Part I Writing (30 minutes)
Directions: For this part, you are allowed 30 minutes to write a letter to a foreign friend who wants to teach English in China. Please recommend a city to him. You should write at least 120 words but no more than 180 words.
Part II Listening Comprehension (25 minutes)
Directions: In this section, you will hear three news reports. At the end of each news report, you will hear two or three questions. Both the news report and the questions will be spoken only once. After you hear a question, you must choose the best answer from the four choices marked A), B), C) and D). Then mark the corresponding letter on Answer Sheet 1 with a single line through thecentre.
Questions 1 and 2 are based on the news report you have just heard.
Questions 3 and 4 are based on the news report you have just heard.
Questions 5 to 7 are based on the news report you have just heard.
Directions: In this section, you will hear two long conversations. At the end of each conversation, you will hear four questions. Both the conversation and the questions will be spoken only once. After you hear a question, you must choose the best answer from the four choices marked A), B), C) and D). Then mark the corresponding letter on Answer Sheet 1 with a single line through the centre.
Questions 8 to 11 are based on the conversation you have just heard.
Questions 12 to 15 are based on the conversation you have just heard.
Directions: In this section, you will hear three passages. At the end of each passage, you will hear three or four questions. Both the passage and the questions will be spoken only once. After you hear a question, you must choose the best answer from the four choices marked A), B), C) and D). Then mark the corresponding letter on Answer Sheet 1 with a single line through the centre.
Questions 16 to 18 are based on the passage you have just heard.
Questions 19 to 22 are based on the passage you have just heard.
Questions 23 to 25 are based on the passage you have just heard.
Part Ⅲ Reading Comprehension (40 minutes)
Directions: In this section, there is a passage with ten blanks. You are required to select one word for each blank from a list of choices given in a word bank following the passage. Read the passage through carefully before making your choices. Each choice in the bank is identified by a letter. Please mark the corresponding letter for each item on Answer Sheet 2 with a single line through the centre. You may not use any of the words in the bank more than once.
Questions 26 to 35 are based on the following passage.
When travelling overseas, do you buy water in plastic bottles or take your chances with tap water? Imagine you are wandering about on a Thai island or 26 the ruins of Angkor. It’s hot so you grab a bottle of water from a local vendor. It’s the safe thing to do, right? The bottle is 27 , and the label says “pure water”. But maybe what’s inside is not so 28. Would you still be drinking it if you knew that more than 90 percent of all bottled water sold around the world 29 microplastics ?
That’s the conclusion of a recently 30 study, which analysed 259 bottles from 11 brands sold in nine countries, 31 an average of 325 plastic particles per litre of water. These microplastics included a 32 commonly known as PET and widely used in the manufacture of clothing and food and 33 containers. The study was conducted at the State University of New York on behalf of Orb Media, a journalism organisation. About a million bottles are bought every minute, not only by thirsty tourists but also by many of the 2.1 billion worldwide who live with unsafe drinking water.
Confronted with this 34 , several bottled-water manufacturers including Nestle and Coca-Cola undertook their own studies using the same methodology. These studies showed that their water did contain microplastics, but far less than the Orb study suggested. Regardless, the World Health Organisation has launched a review into the 35 health risks of drinking water from plastic bottles.
Directions: In this section, you are going to read a passage with ten statements attached to it. Each statement contains information given in one of the paragraphs. Identify the paragraph from which the information is derived. You may choose a paragraph more than once. Each paragraph is marked with a letter. Answer the questions by marking the corresponding letter on Answer Sheet2.
The quiet heroism of mail delivery
[A]On Wednesday, a polar wind brought bitter cold to the Midwest. Overnight, Chicago reached a low of 21 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, making it slightly colder than Antarctica (南極洲), Alaska, and the North Pole. Wind chills were 64 degrees below zero in Park Rapids, Minnesota and 45 degrees below zero in Buffalo, North Dakota, according to the National Weather Service. Schools, restaurants, and businesses closed, and more than 1,000 flights were canceled.
[B]Even the United States Postal Service (USPS) suspended mail delivery. “Due to this arctic outbreak and concerns for the safety of USPS employees,” USPS announced Wednesday morning, “the Postal Service is suspending delivery Jan. 30 in some 3-digit ZIP Code locations.” Twelve regions were listed as unsafe on Wednesday; on Thursday, eight remained.
