Examinations Exert a Negative
Influence on Education We might marvel at the progress made in every field of study, but the methods of testing a person’s knowledge and ability remain as primitive as ever they were. It is really extraordinary that after all these years, educationists have still failed to devise anything more efficient and reliable than examinations. For all the pious claim that examinations test what you know, it is common knowledge that they more often do the exact opposite. They may be a good means of testing memory, or the knack of working rapidly under extreme pressure, but they can tell you nothing about a person’s true ability and aptitude.
As anxiety makers, examinations are second to none①. That is because so much depends on them. They are the mark of success or failure in our society. Your whole future may be decided in one fateful day. The moment a child begins school, he enters a world of sharp competition where success and failure are clearly defined and measured. Can we wonder at the increasing number of drop-outs: young people who are written off as utter failures before they have even begun a career②? Can we be surprised at the suicide rate among students?
A good education should, among other things, train you to think for yourself. The examination system does anything but that. What has to be learnt is rigidly laid down by a syllabus, so the student is encouraged to memories. Examinations do not motivate a student to read widely, but to restrict his reading; they do not enable him to seek more and more knowledge, but induce cramming. The most successful candidates are not always the best educated; they are the best trained in the technique of working under pressure.
文章每一段都有一定的特色。开头段用的是现象描述法，先概括文章内容涉及的现状，然后引出主题。中间段的末尾处接连用两个问句，引起读者关于考试弊端的思考。结尾段则用一组排比句：“...do not... but to...;...do not...but...，”来增强气势，突出强调考试的负面影响，深化了文章的主题。
?lay down 规定，制定
①【注释】second to none 不亚于任何人或事物
【临摹】As a dancer, he is second to none.他的舞艺无人能出其右。
②【注释】write sb/sth off 认为某人或某事物已经失败
【临摹】He lost this match, but don’t write him off as a future champion.他输了这场比赛，但不要以为他以后当不了冠军。
There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live. 教育显然有两种：一种是教人怎样谋生，另一种是教人怎样生活。
A fool can ask more questions than seven wise men can answer. 一愚发问，七智结舌。
Passage Twenty-five (Exploration of the Titanic) After resting on the ocean floor, split asunder and rusting, for nearly three-quarters of a century, a great ship seemed to
Passage Twenty-seven (Analysis and Interpretation of the News) The newspaper must provide for the reader the facts, unalloyed, unslanted, objectively selected facts. But in