Education.com
Try
Brainzy
Try
Plus

Reading Short Passages and Inference Practice

based on 40 ratings
By
Updated on Aug 10, 2011

In this section, you will find short passages (one and two paragraph), accompanied by questions that ask you to identify explicit information, analyze, and interpret what is written. This is your first chance to use everything you've learned so far. Pay special attention to the details and the facts, and make a habit of trying to identify the author's main idea; also, try to think of the author's motive for writing the passage. Ask the questions, "Who? What? When? Where? How? and Why?" Is the author's purpose to inform you of facts, persuade you of something, or simply to entertain you?

As you read, try marking up the passages or taking notes. The more active a reader you are, the more likely that you will understand and fully enjoy what you read.

Some of the questions following the passages ask you to make inferences from the passages. To infer means to arrive at a conclusion by reasoning from evidence. Synonyms for infer are deduce, judge, or conclude. If you are told to infer something from a passage, you are basically being asked what conclusions can be drawn from the content of the story. Tip: If you replace the word infer with conclude in a question, it may make more sense to you.

In cities throughout the country, there is a new direction in local campaign coverage. Frequently in local elections, journalists are not giving voters enough information to understand the issues and evaluate the candidates. The local news media devotes too much time to scandal and not enough time to policy.
  1. This paragraph best supports the statement that the local news media
    1. is not doing an adequate job when it comes to covering local campaigns.
    2. does not understand either campaign issues or politics.
    3. should learn how to cover politics by watching the national news media.
    4. has no interest in covering stories about local political events.
  2. The use of desktop computer equipment and software to create high-quality documents such as newsletters, business cards, letterhead, and brochures is called Desktop Publishing, or DTP. The most important part of any DTP project is planning. Before you begin, you should know your intended audience, the message you want to communicate, and what form your message will take.

  3. The paragraph best supports the statement that
    1. Desktop Publishing is one way to become acquainted with a new business audience.
    2. computer software is continually being refined to produce high-quality printing.
    3. the first stage of any proposed DTP project should be organization and design.
    4. the planning stage of any DTP project should include talking with the intended audience.
  4. The entire low-carbohydrate versus low-fat diet argument is so prevalent that one would think that these are the only two options available for losing weight and staying healthy. Some experts even feel that the low-carb/low-fat debate distracts us from an even more important issue—our culture's reliance on processed and manufactured foods.

  5. The paragraph best supports the statement that
    1. experts state that not all fats are equal, so we need not reduce our intake of all fats; just those that contain partially hydrogenated oils.
    2. important health concerns get overlooked when we focus exclusively on the low-fat versus low-carb question.
    3. low-carbohydrate diets lead to significant and sustained weight loss.
    4. processed foods can lead to many adverse health problems including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
  6. Every year, Americans use over one billion sharp objects to administer healthcare in their homes. These sharp objects include lancets, needles, and syringes. If not disposed of in puncture-resistant containers, they can injure sanitation workers. Sharp objects should be disposed of in hard plastic or metal containers with secure lids. The containers should be clearly marked and be puncture resistant.

  7. The paragraph best supports the idea that sanitation workers can be injured if they
    1. do not place sharp objects in puncture-resistant containers.
    2. come in contact with sharp objects that have not been placed in secure containers.
    3. are careless with sharp objects such as lancets, needles, and syringes in their homes.
    4. do not mark the containers they pick up with a warning that those containers contain sharp objects.
  8. Litigation is not always the only or best way to resolve conflicts. Mediation offers an alternative approach and it is one that can be quite efficient and successful. Mediation can be faster, less expensive, and can lead to creative solutions not always possible in a court of law. Additionally, mediation focuses on mutually acceptable solutions, rather than on winning or losing.

