Test Your Reading Comprehension Ability

50 Questions | Total Attempts: 84

SettingsSettingsSettings
Please wait...
Test Your Reading Comprehension Ability

Reading comprehension is the ability to read a passage or a text, process it and understand its core meaning. In this test, you will be presented with a passage to read, and then you will be asked questions pertaining to the passage. It will require that you use your critical thinking and logic skills. Also tested will be your knowledge in vocabulary and literary devices.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    The next 10 questions will be in reference to the excerpt of the passage below. Read the passage carefully and refer to it when needed to answer each question on test. You should select the answer choice that best answers the question. For further reading on the author, refer to the provided links below or click the name of the author. If you would like to read the whole passage, refer to the provided links (HERE).  
  • 2. 
    The following passage is adapted from the short story "A Wagner Matinee" by Willa Cather:   On the morning after her arrival, Aunt Georgiana was still exhausted from her lengthy train trip. She seemed not to realize that she was in the city where she had spent her youth, the place she had longed for hungrily half a lifetime ago. I had planned a little pleasure for her that afternoon, to repay her for some of the glorious moments she had given me when we used to milk together in the straw-thatched cowshed, and she would tell me of the splendid performances she had seen in Paris in her youth. At two o'clock the Symphony Orchestra was to give a Wagner program, and I intended to take my aunt; though as I talked with her, I grew doubtful about her enjoyment of it.               Indeed, for her sake, I hoped that her taste for such things was quite dead, and that the long struggle was mercifully ended at last. I suggested our visiting the Conservatory and the Common before lunch, but she seemed altogether too timid to venture out. She questioned me absently about various changes in the city, but she was chiefly concerned that she had forgotten to leave instructions about feeding half-skimmed milk to a certain weakling calf, "old Maggie's calf, you know, Clark," she explained, evidently having forgotten how long I had been away. From the time we entered the concert hall, however, she was slightly less passive, and for the first time seemed to recognize her surroundings. I had felt some apprehension that she might become aware of her absurd attire, or might experience some painful embarrassment at stepping suddenly into the world to which she had been lost for a quarter of a century. But, again, I found how su­perficially I had judged her. She sat looking about her with eyes as impersonal, almost as stony, as those with which the granite King Ramses in a museum watches the ebb and flow of people about his pedestal-separated from them by the lonely stretch of centuries.                When the musicians came out and took their places, she gave a little stir of anticipation and looked with quickening interest down over the rail at that un­changing grouping, perhaps the first familiar thing that had greeted her eye since she had left old Maggie and her weakling calf. I could feel how all those details sank into her soul, for I had not forgotten how they had sunk into mine when I came fresh from plowing between green aisles of corn, where one might walk from daybreak to dusk without perceiving a shadow of change. The clean profiles of the musicians, the gloss of their linen, the dull black of their coats, the beloved shapes of the instruments, the patches of yellow light thrown by the green-shaded lamps on the smooth, varnished bellies of the cellos and the bass viols in the rear, the restless, wind-tossed forest of fiddle necks and bows-I recalled how, in the first orchestra I ever heard, those long bow strokes seemed to draw the heart out of me, as a magician's stick reels out yards of paper ribbon from a hat.      When the horns trumpeted the first strain from the Tannhauser overture, my Aunt Georgiana clutched my sleeve, and at that moment I realized that for her this broke a thirty-year silence.              When the overture finished, my aunt released my coat sleeve but said nothing, while staring dully at the orchestra. Aunt Georgiana had been a good pianist in her day, and her musical education had been broader than that of most music teachers twenty-five years ago. My aunt had often spoken of Mozart's operas and Meyerbeer's, and I could remember hearing her sing certain melodies of Verdi's.    I watched her closely throughout the prelude to Tristan and Isolde, trying vainly to conjecture what that seething turmoil of strings and winds might mean to her, but she sat mutely staring at the violin bows that drove diagonally downward, like the pelting streaks of rain in a summer shower. I wondered if this music had any message for her, and I was in a fever of curiosity, but Aunt Geor­giana sat silent. She preserved this utter immobility throughout The Flying Dutch­man, though her fingers worked mechanically upon her black dress, as though, of themselves, they were recalling the piano score they had once played. Her poor old hands had been stretched and twisted into mere tentacles to hold and lift and knead with; the palms unduly swollen, the fingers bent and knotted-on one of them a thin, worn band that had once been a wedding ring. As I pressed and gently quieted one of those groping hands, I remembered with quivering eyelids their comfort for me in other days.                          Soon after the tenor began the "Prize Song," I heard a quick drawn breath and turned to my aunt. Her eyes were closed, but the tears were glistening on her cheeks, and I think, in a moment more, they were in my eyes as well. It never really died, then-the soul that can suffer so excruciatingly and so interminably; it withers to the outward eye only, like that strange moss which can lie on a dusty shelf half a century and yet, if placed in water, grow green again.    ----------------------------------------------END OF PASSAGE------------------------------------------------
