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Paragraph Comprehension for ASVAB Power Practice Problems

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Updated on Aug 12, 2011

These paragraph comprehension practice questions are based on the actual ASVAB. Take this quiz to see how you would do if you took the exam today and to determine your strengths and weaknesses as you plan your study schedule.

Time: 13 minutes

Many lives are lost every year due to drowning, and the majority of drowning victims could have been saved if they or someone nearby had only known the simple rules of water safety. The first and most important rule is to remain calm. Panic is the swimmer's worst enemy! When swimmers allow fear to overwhelm them, they stop making rational decisions and begin to flounder. That is the first step in drowning. When fear strikes, the swimmer must choose to remain calm and focused, thinking deliberately about how to escape the situation.

  1. According to this passage, what is the first step in drowning?
    1. going underwater
    2. giving in to fear
    3. not wearing a life preserver
    4. not knowing how to swim
  2. The word flounder, as used in this passage, most nearly means
    1. a fish.
    2. building foundation.
    3. splash about helplessly.
    4. float.
  3. According to the passage, the best prevention against drowning is
    1. staying out of the water.
    2. learning how to swim.
    3. having a buddy nearby.
    4. remaining calm.
  4. Braille is a special tactile form of printing used to enable blind people to read. It consists of a series of raised dots that a person can feel with the fingertips, and each letter of the alphabet is represented by one to six dots. The six dots form a rectangle if all are present, but most letters use only some of the dots. The letter A, for example, is one dot in the upper left corner of the rectangle.

    The Braille system was actually a by-product of the Napoleonic wars of the 19th century. Napoleon wanted to devise a code that could be read at night, and a soldier invented a system of raised dots. Napoleon rejected it as too complicated, but Louis Braille simplified it for use by the blind. It is still used today.

  5. Napoleon was interested in Braille because
    1. he was blind.
    2. he wanted to help the blind.
    3. he couldn't read.
    4. he wanted a code that could be read at night.
  6. The word tactile, as used in this passage, most nearly means
    1. a sharp object.
    2. words on a printed page.
    3. something that is sticky.
    4. something that can be felt with the fingers.
  7. How many raised dots are used to form each letter of the alphabet in Braille?
    1. three
    2. six
    3. from one to six
    4. none
  8. What was Louis Braille's contribution to the invention of this reading system?
    1. He taught blind people how to read.
    2. He urged Napoleon to have it developed.
    3. He named it.
    4. He simplified someone else's complicated idea.
  9. One New York publisher has estimated that 50,000 to 60,000 people in the United States want an anthology that includes the complete plays of William Shakespeare. What accounts for this renewed interest in Shakespeare? As scholars point out, the psychological insights that he portrays in both male and female characters are amazing even today.

  10. This paragraph best supports the statement that
    1. Shakespeare's characters are more interesting than fictional characters today.
    2. people today are interested in Shakespeare's work because of the characters.
    3. academic scholars are putting together an anthology of Shakespeare's work.
    4. New Yorkers have a renewed interested in the work of Shakespeare.
  11. As used in the passage, anthology most nearly means
    1. a collection of literature.
    2. a phrase that compares two things.
    3. the history of the human race.
    4. a television program.
  12. People have used mechanical devices to keep track of time throughout history. The hourglass, for example, uses sand falling through a glass tube to count minutes and hours. During the 1500s, however, clock makers created a revolutionary new idea in timekeeping when they invented the pendulum clock. A pendulum is basically a long stick with a weight at the end of it that swings back and forth in a regular rhythm, powered by a spring. The pendulum moves gears inside the clock which count the seconds and minutes and hours, since the pendulum's movement is very stable and consistent. For example, a pendulum that is 10 inches long will swing back and forth once per second, making it easy for the gears to track the passage of seconds and convert them into minutes and hours.

    Another major breakthrough occurred in the late 20th century with the invention of the quartz timekeeping mechanism. When electricity is passed through a small piece of quartz, the crystal oscillates at a very predictable rate, vibrating back and forth exactly 32,768 times per second. Modern quartz watches have a rudimentary computer inside, which simply counts the number of vibrations, converting the quartz crystal's movement into the passage of time. And best of all, quartz is a very common mineral and very inexpensive to work with, far less complicated than man-made mechanical pendulums.

  13. Which of the following would be the best title for this passage?
    1. The Development of the Pendulum
    2. What Time Is It?
    3. Timekeeping through History
    4. The Many Uses of Quartz
  14. As used in the passage, oscillates most nearly means
    1. opens like a clamshell.
    2. vibrates back and forth.
    3. makes a ticking noise.
    4. sits very still.
  15. You can infer from this passage that
    1. quartz clocks are less expensive to make than pendulum clocks.
    2. pendulum clocks look nicer than quartz clocks.
    3. timekeeping today is more accurate than ever before.
    4. quartz clocks are waterproof.
  16. As used in the passage, rudimentary most nearly means
    1. chewing the cud.
    2. written in runes.
    3. alien.
    4. basic.
  17. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. No search of a person's home or personal effects may be conducted without a written search warrant issued on probable cause. This means that a neutral judge must approve the factual basis justifying a search before it can be conducted.

  18. This paragraph best supports the statement that the police cannot search a person's home or private papers unless they have
    1. legal authorization.
    2. direct evidence of a crime.
    3. read the person his or her constitutional rights.
    4. a reasonable belief that a crime has occurred.
  19. Which of the following would be considered "probable cause" for a search warrant, according to this passage?
    1. a reasonable belief that a crime has occurred
    2. sworn testimony of the police
    3. direct evidence of a crime
    4. a judge's decision
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