Reading Comprehension Final Practice Test (page 3)

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Updated on Sep 21, 2011

Practice Passage 7 and Questions

A Plains Childhood

When I think of my family's history on the land, I experience a pang of regret. Unlike much of the arid West, where the land has gone virtually unchanged for centuries, my place of origin, western Kansas, has been torn up by agriculture. The flat plains, excellent soil, and sparse but just adequate rainfall permitted farming; therefore farming prevailed, and a good 90% of the original sod prairie is gone. The consequence, in human terms, is that our relationship to our place has always felt primarily mercantile. We used the land and denied, or held at bay, its effect on us. Yet from my earliest childhood, when most of the Kansas prairie was still intact, I've known that the land also had a romantic quality. I've felt moved by the expanse of it, enthralled by its size. I take pride in my identity as a plains daughter.

  1. Which of the following is the most accurate restatement of the author's position?
    1. The presence of people has enriched the plains habitat.
    2. Farming has improved the soil of the plains.
    3. Farming has eroded the natural beauty of the plains.
    4. Farming has chemically polluted the plains.
  2. The argument in this paragraph is based primarily on
    1. facts of history and statistical studies.
    2. facts derived from the author's research.
    3. feelings the author has picked up from personal experience.
    4. ideas passed down to the author by ancestors.
  3. From context, it can be determined that the word mercantile has something to do with
    1. practicality.
    2. danger.
    3. America.
    4. spirituality.

Practice Passage 8 and Questions

Maine's Glacial Past

The coast of the State of Maine is one of the most irregular in the world. A straight line running from the southernmost coastal city to the northernmost coastal city would measure about 225 miles. If you followed the coastline between these points, you would travel more than ten times as far. This irregularity is the result of what is called a drowned coastline. The term comes from the glacial activity of the Ice Age. At that time, the whole area that is now Maine was part of a mountain range that towered above the sea. As the glacier descended, however, it expended enormous force on those mountains, and they sank into the sea.

As the mountains sank, ocean water charged over the lowest parts of the remaining land, forming a series of twisting inlets and lagoons of contorted grottos and nooks. The highest parts of the former mountain range, nearest the shore, remained as islands. Mt. Desert Island was one of the most famous of all the islands left behind by the glacier. Marine fossils found here were 225 feet above sea level indicating the level of the shoreline prior to the glacier.

The 2,500-mile-long rocky and jagged coastline of Maine keeps watch over nearly 2,000 islands. Many of these islands are tiny and uninhabited, but many are home to thriving communities. Mt. Desert Island is one of the largest, most beautiful of the Maine coast islands. Measuring 16 miles by 12 miles, Mt. Desert was very nearly formed as two distinct islands. It is split almost in half by Somes Sound, a very deep and very narrow stretch of water seven miles long.

For years, Mt. Desert Island, particularly its major settlement, Bar Harbor, afforded summer homes for the wealthy. Recently, though, Bar Harbor has become a burgeoning arts community as well. But the best part of the island is the unspoiled forest land known as Acadia National Park. Since the island sits on the boundary line between the temperate and subarctic zones, the island supports the flora and fauna of both zones as well as beach, inland, and alpine plants. It also lies in a major bird migration lane and is a resting spot for many birds.

The establishment of Acadia National Park in 1916 means that this natural monument will be preserved and that it will be available to all people, not just the wealthy. Visitors to Acadia may receive nature instruction from the park naturalists as well as enjoy camping, hiking, cycling, and boating. Or they may choose to spend time at the archeological museum learning about the Stone Age inhabitants of the island.

The best view on Mt. Desert Island is from the top of Cadillac Mountain. This mountain rises 1,532 feet, making it the highest mountain on the Atlantic seaboard. From the summit, you can gaze back toward the mainland or out over the Atlantic Ocean and contemplate the beauty created by a retreating glacier.

  1. Which of the following lists of topics best outlines the information in the selection?
    1. Ice-Age glacial activity

      The Islands of Casco Bay

      Formation of Cadillac Mountain

      Summer residents of Mt. Desert Island

    2. Formation of a drowned coastline

      The topography of Mt. Desert Island

      The environment of Mt. Desert Island

      Tourist attractions on Mt. Desert Island

    3. Mapping the Maine coastline

      The arts community at Bar Harbor

      History of the National Park system

      Climbing Cadillac Mountain

    4. The effect of glaciers on small islands

      Stone-Age dwellers on Mt. Desert Island

      The importance of biodiversity

      Hiking in Acadia National Park

  2. Which of the following statements best expresses the main idea of paragraph 4 of the selection?
    1. The wealthy residents of Mt. Desert Island selfishly kept it to themselves.
    2. Acadia National Park is one of the smallest of the national parks.
    3. On Mt. Desert Island, there is great tension between the year-round residents and the summer tourists.
    4. Due to its location and environment, Mt. Desert Island supports an incredibly diverse animal and plant life.
  3. According to the selection, the large number of small islands along the coast of Maine are the result of
    1. glaciers forcing a mountain range into the sea.
    2. Maine's location between the temperate and subarctic zones.
    3. the irregularity of the Maine coast.
    4. the need for summer communities for wealthy tourists and artists.
  4. The content of paragraph 5 indicates that the writer believes that
    1. the continued existence of national parks is threatened by budget cuts.
    2. the best way to preserve the environment on Mt. Desert Island is to limit the number of visitors.
    3. national parks allow large numbers of people to visit and learn about interesting wilderness areas.
    4. Mt. Desert Island is the most interesting tourist attraction in Maine.
  5. According to the selection, the coast of Maine is
    1. 2,500 miles long.
    2. 3,500 miles long.
    3. 225 miles long.
    4. 235 miles long.
  6. What is the meaning of the underlined phrase flora and fauna in paragraph 4 of this passage?
    1. insects and plants
    2. plants and animals
    3. deer and coyote
    4. birds and beaches

Practice Passage 9 and Questions

Immune Functions

The immune system is equal in complexity to the combined intricacies of the brain and nervous system. The success of the immune system in defending the body relies on a dynamic regulatory communications network consisting of millions and millions of cells. Organized into sets and subsets, these cells pass information back and forth like clouds of bees swarming around a hive. The result is a sensitive system of checks and balances that produces an immune response that is prompt, appropriate, effective, and self-limiting.