  • 3. 
    The next 10 questions will be in reference to the excerpt of the passage below. Read the passage carefully and refer to it when needed to answer each question on test. You should select the answer choice that best answers the question. 
  • 4. 
    The following passage is adapted from the short story “Fitness” by Maria J.               In 1993, the Center for Science in the Public Interest CSPI attracted extensive media attention when it reported that Chinese restaurant food is unhealthy. A meal of Kung Pao chicken, the center claimed, is comparable to "four McDonald's quarter pounder. In the months that followed this news, the CSPI focused on several other types of food-including Italian food, Mexican food, and movie-theater popcorn-that, according to the center's findings, contained unhealthy levels of salt and fat. The center declared that fettuccine Alfredo is "a heart attack on a plate," that eating Chile Rellenos is like eating a whole stick of butter," and that a medium-sized container of movie-theater popcorn with butter-flavored topping contains "more fat than a bacon­ and eggs breakfast, a Big-Mac-with-fries lunch, and a steak dinner with all the trimmings combined."              In response to this ever-growing list of dangerous foods, Mike Royko, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, undoubtedly expressed the frustrations of many Americans when he wrote, "I can save the Center for Science in the Public Interest a lot of bother and expense. All it takes is a simple announcement: If something tastes good, it is probably bad. If something tastes really dull, it is probably good." In a humorous tone, Royko asked, "Who knows where the food nags will strike next? A deli." Ironically, delis were one of the CSPI's subsequent targets: It proclaimed that an egg-salad sandwich "makes a Dairy Queen banana split look like a diet food."               The CSPI's campaign against unhealthy food and the reaction to it illustrate the uneasy relationship that often exists between health experts and the American public. Health officials ­with the help of the news media and advertisers-produce a constant stream of information about the health effects of various foods, beverages, chemicals, drugs, lifestyles, and activities. These reports ceaselessly implore the public to adhere to dietary and fitness guidelines that are continually being updated, revised, and amended. Because these recommendations are in constant flux-and often contradict one another-frustration such as that expressed by Royko is commonplace. Some people adopt the attitude that because risks are ubiquitous and health problems are unavoidable, it is futile to attempt to alter one's behavior to avoid the inevitable. Daniel Minturn, a shipping clerk interviewed by Richard Woodbury in Time magazine, succinctly summed up this philosophy as he prepared to eat a cheeseburger: "Everywhere you turn, it's a warning for this and a warning for that. So what's wrong with just now and then going out and enjoying what you want?"               In fact, health experts who challenge the CSPI's claims suggest that Minturn's attitude is the correct one. Elizabeth M. Whelan, the president of the American Council on Science and Health, argues, CSPl's diet advice is "lite" on science and "reduced" in common sense. It overlooks the fact that what is important is one's overall diet, another occasional consumption of any specific food. The key to healthy eating is a balanced, varied, moderate diet-and there is room in that overall scheme for fettuccini and popcorn. Whelan and others accuse the CSPI of oversimplifying nutritional science.   These critics contend that the restaurant foods cited by the CSPI are safe in moderate amounts, and that the CSPI ignores the fact that the degree of risk imposed by fat and salt intake varies among individuals. For example, Jacob Sullum writes in National Review, "While too much salt aggravates certain kinds of hypertension there is no medical reason for people in general to avoid it “Similarly he argues that although "a high-fat diet may increase the risk of heart disease in some people, That does not mean that fettuccine Alfredo, Kung Pao chicken, and Chile Rellenos are poison." Not only do experts debate the dangers posed by fat levels in particular foods, they also disagree about the risks and benefits of different types of fat. The food guide pyramid developed and issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992 recommends using all fats and oils "sparingly." However, according to Michael Mason, a staff writer for Health magazine, this advice is misguided because it fails to differentiate between kinds of fat. While saturated fat has been linked to heart disease, Mason notes, monounsaturated fat may actually benefit the cardiovascular system. Mason argues that by lumping all fats and oils together, the USDA calls for cutting olive oil, which is a source of monounsaturated fat. Simultaneously, according to Mason, while the pyramid advises cutting fats and oils, it allows for two to three servings per day of red meat, which is high in saturated fat. To rectify these inconsistencies, Mason endorses an alternative pyramid that was developed in 1994 by the Harvard School of Public Health, Old ways Prevention & Ex- change Trust, and the World Health Organization. Based on the traditional Mediterranean diet, the new pyramid recommends eating red meat only a few times a month and calls for daily use of olive oil.             Along with contradictory information on nutrition, the public also receives mixed signals on exercise. For example, during the 1970s and 1980s, experts recommended that Americans engage in vigorous exercise for a minimum of thirty minutes a day, five days a week) In 1993, however, new guidelines were released jointly by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The CDC and the ACSM called for moderate exercise and said that the recommended daily amount of activity could be "accumulated in short bouts" rather than during one workout, as was previously recommended. Then, in 1995, a study authored by IMin Lee, an assistant professor of medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health, concluded that vigorous exercise-but not moderate exercise-was associated with greater longevity, suggesting that only vigorous exercise could help people live longer. Reflecting the public's confusion, an Associated Press article reporting on Lee's study began, "Run! No, walk. No, run!"             