skip to Main Content

The Local Library (Q.7-14)

(1) According to a 2015 survey, more than two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, which means that obtaining information or communicating with people is easier than ever before. (2) With the swipe of a finger or the tap of an icon, people have instant access to articles, blogs, news, and social networking websites. (3) Even with all these immediate sources, one of the best resources also happens to be one of the oldest. (4) The public library is a great place for people to get information.

(5) The public library serves a truly critical role in promoting community. (6) There has been an explosion of digital media in recent years. (7) This now allows people in different places to communicate almost instantaneously. (8) And yet many people complain of feeling more isolated and alone than ever before. (9) The library stands in a unique position to help community members meet this universal need for human connection and companionship.

(10) Furthermore, libraries offer free assistance, training programs, and Internet access to all people. (11) A student who does not have a computer at home can research and type a paper for school. (12) An unemployed adult without access to the Internet can make use of library resources to find job opportunities. (13) A library’s selection of materials, known as its collection, can include classic novels, reference books, magazines, periodicals, CDs, and DVDs. (14) The stuff that is found at the library can help people get a lot done.

(15) Public libraries also offer a variety of resources to community members. (16) One important resource is the local librarian, who does far more than check out books and collect fines. (17) Other library resources include free or low-cost tutoring and training programs. (18) Additionally, lectures, book groups, and town meetings promote critical thinking and community engagement. (19) A typical librarian holds a master’s degree and can help library patrons navigate through the flood of information available in print or on the Internet.

(20) The hallmark of a public library is that its materials and services are accessible to all. (21) The library connects people to a network of information and resources and is an important part of a community.

Moving Through Mountains (Q.15-20)

(1) An age-old proverb says that necessity is the mother of invention. (2) Centuries of human ingenuity in the face of obstacles prove this to be true. (3) For many years the Swiss Alps, a mountain range spanning southern Switzerland and northern Italy, were such an obstacle. (4) Roads and railways had to navigate around the mountains or through winding tunnels inside the mountains. (5) Transportation of people and goods was difficult and time consuming. (6) In 2016 these burdens were eased with the completion of the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

(7) Construction of the high-speed railway tunnel began in 1996. (8) The tunnel was created through the use of tunnel-boring machines, which are giant drills with a rotating head. (9) Each of the tunnel-boring machines used during the construction of the tunnel was about the length of four football fields arranged end-to-end. (10) During the seventeen-year construction period, 28 million tons of rock were removed, enough to rebuild the Great Pyramid at Giza five times. (11) This massive construction project is reported to have cost $12 billion. (12) After that, 4 million cubic meters of concrete, or enough concrete to build eighty-four Empire State Buildings, were used to construct and support the tunnel.

(13) By 2020 the high-speed railway will carry more than 250 freight trains and fifty-five passenger trains a day, with most traveling at speeds of around 100 to 125 miles an hour. (14) It will be faster for people to travel between northern and southern Europe. (15) The travel time between the European cities of Zurich, Switzerland, and Milan, Italy, will be reduced by an hour. (16) Many European leaders compare the Gotthard Base Tunnel to the Channel Tunnel, a 33-mile underwater tunnel that connects the United Kingdom and France. (17) While there is no roadway in the Channel Tunnel, people can drive their cars onto special trains that will carry vehicles through to the other side.

(18) The Gotthard Base Tunnel project was successful, so now there is renewed interest in solving other problems associated with traveling to and from certain places. (19) Just as traffic congestion in major cities led to the construction of underground local transportation, natural formations, such as mountain ranges, have also sent people underground for faster, easier, and cheaper methods of transportation across larger areas.

Passage 1 (Q.21-26)

On Monday evening, September 26, 1960,

seventy million Americans turned on their

TV sets to view the first televised political

debate in a campaign for the presidency of

  1. the United States. As of that date, it was by

far the largest number ever to witness a

political discussion. The novelty of the event

drew even those with little or no interest in



  1. The candidates, Republican Vice President

Richard M. Nixon and Democratic Senator

John F. Kennedy, had agreed to face each

other and the nation in four one-hour

sessions that the press dubbed the “Great

  1. Debates.” Many expected Vice President

Nixon to win the debates easily. He was

ahead in the newspaper polls, he was an

experienced public speaker, and he had

served as vice president for nearly

  1. eight years. Senator Kennedy was less well-

known and, at forty-three, was the youngest

man ever to run for president. Throughout

the presidential race, his opponents criticized

him for his relative youth and inexperience.


  1. By mutual agreement, the first session was

limited to domestic issues within the United

States. Each candidate was given

eight minutes to make his opening remarks.

