“If you had all day to do your LNAT, you would get 100%But you don’t!”Whilst this isn’t completely true, it illustrates a very important point - the clock is your biggest enemy. This seemingly obvious statement has one very important consequence. The way to improve your LNAT score is to improve your speed. There is no magic bullet. But there are a great number of techniques that, with practice, will give you significant time gains, allowing you to answer more questions and score more marks.Published by the UKs Top University Admissions Company, The Ultimate LNAT Guide is the most comprehensive LNAT book available. Written for the 2018 Entry, it contains powerful time-saving strategies that will allow you to answer difficult questions within the time limit, as well a massive 400 Practice Questions written in the style and difficulty of the real exam. Each question comes with Fully Worked Solutions that guide you through the most efficient way for getting the correct answer as quickly as possible.With contributions and advice from over 10 Specialist LNAT Tutors, this is your Ultimate companion to the LNAT and a MUST-BUY for those looking to do well in the exam.
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This book is neither created nor endorsed by LNAT. The authors and publisher are not affiliated with LNAT. The information offered in this book is purely advisory and any advice given should be taken within this context. As such, the publishers and authors accept no liability whatsoever for the outcome of any applicant’s LNAT performance, the outcome of any university applications or for any other loss. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions of any kind. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of information contained herein. This does not affect your statutory rights.
About the Authors
Will graduated from Downing College, Cambridge with a Law degree and has worked for UniAdmissions since 2015. His primary role is as a personal tutor, working with Oxbridge candidates to assist them through all stages of the application process. Since working for UniAdmissions, Will has successfully tutored a number of students preparing to sit the LNAT and is very familiar with all aspects of the paper.
He has an obsession with accuracy and in his spare time, he enjoys road cycling and keeping up with legal developments. He is keen to help others gain the same opportunities he has been afforded, and thus hopes to continue working with UniAdmissions to tutor law applicants from all backgrounds.
Rohan is the Director of Operations at UniAdmissions and is responsible for its technical and commercial arms. He graduated from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and is a fully qualified doctor. Over the last five years, he has tutored hundreds of successful Oxbridge and Medical applicants. He has also authored ten books on admissions tests and interviews.
Rohan has taught physiology to undergraduates and interviewed medical school applicants for Cambridge. He has published research on bone physiology and writes education articles for the Independent and Huffington Post. In his spare time, Rohan enjoys playing the piano and table tennis.
The Ultimate LNAT Guide
400 Practice Questions
What is the LNAT?
The Law National Admissions Test (LNAT) is a 2 hour and 15-minute written exam for law students who are applying to certain UK universities. It is a computer-based exam that can be sat at different times with unique questions at each sitting. You register to take the test online and book a time slot at a test centre near you.
There are 12 passages and 42 questions in the whole of Section A and you have 95 minutes to complete this section. It is a test of your critical thinking and comprehension skills, your ability to identify specific details in large passages and also understand the gist of the passages. It also tests your ability to understand arguments.
One essay must be answered from a choice of 3, for which there are 40 minutes to complete. In particular, this tests your ability to construct coherent arguments and to argue persuasively.
Who has to sit the LNAT?
You have to sit the LNAT if you are applying for any of the following universities that ask for it in the current application cycle. You should check this list in May to see if the universities you are considering require it. The following is a list of the universities and courses requiring the LNAT for 2017 entry. As it is subject to change, it is included for guidance only.
Why is the LNAT used?
The LNAT was established in 2004 and is currently used by a consortium of nine UK universities. Law schools receive highly competitive applications with straight A grades at AS level and strong personal statements. They need to select the best from a pool of the very good applicants they already have and the LNAT fulfils this role.
The LNAT mark and essay are additional pieces of information that are used by admissions tutors when deciding between applicants. They are not used instead of A Levels and GCSEs but merely considered with them.
The multiple choice section examines your critical thinking and verbal reasoning skills, which are very important to do well at the law degree. The LNAT is an aptitude test and while it cannot be studied for, you can very usefully prepare for it. In our experience, it is possible to improve your LNAT score with only a small amount of work and with organised preparation, the results can be fantastic.
Different universities give different weightings to the LNAT. For example, the University of Bristol tends to give a candidate’s LNAT a 25% weighting in the admissions decision (with the A Level at 40%, GCSEs at 20% and personal statement at 15%).
When do I sit the LNAT?
Registration for the LNAT can take place from 1st August 2016 online.
You can decide when to sit the LNAT at the time you register for it online. You can choose your date and time slot. While there are available sittings throughout the year, you must sit the LNAT between 1st September through to 20th January for LNAT Universities. You can take the LNAT either before or after you send your UCAS application.
Given the early UCAS application deadline for Oxford University, you must sit the LNAT on or before 20th October in the admissions cycle.
No matter when you take the test, you will not be able to see your result before you send off your UCAS application. Results are issued to candidates in mid-February.
How much does it cost?
In 2015, the cost for candidates was £50 at UK or EU test centres. If you are sitting the LNAT at a test centre outside the EU, the cost is £70.
Those candidates who struggle to fund the LNAT may be able to seek an LNAT bursary. This is done via the LNAT consortium’s website and you are required to complete an application form online and attach one piece of documentary evidence. This must be done before paying for the test.
If you’re a UK applicant, you will be able to claim an LNAT bursary in any of the following circumstances:
Income-based Jobseekers’ Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance
If you’re an EU applicant, you can claim for an LNAT bursary if you receive an equivalent state benefit in your country of residence.
