Paragraph and Reading Comprehension for ASVAB Power Practice Problems

Updated on Apr 24, 2014

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

The card game known as poker is an American tradition and has become immensely popular in recent years around the world. The modern version of the game was largely developed during the 1800s when the United States was expanding into the west, and it was played by pioneers and frontiersmen seeking some entertainment and human fellowship to relieve the hard toil of their daily lives.

Poker has also influenced our daily speech in many ways. Elements of the game have found their way into common phrases that form colorful ways of describing things. For example, people frequently speak of "calling a person's bluff," which refers to the act of forcing someone to prove that he's telling the truth—and this comes directly from the art of bluffing that forms the foundation of modern poker. A person will "up the ante" if he increases the amount of risk in an undertaking, similar to increasing the amount of one's bet. Other examples include ace in the hole, ace up the sleeve, cash in, and poker face. It's just a simple game, but it's had a big influence in American culture.

  1. Which of the following would be the best title for this passage?
    1. Poker in Modern Times
    2. A History of Betting
    3. The Dangers of Gambling Addiction
    4. The Rules of Poker
  2. The author of this passage most likely would agree that
    1. poker is an evil game.
    2. gambling is dangerous.
    3. poker has influenced modern culture.
    4. bluffing requires a straight face.
  3. As used in the passage, toil most nearly means
    1. dirt.
    2. hard work.
    3. pioneering.
    4. something shiny.
  4. The phrase poker face most likely means
    1. to look ugly.
    2. to be weary from playing cards too long.
    3. to up the ante.
    4. to hide one's emotions behind a blank expression.

In criminal cases, the availability of readable fingerprints is often critical in establishing evidence of a major crime. It is necessary, therefore, to follow proper procedures when taking fingerprints. In major cases, prints should be obtained from all persons who may have touched areas associated with a crime scene in order to diminish the number of suspects.

  1. The main idea of the paragraph is that
    1. because fingerprints are so important in many cases, it is important to follow the correct course in taking them.
    2. all fingerprints found at a crime scene should be taken and thoroughly investigated.
    3. if the incorrect procedure is followed in gathering fingerprints, the ones taken may be useless.
    4. the first step in investigating fingerprints is to eliminate those of non-suspects.
  2. The paragraph best supports the statement that
    1. no crimes can be solved without readable fingerprints.
    2. all persons who have touched an area in a crime scene are suspects.
    3. all fingerprints found at a crime scene are used in court as evidence.
    4. all persons who have touched a crime scene area should be fingerprinted.
  3. As used in the passage, diminish most nearly means
    1. to make larger.
    2. to make smaller.
    3. a guilty person.
    4. an innocent person.

Tobacco is used in a variety of ways, including oldfashioned snuff, chewing tobacco, and tobacco for smoking. It is actually dried and crushed plant leaves that are grown widely throughout the world, but what distinguishes one tobacco from another is the way in which it is cured. The curing process determines what the tobacco will taste like, and that largely determines how it will be used.

Tobacco used in cigars, for example, is air cured, hung in odd-looking barns that have wide spaces between the exterior wall boards, which allows air to ventilate through. This process takes four to eight weeks, but it produces a light, sweet-tasting tobacco. Chewing tobacco is cured using smoldering fires that fill a barn with smoke. This process takes less time but also removes the natural sugars, making a tobacco that is less sweet. Tobacco used in cigarettes is cured by heat, but the fires are burned outside the barn rather than inside, and the hot air is circulated through the interior of the structure. This process is far more complicated, but it is fast and allows the tobacco to retain its natural sweetness.

  1. Which of the following describes the author's attitude toward smoking in this passage?
    1. Smoking is a nasty habit and should be outlawed.
    2. Smoking is a harmless pastime.
    3. The author believes that people should be forbidden from smoking in public areas, but free to smoke at home.
    4. The author does not address the moral implications of smoking.
  2. As used in the passage, cured most nearly means
    1. made well.
    2. medicated.
    3. mentholated.
    4. dried.
  3. According to the passage, which type of tobacco is air cured?
    1. pipe
    2. cigar
    3. chewing
    4. cigarette
  4. As used in the passage, smoldering most nearly means
    1. angry.
    2. low-burning.
    3. smelly.
    4. moldy.

In the summer, the Northern Hemisphere is slanted toward the Sun, making the days longer and warmer than in winter. The first day of summer, June 21, is called summer solstice and is also the longest day of the year. However, June 21 marks the beginning of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, when that hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun.

  1. According to the passage, when it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is _____ in the Southern Hemisphere.
    1. spring
    2. summer
    3. autumn
    4. winter
  2. It can be inferred from the passage that, in the Southern Hemisphere, June 21 is the
    1. autumnal equinox.
    2. winter solstice.
    3. vernal equinox.
    4. summer solstice.

The competitive civil service system is designed to give candidates fair and equal treatment and to ensure that federal applicants are hired based on objective criteria. Hiring has to be based solely on a candidate's knowledge, skills, and abilities (which you'll sometimes see abbreviated as ksa), and not on external factors such as race, religion, sex, and so on. Whereas employers in the private sector can hire employees for subjective reasons, federal employers must be able to justify their decision with objective evidence that the candidate is qualified.

  1. The paragraph best supports the statement that
    1. hiring in the private sector is inherently unfair.
    2. ksa is not as important as test scores to federal employers.
    3. federal hiring practices are simpler than those employed by the private sector.
    4. the civil service strives to hire on the basis of a candidate's abilities.
  2. The federal government's practice of hiring on the basis of ksa frequently results in the hiring of employees
    1. based on race, religion, sex, and so forth.
    2. who are unqualified for the job.
    3. who are qualified for the job.
    4. on the basis of subjective judgment.
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