Reading Comprehension Practice II


Reading Comprehension Practice II


Passage 1: “If You Have Allergies, You’re Not Alone”

People who experience allergies might joke that their immune systems have let them down or are seriously lacking. Truthfully though, people who experience allergic reactions or allergy symptoms during certain times of the year have heightened immune systems that are, essentially, “better” than those of people who have perfectly healthy but less militant immune systems.

Still, when a person has an allergic reaction, they are having an adverse reaction to a substance that is considered normal to most people. Mild allergic reactions usually have symptoms like itching, runny nose, red eyes, or bumps or discoloration of the skin. More serious allergic reactions, such as those to animal and insect poisons or certain foods, may result in the closing of the throat, swelling of the eyes, low blood pressure, an inability to breath, and can even be fatal.
Different treatments help different allergies, and which one a person uses depends on the nature and severity of the allergy. It is recommended to patients with severe allergies to take extra precautions, such as carrying an EpiPen, which treats anaphylactic shock and may prevent death, at all times in order for the remedy to be readily available and more effective. When an allergy is not so severe, treatments may be used just relieve a person of uncomfortable symptoms. Over the counter allergy medicines treat milder symptoms, and can be bought at any grocery store and used in moderation to help people with allergies live normally.

There are many tests available to assess whether a person has allergies or what they may be allergic to, and advances in these tests and the medicine used to treat patients continues to improve. Despite this fact, allergies still affect a large number of people throughout the year or even every day. Medicines used to treat allergies have side effects of their own, and it is difficult to bring the body into balance with the use of medicine. Regardless, many of those who live with allergies are grateful for what is available and find it useful in maintaining their lifestyles.

1. According to this passage, it can be understood that the word “militant” belongs in a group with the words:

A. sickly, ailing, faint
B. strength, power, vigor
C. active, fighting, warring
D. worn, tired, breaking down

2. The author says that “medicines used to treat allergies have side effects of their own” in order to

A. point out that doctors aren’t very good at diagnosing and treating allergies
B. argue that because of the large number of people with allergies, a cure will never be found
C. explain that allergy medicines aren’t cures and some compromise must be made
D. argue that more wholesome remedies should be researched and medicines banned

3. It can be inferred that _______ recommend that some people with allergies carry medicine with them.

A. the author
B. doctors
C. the makers of EpiPen
D. people with allergies

4. The author has written this passage in order to

A. inform readers on symptoms of allergies so people with allergies can get help
B. persuade readers to be proud of having allergies
C. inform readers on different remedies so people with allergies receive the right help
D. describe different types of allergies, their symptoms, and their remedies

Passage 2: “When a Poet Longs to Mourn, He Writes an Elegy”

Poems are an expressive, especially emotional, form of writing. They have been present in literature virtually from the time civilizations invented the written word. Poets often portrayed as moody, secluded, and even troubled, but this is because poets are introspective and feel deeply about the current events and cultural norms they are surrounded with. Poets often produce the most telling literature, giving insight into the society and mindset they come from. This can be done in many forms.

The oldest types of poems often include many stanzas, may or may not rhyme, and are more about telling a story than experimenting with language or words. The most common types of ancient poetry are epics, which are usually extremely long stories that follow a hero through his journey, or ellegies, which are often solemn in tone and used to mourn or lament something or someone. The Mesopotamians are often said to have invented the written word, and their literature is among the oldest in the world, including the epic poem titled “Epic of Gilgamesh”. Similar in style and length to “Gilgamesh” is “Beowulf”, an ellegy poem written in Old English and set in Scandinavia. These poems are often used by professors as the earliest examples of literature.

The importance of poetry was revived in the Renaissance. At this time, Europeans discovered the style and beauty of ancient Greek arts, and poetry was among those. Shakespeare is the most well-known poet of the time, and he used poetry not only to write poems but also to write plays for the theater. The most popular forms of poetry during the Renaissance included villanelles, sonnets, as well as the epic. Poets during this time focused on style and form, and developed very specific rules and outlines for how an exceptional poem should be written.

As often happens in the arts, modern poets have rejected the constricting rules of Renaissance poets, and free form poems are much more popular. Some modern poems would read just like stories if they weren’t arranged into lines and stanzas. It is difficult to tell which poems and poets will be the most important, because works of art often become more famous in hindsight, after the poet has died and society can look at itself without being in the moment. Modern poetry continues to develop, and will no doubt continue to change as values, thought, and writing continue to change.

Poems can be among the most enlightening and uplifting texts for a person to read if they are looking to connect with the past, connect with other people, or try to gain an understanding of what is happening in their time.