If you’re outside the EU, you are not eligible for an LNAT bursary.
Can I re-sit the LNAT?
You cannot resit the LNAT in the same application cycle. Whatever score you get is with you for the year. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re well prepared and ready to perform at your very best on the test day.
If I reapply, do I have to resit the LNAT?
Yes. If you apply in a different admissions cycle then you need to retake the LNAT and the score from your new test will be sent to universities.
When do I get my results?
If you sit the LNAT by the 20th January deadline, you will receive your results by email in early February 2017. You will just receive your score of Section A and the average score for the cohort in the admissions cycle.
Section B is not marked by Pearson but is in fact marked by the universities’ admissions tutors themselves. Accordingly, you will not get a mark back on Section B (but it is still taken into account in the admissions process)
Where do I sit the LNAT?
You can sit the LNAT at any Pearson test centre – these are the computer test centres where the driving theory test is taken. Once you book the test, you can choose the most convenient test centre to sit it at.
How is the LNAT scored?
Once you finish the test, your score is calculated by the computer. For all tests taken before 20th October, the universities that require the LNAT will receive the result directly from the test provider on the 21st October. On any day after 20th October, your test result will be sent directly to the LNAT universities within 24 hours of you taking the test.
Section A: Is scored out of 42 and the average score tends to vary from year to year, depending on the difficulty of the test. There are no mark deductions for incomplete or incorrect answers, so it’s a good idea to answer every question even if it’s a guess.
Section B: Your essay is sent directly to the universities and they will mark it themselves. They are testing your ability to construct a reasoned, persuasive and balanced argument, and to write in cogent English. There is a lot of essay writing at degree level, so Section B is a vital part of the LNAT.
How is the LNAT used?
The weighting which the universities place on the LNAT varies. The University of Bristol, for example, place a 25% weighting on it. The universities use the LNAT for a reason and place a lot of importance on both Section A and B. Therefore, the better you do at the LNAT, the better your chances of securing an offer. Given how competitive the law admissions process is, it is vital to produce a solid score on the LNAT. Each university will offer its own guidance on the LNAT on their admissions website.
How does my score compare?
This completely depends on how tough the test is and thus, the average scores. The average tends to vary each year but in the 2015-16 admissions cycle, the average mark for Section A was 23.3 out of 42.
If you need extra time, medication in the exam or any other special arrangement for the exam, you must apply with the Examination Access Requirements form, which is available from the LNAT website. It is important to apply before you book the test and it is necessary to attach evidence demonstrating your eligibility.
If you ordinarily receive extra time in public examinations, you would likely be granted it for the LNAT.
Preparing for the LNAT will certainly improve your LNAT score. You won’t be familiar with the type of questions in the LNAT and answering such questions in timed conditions. With practice, you’ll become significantly quicker in reading the passages in Section A and your speed will increase greatly. Practice will also help you learn and hone techniques to improve your accuracy. This will make you calm and composed on test day, allowing you to perform at your best.
It is easier to prepare if you practice little and often – this will be much more effective than just looking at practice questions on the night before the test. So start your preparation well in advance, ideally by August. This way, you will have a lot of time to work through practice questions to build up your speed and incorporate time-saving techniques into your approach. How to start? Well, by reading this you’re obviously on track!
How to Work
It is necessary to focus on both Section A and Section B in your preparation. Even though you only get a score for Section A, universities place significant weight on Section B.
It would be worth reading about the section and then going through a passage in your own time and understand what the questions are asking for. In particular, it would be useful to understand how an argument works by reading about the advice for Section A in this book. This will help you identify arguments in passages.
Even going through one passage and its set of questions per day would be worthwhile preparation whilst going through the worked solutions to any questions you answered incorrectly.
Closer to the test day, you would need to work in timed conditions, which is approximately 8 minutes per passage in order to become comfortable working under pressure. It is particularly important in the LNAT to be able to get the main idea or argument of the passage as a whole but to also focus on the details. Practice on Section A type questions will invariably make you faster.
This is a very important part of the LNAT. A complaint of an admissions tutor when the LNAT first came out was that many candidates were unable to write a reasoned argument. So it would be worthwhile reading through the advice for Section B in this book and then to go about writing answers to topics you’re unfamiliar with (as well as the examples given in this book). This will help you feel comfortable writing in exam conditions.
Crucially, Section B requires a broad range of knowledge and could involve any area of general knowledge. However, the main skill being assessed is your ability to construct a reasoned and persuasive argument, which is a vital skill for a law degree. Indeed, it would be worth getting a second person to take a look at a sample essay (such as an English/History A Level teacher). Even if you think you are fine writing essays in A Levels, writing an essay on an unfamiliar topic can sometimes unnerve people and the best way to overcome this is practice.
Repeat Tough Questions
When checking through answers, pay particular attention to questions you have got wrong. Look closely through the worked answers in this book until you’re confident you understand the reasoning - then repeat the question later without help to check you can now do it. If you use other resources where only the answer is given, have another look at the question and consider showing it to a friend or teacher for their opinion.
Statistics show that without consolidating and reviewing your mistakes, you’re likely to make the same mistakes again. Don’t be a statistic. Look back over your mistakes and address the cause to make sure you don’t make similar mistakes when it comes to the test. You should avoid guessing in early practice. Highlight any questions you struggled with so you can go back and improve.
