TPS English: Article 1

Article 1. Sources used form the TPS English Section of CESPE/IRBr

This is the first or a number of articles I am going to write about the English section of the CESPE/IRBR phase 1 – ‘TPS’.

Here I will look at the sources of the texts used in previous exams up to this year and adapted in our updated TPS course. It is hoped that by the end of these articles candidates will have a greater understanding of this section of the exam, i) its overall style, ii) the different texts it uses and iii) the different styles of questions. This will aid a CACD candidate’s studies and makes sure they waste less time on reading materials that have no bearing on how they study for the ‘concurso’.

In this first article I will demonstrate the resources used by the examiner and show the general areas from where these resources are gathered. At the end of the article I will explain the gradual change in the exam in this area, clarify the misconceptions when studying for this phase and provide some links for the texts for candidates to use.

Here we see the bibliography/sources of texts taken from the CESPE/IRBr exam in last 6 years

2016

  1. W. Said. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon, 1978, p. 1-4 (adapted).
  2. Massey. For space. London: Sage Publications, 2005, p. 4-5 (adapted).
  3. Bierschenk. Book Review — Pierre Englebert (2009), Africa: unity, sovereignty, and sorrow. Internet: <http://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de> (adapted).
  4. Internet: <www.publicdiplomacy.org> (adapted).
  5. Michael Johnson. The impact of political and diplomatic disputes on international business activity. Internet: <www.ibde.org> (adapted).

2015

  1. Andrew F. Cooper. The changing nature of diplomacy. In: Andrew F. Cooper and Jorge Heine. The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. p. 36 (adapted) 
  2. Aida Edemarian. Francis Bacon: box oftricks. Internet: <www.theguardian.com> (adapted) 
  3. Virginia Woolf. Orlando – A biography, 1928 (adapted) 
  4. Mabel van Oranje and Graça Machel. Girls, not brides. Apr. 22nd 2015. Internet: <www.project-syndicate.org> (adapted) 

2014

  1. Source: <www.amazon.com>. Retrieved on: March 2, 2014 
  2. Makin, John H. The challenge of a lifetime. In: The international economy. Fall 2013, p. 10-11. Available at: <http://www.international- economy.com>. Adapted. Retrieved on: March 1, 2014. 
  3. Christopher Lasch. The Cult of Narcissism. Abacus, Londres, 1980 p. 320-322 (adapted). 
  4. Roger Crowley. Empires of the Sea, The Final Battle for the Mediterranean, 1521-1580, Faber and Faber, 2008, p. 1-2. 

2013

  1. Pearce. What do we fix first – environment or economy? New Scientist. July 8th, 2013 (adapted) 314 words
  2. Onley. The future of global diplomacy. June 17th, 2013 (adapted). 
  3. S. Abu Jaber, Language and Diplomacy. In: J. Kurbalija; H. Slavi (Eds.) Language and Diplomacy, p. 53. Malta: DiploProjects, 2001. 
  4. Internet: <www.nytimes.com> (adapted). 
  5. Simon Winschester. The Professor and the Madman – A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. Harper Perennial, 2005, p. 182-3 (adapted).

2012

  1. Internet: <www.economist.com> (adapted) 
  2. Internet: <www.time.com> (adapted) 
  3. Frederick Douglass. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American
  4. Charleston (SC): Forgotten Books, 2008, p. 26-7 (adapted) 
  5. Andrew Graham-Dixon. Caravaggio: a life sacred and profane. New York – London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010 (adapted). 

2011

  1. Barbara Tuchman. The proud power. MacMillan Company, 1966, p. 233 (adapted) 
  2. The promise and perils of crowdsourcing content. In: The Economist, January 15th-21st, 2011, p. 69 (adapted) 
  3. Frederick L. Schuman. International politics: the destiny of the Western state system. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1948, p. 1 (adapted) 

We can see some patterns in the themes/styles of text that the examiner has used. There are more texts based on themes found in diplomacy (obviously), English literature, and articles adapted from magazines and newspapers.

On further examination, while there is a spread of the texts available both over the internet and in paper-based books, we see that today the dependency on more popular newspapers and magazines has gradually declined and the use of diplomatic/international relations themes from academic reading has become more prominent.

The articles from the internet are now from sites which specifically write on international relation themes and less from the popular press. This can be found below:

1. Diplomacy

2016

  1. W. Said. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon, 1978, p. 1-4 (adapted).
  2. Massey. For space. London: Sage Publications, 2005, p. 4-5 (adapted).
  3. Bierschenk. Book Review — Pierre Englebert (2009), Africa: unity, sovereignty, and sorrow. Internet: <http://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de> (adapted)

Michael Johnson. The impact of political and diplomatic disputes on international business activity. Internet: <www.ibde.org> (adapted) 

2015

Andrew F. Cooper. The changing nature of diplomacy. In: Andrew F. Cooper and Jorge Heine. The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. p. 36 (adapted)

2013

K.S. Abu Jaber, Language and Diplomacy. In: J. Kurbalija; H. Slavi (Eds.) Language and Diplomacy, p. 53. Malta: DiploProjects, 2001. 

