Paragraph Quiz: Reading Comprehension Test

10 Questions | Total Attempts: 294

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Paragraph Quiz: Reading Comprehension Test

Do you know what is reading comprehension and why it is important? Reading comprehension is the level at which you process and understand written material or text. Would you like to see how good are your reading comprehension skills? If yes, take the quiz, read the following passages and answer the questions. All the best!


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    Americans have always been interested in their Presidents' wives. Many First Ladies have been remembered because of the ways they have influenced their husbands. Other First Ladies have made the history books on their own. At least two First Ladies, Bess Truman and Lady Bird Johnson, made it their business to send signals during their husbands' speeches. When Lady Bird Johnson thought her husband was talking too long, she wrote a note and sent it up to the platform. It read, “It's time to stop!” And he did. Once Bess Truman didn't like what her husband was saying on television, so she phoned him and said,” If you can't talk more politely than that in public, you come right home.” Abigail Fillmore and Eliza Johnson actually taught their husbands, Millard Fillmore and Andrew Johnson, the thirteenth and seventeenth Presidents. A schoolteacher, Abigail eventually married her pupil, Millard. When Eliza Johnson married Andrew, he could not read or write, so she taught him herself. It was First Lady Helen Taft's idea to plant the famous cherry trees in Washington, D. C. Each spring these blossoming trees attract thousands of visitors to the nation's capital. Mrs. Taft also influenced the male members of her family and the White House staff in a strange way: she convinced them to shave off their beards! Shortly after President Wilson suffered a stroke, Edith Wilson unofficially took over most of the duties of the Presidency until the end of her husband's term. Earlier, during World War I, Mrs. Wilson had had sheep brought onto the White House lawn to eat the grass. The sheep not only kept the lawn mowed but provided wool for an auction sponsored by the First Lady. Almost $100,000 was raised for the Red Cross. Dolly Madison saw to it that a magnificent painting of George Washington was not destroyed during the War of 1812. As the British marched toward Washington, D. C., she remained behind to rescue the painting, even after the guards had left. The painting is the only object from the original White House that was not burned. One of the most famous First Ladies was Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She was active in political and social causes throughout her husband's tenure in office. After his death, she became famous for her humanitarian work in the United Nations. She made life better for thousands of needy people around the world. What is the main idea of this passage?
    • A. 

      The Humanitarian work of the First Ladies is critical in American government.

    • B. 

      Dolly Madison was the most influential president's wife.

    • C. 

      Eleanor Roosevelt transformed the First Lady image.

    • D. 

      The First Ladies are important in American culture.

    • E. 

      The First Ladies are key supporters of the Presidents.

  • 2. 
    Of the many kinds of vegetables grown all over the world, which remains the favorite of young and old alike? Why, the potato, of course. Perhaps you know them as “taters,” “spuds,” or “Kennebees,” or as “chips,” “Idahoes,” or even “shoestrings.” No matter, a potato by any other name is still a potato- the world's most widely grown vegetable. As a matter of fact, if you are an average potato eater, you will put away at least a hundred pounds of them each year. That's only a tiny portion of the amount grown every year, however. Worldwide, the annual potato harvest is over six billion bags- each bag containing a hundred pounds of spuds, some of them as large as four pounds each. Here in the United States, farmers fill about four hundred million bags a year. That may seem like a lot of “taters,” but it leaves us a distant third among world potato growers. Polish farmers dig up just over 800 million bags a year, while the Russians lead the world with nearly 1.5 billion bags. The first potatoes were grown by the Incas of South America, more than four hundred years ago. Their descendants in Ecuador and Chile continue to grow the vegetable as high as fourteen thousand feet up in the Andes Mountains. ( That's higher than any other food will grow.) Early Spanish and English explorers shipped potatoes to Europe, and they found their way to North America in the early 1600s. People eat potatoes in many ways-baked, mashed, and roasted, to name just three. However, in the United States most potatoes are devoured in the form of French fries. One fast-food chain alone sells more than $1 billion worth of fries each year. No wonder, then, that the company pays particular attention to the way its fries are prepared. Before any fry makes it to the people who eat at these popular restaurants, it must pass many separate tests. Fail any one and the spud is rejected. To start with, only russet Burbank potatoes are used. These Idaho potatoes have less water content than other kinds, which can have as much as eighty percent water. Once cut into “shoestrings” shapes, the potatoes are partly fried in a secret blend of oils, sprayed with liquid sugar to brown them, steam dried at high heat, then flash frozen for shipment to individual restaurants. Before shipping, though, every shoestring is measured. Forty percent of a batch must be between two and three inches long. Another forty percent has to be over three inches. What about the twenty percent that are left in the batch? Well, a few short fries in a bag are okay, it seems. So, now that you realize the enormous size and value of the potato crop, you can understand why most people agree that this part of the food industry is no “small potatoes.” What is the main idea of this passage?
    • A. 

