Reading Comprehension

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Reading Comprehension

Time: 55 minutes
Now set your clock for 55 minutes. You have 5 minutes to read the directions.

Directions: In the Reading Comprehension section, you will read several passages. Each one is followed by a number of questions about it. For questions I 50, you are to choose the one best answer-{A), (B), (C), or (D)-to each question. Then, on your answer sheet, find the number of the question and fill in the space that corresponds to the letter of the answer - you have chosen.

Answer all questions about the information in a passage on the basis of what is stated or implied in that passage.

Read the following passage:

The railroad was not the first institution to impose regularity on society or to draw attention to the importance of precise timekeeping. For as long as merchants have set out their wares at daybreak and communal festivities have been celebrated, people have been in rough agreement with their neighbors as to the time of day. The value of this tradition is today more apparent than ever. Were it not for public acceptance of a single yardstick of time, social life would be unbearably chaotic; the massive daily transfers of goods, services, and information would proceed in fits and starts; the very fabric of modern society would begin to unravel.

Example I
What is the main idea of the passage?
(A) In modern society we must make more time for our neighbors.
(B) The traditions of society are timeless.
(C) An accepted way of measuring time is essential for the smooth functioning of society.
(D) Society judges people by the times at which they conduct certain activities.

The main idea of the passage is that societies need to agree about how time is to be measured in order to function smoothly. Therefore, you should choose (C).

Example II
In line 5, the phrase "this tradition" refers to
(A) the practice of starting the business day at dawn
(B) friendly relations between neighbors
(C) the railroad's reliance on time schedules
(D) people's agreement on the measurement of time

The phrase "this tradition" refers to the preceding clause, "people have been in rough agreement with their neighbors as to the time of day." Therefore, you should choose (D).

Questions 1-10
In past centuries, Native Americans living in the arid areas of what is now the southwestern United States relied on a variety of strategies to ensure the success of their agriculture. First and foremost, water was the critical factor. The soil was rich because there was little rain to leach out the minerals, but the low precipitation caused its own problems. Long periods of drought could have made agriculture impossible; on the other hand, a sudden flood could just as easily have destroyed a crop.

Several techniques were developed to solve the water problem. The simplest was to plant crops in the floodplains and wait for the annual floods to water the young crops. A less dangerous technique was to build dikes or dams to control the flooding. These dikes both protected the plants against excessive flooding and prevented the water from escaping too quickly once it had arrived. The Hopi people designed their fields in a checkerboard pattern, with many small dikes, each enclosing only one or two stalks of maize (corn), while other groups built a series of dams to control the floods. A third technique was to dig irrigation ditches to bring water from the rivers. Water was sometimes carried to the fields in jars, particularly if the season was dry. Some crops were planted where they could be watered directly by the runoff from cliff walls.

Another strategy Native Americans used to ensure a continuous food supply was to plant their crops in more than one place, hoping that if one crop failed, another would survive. However, since the soil was rich and not easily exhausted, the same patch of ground could be cultivated year after year whereas in the woodlands of the eastern United States it was necessary to abandon a plot of ground after a few years of farming. In the Southwest, often two successive crops were planted each year.

It was a common southwestern practice to grow enough food so that some could be dried and stored for emergencies. If emergency supplies ran low the people turned to the local wild plants. If these failed, they moved up into the mountains to gather the wild plants that might have survived in the cooler atmosphere.
l. What does the passage mainly discuss?
2. The word "solve" in line 7 is closest in meaning to
3. Planting in the floodplains was not ideal because
4. The word "enclosing" in line 12 is closest in meaning to
5. The word "they" in line 16 refers to
6. Why did farmers in the Southwest plant crops in several places at the same time?
7. The word "patch" in line l9 is closest in meaning to
8. Why did farmers in the eastern woodlands periodically abandon their fields?
9. What did farmers in the Southwest do when a crop failed?
10. Farmers in the Southwest would have benefited most from which of the
Questions 11-20
Marianne Moore (1887-1972) once said that her writing could be called poetry only because there was no other name for it. Indeed her poems appear to be extremely compressed essays that happen to be printed in jagged lines on the page. Her subjects were varied: animals, laborers, artists, and the craft of poetry. From her general reading came quotations that she found striking or insightful. She included these in her poems, scrupulously enclosed in quotation marks, and sometimes identified in footnotes. Of this practice, she wrote, "'Why the many
quotation marks?'l am asked . . .When a thing has been said so well that it could not be said better, why paraphrase it? Hence my writing is, if not a cabinet of fossils, a kind of collection of flies in amber." Close observation and concentration on detail are the methods of her poetry.

