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  【Section A】

  News Report 1

  Have you noticed how similar you are to your friends? It may be because your brains operate in harmony with each other. We know that friends are more likely to be the same age, gender, and ethnic background as each other. Now it seems their brains are alike too.  Researchers at the University of California scanned 42 classmates while they watched videos intended to provoke varying responses. Some people might find a romantic scene touching, for instance, while others would feel it was embarrassing. The activity of friends brains was more similar than that of people who didn't know each other, particularly in regions involved in attention, emotion, and language. This similarity was strong enough that it could be used to predict whether two people were already friends or not.  The relationship probably goes two ways. We are drawn to people who think like us. We then influence their thoughts over time, which may push their brain activity into more closely resembling our own.

  Q1: What may be the reason that friends are similar to each other, according to the recent research?

  Q2: What does the news report say about the relationship between friends?

  News Report 2

  Two men who have been best friends for 60 years have just realized they are actually brothers. It's reported that Alan Robinson and Walter McDonald met in the 6th grade at a school in Hawaii. They have been best friends ever since. Alan was given away for adoption soon after he was born, and Walter never knew his father.

  So recently, They made separate attempts on DNA matching websites to discover more about their ancestry. Walter was astonished to find that he matched with website user Robbie737. He knew immediately that this was his best friend, Alan, whose friends call him Robbie, and flew 737 airplanes when he was a pilot.

  The pair were born to the same mother 15 months apart.

  Q3: What did both Alan Robinson and Walter McDonald attempt to do on DNA matching websites?

  Q4: What did the news report say about Alan Robinson and Walter McDonald?

  News Report 3

  Amid all the election drama, air pollution problems and disease outbreaks, five tourists good work is being spread online.

  Yesterday, 2 male and 3 female tourists were spotted walking the kilometer long beach, picking up trash. One of the male tourists from Australia commented that although there was a lot of trash, nobody was doing anything. The beach was not as nice or beautiful as it should be. He felt so sad to see such a gorgeous place littered with so much trash. Thus, he and his friends decided to grab a few trash bags and clean it all up. A man passing by decided to video their good deed and put it on the internet. It was unclear where the rest of the group was from, but they were most likely traveling together.

  One local woman commented on being embarrassed that tourists were cleaning up their beach. Another mentioned that it was actually the natives who brought food and drinks, then left trash all along the island.

  Q5: Why did one of the male tourists feel sad?

  Q6: Who put the good deed video on the internet?

  Q7: Why did one local woman say she was embarrassed?

  【Section B】

  Conversation 1

  W: Hello Benjamin, Dan and I will be going for a run along the canal Saturday morning. Would you like to join us?

  M:I'd love to, but I hurt my ankle last weekend playing football with work colleagues.

  W: Oh dear, is it serious?

  M: No, not at all. I landed badly during a fall and twisted it a little, but it's no big deal. It's just a little swollen and I should be fine for next Saturday if you still want to go for a jog then.

  W: I won't be here next Saturday. I'm going to the zoo.

  M:The zoo?

  W: Yeah. My little nephew turns six, and he loves the zoo. So the whole family is going.

  M: Oh, okay then. I haven't been to a zoo since I was a kid.

  W: They are nowhere near as popular as they used to be when we were children. I personally feel sorry for the poor animals stuck in cages. But there's no denying they are fun and educational for children.

  M: Do you know if Dan will be around next Saturday?

  W: Yeah, I think he will. Just send him a text message. He's always keen on physical activities.

  M: That's true. Dan is extremely fit and healthy. He goes to the gym most days, plus tennis two or three times a week.

  W: So, what have you been doing to stay busy while you've had that swollen ankle?

  M: I've been catching up on some reading. I was given three books over Christmas, and I'm only now getting around to reading them.

  Q8: Why can't the man go for a run Saturday morning?

  Q9: Why is the woman's whole family going to the zoo next Saturday?

  Q10: What do we learn about Dan from the man's description?

  Q11: What has the man been doing since last weekend?

  Conversation 2

  W: Our guest on today's book talk is John Black, the author of the new bestseller, Retire Early.

  M: Thanks for having me on the show, Lisa.

  W: John, your book is getting a lot of attention, partly because you write that most people can retire by 40. Is that realistic?

  M: Definitely. When researching this book, I interviewed hundreds of people who retired by 40.

  W: Okay, but how much money does a person need to retire? I've read articles recommending one million dollars as a good figure for retirement.

  M:While most financial planners do give numbers, I don't think that's useful, as people are living in different areas with different costs of living, and have different needs and wants, which is why I suggest that people aim for financial independence.

  W: What do you mean by financial independence?

  M:Having investment income that's greater than monthly expenses.

