Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Exam topics (samples only)


Write 250-300 words.

Write an essay about ONE of the following topics. 


“Obesity (being overweight) is now considered to be a major problem in the UAE.”  

Discuss some of the causes of this problem and suggest possible solutions.


In what ways can social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, be helpful/unhelpful for companies in today’s world? 

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Monday, April 11, 2016

How to start writing an academic essay?

First, think of a topic. For example, you decided that your topic is Smoking. This topic is good, but it is too general. You need to make it more specific. 

So, the title of your topic can be, for example,

Problems of Smoking among Teenagers in the UAE

The above is your essay title. Now you need to formulate research questions. Your research questions should be closely related to the title. So, your research questions can be:

Research questions

Why do teenagers start smoking in the UAE?
What problems does smoking cause?

When you have formulated your research questions, you can write you research objectives. Objectives are the steps you are going to take to answer your research questions. For example, 

Objective 1:
Find out recent data and statistics about smoking among teenagers worldwide and in the UAE.

Objective 2:
Find out reasons of smoking among teenagers in the UAE and other countries.

Objective 3
Discover the ways of solving the problem of smoking among teenagers in the UAE.

You should include your research questions and the objectives in the introduction.

Friday, March 18, 2016


Read and study the following authentic text and prepare to discuss in class:

Written by Michael Brown Executive Editor

The Kindle Voyage? The name makes no sense, but I understand why Amazon didn’t call its latest e-reader the Paperwhite 2. It’s good enough to deserve a name all its own.

The Kindle Voyage is stuffed with new features and meaningful improvements over the Paperwhite. I’ll cover the most important ones first. The Voyage’s screen delivers higher resolution than the Paperwhite: 300 pixels per inch. The Paperwhite’s 221-ppi display looks very good, but you can discern jagged edges in fonts if you look closely. With the Voyage, you can't see jaggies even with the aid of a magnifying glass.

The Paperwhite introduced a front light that made its E-Ink display readable under any lighting conditions. The Voyage keeps this feature but adds a light sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness in response to the level of ambient light. This not only eliminates the need to adjust the brightness every time you start reading, it should also increase the Voyage’s battery life. Enable the “nightlight” feature, and the screen brightness will gradually dim as your eyes adjust to a darkened room.

Smooth as glass
For me, the next biggest improvement is the texture of the Voyager’s glass. That might seem like an odd thing to put so high on a list of improvements, but the Paperwhite’s glass has this grainy, almost pebbly texture that literally rubs me the wrong way. I viscerally dislike the way it feels under my thumb or fingertip when I stroke the glass to turn a page or touch the screen to call up a menu or a definition. It just feels weird, even if it wasn’t bad enough to drive me back to my first-gen Kindle.

The Paperwhite still delivers the better price-to-performance ratio
The Voyage’s glass is as smooth as the glass on any laptop or smartphone I’ve used, and there’s no transition between the bezel and the display. And the Voyage’s new page-turn buttons are just as important as the texture of its glass. Amazon embedded four surface-mount buttons (Amazon calls them PagePress sensors) on the right and left bezels that make turning pages even easier: A slight squeeze on the vertical lines on either side of the bezel advance pages, and the same action on the dots above those lines reverse pages.

This means you can hold the Voyage in your left or right hand, and the buttons work even when the e-reader is in its case (more on that later). In addition to the obvious visual cue of the page refreshing, the Voyage provides a bit of haptic feedback when you’ve applied enough pressure to effect a page turn. You can fine-tune the amount of pressure needed to activate page turns, too.

For me, the buttons are big improvement over stroking or tapping the glass (those page-turn methods are retained in the new Kindle). I grip my Paperwhite with four fingers on the back and my thumb in front, so I turn pages by stroking the glass with my thumb. A mild case of arthritis in the base of my thumb joints renders this motion not exactly painful, but uncomfortable enough to be distracting. I can squeeze the page-forward button without moving my thumb at all, and I need to slide it up just about an inch to reach the less-frequently used page-back buttons.

One thing I should point out, especially for people like me who don’t take enough time to read a user manual: You need to press down slightly on the buttons to make them work. Tapping, as you might do with the trackpad on your laptop, won’t work—at least not reliably.

Thinner and lighter, but only a little
Compared to the Paperwhite, the Kindle Voyage is slightly thinner (0.30 inches versus 0.36 inches) and slightly lighter (6.3 ounces versus 7.3 ounces). Amazon moved the power button to the back of the device, which makes it easier to find and manipulate than the tiny button that’s on the bottom of the Paperwhite. It still relies on a micro USB cord for charging, and Amazon still includes a USB cable but requires you to buy the power adapter separately.