The uncertainty caused by such contradictory information can lead some people to become discouraged and to adopt a careless attitude about their personal health and fitness. However, amid the cacophony of competing recommendations, a few generalizations can safely be made. Most experts agree that some exercise is better than no exercise, and most agree that the best diet is a varied one low in saturated fat. In Health and Fitness: Opposing Viewpoints authors examine diet, exercise, and other topics in the following chapters: What Behaviors Pose the Greatest Health Risks and Benefits? Are Exercise and Weight-Loss Treatments Beneficial? Are Alternative Therapies Viable? Is the Health Care Industry Effective? Throughout these chapters, issues that affect the health and fitness of all Americans are discussed and debated.     ----------------------------------------------END OF PASSAGE------------------------------------------------
  • 5. 
    The next 10 questions will be in reference to the excerpt of the passage below. Read the passage carefully and refer to it when needed to answer each question on test. You should select the answer choice that best answers the question. For further reading on the author, refer to the provided links below or click the name of the author. If you would like to read the whole passage, refer to the provided links.
  • 6. 
    The following passage is adapted from the short story "The Holocaust”   The Holocaust When you think of the holocaust, what do you think about? Is it the millions of Jews lives that were taken? Or is it a great, but wicked speaker named Adolph Hitler? Adolph Hitler, Auschwitz, and American involvement are some key roles in the holocaust. Adolph Hitler is probably one of the worst people ever to live. When people talk of evil deeds he is at the top of the list. He was a man of words, and could use them to his advantage. He had an ability to talk and make the Germans believe that the Jews were the reason for the problems in their country; so he gave them the idea to move them out. Then under his command they forced the Jews in to death camps. After Adolph Hitler convinced the Germans that the Jews were the center of all problems, he started to make camps to place all the Jews. These camps weren’t nice places to be. They were all used to kill millions of Jews. Auschwitz was the most feared of all. Over 2 million Jews were killed there in ways that aren’t humane, such as shooting them, or gassing them in a chamber, or even burning them alive. This camp even bought little farms and houses for places to kill. They had the ever so famous Little Red house and the Little White house. These were places that they took Jews to kill them. How does America get involved in this? They started to ban Jews in America. Nazism started up here in the land of the free. This made it harder for them to come to America and get out of harms way in Germany. They were leaving one country to come to another that feared the Jews taking jobs away, and believed they had to take action as did the Germans. Organizations tried to help bring people in to the country, and the government was making it almost imposable to get in. I hope this gives you a little bit more of a prospective on the holocaust. This gives you more to the story than what everyone thinks normally. Adolph Hitler, Auschwitz, and America’s involvement are all big factors in the holocaust. The Germans wanted them out, and the Americans didn’t want them in their country either. How sad is that when America is supposed to be the “Land of the Free?”         ----------------------------------------------END OF PASSAGE------------------------------------------------
  • 7. 
    The next 10 questions will be in reference to the excerpt of the passage below. Read the passage carefully and refer to it when needed to answer each question on test. You should select the answer choice that best answers the question. For further reading on the author, refer to the provided links below or click the name of the author. If you would like to read the whole passage, refer to the provided links.
  • 8. 
    Us Economy as I Think               The economic history of the United States has its roots in European settlements in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The American colonies progressed from marginally successful colonial economies to a small, independent farming economy, which in 1776 became the United States of America. In 230 years the United States grew to a huge, integrated, industrialized economy that makes up over a quarter of the world economy. The main causes were a large unified market, a supportive political-legal system, vast areas of highly productive farmlands, vast natural resources (especially timber, coal and oil), and an entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to investing in material and human capital. In addition, the U.S. was able to exploit these resources due to a unique set of institutions designed to encourage exploration and extraction. As a result, the U.S.'s GDP per capita converged on that of the U.K., as well as other nations that it previously trailed economically. The economy has maintained high wages, attracting immigrants by the millions from all over the world.         For many years following the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the danger of recession appeared most serious, government sought to strengthen the economy by spending heavily itself or cutting taxes so that consumers would spend more, and by fostering rapid growth in the money supply, which also encouraged more spending. In the 1970s, economic woes brought on by the costs of the Vietnam conflict, major price increases, particularly for energy, created a strong fear of inflation. As a result, government leaders came to concentrate more on controlling inflation than on combating recession by limiting spending, resisting tax cuts, and reining in growth in the money supply.        