[C]As global surface temperatures increase, so does the likelihood of extreme weather. In 2018 alone, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, mudslides, and other natural disasters cost at least $49 billion in the United States. As my colleague Vann Newkirk reported, Puerto Rico is still confronting economic and structural destruction and resource scarcity from 2017’s Hurricane Maria. Natural disasters can wreck a community’s infrastructure, disrupting systems for months or years. Some services, however, remind us that life will eventually return, in some form, to normal.
[D]Days after the deadly 2017 wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, a drone (無人機) caught footage (連續鏡頭) of a USPS worker, Trevor Smith, driving through burned homes in that familiar white van, collecting mail in an affected area. The video is striking : The operation is familiar, but the scene looks like the end of the world. According to Rae Ann Haight, the program manager for the national-preparedness office at USPS, Smith was fulfilling a request made by some of the home owners to pick up any mail that was left untouched. For Smith, this was just another day on the job. “I followed my route like I normally do,” Smith told a reporter. “As I came across a box that was up but with no house, I checked, and there was mail—outgoing mail—in it. And so we picked those up and carried on.”
[E]USPS has sophisticated emergency plans for natural disasters. Across the country, 285 emergency-management teams are devoted to crisis control. These teams are trained annually using a framework known as the three Ps: people, property, product. After mail service stops due to weather, the agency’s top priority is ensuring that employees are safe. Then it evaluates the health of infrastructure, such as the roads that mail carriers drive on. Finally, it decides when and how to re-open operations. If the destruction is extreme, mail addressed to the area will get sent elsewhere. In response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, USPS redirected incoming New Orleans mail to existing mail facilities in Houston. Mail that was already processed in New Orleans facilities was moved to an upper floor so it would be protected from water damage.
[F]As soon as it’s safe enough to be outside, couriers ( 郵 遞 員 ) start distributing accumulated mail on the still-accessible routes. USPS urges those without standing addresses to file change-of-address forms with their new location. After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, mail facilities were set up in dozens of locations across the country in the two weeks that USPS was unable to provide street delivery.
[G]Every day, USPS processes, on average, 493,4 million pieces of mail—anything from postcards to Social Security checks to medicine. Spokespeople from both USPS and UPS told me all mail is important. But some mail can be extremely sensitive and timely. According to data released in January 2017, 56 percent of bills are paid online, which means that just under half of payments still rely on delivery services to be completed.
[H]It can be hard to identify which parcels are carrying crucial items such as Social Security checks, but USPS and UPS try their best to prioritize sensitive material. They will coordinate with the Social Security Administration to make sure that Social Security checks reach the right people in a timely fashion. After Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael last fall, USPS worked with state and local election boards to make sure that absentee ballots were available and received on time.
[I]Mail companies are logistics (物流) companies, which puts them in a special position to help when disaster strikes. In a 2011 USPS case study, the agency emphasized its massive infrastructure as a “unique federal asset” to be called upon in a disaster or terrorist attack. “I think we’re unique as a federal agency,” USPS official Mike Swigart told me, “because we’re in literally every community in this country...We’re obligated to deliver to that point on a daily basis.”
[J]Private courier companies, which have more dollars to spend, use their expertise in logistics to help revitalize damaged areas after a disaster. For more than a decade, FedEx has supported the American Red Cross in its effort to get emergency supplies to areas affected by disasters, both domestically and internationally. In 2012, the company distributed more than 1,200 MedPacks to Medical Reserve Corps groups in California. They also donated space for 3.1 million pounds of charitable shipping globally. Last October, the company pledged $1 million in cash and transportation support for Hurricanes Florence and Michael. UPS’ s charitable arm, the UPS Foundation, uses the company's logistics to help disaster-struck areas rebuild. “We realize that as a company with people, trucks, warehouses, we needed to play a larger role,” said Eduardo Martinez, the president of the UPS Foundation. The company employs its trucks and planes to deliver food, medicine, and water. The day before I spoke to Martinez in November, he had beer touring the damage from Hurricane Michael in Florida with the American Red Cross. “We have an obligation to make sure our communities are thriving,” he said.
[K]Rebuilding can take a long time, and even then, impressions of the disaster may still remain. Returning to a normal life can be difficult, but some small routines—mail delivery being one of them—may help residents remember that their communities are still their communities. “When they see that carrier back out on the street,” Swigart said, “that’s the first sign to them that life is starting to return to normal."
36.The United States Postal Service has a system to ensure its employees’ safety.
37.One official says USPS is unique in that it has more direct reach to communities compared with other federal agencies.
38.Natural disasters can have a long-lasting impact on community life.
39.Mail delivery service is still responsible for the completion of almost half of payments.
40.The sight of a mailman on the street is a reassuring sign of life becoming normal again.