I don’t know how much profit Amazon makes on the Kindle Voyage, but they must be making a killing on protective covers at $45 a pop ($60 if you want leather). The cover is brilliant, though, consisting of a tray with strong magnets that hold the Voyage it in a very tight grip (the e-reader’s rear panel is fabricated from magnesium), and a thick flap that protects its display.

A set of strong magnets in the flap holds it securely to the Voyage's front bezel when closed, and to the magnesium back when you flip it over the top to read. Push up in the middle of the bottom edge of the flap, and it folds origami style to make a prop-stand for reading. That’s a whole lot better than leaning it against a coffee cup.

Cover the display when you’re done reading, and the ambient light sensor immediately puts the Voyage into sleep mode. Open it back up, and the device comes fully back to life before you’ve completed the motion. There’s really never any need to push the power button. Third parties are offering less-expensive covers, which I haven’t reviewed, and I imagine the price of Amazon’s covers will drop as the Voyage’s newness wears off (although that could be a while. This review was written on October 23, and Amazon’s website indicates it won’t have units in stock until November 24).

Should you buy one?
The only other significant criticism I can muster for the Kindle Voyage is to gripe about its price tag. Comparing versions with Amazon’s “Special Offers” (ads that pop up when you’re not reading), the delta between the $79 Kindle and the $119 Kindle Paperwhite is $40. You’ll pay twice that premium to move from the Paperwhite to the $199 Voyage. It costs an additional $20 to eliminate the ads, and a cool $70 to get 3G connectivity in addition to Wi-Fi.

I’ve always scoffed at the idea of paying so much more to get 3G connectivity; but now that I’ve experienced it with the Voyage, it’s pretty easy to want. Getting rid of the ads and including 3G elevates the price of a Voyage all the way to $289. You can buy a 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX for $179, but I’m a bit of purist when it comes to reading. I want the most book-like experience I can get. The Paperwhite comes very close, but the Voyager knocks it out of the park.

Having said that, I think the Paperwhite still delivers the better price-to-performance ratio both for someone buying an e-reader for the first time, and for someone upgrading from a stock Kindle. The Voyage is the best e-reader on the market, but Amazon has hung a price tag commensurate with that position.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


By Guy de Maupassant 

(Abridged and adapted)

Mathilda, a beautiful but poor girl, got married to a clerk who worked in a government office. Because she was poor, she dressed plainly, but she knew she was a great beauty. Mathilda was unhappy because she could not enjoy the luxuries of a rich life. She had no beautiful dresses, no jewels, nothing. She did not like to go to see or visit anybody who was rich, and she felt sad and depressed at being poor. Being beautiful was not enough for her. 
One evening her husband, Mr. Loisel, came home happy holding an envelope in his hand. Mathilda opened the letter and saw that it was an invitation from the minister to a big ball

Instead of being happy for such a fine opportunity to go out and have fun, as her husband had hoped, she threw the invitation away. She knew she did not have anything nice to wear for such a party. She began to cry and asked her husband to give the invitation card to some colleague whose wife had lovely dresses, and so could attend such a party. 

Mr. Loisel was upset, and he asked her how much a simple but suitable dress would cost. She said: "I don't know exactly, but I think I could manage it with four hundred francs." He grew a little pale. That was lots of money. He was saving up just that amount of money to buy a gun to shoot birds next summer with his friends. But he agreed to give her the money to get a beautiful dress.

The day of the ball drew near, and Mathilda seemed sad. Her dress was ready, but she was not happy. She was worried. She said: 
"I do not have a single piece of jewelry, nothing to put on. Everyone will think I am poor. I don’t want to go."

"You could wear some natural flowers," said her husband. "They look gorgeous at this time of year. For ten francs you can get two or three beautiful roses."

"No; there's nothing more humiliating than to look poor among other women who are rich."
"Okay!" her husband cried. "Go and ask your friend, Madame Forestier, to lend you some jewels. You know her well enough to do that."

The next day she went to her friend and told her of her problem. Madame Forestier took out a large jewel box and asked Mathilda to choose anything that she liked. There were bracelets, a pearl necklace, and a beautiful gold cross containing precious stones. Mathilda liked everything. Suddenly she noticed that there was a beautiful diamond necklace. Her hands shook as she took it. She tried it round her neck and was very happy with how she looked in the mirror. When her friend agreed to lend her the necklace, she was very happy and left with the treasure.

