CAE Reading and Use of English Part 8
You are going to read an article about the value of boredom. For questions 47-56, choose from the sections of the article (A-D). The sections may be chosen more than once. When more than one answer is required, these may be given in any order.
In which section of the article is the following mentioned?
47 points out a drawback in failing to allow time for mundane reflection?
48 comments on a personal experience of using a particular psychological technique?
49 comments on the broad appeal that a particular notion might potentially have?
50 suggests that boredom as a way of dealing with a problem is not a new idea?
51 distinguishes between mere reflection and conscious avoidance of mental stimulation?
52 refers to the communication of an erroneous message?
53 refers to an activity indicative of modern life taking place in various locations?
54 outlines a positive consequence of distancing oneself from technology?
55 explains that a particular finding supported existing knowledge?
56 remarks on the significance of monotony in the development of the human species?
It seems that embracing boredom and allowing ourselves to drift away could be good for us
Consider any public place where people used to enjoy a spot of silent contemplation – from train carriages and beauty spots to our local streets – and these days you’ll see people plugged into their seductive electronic sources of constant stimulation. All this information overload seems like a terribly modern-day problem. But one unique thinker actually stumbled on a neat solution several decades ago: radical boredom. In 1942, a German writer called Siegfried Karcauer wrote despairingly of the massive over-stimulation of the modern city where people listening to the radio were in a state of ‘permanent receptivity, constantly pregnant with London, the Eiffel Tower, Berlin.’ His answer was to suggest a period of total withdrawal from stimulation – to cut ourselves off and experience ‘extraordinary, radical boredom’. On a sunny afternoon when everyone is outside, one would do best to hang about the train station,’ he wrote. ‘Or better yet, stay at home, draw the curtains and surrender oneself to one’s boredom on the sofa.’
Karcauer believed that actively pursuing boredom in this way was a valuable means of unlocking playful wild ideas far away from plain reality and, better still, achieve ‘a kind of bliss that is almost unearthly’. It’s a beautiful theory and one that would definitely hold an allure for many people. Plus modern research suggests that it might actually have a sound psychological basis. To test the potential positives of boredom, psychologist Dr Sandi Mann asked a group of 40 people to complete a task designed to showcase their creativity. But before they got started on it, a subgroup was asked to perform a suitably dull task – copying numbers from the telephone directory for 15 minutes. The data pointed to the group that had previously endured boredom displaying more creative flair during the task than the control group. According to psychologists this is normal, because when people become bored and start to daydream, their minds come up with different processes and they work out more creative solutions to problems
This would suggest perhaps, that by overstimulating our minds, we’re not just making ourselves more stressed, we’re also missing out on a chance to unhook our thoughts from the daily grind and think more creatively. Having said that, psychologists also point out that despite its bad reputation, boredom has a definite evolutionary purpose. Mann says ‘Without it, we’d be like toddlers in a perpetual state of amazement. Just imagine it: “Wow – look at that fantastic cereal at the bottom of my bowl!” It may be very stimulating, but we’d never get anything done.’ That puts me in mind of adults who are addicted to social media and smart phones – attention seeking, scurrying around the internet screaming ‘Look at this! Look at them! Look at me!’ while the real world beyond the electronic devices continues on untroubled and unexamined. Meanwhile, as Mann points out, we’re incorrectly teaching our actual toddlers that boredom and lack of stimulation is something to be feared rather than embraced.
So how do you learn to tactically embrace periods of radical boredom? The first step is realising that this is different from simply taking time to ponder what you’ve done since getting up that morning. ‘Using boredom positively is about creating new opportunities when your mind isn’t occupied and you can’t focus on anything else,’ says Mann. This could be as simple as staring out the window or watching the rain come down. Or heading off for a solitary walk with no fixed destination in mind, or your smart phone in your pocket. Anything that gives your mind the rare chance to drift off its moorings. ‘I can really recommend it,’ says Mann. ‘It’s a great experience – like taking a holiday from your brain.’ I’m definitely sold. I’m trying to keep my phone turned off during the weekends and allow myself the odd, dreamy wallow on the sofa during the week, time permitting. And the best thing: it works. After taking a break and allowing my mind to roam, it returns refreshed and revitalized, with a fresh take on the challenges that I face during the day. When my daughter gets to an age when she’s ready to whine ‘I’m bored’, I’ll know exactly what to say!
1 C — nevertheless. It used here to show contrast – even though the woman comes from a poor background, she is successful.
2 D — designed. The only other verb that collocated well with ‘scheme’ is ‘propose’. However, it is not used with the preposition ‘to’.
3 B — frees. This is the only verb that collocates with ‘from’ preposition.
4 C — exposure. Once again, exposure is the sole noun that can be used with ‘to’ preposition that follows it.
5 D — involves. Answers A and B do not fit here contextually. Answer C could be used if it wasn’t for ‘making’ that follows the gap.
6 C — set up. The meaning of this phrasal verb is ‘founded or established’.
7 B — aim. He is aiming to. Other options have different meanings and do not fit the sentence.
8 D — indications. Indications are visible signs of something that is happening. B and C have different meaning. The word ‘signals’ implies less obvious evidence, whereas in this case we are talking about explicit, more obvious results.
9 from/ with. A straightforward gap with some leeway in meaning
10 which. An example of relative clause.
11 their. Even though ‘everyone’ is considered to be singular, ‘their’ is used to mean both men and women and generally to follow the formal register of the text.
12 do. The verb we need here should relate to the previously used ‘adopts’.
13 as. ‘To regard as’ means ‘to consider, to believe to be something’.
14 bring. ‘To bring to life’ = to liven up, to make look brighter and alive.
15 must / should. The modality of the verb doesn’t change the meaning of the saying dramatically, so both modals can be used.