There is no negative marking in the LNAT – marking is only positive and you won’t lose points for making a wrong answer. Therefore, if you aren’t able to answer a question, you should guess.
For each question, there are 5 possible answers, thereby giving you a 20% chance of guessing correctly. If you need to guess, see if you can eliminate some of the options as this will improve your chances of making a successful guess.
Booking your Test
If you’re applying to Oxford, it’s necessary to take the test before the 20th October. It makes no difference what day you take it on as the results of all test results taken between the 1st September and 20th October are only sent to universities on the 21st October. That said, it would be best not to leave it too late in case of unforeseen circumstances, such as illness.
For all other universities, you just need to take the test before the 20th January. While it would be preferable not to leave it to the last minute, it is not necessary to do it in September or even before the 20th October. It would be much better to ensure that you’re comfortable with the LNAT and have completed as much practice as possible. This would stand you in good stead for a solid LNAT result.
There are two full LNAT papers freely available at www.lnat.ac.uk and it would be worth going through them in timed conditions after you have worked through the questions in this book. There are also a further two full mock papers available at www.uniadmissions.co.uk/lnat-past-papers
A word on timing...
“If you had all day to do your LNAT, you would get 100%. But you don’t.”
Whilst this isn’t completely true, it illustrates a very important point. Once you’ve practiced and know how to answer the questions, the clock is your biggest enemy. This seemingly obvious statement has one very important consequence. The way to improve your LNAT score is to improve your speed. There is no magic bullet. But there are a great number of techniques that, with practice, will give you significant time gains, allowing you to answer more questions and score more marks.
Timing is tight throughout the LNAT – mastering timing is the first key to success. Some candidates choose to work as quickly as possible to save up time at the end to check back, but this is generally not the best way to do it. LNAT questions can have a lot of information in them – each time you start answering a question it takes time to get familiar with the instructions and information. By splitting the question into two sessions (the first run-through and the return-to-check) you double the amount of time you spend on familiarising yourself with the data, as you have to do it twice instead of only once. This costs valuable time. In addition, candidates who do check back may spend 2–3 minutes doing so and yet not make any actual changes. Whilst this can be reassuring, it is a false reassurance as it is unlikely to have a significant effect on your actual score. Therefore, it is usually best to pace yourself very steadily, aiming to spend the same amount of time on each question and finish the final question in a section just as time runs out. This reduces the time spent on re-familiarising with questions and maximises the time spent on the first attempt, gaining more marks.
It is essential that you don’t get stuck with the hardest questions – no doubt there will be some. In the time spent answering only one of these, you may miss out on answering three easier questions. If a question is taking too long, choose a sensible answer and move on. Never see this as giving up or in any way failing, rather it is the smart way to approach a test with a tight time limit. With practice and discipline, you can get very good at this and learn to maximise your efficiency. It is not about being a hero and aiming for full marks – this is almost impossible and very much unnecessary. It is about maximising your efficiency and gaining the maximum possible number of marks within the time you have.
SECTION A IS THE MULTIPLE choice section. In the exam, you will be presented with 12 passages and 42 questions, with approximately 3-4 questions per passage. There is a total of 95 minutes for this section and you cannot use any of the time for Section B in Section A – you only have a maximum of 95 minutes.
The aim of this section is to test the following skills:
This tests your ability to understand the different parts of a passage. It is important to understand what constitutes a good argument:
Arguments which are heavily based on value judgements and subjective statements tend to be weaker than those based on facts, statistics and the available evidence.
: A good argument should flow and the constituent parts should fit well into an overriding view or belief.
A good argument must concede that there are other views or beliefs (counter-argument). The key is to carefully dismantle these ideas and explain why they are wrong.
Sometimes, the question requires you to consider whether an argument is ‘strong’ or ‘weak’. All arguments include reasons (premises) which aim to support a conclusion. Here, we are considering whether the reasons provide weak or strong support.
An argument is an untimely attempt to persuade with the use of reasons. This can be distinguished from an assertion, which is simply a statement of fact or belief.
Assertion: It is raining outside.
Argument: I can hear the continuous sound of water splashing on the roof. Therefore, it must be raining outside.
The argument involves an attempt to persuade another that it is raining and it includes a reason as to why the speaker thinks it is raining, which is the splashing on the roof. The assertion, on the other hand, is not backed up with a reason – it is simply a statement.
An argument involves a premise and a conclusion.
A premise is simply a statement from which another can be inferred or follows as a conclusion.
A conclusion though is a summary of the arguments made.
Premise 1: All dogs bark.
Premise 2: My pet is a dog.
Conclusion: My pet barks.
The conclusion here follows from both of the premises.
Sometimes, it will be necessary to distinguish an argument from an explanation and you will need to be careful here as it can be difficult to distinguish sometimes. In essence, an argument will always involve an attempt to persuade the reader as to a point of view. Explanations, on the other hand, do not. Explanations may describe why something is the way it is or account for how something has occurred.
We can hear the sound of water drops because the tap is leaking.
We can hear the sound of water drops. Therefore, we need to call the plumber.
Example 1 just accounts for why water drops can be heard – there is no attempt to persuade the reader that there are either water drops or that the tap is leaking. The tap leaking is just asserted as an explanation for the sound of the water drops.
