I quarrelled with Mother and ran away to join my father, I travelled on the roof of a train
all the way to Kazakhstan.
I was fifteen.
I wanted to become a man and stand on my own feet. At that time my father was working
as chief of a geological expedition.
When I arrived, I agreed with him not to let the others know that I was his son :
« .. .Otherwise you’ll be favoured. And that isn’t going to make a man of you, » he said.
So I joined the expedition as a labourer.
Among many other things, I learned to break the ground with a pick, extract selected
pieces of rock with a mallet, (...) and to light a fire in driving rain. But yet I couldn’t swim,
nobody knew that, and I lived in fear of being found out and disgraced.
One day I was walking with a geologist along a narrow mountain path above a noisy
stream. We both carried knapsacks filled with specimens of rocks. Suddenly the geologist took a
false step and the ground gave way under his feet. He tried to catch hold of a bush, missed it, and
fell headlong from the steep bank, down into the river. Within seconds I saw him thrashing
about in the foaming water, struggling to keep afloat, but his knapsack was dragging him down.
I flung mine off my shoulders, whipped my knife in one hand, and jumped in. I swam
hard up to the geologist without realising, cut the straps of his knapsack, and we both scrambled
ashore... It was only then that I remembered I didn’t know how to swim.
And from that day on, I have known that the best way of learning something is to take a
leap into the unknown without looking back. That way, you either learn or perish.
Adapted from A precocious autobiography (by Yevgueny Yevtushenko)
Kazakhstan : a republic of the ex-Soviet Union
to thrash about : to struggle = se débattre (French)
specimens : samples = échantillons (French)
to scramble : to climb quickly
to take a leap : to jump.
I./ Comprehension 8 pts
A. 1. Give a suitable title to the text. 1 pt
B. Say if the following statement are true or false. Justin your answer by quoting the text. 3 pts
2.Yevgueny’s father was one of the labourers of the expedition.
3.The boy wasn’t ashamed of not knowing how to swim.
4.According to the author, the best way to learn is to attend lessons with a teacher assisting.
C. Match the words in column A to their synonyms in column B :
D. Choose a, b, or c to complete the following sentences :
10. Yevgueny joined the expedition
a) in order to work and earn some money
b) because he wanted to learn things of life
c) because he couldn’t live without his father
11. The boy worked as a labourer in the expedition
a)because his father hadn’t recognised him
b)because the other labourers didn’t like him
c)in order not to be favoured by the others
12. Young Yevgueny rescued the geologist
a)by pulling him out of the water with a rope
b)by relieving him of his sack
c)by calling out for help
II./ Linguistic competence 6 pts
E. Fill in the blanks by using the words from the box :
13. …………. the man entered the village, a dog barked menacingly.
14.Their supporters shouted at our players.......................... all the match.
15.He managed to rescue us ................... his age.
16. ……………… knew nothing about mechanics, he could drive as expertly as Daddy.
F. Rewrite the sentences without changing their meaning.
17.His knapsack was dragging him down
He was ………………………………………………………………
18.« That isn’t going to make a man of you ».
He told me that...............................
G. Rewrite the following sentence using “if” 1 pt
19.He wasn’t killed because he was rescued in time.
20.You must work harder. Otherwise you’ll fail your exams.
H. Complete these sentences using : rather, like or better. 1 pt
21.I’m sure it’s going to rain. We’d.............................. stay at home.
22.She doesn’t like Dakar very much. She’d....................... spend her holidays in Ziguinchor.
I. Choose the correct form of the verb in brackets :
23.He won’t tell you anything. It’s no use …… (ask — asked — asking) him.
24.When I was in the first form, Mathematics …(is — were — are — was) my best subject
III. Writing : choose one topic and write at least 10 lines. 6 pts
Topic n°1 : You have witnessed a very bad accident in your town, village....
(Description) Describe it saying how it happened, how you behaved, what you or someone
Topic n°2 : A snake has bitten one of your friends. You’re discussing with the others on the
(Dialogue) best, quickest and safest way to rescue him.
Topic n° 3 ; Write a letter to a friend telling him about the way you think a child should be
« Facile » est un mot un p’tit peu trop relevé à mn gout pour qualifier ces épreuves ! « abordable » à la rigeur, mais facile j’en doute fort ! en tenant compte de la longueur de l’épeuvre et du fait que les élèves ne sont pas sensé connaitre tous les mots employés, on peut difficilement dire que c’est « facile »...