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ENGLISH COMPOSITION TEST


TOPICS CHOOSE ANY ONE TOPIC AND WRITE ABOUT IT
1. Describe a typical day at work
2. Describe one of your signifcant achievements at work
3. f you were Chairman of !harti "roup for a day# what would you do$
%. Describe a training programme you attended recently. &tate both what
you liked and disliked about it$
'. (hat do you think of Learning ) Development as a corporate initiative$
Do you think it can make a signifcant impact on an organisation*s
!usiness outcomes$
ENGLISH COMPREHENSION TEST
Lessons from the Titni!
A +rom the comfort of our modern lives we tend to look back at the turn of
the twentieth century as a dangerous time for sea travellers. (ith limited
communication facilities# and shipping technology still in its infancy in the
early nineteen hundreds# we consider ocean travel to have been a risky
business. !ut to the people of the time it was one of the safest forms of
transport. ,t the time of the -itanic*s maiden voyage in 1.12# there had only
been four lives lost in the previous forty years on passenger ships on the
/orth ,tlantic crossing. ,nd the -itanic was confdently proclaimed to be
unsinkable. &he represented the pinnacle of technological advance at the
time. 0er builders# crew and passengers had no doubt that she was the fnest
ship ever built. !ut still she did sink on ,pril 1%# 1.12# taking 1#'11 of her
passengers and crew with her.
B -he 23& -itanic left &outhampton for /ew 4ork on ,pril 15# 1.12. 6n board
were some of the richest and most famous people of the time who had paid
large sums of money to sail on the frst voyage of the most lu7urious ship in
the world. magine her placed on her end8 she was larger at 29. metres than
many of the tallest buildings of the day. ,nd with nine decks# she was as high
as an eleven storey building. -he -itanic carried 32. frst class# 2:' second
class and 115 third class passengers with :.. crew members# under the care
of the very e7perienced Captain ;dward <. &mith. &he also carried enough
food to feed a small town# including %5#555 fresh eggs# 39#555 apples#
111#555 lbs of fresh meat and 2#255 lbs of co=ee for the fve day >ourney.
C 23& -itanic was believed to be unsinkable because the hull was divided
into si7teen watertight compartments. ;ven if two of these compartments
?ooded# the ship could still ?oat. -he ship*s owners could not imagine that# in
the case of an accident# the -itanic would not be able to ?oat until she was
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rescued. t was largely as a result of this confdence in the ship and in the
safety of ocean travel that the disaster could claim such a great loss of life.
D n the ten hours prior to the -itanic*s fatal collision with an iceberg at
11.%5pm# si7 warnings of icebergs in her path were received by the -itanicAs
wireless operators. 6nly one of these messages was formally posted on the
bridgeB the others were in various locations across the ship.
f the combined information in these messages of iceberg positions had been
plotted# the ice feld which lay across the -itanic*s path would have been
apparent. nstead# the lack of formal procedures for dealing with information
from a relatively new piece of technology# the wireless# meant that the
danger was not known until too late. -his was not the fault of the -itanic
crew. @rocedures for dealing with warnings received through the wireless had
not been formalised across the shipping industry at the time.
-he fact that the wireless operators were not even -itanic crew# but rather
contracted workers from a wireless company# made their role in the ship*s
operation Cuite unclear.
E Captain &mith*s seemingly casual attitude in increasing the speed on this
day to a dangerous 22 knots or %1 kilometres per hour# can then be partly
e7plained by his ignorance of what lay ahead. !ut this only partly accounts
for his actions# since the spring weather in "reenland was known to cause
huge chunks of ice to break o= from the glaciers. Captain &mith knew that
these icebergs would ?oat southward and had already acknowledged this
danger by taking a more southerly route than at other times of the year. &o
why was the -itanic travelling at high speed when he knew# if not of the
specifc risk# at least of the general risk of icebergs in her path$ ,s with the
lack of coordination of the wireless messages# it was simply standard
operating procedure at the time. Captain &mith was following the practices
accepted on the /orth ,tlantic# practices which had coincided with forty
years of safe travel. 0e believed# wrongly as we now know# that the ship
could turn or stop in time if an iceberg was sighted by the lookouts.