16 it / this. Just like in the previous case, both pronouns fit this gap.
17 inhabited. A verb is needed here. Pay attention to the verb-forming prefix ‘in’,
18 height. Be careful not to misspell the word. See the list of words with difficult spelling.
19 descendant. Another word that could be easily misspelled. Pay attention to the suffix -ant, spelled with an ‘a’.
20 mountainous. An adjective meaning ‘covered by mountain ranges’.
21 Findings. Capitalisation doesn’t really matter here as all the letters in your answer sheet are going to be capitals. Make sure to pluralise the word though on the account of ‘have’ referring to the plural form.
22 originated. A past simple form of the verb is important here because the text states a definite period of time in the past.
23 adaptations. A biology term that means changes that happen to fit better into the environment the living thing exists in.
24 storage. Note that ‘storing’ doesn’t fit very well – it would fit better had it preceded the word ‘fat’ in this context.
25 as soon as (we have received / we receive)
26 (hadn’t / had not) I put up
27 delay (was / had been) caused by the
28 it (hadn’t / had not) been for Sarah’s; (it wasn’t / was not / weren’t / were not) for Sarah’s
29 with the exception of Leo came
30 was due to (start / begin)
31 B. Sentence two of the first paragraph openly invites us to look at the data that supports the popular idea of newspapers being doomed. The remaining part of the paragraph presents facts and figures to substantiate this claim. Answer A is wrong – the author gives no interpretation of the trend, but instead believes that it is impossible to accurately predict the future of print media. Answers C and D are not given – he neither shares his own predictions nor brings up any reasons for the continuous decline.
32 A. The author gives a number of examples where various, seemingly outdated media kept on being popular despite anything. Answers B, C and D are not mentioned – in fact, the opposite is stated.
33 B. ‘Withstood’ means ‘was strong enough to resist something or defend against something’.
34 A. The other three answers mention bits of the paragraph, whereas answer A covers the general idea of the paragraph – it is important for people to comprehend the importance of change in their perception, without which any progress is going to be difficult to make.
35 A. Paragraph Four hails the ease with which online newspapers can post, update and bring news to their readership. The flexibility is indeed the key aspect throughout the paragraph. The rest of the answer only partially cover the points made by the author.
36 A. ‘.. they and they alone’ in the last paragraph refer to the newspapers and how they are contrasted to the news websites on the Internet.
37 A. Paragraph C voices concerns about the falling numbers of visitors to the smaller museums which are unable to compete with the bigger ones in keeping their online materials up to date. However, in Paragraph A the author states the opposite, last sentence ‘… I know of many such museums all over the country which are thriving’ referring to the smaller museums (see previous sentence).
38 D. Both directors approve of the idea to exchange museum exhibits: Last sentence of Paragraph B and last sentence of Paragraph D.
39 C. Paragraph A’s writer is convinced that small local museums can still be very popular (last sentence). However, in Paragraph C the opposite is stated: ‘… provincial museums lose out to the large nationals, as their more limited resources mean they cannot hope to compete.’
40 D. Unlike opinions voiced in other paragraphs, in D the writer is still convinced that museums pose real interest to few people, and there is still a lot of work to do to attract ‘visitors from less privileged backgrounds’.
41 G. The paragraph opens up with the suggestion to make use of all that lost heat. ‘Recapturing it’ at the beginning of the following paragraph refers to the leaking heat, mentioned at the end of Paragraph G.
42 B. ‘An attractive proposition’ mentioned at the beginning of Paragraph B refers to the ‘next energy revolution’ part at the end of the previous paragraph.
43 D. A number of paragraphs fits this gap, but it is the ending of Paragraph D that helps connect it to the following one, with the explanation of the suggested alternative system that exploits heat to warm houses and water.
44 C. There’s a phrase ‘ What’s more, it’s barely warm enough to merit its name.’ in the bottom part of Paragraph C that helps us connect it with the beginning of the following paragraph: ‘… there is an existing technology that can siphon energy from such temperatures…’.
45 E. Pumps mentioned in the previous paragraph help us to choose Paragraph E which elaborates and expands on the idea of heat pumps that make use of the ground warmth.
46 F. Paragraph F beings with ‘While this is not what you might consider hot…’ which refers to the 10 degree warmth mentioned in the previous paragraph. The concluding paragraph goes on the explain how the system can be benefitted from.
47 C. Second sentence of this paragraph states: ‘… boredom has a definite evolutionary purpose.’. The author then carries on the substantiate this claim by an example of what we’d be like if we didn’t allow ourselves to get bored occasionally.
48 D. The middle of the paragraph mentions the author turning off his phone on the weekends.
49 B. Second sentence of Paragraph B: ‘… It’s a beautiful theory and one that would definitely hold an allure for many people.’
50 A. The middle of the paragraph mentions a thinker, who came to realise ‘several decades ago’ that boredom can be beneficial to us.
51 D. Second sentence of this paragraph makes it clear that ‘pondering’ and purposefully avoiding any activity are different things.
52 C. Last sentence of the paragraph gives an example of incorrect lessons that we give to our children, how boredom is something bad, whereas as it turns out it can be quite useful.
53 A. The complicated phrasing of the question can be misleading. Simply put, we need to find a mention of some activity that is common nowadays and takes place everywhere. What the author implies is the use of various electronic devices such as mp3 players and smartphones. See sentence one of this paragraph.
54 D. In the second part of Paragraph D the author mentions turning off their mobile phone for the weekend and how they find the effect profoundly beneficial. Their mind becomes ‘refreshed and revitalized’.
55 B. ‘A modern research’ mentioned in third sentence of this paragraph is the ‘particular finding’ from the task.
56 C. Second sentence of Paragraph C: ‘… boredom has a definite evolutionary purpose.’.
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