  9. This paragraph best supports the idea that
    1. there is too much reliance on litigation in our society.
    2. litigation is expensive, slow, and limited by its reliance on following the letter of the law.
    3. mediation is the best way to resolve a crisis.
    4. mediation can be an effective way to resolve conflicts.
  10. One of the missions of the Peace Corps is to help the people of interested countries meet their need for trained men and women. People who work for the Peace Corps do so because they want to, but to keep the agency dynamic with fresh ideas, no staff member can work for the agency for more than five years.

  11. The paragraph best supports the statement that Peace Corps employees
    1. are highly intelligent people.
    2. must train for about five years.
    3. are hired for a limited term of employment.
    4. have both academic and work experience.
  12. More and more office workers telecommute from offices in their own homes. The upside of telecommuting is both greater productivity and greater flexibility. Telecommuters produce, on average, 20% more than if they were to work in an office, and their flexible schedule allows them to balance both their family and work responsibilities.

  13. The paragraph best supports the statement that telecommuters
    1. get more work done in a given time period than workers who travel to the office.
    2. produce a better quality work product than workers who travel to the office.
    3. are more flexible in their ideas than workers who travel to the office.
    4. would do 20% more work if they were to work in an office.
  14. Sushi, the thousand-year-old Japanese delicacy, started small in the United States, in a handful of restaurants in big cities. Today, sushi consumption in America is 50% greater than it was ten years ago and not just in restaurants. Sushi is also sold at concession stands in sports stadiums, university dining halls, and in supermarkets throughout the country.

  15. This paragraph best supports the statement that
    1. sushi is now a fast food as popular as hot dogs, burgers, and fries.
    2. more sushi is sold in restaurants than in supermarkets.
    3. Americans are more adventurous eaters than they were in the past.
    4. sushi wasn't always widely available in the United States.
  16. Today's shopping mall has as its antecedents historical marketplaces, such as Greek agoras, European piazzas, and Asian bazaars. The purpose of these sites, as with the shopping mall, is both economic and social. People not only go to buy and sell wares, but also to be seen, catch up on news, and be part of the human drama.

  17. The paragraph best supports the statement that
    1. modern Americans spend an average of 15 hours a month in shopping malls.
    2. shopping malls serve an important purpose in our culture.
    3. shopping malls have a social as well as commercial function.
    4. there are historical antecedents for almost everything in contemporary society.
  18. Many animals hibernate during parts of the year, entering a state that is similar to a very deep sleep. But hibernation is more than simply a deep sleep. The animal's body temperature drops well below its normal range, the animal does not wake up for a long period of time, and its metabolism slows to the point that the animal does not need to eat or relieve itself during that period.

    In order to prepare for hibernation, the animal must build up its body weight and increase its body fat. This is important, since the animal will be living off its own body fat during the months of hibernation. Of course, once the period of hibernation is over, the animal "wakes up" to find itself slim and trim once again!

  19. How does an animal prepare for hibernation?
    1. It exercises for two months.
    2. It gradually increases its sleeping habits.
    3. It grows extra fur.
    4. It eats more food than usual.
  20. This passage best supports the statement that
    1. all animals hibernate to some degree.
    2. food is scarce in the winter.
    3. hibernation is very different from normal sleep.
    4. bears hibernate every year.
  21. Patrick Henry is considered one of the great patriots of America's early history. He was a leader in every protest against British tyranny and in every movement for colonial rights, openly speaking against the unfair taxation and overly burdensome regulations imposed upon the American colonists by the British Parliament.

    In March 1775, Patrick Henry urged his fellow Virginians to arm themselves in self-defense. He spoke boldly in Richmond, Virginia, during the meeting of the state legislature. He closed that famous speech with the immortal words, "I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

  22. This passage best supports the statement that
    1. Patrick Henry later became a governor of West Virginia.
    2. the Virginia legislature was not listening to Henry's speech.
    3. Patrick Henry was willing to lay down his life for his country.
    4. People in Colonial times faced harsh living conditions.
  23. Which of the following would be the most appropriate title for this passage?
    1. The Speeches of Patrick Henry
    2. Patrick Henry, American Patriot
    3. Early American Patriots
    4. History of the Virginia Legislature
  24. Ratatouille is a dish that has grown in popularity over the last few years. It features eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and garlic chopped, mixed, sautéed, and finally, cooked slowly over low heat. As the vegetables cook slowly, they make their own broth, which may be extended with a little tomato paste. The name ratatouille comes from the French word touiller, meaning to stir or mix together.