      Potatoes from Ireland started the Potato Revolution.

    • B. 

      The average American eats 50 lbs of potatoes a year.

    • C. 

      French fries are made from potatoes.

    • D. 

      Potatoes are a key vegetable in America.

    • E. 

      The various terms for potatoes have a long history.

  • 3. 
    High in the Andes Mountains in Peru stands the ancient city of Machu Picchu. No one knows why this great city was built, nor is it likely that we will ever know. Nevertheless, the deserted city of Machu Picchu is important for what it reveals about the ancient Inca people of South America. The Incas once ruled a great empire that covered a large part of the South American continent. The empire was more than five hundred years old when the first Spanish explorers, looking for gold, went to that continent in the sixteenth century. The Incas were an advanced people. They were skillful engineers who paved their roads and built sturdy bridges. They plowed the land in such a way that rains would not wash away valuable soil. They dug ditches to carry water into dry areas for farming. Even though they did not know about the wheel, the Incas were able to move huge stone blocks- some as heavy as ten tons- up the sides of mountains to build walls. The blocks were fitted so tightly, without cement of any kind, that it would be impossible to slip a knife blade between them! The walls have stood firm through great storms and earthquakes that have destroyed many modern buildings. The Incas were great artists, too. Today, Incan dishes and other kinds of pottery are prized for their wonderful designs. Since both gold and silver were in great supply, the Incas created splendid objects from these precious metals. While it is true that the Incas had no written language, they kept their accounts by using a system of knotted strings of various lengths and colors. The sizes of the knots and the distances between them represented numbers. At its height, the Incan empire included as many as thirty million people. The emperor ruled them with an iron hand. He told his subjects where to live, what to plant, how long they should work-even whom they could marry. Since he owned everything, the emperor gave what he wished when he wished- and in the amount he wished -to his people. In 1533 Spanish explorers led by Francisco Pizarro murdered the emperor of the Incas. Earlier, the heir to the Incan empire had also been killed. The Incas, who had always been entirely dependent on their emperor, now had no recognized leader. The Spaniards easily conquered the empire and plundered its riches. Have the Incas disappeared from South America? Not at all. In Peru alone, once the center of that great empire, eighty percent of the twenty million people are descendants of the Inca people. Evidence of the Incan empire can be found in many other places in South America as well. You can even visit Machu Picchu. The remains of this ancient city still stand high in the mountains of Peru, an awesome tribute to this once powerful empire. What is the main idea of this passage?
    • A. 

      The Incas once inhabited the ancient city of Machu Picchu.

    • B. 

      Peru was the primary country of the Incas.

    • C. 

      The Incan empire can be found in ancient cities and was plundered by the Spanish.

    • D. 

      Spanish conquerors destroyed the Incan empire in the thirteenth century.

    • E. 

      Machu Picchu was the capital of the Incan empire.

  • 4. 
    In 1892 the Sierra Club was formed. In 1908 an area of coastal redwood trees north of San Francisco was established as Muir Woods National Monument. In the Sierra Nevada mountains, a walking trail from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney was dedicated in 1938. It is called John Muir Trail. John Muir was born in 1838 in Scotland. His family name means “moor,” which is a meadow full of flowers and animals. John loved nature from the time he was small. He also liked to climb rocky cliffs and walls. When John was eleven, his family moved to the United States and settled in Wisconsin. John was good with tools and soon became an inventor. He first invented a model of a sawmill. Later he invented an alarm clock that would cause the sleeping person to be tipped out of bed when the timer sounded. Muir left home at an early age. He took a thousand-mile walk south to the Gulf of Mexico in 1867and 1868. Then he sailed for San Francisco. The city was too noisy and crowded for Muir, so he headed inland for the Sierra Nevadas. When Muir discovered the Yosemite Valley in the Sierra Nevadas, it was as if he had come home. He loved the mountains, the wildlife, and the trees. He climbed the mountains and even climbed trees during thunderstorms in order to get closer to the wind. He put forth the theory in the late 1860's that the Yosemite Valley had been formed through the action of glaciers. People ridiculed him. Not until 1930 was Muir's theory proven correct. Muir began to write articles about the Yosemite Valley to tell readers about its beauty. His writing also warned people that Yosemite was in danger from timber mining and sheep ranching interests. In 1901 Theodore Roosevelt became president of the United States. He was interested in conservation. Muir took the president through Yosemite, and Roosevelt helped get legislation passed to create Yosemite National Park in 1906. Although Muir won many conservation battles, he lost a major one. He fought to save the Hetch Valley, which people wanted to dam in order to provide water for San Francisco. In the late 1913 a bill was signed to dam the valley. Muir died in 1914. Some people say losing the fight to protect the valley killed Muir. When did Muir invent a unique form of alarm clock?
    • A. 

