Reading Comprehension and Long Passages More Practice

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Updated on Aug 10, 2011

For more practice on long passages reading comprehension, review:

The next passages are typical of those you might find in textbooks. The paragraphs are numbered for convenience.

Passage 1

(1) For centuries, time was measured by the position of the sun with the use of sundials. Noon was recognized when the sun was the highest in the sky, and cities would set their clock by this apparent solar time, even though some cities would often be on a slightly different time. Daylight Saving Time (DST), sometimes called summer time, was instituted to make better use of daylight. Thus, clocks are set forward one hour in the spring to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening and then set back one hour in the fall to return to normal daylight.

(2) Benjamin Franklin first conceived the idea of daylight saving during his tenure as an American delegate in Paris in 1984 and wrote about it extensively in his essay, "An Economical Project." It is said that Franklin awoke early one morning and was surprised to see the sunlight at such an hour. Always the economist, Franklin believed the practice of moving the time could save on the use of candlelight, as candles were expensive at the time.

(3) In England, builder William Willett (1857–1915) became a strong supporter for Daylight Saving Time upon noticing blinds of many houses were closed on an early sunny morning. Willet believed everyone, including himself, would appreciate longer hours of light in the evenings. In 1909, Sir Robert Pearce introduced a bill in the House of Commons to make it obligatory to adjust the clocks. A bill was drafted and introduced into Parliament several times but met with great opposition, mostly from farmers. Eventually, in 1925, it was decided that summer time should begin on the day following the third Saturday in April and close after the first Saturday in October.

(4) The U.S. Congress passed the Standard Time Act of 1918 to establish standard time and preserve and set Daylight Saving Time across the continent. This act also devised five time zones throughout the United States: Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, and Alaska. The first time zone was set on "the mean astronomical time of the seventy-fifth degree of longitude west from Greenwich" (England). In 1919, this act was repealed.

(5) President Roosevelt established year-round Daylight Saving Time (also called War Time) from 1942–1945. However, after this period, each state adopted its own DST, which proved to be disconcerting to television and radio broadcasting and transportation. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson created the Department of Transportation and signed the Uniform Time Act. As a result, the Department of Transportation was given the responsibility for the time laws. During the oil embargo and energy crisis of the 1970s, President Richard Nixon extended DST through the Daylight Saving Time Energy Act of 1973 to conserve energy further. This law was modified in 1986, and Daylight Saving Time was reset to begin on the first Sunday in April (to spring ahead) and end on the last Sunday in October (to fall back).

  1. As it is used in paragraph 3, the word obligatory most nearly means
    1. approved.
    2. sparse.
    3. aberrant.
    4. requisite.
  2. Who first established the idea of DST?
    1. President Richard Nixon
    2. Benjamin Franklin
    3. Sir Robert Pearce
    4. President Lyndon Johnson
  3. Who opposed the bill that was introduced in the House of Commons in the early 1900s?
    1. Sir Robert Pearce
    2. farmers
    3. television and radio broadcasting companies
    4. the U.S. Congress
  4. Which of the following statements is true of the U.S. Department of Transportation?
    1. It was created by President Richard Nixon.
    2. It set standards for DST throughout the world.
    3. It constructed the Uniform Time Act.
    4. It oversees all time laws in the United States.
  5. Which of the following would be the best title for this passage?
    1. The History and Rationale of Daylight Saving Time
    2. Lyndon Johnson and the Uniform Time Act
    3. The U.S. Department of Transportation and Daylight Saving Time
    4. Daylight Saving Time in the United States
  6. The Daylight Saving Time Energy Act of 1973 was responsible for
    1. preserving and setting Daylight Saving Time across the continent.
    2. instituting five time zones in the United States.
    3. extending Daylight Saving Time in the interest of energy conservation.
    4. conserving energy by giving the Department of Transportation authority over time laws.
  7. Passage 2

    (1) Milton Hershey was born near the small village of Derry Church, Pennsylvania, in 1857. It was a _____ beginning that did not foretell his later popularity. Milton only attended school through the fourth grade; at that point, he was apprenticed to a printer in a nearby town. Fortunately for all chocolate lovers, Milton did not excel as a printer. After a while, he left the printing business and was apprenticed to a Lancaster, Pennsylvania candy maker. It was apparent he had found his calling in life, and at the age of eighteen, he opened his own candy store in Philadelphia. In spite of his talents as a candy maker, the shop failed after six years.

    (2) It may come as a surprise to current Milton Hershey fans, but his first candy success came with the manufacture of caramel. After the failure of his Philadelphia store, Milton headed for Denver, where he learned the art of making caramels. There he took a job with a local manufacturer who insisted on using fresh milk in making his caramels; Milton saw that this made the caramels especially tasty. After a time in Denver, Milton once again attempted to open his own candy-making businesses, in Chicago, New Orleans, and New York City. Finally, in 1886, he went to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he raised the money necessary to try again. This company—the Lancaster Caramel Company—established Milton's reputation as a master candy maker.

