Reading Comprehension for Nursing School Entrance Exam Study Guide (page 4)

Updated on Aug 12, 2011

Review: Putting It All Together

A good way to solidify what you have learned about reading comprehension questions is for you to write the questions. Here is a passage, followed by space for you to write your own questions. Write one question of each of the four types: fact or detail, main idea, inference, and vocabulary.

In the years since it was first proposed, the free radical theory of aging has gained wide acceptance. But hypotheses that attempt to explain exactly how free radicals are involved in the aging process are muddled by the lack of a clear definition of aging. Is aging a programmed stage of cellular differentiation, or is it the result of physiological processes impaired by free radical or other damage to cells? Despite the want of a clear definition, few question that free radical damage to cell nucleic acids and lipids are an important factor in aging. A recent study shows that oxygen free radicals cause approximately 10,000 DNA base modifications per cell per day. Perhaps the accumulation of unrepaired damage of this type accounts for the deterioration of physiological function. A new theory, however, indicates that free radicals also damage cell proteins and that the accumulation of oxidized protein is an important factor in aging.
  1. Detail question: __________
  2. Main idea question: __________
  3. Inference question: __________
  4. Vocabulary question: __________

Possible Questions

Here is one question of each type based on the previous passage. Your questions may be very different, but these will give you an idea of the kinds of questions that could be asked.

  1. Detail: DNA modification can occur
    1. 10,000 times in the life of a cell.
    2. 1,000 times every second.
    3. thousands of times a day.
    4. once a day.
  2. Main idea: Which sentence best sums up this passage?
    1. There are many theories, but no one knows how free radicals really affect aging.
    2. Free radicals are deadly.
    3. Scientists need a clearer definition of aging.
    4. Free radicals will lead scientists to the fountain of youth.
  3. Inference: The passage suggests which of the following about the aging process?
    1. A clear definition of aging must be found in order to determine the cause of aging.
    2. DNA controls the aging process.
    3. Free radical damage to proteins increases with age.
    4. Aging is somehow related to free radical damage to cells.
  4. Vocabulary: The phrase want of as used in the fourth sentence most nearly means
    1. desire for.
    2. lack of.
    3. requirement of.
    4. request for.


  1. c.
  2. a.
  3. d.
  4. b.

Additional Resources

Here are some other ways you can build the vocabulary and knowledge that will help you do well on reading comprehension questions.

  • Practice asking the four sample question types about passages you read for information or pleasure.
  • Using a computer search engine such as Google or Yahoo!, search out articles and forums related to the career you would like to pursue. Exchange views with others through online forums and message boards. All of these exchanges will help expand your knowledge of job-related material that may appear in a passage on the test.
  • Begin now to build a broad knowledge of your potential profession. Get in the habit of reading articles in newspapers and magazines on job related issues. Keep a clipping file of those articles. This will help keep you informed of trends in the profession and familiarize you with pertinent vocabulary.
  • Consider reading or subscribing to professional journals. They are usually available for a reasonable annual fee. They may also be available in your library.
  • If you need more help building your reading skills and taking reading comprehension tests, consider Reading Comprehension Success in 20 Minutes a Day, 4th Edition, published by LearningExpress.
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