" -here were around two and a half hours between the time the -itanic
rammed into the iceberg and its fnal submersion. n this time 15' people
were loaded into the twenty lifeboats. -here were %13 empty seats available
on lifeboats while over 1#'55 people drowned. -hese fgures raise two
important issues. +irstly# why there were not enough lifeboats to seat every
passenger and crew member on board. ,nd secondly# why the lifeboats were
not full.
G -he -itanic had si7teen lifeboats and four collapsible boats which could
carry >ust over half the number of people on board her maiden voyage and
only a third of the -itanic*s total capacity. 2egulations for the number of
lifeboats reCuired were based on outdated !ritish !oard of -rade regulations
written in 1:.% for ships a Cuarter of the -itanic*s siDe# and had never been
revised. Ender these reCuirements# the -itanic was only obliged to carry
enough lifeboats to seat .92 people. ,t design meetings in 1.15# the
shipyard*s managing director# ,le7ander Carlisle# had proposed that forty
eight lifeboats be installed on the -itanic# but the idea had been Cuickly
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re>ected as too e7pensive. Discussion then turned to the ship*s dFcor# and as
Carlisle later described the incident G *we spent two hours discussing carpet
for the frst class cabins and ffteen minutes discussing lifeboats*.
H -he belief that the -itanic was unsinkable was so strong that passengers
and crew alike clung to the belief even as she was actually sinking. -his
attitude was not helped by Captain &mith# who had not acCuainted his senior
oHcers with the full situation. +or the frst hour after the collision# the
ma>ority of people aboard the -itanic# including senior crew# were not aware
that she would sink# that there were insuHcient lifeboats or that the nearest
ship responding to the -itanic*s distress calls would arrive two hours after she
was on the bottom of the ocean. ,s a result# the oHcers in charge of loading
the boats received a very halfhearted response to their early calls for women
and children to board the lifeboats. @eople felt that they would be safer# and
certainly warmer# aboard the -itanic than perched in a little boat in the /orth
,tlantic 6cean. /ot realising the magnitude of the impending disaster
themselves# the oHcers allowed several boats to be lowered only half full.
I @rocedures again were at fault# as an additional reason for the oHcers*
reluctance to lower the lifeboats at full capacity was that they feared the
lifeboats would buckle under the weight of 9' people. -hey had not been
informed that the lifeboats had been fully tested prior to departure. &uch
procedures as assigning passengers and crew to lifeboats and lifeboat
loading drills were simply not part of the standard operation of ships nor were
they included in crew training at this time.
# ,s the -itanic sank# another ship# believed to have been the Californian# was
seen motionless less than twenty miles away. -he ship failed to respond to
the -itanic*s eight distress rockets. ,lthough the oHcers of the Californian
tried to signal the -itanic with their ?ashing 3orse lamp# they did not wake up
their radio operator to listen for a distress call. ,t this time# communication at
sea through wireless was new and the benefts not well appreciated# so the
wireless on ships was often not operated around the clock. n the case of the
Californian# the wireless operator slept unaware while 1#'55 -itanic
passengers and crew drowned only a few miles away.
$ ,fter the -itanic sank# investigations were held in both (ashington and
London. n the end# both inCuiries decided that no one could be blamed for
the sinking. 0owever# they did address the fundamental safety issues which
had contributed to the enormous loss of life. ,s a result# international
agreements were drawn up to improve safety procedures at sea. -he new
regulations covered 2% hour wireless operation# crew training# proper lifeboat
drills# lifeboat capacity for all on board and the creation of an international ice
patrol.
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TAS$%
Complete the summary given below and mark your responses in your answer
sheet. Choose your answers from the bo7 at the bottom of the page and write
them in the blanks
NB -here are more words than spaces so you will not use them all.