Marianne Moore grew up in Kirkwood, Missouri, near St. Louis. After graduation from Bryn Mawr College in 1909, she taught commercial subjects at the Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Later she became a librarian in New York City. During the 1920s she was editor of The Dial, an important literary magazine of the period. She lived quietly all her life, mostly in Brooklyn. New York. She spent a lot of time at the Bronx Zoo, fascinated by animals. Her admiration of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team-before the team moved to Los Angeles
was widely known.

Her first book of poems was published in London in 1921 by a group of friends associated with the Imagist movement. From that time on her poetry has been read with interest by succeeding generations of poets and readers. In 1952 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her Collected Poems. She wrote that she did not write poetry "for money or fame. To earn a living is needful, but it can be done in routine ways. One writes because one has a burning desire to objectify what it is indispensable to one's happiness to express."
11. What is the passage mainly about?
12. Which of the following can be inferred about Moore's poems?
13. According to the passage, Moore wrote about all of the following
14. What does Moore refer to as "flies in amber" (line 9)?
15. The author mentions all of the following as jobs held by Moore
16. The word "period" in line 13 is closest in meaning to
17. Where did Moore spend most of her adult life?
18. The word "succeeding" in line 19 is closest in meaning to
19. The word "it" in line 21 refers to
20. It can be inferred from the passage that Moore wrote because she
Questions 21-30
Different fish species swim in different ways. Beginning in the 1920s, careful efforts have been made to classify and measure these various means of locomotion. Although the nomenclature and mathematics used to describe fish locomotion have become quite complex, the basic classification system is still largely the same as it was first outlined.

The simplest type of swim is "eel-form" (technically, "anguilliform," after the common eel Anguilla). As the name suggests, this swimming motion involves undulations, or wavelike motions, of the whole length of the fish's body, the amplitude of the undulation increasing toward the tail. These undulating motions generate a backward thrust of the body against the water, thereby driving it forward. Eel-form swimming is effective but not particularly efficient because the undulations increase
the drag or resistance in the water. It is employed, therefore, mostly by bottom dwellers that do not move quickly or efficiently. Not only eels but also blennies swim this way, as do flounders, which undulate vertically, top to bottom, rather than horizontally, and certain slow-moving sharks, such as the nurse and wobbegong shark.

Most roaming predators display "jack-form" swimming (technically, "carangifonn," after the Carangidae family, which includes jacks, scads, and pompanos). Although there is some variation, in general they have certain features in common: a head like the nose of an aircraft, often sloping down on the top, and a tapered posterior that ends in a forked tail. That portion of the body that connects with the forked tail is narrowed. A jack, like other carangilorm swimmers, is adapted for acceleration. It thrusts its rather stiff body from side to side, creating propulsion without much waving of the body, encountering less resistance than eel-form undulations produce. The forked pattern of the tail reduces drag; the narrowed portion of the body connected to the tail
minimizes recoil, and thus helps keep the body still. Jack-form fish are efficient swimmers, as they must be to catch their prey.

The least efficient swimmers are those that move trunkfish style (technically, "ostraciform," after the family Ostraciidae, which includes trunkfishes and cowfishes). Like the jacks, they use their tails for propulsion, but in so inept and clumsy a manner as to make it clear that speed is not their objective. Pufferfish and porcupine fish swim in
trunkfish style. Lacking speed, they must depend on body armor or the secretion of toxic substances for protection.
21. The word "suggests" in line 7 is closest in meaning to
22. The word "it" in line 10 refers to
23. Which of the following does the author mention as the cause of the eel's
inefficient swimming style?
24. The word "employed" in line 12 is closest in meaning to
25. It can be inferred from the passage that blennies (line 13) are
26. The word "minimizes" in line 25 is closest in meaning to
27. What does the author mention about fish that are "jack-form" swimmers?
28. the word "objective" in Iine 10 is closest in meaning to
29. Which of the following fish would most likely emit a poisonous substance?
30. Which of the following statements does the passage support?
Questions 31-40
People appear to be born to compute. The numerical skills of children develop so early and so inexorably that it is easy to imagine an internal clock of mathematical maturity guiding their growth. Not long alter learning to walk and talk, they can set the table with impressive Line accuracy----one plate, one knife, one spoon, one fork, for each of the five chairs. Soon they are capable of noting that they have placed five knives, spoons, and forks on the table and, a bit later, that this amounts to fifteen pieces of silverware. Having thus mastered addition, they move on to subtraction. It seems almost reasonable to expect that if a child were secluded on a desert island at birth and retrieved seven years later, he or she could enter a second-grade mathematics class without any serious problems of intellectual adjustment.

