The preparation material in the exam on the role of entertainment comprises ten sources, including pictures, fiction and non-fiction texts, and statistics.

Preparation material

The preparation material in the exam on the role of entertainment comprises ten sources, including pictures, fiction and non-fiction texts, and statistics.

In what follows, we will give you some points for a discussion of the topic and present all of the different texts/sources in the preparation booklet.


· Discussion of the topic

· Task 1: Pictures

· Text 2: Computers and the Internet

· Text 3: 6 Things We Could All Learn from Reality TV Shows

· Text 4: Why is Entertainment so Entertaining?

· Text 5: Excerpt from Brave New World

· Text 6: Get hooked on a great show to improve your English

· Text 7: Valleyspeak and vocal fry

· Text 8: Time spent on television – new trends

· Text 9: Research News

· Text 10: Can TV Still Tackle Real Issues?

· Preparing for the exam

Discussion of the topic

The role of entertainment is presented broadly in the introductory page in your preparation booklet. This introduction to the topic notes: “Entertainment can focus on and encourage us to think about social relations, politics, history, education and working life. It can also serve different functions and play different roles.” (p. 4, ll. 4-6)

Consequently, the role of entertainment is not only to help people enjoy themselves or to make them relax and feel good. Entertainment also influences people’s education and raises awareness about socio-political issues.

In addition to this, the introduction notes that entertainment can help build better social relationships: “Entertainment therefore can function as a sort of “social glue”. For hundreds – or even thousands – of years, people have come together to enjoy different forms of entertainment.” (p. 4, ll. 8-9)

Finally, the text compares entertainment to a tool: it can have both advantages and disadvantages, depending on how we use it. Entertainment can foster social bonding and better language skills, but too much entertainment can become a distraction from work and study.

We encourage you to reflect on your experience with entertainment. You could ask yourself a few questions, such as the following:

· Have you ever connected with someone over a certain type of entertainment?

· Has entertainment helped you improve your language skills?

· Have you ever been distracted from school activities by a certain type entertainment?

Task 1: Pictures

The first source in the preparation booklet comprises four pictures showing different types of entertainment.

Picture 1 shows people in a bar watching a football game on TV. The two flags displayed – of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland—suggest the people are Irish.

Picture 2 shows a ballet scene with a female dancer and a male dancer.

Picture 3 shows a singer on stage.

Picture 4 illustrates actors on stage in front of an audience at the Globe Theatre in London (Shakespeare’s theatre)

Text 2: Computers and the Internet

Text 2 is a non-fiction text, informing readers of some of the advantages and disadvantages of computers and the Internet. The text begins with an introductory paragraph and continues with bulleted lists of positive and negatives aspects of computers and the internet.

Some of the advantages of computers and the internet are: the increase of online social contact, developing computer literacy and learning, access to more information, and individualised learning.

Some of the disadvantages presented in the text are: less real-life socialisation and more isolation, poor language learning, a longer learning process, questionable information and less time for quality reading.

Text 3: 6 Things We Could All Learn from Reality TV Shows

Text 3 comprises extracts from various blogs (non-fiction texts) which present positive aspects of reality TV Shows. The texts express personal, subjective opinions, and present the potential positives of reality television.

According to bloggers, such TV shows encourage people to face their fears and to take risks, to prepare for unexpected challenges in life, to work in teams and individually, to accept negative feedback, and to stay calm in tense situations.

Text 4: Why is Entertainment so Entertaining?

Text 4 represents an adapted version of an article by Peter G Stromberg on the anthropological reasons behind why people are attracted to entertaining activities.

The author’s arguments are based on scientific research. According to various studies, human beings have always been attracted to stories and storytelling. Modern entertainment taps into this anthropological need with new advanced digital tools.

The article also notes that people’s attraction to stories is typical for our species and is the result of our capacity to imagine and understand what others are doing; of our capacity to transport ourselves into others’ stories.

Text 5: Excerpt from Brave New World

Text 5 is an explained extract from the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. The introductory paragraphs (non-fiction) present the novel and the context from which the excerpt is taken.

The actual extract (fiction) deals with freedom of speech and conformism. It presents a discussion between two characters, Bernard and Helmholz. The latter, who is a teacher, tells the former he was given a warning by the school principal for composing a poem and using it as an example in one of his classes. He was supposed to use a pre-approved example from the government’s propaganda. His students reported Helmholz whose poem was about loneliness (something everyone in society is encouraged to avoid). Now Helmholz feels like he wants to write even more.

Text 6: Get hooked on a great show to improve your English

Text 6 is a blog entry from the web page Ethan’s Blog. The non-fiction text recommends that those studying English start watching English-language TV shows.