In example 2, the author is advancing an argument as the author is making the case to call the plumber. The premise being the sound of water drops.
Premise vs. Conclusion
Hence, a conclusion is shown/implied/proven by a premise. Similarly, a premise shows/indicates/establishes a conclusion. Consider for example: My mom, being a woman, is clever as all women are clever.
This is fairly straightforward as it’s a very short passage and the conclusion is explicitly stated. Sometimes the latter may not happen. Consider: My mom is a woman and all women are clever.
Here, whilst the conclusion is not explicitly being stated, both premises still stand and can be used to reach the same conclusion.
You may sometimes be asked to identify if any of the options cannot be “reliably concluded”. This is effectively asking you to identify why an option cannot be the conclusion. There are many reasons why but the most common ones are:
My mom is clever therefore all women are clever.
Being too specific:
All kids like candy thus my son also likes candy.
Confusing Correlation vs. Causation:
Lung cancer is much more likely in patients who drink water. Hence, water causes lung cancer.
Confusing Cause and Effect:
Lung cancer patients tend to smoke so it follows that having lung cancer must make people want to smoke.
Note how conjunctives like hence, thus, therefore, and it follows, give you a clue as to when a conclusion is being stated. More examples of these include: “it follows that, implies that, whence, entails that”.
Similarly, words like “because, as indicated by, in that, given that, due to the fact that” usually identify premises.
It is important to be able to identify assumptions in a passage as questions frequently ask to identify these.
An assumption is a reasonable assertion that can be made based on the available evidence.
A crucial difference between an assumption and a premise is that a premise is normally mentioned in the passage, whereas an assumption is not. A useful way to consider whether there is a particular assumption in the passage is to consider whether the conclusion relies on it to work – i.e. if the assumption is taken away, does that affect the conclusion? If it does, then it’s an assumption.
Fact vs. Opinion
Sometimes you will be required to distinguish between a fact and an opinion. A fact is something that can be tested to be true or false. An opinion, on the other hand, cannot be tested to be true or false – it is someone’s view on something and is a value judgement.
For example: “Tuition fees were reduced by the Welsh government in 2012. Many viewed this as a fair outcome.”
Fact: Tuition fees were reduced by the Welsh government.
Opinion: It is a fair outcome.
What one person sees as being ‘fair’ may not be ‘fair’ to another person – even if many people see a particular policy as fair. It is a normative statement that cannot be tested as true or false.
Correlation vs. Causation
Just because two incidents or events have occurred does not mean that one has caused the other. For example: “French people are known for having a glass of wine with dinner and they have a larger life expectancy than we do. Therefore, we should consume wine to be healthier.”
This argument is flawed. There are 2 events: (i) French people known for having wine and (ii) French people having a larger life expectancy. There is no suggestion in the extract that (i) wine is causally related to (ii) or that having wine actually leads to a longer life. Accordingly, in itself, the premises do not adequately support the conclusion – there could be other reasons such as diet or exercise.
Approaching Section A
For each question, there are 5 options to choose from. Only one can be correct. Therefore, if you cannot find the correct one initially, you can use the process of elimination to find the correct one.
If you are stuck on a particular passage or question, do not spend too long on it as this can take time away from your other questions. It would be best to leave it until the end if you have time left.
Take every fact in the passage as true and your answer must be based on the information in the passage only – so do not use your own knowledge, even if you feel that you personally know the topic. For example, if the question asks who the first person was to walk on the moon, then states “the three crew members of the first lunar mission were Edwin Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins”. The correct answer is “cannot tell” – even though you know it was Neil Armstrong and see his name, the passage itself does not tell you who left the landing craft first. Likewise, if there is a quotation or an extract from a book which is factually inaccurate, you should answer based on the information available to you rather than what you know to be true.
Read the Questions First
Different strategies work well for different people but indeed, having a look at the questions before going through the passage can help you focus on the important details in the passage in the first reading of it, thereby saving you time.
It would be best to try this strategy with some of the passages in this book to see if it works for you.
Even if you finish the questions before the 95 minutes runs out, you cannot use any of this extra time on Section B – you can only use this 95 minutes on Section A so you might as well go back through any questions that you found difficult or whether you were uncertain in any areas.
No knowledge is required for Section A and no knowledge of the law or current affairs is required.
Common Types of Questions
As well as critically analysing the passages in the book, a brilliant preparation for the LNAT is to engage in further non-fiction reading and to consider some of the following questions:
Critically reading non-fiction, such as in a quality newspaper, will not only help improve your Section A performance but would also improve your knowledge bank for the Section B essay.
Passage 1 – Controlled Drugs
There is a consensus among Parliamentarians that the current drug policy is simply not working. Approximately 1 in 12 adults in the UK have taken an illicit drug in the last year (amounting to 2.8 million people) and 1 in 5 young adults have taken an illicit drug. It is thus clear that the Government needs to do more. However, while it is clear that there needs to be a shift in policy, politicians cannot agree on what changes are needed.
Possessing a banned drug is a criminal offence but how can it be that all these individuals are potentially criminals? Is it moral to label these individuals as criminals? Around the world, there have been growing calls for the legalisation of drugs. In 2001, Portugal legislated to decriminalise the use of small amounts of drugs. Since then, drug consumption in Portugal has been below the European average and the percentage of young people aged 15-24 consuming drugs in Portugal has decreased. It is clear that the legalisation of drugs has not had the effect that opponents of the policy claimed it would have. Accordingly, decriminalising drugs may be a pointer in the right direction for the UK.