During the remainder of the hour, the

  1. candidates took turns responding to

questions posed by selected reporters. Both

Kennedy and Nixon dealt with the issues

calmly and carefully. Viewers who expected to

see a free-for-all were disappointed. The way

  1. the two men appeared on the television

screen, however, may have been as important

as what they said. Kennedy looked at the

camera while answering questions, appearing

to speak directly to his viewers and give

  1. them straight answers. Nixon was recovering

from a severe bout of influenza, and he

appeared tense and tired. He looked at the

reporters who asked the questions instead of

at the camera, giving some viewers the

  1. impression that he avoided eye contact with

his audience and thus suggesting that he was

not trustworthy. Most commentators agreed

that Kennedy gained from the encounter:

many viewers who had previously thought he

  1. lacked the maturity necessary to be president

were won over by his charm, poise, and

confident manner.


While far fewer people watched the three

later sessions, much discussion ensued

  1. regarding the influence of the Great Debates

on the outcome of the 1960 presidential

election. Some feared that the better TV

performer was bound to come across as being

the better candidate. “Is this a good way to

  1. judge a person’s ability to serve as president

of the United States?” they asked.


Kennedy ultimately won the election, but it

was by the narrowest popular vote margin in

more than eighty years. Some observers

  1. concluded that, had the Great Debates been

broadcast on radio and not on television,

Nixon would have won.

Passage 2 (Q.27-33)

If you have ever watched someone fall on the

ice, you’ve seen slipperiness at work. But

have you wondered what makes ice slippery,

or why skates or skis glide across ice so

  1. easily? The answer might seem obvious: ice is

smooth. Yet smoothness in itself does not

explain slipperiness. Imagine, for example,

skating on a smooth surface of glass or sheet



  1. Surprisingly, scientists do not fully

understand why ice is slippery. Past

explanations of slipperiness have focused on

friction and pressure. According to the

friction theory, a skate blade rubs across the

  1. ice, causing friction. The friction produces

heat, melting the ice and creating a slippery,

microscopically thin layer of water for the

skate to glide on. The friction theory, however,

cannot explain why ice is slippery even when

  1. someone stands completely motionless,

creating no friction.


The pressure theory claims that pressure

from a skate blade melts the ice surface,

creating a slippery layer of water. The water

  1. refreezes when the pressure is lifted. Science

textbooks typically cite this explanation, but

many scientists disagree, claiming that the

pressure effect is not great enough to melt

the ice. Nor can the pressure theory explain

  1. why someone wearing flat-bottomed shoes—

which have a greater surface area than skate

blades and thus exert less pressure per

square inch—can glide across the ice or even

go sprawling.


  1. During the 1990s, another theory found

acceptance: the thin top layer of ice is liquid,

or liquid-like, regardless of friction or

pressure. This notion was first proposed more

than 150 years ago by physicist Michael

  1. Faraday. Faraday’s simple experiment

illustrates this property: two ice cubes held

against each other will fuse together. This

happens, Faraday explained, because liquid

on the cubes’ surfaces freezes solid when the

  1. surfaces make contact.


Faraday’s hypothesis was overlooked, in part

because scientists did not have the means to

detect molecular structures. However,

technological advances during recent decades

  1. have allowed scientists to measure the thin

layer on the surface of ice. For example, in

1996, a chemist at Lawrence Berkeley

Laboratory shot electrons at an ice surface

and recorded how they rebounded. The data

  1. suggested that the ice surface remained

liquid-like, even at temperatures far below

freezing. Scientists speculate that water

molecules on the ice surface are always in

motion because there is nothing above them

  1. to hold them in place. The vibration creates a

slippery layer of molecules. According to this

interpretation of the Lawrence Berkeley

Laboratory experiments, the molecules move

only up and down; if they also moved side to

  1. side, they would constitute a true liquid.

Thus it could be said that people are skating

on wildly vibrating molecules!


The phenomenon of a slippery, liquid-like

surface is not limited to ice, although ice is

  1. the most common example. Lead crystals and

even diamond crystals, which are made of

carbon, also show this property under certain

temperature and pressure conditions.

Passage 3 (Q.34-39)

One of the books that has done the most to

alert the world to the dangers of

environmental degradation was George

Perkins Marsh’s Man and Nature. Its

  1. message—that Western society was in the

process of causing irreparable harm to the

environment—greatly influenced ecologists

during the beginning of the modern

environmentalist movement in the 1960s.

  1. Marsh was not, however, part of this

movement. Surprisingly, Man and Nature

was first published in 1864.


Marsh first observed the environmentally

destructive effects of human activities while

  1. growing up in Vermont in the early

nineteenth century. The heavy demand for

firewood had depleted the forests, and

extensive sheep grazing had stripped the

land. The result was flooding and soil erosion.