2011

Barbara Tuchman. The proud power. MacMillan Company, 1966, p. 233 (adapted)

Frederick L. Schuman. International politics: the destiny of the Western state system. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1948, p. 1 (adapted) 

2. Literature (Non-Fiction/Biographical)

 2016 (none)

2015

Virginia Woolf. Orlando – A biography, 1928 (adapted)

2014 

Roger Crowley. Empires of the Sea, The Final Battle for the Mediterranean, 1521-1580, Faber and Faber, 2008, p. 1-2.

Christopher Lasch. The Cult of Narcissism. Abacus, Londres, 1980 p. 320-322 (adapted).

2013

Simon Winschester. The Professor and the Madman – A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. Harper Perennial, 2005, p. 182-3 (adapted).

2012

Frederick Douglass. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American

slave. Charleston (SC): Forgotten Books, 2008, p. 26-7 (adapted)

Andrew Graham-Dixon. Caravaggio: a life sacred and profane. New York – London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010 (adapted).

3. Sources available on the Internet website magazines/journals

2016

  1. Internet: <www.publicdiplomacy.org> (adapted).
  2. www.ibde.org

2015

Aida Edemarian. Francis Bacon: box oftricks. Internet: <www.theguardian.com> (adapted)

Mabel van Oranje and Graça Machel. Girls, not brides. Apr. 22nd 2015. Internet: <www.project-syndicate.org> (adapted)

2014

Source: <www.amazon.com>. Retrieved on: March 2, 2014

Makin, John H. The challenge of a lifetime. In: The international economy. Fall 2013, p. 10-11. Available at: <http://www.international- economy.com>. Adapted. Retrieved on: March 1, 2014.

2013

  1. Pearce. What do we fix first – environment or economy? New Scientist. July 8th, 2013 (adapted)

Internet: <www.nytimes.com> (adapted). 

2012

Internet: <www.economist.com> (adapted)

Internet: <www.time.com> (adapted)

2011

Wikipedia. The promise and perils of crowdsourcing content. In: The Economist, January 15th-21st, 2011, p. 69 (adapted)

TPS IRBr
TPS COURSE

Changes in the Sources of text

As stated, the development of the exam has gradually moved away from the staple magazines and newspapers of the Economist and The Guardian from the UK and Time and The New York Times from the US, which were last used in 2013, toward the use of diplomacy theses in academic style texts

Literature texts such as the famous ‘Orlando’ excerpt by Virginia Woolf text in 2015, have always declined in the exam. Up until 2014 there were 2 literature texts used. Last year just one but in 2016 no such text was included. This trend might mean that literature has been replaced by readings which are more diplomacy based although time will tell if this ius true only next year. It is clear that although the difficulty of the texts are still very high, the examiner has discarded text which are unrelated to the subjects covered in the study to become a diplomat. This can only be a good thing, as the English exam is clearly changed to include only diplomatic academic themes which candidates come across in their daily studies

A further change is shown through a gradual inclusion on more diplomacy book-based texts, which can be found by a broader choice of reading of subjects, linked to International Relations. However, the internet is still one source for the texts used but it seems the exam has been using less recourses that can be easily discovered online.

What to study for the TPS

Having reviewed material on the CACD market, some ‘concurso’ preparation books still base most of their material on American and British magazines and newspapers. Their difficulty, of course, is to follow the changes presented here in this article. This study resources might be useful for improving your English but not necessarily include the high level of texts that a candidate must be familiar with when preparing for the TPS phase

Also, we will see when I analyse the questions, in a later article, that these journalist texts do not necessarily include the weird and novel language that are usually found in this first phase of CESPE/IRBr exam.

High level academic texts must be the focus for this phase and those candidates who have not studied international relations or are not yet familiar with the main diplomatic themes might have some difficulty choosing from the array of information available. Furthermore, although I state that they have been used less, from a teaching point of view, text from classic English literature still offers an excellent resource to help to perfect ‘text interpretation’ (the main question type on the exam) because they offer rich language and depth of thought that can only benefit a candidate for this stage.

Suggestions and Links

TPS CourseThis is a link to one source that I have been using for the last few years with my students for literature:  http://www.classicshorts.com/abc.html.

A good university library is the only way to find paper based texts. English books on International relations and Academic articles on different diplomatic subjects must be used to become more familiar with the themes and language used in this section of the TPS.

Google Scholar is also a good search engine to use for the different content. In 2016 the article was on ‘Orientalism’, so searching for articles on this theme can demonstrate which articles to read.

Good sites to use where you can focus on current diplomacy/political themes and improve your English

  1. www.project-syndicate.org
  2. https://www.foreignaffairs.com (for a very western view)
  3. http://www.international-relations.com

Shaun Dowling

The next article will discuss the overall development of the TPS English exam questions

RIO BRANCO TPS 2017



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