A key justification for criminalising the possession of drugs is that it would reduce the propensity of drug consumption (or deter people from consuming drugs). However, there is no strong evidence to support this notion. Once a person is in possession of a controlled drug, they have committed a criminal offence, yet this has not deterred the 2.8 million users. Further, a study by the European Union’s Drugs Monitoring Agency found no correlation between harsher punishments for drug offences and lower drug consumption. This makes the argument for legalisation much more compelling.
Moreover, drug consumption in itself is a victimless crime in that it doesn’t harm anyone apart from the drug user. Furthermore, the majority of users only consume drugs in small amounts which are unlikely to harm themselves. Any negative health effects that can be incurred are limited to the individual. This is in contrast to smoking, where ‘passive smoking’ can have a serious impact on others.
Opponents of legalisation have suggested that a drug addiction can lead to other crimes, such as theft and robbery, as the individual resorts to secondary crimes to fund their expensive addiction. Accordingly, they argue that taking controlled drugs can be criminogenic. However, this misses the point. The underlying reason for which individuals participate in such secondary crimes (e.g. robbery or theft) is the very high prices of controlled drugs, which are, in turn, a consequence of their prohibition. The very fact that they are illegal means that only criminal gangs end up supplying the controlled drugs, leading to the high prices. If the prohibition is removed, the increase in supply would reduce the price of the drugs and thus, reduce the ‘need’ to resort to crimes such as theft or robbery.
Legalisation is preferable to criminalisation but that is not to say that legalisation alone would suffice. Excess drug use should be seen as a public health issue, rather than a problem for the criminal law. While a drug addiction can lead to medical issues, so too can excess alcohol. Is it not incoherent for a society to allow any amount of alcohol consumption and yet totally prohibit the smallest consumption of controlled drugs? Accordingly, the freedom that individuals have to choose whether to consume alcohol should be accorded to them in regard to drugs.
What is the meaning of
in its context in this passage?
That consuming a controlled drug is a crime
That taking controlled drugs can lead to other crimes being committed
That taking controlled drugs is a victimless crime
That criminalisation is not the best response to reduce the consumption of drugs
Crimes such as theft or robbery
Which of the following is presented as being
by the author?
That smoking is not prohibited and yet drugs are prohibited
That alcohol is not prohibited and yet drugs are prohibited
That drug consumption is a victimless crime
That it is not drugs per se that lead to robbery or theft but the high prices of the drugs
That a justification for criminalising drugs is to reduce the consumption of drugs but there is no strong evidence to support that point
What is the main argument in the passage?
Drug use is a public health issue, rather than a problem for the criminal law
Drug consumption is victimless
Drug consumption is not criminogenic
That controlled drugs should be regulated
That controlled drugs should be legalised
What practical effect does the author believe would come about if the consumption of drugs were legalised?
Drug consumption would fall
Drug consumption would increase
Drug users would take part in fewer secondary crimes (such as robbery and theft)
It makes society fairer
Drug use would be seen as a public health issue
Which of the following would most weaken the author’s main argument?
Drug consumption has a tendency to increase one’s propensity for violence
Criminalisation is moral
Drugs have more negative health effects than alcohol
Drug dealers could turn to other crimes – such as people trafficking
It is not clear that there isn’t a deterrent effect of criminalisation
Passage 2 – Sweeney Todd
Despite the fact that some associate musicals with cheesy joy, the genre is not limited to gleeful stories, as can be demonstrated by the macabre musical, ‘Sweeney Todd’. The original story of the murderous barber appears in a Victorian penny dreadful, ‘The String of Pearls: A Romance’. The penny dreadful material was adapted for the 19th century stage, and in the 20th century was adapted into two separate melodramas, before the story was taken up by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. The pair turned it into a new musical, which has since been performed across the globe and been adapted into a film starring Johnny Depp.
Sondheim and Wheeler’s drama tells a disturbing narrative: the protagonist, falsely accused of a crime by a crooked judge, escapes from Australia to be told that his wife was raped by that same man of the court. In response, she has committed suicide, and her daughter - Todd’s daughter - has been made the ward of the judge. The eponymous figure ultimately goes on a killing spree, vowing vengeance against the people who have wronged him but also declaring ‘we all deserve to die’, and acting on this belief by killing many of his clients; men who come to his barbershop. His new partner in crime, Mrs Lovett, comes up with the idea of turning the bodies of his victims into the filling of pies, as a way of sourcing affordable meat - after all, she claims, ‘times is hard’.
Cannibalism, vengeance, murder, and corruption - these are all themes that demonstrate that this show does not conform to a happy-clappy preconception of its genre.
Sondheim and Wheeler’s musical has been adapted into a number of formats over the years, including the film ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ directed by Tim Burton. The nature of a film production necessitated a number of changes to the musical. Burton even acknowledged that while it was based on the musical, they were out to make a film and not a Broadway show. Accordingly, a three-hour musical was cut into a two-hour film, which brought a number of challenges: some of the songs and the romance between Todd’s daughter and Anthony (a sailor) had to be removed.
There was initially concern though as the film actors, while critically acclaimed in their profession, were not professional singers. However, that turned out to be a non-issue as the film’s soundtrack received glowing reviews, in particular, Depp’s voice which received positive critical appraisals.