Of course, the truth is not so simple. In the twentieth century, the work of cognitive psychologists illuminated the subtle forms of daily leaming on which intellectual progress depends. Children were observed as they slowly grasped-or, as the case might be, bumped into-, concepts that
adults take for granted, as they refused, for instance, to concede that quantity is unchanged as water pours from a short stout glass into a tall thin one. Psychologists have since demonstrated that young children, asked to count the pencils in a pile, readily report the number of blue or
red pencils but must be coaxed into finding the total. Such studies have suggested that the rudiments of mathematics are mastered gradually and with effort. They have also suggested that the very concept of abstract numbers-the idea of a oneness, a twoness, a threeness that applies to any class of objects and is a prerequisite for doing anything more mathematically demanding than setting a table-is itself far from innate.
31. What does the passage mainly discuss?
32. It can be inferred from the passage that children normally leam simple counting
33. The word "illuminated" in line 11 is closest in meaning to
34. The author implies that most small children believe that the quantity of water changes when it is transferred to a container of a different
35. According to the passage, when small children were asked to count a pile of red and blue pencils they
36. The word "They" in line 17 refers to
37. The word "prerequisite" in line 19 is closest in meaning to
38. The word "itself" in line 20 refers to
39. With which of the following statements would the author be
LEAST likely to agree?
40. Where in the passage does the author give an example ola hypothetical
Questions 41-50
Botany, the study of plants, occupies a peculiar position in the history of human knowledge. For many thousands of years, it was the one field of awareness about which humans had anything more than the vaguest of insights. It is impossible to know today just what our Stone Line Age ancestors knew about plants, but from what we can observe preindustrial societies that fi, still exist, a detailed leaming of plants and their properties must be extremely ancient. This is logical. Plants are the basis of the food pyramid for all living things, even for other plants. They
have always been enormously important to the welfare ofpeople, not only for food, but also for clothing, weapons, tools, dyes, medicines, shelter, and a great many other purposes. Tribes living today in the jungles of the Amazon recognize literally hundreds of plants and know many properties of each. To them botany, as such, has no name and is probably not even
recognized as a special branch of knowledge at all.

Unfortunately, the more industrialized we become the farther away we move from direct contact with plants, and the less distinct our knowledge of botany grows. Yet everyone comes unconsciously on an amazing amount of botanical knowledge, and few people will fail to recognize a rose, an apple, or an orchid. When our Neolithic ancestors, living in the Middle East about 10,000 years ago, discovered that certain grasses could be harvested and their seeds planted for richer yields the next season, the first great step in a new association of plants and humans was taken. Grains were discovered and from them flowed the marvel of agriculture: cultivated crops. From then on, humans would increasingly take their living from the controlled production of a few plants rather than getting a little here and a little there from many varieties that grew wild-and the accumulated knowledge of tens of thousands of years of experience and intimacy with plants in the wild would begin to fade away.
41. Which of the following assumptions about early humans is expressed in
the passage?
42. the  word "peculiar" in line 1 is closest in meaning to
43. What does the comment "This is logical" in lines 5-6 mean?
44. The phrase "properties of each" in line 10 refers to each
45. According to the passage, why has general knowledge of botany
46. ln line 15, what is the author's purpose in mentioning "a rose, an
apple, or an orchid"?
47. According to the passage, what was the first great step toward the practice of agriculture?
48. The word "controlled" in line 19 is closest in meaning to
49. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage about the transition to agriculture?
50. Where in the passage does the author describe the benefits people derive from plants?