ISEE Reading Comprehension: vocabulary Practice Test 11

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In May of each year, the ghost of Mark Twain must hover over Angel's Camp, California, while all eyes in this colorful old mining town turn to the tailless, leaping amphibians of the genus Rana. It was just this sort of event that Twain made famous in his early humorous story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."

Thousands of spectators gather each year to watch the county's champions hop their way to fame and compete for a $500 first prize. Each frog must undergo a rigid inspection to insure against foul play, such as the loading of the competitor with buckshot, as happened in Twain's tall tale.

Back in 1944, Alfred Jermy was the proud owner of Flash, a frog that held the world's championship with a fifteen-foot, ten-inch leap. In 1950, a seven-year-old boy's pet, X-100, stole top honors with three jumps averaging fourteen feet, nine inches. As amazing as these might seem to the novice, these are mere puddle jumps.

Half the fun in visiting this Calaveras County contest is to be found in listening to the tales of 600-foot leaps in a favorable wind—well, why not?

1. The amphibians mentioned in the first paragraph are the

  • A. storytellers.
  • B. frogs.
  • C. citizens of Calaveras County.
  • D. human contestants.

2. The word novice in the third paragraph means

  • A. the judges.
  • B. the spectators.
  • C. the owners of the frogs.
  • D. inexperienced readers.

In the year 1799, an officer of the French Army was stationed in a small fortress on the Rosetta River, a mouth of the Nile, near Alexandria, Egypt. He was interested in the ruins of the ancient Egyptian civilization and had seen the Sphinx and the pyramids, those mysterious structures that were erected by men of another era.

One day, as a trench was being dug, he found a piece of black slate on which letters had been carved. He had studied Greek in school and knew this was an inscription written in that language. There were two more lines carved into the stone: one in the Egyptian characters he had seen on other ruins, the other in completely unfamiliar characters.

The officer realized the importance of such a find and relinquished it to scholars who had been puzzling over Egyptian inscriptions.

In 1802, a French professor by the name of Champollion began studying the stone in an attempt to decipher the two unknown sets of characters using the Greek letters as a key. He worked with the stone for over 20 years and, in 1823, announced that he had discovered the meaning of the fourteen signs and in doing so had unlocked the secret of ancient Egyptian writing. Some 5,000 years after an unknown person had made those three inscriptions, the Rosetta Stone became a key, unlocking the written records of Egypt and sharing the history of that civilization with the rest of the world.

3. The word decipher is synonymous with

  • A. translate.
  • B. encode.
  • C. transcribe.
  • D. transmit.

4. The word inscription means

  • A. a picture carved in stone.
  • B. a relief sculpture.
  • C. letters carved into a hard substance.
  • D. a written message.

5. The word relinquish means to

  • A. give up possession of something.
  • B. lend to someone.
  • C. sell an object.
  • D. study an object.

The impressions that an individual gets from his environment are greatly influenced by his emotional state. When he is happy, objects and people present themselves to him in a favorable aspect; when he is depressed, he views the same things in an entirely different light. It has been said that a person's moods are the lenses that color life with many different hues. Not only does mood affect impression; impression also affects mood. The beauty of a spring morning may dissipate the gloom of a great sorrow; the good-natured chuckle of a child may turn anger into a smile; or a telegram may transform a house of mirth into a house of mourning.

6. The word dissipate means

  • A. condense.
  • B. draw out.
  • C. melt away.
  • D. inflate.

7. The word transform is synonymous with

  • A. convert.
  • B. conclude.
  • C. interpret.
  • D. convey.