The night of the ball arrived. Madame Loisel was a great success. She danced beautifully and felt very happy. She was prettier than any other woman present. She was graceful, smiling and full of joy. All the men looked at her, asked her name and wanted to be introduced to her. The minister himself even noticed her. She left the ball about four o'clock in the morning. 

Her husband, who had fallen asleep waiting for her, was in a corner room outside the grand lobby. He woke up when she came out of the hall, and put a simple shawl over her shoulders. The cheap quality of shawl was very different to the beauty of the ball dress. Mathilda was embarrassed. She wanted to get away as soon as possible so that the wealthy women, who were wearing expensive furs, would not see her.

Mr. Loisel held her back, saying: "You will catch a cold outside. I will call a cab."
But she did not listen to him and ran down the steps. After running and walking for a while, they found an old, dirty cab. When they reached home, Mathilda thought about her beautiful night. Her husband thought that he must be at his office at ten o'clock that morning.

As she was getting ready to go to bed, she looked in the mirror to see herself once more in all her beauty. Suddenly she screamed. The necklace wasn’t there around her neck! "I've lost Madame Forestier's necklace." They looked everywhere but did not find it.

They looked, thunderstruck, at each other. "I shall go back on foot," said Mr. Loisel, "over the whole route, to see whether I can find it."

He went out. She sat waiting in a chair wearing her dress, and without the strength to go to bed.

Her husband returned about seven o'clock. He had found nothing.

He went to the police headquarters, and then to the newspaper offices to offer a reward; he went to the cab companies—everywhere wherever there was any possibility of hope.
She waited all day, not able to move with fear because of this terrible disaster.

Mr. Loisel returned at night with a tired, pale face. He had discovered nothing.
"You must write to your friend," he said, "that you have broken the necklace and that you are having it fixed. That will give us time to look around some more."

At the end of a week, they had lost all hope. To replace the necklace they took the box that had contained it and went to the jeweler whose name was written on it. He checked his records.

"It was not I, Madame, who sold that necklace; I merely made the case."
Sick with sorrow they went from jeweler to jeweler, searching for a necklace like the one that had been lost, trying to remember its exact shape and size.

In a shop, they found a diamond necklace that seemed exactly like the one they had lost. It was worth forty thousand francs. They could have it for thirty-six thousand after discount.
So they asked the jeweler not to sell it for three days yet. And they agreed that the jeweler would buy it back for thirty-four thousand francs, in case, they should find the lost necklace before the end of the month.

Loisel had eighteen thousand francs which his father had left him. He borrowed the rest of the money he needed from others – but feared how he could ever pay the money back. He then went to buy the new necklace.

When Madame Loisel took back the necklace to Madame Forestier, she said to her coldly:
"You should have returned it sooner; I might have needed it."

She did not open the case, as her friend had so much feared. If she had noticed the substitution, she might think Madame Loisel was a thief.

After this time, Madame Loisel knew the horrible life of the needy. She would have to help her husband pay back the debt. They could not afford a servant any longer; they changed their accommodation and rented a small dirty flat. She did all the heavy housework of cooking and cleaning and washing. She did the laundry and went out to buy the cheapest groceries she could find. In the process, she lost her beauty. 

Every month they had to pay off a debt and obtain more time to pay others.

Her husband worked in the evenings. Late at night, he copied papers, just to make some more money.

This life lasted ten years. But at the end of ten years, they had paid off all their debts.
Madame Loisel looked old now from her hard life. But sometimes, when her husband was at the office, she sat down near the window thinking of that great evening of long ago, of that ball where she had been so beautiful and so admired.

One Sunday, when she was going for a walk for some fresh air after the hard work of the week, she saw a woman who was with a little child. It was Madame Forestier, still young, still beautiful, still charming.

Madame Loisel went over to greet her.

"Good morning, Jeanne."

Madame Forestier was shocked to be addressed by this poor woman. She did not recognize her, and said:

"But—madame!—I do not know—You must be mistaken."

"No. I am Mathilda Loisel."

"Oh, my poor Mathilda! But you have changed so much!"

"Yes, I have had a hard life, since I last saw you, and great poverty—and that because of you!"

"Of me! How so?"

"Do you remember that diamond necklace you lent me to wear at the ministerial ball?"
"Yes. Well?"

"Well, I lost it."

"What do you mean? You brought it back."

"I brought you back another exactly like it. It has taken us ten years to pay for it. You can understand that it was not easy for us."

"You say that you bought a necklace of diamonds to replace mine?"

"Yes. You never noticed it, then! They were very similar."

Madam Forestier was deeply moved: "Oh, my poor Mathilda! My necklace was not real. It was worth only five hundred francs!” 

