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High Stakes

This question tests phrases and collocations, as well as idioms and phrasal verbs.

Suggested procedure

  1. Read the complete test quickly to get the general idea.
  2. Read the text again. Stop and try to predict the possible missing word without looking at the four alternatives.
  3. Look and see if the word you predicted is one of the alternatives. If so, choose it. If not try and eliminate the alternatives which are definitely wrong. They may be wrong because they don't fit with the following preposition or they are the wrong word for the phrase.
  4. If you are left with more than one alternative that you think might be correct - guess! You don't lose marks for a wrong answer.

Exam task

For questions 1-15, read the text below and then decide which word best fits each space. The exercise begins with an example (0)

0 a) money b) investment c) finance d) banking

High Stakes

Few people in the world of high finance had heard of Marc Colombo. There was no (1) _______
  1. cause
  2. purpose
  3. basis
  4. reason
why they should have done. Show
He was a mere foreign-exchange (2) _______
  1. dealer
  2. salesman
  3. merchant
  4. retailer
, at the Lloyds Bank in Lugano Switzerland. Show
But in 1974, Colombo (3) _______
  1. knocked
  2. struck
  3. hit
  4. beat
the headlines around the world leaving (4) _______
  1. hard-hearted
  2. hard-headed
  3. hard-pressed
  4. hard-hitting
money experts open-mouthed in amazement. Show
Lloyds (5) _______
  1. announced
  2. publicised
  3. broadcasted
  4. divulged
that 'irregularities' had cost the bank a (6) _______
  1. swaying
  2. shaking
  3. staggering
  4. wobbling
32 million pounds. Show
What had the 28-year-old Colombo been (7) _______
  1. down
  2. off
  3. up
  4. on
to? Show
And how had he got (8) _______
  1. away
  2. on
  3. through
  4. by
with it? Show
Colombo had been watching the world's leading (9) _______
  1. monies
  2. rates
  3. accounts
  4. currencies
change their values on the foreign exchange markets. Show
He decided to buy 34 million US dollars with Swiss francs in three months' time. If, as he (10) _______
  1. expected
  2. contemplated
  3. wondered
  4. considered
it turned out that the dollar was (11) _______
  1. value
  2. cost
  3. worth
  4. charge
less when the time came to settle, he would make a handsome profit. Show
But the dollar's value did not (12) _______ .
  1. tumble
  2. trip
  3. spill
  4. topple
It went up. And Colombo lost ??1 million. Show
Consequently he increased his stake, and went for (13) _______
  1. twice
  2. pair
  3. twofold
  4. double
or quits. Show
Without Lloyds (14) _______
  1. considering
  2. speculating
  3. suspecting
  4. believing
a thing, he set up transactions totalling ??4,580 million in just nine months. Show
At first, he was betting that the dollar would lose value. It did not. (15) _______ ,
  1. So
  2. Moreover
  3. Despite
  4. However
he switched to gambling that it would go on rising. It did not. Show


  1. hard-headed (adjective) not influenced by emotions a hard-headed approach to problems
  2. Hard-hearted (adjective) If someone is hard-hearted, they are not kind or sympathetic. Compare: kind-hearted; soft-hearted
ShowChanging word forms
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