After the last day of the holidays, my uncle Mamadou took me to my new school.
"Work hard now" he said "and God will keep you. You can give me your first impressions on Sunday".
On the Sunday, I complained bitterly to my uncle:
"But I've learnt nothing uncle, I already know by heart all the things they taught us. Is it really necessary going to this school? I might as well go back to Kouroussa at once!"
"No" said my uncle, "Wait a little!"
"There's nothing to wait for. I could see at once that there was nothing worth waiting for".
"Come! Do not be so impatient. Are you always as impatient as this? The school where you are now is perhaps not so good in general subjects, but it can give you practical training which you will find nowhere else. Haven't you been in the workshops?"
I showed him my hands: they were covered with scratches and my fingers burned.
"But I do not want to be a workman" I said.
"I do not want to be neglected."
Now I was ambitious. But I would never realize my ambitions by becoming a manual worker. I had no more respect than most people for such workers.
"But who is speaking of manual work? » said my uncle. »A technician is not necessarily a manual worker. There are other things in his line of work. He is a man who has other workers under him. He can do many different things. That is where you will succeed. Believe me, stay where you are. And I'm going to tell you something you don't know: your school is about to be reorganized. You will shortly see great changes there, and the general standard of education will not be inferior to that at the Camille Guy College".
Did my uncle's arguments finally convince me?
Not altogether perhaps. But my uncle Sékou and even my aunts added their advice to his, and so I stayed at the technical school.
Adapted from The African Child by Camara Laye
Scratches: écorchures, égratignures
I. COMPREHENSION (8 pts.)
A. Read the text and choose the letter corresponding to the correct answer. (2 pts.)
1. The boy complained to ...
a. his friend.
b. his teacher.
c. a relative.
d. a classmate
2. The boy had to meet his uncle again ...
a. the previous week.
b. two weeks later.
c. the following week.
d. at the weekend
3. For the boy the new school was ...
c. too easy.
d. good for him.
4. At last the boy...
a. disagreed with his uncle.
b. agreed with his uncle.
c. was angry with his uncle.
d. disappointed his uncle.
B. Read the text and say if these statements are True or False (ex: 1.T or 1.F) (2 pts.)
1. The workshops are not in the boy's school.
2. A technical school is where you can receive a practical training.
3. The boy admires manual workers.
4. For the uncle, a technician is more than a manual worker.
C. Read the text and answer these questions. (4 pts.)
1. When did the uncle take the boy to the new school? (1 pt.)
2. Where did the boy come from? (1 pt.)
3. Find out expressions in the text to show that the work conditions were hard. (2pts)
II. VOCABULARY (2 pts.)
1. Find in the text words corresponding to these definitions.
a. A person who strongly wants to succeed is.... (0,5 pt.)
b. A job which we do with our hands is..... (0,5 pt.)
2. Find two irregular verbs conjugated in the simple past in paragraph n°1 (1 pt.)
III. GRAMMAR (6 pts.)
A. Write the correct form of the verbs in brackets. (1 pt.)
1. Children must learn their lessons before (to go) to school. (0,5 pt.)
2. The pupils would like (to meet) the headmaster. (0,5 pt.)
B. Use the comparative of superiority in these sentences. (1 pt.)
1. This child is (good) his brother at English. (0,5 pt.)
2. A car is (expensive) a bicycle. (0,5 pt.)
C. Put the verbs in brackets into the correct tense. (1 pt.)
1. Salif (to buy) this car if he had money. (0,5 pt.)
2. The president (to leave) if the people had known the truth. (0,5 pt.)
D. Fill the blanks with "much" or "many". (1 pt.)
1. He drinks ....... water. (0,5 pt.)
2. There are .... pupils in this classroom. (0,5 pt.)
E. There is one mistake in each sentence: correct it. (1 pt.)
1. Can you to speak English (0,5 pt.)
2. Karim speaked Chinese yesterday (0,5 pt.)
F. Choose the appropriate reflexive pronouns to complete each of the following sentences (yourselves, themselves, himself herself), (1 pt.)
1. My sister washes her clothes ........ (0,5 pt.)
2. The children are enjoying............ (0,5 pt.)
IV. ESSAY WRITING (4 pts.)
What must parents do to help their children succeed in schools? (6-8 lines)