Reading and Use of English Part 7 My nightmare holiday! Exam information

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Reading and Use of English Part 7
My nightmare holiday!
Exam information

In Reading and Use of English Part 7, you will read either one long text divided into four to six sections, or four to six separate short texts. The total length will be 500-600 words. There are ten questions which you must match with the different texts or sections. This part tests your ability to understand specific information, detail and opinion.

1 You are going to read about four people's nightmare holidays. Before you read, think about what things sometimes spoil people's holidays.

2 Read questions 1-10 carefully and underline the key words in each question.

Which person

had to hide from danger? 1____ found an employee intimidating? 2____

was not pleased to spend so long somewhere? 3____ had visited the country on a previous occasion? 4____

worried about how strong something was? 5____ missed speaking to people? 6____

had a painful experience? 7____ travelled with an ex-criminal? 8____

was unaware of the danger in what they were doing? 9____ realised the holiday might be a mistake before arriving? 10____

3 For questions 1-10, choose from the people (A-D). Each person may be chosen more than once.

4 Work in groups. Which of the holidays sounds the worst to you? Take turns to tell each other about a memorable holiday you have had. Then decide which of you had the most interesting holiday.

A Pauline Vernon - Malaysia

My dad was teaching in Kota Bharu, Malaysia. When my mum and I flew out to visit him for three weeks, he had already organised our stay in great detail. On our first evening we had a party on the beach. It was an idyllic scene: a beautiful empty beach, palm trees, white sand, the warm gentle waters of the South China Sea. I swam in the shallow water thinking "this is the life", when a jellyfish swam between my legs. The sting, on both legs, was agony, and it was only then I discovered that two people had died from jellyfish stings that year and until that point, no one had bothered to mention the sea-snakes, for whose bite there is no cure. I now understood why the beach was deserted.

B Sandy Henderson - the USA

I was on a camping holiday in Yosemite National Park in California with a friend, when I awoke to the sound of screaming. I looked out of my tent and saw my friend trying to get out of his sleeping bag, with a giant black bear rearing up behind him. Quite possibly the quickest I've ever got out of bed, I scrambled up and we both sprinted in no particular direction. By pure chance, we'd passed a small cabin a little way back on the trail and we made a dash for that, jumped inside and locked the door. Seconds later, the bear was scraping at the door as we cowered inside, afraid that the whole thing might fall off. After quite a long time, the bear lost interest and we were able to leave the shelter.

C Cat O'Donovan - the USA

Twenty-three hours into an epic bus trip across the States, I began to wonder what I had let myself in for. I was at Denver bus station, sitting on my backpack, drinking coffee. Before boarding the first bus in LA, I had been filled with romantic ideas of friendship among the passengers and fascinating stops, as well as spectacular scenery. After the guy next to me had finished talking about his time in jail, I realised my expectations were a bit off. After all, I was 17 and travelling alone.

I had no idea when the next bus was, so I went up to the counter to ask. One unfriendly staff member was so large I feared she had eaten several passengers, so I waited until her colleague was free. "Three-and-a-half hours," she said. I groaned. Would I ever reach New York? I sat back down to drink my coffee.

D Graham Whitely - Nepal

It was not my first walking holiday to Nepal, but for some reason I no longer remember, I decided to go several weeks before the walking season actually began. There were no other walkers on the flight to Kathmandu, which suggested I might not have made the best decision. Walking to my empty hotel through rainy streets on the first night, I tried not to think what conditions would be like at higher altitudes.

Next day I flew to Tumlingtar to start walking up the remote, rarely visited Arun valley. As I climbed, the bushes on either side of the path were covered in ice and the weather was constantly cloudy. The lodges where I stayed were run by people who spoke no English, and the only meal available was boiled rice with lentil soup.

Each day required at least eight hours of unpleasant solitary walking, longing for a conversation with someone. During all the long walk towards Kathmandu, it continued cloudy and I never even saw a mountain.

KEYS: 1 B – 2 C – 3 C – 4 D – 5 B – 6 D – 7 A – 8 C – 9 A – 10 D

At school abroad

Exam advice

. Before you read the sections, read the questions carefully, underlining the main ideas.

. Read the first section and find which questions it answers.