      While the family still lived in Scotland

    • B. 

      After he sailed to San Francisco

    • C. 

      After he traveled in Yosemite

    • D. 

      While the Muir family lived in Wisconsin

    • E. 

      After he took the long walk

  • 5. 
    The village of Vestmannaeyjar, in the far northern country of Iceland, is as bright and clean and up-to-date as any American or Canadian suburb. It is located on the island of Heimaey, just off the mainland. One January night in 1973, however, householders were shocked from their sleep. In some backyards red-hot liquid was spurting from the ground. Flaming “skyrockets” shot up and over the houses. The island's volcano, Helgafell, silent for seven thousand years, was violently erupting! Luckily, the island's fishing fleet was in port, and within twenty-four hours almost everyone was ferried to the mainland. But then the agony of the island began in earnest. As in a nightmare, fountains of burning lava spurted three hundred feet high. Black, baseball-size cinders rained down. An evil-smelling, eye-burning, throat-searing cloud of smoke and gas erupted into the air, and a river of lava flowed down the mountain. The constant shriek of escaping steam was punctuated by ear-splitting explosions. As time went on, the once pleasant village of Vestmannaeyjar took on a weird aspect. Its street lamps still burning against the long Arctic night, the town lay under a thick blanket of cinders. All that could be seen above the ten-foot black drifts were the tips of street signs. Some houses had collapsed under the weight of cinders; others had burst into flames as the heat ignited their oil storage tanks. Lighting the whole lurid scene, fire continued to shoot from the mouth of the looming volcano. The eruption continued for six months. Scientists and reporters arrived from around the world to observe the awesome natural event. But the town did not die that easily. In July, when the eruption ceased, the people of Heimaey Island returned to assess the chances of rebuilding their homes and lives. They found tons of ash covering the ground. The Icelanders are a tough people, however, accustomed to the strange and violent nature of their Arctic land. They dug out their homes. They even used the cinders to build new roads and airport runways. Now the new homes of Heimaey are warmed from water pipes heated by molten lava. The author's purpose for writing the following passage is
    • A. 

      To entertain the reader with a story about and imaginary island.

    • B. 

      To persuade the reader to visist the island Vestmannaeyjar.

    • C. 

      To inform the reader the volcanic eruption on the island of Vestmannaeyjar in 1973.

  • 6. 
    Marie Curie was one of the most accomplished scientists in history. Together with her husband, Pierre, she discovered radium, an element widely used for treating cancer, and studied uranium and other radioactive substances. Pierre and Marie’s amicable collaboration later helped to unlock the secrets of the atom. Marie was born in 1867 in Warsaw, Poland, where her father was a professor of physics. At an early age, she displayed a brilliant mind and a blithe personality. Her great exuberance for learning prompted her to continue with her studies after high school. She became disgruntled, however, when she learned that the university in Warsaw was closed to women. Determined to receive a higher education, she defiantly left Poland and in 1891 entered the Sorbonne, a French university, where she earned her master’s degree and a doctorate in physics. Marie was fortunate to have studied at the Sorbonne with some of the greatest scientists of her day, one of whom was Pierre Curie. Marie and Pierre were married in 1895 and spent many productive years working together in the physics laboratory. A short time after they discovered radium, Pierre was killed by a horse-drawn wagon in 1906. Marie was stunned by this horrible misfortune and endured heartbreaking anguish. Despondently she recalled their close relationship and the joy that they had shared in scientific research. The fact that she had two young daughters to raise by herself greatly increased her distress. Curie’s feeling of desolation finally began to fade when she was asked to succeed her husband as a physics professor at the Sorbonne. She was the first woman to be given a professorship at a world-famous university. In 1911 she received the Nobel Prize in chemistry for isolating radium. Although Marie Curie eventually suffered a fatal illness from her long exposure to radium, she never became disillusioned about her work. Regardless of the consequences, she had dedicated herself to science and to revealing the mysteries of the physical world. Even though Marie Curie became fatally ill from working with radium, she was never......
    • A. 

