TASK 1 Integrated Writing
The continent of Antarctica, centered on Earth’s South Pole, is one of the world’s coldest areas, supporting a very limited range of plants and animals. Some scientists believe, however, that around 15 million years ago, during the geologic period called the Middle Miocene, Antarctica was as much as 11ºC warmer than it is today, and it supported much richer ecosystems, including much more diverse plant life. They have several arguments to support that claim.
First, there is the evidence of pollen grains, small particles that plants release when they reproduce. Pollen grains from two types of trees dating to 15 million years ago have been found on the coast of Antarctica. Trees typically require much higher temperatures than the plants that currently grow in Antarctica. The presence of trees indicates that the plant life in Antarctica was much richer during the Middle Miocene, and that the temperature in Antarctica was therefore much higher than it is today.
There is also some indication that carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere were elevated during the Middle Miocene. Carbon dioxide is linked to climate warming because it traps heat. An important source of CO2 is volcanic activity. There were major volcanic eruptions during the Miocene. That suggests that atmospheric CO2 levels were higher than they are today, which would have contributed to the warming of the Antarctic climate.
Deuterium and Increased Rainfall
Third, high levels of deuterium have been found in the remains of plants that grew in Antarctica 15 million years ago. Deuterium is a chemical element present in rainwater. Since plants absorb deuterium when it rains, the amount of deuterium in a plant usually indicates the amount of rainfall: high levels of deuterium in the Antarctic plants from the Middle Miocene indicate high amounts of rainfall. High amounts of rainfall are often caused by increased temperatures.
You have 20 minutes to plan and write your response. Your response will be judged on the basis of the quality of your writing and on how well your response presents the points in the lecture and their relationship to the reading passage. Typically, an effective response will be 150 to 225 words.
Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they challenge the specific arguments presented in the reading passage.
TASK 2 Independent Writing
Read the question below. You have 30 minutes to plan, write, and revise your essay. Typically, an effective response will contain a minimum of 300 words.
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:
Many people nowadays spend too much money on their pets (dogs, cats, or other animals), although there are better uses for this money.
Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
TASK 1 Independent Speaking, Personal Preference
What is the best way for parents to help their children succeed in school?
Use details and examples to explain your answer.
TASK 2 Independent Speaking, Paired Choice
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?
It is important for all university students to engage in social activities such as joining clubs or sports groups.
Use details and examples to explain your answer.
TASK 3 Integrated Reading/Listening/Speaking
New Requirement for Theater Studies Majors
Starting this fall, the theater studies department will add a new requirement for all students majoring in theater studies. In addition to their reading and writing assignments, theater studies majors will be expected to make trips off campus to attend three theatrical performances each semester at the city’s theaters. “The reason we’ve added this requirement is that we feel that seeing professionally produced plays is necessary to fully understanding the art of drama,” the head of the theater department said. In order to fund these trips, all theater studies majors will be required to pay a fee of $35 each semester.
The man expresses his opinion of the new requirement, briefly describe the requirement, then state his opinion and explain his reasons for holding that opinion.
TASK 4 Integrated Reading/Listening/Speaking
An ecosystem is a local environment with its complex community of organisms functioning together as a unit. An ecosystem can be damaged by natural disasters or by human activity. If the ecosystem has a limited variety of species, then destroying even one species of plant or animal can change the ecosystem forever. A resilient ecosystem, however, is able to restore itself to its original, pre-disturbance condition. Resilience in an ecosystem is possible when the ecosystem is populated by a large variety of species: if one species is eliminated by a disturbance, other species are able to take the place of that species, which allows the ecosystem to avoid long-term change.
Take the coral reef as an example, explain what it means for an ecosystem to be resilient.
TASK 5 Integrated Listening/Speaking
Briefly summarize the problem the speakers are discussing. Then state which of the two solutions from the conversation you would recommend. Explain the reasons for your recommendation.
TASK 6 Integrated Listening/Speaking
The professor discussed an experiment with mother rats. Using the experiment, explain what scientists have learned about the mental abilities of some mother animals.