    (3) In 1893, Milton attended the Chicago International Exposition, where he saw a display of German chocolate-making implements. Captivated by the equipment, he purchased it for his Lancaster candy factory and began producing chocolate, which he used for coating his caramels. By the next year, production had grown to include cocoa, sweet chocolate, and baking chocolate. The Hershey Chocolate company was born in 1894 as a subsidiary of the Lancaster Caramel Company. Six years later, Milton sold the caramel company, but retained the rights, and the equipment, to make chocolate. He believed that a large market of chocolate consumers was waiting for someone to produce reasonably priced candy. He was right.

    (4) Milton Hershey returned to the village where he had been born, in the heart of dairy country, and opened his chocolate manufacturing plant. With access to all the fresh milk he needed, he began producing the finest milk chocolate. The plant that opened in a small Pennsylvania village in 1905 is today the largest chocolate factory in the world. The confections created at this facility are favorites around the world.

    (5) The area where the factory is located is now known as Hershey, Pennsylvania. Within the first decades of its existence, the town of Hershey thrived, as did the chocolate business. A bank, a school, churches, a department store, even a park and a trolley system all appeared in short order; the town soon even had a zoo. Today, a visit to the area reveals the Hershey Medical Center, Milton Hershey School, and Hershey's Chocolate World—a theme park where visitors are greeted by a giant Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. All of these things—and a huge number of happy chocolate lovers—were made possible because a caramel maker visited the Chicago Exposition of 1893!

  8. According to information contained in the passage, the reader can infer which of the following?
    1. Chocolate is popular in every country in the world.
    2. Reeses Peanut Butter Cups are manufactured by the Hershey Chocolate Company.
    3. Chocolate had never been manufactured in the United States before Milton Hershey did it.
    4. The Hershey Chocolate Company now makes more money from Hershey's Chocolate World than from the manufacture and sale of chocolate.
  9. Which of the following best defines the word subsidiary as used in paragraph 3?
    1. a company owned entirely by one person
    2. a company founded to support another company
    3. a company that is not incorporated
    4. a company controlled by another company
  10. The writer's main purpose in this passage is to
    1. recount the founding of the Hershey Chocolate Company.
    2. describe the process of manufacturing chocolate.
    3. compare the popularity of chocolate to other candies.
    4. explain how apprenticeships work.
  11. According to the passage, Milton Hershey sold his caramel company in
    1. 1894.
    2. 1900.
    3. 1904.
    4. 1905.
  12. The mention of the Chicago International Exposition of 1893 in the passage indicates that
    1. the exposition in Chicago is held once every three years.
    2. the theme of the exposition of 1893 was "Food from Around the World."
    3. the exposition contained displays from a variety of countries.
    4. the site of the exposition is now a branch of the Hershey Chocolate Company.
  13. Which of the following words best fits in the blank in paragraph 1 of the passage?
    1. dramatic
    2. modest
    3. undignified
    4. rewarding
  14. Passage 3

    (1) By using tiny probes as neural prostheses, scientists may be able to restore nerve function in quadriplegics and make the blind see or the deaf hear. Thanks to advanced techniques, a single, small, implanted probe can stimulate individual neurons electrically or chemically and then record responses. Preliminary results suggest that the microprobe telemetry systems can be permanently implanted and replace damaged or missing nerves.

    (2) The tissue-compatible microprobes represent an advance over the typical aluminum wire electrodes used in studies of the cortex and other brain structures. Researchers accumulate much data using traditional electrodes, but there is a question of how much damage they cause to the nervous system. Microprobes, which are about as thin as a human hair, cause minimal damage and disruption of neurons when inserted into the brain.

    (3) In addition to recording nervous-system impulses, the microprobes have minuscule channels that open the way for delivery of drugs, cellular growth factors, neurotransmitters, and other neuroactive compounds to a single neuron or to groups of neurons. Also, patients who lack certain biochemicals could receive doses via prostheses. The probes can have up to four channels, each with its own recording/stimulating electrode.

  15. One similar feature of microprobes and wire electrodes is
    1. a minimal disturbance of neurons.
    2. the density of the material.
    3. the capacity for multiple leads.
    4. their ability to generate information.
  16. Which of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?
    1. Microprobes require further techno-logical advances before they can be used in humans.
    2. Wire electrodes are antiquated as a means for delivering neuroactive compounds to the brain.
    3. Microprobes have great potential to help counteract neural damage.
    4. Technology now exists that may enable repair of the nervous system.
  17. All of the following are mentioned in the passage as potential uses for prostheses except
    1. transportation of medication.
    2. induction of physical movement.
    3. transportation of growth factor.
    4. removal of biochemicals from the cortex.
  18. The initial function of microprobe channels is to
    1. create pathways.
    2. disrupt neurons.
    3. replace ribbon cables.
    4. study the brain.
  19. Passage 4

    (1) Medical waste has been a growing concern because of recent incidents of public exposure to discarded blood vials, needles (sharps), empty prescription bottles, and syringes. Medical waste can typically include general refuse, human blood and blood products, cultures and stocks of infectious agents, laboratory animal carcasses, contaminated bedding material, and pathological wastes.

