General Paper Comprehension Sample Questions & Answers (Paper 2)
GP Comprehension Question Paper –
(Note that 15 marks out of 50 will be awarded for your language, namely, for the quality and accuracy of your use of English)
Note: When a question asks for an answer IN YOUR OWN WORDS AS FAR AS POSSIBLE (IYOWAFAP) and you select the appropriate material from the General Paper passage, you still must use your own words to express it. Little credit (out of the those 15 marks) can be given to answers with little re-expressions.
1. (From paragraph 1) What evidence does Murray give to support his assertion that the history of drugs, and drug control, at the Olympics is discouraging’ (line 1)? Use your own words as far as possible. 
Poorly conceived rules based on insufficient knowledge / understanding
blatant officially-supporter / financed / promoted / cheating by national bodies
lack of commitment to,
and inconsistent imposition of rules / penalties for / punishment of wrongdoings
Lifted from GP Text
– a slew of half-baked regulations.
– outright state sponsored foul-play
– half-hearted and
– erratic attempts at enforcement
2. (From paragraph 2) Why does the writer strongly support the outlawing of performance-enhancing drugs in sport? Use YOWAFAP. 
so that participants have confidence in a race being fair / impartial
keeps intact the self-worth / esteem of the competitor
protects against the erosion of the inherent / fundamental ideals of sportsmanship and its value
guarantees the best athlete rightfully wins based on individual merit
– assuring all athletes that the competition is above board
– preserving the integrity of the athlete
– safeguarding what gives sport its intrinsic worth
– ensuring that the most deserving competitor emerges victorious.
3. (From paragraph 3) ‘Am I the world’s best?’ (line 25-26) What effect does the writer suggest that a ‘drug-aided victory’ might have on an athlete who asks this question? 
nagging doubts over his own natural ability / unsure to whether he really deserved to win even though has been declared the victor
a feeling of being dissatisfied / sullied / unclean / the victory is spoiled / marred /tarnished by the cheating
Am I the world’s best? Or was my supposed victory hopelessly painted by the drug’s effects? The meaning of a drug-aided victory is ambiguous and elusive even for the athlete
4. (From paragraph 14) Describe any two qualities that define our natural ability and explain how each one does so. UYOWAFAP. 
i) mental resilience: (psychological) perseverance resolve / strength of character / toughness / endurance [LIFTED: through a combination training of virtues such as mental resilience in the face of relentless training] – to tackle the gruelling and ceaseless practice sessions
ii) physical fortitude: courage bravery [LIFTED: as we push our pain thresholds ever higher (aka ‘physical fortitude‘, using your own words, inferred)] – in the face of excruciating discomfort train to the limits of physical endurance / which is a test of one’s calibre.
iii) shrewdness: cleverness / astuteness [LIFTED: when we outsmart our opponents (aka ‘shrewdness‘, using your own words, inferred)] – to help us to strategically out our competitor
Accept any 2 of the 3 qualities
5. (From paragraph 5) ‘… just like a good camera was necessary for Ansel Adams unforgettable photos of the American West, or good marble and sharp chisels for Michelangelo’s sculpture of David.’ (lines 42-44). How do these analogies support the writer’s central argument? Explain carefully, with YOWAFAP.
to illustrate / support his point that just as an athlete needs the right equipment for his sport anyone in any endeavour needs the right tools to execute a job properly.
however we crucially admire the raw talent and dedication of the individual behind the memorable shots of the American West and the sculpture of David. The tools of their trade are of secondary importance. In the same way we should be inspired by a sportsman’s unadulterated performance.
6. (From paragraph 1) Briefly explain the irony in the imaginary scenario described in this paragraph. YOWAFAP. 
Drugs and sport are usually seen to be totally antagonistic / conflicting, yet the writer suggests that in the future, sport and drugs would be entirely compatible / sport without drugs would be virtually inconceivable.
