ISEE Upper Level Reading Comprehension Practice Test 17

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Few animals are as descriptively named as the varying hare (Lepus americanus), also commonly known as the snowshoe hare, white rabbit, or snowshoe rabbit. The varying hare lives in the forest, finding protection from predators in the thickets of dense underbrush. The species derives its various names from its interesting adaptations to the seasonal changes affecting its habitat.

Much like a chameleon changes body color, the hare is able to adapt by changing the color of its coat to allow it to better blend in with its surroundings. The color changes are effected by means of a molt, and are timed (although the hares have no voluntary control over them) to coincide with the changing appearances of the background.

The periods of transition-from white to brown in the spring, and from brown to white in the fall-require more than two months from start to completion, during which time the hares are a mottled brown and white. By wintertime each year, the hare succeeds in turning completely white over its entire body, with the exception of grey at the tips of its ears and on its feet. The white coloring allows it to effectively camouflage itself in the winter snow. In addition to the changes in color, in the fall the soles of the feet develop a very heavy growth of hair that functions as snowshoes.

The hares' diet consists primarily of bark, twigs, and stems from various trees. They may also consume certain seasonal leaves and grasses, depending upon their availability in the surrounding habitat.

Varying hares reside throughout North America and have an extensive range, from the eastern shores of Newfoundland, Canada, to Alaska in the northwest. In New York State, hares are most abundant in and around the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains. Thriving populations, with less extensive ranges, are found in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Rensselaer, and Chenango counties. Smaller colonies of limited range are found in scattered islands.

1. Which title best expresses the main idea of this selection?

  • A. Seasonal Changes in Birds
  • B. The Varying Hare
  • C. An American Animal
  • D. The Abundance of Hares

2. Terms used to name these rabbits are related to their

  • A. abundance in many parts of New York State.
  • B. sensitivity to weather conditions throughout the state.
  • C. ability to adapt to the change of seasons.
  • D. thick white coats.

3. The word mottled most nearly means

  • A. frightening.
  • B. dedicated.
  • C. speckled.
  • D. relaxed.

4. These rabbits have both brown and white markings in

  • A. summer and winter.
  • B. spring and fall.
  • C. spring and summer.
  • D. fall and winter.

5. The parts of New York State where rabbit populations are most plentiful are

  • A. Allegany, Cattaraugus, Rensselaer, and Chenango counties.
  • B. Adirondack and Catskill Mountain regions.
  • C. islands within the state.
  • D. snowy areas in the hills.

6. Which statement about these rabbits is true according to the selection?

  • A. They are becoming fewer in number.
  • B. They are capable of leaping great distances.
  • C. They are more plentiful in winter.
  • D. They have no control over their color changes.

Like the United States today, Athens had courts where a wrong might be righted. Since any citizen might accuse another of a crime, the Athenian courts of law were very busy. In fact, unless a citizen was unusually peaceful or very unimportant, he would be sure to find himself in the courts at least once every few years.

At a trial, both the accuser and the person accused were allowed a certain time to speak. The length of time was marked by a water clock. Free men testified under oath as they do today, but the oath of a slave was counted as worthless.

To judge a trial, a jury was chosen from the members of the assembly who had reached 30 years of age. The Athenian juries were very large, often consisting of 201; 401; 501; 1,001; or more men, depending upon the importance of the case being tried. By involving a large number of jurors, the Athenian system helped eliminate the possibility of jurors being bribed to vote a certain way in the trial. Because it would be costly to pay bribes to hundreds of men, the large jury system helped the trial to be decided in a just manner.

The juryman swore by the gods to listen carefully to both sides of the question and to give his honest opinion of the case. Each juryman gave his decision by depositing a white or black stone in a box. Unlike in the U.S. today, decisions were made without deliberation by the jury; jury members simply cast their votes individually, based on their assessments of the cases presented by the prosecution and the defense. To keep citizens from being too careless in accusing each other, there was a rule that if the person accused did not receive a certain number of negative votes, the accuser was condemned instead.

7. Which title best expresses the main idea of this selection?

  • A. Athens and the United States
  • B. Justice in Ancient Athens
  • C. Testifying Under Oath
  • D. The Duties of Juries

8. People in Athens were frequently on trial in a law court because

  • A. they liked to serve on juries.
  • B. a juryman agreed to listen to both sides.
  • C. any person might accuse another of a crime.
  • D. the slaves were troublesome.

9. An Athenian was likely to avoid accusing another without a good reason because

  • A. the jury might condemn the accuser instead of the accused.
  • B. the jury might be very large.
  • C. cases were judged by men over 30 years old.
  • D. there was a limit on the time a trial could take.

10. Which statement is true according to the selection?

  • A. An accused person was denied the privilege of telling his side of the case.
  • B. The importance of the case determined the number of jurors.
  • C. A jury's decision was handed down in writing.
  • D. A citizen had to appear in court every few years.

11. Cases were decided in ancient Athens by

  • A. individual vote.
  • B. jury deliberation.
  • C. a judge's ruling.
  • D. bribery of jurors.

12. In the context of the passage, the phrase negative votes most nearly means votes

  • A. for strict punishment
  • B. against the accused
  • C. for a lenient sentence
  • D. against the accuser