ISEE Upper Level Reading Comprehension Practice Test 13

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When we say a snake "glides," we have already persuaded ourselves to shiver a little. If we say that it "slithers," we are as good as undone. To avoid unsettling ourselves, we should state the simple fact-a snake walks.

A snake doesn't have any breastbone. The tips of its ribs are free moving and amount, so to speak, to its feet. A snake walks along on its rib tips, pushing forward its ventral scutes at each "step," and it speeds up this mode of progress by undulating from side to side and by taking advantage of every rough "toehold" it can find in the terrain.

Let's look at it this way: A human or other animal going forward on all fours is using a sort of locomotion that's familiar enough to all of us and isn't at all dismaying. Now: Suppose this walker is enclosed inside some sort of pliable encasement like a sacking. The front "feet" will still step forward, the "hind legs" still hitch along afterward. It will still be a standard enough sort of animal walking, only all we'll see now is a sort of wiggling of the sacking without visible feet. That's the snake way. A snake has its covering outside its feet, as an insect has its skeleton on its outside with no bones in the interior. There's nothing more "horrid" about the one arrangement than about the other.

Essentially, when snakes move on land, they use their muscles to push off of something on the ground. They might push against a rock or piece of wood, or even against a rough terrain. This form of movement is called serpentine movement, and it is common for snakes moving on land and even in the water. In the water, snakes actually use the water itself as a point of resistance, pushing off the water to help them move.

1. The title below that expresses the main idea of this selection is

  • A. Snake's Legs.
  • B. Comparing Snakes to People.
  • C. The Movement of a Snake.
  • D. A Slimy Animal.

2. A snake's "feet" are its

  • A. toes.
  • B. ribs.
  • C. side.
  • D. breastbone.

3. The word terrain means

  • A. terraced.
  • B. rocky ledge.
  • C. vertical hole.
  • D. ground areas.

4. We may conclude that the author

  • A. raises reptiles.
  • B. dislikes snakes.
  • C. is well informed about snakes.
  • D. thinks snakes move better than humans.

5. The word locomotion most nearly means

  • A. train.
  • B. limit.
  • C. fuel.
  • D. movement.

6. The author most likely believes that snake movement is

  • A. naturally upsetting.
  • B. a great deal like flying.
  • C. similar on land and water.
  • D. more like gliding than walking.

When a luxury liner or a cargo ship nudges into her slip after an ocean crossing, her first physical contact with land is a heaving line. These streamers with a weight at the end called a "monkey fist" arch gracefully from deck to pier. On board the ship the heaving lines are tied to heavy, golden yellow manila mooring lines. Longshoremen quickly pull in the heaving lines until they can fasten the mooring lines to iron bollards (posts). Soon the ship is strung to her pier by four, eight, or as many as twenty-one nine-inch or ten-inch manila lines with perhaps a few wire ropes to stay motion fore and aft. The ship is secure against even the wrath of the storm or hurricane. A ship could dock without the aid of tugboats-and may have in New York in maritime strikes-but not without the lines to moor her to her berth.

The maritime and the related fishing industry find perhaps 250 applications for rope and cordage. There are hundreds of different sizes, constructions, tensile strengths, and weights in rope and twine. Rope is sold by the pound but ordered by length, and it is measured by circumference rather than by diameter. The maritime variety is made chiefly from fiber of the abaca, or manila plant, which is imported from the Philippines and Central America. Henequen from Mexico and Cuba, and sisal from Africa, the Netherlands, East Indies, and other areas are also used, but chiefly for twine.

Nylon is coming into increasing use, particularly by towing companies. It is much stronger, lighter in weight, and longer-wearing than manila. It is less susceptible to mildew than ropes made from natural fibers, and it is also more elastic and particularly adaptable for ocean towing. Its elasticity helps it to cushion well against shock, but a disadvantage is that it can become too stretched out for use in certain applications.

7. In docking a ship, rope is

  • A. only a little less important than a tugboat.
  • B. essential.
  • C. helpful but not necessary.
  • D. seldom used.

8. A monkey fist is a

  • A. device for weaving rope.
  • B. slang term for a longshoreman.
  • C. rope streamer.
  • D. weight at the end of a rope.

9. Mooring ropes are

  • A. ten inches in diameter.
  • B. twenty-one inches in circumference.
  • C. six times thicker than heaving ropes.
  • D. nine inches in circumference.

10. Which of the following are NOT correctly paired?

  • A. Sisal from the Philippines
  • B. Henequen from Cuba
  • C. Abaca from Central America
  • D. Sisal from the Netherlands East Indies

11. The word chiefly most nearly means

  • A. mainly.
  • B. initially.
  • C. only.
  • D. wisely.

12. According to the selection, which of the following is a disadvantage of nylon?

  • A. It cushions poorly against shock.
  • B. It can become overstretched.
  • C. It is not resistant to mildew.
  • D. It lacks strength compared to manila.