Retrieved and abridged from the original by Dr. Algirdas Makarevicius
Literature Network, Guy de Maupassant, The Diamond Necklace

Find and enjoy reading:
More stories written by Guy de Maupassant

Saturday, March 5, 2016


By O. Henry


"One thousand dollars," repeated Lawyer Tolman, in a serious voice, "and here is the money."

Young Gillian touched the money and laughed.

"It's such a strange sum of money," he said to the lawyer. "If it had been ten thousand it would not look too much. Even fifty dollars would have been less trouble."

"You heard the reading of your uncle's will," continued Lawyer Tolman. "I do not know if you paid much attention to its details. I must remind you of one. You are required to provide us with a written report. In your report you will need to explain how you used $1,000. This was the wish of your uncle.

"I will do that," said the young man politely.

Gillian went to his club. In the club, he saw a man whose name was Old Bryson.

Old Bryson was a calm forty-year-old man. He was in a corner reading a book. When he saw Gillan coming up he laid down his book and took off his glasses.

"Old Bryson, wake up," said Gillian. "I have a funny story to tell you."

"I wish you would tell it to someone in the billiard room," said Old Bryson. "You know how I hate your stories."

"This is a better story than usual," said Gillian; "and I'm glad to tell it to you. I've just come from my late uncle's lawyers. He leaves me an even thousand dollars. Now, what can a man possibly do with a thousand dollars?"

"I thought," said Old Bryson, showing very little interest, "that the late Septimus Gillian was worth something like half a million."

"He was," answered Gillian, "and that's where the joke comes in. He's left most of his money to medical research and hospitals. Also, he’s left a few things to others. The butler and the housekeeper get a seal ring and $10 each. His nephew gets $1,000."

"You've always had plenty of money to spend," said Old Bryson.

"Yes," said Gillian.

"Any other people?" asked Old Bryson.

"No," said Gillian. "There is a Miss Hayden; she lived in his house. She's a quiet lady—musical—the daughter of somebody who was unlucky, enough to be his friend. I forgot to say that she was in on the seal ring and $10 joke, too.

Old Bryson—tell me what a fellow can do with a thousand dollars," said Gillian.

Old Bryson rubbed his glasses and smiled. And when Old Bryson smiled, Gillian knew that he intended to be more offensive than ever.

"A thousand dollars," he said, "means much or little. One man may buy a happy home with it and laugh at Rockefeller. Another could send his wife South with it and save her life. A thousand dollars would buy pure milk for one hundred babies during June, July, and August and save fifty of their lives. It would give an education to a motivated boy. You could move to a New Hampshire town and live well two years on it. You could rent Madison Square Garden for one evening with it, and talk to your listeners if you should have them."

"You did not answer my question, Old Bryson," said Gillian. I asked you to tell me what I could do with a thousand dollars."

"You?" said Bryson, with a gentle laugh. "Why, Bobby Gillian, there's only one logical thing you could do. You can buy Miss Lotta Lauriere a diamond necklace with the money, and then take yourself off to Idaho and inflict your presence upon a ranch. I advise a sheep ranch, as I have a particular dislike for sheep."

"Thanks," said Gillian, rising, "I knew I could depend on you. You've hit on the very idea. I wanted to spend all the money on one thing because I need to write a report on it."

Gillian phoned for a cab and said to the driver: "Columbine Theatre."

Miss Lotta Lauriere was busy preparing for her performance.

"Now, what is it, Bobby?’ asked Miss Lauriere. "I'm starting in two minutes."

"It won't take two minutes for me. What do you say to a little thing in the jewelry line? I can spend one thousand dollars."

"Oh, just as you say," answered Miss Lauriere. “Did you see that necklace Della Stacey had on the other night? Twenty-two hundred dollars it cost at Tiffany's."

"Miss Lauriere for the opening chorus!" cried the call boy.

Miss Lauriere left.

Gillian walked slowly to the place where his cab was waiting.

"What would you do with a thousand dollars if you had it?" he asked the driver.

"Open a restaurant," said the cab driver. "I know a place I could invest money quickly."

"Oh, no," said Gillian, "I just wanted to know your opinion. Drive until I tell you to stop."

Eight blocks down Broadway Gillian got out of the cab. A blind man sat on a stool on the sidewalk selling pencils. Gillian went out and stood before him.

"Excuse me," he said, "but would you mind telling me what you would do if you had a thousand dollars?"

"You got out of that cab that just drove up, didn't you?" asked the blind man.

"I did," said Gillian.

"I guess you are all right," said the pencil seller, "to ride in a cab by daylight. Take a look at that, if you like."

