Social Studies Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 1 (page 2)

Updated on Sep 27, 2011


  1. d.   To posit means to suggest. In this context, Hlusko suggests that grass stalks may have caused the grooves on early hominid teeth.
  2. d.   The passage states that modern toothpicks are made of wood (line 11).
  3. b.   Dr. Hlusko is described a being convinced she was on the right track and patiently rubbing a baboon tooth with a grass stalk for eight hours. Both point to a persistent approach.
  4. b.   In lines 19–20, the author states, It seems that our early human ancestors may have used grass, which was easily found and ready to use, to floss between their teeth. The use of may indicates that the author is not absolutely certain, but as the author does not suggest anything to contradict Dr. Hlusko's findings we can conclude that the author finds her theory very probable.
  5. e.   The passage clearly states that the median income of the population as a whole does not vary much in real terms from one year to the next. From this statement one can infer that, in general, income across the United States stays about the same.
  6. d.   A thesis is an assertion, or theory, that the author intends to prove. The author of this passage is not making an assertion, rather he or she is neutrally explaining information gathered in the U.S. Census.
  7. e.   The passage clearly states that in the 1990s fewer people saw their income grow than in the 1980s. Choices a and b are incorrect because they do not include a comparison to the 1980s. Choices c and d are incorrect because the passage does not discuss amount of income, only change in income.
  8. e.   The passage defines top of the economic ladder as families with high income-to-poverty ratios. From this, one can conclude that the economic ladder is the range of incomes from poverty to wealth.
  9. a.   The tone is dry, in that the language is spare. The author does not use many adjectives, or any metaphors or other rhetorical flourishes. The author is neutral. Nowhere in the passage does he or she assert a point of view. Although the author uses statistics, the tone is not most accurately described as statistical.
  10. d.   Manifest means obvious or evident. Certain practices could have several meanings and it is necessary to look to the examples provided in the next sentence to clarify the meaning of the phrase. The examples of beliefs mostly relate to particular activities such as predicting the weather or curing sickness.
  11. c.   Lines 7–9 clearly state that it is not surprising that fishermen hold many beliefs about fortune and misfortune because fishermen work in a highly unpredictable and hazardous environment.
  12. a.   In lines 21–25, the author states that these beliefs are linked to the detection of minute changes in the environment and reflect fishermen's intimate contact with the natural environment. This sentence indicates an attitude of respect. This respect is unqualified in that the author does not detract from the statement in any way.
  13. b.   The author defines traditional beliefs as convictions that are usually linked to causes and effects. In the paragraph that discusses supernatural (lines 35–43), the author states that some fishermen believe in the existence of the certain supernatural phenomena. There is no information about the cause or effect of the supernatural.
  14. d.   The statistic provides numerical evidence (quantifies) of the degree to which commercial fishing is hazardous compared to the next most dangerous occupation.
  15. e.   Precarious means dependent on uncertain circumstances or chance; it can also mean characterized by a lack of security. Uncertain and dangerous (choice a) are both synonyms of precarious, however, in the context of the sentence, uncertain makes the most sense.
  16. c.   The passage is primarily concerned with describing beliefs found among Florida fishermen. The passage does not, however, catalog (give a complete account of) their beliefs, in that it only gives some examples. Although the author does close the passage with a suggestion traditional beliefs may have some real world benefits, the majority of the passage is not occupied with this idea.

For more practice on social studies critical reading questions, review:


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