Which of the following statements are best supported by the above passage?
Sondheim is a brilliant musician and lyricist
Most musicals deal with morbid themes
Wheeler is an avid penny dreadful fan
Generalisations can be misleading
Film adaptations lead to fundamental changes in the storyline
All the adjectives below are explicitly supported by the passage as ways of describing the crimes described within it, except:
Which of the following statements best sums up Todd’s belief?
Bad people should die so good can live and prosper
Good people should die because the bad have basically taken over
All men should die
All humans merit death
Death is unavoidable
Which of the following statements is best supported in the above passage?
There are four themes in ‘Sweeney Todd’
Legal corruption is the predominate theme of ‘Sweeney Todd’
Several ‘Sweeney Todd’ themes are morbid
There is nothing positive in ‘Sweeney Todd’
Sadness is the focus of Sweeny Todd
Which of the following is true?
Mrs Lovett and Sweeney Todd are in a romantic relationship
All of the songs from the musical were removed or adjusted
The storyline of the film adaptation was fundamentally different to the musical
The film did not receive positive critical acclaim
The film actors did not have professional musical experience
Passage 3 – Youth Unemployment
Youth Unemployment -that is: those young people who are in search of work but are unable to get into work -is disturbingly high. The current youth unemployment figure for the UK is at an unsettling 12%. This is much higher than that of other developed countries such as Germany and Switzerland and the societal implications of this are greater than what the politicians acknowledge. The longer a young person is unemployed, the less likely they are to find a job at all. This has destructive effects on the country: it increases the government’s spending on welfare pay-outs, reduces the economy’s capacity and increases the likelihood of crime. The personal impact of youth unemployment is equally devastating; lower quality of life, low self-esteem, and lack of confidence and even depression, which can lead to a never-ending cycle of unemployment. It is, thus, clear that youth unemployment is a dangerous virus that demands immediate government attention.
There are a number of reasons for the high youth unemployment rate, such as the sluggish state of the economy and the global financial crash in 2007/08. When the economy is not doing well, businesses tend to lay off workers in response to a lack of sales. This happened in 2008 when the economy slumped and unemployment drastically increased. Since then, the economy has only recovered lethargically.
However, this alone does not account for the entirety of the youth unemployment rate. Since the economic slump of 2008, total unemployment has reduced to 5.4%, while youth unemployment is at a much higher 12%. Why is there such a big difference? Is it just an inherent feature of society? Do businesses not want young people? A number of young people report that there aren’t enough jobs for them. Yet at the same time, businesses say they are desperate to find skilled young people. They just can’t find young people with the right skills to suit their needs. For example, Dulux, the paint manufacturer, has pointed out that there simply aren’t enough skilled painters and decorators. In London, two-thirds of construction firms have had to turn down work as they don’t have enough practical and skilled workers. And herein lies the problem – many young people do not have the skills that businesses are looking for.
That is not to say that it is the fault of those who are unemployed. The root of the problem is the lack of courses that are geared to the kind of skills that businesses want and the existing structural inadequacies within our education system. The head of Ofsted recently pointed out that the lack of high-quality vocational courses in England is a concern. Vocational courses have traditionally been seen as a ‘second-rate’ option in the country, with the academic A Levels being the ‘gold’ standard. This view must change – not everyone is destined for academia and vocationally trained individuals have an important role in our society. Would you rather have a well-read English graduate or a vocationally trained engineer fix your central heating? Thus, the government must make high-quality vocational provision a priority. Vocational education tends to be incorrectly seen as second-rate by students and this must change. Putting an emphasis on vocational courses will address the skills shortage in the UK, make the UK more productive, and crucially improve the prospects of our young generation. In addition, the education sector and businesses should engage with each other more closely to ensure that skill deficits are addressed in the national curriculum.
A report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggests that youth unemployment tends to be lower in countries where there is a vocational route into employment and not just an academic one. This shines a lot of light on the situation in the UK.
11. Which of the following is not a potential personal impact of youth unemployment?
Lower quality of life
Increases the government’s spending on welfare pay-outs
Lack of confidence
12. Which of the following is the underlying reason for the high youth unemployment rate?
The global financial crash of 2007/08
Not enough jobs for young people
Lack of skills
The head of Ofsted
The lack of high-quality vocational courses
13. Which of the following is implied but not stated in the passage?
There is a mismatch between the skills that young people have and the skills that employers are looking for
Young people don’t have the skills that businesses are looking for
Teachers should encourage young people to undertake vocational courses
Businesses should provide training to improve the skills of young people
Unemployment is bad
Which of the following is the author’s main argument in the passage?
An increased emphasis should be placed on vocational courses
An increase in the skills of young people needs to be brought about
Better jobs for young people are needed
That unemployment has caused a lack of skills
That there aren’t enough skilled young people
According to the author, what can businesses do to reduce youth unemployment?
Create more jobs
Increase young people’s skills
Engage with the education sector
Train more young people
Create vocational courses
Passage 4 – The English Reformation
In the early 1500s, King Henry VIII set the English Church on a different course forever. Henry was undoubtedly a devout catholic when he took the throne. Indeed, he was a staunch defender of Catholicism in the face of threats from religious reformers, such as Luther. Impressed by Henry VIII’s defence, the Pope gave him the title ’Defender of the Faith’. So how did Henry come to separate from the Roman Church?
