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C2 Proficient (CPE)
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Test 1 / 30

The migration of birds

Migration is the perilous seasonal journey undertaken by many bird species. In the northern hemisphere it is prompted by the scarcity|scarceness(SCARCE) of food. Migrants are also genetically(GENE) programmed to respond to the changing length of the day as autumn approaches. Nevertheless, in the tropics, where there is little variation in the amount of daylight, migration is still a surprisingly common occurrence(OCCUR)

Many birds will display considerable restlessness before beginning their journeys. Their sensitivity(SENSE) to the earth’s magnetic field helps them navigate, but inexperienced birds may get things spectacularly(SPECTACLE) wrong and end up far from their intended destination.

In the past, the return dates could be predicted with great precision but climate change makes this harder. Although it is advantageous(ADVANTAGE) for birds to return earlier than their rivals so they can establish territories, getting back too early could have incalculable consequences for their long-term survival. However, some birds are progressively(PROGRESS) reducing the distances they migrate in response to a milder climate. Their adaptability in such a short period in evolutionary(EVOLVE) terms has greatly surprised scientists.

Test 2 / 30


The twentieth century witnessed a momentous(MOMENT) change in the relationship between science and society. In World War I scientists were conscripted and died in the trenches. In World War II they were exempted as national treasures and committed to secrecy(SECRET), and they rallied behind their country’s war effort. The explanation of the change is not hard to find – governments came to believe that theoretical(THEORY) research can produce practical improvements in industry, agriculture, and medicine.

The belief was firmly reinforced(FORCE) by developments such as the discovery of antibiotics and the application(APPLY) of nuclear physics to the production of atomic weapons. Science became so identified with practical benefits that the dependence of technology on science is commonly(COMMON) assumed to be a timeless(TIME) relationship and a single enterprise. Science and technology, research and development these are assumed to be almost inseparable(SEPARATE) twins. These rank among the sacred phrases of our time. The belief in the coupling of science and technology is now petrified in the dictionary definition of technology as applied science.

Test 3 / 30

The moon

Anyone taking the trouble to look upwards|upward(UP) on a clear moonlit night cannot fail to be moved by the sight of our sister planet hanging up there in the sky like a silver ball casting ghostly(GHOST) shadows on the Earth below.

Few inanimate(ANIMATE) objects can have had such an influence over religion and the arts. And never is the Moon’s visual impact more impressive(IMPRESS) than when it is full and just above the distant horizon. Under these conditions, the apparent proximity(PROXIMATE) of the lunar disc to familiar terrestrial objects makes the Moon appear to be very much larger and closer than normal. But the fact that our unaided(AID) eyes still cannot discern more than just a few dark blotches on its surface demonstrates that this effect must indeed be just an optical(OPTICS) illusion. The light from the Moon cannot really become intensified(INTENSE) as it passes at a grazing angle through our atmosphere

Test 4 / 30

A Musical Genius

For many people, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is the most influential figure in the history of western classical music. His extraordinary(ORDINARY) talent was already clearly evident as a young man, mercifully(MERCY) surviving a somewhat unconventional upbringing(BRING) during which his eccentric father would often force him to take music lessons in the middle of the night.

The young Beethoven’s ability won him the admiration of the leading contemporary musical figures. Throughout the 1790s he worked hard to secure the interest of wealthy patrons. Such patronage enabled(ABLE) him to concentrate on becoming a successful composer.

Whatever his awe-inspiring musical achievement|achievements(ACHIEVE), however, his personal life was something of a disaster. His day-to-day relationships(RELATE) with people invariably turned out to be rather turbulent. Although he apparently fell in love with a number of society women, the identity of the girl who lay closest to his heart remains elusive(ELUDE) to this day.

However, just at the point when Beethoven was beginning to reap the rewards of his early endeavours, he had to come to terms with the crushing realisation that his increasing deafness was incurable(CURE). From that point on, his music displayed a striking change in style, becoming both heavier in tone and larger in scale.