The irony lies in the unexpected, extreme incongruity and stark contrast between the situation (and underpinning assumptions) today and that envisioned in the future. The position is unexpectedly and entirely reversed.
[Impression mark for both understanding of the concept of irony and an explanation of why the specific scenario could be considered as such.]
‘… not only to legalise but also to actively promote performance enhancing drugs. This scenario could be more than a mere hallucination.’
7. (From paragraph 2) Why can it sometimes be difficult to know for certain whether an athlete has deliberately taken a banned substance? [2 marks]
Because some proscribed substances can be produced by the athlete’s own body by the very nature of his profession, or
taken unintentionally / accidentally / unwittingly / unknowingly contained in perfectly legal and commercially available products.
‘the situation is confused by the fact that many of the proscribed chemicals either can be generated by our own metabolism, such as nandrolone which players produce under stressful conditions.’
‘or can be taken inadvertently in over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements’
H1 JC GP Passages – Article Sources for
JC H1 GP Tuition (Syllabus Code: 8807)
Source of GP Passages:
Drugs, sports, and ethics by Thomas Murray 2004
Drugs in sports – raising the bar by Martin Brookes 2004
Q10. Vocabulary Question (5 marks)
|thwarted, checked, not see full fruition, not fully met. not fully realised
No mark: upset
|Genuine, bona fide
valid, true, real, actual
|worth emulating, serving as a good model, worthy to be imitated, inspirational
No mark: leading
|perfectly clear unequivocal
categorical, definitive, straightforward
No mark: clear
|intense / thorough / close examination /inspection
Q8. Summary Question (SQ) (8 marks)
Using material from Passage 2, paragraphs 4-6, summarise Brookes’ reasons for arguing that we should accept drug use among sportspersons. Write your summary in not more than 150 words, not counting the opening words which are printed below. UYOWAFAP. 
Drug use among sports persons should be accepted because
|Lifted from the GP Text
|Re-Expressions / Paraphrasing
From paragraph 4
-the demand for drugs will not go away…
-so long as the remuneration remains very high / huge sponsorship deals await those who reach the peak of their chosen sport.
– helping to sustain the unscrupulous win-at-all-costs philosophy
-far from ridding sport of the drug scourge, punitive measures have made an illicit industry grow ever more sophisticated
-as long as new kinds of drugs continue to be developed, the athletes, or at least the richer ones.
-will always be able to stay one step ahead of the testers
drugs will always be sought after
when rewards continue to be extremely attractive / top winners have enormous endorsement contracts and if drugs can help them get to the top to win such contracts, drugs will be used by them
Athletes will resort to any ruthless tactics / means / use any dishonest / dastardly means available to succeed
Ironically, criminalising drug use has turned it into an even better organised activity rather than eliminated / eradicated it.
Because different / novel drugs are being created all the time, those who can afford it (note implication of unfair advantage) will escape punishment / outwit the authorities / remain undetected
From paragraph 5
-we need to accept that we are fighting a futile battle
-to acknowledge that drugs are as much a part of modern sport
-as spiked shoes and streamlined shorts
-there is already a growing number of voices that argue that athletes should be permitted to use performance-enhancing drugs
-provided that they do not damage health
-additionally, if there are drugs out there that can give a competitive advantage, there will always be some athletes who are willing to take them, whatever the accompanying dangers!
-if drugs were decriminalised, it would level the playing field and transform foul play into fair
The battle / war against drugs cannot be won so we should just resign ourselves to the situation
They are an intrinsic / inherent feature / a fact of life of sport today
With the inference that drug taking is equivalent to / just as acceptable as using performance-enhancing equipment
There is increasing support for the use of safe drugs
On condition that they are safe / cause no physical harm
So long as there is an added boost to performance available, there will be users despite the risks involved
Legalising / Legitimising drug use would allow for fairer competition since everyone would be allowed to use the same substances
From paragraph 6
-drugs may offer an advantage to a competitor, but so do many other attributes that would be considered just as inequitable. Is a race that pits a man born to athletic parents…against a self-made athlete…a fair competition?
