B2 First (FCE)
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Test 1 / 30

Steel that doesn’t  rust

Harry Brearley, the son of a Sheffield steel smelter, left school at 12 to go to work in one of the city’s steelworks. He was an ambitious(AMBITION) chap and started to study metallurgy at home and in evening classes. He gradually(GRADUAL) built a reputation for expertise, and still in his 30s was chosen to run a new research(SEARCH) facility funded by two of Sheffield’s largest steel companies. In 1912, he was tasked by a small-arms manufacturer to find a material that could prolong(LONG) the life of their gun barrels. He set out to find erosion-resistant steel, but found corrosion-resistant steel instead.

The story goes that in 1913 he threw out some experimental(EXPERIMENT) steel made of 12.8 per cent chromium and 0.24 per cent carbon. A few weeks later, he found it in the yard still shiny(SHINE) as new. This apparently serendipitous discovery led to the transformation(TRANSFORM) of the already established cutlery industry in Sheffield. Stainless steel is now used in everything from surgical(SURGERY) instruments and turbine blades to architectural cladding.

Test 2 / 30

Diamonds are forever

Diamonds are the most prized and highly(HIGH) valued of gemstones. Throughout history they have been admired by royalty and worn as a symbol of strength(STRONG), courage and invincibility. Over the centuries the diamond acquired unique status as the ultimate gift of love, in myth and reality(REAL). It is the hardest known substance yet has the simplest chemical composition(COMPOSE), consisting of crystallised carbon, the chemical element that is fundamental to all life.

Diamonds come in many colours and their optical(OPTICS) properties are stunning. They disperse light into the colours of the rainbow, and sparkle far more than any other gemstone. First mined in India over 4000 years ago, diamonds were used to decorate religious(RELIGION) objects, serve as a talisman against evil and a protector(PROTECT) in battle. Buddhists also recognised the deep symbolic|symbolical(SYMBOL) significance accorded the diamonds in ancient Buddhist scriptures, including the ‘Diamond Sutra’ which states that truth is eternal, just like the diamond.