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24th August 2020 PTE Exam Questions
Answers are provided at the bottom of the page
1) Read the text and answer the multiple-choice question by selecting all the correct responses. You will need to select more than one response.
Now, Osvanny Ramos of the Ecole Normale Superieure in Lyon, France, and colleagues say prediction is possible after all. They designed an experiment that induced avalanches in a two-dimensional pile of 4-millimetre-diameter steel beads. They placed a 60-centimetre row of randomly spaced beads between two parallel, vertical glass plates 4.5 millimetres apart, with the beads glued to the bottom to simulate the ground under a natural pile. Then they dropped in one bead at a time, creating piles of up to 55,000 beads. After each drop, the team photographed the pile and measured the position of each bead to calculate the “space factor” – a measure of the disorder in the system, which was related to the space surrounding each bead (see diagram). The greater the disorder round a bead, the more likely an avalanche was. If one or more beads moved when a new bead fell on the pile, that was considered to be an avalanche. An extra-large avalanche involved between 317 and 1000 beads. The researchers found that if the space factor before a bead dropped was greater than it had been 50 steps earlier, they could predict an extra-large avalanche with 64 per cent accuracy. Ramos says that they can improve the odds by analysing more information, such as the size of the pile (Physical Review Letters, vol 102, p078701).
The work could also have important consequences for predicting earthquakes. Ramos has an inkling why forecasting earthquakes is so difficult: seismologist tend to use information about the time and size of events, known as a time series. However, Ramos found that this didn’t help predict the next big avalanche. “When seismologists try to predict earthquakes, they analyse the time series,” he says. He argues that they would have more successes analysing data analogous to the internal disorder in the pile of beads.
According to the text, what can we learn from the “space factor”-a measure of the disorder in the system?
A) Space factor is related to the space around each bead, and the greater disorder indicates a higher possibility of an avalanche.
B) The greater the disorder around a bead, the less likely an avalanche was.
C) Internal disorder analysis will lead to a more successful model.
D) They could 100% accurately predict an extra-large avalanche based on the change in the space factor of a bead.
E) Forecasting earthquakes is easier than predicting avalanche.
2) Read the text and answer the multiple-choice question by selecting all the correct responses. You will need to select more than one response.
Dennett recognizes that all human minds are shaped not only by natural selection but by enormous cultural influenced which effectively redesign our minds. He invites us to think of the conscious mind as consisting of those mental contents that win in the competition against other mental contents in the battle for control of behaviour. What we are in the “organization of all the competitive activity between a host of competencies” that our bodies have developed. Consciousness is defined by what a mind can do – whether it can concentrate, be distracted, recall earlier events, keep track of a number of things at once etc.. Dennett urges us to resist the temptation to imagine animals as accompanying their clever activities with streams of reflective consciousness as we would. We may not know that they do not, but we certainly cannot assume that they do. He notes that the more we learn about clever activities in animals and how they are accomplished, the less the processes in their brains seem to resemble the thoughts we imagined were doing the work.
According to Dennett, the mind displays which of the following characteristics?
A) Our minds are shaped by natural selection.
B) Our conscious mind tries to control our behaviours.
C) Our minds are not shaped by cultural influences.
D) Animals make decisions based on their conscious minds.
E) A mind cannot concentrate or cannot be distracted.
3) Read the text and answer the multiple-choice question by selecting all the correct responses. You will need to select more than one response.
There is increasing evidence that the impacts of meteorites have had important effects on Earth, particularly in the field of biological evolution. Such impacts continue to pose a natural hazard to life on Earth. Twice in the twentieth century, large meteorite objects are known to have collided with Earth. If an impact is large enough, it can disturb the environment of the entire Earth and cause an ecological catastrophe. The best-documented such impact took place 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period of geological history. This break in Earth’s history is marked by a mass extinction when as many as half the species on the planet became extinct. While there are a dozen or more mass extinctions in the geological record, the Cretaceous mass extinction has always intrigued paleontologists because it marks the end of the age of the dinosaurs. For tens of millions of years, those great creatures had flourished. Then, suddenly, they disappeared.
In the paragraph, why does the author include the information that dinosaurs had flourished for tens of millions of years and then suddenly disappeared?
A) To support the claim that the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous is the best-documented of the dozen or so mass extinctions in the geological record
B) To explain why as many as half of the species on Earth at the time are believed to have become extinct at the end of the Cretaceous
C) To explain why paleontologists have always been intrigued by the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous
D) To provide evidence that an impact can be large enough to disturb the environment of the entire planet and cause an ecological disaster
4) Read the text and answer the multiple-choice question by selecting all the correct responses. You will need to select more than one response.
Large wind farms might interfere with the flight patterns of migratory birds in certain areas, and they have killed large birds of prey (especially hawks, falcons, and eagles) that prefer to hunt along the same ridge lines that are ideal for wind turbines. The killing of birds of prey by wind turbines has pitted environmentalists who champion wildlife protection against environmentalists who promote renewable wind energy. Researchers are evaluating how serious this problem is and hope to find ways to eliminate or sharply reduce this problem. Some analysts also contend that the number of birds killed by wind turbines is dwarfed by birds killed by other human-related sources and by the potential loss of entire bird species from possible global warming. Recorded deaths of birds of prey and other birds in wind farms in the United States currently amount to no more than 300 per year. By contrast, in the United States, an estimated 97 million birds are killed each year when they collide with buildings made of plate glass, 57 million are killed on highways each year; at
least 3.8 million die annually from pollution and poisoning, and millions of birds are electrocuted each year by transmission and distribution lines carrying power produced by nuclear and coal power plants.
In the paragraph, why does the author give details about the estimated numbers of birds killed each year?
A) To argue that wind farms should not be built along ridgelines
B) To point out that the deaths of migratory birds exceed the deaths of birds of prey
C) To explain why some environmentalists oppose wind energy
D) To demonstrate the number of birds killed by wind turbines is overestimated
E) To suggest that wind turbines result in relatively few bird deaths