4ou may use any of the words more than once.
List of Wor&s
passengers happy ?oat advanced
lifeboats confdent dangers ocean
worried inadeCuate enormous e7citement
+ast handbook water a?oat
record fast procedures orders
drown siDe sink safety
The "inest Shi' E(er B)i*t
-he /orth ,tlantic 6cean crossing on the -itanic was e7pected to set a new
standard for I1J KKKKKoceanKKKK travel in terms of comfort and I2J
KKKKKKsafetyKKK. -he shipping industry had an e7cellent safety I3J
KKrecordKKKKKKK on the /orth ,tlantic Crossing over the previous forty years
and the -itanic was the fnest and safest liner ever built. -he -itanic
combined the greatest technology of the day with sheer I%J KKKKKsiDeKKKK
lu7ury and new safety features. -he -itanic*s owners were
I'J KKKconfdentKKKKKKthat even if the -itanic were letting in I9J KKKKKKwaterKKK
she would
I1J KK?oatKKKKKKK indefnitely until help arrived. n hindsight we know that the
-itanic was not unsinkable and that technology alone could not save lives
when facilities were I:J KKKKinadeCuateKKKKK and humans did not follow safe
I.J KKKproceduresKKKKKK whether because of arrogance or ignorance.
TAS$ +
Choose the heading which best sums up the primary cause of the problem
described in paragraphs D# ;# "# 0 and of the te7t. (rite the appropriate
numbers Ii L 7J in the bo7es on your answer sheet.
List of He&in,s
i. gnorance of the impending disaster
ii. Captain*s orders ignored
iii. Captain*s overMconfdence
iv. 2ough sea conditions
v. +aulty design
vi. ceberg locations not plotted
vii. Low priority placed on safety
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viii. /umber of lifeboats adeCuate
i7. nadeCuate training
7. ce warnings ignored
%- PARAGRAPH D .I
+- PARAGRAPH E III
/- PARAGRAPH G .II
0- PARAGRAPH H I
1-PARAGRAPH I I2
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TAS$ /
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in the reading
passage$ n bo7es 1M1 on your answer sheet write8
Yes f the statement agrees with the writer
No f the statement contradicts the writer
Not Gi(en f it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this
%3 -he enormous loss of life on the -itanic was primarily caused by
inadeCuate eCuipment# training and procedures. Yes
+3 /obody had thought of installing enough lifeboats to accommodate all the
passengers and crew in the event of an emergency. No
/3 Captain &mith didn*t inform his oHcers of the true situation because he
didn*t want to cause a panic. Not ,i(en
03 -he lifeboats would have buckled if they had been fully loaded. No
13 ,fter the -itanic sank the lifeboats which were not full should have
returned to rescue as many people from the water as they could. Not
,i(en
43 -he Captain of the Californian could have brought his ship to the rescue if
he had realiDed that the -itanic was sinking. Yes
53 -he sinking of the -itanic prompted an overhaul of standard operating
procedures which made ocean travel much safer. Yes
TAS$ 0
Choose the appropriate letters ,MD and write your answers in bo7es 1M3 on
your answer sheet.
1. (hich is most at fault for the magnitude of the -itanic disaster$
,. -he ship
!. -he -itanic*s owners and builders
C3 Stn&r& o'ertin, 'ro!e&)re
D. -he captain and crew
2. -he number of lifeboats on the -itanic G
,. would have been suHcient if all boats had been flled to capacity
B3 met the re,)*tions for m)!h sm**er shi's 6)t not the Titni!
C. had been designed in 1:.% by the !ritish !oard of -rade
D. could carry more people than reCuired under the regulations
3. -he -itanic was G
,. higher than the tallest buildings of her day
!. divided into 19 watertight compartments
C. unsinkable
D3 the most te!hno*o,i!**7 &(n!e& *iner of her time
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