Although historians are not universally in agreement, many put Henry VIII as the key driver behind separating the Church of England from Rome. Henry was disappointed in his marriage with Catherine of Aragon as, in spite of multiple pregnancies, they only had one daughter together. Henry though was desperate to conceive a son. He had a monumental ego and was, thus, concerned about his legacy. In order to secure his dynasty and ensure that the Tudor reign remained strong, he needed a legitimate son. Accordingly, he was eager to secure a divorce with his current wife and marry Anne Boleyn with the aim of having a legitimate son with her. The English church was under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church (of whom the Pope was the leader) and in order to separate from Catherine, Henry needed to obtain an annulment from the Pope. Despite the mammoth efforts of Henry’s right-hand man, he was unable to secure an annulment of the marriage from Rome, which would have been the straightforward option. It became clear that Rome was not going to budge on this and from then, Henry began to pursue a separation from the Roman Church.
Historians also point to another reason for Henry‘s desire to break away from Rome. He liked the idea of being the only head of the church and the supreme leader. His ego influenced many of his key decisions, such as engaging in wars abroad, and this decision was no different.
A number of historians suggest that Thomas Cromwell was the man behind the separation. Indeed, Cromwell played a significant role in engineering it. With control of the King’s parliamentary affairs, he persuaded Parliament to enact a supplication pronouncing Henry as ‘the only head’ of the church, establishing the doctrine of royal supremacy. This was in clear conflict with Papal authority and began the process of breaking away from the Roman Church. But while it is clear that Cromwell had a vital role in the break from Rome, the obvious must still be repeated – were it not for Henry’s desire of a break, there would not have been such a break.
Through a series of Acts of Parliament over two years, the break from Rome was secured and ties between the English church and Rome were severed. One such Act of Parliament in 1934, the Act of Supremacy, declared the King as ‘the only Supreme head in earth of the Church of England.’ This drastic change put the English church on a new course and while there were no major day-to-day changes initially, it planted the seed for the differences we see today between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England.
What was the ultimate cause of the Church of England’s breakaway from Rome?
Henry VIII’s ego
Rome wouldn’t grant him a divorce
Henry wanted a son
What does ‘dynasty’ mean in the Passage?
Henry’s control of the Kingdom
Succession of people from Henry’s family to the throne
Exertion of dominion by the Tudors
The power of Henry VIII
Why did Henry want a son?
To secure Royal Supremacy
He wanted to divorce Catherine
To secure the Tudor reign
Males were preferred in the 16
None of the above
Which of the following is an unstated assumption?
Henry had an ego
There was no opposition to the reformation
The public was supportive of the break from Rome
Henry needed Cromwell to make the break from Rome
Henry believed that he couldn’t get a divorce through Rome
What is the Royal Supremacy?
The breaking away from Rome
The idea of the King being the supreme authority
The King becoming the leader of the church
The authority of the Pope over the Church
The Act of Supremacy 1934
Passage 5 – Charities and Public Schools
What constitutes a charity is a matter of public significance, but also an important issue in determining the taxable income a charity receives. In the popular sense, charities are seen as institutions which primarily help the poor, however, a question has been raised as to why public schools should be considered as charities considering the fees required to attend them.
In order to be classified and registered as a charity, it is necessary for an institution to demonstrate that its purposes are for the public benefit. Once accorded charity status, the institution gains a number of fiscal benefits from the government. For example, no corporation tax is paid on most types of income. In contrast, corporation tax, which currently stands at 20% of all profits, is paid by all other private businesses. The law should not allow a ‘free-for-all’ where any profit-making company can be a charity by just doing a minuscule charitable act, as this would have a negative impact on the public purse. Nonetheless, charitable status is highly sought out by many organisations for these reasons and has become highly controversial in the case of public schools.
Public schools charge a fee for admission, in contrast with state schools, which are funded by the Government. Accordingly, as public schools are private institutions, becoming charitable will help their finances. Whether this should be possible hinges on what acting for the public benefit means and requires in the context of education.
In 2011, the Independent Schools Council (ISC), representing public schools, sought a judicial review of the Charity Commission’s guidance on what is required for a public school to demonstrate a ‘public benefit’. The ISC argued that they did provide a public benefit, but they did face opposition. The Education Review Group, who helped draft the Commission’s disputed guidance, also intervened in the case, advancing arguments in the trial. Ultimately, the tribunal held that the Commission’s guidance was wrong as a matter of law and required them to change it. The trial judge decided that in order to operate for the public benefit, a sufficient section of society must directly benefit from the education provided, which he said must include children whose parents would be unable to afford the fees without assistance.
In the trial, a number of arguments were advanced on either side of the issue. One such argument was that independent schools are a net cost to society as they remove able pupils from state schools and present barriers to social mobility. However, the tribunal did not consider such an argument as it related to a ‘political’ issue, rather than a judicial one.
Further, private education provision can provide a multitude of benefits to society. Indeed, it educates the children whose parents pay for the provision. While this may not seem inherently charitable because parents are paying for the education, there are public benefits too. Firstly, the provision of education in itself is a benefit – having an educated population benefits not only the individuals through enabling them to enjoy a higher living standard, but also the general economy. More taxes will be paid and there will be less crime. That is not to say that we should ignore the gap between public schools and state schools. Indeed, state schools that are struggling should be willing to receive help from public schools and public schools should, in accordance with their public duty, offer such help.
