Sample Passages of Primary 4 English Papers (2014)

Comprehension Passage 1

        When Ben woke, the moon was fully up. A weird, pale light whitened the walls of the cave. But it was not the moonlight that had wakened him. It was the hollow booming of the sea. 
        He sat up wondering. There was another boom, like a roll of drums. A sharp wind flew into the cave like an icy breath and the flaky ashes of the fire flurried up like snow. It was followed by a new sound, a long, rushing sigh as the first wave trickled into the cave and sank into the sand beneath them. 
        “Wake up!” Ben shouted. Two startled faces, eerie in the moonlight, turned towards him. He leapt up and ran to the mouth of the cave. 
        What he saw turned his bones to jelly. The wind was high, huffing the sea against the cliff. Ben stepped outside the cave. The wind slammed into his chest like a giant fist and a ridge of yellow foam curled up to meet him. The sea sucked round his knees. For a moment, he thought he would be dragged down but he fought his way back, against the heavy pull of the current and stumbled against Lil just inside the mouth of the cave.
        Rubbing her eyes and still only half awake, she asked what was the matter.
        Ben did not answer. He dived frantically for the torch, and swung the beam round the cave. It showed him what he should have noticed before: the seaweed, dinging high up on the walls. He stretched up to touch it. It was scabby and dry: the sea only reached here at a very high tide. 
        But this was a high tide.... 
        His spoke with alarm that they were caught by the tide. 
        “What is a tide?” Thomas asked. He was not frightened. He knew nothing about the sea.
        But there was no lime to give him a geography lesson. Ben said quickly, “The sea is coming in. We've got to get out?” 
        “But we can't,” Lil waited from the mouth of the cave. She was wide awake now. “The sea's all round. We’ll be drowned? “

Comprehension Passage 2

        Bees flitting from one flower to another is a familiar sight in a field of brightly-coloured flowers. There are about twenty thousand different species of bees and they are found almost everywhere, except in Antarctica. There are two general groups of bees: social bees which live together in colonies, and solitary bees, so named because of the way they live. 
        Bees gather nectar and pollen for food. The honey we like to eat comes from this nectar. Bees also produce beeswax, which is used to make cosmetics and candles. Bees are important to plants as they pollinate flowers by spreading pollen from one flower to another. The abdomen of the bee has two very important features: one is a special sac for carrying the nectar it collects and the other is the sting, a weapon of defence. 
        There are three different kinds of bees in a colony: the queen. the drones and the worker bees. The queen bee lays all the eggs in the colony while the drones fertilise them. The worker bees are all female but they do not lay eggs. Instead, they are responsible for providing food as well as looking after the safety and the maintenance of the colony. Interestingly, the life span of a worker bee depends very much on the season. In autumn and winter, where there is little work to do, a worker bee may live for several months. However, in summer, it lives for only five to six weeks. 
        When a bee returns from a food hunt, it tells the other bees about the food source by performing a kind of dance. If the food is near the hive, the bee will do a circular dance. If it is not, the bee will dance in a figure-of-eight pattern, to describe the distance of the food in relation to the position or the sun. Bees also communicate by using body secretions. 
        The bees which attend to the queen bee, regularly take a substance from her body and share it with the rest of the bees in the colony. If the queen is missing, the other bees will notice her absence within a few hours. They will try to locate her and, if their efforts were futile, they will immediately replace her with a new queen bee.

P407 CA1 MGS

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