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Designing Exams: Dedicated to María Zambrano

This exercise was designed at EOI Fuengirola for the June 2015 final  Básico 1 exam (Elementary) – Part 1: Reading Test. It is dedicated to a Spanish woman philosopher (cross-curricular topic – Coeducación: Desarrollando inteligencia feminista)

You can download here the 2 pdf pages with the exercise & the key or do it online…

Reading Comprehension. Task 1. Questions on a text

Read the text quickly, just to get a general idea (skimming). Next read the questions and underline words that help. After that, read the text carefully (scanning) and choose the best answer. Finally, go through your answers.

mariazambranoMARÍA ZAMBRANO
(From http://www.women-philosophers.com & wikipedia)

María Zambrano Alarcón (22 April 1904, Vélez-Málaga – 6 February 1991, Madrid) was a Spanish essayist and philosopher associated with the Generation of ’36 movement.

In 1907 her family moved to Jaén and then Segovia. Later María Zambrano moved to Madrid to study Philosophy at university. One of her teachers was the essayist and philosopher José Ortega y Gasset. She was politically active during these years.

In 1936 she became a teacher of Metaphysics at Madrid University and she married Alfonso Rodriguez Aldave, who worked at the Spanish Embassy in Santiago, Chile. At the end of the Civil War, she had to go into exile for her own security. She found a job as a professor at the University of Morelea in Mexico. After living in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Italy, France and Switzerland, Zambrano finally returned to Madrid, Spain in 1984.

Highly respected by artists and intellectuals, among her friends were writers Rafael Alberti, Miguel Hernández, Jorge Guillén, Pedro Salinas, José Bergamín, Luis Cernuda, and painter Maruja Mallo. Miguel Hernández and María Zambrano went for walks to the Manzanares river in Madrid, to talk about life and love.

Among her books, you can find, Filosofia y poesía (Philosophy and Poetry) (1940), La agonía de Europa (The Agony of Europe) (1945), Persona y democracia (Person and Democracy) (1959), Claros del bosque (1977), or Delirio y destino (written in 1953; published in 1989), translated by Delirium and Destiny: A Spaniard in Her Twenties and published in 1999.

A slow process of recognition of her work started in Spain in 1966 when J. L. Aranguren wrote his article “Los sueños de María Zambrano” (María Zambrano’s Dreams) and got it published in a very important cultural and scientific magazine, Revista de Occidente, founded by Ortega y Gasset. In 1981 she was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Communications and Humanities in its first edition, and in 1983 Malaga University named her Doctor honoris causa. In 1988 she became the first woman to be awarded the Miguel de Cervantes Prize. María querida (Dearest Maria), a film directed by José Luis García Sánchez in 2004, is about her life. In December 2007, when the Málaga-Madrid high speed railway line was opened, the railway company RENFE renamed Málaga Railway Station “María Zambrano”.

Choose the best answer, according to the text.

  1. When was María Zambrano’s birthday?
  • Her birthday was on the 22nd of April
  • Her birthday was on the 22nd of April, 1904
  • Her birthday was in 22 April
  1. In this biography, what information do we get about Zambrano’s marital status?
  • She was single
  • She was married
  • It doesn’t say
  1. Why did she travel abroad? (according to the text)
  • Because she was an adventurer
  • Because she loved travelling
  • Because she went into exile
  1. What did María Zambrano do (for a living)?
  • She didn’t need to work
  • She was a teacher
  • She was a writer
  1. In which award was she the first woman?
  • “Los sueños de María Zambrano” (María Zambrano’s Dreams)
  • The Prince of Asturias Award
  • The Miguel de Cervantes Prize