      Disappointed

    • B. 

      Sad

    • C. 

      Happy

    • D. 

      Angry

  • 7. 
    Mike and Morris lived in the same village. While Morris owned the largest jewelry shop in the village, Mike was a poor farmer. Both had large families with many sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. One fine day, Mike, tired of not being able to feed his family, decided to leave the village and move to the city where he was certain to earn enough to feed everyone. Along with his family, he left the village for the city. At night, they stopped under a large tree. There was a stream running nearby where they could freshen up themselves. He told his sons to clear the area below the tree, he told his wife to fetch water and he instructed his daughters-in-law to make up the fire and started cutting wood from the tree himself. They didn’t know that in the branches of the tree, there was a thief hiding. He watched as Mike’s family worked together and also noticed that they had nothing to cook. Mike’s wife also thought the same and asked her husband ” Everything is ready but what shall we eat?”. Mike raised his hands to heaven and said ” Don’t worry. He is watching all of this from above. He will help us.” The thief got worried as he had seen that the family was large and worked well together. Taking advantage of the fact that they did not know he was hiding in the branches, he decided to make a quick escape. He climbed down safely when they were not looking and ran for his life. But, he left behind the bundle of stolen jewels and money which dropped into Mike’s lap. Mike opened it and jumped with joy when he saw the contents. The family gathered all their belongings and returned to the village. There was great excitement when they told everyone how they got rich. Morris thought that the tree was miraculous and this was a nice and quick way to earn some money. He ordered his family to pack some clothes and they set off as if on a journey. They also stopped under the same tree and Morris started commanding everyone as Mike had done. But no one in his family was willing to obey his orders. Being a rich family, they were used to having servants all around. So, the one who went to the river to fetch water enjoyed a nice bath. The one who went to get wood for fire went off to sleep. Morris’s wife said ” Everything is ready but what shall we eat ?” Morris raised his hands and said, ” Don’t worry. He is watching all of this from above. He will help us.” As soon as he finished saying, the thief jumped down from the tree with a knife in hand. Seeing him, everyone started running around to save their lives. The thief stole everything they had and Morris and his family had to return to the village empty-handed, having lost all the valuables that they had taken with them.  Why did Mike and his family decide to rest under the thief’s tree?
    • A. 

      Being a large family, they knew that they could easily defeat the thief

    • B. 

      It was a convenient spot for taking a halt at night

    • C. 

      There was a stream nearby and wood enough to build a house

    • D. 

      That was the only large tree that could shelter their large family

  • 8. 
    Conflict had existed between Spain and England since the 1570s. England wanted a share of the wealth that Spain had been taking from the lands it had claimed in the Americas. Elizabeth I, Queen of England, encouraged her staunch admiral of the navy, Sir Francis Drake, to raid Spanish ships and towns. Though these raids were on a small scale, Drake achieved dramatic success, adding gold and silver to England’s treasury and diminishing Spain’s supremacy. Religious differences also caused conflict between the two countries. Whereas Spain was Roman Catholic, most of England had become Protestant. King Philip II of Spain wanted to claim the throne and make England a Catholic country again. To satisfy his ambition and also to retaliate against England’s theft of his gold and silver, King Philip began to build his fleet of warships, the Spanish Armada, in January 1586. Philip intended his fleet to be indestructible. In addition to building new warships, he marshaled 130 sailing vessels of all types and recruited more than 19,000 robust soldiers and 8,000 sailors. Although some of his ships lacked guns and others lacked ammunition, Philip was convinced that his Armada could withstand any battle with England. The martial Armada set sail from Lisbon, Portugal, on May 9, 1588, but bad weather forced it back to port. The voyage resumed on July 22 after the weather became more stable. The Spanish fleet met the smaller, faster, and more maneuverable English ships in battle off the coast of Plymouth, England, first on July 31 and again on August 2. The two battles left Spain vulnerable, having lost several ships and with its ammunition depleted. On August 7, while the Armada lay at anchor on the French side of the Strait of Dover, England sent eight burning ships into the midst of the Spanish fleet to set it on fire. Blocked on one side, the Spanish ships could only drift away, their crews in panic and disorder. Before the Armada could regroup, the English attacked again on August 8. Although the Spaniards made a valiant effort to fight back, the fleet suffered extensive damage. During the eight hours of battle, the Armada drifted perilously close to the rocky coastline. At the moment when it seemed that the Spanish ships would be driven onto the English shore, the wind shifted, and the Armada drifted out into the North Sea. The Spaniards recognized the superiority of the English fleet and returned home, defeated. King Philip recruited what type of soldiers and sailors?
    • A. 

