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READING COMPREHENSION SET 1

NAME: ______________________________________ CONTROL NO. _________

Read the passages carefully and choose the best answer for the following questions.

The car culture of the 1920s didn’t create new values. It simply expressed old ones (freedom, equality,
individualism) in new ways. If people now traveled for fun, they needed new places to go. Farmers
soon allowed motorists to pitch tents on bits of field. Then cabins sprouted. By the 1930s, the country
had an estimated 15,000 cabin camps. However, travel made Americans crave the familiar, too. They
didn’t want every roadside meal or overnight stay to be a bad one. So arose the motel and fast-food
chains whose appeal lay in standardization.
As a parable of technology’s power, the car has few rivals. After the Model T burst on the scene in
1909, cars quickly contributed to the erosion of the family, authority, and community by making it
easier for people to pick up and go wherever and whenever they wished. For the same reason, it
broadened their horizons and homogenized America by reducing the vast differences among regions.

1. The passage implies that:


A. The car culture of the 1920s and 1930s represented freedom.
B. Cabin camps and motels arose because people needed new places to go.
C. Cars soon became the most destructive influence on American society.
D. Motels and fast-food chains are still popular today.
E. Before the car culture of the 1930s, many people hadn’t traveled simply for pleasure.

Advertising is not always the low-level media form it is made out to be. An often overlooked genre of
advertising is the public service announcement (PSA), which has the purpose of changing our
perceptions and attitudes about public issues that concern everyone. Some PSAs, for instance,
promote public safety. To convince people to wear seat belts, one catchy jingle urges viewers to buckle
up before driving. Other PSAs raise public awareness with cartoon characters whose slogans
encourage us not to pollute or remind us that only we can prevent forest fires. Advertising is not only
about making money, but also about making the world a better place where everyone benefits.

2. The author of the passage is primarily concerned with


A. defending advertising in all its forms.
B. showing how public service announcements help people be safe.
C. disproving the idea that advertising is just about making money.
D. describing types of public service announcements.
E. describing advertising as harmful.

Currently, each adult in the U.S. consumes 150 pounds of sugar per year. It is no coincidence that
while sugar consumption in the U.S. rises each decade, so do the number of adult-onset diabetes
cases. The connection between too much sugar and diabetes works like this: When too many refined
sugars (found in foods such as cookies and candy) are eaten and rapidly digested, a large amount of
glucose is released into the body, stressing it. Over time, this can result in a lowered sensitivity to
insulin called insulin resistance. Scientists believe that insulin resistance is a major cause of diabetes.

3. Which of the following details is least relevant to the author’s main idea?
A. Each adult in the U.S. consumes 150 pounds of sugar per year.
B. Consuming too much sugar can lead to insulin resistance, which, in turn, can lead to diabetes.
C. Consumption of sugar and recorded cases of adult-onset diabetes have both risen in the past
few decades.
D. Cookies and candy contain refined sugar.
Many people suppose that when a volcano erupts, lava poses the greatest threat to the surrounding
environment. However, ash from the volcano creates greater havoc. In the case of the Mount St.
Helens eruption, ash created innumerable problems. When the ash started sifting to the ground, it
coated and infiltrated everything. Visibility was near zero, and gusting winds created drifts of ash
nearly four feet high, causing drivers to abandon their cars. The ash seeped into automobile air filters,
which not only resulted in cars stalling, but also damaged engines. Because cars skidded into each
other on the slick, ash-covered streets, roads were closed until the inches of slippery, dusty ash could
be removed.

4. The passage relates that car engines stalled


A. because the drivers couldn’t see and slowed down too much.
B. when the cars slid into each other.
C. because ash clogged their air filters.
D. after the heat from the volcano caused the car engines to overheat.
E. despite the attempts to remove the ash.

In a January poll 224 students indicated they would be interested in volunteering to “adopt” the
school’s riverside trail. Fifty-three people then organized the “Trail Guardians Club” with Mrs. Felicia
Gonzales of the science department as the sponsor. The club’s first official meeting was scheduled for
early February.
During the first meeting, the members elected officers and discussed the goals of the club. They
decided one important goal was to hold a Trail Day on May 7. Students, teachers, and parents will be
invited to explore the trail using an interpretive map designed by the club. In the remaining three
months of the school year, however, volunteers must first clean up the trail and design the map. The
members then drafted a plan of work and assigned tasks.

