safety, and investment. “Today there are lots of nano-products but they’re typically not revolutionary. They’re improvements on existing processes and products — better materials, better coatings, more efficient chemical processes,” said Richard Russell, a conference speaker. “All those things pro-vide society with benefits,” he said, “But I think many people are waiting for the revolutionary ones. Those are a little further out because we’re still spending time and effort developing nano-materials. There’s still a lot of basic research to do.”

(2) Nano-science describes the ability to see, measure, control and manufacture things on a scale of one to 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter; a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. At the nanoscale, the physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials differ in basic and valuable ways. Nanotechnology research and development are helping scientists and engineers understand and create materials and devices that draw on these new properties. Nanotechnology applications are being developed in nearly every industry, including electronics, energy production, information technology, transportation, and medicine.

(3) Last year, governments and private industry around the world spent a combined $14 billion on nanotechnology. Of that total, the US is among the top investors. US Government spending on basic research in nanotechnology was $1.5 billion, and private-sector investment in research and development was just over $3 billion. About 5 percent of the US investment is spent on research to determine the implications of nanotechnology on public health and safety and the environment.

(4) In Europe, two-thirds of nanotechnology funding comes from governments, the European Union (EU), and member states, and one-third comes from the private sector, said Christos Tokamanis, head of the EU nanotechnology unit. “The action plan has two main focus points,” he said. “One is competitiveness and the societal challenges we have to resolve and solve with nanotechnology, and the other is the responsible development of this emerging science.”

(5) In the 2,500-year-old city of Suzhou, a 1.5-hour flight from Beijing, China’s central government is helping to fund and promote the International Nanotech Innovation Park, an aggressive effort to accelerate the growth of the nation’s nanotechnology industry. The park already has 14 nanotechnology start-up companies and expects its 200 employees to grow to 700 over the next several years. Scientific collaboration is important to the park’s growth, and talks have been held with representatives from Russia, Finland, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

(6) In Japan, nanotechnology materials are among the nation’s four strategic priorities. Public funding alone for the period 2006 to 2010 was $1 billion. It was focused on nanotechnology materials for energy, environment, and resources; advanced research and development; research evaluation of manufactured nano-particles; and an X-ray free-electron laser to develop new nanotechnology materials.

(7) For Russia, nanotechnology is to become the basis of a new technological culture that will completely change industrial policy and the industrial economy. It will be a new revolution. The government has allocated more than $2 billion for nanotechnology over the next six years. They will change the system of education completely in order to stimulate such new types of perspective for scientists and undertake many different changes in infrastructure

16) The word contenders in paragraph I is closest in meaning to .———–?
A) competitors
B) scientists
C) sufferers
D) spectators

17) As we learn from paragraph I, Richard Russell believes .————?
A) it will take quite a lot of time to manufacture revolutionary nano-products
B) revolutionary nano-products are too expensive for common people to buy
C) it is too early to organize international nano-technology conferences
D) most nano-products of today can be considered revolutionary

18) Which of the following sentences is FALSE according to paragraph I?
A) Nanotechnology is science on the scale of atoms and molecules.
B) There were eight hundred participants at last month’s nanotechnology panel.
C) The US, the EU, Japan, Russia, and China share the same nanotechnology strategy.
D) Governments around the world are spending billions of dollars to become leaders in nanotechnology.

19) The phrase draw on in paragraph II could best be replaced by .————?
A) destroy
B) give up
C) lead to
D) use

20) According to the text, the government has opened a business facility where there
are fourteen nanotechnology firms.————-?
A) Russian
B) American
C) Chinese
D) Japanese

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Answer Key.


1C  2A 3D  4D
5B  6C 7B 8A
9A 10C

Mobile Phones
and Modem

11D 12C 13 B 14C 15D


16 A 17 A 18 C 19 D 20 C

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