5. In summary, the author has written this passage

A. as a foreword that will introduce a poem in a book or magazine
B. because she loves poetry and wants more people to like it
C. to give a brief history of poems
D. in order to convince students to write poems

6. The author organizes the paragraphs mainly by

A. moving chronologically, explaining which types of poetry were common in that time
B. talking about new types of poems each paragraph and explaining them a little
C. focusing on one poet or group of people and the poems they wrote
D. explaining older types of poetry so she can talk about modern poetry

7. The author’s claim that poetry has been around “virtually from the time civilizations invented the written word” is supported by the detail that

A. Beowulf is written in Old English, which is not really in use any longer
B. epic poems told stories about heroes
C. the Renaissance poets tried to copy Greek poets
D. the Mesopotamians are credited with both inventing the word and writing “Epic of Gilgamesh”

8. According to the passage, it can be understood that the word “telling” means

A. speaking
B. significant
C. soothing
D. wordy


Answer Key

Passage 1: “If You Have Allergies, You’re Not Alone”

1. The correct answer is C.
This question tests the reader’s vocabulary skills. The uses of the negatives “but” and “less,” especially right next to each other, may confuse readers into answering with A or D, which list words that are antonymic to “militant.” Readers may also be confused by the comparison of healthy people with what is being described as an overly healthy person–both people are good, but the reader may look for which one is “worse” in the comparison, and therefore stray toward the antonymic words. One key to understanding the meaning of “militant” if the reader is unfamiliar with it is to look at the root of the word; readers can then easily associate it with “military” and gain a sense of what the word signifies: defense (especially considered that the immune system defends the body). C is correct over B because “militant” is an adjective, just as the words in C are, whereas the words in B are nouns.

2. The correct answer is C.
This question tests the reader’s understanding of function within writing. The other options are all details included surrounding the quoted text, and may therefore confuse the reader. A somewhat contradicts what is said earlier in the paragraph, which is that tests and treatments are improving, and probably doctors are along with them, but the paragraph doesn’t actually mention doctors, and the subject of the question is the medicine. B may seem correct to readers who aren’t careful to understand that, while the author does mention the large number of people affected, the author is touching on the realities of living with allergies rather about the likelihood of curing all allergies. Similarly, while the the author does mention the “balance” of the body, which is easily associated with “wholesome,” the author is not really making an argument and especially is not making an extreme statement that allergy medicines should be outlawed. Again, because the article’s tone is on living with allergies, C is an appropriate choice that fits with the title and content of the text.

3. The correct answer is B.
This question tests the reader’s inference skills. The text does not state who is doing the recommending, but the use of the “patients,” as well as the general context of the passage, lends itself to the logical partner, “doctors,” B. The author does mention the recommendation but doesn’t present it as her own (i.e. “I recommend that”), so A may be eliminated. It may seem plausible that allergy people with allergies (D) may be recommend medicines or products to other people with allergies, but the text does not necessarily support this interaction taking place. C may be selected because the EpiPen is specifically mentioned, but the use of the phrase “such as” when it is introduced is not limiting enough to assume the recommendation is coming from its creators.

4. The correct answer is D.
This question tests the reader’s global understanding of the text. D includes the main topics of the three body paragraphs, and isn’t too focused on a specific aspect or quote from the text, as the other questions are, giving a skewed summary of what the author intended. The reader may be drawn to B because of the title of the passage and the use of words like “better”, but the message of the passage is larger and more general than this.

Passage 2: “When a Poet Longs to Mourn, He Writes an Elegy”

5. The correct answer is C.
This question tests the reader’s summarization skills. The use of the word “actually” in describing what kind of people poets are, as well as other moments like this, may lead readers to selecting B or D, but the author is more information than trying to persuade readers. The author gives no indication that she loves poetry (B) or that people, students specifically (D), should write poems. A is incorrect because the style and content of this paragraph do not match those of a foreword; forewords usually focus on the history or ideas of a specific poem in order to introduce it more fully and help it stand out against other poems. The author here focuses on several poems and gives broad statements. Instead, she tells a kind of story about poems, giving three very broad time periods in which to discuss them, thereby giving a brief history of poetry, as answer C states.

6. The correct answer is A.
This question tests the reader’s summarization skills. Key words in the topic sentences of each of the paragraphs (“oldest”, “Renaissance”, “modern”) should give the reader an idea that the author is moving chronologically. The opening and closing sentence-paragraphs are broad and talk generally. B seems reasonable, but epic poems are mentioned in two paragraphs, eliminating the idea that only new types of poems are used in each paragraph. C is also easily eliminated because the author clearly mentions several different poets, groups of people, and poems. D also seems reasonable, considering that the author does move from older forms of poetry to newer forms, but use of “so (that)” makes this statement false, for the author gives no indication that she is rushing (the paragraphs are about the same size) or that she prefers modern poetry.

7. The correct answer is D.
This question tests the reader’s attention to detail. The key word is “invented”–it ties together the Mesopotamians, who invented the written word, and the fact that they, as the inventors, also invented and used poetry. The other selections focus on other details mentioned in the passage, such as that the Renaissance’s admiration of the Greeks (C) and that Beowulf is in Old English (A). B may seem like an attractive answer because it is unlike the others and because the idea of heroes seems rooted in ancient and early civilizations.
8. The correct answer is B.
This question tests the reader’s vocabulary and contextualization skills. “Telling” is not an unusual word, but it may be used here in a way that is not familiar to readers, as an adjective rather than a verb in gerund form. A may seem like the obvious answer to a reader looking for a verb to match the use they are familiar with. If the reader understands that the word is being used as an adjective and that A is a ploy, they may opt to select D, “wordy,” but it does not make sense in context. C can be easily eliminated, and doesn’t have any connection to the paragraph or passage. “Significant” (B) does make sense contextually, especially in relation to the phrase “give insight” used later in the sentence.





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