5. In the passage above, “Trail Guardians” will hold a Trail Day


A. before spring, as a public service
B. at the February meeting
C. after they have cleaned up the trail and devised a map
D. once a month for the last three months of the school term
E. before gaining a club sponsor

Can surfing, snowboarding, and rock concerts save the environment? Surfrider—a conservation group
based in Southern California—thinks so, and it is working to bring young, energetic outdoor
enthusiasts into the activist fold. “There is a new type of environmental recreationist out there,” says
Pierce Flynn, the organization’s executive director. “That’s who we’re aiming at.”
Surfrider started doing beach cleanups in the 1980s. From there, the organization broadened its
perspective to fight water pollution. Based in San Clemente, Surfrider is now involved in a wetlands-
restoration project at Doheny Beach, California, and is helping create the first map of storm drainage
areas in southern California to improve sewage management. A Surfrider representative sits on the
Environmental Protection Agency’s Ocean Stormwater Pollution Committee, and members have allied
with grassroots activists from places as far-flung as the Baltic Sea, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii.
Surfrider’s current membership stands at 25,000, with forty chapters in four countries.

6. The author’s tone in this passage can best be described as


A. hostile and unapproving
B. blindly adulatory
C. neutral and objective
D. admiring and enthusiastic
E. sarcastic
Carly’s father complained vociferously when the umpire called her “out.” I was sitting next to him at
the time, and I was afraid my hearing would never recover.

7. In the passage above, the word “vociferously” most nearly means?


A. viciously
B. loudly
C. bitterly
D. forcefully
E. respectfully

[Amelia] Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were bound for Howland Island, a 2,556-mile
journey and the longest leg of their flight around the world. [Although Charles “Lucky Lindy” Lindbergh
had made his historic transatlantic flight in 1927,] no man had yet flown a plane around the world at
its widest point, the equator, as Earhart was doing, nor had any woman pilot ever circumnavigated
the globe.
Those who turned out that misty morning to watch her departure from Lae were the last ever to see
Earhart or Noonan, the last to hear the poetry of the Lockheed’s engines. Somewhere over the Pacific,
the plane vanished. America had lost its Sweetheart of the Air, its lovely Lady Lindy.

8. The author of this passage calls Earhart “lovely Lady Lindy” in order to
A. remind the reader that Earhart was a woman pilot
B. suggest a parallel between two heroic pilots—Earhart and Charles Lindbergh
C. challenge the idea that Earhart’s accomplishments could equal Lindbergh’s
D. present a poetic description of Earhart
E. hint at a personal connection between Earhart and Noonan

9. Although the weather forecast predicted a severe ice storm, school administrators were
_______ to cancel classes.
A. eager
B. reluctant
C. motivated
D. persuaded
E. relieved

A Renaissance dictionary defines tragedy as “a lofty kind of Poetry and representing personages of
great state and matter of much trouble, a great broil or stir: it beginneth prosperously, it endeth
unfortunately or doubtfully, contrary to a comedy. . . .” Broadly speaking, Shakespeare’s tragedies
follow this pattern, except for Hamlet, where the hero is not “prosperous” at the beginning. For
instance, at the start of the play Othello is newly married to Desdemona; Lear is almost a demigod
giving away kingdoms; Macbeth has conquered on the battlefield and been elevated in rank. . . . And
each of these tragic heroes “endeth unfortunately.”

10. Which of the following statements best describes the main idea of the passage?
A. Hamlet is not a tragedy.
B. During the Renaissance, the definition of tragedy was different than it is today.
C. Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth are considered “tragic heroes.”
D. Except for Hamlet, Shakespeare’s tragedies conform precisely to the Renaissance definition
of tragedy.
E. Hamlet differs from Shakespeare’s other tragedies in that the hero is not “prosperous” at the
beginning of the play.