1. Sample Text 1

Jon Clark’s study of the effect of the modernization of a telephone exchange on exchange maintenance work and workers is a solid contribution to a debate that encompasses two lively issues in the history and sociology of technology: technological determinism and social constructivism.

Clark makes the point that the characteristics of a technology have a decisive influence on job skills and work organization. Put more strongly, technology can be a primary determinant of social and managerial organization. Clark believes this possibility has been obscured by the recent sociological fashion, exemplified by Braverman’s analysis that emphasizes the way machinery reflects social choices. For Braverman, the shape of a technological system is subordinate to the manager’s desire to wrest control of the labor process from the workers. Technological change is construed as the outcome of negotiations among interested parties who seek to incorporate their own interests into the design and configuration of the machinery. This position represents the new mainstream called social constructivism. The constructivists gain acceptance by misrepresenting technological determinism: technological determinists are supposed to believe, for example, that machinery imposes appropriate forms of order on society. The alternative to constructivism, in other words, is to view technology as existing outside society, capable of directly influencing skills and work organization. Clark refutes the extremes of the constructivists by both theoretical and empirical arguments. Theoretically he defines “technology” in terms of relationships between social and technical variables. Attempts to reduce the meaning of technology to cold, hard metal are bound to fail, for machinery is just scrap unless it is organized functionally and supported by appropriate systems of operation and maintenance. At the empirical level Clark shows how a change at the telephone exchange from maintenance-intensive electromechanical switches to semielectronic switching systems altered work tasks, skills, training opportunities, administration, and organization of workers. Some changes Clark attributes to the particular way management and labor unions negotiated the introduction of the technology, whereas others are seen as arising from the capabilities and nature of the technology itself. Thus Clark helps answer the question: “When is social choice decisive and when are the concrete characteristics of technology more important?”

Q.The information in the passage suggests that Clark believes that which of the following would be true if social constructivism had not gained widespread acceptance?

A. Businesses would be more likely to modernize without considering the social consequences of their actions.
B. There would be greater understanding of the role played by technology in producing social change.
C. Businesses would be less likely to understand the attitudes of employees affected by modernization.
D. Modernization would have occurred at a slower rate.
E. Technology would have played a greater part in determining the role of business in society.

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2. Sample Text 2

It is in the university that leaders of the country are trained. The university education is calculated to produce and is producing, men who will be able to play worthy part in public life. It is true that legislative and administrative capacities are developed by experience and by practical knowledge of affairs. Foundations need to be laid at a much earlier stage. It is from this university teaching that a young man should learn to examine critically the material before him, to arrive at a balanced judgment; and not to be carried away by mere catchwords.

But in public affairs something more is needed than the power of criticism and intellectual judgment. It is mainly outside the classroom that the boy learns the lesson of corporate life, how to understand the views of others and to work with them, how to sacrifice cheerfully his private inclination for the common good, and how to lead others by influence rather than by authority. He learns these lessons daily by contacts in clubs and societies, in playing fields and common rooms and also not the least by the guidance of wise teachers from whom a timely word may mean so much.

Q.Select the statement(s) that the author may probably agree with, According to the information given in the text.

A. The classroom teaching lays the true foundation stone of a student’s future public life.
B. Platforms for personal and group interaction are provided by the university.
C. Public affairs demand personal sacrifices.
D. Public life demands theoretical as well as practical knowledge.
E. True leaders sway rather than dictate.

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3. Sample Text 3

Growing up in Atlanta during the heyday of the city’s baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, gave me a unique perspective of America’s national pastime. Witnessing the team and the city win a World Series title in 1996 forever connected my destiny with that of professional baseball; wherever I might be after that point in time, I will always remember the joy and emotion that I was filled with on that day.

There are some who denigrate the sport because it does not appear to incorporate a traditional sporting skill set, but it is baseball’s unique nature that makes it remarkable. Instead of requiring athletes to run for extended lengths of time, like so many traditional forms of sport, baseball is an exercise in skill and power, one that combines the precision of sports like golf or archery with the pure brawn of sports like weightlifting or the Olympic hammer throw. It is this distinct characteristic of combination that gives baseball its intrigue and singularity. And to those critics who belittle the athletes themselves, I must ask, “Have you ever played baseball at a competitive level?” While the players themselves make their jobs look incredibly easy, it is only because they have both been born with incredible gifts and trained for entire lifetimes to develop their skills. Five minutes spent competing against baseball’s best would convince any naysayer of the sport’s true legitimacy.

Q.Which of the following best describes the tone of the author of the passage? 

A. Equivocal
B. Personal
C. Narrative
D. Ambivalent
E. opinionated

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