      Strong

    • B. 

      Timid

    • C. 

      Warlike

    • D. 

      Inexperienced

  • 9. 
    In the 16th century, an age of great marine and terrestrial exploration, Ferdinand Magellan led the first expedition to sail around the world. As a young Portuguese noble, he served the king of Portugal, but he became involved in the quagmire of political intrigue at court and lost the king’s favor. After he was dismissed from service by the king of Portugal, he offered to serve the future Emperor Charles V of Spain. A papal decree of 1493 had assigned all land in the New World west of 50 degrees W longitude to Spain and all the land east of that line to Portugal. Magellan offered to prove that the East Indies fell under Spanish authority. On September 20, 1519, Magellan set sail from Spain with five ships. More than a year later, one of these ships was exploring the topography of South America in search of a water route across the continent. This ship sank, but the remaining four ships searched along the southern peninsula of South America. Finally, they found the passage they sought near 50 degrees S latitude. Magellan named this passage the Strait of All Saints, but today it is known as the Strait of Magellan. One ship deserted while in this passage and returned to Spain, so fewer sailors were privileged to gaze at that first panorama of the Pacific Ocean. Those who remained crossed the meridian now known as the International Date Line in the early spring of 1521 after 98 days on the Pacific Ocean. During those long days at sea, many of Magellan’s men died of starvation and disease. Later, Magellan became involved in an insular conflict in the Philippines and was killed in a tribal battle. Only one ship and 17 sailors under the command of the Basque navigator Elcano survived to complete the westward journey to Spain and thus prove once and for all that the world is round, with no precipice at the edge. Why Magellan lost the favor of the king of Portugal?  Answer: When he became involved in a political ________
    • A. 

      Discussion

    • B. 

      Negotiation

    • C. 

      Problem

    • D. 

      Entanglement

  • 10. 
    The victory of the small Greek democracy of Athens over the mighty Persian empire in 490 B. C. is one of the most famous events in history. Darius, king of the Persian empire, was furious because Athens had interceded for the other Greek city-states in revolt against Persian domination. In anger the king sent an enormous army to defeat Athens. He thought it would take drastic steps to pacify the rebellious part of the empire. Persia was ruled by one man. In Athens, however, all citizens helped to rule. Ennobled by this participation, Athenians were prepared to die for their city-state. Perhaps this was the secret of the remarkable victory at Marathon, which freed them from Persian rule. On their way to Marathon, the Persians tried to fool some Greek city-states by claiming to have come in peace. The frightened citizens of Delos refused to believe this. Not wanting to abet the conquest of Greece, they fled from their city and did not return until the Persians had left. They were wise, for the Persians next conquered the city of Etria and captured its people. Tiny Athens stood alone against Persia. The Athenian people went to their sanctuaries. There they prayed for deliverance. They asked their gods to expedite their victory. The Athenians refurbished their weapons and moved to the plain of Marathon, where their little band would meet the Persians. At the last moment, soldiers from Plataea reinforced the Athenian troops. The Athenian army attacked, and Greek citizens fought bravely. The power of the mighty Persians was offset by the love that the Athenians had for their city. Athenians defeated the Persians in archery and hand combat. Greek soldiers seized Persian ships and burned them, and the Persians fled in terror. Herodotus, a famous historian, reports that 6400 Persians died, compared with only 192 Athenians. The Athenians were ___by some soldiers who arrived from Plataea.
    • A. 

      Welcomed

    • B. 

      Held

    • C. 

      Strengthened

    • D. 

      Captured

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