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BC’s Barbados: 11-plus minus


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TWO MONDAYS AGO, out of sympathy for the little tykes who, two Tuesdays ago, completed the Secondary Schools’ Common Entrance Examination, I did the maths section of a practice paper. Today, I’ll give “Language Arts” a shot; which may well end up between my own eyes. Children get 80 minutes to answer 85 “items” – a strike rate that might be envied in Torture20 cricket. These questions are taken from an actual test paper.Write the correct form of the adjective in brackets: Question 1. The guest of honour was given the (comfortable) seat in the hall. If the guest of honour was a Rasta at a police station, he was given the most comfortable seat on the edge of a cliff; if he was at the Yacht Club, he was given the most comfortable car washing space. Question 2. Roshonna is Chaunte’s (loyal) friend. Answer: Roshonna is Chaunte’s African-American friend. Underline the word in brackets that correctly completes each sentence:Question 6. Several curious onlookers converged at the (seen, scene) of the accident. Answer: Seen; Bajans converge at the scene of an accident, but only to be seen. Question 25. Five West Indies cricketers (excels, excel) in Australia. Can’t answer because the past tense is not an option and the last time five WI cricketers didn’t shame themselves in Australia,  Viv Richards had hair.Write the present tense of the verb in brackets: Question 16. Barbadian singing sensation Rihanna (won) another Grammy Award. It doesn’t matter what Rihanna wins, once she keeps Chris Brown lost. Question 20. Chris Gayle (struck) the ball over the pavilion. Another trick question: you can only strike the ball if you’re still in the tournament. Sorry, Chris.Insert the missing punctuation mark: Question 30. The children’s breakfast consisted of eggs bacon plantains and chicken nuggets. Where are these children eating? By Granny and KFC simultaneously? And what the hell are bacon plantains? They must mean bacon burgers; so it was lunch all along.Rewrite the sentences in the passive voice.Question 54. Many tourists have visited Harrison’s Cave. Answer: Not in this guava/tourist season. Indicate the part of speech of each underlined word:Question 63. Writing can be a very creative form of communication. Answer: not in the Advocate. Question 65. Roger assisted the fallen senior citizen. If this was in a back street in The City, Roger knocked him down first and assisted him by relieving him of the burden of carrying his wallet. Question 67. We should express gratitude for the blessings of life. This question must have escaped from the passive voice section. Answer: Gratitude for the blessings of life should be expressed by the poor; the rich should be glad for Bible class that keeps people happy to be poor.Next week, we essay the essay. • BC Pires (is, are) not (failing, feeling) whale.

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