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Test Yourself: What’s the big idea?

5 Sep 2017 | 206 View

Test Yourself: What’s the big idea?

Test Yourself is where you can improve your reading skills. Whether it’s for tests like University Entrance Exams or IELTS and TOEFL, or even just for fun, these pages help you to read, understand and improve your English.

Read the following story by Titapa Chaiyakiturajai. Then, answer the questions that follow.

Last month, TEDxBangkok returned for its third consecutive year. Under the theme “little things mingle,” 2017 continued the event’s strong tradition of sharing new and interesting ideas. S Weekly went along to get inspired.


The TED programme is dedicated to the spreading of ideas and TEDxBangkok 2017 certainly delivered on that front. Featuring 13 speakers and two performances, the event covered topics as varied as law, peace, marine con-servation, artificial intelligence, public services and even love. As well as being thought-provoking, the talks were often funny and even moving.

In one of the more left field talks, “The Power of Nonsense Thinking,” the speaker encouraged his audience not to be afraid of sharing ideas that might seem like they don’t make sense. He argued that even the silliest ideas can lead to the greatest inspiration. Elsewhere, a data scientist looked at the growth of AI and society’s fear of losing jobs to it. Instead of being afraid, he urged us to view the technological advancements as a positive.

“Learn to work with or alongside artificial intelligence. Don’t let it replace you,” he said.


As well as speakers and performers, the event also featured fun and enlightening workshops. Among the more notable of these were the “Brain Smells Workshop,” the “Art for the Oceans Workshop” and the “Mystery Workshop.” The “Brain Smells Workshop” was conducted by Bit Studio together with a team of scent designers, brain engi-neers and creative technologists. The workshop involved an experiment which sought to translate brain activity into art through the use of certain smells. The brain’s reactions to the smells were captured and used to produce colourful visual effects.

“Art for the Oceans” featured an exhibition of contemporary sculptures, clothing and imagery celebrating marine biodiversity. Its purpose was to remind us of our need to act to preserve ocean life. Participants were encouraged to build coral sculptures from waste materials and combine them with others to form even larger structures.

The “Mystery Workshop” encouraged us to open our minds by closing our eyes. The idea behind the 20-minute session was for participants to get an idea of what life is like for a blind person.


It wasn’t only the guest speakers who were given the chance to have their say. Attendees were encouraged to get involved as well. The Open Mic provided an opportunity for people to talk about any topic they were passionate about. The Table Conversation allowed attendees to talk with speakers from previous years and mingle with other participants in a relaxed atmosphere. The Idea Dating Zone was an open area in which people wrote stories and thoughts on pieces of paper and stuck them on the walls. They covered issues such as money, inequality and family.

It was clear that all who attended TEDxBangkok 2017 left with their heads filled with ideas worth spreading.


Read through the story and answer the following multiple-choice questions.

1. What is the article about?

a. A lecture.
b. A talk.
c. A conference.

2. What did the “Brain Smells Workshop” focus on?

a. How the human brain smells.
b. How the human brain reacts to smells.
c. The colour of the human brain.

3. Which of the following enabled participants to get an idea of what life is like for the blind?

a. The Mystery Workshop.
b. The Table Conversation.
c. The Idea Dating Zone.

4. Which of the following allowed participants to give a talk about a topic of interest to them?

a. The Open Mic.
b. The Table Conversation.
c. The Idea Dating Zone.

5. What was “The Power of Nonsense Thinking” about?

a. How to think like a genius.
b. How to share ideas.
c. How even silly ideas can be valuable.

6. In which year was TEDxBangkok first held?

a. 2014.
b. 2015.
c. 2016.

7. Which of the following statements is TRUE, according to the article?

a. The event featured a talk on family.
b. The event featured a talk warning us about the influence of AI.
c. The event encouraged attendees to contribute their ideas.


Match each of the following words used in the story with the correct definitions from the choices given.

 8. biodiversity  a. to think about somebody or something in a particular way
 9. visual  b. connected with seeing or sight
 10.conservation  c. the protection of the natural environment
 11. inequality  d. the unfair difference between groups of people in society
 12. urge  e. to advise or try hard to persuade somebody to do something
 13. view  f. the existence of a large number of different kinds of animals and plants


Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.

“In the spirit of ideas worth …..14….., TED has created a programme …..15….. TEDx. TEDx is a programme of local, self-organised events …..16….. bring people together to share a TED-like experience. TEDxBangkok is an independently organised TED event. …..17….. our TEDxBangkok event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides …..18….. guidance for the TEDx programme, but individual TEDx events, including ours, …..19….. self-organised.”


a. spread  
b. spreads  
c. spreading


a. call  
b. called   
c. calling


a. that  
b. where   
c. what


a. At   
b. On   
c. In


a. generally  
b. generality  
c. general


a. is   
b. are   
c. has


Specify whether each of the following words is used in the article as a verb, noun, adjective or adverb.

20. replace 


21. technological


22. notable


23. only


24. scientist



Section 1

1. c.
2. b.
3. a.
4. a.
5. c.
6. b.
7. c.

Section 2

8. f.
9. b.
10. c.
11. d.
12. e.
13. a.

Section 3

14. c.
15. b.
16. a.
17. a.
18. c.
19. b.

Section 4

20. Verb.
21. Adjective.
22. Adjective.
23. Adverb.
24. Noun.


21-24: Excellent!
17-20: Good.
13-16: Fair.
12 or fewer: You'll do better next time!