    (2) Wastes are generally collected by gravity chutes, carts, or pneumatic tubes, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. Chutes are limited to vertical transport, and there is some risk of exhausting contaminants into hallways if a door is left open during use. Another disadvantage of gravity chutes is that the waste container may get jammed while dropping, or it may be broken upon hitting the bottom. Carts are primarily for horizontal transport of bagged or containerized wastes. The main risk here is that bags may be broken or torn during transport, potentially exposing the worker to the wastes. Using automated carts can reduce the potential for exposure. Pneumatic tubes offer the best performance for waste transport in a large facility. Advantages include high-speed movement, movement in any direction, and minimal intermediate storage of untreated wastes. However, some objects cannot be conveyed pneumatically.

    (3) Off-site disposal of regulated medical wastes remains a viable option for smaller hospitals (those with less than 150 beds). Some preliminary on-site processing, such as compaction or hydropulping, may be necessary prior to sending the waste off site. Compaction reduces the total volume of solid wastes, often reducing transportation and disposal costs, but it does not change the hazardous characteristics of the waste. Compaction may not be economical if transportation and disposal costs are based on weight rather than volume.

    (4) Hydropulping involves grinding the waste in the presence of an oxidizing fluid, such as hypochlorite solution. The liquid is separated from the pulp and discharged directly into the sewer unless local limits require additional pretreatment prior to discharge. The pulp can often be disposed of at a landfill. One advantage is that waste can be rendered innocuous and reduced in size within the same system. Disadvantages are the added operating burden, difficulty of controlling fugitive emissions, and the difficulty of conducting microbiological tests to determine whether all organic matters and infectious organisms have been destroyed from the waste.

    (5) On-site disposal is a feasible alternative for hospitals generating two tons or more per day of total solid waste. Common treatment techniques include steam sterilization and incineration. Although other options are available, incineration is currently the preferred method for on-site treatment of hospital waste.

    (6) Steam sterilization is limited in the types of medical waste it can treat, but is appropriate for laboratory cultures and/or substances contaminated with infectious organisms. The waste is subjected to steam in a sealed, pressurized chamber. The liquid that may form is drained off to the sewer or sent for processing. The unit is then reopened after a vapor release to the atmosphere, and the solid waste is removed for further processing or disposal. One advantage of steam sterilization is that it has been used for many years in hospitals to sterilize instruments and containers and to treat small quantities of waste. However, since sterilization does not change the appearance of the waste, there could be a problem in gaining acceptance of the waste for landfilling.

    (7) A properly designed, maintained, and operated incinerator achieves a relatively high level of organism destruction. Incineration reduces the weight and volume of the waste as much as 95% and is especially appropriate for pathological wastes and sharps. The most common incineration system for medical waste is the controlled-air type. The principal advantage of this type of incinerator is low particulate emissions. Rotary-kiln and grate-type units have been used, but use of grate-type units has been discontinued because of high air emissions. The rotary kiln also puts out high emissions, and the costs have been prohibitive for smaller units.

  20. Which of the following organizational schemes is most prevalent in the passage?
    1. chronological order
    2. comparison-contrast
    3. order by topic
    4. hierarchical order
  21. One disadvantage of the compaction method of waste disposal is that it
    1. cannot reduce transportation costs.
    2. reduces the volume of solid waste material.
    3. does not allow hospitals to confirm that organic matter has been eliminated.
    4. does not reduce the weight of solid waste material.
  22. For hospitals that dispose of waste on their own premises, the optimum treatment method is
    1. incineration.
    2. compaction.
    3. sterilization.
    4. hydropulping.
  23. According to the passage, which of the following could be safely disposed of in a landfill but might not be accepted by landfill facilities?
    1. hydropulped material
    2. sterilized waste
    3. incinerated waste
    4. laboratory cultures
  24. The two processes mentioned in the passage that involve the formation of liquid are
    1. compaction and hydropulping.
    2. incineration and compaction.
    3. hydropulping and sterilization.
    4. sterilization and incineration.
  25. According to the passage, two effective methods for treating waste caused by infectious matter are
    1. steam sterilization and incineration.
    2. hydropulping and steam sterilization.
    3. incineration and compaction.
    4. hydropulping and incineration.
  26. Hospitals can minimize employee contact with dangerous waste by switching from
    1. a manual cart to a gravity chute.
    2. an automated cart to a hydropulping machine.
    3. a gravity chute to a manual cart.
    4. a manual cart to an automated cart.
  27. The process that transforms waste from hazardous to harmless and diminishes waste volume is
    1. sterilization.
    2. hydropulping.
    3. oxidizing.
    4. compacting.
  28. The underlined word exhausting, as it is used in the second paragraph of the passage, most nearly means
    1. debilitating.
    2. disregarding.
    3. detonating.
    4. discharging.
  29. Budgetary constraints have precluded some small hospitals from purchasing
    1. pneumatic tubes.
    2. rotary kilns.
    3. sterilization equipment.
    4. controlled-air kilns.
  30. The underlined phrase fugitive emissions in the fourth paragraph most nearly means
    1. contaminants that are extremely toxic.
    2. contaminants that are illegally discharged.
    3. contaminants that escape the disposal process.
    4. contaminants that come from micro-biological testing.
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