  25. Which of the following is the correct order of steps for making ratatouille?
    1. chop vegetables, add tomato paste, stir or mix together
    2. mix the vegetables together, sauté them, and add tomato paste
    3. cook the vegetables slowly, mix them together, add tomato paste
    4. add tomato paste to extend the broth and cook slowly overlow heat
  26. Ratatouille can best be described as a
    1. French pastry.
    2. sauce to put over vegetables.
    3. pasta dish extended with tomato paste.
    4. vegetable stew.
  27. 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.

  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. It is well known that the world urgently needs adequate distribution of food, so that everyone gets enough. Adequate distribution of medicine is just as urgent. Medical expertise and medical supplies need to be redistributed throughout the world so that people in emerging nations will have proper medical care.

  31. This paragraph best supports the statement that
    1. the majority of the people in the world have no medical care.
    2. medical resources in emerging nations have diminished in the past few years.
    3. not enough doctors give time and money to those in need of medical care.
    4. many people who live in emerging nations are not receiving proper medical care.
  32. Knitting has made a major comeback. People are knitting on college campuses, in coffee shops, and in small knitting groups throughout the United States. New knitting stores, many with cafes, are popping up all over, and there are more knitting books and magazines being published than ever before. And not all of these knitters are women: As knitting continues to surge in popularity, men are picking up knitting needles in record numbers.

  33. The paragraph best supports the statement that
    1. joining a knitting group is a great way to make new friends.
    2. some people knit because it helps them relax and release stress.
    3. today's knitter is not the stereotypical grandmother in a rocking chair.
    4. as is the case with all fads, this new obsession with knitting will fade quickly.
  34. Everyone is sensitive to extreme weather conditions. But with age, the body may become less able to respond to long exposure to very hot or very cold temperatures. Some older people might develop hypothermia when exposed to cold weather. Hypothermia is a drop in internal body temperature, which can be fatal if not detected and treated.

  35. The paragraph best supports the statement that
    1. cold weather is more dangerous for older people than warm weather.
    2. hypothermia is a condition that only affects older people.
    3. older people who live in warm climates are healthier than older people who live in cold climates.
    4. an older person is more susceptible to hypothermia than a younger person.
  36. Whether you can accomplish a specific goal or meet a specific deadline depends first on how much time you need to get the job done. What should you do when the demands of the job exceed the time you have available? The best approach is to divide the project into smaller pieces. Different goals will have to be divided in different ways, but one seemingly unrealistic goal can often be accomplished by working on several smaller, more reasonable goals.

  37. The main idea of the passage is that
    1. jobs often remain only partially completed because of lack of time.
    2. the best way to complete projects is to make sure your goals are achievable.
    3. the best way to tackle a large project is to separate it into smaller parts.
    4. the best approach to a demanding job is to delegate responsibility.
  38. Health clubs have undergone a major transformation that can be described in three words: mind, body, and spirit. Loud, fast, heartt-humping aerobics has been replaced by the hushed tones of yoga and the controlled movements of Pilates. The clubs are responding to the needs of their customers who are increasingly looking for a retreat from their hectic lifestyles and a way to find a healthy balance in their lives by nurturing their whole selves.

  39. The main idea of the paragraph is that
    1. exercise is less important now than it once was.
    2. health clubs are much less popular now than they were ten years ago.
    3. many health clubs will go out of business because of the decline in traditional exercise.
    4. people's desire to nurture all aspects of themselves has contributed to big changes for health clubs.
  40. For most judges, sentencing a person who has been convicted of a crime is a difficult decision. In the majority of jurisdictions throughout the country, judges have few sentencing options from which to choose. Generally, their options are confined to a fine, probation, or incarceration. Crimes, however, cover a wide spectrum of criminal behavior and motivation, and a wide variety of sanctions should be available.

