English Reading Tests

English reading for Japanese high school students: the Common Test for University Admissions in 2013 DAY 2


Section 3A

Read the sentence of the next question (Question 1 and Question 2), guess the meaning of the underlined words from each sentence and choose the ones that are most appropriate ones for [ 27 ] and [ 28 ].

Richard: Hi, Diane, I heard that you moved to a new apartment.
Diane: Yes, I did. I just couldn’t stand living in the old one anymore.
Richard: What was wrong with it? It seemed very convenient.
Diane: Where do I begin? The neighbors upstairs were ridiculously loud. Then there were the mice and spiders everywhere. But the last straw for me was the maintenance man. He was so rude and not helpful at all. It took him almost a week to fix my kitchen sink and it still leaked!

In this situation, the last straw means the final [ 27 ].

1.chance to do something enjoyable
2.reason for a person to give up
3.stage of a difficult project
4.warning that something will happen

Taxi drivers in Japan have a reputation for being very competent and treating their passengers very well. Salesclerks and waiters show similar consideration for their customers. While eating out or shopping, many visitors to Japan are surprised by service that is more deferential than what they experience at home.

In this situation, deferential means [ 28 ]




No.1 [ 27 ] 2

No.2 [ 28 ] 4



The following English sentence is part of a scene in which teachers at a junior high school in Illinois, USA, are discussing their graduation trip. Choose the most appropriate words to put in columns [ 29 ] through [ 31 ] from 1 through 4 below, respectively.

Steve: Shall we start our meeting about this year’s school trip? For the last five years we’ve been taking students to the state capital, Springfield, by train, and then taking a day trip by bus to St. Louis the next day. We go back to spend another night in Springfield and return home the next morning. Now, our new teacher, Amy Brown, has suggested that we might add another place to visit. Amy?

Amy: Thank you, Steve. I’d like to add a trip to Hannibal. As you all know, the students have read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in my class. Hannibal is where Mark Twain grew up and it’s the town he used in his story. It’s just a couple of hours’ bus ride from St. Louis along the Mississippi River. Hannibal has kept the neighborhood where Twain grew up just as it was in the 1840s. Students can experience what life was like during Tom Sawyer’s time.

Steve: OK, Amy, you suggest visiting Hannibal because [ 29 ].

1.both Hannibal and St. Louis are located on the Mississippi River
2.it will help students review what they learned in class
3.St. Louis is farther away from Springfield than Hannibal
4.the town is more beautiful than it was in the 19th century

Linda: I’m afraid it’s not practical for us to add another place to visit. The students always enjoy visiting the museum in St. Louis. The exhibits there cover what they’ve studied about American history this year. The Lincoln home in Springfield is also important for a similar reason: we’ve studied a lot about Abraham Lincoln’s life. We only have two nights and three days to visit both Springfield and St. Louis.

Steve: So, Linda, your point is that [ 30 ].

1.students should study about Abraham Lincoln before the trip
2.the visit to Springfield is more important than the one to St. Louis
3.there isn’t enough time to include a visit to Hannibal
4.we should pay more attention to the museum than before

Jeff: Couldn’t we visit both St. Louis and Hannibal without staying an additional night? The three sites are about a two-hour bus ride from one another. Instead of spending both nights in Springfield, we could take the train directly to St. Louis and spend the first day and night there. The next morning we could take the bus up to Hannibal and spend a few hours there. Then we could drive over to Springfield, tour the city, and stay there the second night.

Steve: So, it looks like [ 31 ]. If everyone agrees, I’ll make arrangements for the chartered bus and hotels.

1.the distance between the three places is not important
2.the tour to the state capital is the most popular choice
3.we can visit all three places without adding another day
4.we don’t have to change our plan for where to stay overnight


No.1 [ 29 ] 2

No.2 [ 30 ] 3

No.3 [ 31 ] 3

Section 3C

Choose one of the following from 1 to 4 below, respectively, that is most appropriate to put in [ 32 ] to [ 34 ] of the following sentences.

Many people who enjoy music know that it can provide various benefits in everyday life. On the other hand, when we are trying to study or think about something, music can bother us if it is too loud or too harsh; in other words, [ 32 ] Nevertheless, according to several studies, music can have positive effects on learning and attitude when used properly.

Some programs that make use of music have been found to produce
positive changes in the learning processes of young people. One example is the “Learning To Read Through the Arts” (LTRTA) program, an elementary school curriculum where teachers use music and other types of arts as a primary means for teaching reading, writing, and other subjects such as social studies. In these classes, for instance, students listen to music, discuss what they hear, and read about the composers and historical backgrounds in order to understand and interpret the music. Research indicates that the LTRTA program [ 33 ], which leads to improvement of pupils’ reading, writing, thinking, and analytical skills. This result shows that the program enhances student motivation and ability.

Several studies have indicated that music can influence the attitude of adults towards learning as well. One study showed that background music helped participants to concentrate on tasks longer. Another study found that college students in a biology course were willing to stay longer in the laboratory when familiar music was playing. Apparently, the music worked effectively to reduce stress and to create a comfortable environment. However, the research also found that music which was too loud made it hard for listeners to focus their attention. In addition, what kind of music the listeners prefer must be considered so that the music can affect the person’s mood and attitude positively.

To summarize, [ 34 ]. However, we need to study music more to understand its full impact on the human mind. Through further study, it will become possible for us to learn how to use the power of music more effectively.

[ 32 ]

1.exciting music can make us motivated to study
2.music can interfere with what we are trying to do
3.quiet music can make us feel comfortable
4.the type of music does not affect concentration

[ 33 ]

1.changes the number of subjects children study
2.creates enthusiasm for learning among children
3.gives teachers opportunities to work with each other
4.makes children feel as if they were musicians

[ 34 ]

1.music has long been used effectively as an elementary school subject
2.subjects other than music should be developed in the school curriculum
3.there has been little educational research on developing music courses
4.under the right conditions, music can be a useful aid to learning


No.1 [ 32 ] 2

No.2 [ 33 ] 2

No.3 [ 34 ] 4