-is a race that pits a man…raised at altitude, with blood that can carry more oxygen, against [an]…athlete…raised at sea level a fair competition?
-our whole concept of a level playing field in sport is an idealistic notion
-that could do with some updating
A natural unfair advantage already exists in the inheritance of sporting genes.
So too in environmental conditioning that gives an advantage to the sportsman
The idea of fair competition is impractical / unrealistic / utopian and
outdated / behind the times / passe
Q10 Application Question
Murray insists that performance-enhancing drugs have no place in professional sport while Brookes disagrees.
Do you think that professional athletes should be allowed to use performance-enhancing drugs? As well as careful evaluation of the arguments from both passages, your answer should include a consideration of the wider implications such a policy might have outside of professional sport. (8m)
Agree with Brookes: “SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO USE PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING (P-E) DRUGS”
Brookes arguments are rational and pragmatic
Reinforcement is a problem
Murray himself concedes that there are only half-hearted and erratic attempts at enforcement (1.2) ,which characterize drug control, which make a mockery of the process and allow many to go unpunished. Unless enforcement is tightened and unless it is possible to nab all the athletes who use such drugs, it might be a better allow their use. We should either punish all or nobody at all so that ‘fair play is served.’.
Players and coaches in cahoots, the player is punished
The difference between a gold medallist and an also-ran [P1 L15-16] is so miniscule that if a P-E drug can push an athlete to victory, it will be used. Even if the athlete refuses, his coach may have the final say. Justin Gatlin, the world and Olympic 100m champion, has been tested positive. He had trained under Graham who has worked with 6 world champions who have also tested positive. It seems unlikely that it is mere coincidence or sabotage as claimed by Graham. Should athletes be banned for life for their coach’s actions, assuming the coach is behind it all which is highly likely?
We fight a losing battle
Moreover, when prize money and the endorsements of products that come with victory amount to millions, the use of P-E drugs will only increase. Why fight what Brookes states may be a war impossible to win?
Let fans decide, not World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
Like the wider war on drugs, huge sums of money are involved. It does not make sense to go on a hunt for wrongdoers who form only a minority of the sporting fraternity. Make their use of P-E drugs public knowledge and let their fans judge for themselves. In a world where American, Australian and even Singapore idols are voted for, sport fans can do the same to show support for or against their sport idols. If the fans can live with it, why not let performance enhancement (P-E) drugs be used?
No fairness in nature either
Even as we speak of fairness to all athletes, are we being fair to athletes who are less endowed? Brookes refers to genes that one can inherit and the environment in which one is raised, which can be an advantage to a competitor. Since there is no “Fairness in nature or nurture anyway, why are we so concerned about fairness in disallowing p-e drugs?
Safer P-E drugs are available
Brookes says there is increasingly more support for the use of p-e drugs, especially those that do not damage health, so the argument that athletes might be harmed by the use of P-E drugs loses its impact. WADA is fighting just to stay ahead of more sophisticated and harder to detect PE drugs, and might as well just give up.
Agree with Murray: “SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO USE PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING (P-E) DRUGS”
Murray’s argument is emotional and appeals to our moral and ethical selves as human beings and not mere living entities
Danger to amateur sportsmen
If professionals use such drugs, what would amateurs do? They would also use them and this effect would trickle even schoolboys playing rugby or football etc. There would be no knowing who is a real sportsman and who is a sportsman propped up by drugs. I agree with Murray that the meaning of a drug-aided victory is ambiguous and elusive (1.27).
Real danger to health
he danger to health of such drugs is well documented – “male athletes may sustain kidney damage and develop shrinking testicles, female-like breasts, acne and baldness. They could also become very aggressive. Female athletes may develop masculine features like facial hair, deeper voices and irregular menses. They too can become very aggressive” (Andy Ho ST 5th Aug 2006)
Respect for natural talents
The argument by Murray that we should respect natural talents for what they are [P1 L36] is emotional and humane. We should not treat athletes like we do prized horses. We do not even allow horses to be doped, why allow human competitors?