At the heart of the immune system is the ability to distinguish between self and nonself. When immune defenders encounter cells or organisms carrying foreign or nonself molecules, the immune troops move quickly to eliminate the intruders. Virtually every body cell carries distinctive molecules that identify it as self. The body's immune defenses do not normally attack tissues that carry a self-marker. Rather, immune cells and other body cells coexist peaceably in a state known as self-tolerance. When a normally functioning immune system attacks a nonself molecule, the system has the ability to "remember" the specifics of the foreign body. Upon subsequent encounters with the same species of molecules, the immune system reacts accordingly. With the possible exception of antibodies passed during lactation, this so called immune system memory is not inherited. Despite the occurrence of a virus in your family, your immune system must "learn" from experience with the many millions of distinctive nonself molecules in the sea of microbes in which we live. Learning entails producing the appropriate molecules and cells to match up with and counteract each nonself invader.

Any substance capable of triggering an immune response is called an antigen. Antigens are not to be confused with allergens, which are most often harmless substances (such as ragweed pollen or cat hair) that provoke the immune system to set off the inappropriate and harmful response known as allergy. An antigen can be a virus, a bacterium, a fungus, a parasite, or even a portion or product of one of these organisms. Tissues or cells from another individual (except an identical twin, whose cells carry identical self-markers) also act as antigens; because the immune system recognizes transplanted tissues as foreign, it rejects them. The body will even reject nourishing proteins unless they are first broken down by the digestive system into their primary, nonantigenic building blocks. An antigen announces its foreignness by means of intricate and characteristic shapes called epitopes, which protrude from its surface. Most antigens, even the simplest microbes, carry several different kinds of epitopes on their surface; some may even carry several hundred. Some epitopes will be more effective than others at stimulating an immune response. Only in abnormal situations does the immune system wrongly identify self as nonself and execute a misdirected immune attack. The result can be a so-called autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosis. The painful side effects of these diseases are caused by a person's immune system actually attacking itself.

  1. What is the analogy used to describe the communications network among the cells in the immune system?
    1. the immune system's memory
    2. immune troops eliminating intruders
    3. bees swarming around a hive
    4. a sea of microbes
  2. The immune cells and other cells in the body coexist peaceably in a state known as
    1. equilibrium.
    2. self-tolerance.
    3. harmony.
    4. tolerance.
  3. What is the specific term for the substance capable of triggering an inappropriate or harmful immune response to a harmless substance such as ragweed pollen?
    1. antigen
    2. microbe
    3. allergen
    4. autoimmune disease
  4. How do the cells in the immune system recognize an antigen as "foreign" or "nonself?"
    1. through an allergic response
    2. through blood type
    3. through fine hairs protruding from the antigen surface
    4. through characteristic shapes on the antigen surface
  5. After you have had the chicken pox, your immune system will be able to do all of the following EXCEPT
    1. prevent your offspring from infection by the chicken pox virus.
    2. distinguish between your body cells and that of the chicken pox virus.
    3. "remember" previous experiences with the chicken pox virus.
    4. match up and counteract nonself molecules in the form of the chicken pox virus.
  6. Which of the following best expresses the main idea of this passage?
    1. An antigen is any substance that triggers an immune response.
    2. The basic function of the immune system is to distinguish between self and nonself.
    3. One of the immune system's primary functions is the allergic response.
    4. The human body presents an opportune habitat for microbes.
  7. Why would tissue transplanted from father to daughter have a greater risk of being detected as foreign than a tissue transplanted between identical twins?
    1. The age of the twins' tissue would be the same and therefore less likely to be rejected.
    2. The identical twin's tissue would carry the same self-markers and would therefore be less likely to be rejected.
    3. The difference in the sex of the father and daughter would cause the tissue to be rejected by the daughter's immune system.
    4. The twins' immune systems would "remember" the same encounters with childhood illnesses.
  8. Antigens differ from allergens because
    1. allergens are usually harmless substances, while antigens can be harmful viruses, fungus or parasites.
    2. antigens trigger an immune system response and allergens do not.
    3. people sensitive to allergens experience visible physical symptoms while people with antigens do not suffer from obvious responses or symptoms.
    4. There is no difference between an antigen and an allergen.


  1. b.
  2. b.
  3. b.
  4. c.
  5. a.
  6. c.
  7. d.
  8. b.
  9. a.
  10. d.
  11. a.
  12. b.
  13. b.
  14. d.
  15. b.
  16. a.
  17. c.
  18. b.
  19. a.
  20. d. 
  21. a
  22. d.
  23. d.
  24. c.
  25. b.
  26. d.
  27. b.
  28. a.
  29. c.
  30. b.
  31. c.
  32. d.
  33. d.
  34. c.
  35. c.
  36. a.
  37. b.
  38. d.
  39. a.
  40. c.
  41. a.
  42. b.
  43. c.
  44. b.
  45. c.
  46. d.
  47. a.
  48. b.
  49. b.
  50. a.


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