  1. Furthermore, streams were fouled by wastes

dumped from numerous mills and dye



Much later in his life, after careers in law,

business, farming, and politics, Marsh served

  1. as ambassador to Italy. There he noticed land

abuse similar to what he had seen in

Vermont. Overgrazing and forest

mismanagement had rendered desolate areas

that had been productive farmland since the

  1. days of the Roman Empire. Marsh attributed

this to what he called “man’s ignorant

disregard for the laws of nature.”

In Italy, Marsh began to organize his

observations and theories. He wrote in a way

  1. intended to educate readers about the impact

of industrial and agricultural practices on the

environment. In Man and Nature, he

evaluated the important relationships

between animals and plants, discussed

  1. forestry practices in great detail, and

analyzed the ways natural water supplies are

affected by human use.


Man and Nature challenged the popular

belief that nature could heal any damage

  1. that people inflict upon it. Marsh argued that

people may use and enjoy, but not destroy, the

riches of the earth.


Furthermore, he asserted that everything in

nature is significant and that even the tiniest

  1. organism affects the fragile environmental

balance. His belief that drastic alteration of

this balance would be dangerous is now

accepted as a fundamental principle of

modern environmental science.


  1. Although he pointed out environmental

damage caused by irresponsible human

activities, Marsh did not oppose every human

alteration to the environment. To him, the

goal was proper management, not a return to

  1. wilderness conditions. People should consider

the consequences of their actions, he wrote,

and become “co-worker[s] with nature.”

Marsh praised the Suez Canal, the human-

made waterway between the Mediterranean

  1. Sea and the Gulf of Aden, as “the greatest

and most truly cosmopolite physical

improvement ever undertaken by man.” He

believed that the advantages of the canal—

improved transportation and commerce—

  1. would outweigh any environmental damage.

Yet he also warned of possible unintended

consequences, such as destructive plants and

animals spreading from one body of water to

the other.


  1. Marsh was considered a radical thinker

during his lifetime. By the late nineteenth

century, however, his writings, along with

those of John Muir, Henry David Thoreau,

and others, had inspired what became known

  1. as the conservation movement. The

conservationists of that time sought to

educate the public that wilderness areas

were worth preserving, and they were

responsible for creating the National Park

  1. Service and the National Forest Service.

Passage 4 (Q.40-45)

Anyone who has watched TV news coverage

of a hurricane has seen how destructive wind

energy can be. But the power of the wind can

also be put to constructive use. From

  1. sailboats to old-fashioned windmills to high-

tech wind turbines, people have devised ways

to harness wind energy for thousands of



The first known attempt to use wind power

  1. was the sailboat. Ancient shipbuilders

understood how to use forces like lift and

momentum, even if they could not explain

those forces scientifically. The principles

behind sailing led to the development of the

  1. windmill. The first known windmills

originated in Persia, an area that is now Iran,

as early as A.D. 500. They were created to

help with the demanding chores of grinding

grain and pumping water. By the tenth

  1. century, windmills were used throughout

central Asia; they were used in China as

early as the thirteenth century.


In Europe, windmills came into widespread

use during the twelfth century. As in other

  1. parts of the world, they were used for milling

grain and pumping water. Windmills replaced

the water wheel, which was turned by the

movement of running water over paddles

mounted around a wheel. The windmill was

  1. more adaptable and efficient than the water

wheel and quickly became popular. For

example, Holland, famous for its windmills,

used the machines to pump seawater away

from low-lying coastal bogs. This allowed the

  1. Dutch to reclaim large areas of land from the

sea. Windmills eventually became

sophisticated enough for use in a broad range

of work, from sawmills and drainage

pumping to processing goods, such as dyes,

  1. tobacco, cocoa, and spices.


In the 1700s, as steam engines gained in

popularity, the use of wind machines for

many types of work declined. However,

windmills still played an essential role in

  1. pumping water on farms throughout the

American West and Midwest. Between 1850

and 1970, over six million small windmills

were installed on American farms for

watering livestock and meeting other water

  1. needs. In many remote areas even today,

livestock production would be impossible

without the use of windmills to provide



Beginning in the late nineteenth century,

  1. windmills were adapted to generate

electricity. During the 1930s and ’40s, thin-

bladed windmills provided electricity for

hundreds of thousands of farms across the

United States. By the 1950s, however, power

  1. lines connected almost every household in

America to a central power source, such as a

utility company. After that, there was little

need for wind turbines until the energy crisis

of the 1970s. At that time, interest in wind

  1. turbines was renewed due to rising energy

costs and concern about the future

availability of fossil fuels, such as oil, coal,

and natural gas. The last several decades

have seen the development of “wind farms,”

  1. clusters of wind turbines that generate

electricity. Efficient, clean, and fairly

inexpensive to operate, wind farms may

prove to be as important in the future as

earlier windmills were in the past. 