Ideas about the best tools for stabilizing the economy changed substantially between the 1960s and the 1990s. In the 1960s, government had great faith in fiscal policy—manipulation of government revenues to influence the economy. Since spending and taxes are controlled by the president and the U.S. Congress, these elected officials played a leading role in directing the economy. A period of high inflation, high unemployment, and huge government deficits weakened confidence in fiscal policy as a tool for regulating the overall pace of economic activity. Instead, monetary policy assumed growing prominence.                  Since the stagflation of the 1970s, the U.S. economy has been characterized by somewhat slower growth. The worst recession in recent decades, in terms of lost output, occurred in the 1973-75 period of oil shocks, when GDP fell by 3.1 percent, followed by the 1981-82 recession, when GDP    dropped by 2.9 percent. Since the 1970s the US has sustained trade deficits with other nations. Output fell by 1.3 percent in the 1990-91 downturn, and a tiny 0.3 percent in the 2001 recession. The 2001 downturn lasted just eight months.        In recent years, the primary economic concerns have centered on: high household debt ($14 trillion) including $2.5 trillion in consumer debt, high national debt ($9 trillion), high corporate debt ($9 trillion), high mortgage debt (over $10 trillion as of 2005 year-end), high unfunded Medicare liability ($30 trillion), high unfunded Social Security liability ($12 trillion), high external debt (amount owed to foreign lenders), high trade deficits, and a serious deterioration in the United States net international investment position (NIIP) (-24% of GDP). In 2006, the U.S economy had its lowest saving rate since 1933. These issues have raised concerns among economists and national politicians.   The U.S. economy maintains a relatively high GDP per capita, with the caveat that it may be elevated by borrowing, a low to moderate GDP growth rate, and a low unemployment rate, making it attractive to immigrants worldwide. The United States entered 2008 during a housing market correction, a subprime mortgage crisis and a declining dollar value. On December 1, 2008, the NBER declared that the United States entered a recession in December 2007, citing employment and production figures as well as the third quarter decline in GDP.     ----------------------------------------------END OF PASSAGE------------------------------------------------
  • 9. 
    The next 10 questions will be in reference to the excerpt of the passage below. Read the passage carefully and refer to it when needed to answer each question on test. You should select the answer choice that best answers the question. For further reading on the author, refer to the provided links below or click the name of the author. If you would like to read the whole passage, refer to the provided links.
  • 10. 
    Luke 15:11-32 (Contemporary English Version) “Two Sons”                                                                                                            Jesus also told them another story:   Once a man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, "Give me my share of the property." So the father divided his property between his two sons.      Not long after that, the younger son packed up everything he owned and left for a foreign country, where he wasted all his money in wild living. 14He had spent everything, when a bad famine spread through that whole land. Soon he had nothing to eat.     He went to work for a man in that country, and the man sent him out to take care of his pigs. He would have been glad to eat what the pigs were eating, but no one gave him a thing. Finally, he came to his senses and said, "My father's workers have plenty to eat, and here I am, starving to death! I will go to my father and say to him, `Father, I have sinned against God in heaven and against you. I am no longer good enough to be called your son. Treat me like one of your workers.' "     The younger son got up and started back to his father. But when he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for him. He ran to his son and hugged and kissed him.     The son said, "Father, I have sinned against God in heaven and against you. I am no longer good enough to be called your son."     But his father said to the servants, "Hurry and bring the best clothes and put them on him. Give him a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. Get the best calf and prepare it, so we can eat and celebrate. This son of mine was dead, but has now come back to life. He was lost and has now been found." And they began to celebrate. The older son had been out in the field. But when he came near the house, he heard the music and dancing. So he called one of the servants over and asked, "What's going on here?"     The servant answered, "Your brother has come home safe and sound, and your father ordered us to kill the best calf." The older brother got so angry that he would not even go into the house.    His father came out and begged him to go in. But he said to his father, "For years I have worked for you like a slave and have always obeyed you. But you have never even given me a little goat, so that I could give a dinner for my friends. This other son of yours wasted your money on prostitutes. And now that he has come home, you ordered the best calf to be killed for a feast."       His father replied, "My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we should be glad and celebrate! Your brother was dead, but he is now alive. He was lost and has now been found."     ----------------------------------------------END OF PASSAGE------------------------------------------------  
  • 11. 
    The passage makes it clear that Aunt Georgiana:             a. Played violin in an orchestra. b. Not seen Clark for some time. c. Often listens to music. d. Grew up on a dairy farm. e. Was the best chef.
    • A. 