  W: That sounds risky to me. What if an accident happens? Or you get ill and need medical treatment? Shouldn't people have extra cash for emergencies?

  M: Too many people spend their lives working on jobs they hate because they're afraid. So I counsel people to take risks. Retirement doesn't have to be permanent, and if people need to, they can go back to work.

  W: But it's not always easy to get back into the workforce after an extended absence.

  M: True, but if you keep current with your skills, you will be attracted to employers.

  W: Maybe, but how can anyone save enough to retire by 40 when most people can't retire at 60?

  M: Simple, by cutting housing, food, and transport expenses and investing half your monthly income.

  W: That sounds impossible.

  M: I admit it's difficult, but it has worked for thousands.

  Q12: What do we learn about the man's book published recently?

  Q13: What do the articles the woman read recommend?

  Q14: What does the man say about retirement?

  Q15: How does the man say his proposal about retirement can be carried out?

  【Section C】

  Passage 1

  New research from America studies the role that the presence of individuals from different social or racial groups has in influencing consumers food choices. This research found college students were more likely to choose healthy food in the presence of an observer of a different race, as opposed to an observer from their own race. The same was true when they were with someone from a different university compared to someone from their own. Researchers say this was because participants anticipated more negative judgment from an outsider group. In contrast, they felt less judged by members of their own group. In one experiment, participants were offered the choice between candy and fruit as a snack. When in the presence of an unknown student from their own university, only 12 percent of students selected the healthier option. However, this number was 31 percent when in the presence of an unknown student from another university. Other experiments showed similar results based on racial group.  What's the reason for this pattern? The study found that people feel judged to a larger extent by members of other groups. Because of this, they strategically use healthy food choices to make a positive impression. There have been many attempts to help consumers make healthier choices, but consumers often struggle to maintain a healthy diet. This research finds that one way to promote a healthy diet could be to advertise the social benefits of healthy choices.

  Q16: What was the finding of the new research from America about consumers food choices?

  Q17: When did 31 percent of students in the experiment select the healthier option?

  Q18: How could a healthy diet be promoted according to the findings of the new research?

  Passage 2

  For college students under pressure, a dog may be the best stress fighter around, according to the finding of a recent study. It's a really powerful finding, said Patricia Pendry, who led the study. Universities are doing a lot of great work trying to help students succeed academically, especially those who may be at risk due to a history of mental health issues or academic and learning issues.

  This study shows that traditional stress management approaches aren't as effective for this population compared with programs that focus on providing opportunities to interact with therapy dogs. The researchers measured executive functioning in the students involved in the study. Executive function is a term for the skills one needs to plan, organize, motivate, concentrate, and memorize.

  These are skills students need to succeed in college. The research has found that students who were most at risk had the most improvements in executive functioning after interacting with therapy dogs. These results remained when researchers followed up six weeks later. Many universities provide academic stress management programs and workshops.

  These are traditionally very similar to college classes. They often talk about ways to get more sleep, set goals, or manage stress or anxiety.  Hendry acknowledges that these are really important topics and these workshops help typical students succeed. But they're less helpful for struggling students.

  Hendry believes those students may experience the programs as another lecture and feel even more stressed.

  Q19: What does the recent study led by Patricia Pendry aim to examine?

  Q20: What did the new study measure in the participants?

  Q21: What does Patricia Pendry think traditional stress management programs may do?

  Passage 3

  Taking risks in business does not mean going into business blindly and then expecting great results. On the contrary, taking risks in entrepreneurship involves careful planning and hard work. Nobody can really be sure if risks will be met with success, no matter how calculated they may be. But this should not stop you from taking risks, as risks are necessary if you want your business to succeed.

  Some risks may not work out, but an optimistic risk taker will always look at failure as an opportunity to learn. The willingness to experiment with new ideas is key to business growth. As the old saying goes, nothing ventured nothing gained.

  Failure will teach you how to think and plan strategically. But just remember that not all risks are good ones, and when you fail, learn from it and move forward. Since most people tend to avoid risk, businesses that are brave enough to take risks already have a competitive advantage. They are the ones setting the standard with new ideas, fresh offers and bold inventions.

  Risk takers are best at adapting in difficult times. Simply put, when most individuals stay away from risk, it means less competition for risk takers. We don't know if you'll achieve what these risk takers have achieved, but for as long as you want to stay safe, and for as long as you are content with where your business is right now, you will never find out.

  Q22: What do entrepreneurs have to do when taking risks according to the passage?

  Q23: What does the passage say is key to business growth?

  Q24: What are we advised to do when we fail?

  Q25: What does it mean to risk taking businesses when most people tend to avoid risk?