. Deal with each section in turn in this way.

. If you have any time left at the end, go back and check what you have written and fill in any questions you missed.

1 Work in pairs. You are going to read extracts from four reports written by secondary-school students from different countries. Each student has written about an educational exchange he/she went on to another country. How do you think students benefit from going to school in another country for a term (or even a year)?

2 Now underline the main idea in each question 1-10

Which person

was surprised by the different approach to education? 1____ enjoyed cooperating with their host family? 2____

believes they are more adult as a result of the exchange? 3____ feels the exchange has helped to equip them for the future? 4____

felt a responsibility to take as much advantage as possible of exchange? 5____

had a different attitude to attending school while abroad? 6____ wanted a change from their normal school life? 7____

had not expected to be able to do an exchange? 8____ had mixed feelings about the type of school? 9____

changed their opinion of people as a result of the exchange? 10____
3 For questions 1-10 above, choose the students A-D and underline the words which give you the answer. The students may be chosen more than once.

4 Look at this post on an international student forum. Think about the experiences of the students you have just read about and decide what Anna should do.


I'm 16 years old and I'm interested in coming to your country for a few months to learn the language. I know a little of the language, but I'd like to speak it much better because I might decide to study it at university in future. What do you think I should do? Should I do an educational exchange and find a family with people my own age to stay with, or would it be better to stay at home and do an online course or go to a language school in my town?

Have you ever thought of studying abroad? four students who studied abroad relate their experiences…

A Divya Singh from Cardiff went to Chile - I went to a talk given by a couple of older students who had been on an exchange programme the previous year, and it occurred to me that if I could persuade my mum, this would be just the sort of break from normal school routine that I needed. I filled in my application while holding out little hope of being selected. However I was, and was soon immersed in a totally different educational culture, which helped me to appreciate many aspects of my school back home. Another great advantage of my year abroad was that I picked up Spanish much more quickly than in classes back home and, because my teachers were pretty demanding, I even feel confident writing it now. As a result, I'm considering doing Spanish and Latin American studies at university and perhaps after that going into the diplomatic service.

B Bruce Brown from Sydney went to England - Although my parents had insisted that I went, I knew what a sacrifice they were making to pay for my year abroad, so I was determined to make the most of the opportunity. My host family was really welcoming, but what I found hard to get used to were the seemingly endless days of grey drizzle and the fact that it got dark so early in winter. Even so, I took every chance to get out and meet people, make friends and get a real, in-depth experience of English life. At the same time, I was keen to make an impact at school and get good grades, although I found the schoolwork quite challenging and not really the highlight of my stay. Even so, I learned far more than I expected, made a lot of friends and came away with the impression that the British are a lot more interesting than I had been given to expect by people back home.

C Nelson Grace from Boston went to New Zealand - I lived on a farm on South Island, where my host family had a vast flock of about 3,000 sheep. Being a city boy, the experience of farming life was totally novel, but I loved it and took every opportunity to go out and help with the work of the farm. I also got involved in lots of sporting activities with my school, including sailing, rugby and skiing - all firsts for me. I found New Zealanders so enthusiastic about everything that I used to get up with a buzz of excitement and, unlike back home, I actually looked forward to going into school every day. I also think I matured a lot during my year abroad. I'm not so dependent now on my family or my teachers to make me study, and I've learned to get on with all sorts of different people, even if they're not my type. I've also learned a bit about the value of money!

D Carmen Echevarria from Bilbao went to Scotland - After four years in a state secondary school in Bilbao, it was a huge shock to find myself in a private all-girls school in the Highlands of Scotland, where everyone wore uniforms. Studying there was a complete revelation to me: gone were the hours spent in the evenings memorising huge numbers of useless facts for tests the next day which I would forget as soon as the test was over. Instead, we spent a lot of time discussing issues, solving problems and writing creatively. I missed my friends back home, but really appreciated learning to think in new ways and seeing that education could be so creative. I missed not sharing my classes with boys, but on the other hand, we probably concentrated harder and may have felt more relaxed about the opinions we expressed.

KEYS: 1 D – 2 C – 3 C – 4 A – 5 B – 6 C – 7 A – 8 A– 9 D – 10 B

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