41.After Hurricane Katrina interrupted routine delivery, temporary mail service points were set up.
42.Postal service in some regions in the U.S. was suspended due to extreme cold weather.
43.Private postal companies also support disaster relief efforts by distributing urgent supplies.
44.A dedicated USPS employee was on the job carrying out duties in spite of extreme conditions.
45.Postal services work hard to identify items that require priority treatment.
46.Directions: There are 2 passages in this section. Each passage is followed by some questions or unfinished statements. For each of them there are four choices marked A), B), C) and D). You should decide on the best choice and mark the corresponding letter on Answer Sheet 2 with a single line through the centre.
Questions 46 to 50 are based on the following passage.
Professor Ashok Goel of Georgia Tech developed an artificially intelligent teaching assistant to help handle the enormous number of student questions in the online class, Knowledge-Based Artificial Intelligence. This online course is a core requirement of Georgia Tech’s online Master of Science in Computer Science program. Professor Goel already had eight teaching assistants, but that wasn’t enough to deal with the overwhelming number of daily questions from students.
Many students drop out of online courses because of the lack of teaching support. When students feel isolated or confused and reach out with questions that go unanswered, their motivation to continue begins to fade. Professor Goel decided to do something to remedy this situation and his solution was to create a virtual assistant named Jill Watson, which is based on the IBM Watson platform.
Goel and his team developed several versions of Jill Watson before releasing her to the online forums. At first, the virtual assistant wasn’t too great. But Goel and his team sourced the online discussion forum to find all 40,000 questions that had ever been asked since the class was launched. Then they began to feed Jill with the questions and answers. After some adjustments and sufficient time, Jill was able to answer the students’ questions correctly 97% of the time. The virtual assistant became so advanced and realistic that the students didn’t know she was a computer. The students, who were studying artificial intelligence, were interacting with the virtual assistant and couldn’t tell it apart from a real human being. Goel didn’t inform them about Jill’s true identity until April 26. The students were actually very positive about the experience.
The goal of Professor Goel’s virtual assistant next year is to take over answering 40% of all the questions posed by students on the online forum. The name Jill Watson will, of course, change to something else next semester. Professor Goel has a much rosier outlook on the future of artificial intelligence than, say, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates or Steve Wozniak.
46.What do we learn about Knowledge-Based Artificial Intelligence?
47.What problem did Professor Goel meet with?
48.What do we learn about Jill Watson?
49.How did the students feel about Jill Watson?
50.What does Professor Goel plan to do next with Jill Watson?
Questions 51 to 55 are based on the following passage.
Thinking small, being engaging, and having a sense of humor don’t hurt. Those are a few of the traits of successful science crowdfunding efforts that emerge from a recent study that examined nearly 400 campaigns. But having a large network and some promotional skills may be more crucial.
Crowdfunding, raising money for a project through online appeals, has taken off in recent years for everything from making movies to producing water-saving gadgets. Scientists have tried to tap Internet donors, too, with mixed success. Some raised more than twice their goals, but others have fallen short of reaching even modest targets.
To determine what separates science crowdfunding triumphs from failures, a team led by science communications scholar Mike Schafer of the University of Zurich examined the content of the webpages for 371 recent campaigns.
Four traits stood out for those that achieved their goals, the researchers report in Public Understanding of Science. For one, they use a crowdfunding platform that specializes in raising money for science, and not just any kind of project. Although sites like Kickstarter take all comers, platforms such as Experiment.com and Petridish.org only present scientific projects. For another, they present the project with a funny video because good visuals and a sense of humor improved success. Most of them engage with potential donors, since projects that answered questions from interested donors fared better. And they target a small amount of money. The projects included in the study raised $4000 on average, with 30% receiving less than $1000. The more money a project sought, the lower the chance it reached its goal, the researchers found.
Other factors may also significantly influence a project’s success, most notably, the size of a scientist’s personal and professional networks, and how much a researcher promotes a project on their own. Those two factors are by far more critical than the content on the page. Crowdfunding can be part of researchers’ efforts to reach the public, and people give because “they feel a connection to the person” who is doing the fundraising—not necessarily to the science.
51.What do we learn about the scientists trying to raise money online for their projects?
52.What is the purpose of Mike Sc’s research of recent crowdfunding campaigns?
53.What trait contributes to the success of a crowdfunding campaign?
54.What did the researchers think of the financial targets of crowdfunding projects?
55.What motives people to donate in a crowdfunding campaign?
Part IV Translation (30 minutes)
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