He drew a small book from his coat pocket and showed it to him. Gillian opened it and saw that it was a bank deposit book. It showed a balance of $1,785.

Gillian returned the book and got into the cab.

"I forgot something," he said. "You may drive to the law offices of Tolman & Sharp, at Broadway."

Lawyer Tolman looked at Gillian through his golden glasses.

"I beg your pardon," said Gillian, cheerfully, "but may I ask you a question? Was Miss Hayden left anything by my uncle's will besides the ring and the $10?"

"Nothing," said Mr. Tolman.

"I thank you very much, sir," said Gillian, and on he went to his cab. He gave the driver the address of his late uncle's home.

Miss Hayden was writing letters in the library. She was small and slim and clothed in black. But you would have noticed her eyes. Gillian entered the room.

"I've just come from old Tolman's," he said. "They've been going over the papers down there. They found some more money for you – as a part of the will. My uncle left you one thousand dollars. I was driving up this way, and Tolman asked me to bring you the money. Here it is. You'd better count it to see if it's right." Gillian put the money on the desk.

Miss Hayden turned white. "Oh!" she said, and again "Oh!"

Gillian half turned and looked out the window.

"I suppose, of course," he said, in a low voice, "that you know I love you."

"I am sorry," said Miss Hayden, taking up her money.

"There is no use?" asked Gillian, almost light-heartedly.

"I am sorry," she said again.

"May I write a note?" asked Gillian, with a smile. He seated himself at the big library table. She gave him paper and a pen and then went back to her desk.

Gillian wrote:

"Paid by Robert Gillian, $1,000 on account of the eternal happiness, owned by Heaven to the best and dearest woman on earth."

Gillian slipped his writing into an envelope, bowed and went away.

His cab stopped again at the offices of Tolman & Sharp.

"I have spent one thousand dollars," he said to Tolman. "And I have come to give a report on it, as I agreed." He put a white envelope on the lawyer's table. "You will find everything there – how I spent one thousand dollars."

Without touching the envelope, Mr. Tolman went to a door and called his partner, Sharp. Together, they brought a large envelope. Then Tolman began speaking.

"Mr. Gillian," he said, formally. "There was an appendix to your uncle's will. It was given to us privately, with instructions that it be not opened until you had given us a full report of how you spent $1,000. As you have fulfilled the conditions, my partner and I have read the appendix. I will explain to you what it is about.

        "If you have used the $1,000 in a wise and unselfish way, you will be given $50,000. However, if you have used $1,000 in a foolish or wasteful way as you have in the past, the $50,000 will be paid to Miriam Hayden, Ward of the late Mr. Gillian, without delay.

"Now, Mr. Gillian, I will read your report of the one thousand dollars.”

Mr. Tolman reached for the envelope. Gillian was a little quicker in taking it up. He tore the account and its cover into small pieces and put them in his pocket.

"It's all right," he said, smilingly. "There isn't a bit of need to bother you with this. I lost the $1,000 on the races. Goodbye, gentlemen."

Tolman & Sharp shook their heads sadly at each other when Gillian left, for they heard him whistling happily in the lobby as he waited for the elevator.

Retrieved from and abridged by Dr Algirdas Makarevicius

You can also read:
Vinder Viper Story

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Body Language for Leaders

Dear Student,

Log into, watch the video Body Language for Leaders and prepare to discuss it in class.

When you finish watching the video, please complete the following:

1. Your _____ are one of the biggest parts of your impact as a leader.
hours worked
hand gestures
technical skills

2. One variable the author discusses that can affect the context of nonverbal signals is
your bias.
your baseline.
the time of day
negative behavior.
your role.

3. If you _____ before you _____, you appear to be open and candid.
speak, listen
gesture, listen
listen, speak
speak, gesture
gesture, speak

4. Which of the following can create a positive first impression?
keeping a straight mouth
standing near a person
lowering your head
making eye contact
crossing your arms

5. What message are you sending when you extend your hand sideways in preparation for a handshake?
equality and collaboration
aggression and confidence
superiority and independence
passivity and powerlessness
submissiveness and dependency

6. Which of the following is crucial in trying to convey inclusion?
offering your hand, palm up
facing someone directly
offering your hand, palm down
sitting across from someone
standing over someone

7. One strategy for faking confidence is to
recall past successes.
practice different gestures.
recall past emotions.
recall past meetings.
practice different poses.

8. What is the definition of vocal prosody?
how you stand when you talk
how you say what you say
how you gesture what you say
the number of pauses you make
the tone of your voice

9. People's feet tend to _____ in situations they want to avoid.
point toward the door
point toward another person