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English (Precis & Composition) A test designed to assess the candidates' ability to handle Grammatical Structures,Reading, Comprehension,Analysis,Precis Writing and Composition

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Old Sunday, July 29, 2007
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Default Reading Comprehension Practice for 2008

From 2005 paper

2. Here is an excerpt from the autobiography of a short story writer. Read it carefully and answer the questions that follow.

My father loved all instruments that would instruct and fascinate. His place to keep things was the drawer in the ‘library table’ where lying on top of his folder map was a telescope with brass extensions, to find the moon and the Big Dripper after supper in our front yard, and to keep appointments with eclipses. In the back of the drawer you could find a magnifying glass, a kaleidoscope and a gyroscope kept in black buckram box, which he would set dancing for us on a string pulled tight. He had also supplied himself with an assortment of puzzles composed of metal rings and intersecting links and keys chained together, impossible for the rest of us, however, patiently shown, to take apart, he had an almost childlike love of the ingenious. In time, a barometer was added to our dining room wall, but we didn’t really need it. My father had the country boy’s accurate knowledge of the weather and its skies. He went out and stood on our front steps first thing in the morning and took a good look at it and a sniff. He was a pretty good weather prophet. He told us children what to do if we were lost in a strange country. ‘Look for where the sky is brightest along the horizon,’ he said. ‘That reflects the nearest river. Strike out for a river and you will find habitation’. Eventualities were much on his mind. In his care for us children, he cautioned us to take measures against such things as being struck by lightening. He drew us all away from the windows during the severe electrical storms that are common where we live. My mother stood apart, scoffing at caution as a character failing. So I developed a strong meteorological sensibility. In years ahead when I wrote stories, atmosphere took its influential role from the start. Commotion in the weather and the inner feelings aroused by such a hovering disturbance emerged connected in dramatic form.

a. Why did the writer’s father spend time studying the skies ? (3)
ANS: The writer’s father was an amateur interested in Meteorology and Astronomy. Therefore, he spent most of his time learning about heavenly bodies as well as weather.

b. Why the writer thinks that there was no need of a barometer? (3)
ANS: The writer’s father was a good observer of weather. Based on his observations, his forecast about weather was always correct. That is why writer said that he did not need any barometer.

c. What does the bright horizon meant for the writer’s father? (3)
ANS: According to writer's father, the bright zone over the horizon meant that there might be a river at that direction.

d. How did her father influence the writer in her later years? (3)
ANS: The father usually interacted with the writer as well as other members of family during his meteorological observations. In this way, the father sensitized the writer about weather. Later on, the writer in her writing had a glimmer of her childhood influence.

e. Explain the underlined words and phrases in the passage. (8)
ANS:
1. To keep appointments: be regular in observation or strict in schedule
2. Kaleidoscope: A tube shape instrument fitted with mirrors. An observer while looking through the kaleidoscope watches a symmetrical pattern of color, shape, or view.
3. Assortment of puzzles: A kind of game required intellectual labor for arranging the entangled metal rings.
4. To take apart: separate into individual pieces.
5. A barometer: An instrument used in meteorology for measuring atmospheric pressure.
6. Took a good look at it: to observe very closely or skillfully notice something.

P.S: Attention moderators: Please make a new forum under the heading "Reading Comprehension" inside "English (Composition and Precis) Forum" and then locate this thread there. Thanks.
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Old Monday, July 30, 2007
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Default From 2007 paper

From 2007 Paper

Q.2 Read the following passage and answer the questions that follow:

Strong section of industrials who still imagine that men can be mere machines and are at their best as machines if they are mere machines are already menacing what they call “useless” education. They deride the classics, and they are mildly contemptuous of history, philosophy, and English. They want our educational institutions, from the oldest universities to the youngest elementary schools, to concentrate on business or the things that are patently useful in business. Technical instruction is to be provided for adolescent artisans; book keeping and shorthand for prospective clerks; and the cleverest we are to set to “business methods”, to modern languages (which can be used in correspondence with foreign firms), and to science (which can be applied to industry). French and German are the languages, not of Montaigne and Gorthe, but of Schmidt Brothers, of Elberfeld and Dupont et Cie., of Lyons. Chemistry and Physics are not explorations into the physical constitution of the universe, but sources of new dyes, new electric light filaments, new means of making things, which can be sold cheap and fast to the Nigerian and the Chinese. For Latin there is a Limited field so long as the druggists insist on retaining it in their prescriptions. Greek has no apparent use at all, unless it be as a source of syllables for the hybrid names of patent medicines and metal polishes. The soul of man, the spiritual basis of civilization- what gibberish is that?

Questions
a) What kind of education does the writer deal with? (2)
ANS: The writer is concerned with all those educations related to only profit making organizations i.e., industries, firms, offices. Such education would only produce clerks, book-keepers or it would erode the intellect of humanity by confining science, arts, linguistics etc., within enterprises.

b) What kind of education does the writer favour? How do you know? (3)
ANS: The writer critically said that business entities have limited the educational institutions to concentrate only on business related education. Then the writer elaborate this critical view; therefore, it indicates that writer favors humanities as well as classics.

c) Where does the writer express most bitterly his feelings about the neglect of the classics? (3)
ANS: The writer censoriously said at the end of paragraph that Latin is only used for prescriptions, and Greek is used for naming medications and metal polishes. These are writer's most bitter expressions about the neglect of the classics.

d) Explain as carefully as you can the full significance of the last sentence. (4)
ANS: A civilized society is a balance of all institutions such as education, religion, politics etc. working within its confines. The limitation of the institution of education with things related only to business and industries would erode the intellectual capacity of humans. It means that the greed for making profit would make man a machine and his intellect a thirst for money. Therefore, the last sentence sums up all the discussion of writer that "spiritual basis of civilization," i.e. man intellect, has become run-of-the-mill.

e) Explain the underlined words and phrases in the passage (8)
Sorry, I don't have underlined paragraph (plz post it if you have; thanks)
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Lo! man is in a state of loss. (Al-Asr:103:2) And every small and great thing is recorded. (Al-Qamar:54:53) And guard yourselves against a day in which ye will be brought back to Allah. Then every soul will be paid in full that which it hath earned, and they will not be wronged. (Al-Baqara:2:281)
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