      A. Played violin in an orchestra.

    • B. 

      B. Not seen Clark for some time.

    • C. 

      C. Often listens to music.

    • D. 

      D. Grew up on a dairy farm.

    • E. 

      E. Was the best chef.

  • 12. 
    It is reasonable to conclude from information provided in the passage that Clark's relationship with his aunt developed from:   a. Childhood trips to the symphony. b. Recent family gatherings. c. Childhood memories on a farm. d. Summer vacation experiences. e. Winter vacation memories.
    • A. 

      A. Childhood trips to the symphony.

    • B. 

      B. Recent family gatherings.

    • C. 

      C. Childhood memories on a farm.

    • D. 

      D. Summer vacation experiences.

    • E. 

      E. Winter vacation memories.

  • 13. 
    In the second paragraph, lines 9-11, Clark expresses his hope that Aunt Georgiana's interest in music has subsided. Which of the following quotations from the passage suggests that his hope was misguided?
    • A. 

      A. "She was slightly less passive, and for the first time seemed to recognize her surroundings."

    • B. 

      B. "She gave a little stir of anticipation and looked with quickening interest down over the rail"

    • C. 

      C. "When the horns trumpeted the first strain from the Tannhauser overture, my Aunt Georgiana clutched my sleeve."

    • D. 

      D. "I heard a quick drawn breath ... Her eyes were closed, but tears were glistening on her cheeks."

    • E. 