The author recommends that students start by watching English-language TV shows with subtitles in their native language, then switch gradually to English subtitles, and then to watching with no subtitles at all.

To support the idea that English-language TV shows help people to learn English, the author gives the example of people from Scandinavia and Holland, who are good English speakers and who claim to have learned the language because in their respective countries English-language TV shows are not dubbed in their native language but shown with subtitles.

Text 7: Valleyspeak and vocal fry

Text 7 is a non-fiction text explaining two language developments, Valleyspeak and vocal fry.

Valleyspeak refers to the way youngsters (particularly girls) speak including unnecessary words in their sentences. Typical such words are “like”, “whatever”, “way”, “as if!”, “super”, “totally”, and “tubular” (ll. 9-10).

This type of syntax developed in the San Fernando Valley in the US, and as a result is called Valleyspeak. Another feature of this way of speaking is that words are pronounced with a high-pitched tone towards the end of the sentence, which makes affirmative sentences sound like interrogative ones.

Vocal fry is another language change where people (particularly women) lower their voices in a guttural way to make their tone seem stronger and tougher.

The text ends by noting that these language phenomena are also illustrated in certain movies and TV shows which, knowingly or not, promote and popularise these ways of speaking.

Text 8: Time spent on television – new trends

Text 8 includes a graph and several statistics on the time people spend watching television.

According to the graph. Americans spend the most time watching TV per day, followed by Australians, Italians, and Poles. Swedish and Chinese people spend the least time watching TV.

The statistics presented support the graph, but they also show that most TV viewers in developed countries are moving away from linear TV (watching a program when it is broadcast) and prefer to watch reruns on the Internet.  This is particularly true in Britain.

Text 9: Research News

Text 9 presents the results of a study conducted in Norway on the use of English and Norwegian by teenagers.

The study found that some Norwegian students scored better at reading tests in English than in their native language. Subsequent interviews with the students revealed that they prefer using English in their free time (through playing interactive games and watching films and TV-series) leading thus to better scores in English.

Text 10: Can TV Still Tackle Real Issues?

Text 10 is an adapted version of an article by Michael Schneider. The article discusses the role of TV series in creating a debate around various social issues.

Evidence and opinions presented in the article show that TV series used to tackle multiple controversial issues in society (gun control, racial discrimination, abortion, etc.) in the 1980s and 1990s. Now, there is a tendency for TV shows to specialise, or to look at more fantastical issues rather than real-life problems. Instead of one TV show tackling more issues, there is a TV show for each issue.

Furthermore, the article notes that consumers’ preferences for comedy and humour push broadcasters to orient their programs towards subjects and genres which appeal most to the public



Task 1

Short answer

Answer either 1A or 1B.


A film company is making a documentary series for TV about working life. They are planning to make an episode about the profession you are aiming for. The episode should be informative and entertaining. Give the producers advice on which skills and procedures they should include in the episode. You should also give reasons why this advice would be relevant for the episode.


An American friend is going for an important interview and left the message below on your voicemail. Your friend is from California and you can hear both Valleyspeak and vocal fry in her voice. Because she was speaking so excitedly, you had to listen to the voicemail twice to get all the details.

Based on the language used in the voicemail, write what advice you would give your American friend so that she sounds more professional. You should also give reasons why you would give this advice to your friend.

Task 2

Long answer

The following tasks are based on your preparation topic “The role of entertainment”.

Answer either 2A, 2B, 2C, or 2D.


It is not easy to balance your time between entertainment and learning. Create a text in which you discuss how to combine schoolwork and entertainment. Use relevant texts from the preparation material and your own experience to support your views.

Your text should include:

· A presentation of your education programme and its demands

· A presentation of the kind of entertainment you spend most time on

· How this entertainment can distract you from your schoolwork

· How entertainment may help you in your schoolwork

· A reflection on how time spent on entertainment and schoolwork can be balanced

Give your text a suitable title.


Create a text where you discuss the quote above and reflect on how such literature and films might still be entertaining even though they make you angry or upset. Choose a literary text and a film you have studied in your English course to illustrate your points.

Your text should include:

· A brief presentation of the literary text and the film

· A discussion of some uncomfortable effects your chosen text and film may have on their audience

· A discussion of how literature and films might still be important for the audience to read and watch even though they make you angry or upset.

· A reflection on how literature and films might still be entertaining even though they make you angry or upset.

Give your text a suitable title.


Entertainment can teach you about different countries and cultures. Create a text in which you describe and discuss what you have learnt about an English-speaking country or culture from films, graphic novels, literature or other types of English-language entertainment.

Give your text a suitable title.


Easy access to English-language entertainment can be an advantage to learners of the English language. Create a text in which you describe, discuss and evaluate the role entertainment can play when learning a language.

Give your text a suitable title.

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