Which of the following is definitely true based on the passage?
Any institution that provides a public benefit gains fiscal benefits from the government
Every organisation would rather be a charity than a private company
If an organisation is not a charity, it does not provide a public benefit
Charities may not have to pay corporation tax
The law should not allow a free-for-all
Which of the following is required if an organisation is to become a charity?
To help the poor
To exist for the public good
To demonstrate that the fiscal benefits gained would be for the public benefit
To not make private profits
Who is most likely to have advanced the argument that public schools are a net cost to society based on the passage?
The Independent Schools Council
The tribunal judges
The Education Review Group
Which of the following is an opinion as opposed to a fact?
The tribunal did not consider the argument that there was a net cost to society
No corporation tax is paid on most types of income
Public schools charge a fee for admission
The law should not allow a free-for-all
A charity has to demonstrate that it operates for the public benefit
Which of the following would have adequately supported the argument that there is a public benefit from public schools before the tribunal?
Public schools educate the children whose parents pay for it
Public schools provide scholarships to others who can’t afford the fees
Public schools can make better use of money, as opposed to it being paid through tax
Public schools are better than state schools
State schools can learn from public schools
Passage 6 – Amazon vs. Hachette
The public does not normally witness corporate trade negotiations or disputes. They are generally held behind closed doors and in private for the mutual benefit of the companies in the dispute. However, there was an exception in the dispute between the international publisher, Hachette, and Amazon in 2014. Both of them are powerful organisations with market power, however, this episode has shown that one is more powerful than the other.
It is first necessary to go into the background of this dispute. The sale of a book involves three main protagonists. Arguably the most important, the author writes the book. The publisher prints and distributes the book. The retailers then act as the point of sale to consumers. In the US, there are five very large publishers who have enjoyed significant market dominance. When distributing their books, publishers want them in the biggest retailers and crucially, the biggest of them all by far is Amazon. It is estimated by some that 50% of all book sales (both printed and electronic) across the US go through Amazon. It is the most dominant bookseller and, therefore, it is imperative for publishers to get their books on Amazon. In order to do this though, each publisher needs to enter into a legal contract with Amazon, which is normally a private arrangement.
In 2014, Hachette and Amazon were in negotiations to renew their contract for the pricing and distribution of Hachette’s books. While the exact issues in the negotiations remain private, it became clear that the negotiations weren’t going well. Amazon stopped selling a number of Hachette’s books and delayed deliveries of many by weeks. Famous books such as those by JK Rowling were delayed. Was this just business? Or did Amazon go too far? It infuriated both Hachette and the authors of the books that Hachette publish. It showed the length that Amazon would go to in order to get what they want. Hachette’s authors, who normally stayed out of publisher-retailer contracts, weighed in and criticised Amazon. Amazon had used their enormous market power to restrict the sales of the books from Hachette to try to get their way and many authors argued that Amazon had abused their market power. However, it was only a minority of authors (and mainly the successful ones) that spoke out.
In reality, Hachette and their authors are not the innocent victims in all of this. Hachette, with their market power in publishing, conspired with the other major US publishers and Apple to fix the prices of eBooks (i.e. to keep them artificially high) in 2012. When the US Department of Justice sued, the publishers (including Hachette) made a settlement for $164m. So it’s a bit rich for Hachette to complain about Amazon’s aggressive price strategy.
In regard to individual authors, the major publishers haven’t always been friendly either. It is a monstrous task for an up and coming author to get even a small book deal with a publisher. Publishers generally have a narrow view as to what a suitable book is and are primarily focused on what they think the monetary returns will be. Amazon, though, has taken a new step. They have introduced a suite of services that allows authors to self-publish their work through Amazon. It allows individuals to publish both an eBook and a print book. Amazon, with their vast resources, are also able to offer a ‘print-on-demand’ service whereby Amazon prints each book to order. This bypasses the need for traditional publishers or any need for a large pot of cash to fund a print run. Surely, this genius innovation should be applauded. It allows many more small-time authors to self-publish their works and disrupts the unfairness that the big publishers created. Yes, Amazon has excessive market power, but at least they’re using it to the benefit of small authors, unlike the traditional publishers. So let them engage in whatever tactics they want to with Hachette.
What is the author’s view as to the balance of power between Amazon and Hachette?
Hachette is more powerful than Amazon
Amazon is more powerful than Hachette
They are both powerful
The author doesn’t have a view as to which
They have both exerted market power
The author stated that it is ‘a bit rich for Hachette to complain about Amazon’s aggressive strategy’. What is he suggesting about Hachette’s complaint?
It attacks Amazon’s views
What is the main conclusion of the author’s article?
That Amazon has a lot of market power
That Hachette has a lot of market power
Amazon are disruptive
Amazon has done more for small-time authors than Hachette has done
Amazon’s actions against Hachette are just business
What did the author imply by the use of the word ‘monstrous’ in the passage?
That the publishers are monsters
That it’s a big task to get a book deal
That it is unacceptably too tough to get a book deal
That authors have to work hard
That authors have to act like monsters
Which of the following would, if true, most undermine the author’s argument in the final paragraph?
Amazon charge high fees to authors for their ‘self-publishing’ services
Amazon is not the first company to offer services in self-publishing
Hachette offers the same ‘self-publishing’ services
Amazon has caused a loss to some authors from their aggressive negotiations with Hachette
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