      E. “I saw that her eyes were open, when we heard the trumpet.”

  • 14. 
    Lines 18-21 indicate that Clark's feelings about his aunt are best described as:
    • A. 

      a. Tentative.

    • B. 

      b. Disapproving.

    • C. 

      c. Agonizing.

    • D. 

      d. Compassionate.

    • E. 

      e. Sorrow.

  • 15. 
    Details of the passage suggest that Clark takes his aunt to the symphony because he has a sense of:
    • A. 

      A. Guilt.

    • B. 

      B. Responsibility.

    • C. 

      C. Gratitude.

    • D. 

      D. Indebtedness.

    • E. 

      E. Greed.

  • 16. 
    The idea that music is an emotional experience for the characters in this story is best exemplified by which of the 
    • A. 

      A. “Those long bow strokes seemed to draw the heart out of me.”

    • B. 

      B. “I could feel how all those details sank into her soul.”

    • C. 

      C. “It never really died, then-the soul that can suffer so excruciatingly.”

    • D. 

      D. “I wondered if this music had any message for her.”

    • E. 

      E. “I could see how she was able to do what she does.”

  • 17. 
    The passage indicates that Aunt Georgiana once played:
    • A. 

      A. The Tan Hauser overture.

    • B. 

      B. Tristan and Isolde.

    • C. 

      C. The Flying Dutchman.

    • D. 

      D. The "Prize Song."

    • E. 

      E. The Trophy.

  • 18. 
    According to the passage, Aunt Georgiana's hands are swollen from:
    • A. 

      A. A broken finger.

    • B. 

      B. Manual labor.

    • C. 

      C. A recent illness.

    • D. 

      D. Playing the piano.

    • E. 

      E. A current death.

  • 19. 
    Which of the following best describes Aunt Georgiana's nature as it is presented in the passage?
    • A. 

      A. Reserved.

    • B. 

      B. Disinterested.

    • C. 

      C. Considerate.

    • D. 

      D. Nurturing.

    • E. 

      E. Anger.

  • 20. 
    It can be reasonably inferred from the passage that the moss mentioned in the last paragraph is symbolic of Aunt Georgiana's:
    • A. 

      a. Life.

    • B. 

      B. Innocence.

    • C. 

      C. Spirit.

    • D. 

      d. Wisdom.

    • E. 

      E. Courage.

  • 21. 
    In the 1970’s and 1980’s what did experts recommend that Americans engage in to better their health?
    • A. 

      a. Swimming class

    • B. 

      B. Jumping Jacks.

    • C. 

      C. Vigorous Exercise for 30 minutes

    • D. 

      D. Running.

    • E. 

      E. None

  • 22. 
    Which type of food was reported unhealthy in 1993 by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)?
    • A. 

      A. Chinese Food.

    • B. 

      B. Mexican Food.

    • C. 

      C. Greek Food

    • D. 

      D. Russian Food

    • E. 

      E. None

  • 23. 
    In the passage what did Mike Royko write to express his frustrations of many Americans?
    • A. 

      A. “I can save the Center for Science in the Public Interest a lot of bother and expense.”

    • B. 

      B. “All I hear from CSPI is false promises.”

    • C. 

      C. “The CSPI is not positive about their research on health.”

    • D. 

      D. “I can certainly say that the CSPI are correct about everything they research.”

    • E. 

      E. “I wish not to comment on the matter.”

  • 24. 
    Who developed the alternative pyramid that Michael Mason endorsed in 1994?
    • A. 

      A. Benjamin Franklin

    • B. 

      B. Harvard School of Public Health

    • C. 

      C. U.S. Centers for Disease Control

    • D. 

      D. U.S. Department of Agriculture

    • E. 

      E. None of the above

  • 25. 
    According to the article, who is the president of the American Council on Science and Health?
    • A. 

      A. Anne Bradstreet

    • B. 

      b. Walt Whitman

    • C. 

      C. Elizabeth M. Whelan

    • D. 

      D. Richard Woodbury

    • E. 

      E. None of the above

Back to Top Back to top