Passage 5 (Q.46-51)

Archaeologists first succeeded in using

tree-ring dating while excavating ancient

Pueblo Native American villages in the

southwestern United States during the

  1. 1920s. At that time, no one knew when the

villages had been occupied, or for how long,

but the logs used in the buildings provided a

clue. Scientists had long known that trees

add a new growth ring to their

  1. circumferences during each growing season.

Drought or early frost results in little growth

and narrow rings. Good growing years result

in wide rings. Archaeologists knew that by

matching identical patterns of wide and

  1. narrow rings in sections of two different logs,

they could determine which log was older. For

example, a log with a certain pattern of rings

near its outside edge would indicate a specific

series of good and bad growing seasons. This

  1. log would have been cut down before a log of

comparable size that shows the identical

pattern near its center.


But how could these ring patterns help

determine the actual dates for the abandoned

  1. Pueblo villages? Archaeologists had already

used the ring patterns of trees with

overlapping lifetimes to establish a tree-ring

chronology for the southwestern United

States that went back to A.D. 1260. That work

  1. had been done in a Hopi village called Oraibi.

Oraibi had been continuously inhabited since

before the arrival of the first Spanish

explorers in 1540.


That same team of archaeologists also

  1. developed a relative, or floating, chronology

for the abandoned Pueblo villages by

matching up the ring patterns of the various

logs used in the buildings. With this floating

chronology, the archaeologists could tell

  1. which logs were older and which were more

recent. None could be precisely dated, since

no log had a pattern of tree rings that

matched any part of the established

chronology. It was clear from this evidence,

  1. however, that the buildings must have been

constructed before 1260.


Finally, continued excavations turned up a

“key” beam. The outer ring pattern of the key

beam overlapped the earliest rings in the

  1. established chronology. Furthermore, its

inner ring pattern matched the pattern

formed by the most recent rings of the

floating chronology. Thus, the chronology for

the abandoned Pueblo villages could be

  1. known with certainty. Counting backward

from the present, the archaeologists

estimated that the villages had been occupied

between 900 and 1300.


The tree rings also suggested why the

  1. villages had been abandoned. The rings for

the years 1276 to 1299 were very thin,

indicating a severe drought that lasted for

twenty-three years. Most likely the villagers

had left their homes to search for a more

  1. hospitable climate.

Passage 6 (Q.52-57)

The decade that began with the stock market

crash in 1929 and ended with the declaration

of war in Europe in 1939 was a turning point

for art in the United States. Rejecting

  1. European trends, such as abstract art,

American painters searched for a style that

was distinctly American. It was a time of

great social change—a society based on rural

and small-town life was rapidly being

  1. replaced by a society focused on city life and

values. Although members of various groups

are all referred to as “American Scene”

painters, different groups painted their

images of the United States in very different

  15. ways.


One group, sometimes called the

Regionalists, included Thomas Hart Benton,

Grant Wood, and John Steuart Curry, all

from the Midwest. Their art was intensely

  1. patriotic and frequently glorified an older,

simpler United States. Their subject matter

included church steeples, New England

fishing villages, and Midwestern cornfields.

Grant Wood’s most famous canvas is probably

  1. American Gothic, which shows a stiff and

proper farm couple, the husband holding a

pitchfork. The Regionalists were often

muralists as well, painting local scenes on

walls of state capitols and other public

  1. buildings. Enormously popular during the

1930s, Regionalist art is still treasured by

many as a fond memory of times gone by.


While the Regionalists remembered the past,

other American Scene artists painted the

  1. drab realities of the contemporary urban

environment, testifying to its loneliness and

anonymity. The Urban Realists, including

Reginald Marsh, Isabel Bishop, and the Soyer

brothers, were associated with the Art

  1. Students League in New York. These painters

showed the high price paid by individual men

and women struggling to survive the

Depression. The names of some of their

works illustrate the style: Office Girls,

  1. Waiting, The Bowery. For various reasons,

their work has been largely forgotten today.


Edward Hopper was an artist who was

associated with the American Scene but

otherwise escaped further classification. Like

  1. the Urban Realists, he painted the tired

dinginess of the urban streets during the

Depression. Yet Hopper often found beauty in

the midst of the city’s monotony. For example,

one of Hopper’s best-known paintings,

  1. Nighthawks, shows several people sitting like

robots in a brightly lit coffee shop at night,

each apparently unaware of the others.

Hopper was not interested in a return to the

past. He presented what he saw without

  1. apology or sentimentality.


The American Scene art movement of the

1930s was characterized by realistic

paintings that expressed the traditions and

interests of people in the United States at

  1. that time. Because the paintings presented

common images and mirrored the lives of

many people, the general public readily

identified with the subjects of the paintings.

With the onset of World War II, a new spirit

  1. of internationalism swept through the art of

the United States, and the American Scene

painters became out of date. Although the

movement did not last, it had reflected its

own time with profound understanding.

Back To Top
×Close search