Drugs are mere tools
Drugs may enhance performance in the field but Murray contends that they are mere tools. It is the human spirit of extraordinary dedication (P1 L46] we want to endorse together with ‘remarkable natural talent [P1 L46]. Allowing drugs would mean we miss a display of the combination of virtues (P1 L32] that we esteem in our professionals.
Equivalent to cheating
Taking p-e drugs is tantamount to cheating. If we wave the yellow and red flags at footballers for a foul, why are we not raising any alarm over the more grievous foul of p-e drug use? Murray refers to integrity (P1 L3] which we expect of all professionals. Why should we expect less of our athletes?
A moral challenge we should take on
Agree with Murray that we should regard the use of p-e drugs as an ‘ethical challenge (P1 L7). Just as we are concemed over the ethics of rogue scientists like the Korean cloning researcher, we ought to treat this as an ethical challenge and not as a war ‘impossible to win (P2. L7] as stated by Brookes. We cannot and should not give up so quickly in the face of difficulty.
New and better tests available
Brookes argument that banned substances can be naturally produced by the body under stress may be true but a carbon-isotope ratio test is now available which can determine if the drugs in a person’s system are natural or unnatural. It was used on Gatlin, the 100m world record co-holder and reigning Olympic champion, who was found positive in two tests in July 06 and faces a loss of his record and a lifetime ban. Together with out-of-competition testing where anti-doping officials can knock on an athlete’s door and if he runs away, he will be committing an offence, we can assume WADA is staying ahead of the doping game.
POLICY IMPLICATIONS Outside of Professional Sport:
a) Of allowing P-E drugs
Better and safer drugs research:
Medical professionals might research into safer p-e drugs without fear of incurring public wrath. In the long run, this might bring sportsmen to even greater heights of achievement with less danger to their health. Man as used science to prolong life, to alleviate pain and fight disease. It is only natural to want to enhance the athletes’ performances.
Stretches the athletes potential:
Athletes have long used drugs. Coleridge had opium-induced inspiration to write his poems and more recently American Beat writers have rampantly experimented with drugs to induce heightened artistic consciousness. The athlete will get to enjoy the same stretching of his potential with p-e drugs being allowed.
Set up fund for retired / injured athletes:
Money spent on doping tests just to stay ahead of the game can be channelled into funds for retired or injured competitors so that they can be assured of support when they are no longer active sportsmen.
Helps improve quality of life:
P-e drug like testosterone has been and will continue to be used in developed countries by men to reverse the ravages of time. Since we are living longer lives we should improve the quality of life too. If what athletes use can also be used by others quality of life could accompany longevity.
Drugs that help disease sufferers:
Decriminalising drugs could be good for sufferers of a disease like muscular dystrophy As scientists look for drugs that can increase muscle bulk, there is a strong likelihood that the benefits are not just enjoyed by bodybuilders or sportsmen but by people with muscular dystrophy too.
b) Of DISALLOWING P-E drugs
Shows our concern for others:
Might mean we give out a strong signal that we are concerned with the abuse of testosterone among older men in developed countries who risk harming their health – testosterone is known to exacerbate prostate cancer, make bone marrow go into overdrive in production of red blood cells increasing a man’s risk of strokes and heart attacks; exacerbate sleep apnea, aggressiveness and violence.
Recognition of need for age-old values:
Age old values are passed down to our children who will need to hold on to some traditional values of resilience, hard work, rewards fairly earned etc. Instant gratification is already so much a part of our psyche but we still need to imbue in our children the idea that some delay in reaching the top is to be expected. The brashness and impatience of youth need to be tempered in the workplace too.
GP Tutor’s Comments:
In the JC GP P2 AQ, candidates are required to base their response on what they have read in the passage(s). The GP student must first show understanding of given ideas and concepts. Then move on to expand and develop them in the light of his / her own views and experience.