  41. The main idea of the paragraph is that
    1. there should be laws that dictate which sentence a judge should hand down.
    2. someone other than a judge should be allowed to sentence a criminal.
    3. judges should be given more sentencing options from which to choose.
    4. more money should be spent on the criminal justice system.
  42. Before you begin to compose a business letter, sit down and think about your purpose in writing the letter. Do you want to request information, order a product, register a complaint, or apply for something? Do some brainstorming and gather information before you begin writing. Always keep your objective in mind.

  43. The main idea of the passage is that
    1. planning is an important part of writing a business letter.
    2. business letters are frequently complaint letters.
    3. brainstorming and writing take approximately equal amounts of time.
    4. many people fail to plan ahead when they are writing a business letter.
  44. Keeping busy at important tasks is much more motivating than having too little to do. Today's employees are not afraid of responsibility. Most people are willing to take on extra responsibility in order to have more variety in their positions. In addition, along with that responsibility should come more authority to independently carry out some important tasks.

  45. The main idea of the paragraph is that
    1. variety and independence on the job increase employee motivation.
    2. to avoid boredom, many people do more work than their jobs require of them.
    3. today's employees are demanding more independence than ever before.
    4. office jobs in the past have carried less responsibility.
  46. Managing job and family is not simple. Both commitments make strong demands on people and are sometimes in direct opposition to each other. Saying yes to one means saying no to the other, and stress can often result. Being realistic and creating a balance in life can help set priorities.

  47. The main idea of the paragraph is that
    1. most family responsibilities cause stress at home and at work.
    2. because it pays the bills, a job must take priority over other commitments.
    3. it is important to have a balance between job and family responsibilities.
    4. because they are so important, family duties must take priority over the job.
  48. Women business owners are critically important to the American economy, yet women still face unique obstacles in the business world. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a variety of programs and services to help women-owned businesses succeed and to advocate for women entrepreneurs.

  49. This paragraph best supports the statement that women business owners
    1. have more success in the United States than in other countries.
    2. cannot succeed without outside help.
    3. may find the Small Business Administration a useful resource.
    4. should not make any major decisions without seeking the advice of the Small Business Administration.
  50. Passages in this section can have one to six questions following. You must respond accordingly.

    Use of electronic mail (e-mail) has been widespread for more than a decade. E-mail simplifies the flow of ideas, connects people from distant offices, eliminates the need for meetings, and often boosts productivity. However, e-mail should be carefully managed to avoid unclear and inappropriate communication. E-mail messages should be concise and limited to one topic. When complex issues need to be addressed, phone calls are still best.
  51. The main idea of the paragraph is that e-mail
    1. is not always the easiest way to connect people from distant offices.
    2. has changed considerably since it first began a decade ago.
    3. causes people to be unproductive when it is used incorrectly.
    4. is effective for certain kinds of messages but only if managed wisely.
  52. Which of the following would be the most appropriate title for the passage?
    1. Appropriate Use of E-Mail
    2. E-Mail's Popularity
    3. E-Mail: The Ideal Form of Communication
    4. Why Phone Calls Are Better Than E-Mail
  53. Native American art often incorporates a language of abstract visual symbols. The artist gives a poetic message to the viewer, communicating the beauty of an idea, either by using religious symbols or a design from nature such as rain on leaves or sunshine on water. The idea communicated may even be purely whimsical, in which case the artist might start out with symbols developed from a bird's tracks or a child's toy.

  54. The main idea of the passage is that Native American art
    1. is purely poetic and dreamlike.
    2. is usually abstract, although it can also be poetic and beautiful.
    3. communicates the beauty of ideas through the use of symbols.
    4. is sometimes purely whimsical.
View Full Article
Add your own comment

Ask a Question

Have questions about this article or topic? Ask
Ask
150 Characters allowed