ISEE Reading Comprehension Practice Test 3

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Early in the nineteenth century, American youths were playing a game, somewhat like the English game of rounders, which contained all the elements of modern baseball. It was neither scientifically planned nor skillfully played, but it furnished considerable excitement for players and spectators alike. The playing field was a sixty-foot square with goals, or bases, at each of its four corners. A pitcher stationed himself at the center of the square, and a catcher and an indefinite number of fielders supported the pitcher and completed the team. None of these players, usually between eight and twenty on a side, covered the bases. The batter was out on balls caught on the fly or the first bound, and a base runner was out if he was hit by a thrown ball while off base. The bat was nothing more than a stout paddle with a two-inch-thick handle. The ball was apt to be an impromptu affair composed of a bullet, cork, or metal slug tightly wound with wool yarn and string. With its simple equipment and only a few rules, this game steadily increased in popularity during the first half of the century.

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

  • A. Baseball Rules
  • B. An English Game
  • C. Baseball's Predecessor
  • D. American Pastimes

2. The rules of this game required

  • A. eight fielders.
  • B. a pitcher, a catcher, and one fielder for each base.
  • C. twenty fielders.
  • D. no specific number of players.

3. This selection suggests that

  • A. the game of baseball has grown more complicated over the years.
  • B. the game described was very dangerous.
  • C. baseball originated in the United States.
  • D. the game described required skilled players.

4. The word impromptu means

  • A. carefully planned.
  • B. careless.
  • C. informal.
  • D. skillful.

John J. Audubon, a bird watcher, once noticed that a pair of phoebes nested in the same place year after year, and he wondered if they might be the same birds. He put tiny silver bands on their legs, and the next spring the banded birds returned to the same nesting place.

This pair of phoebes were the first birds to be banded. Since that time, naturalists, with the aid of the federal government's Fish and Wildlife Department, band birds in an effort to study them. The bands, which are made of lightweight aluminum so as not to harm the birds, bear a message requesting finders to notify the department. Careful records of these notifications are kept and analyzed. In this way, naturalists have gained a great deal of knowledge about the nesting habits, migration patterns, and populations of a large variety of bird species. Most importantly, they are able to identify those species that are in danger of extinction.

5. Which title below best expresses the main idea of this passage?

  • A. The Migration of Birds
  • B. One Method of Studying Birds
  • C. The Habits of Birds
  • D. The Work of John Audubon

6. Audubon's purpose in banding the phoebes was to

  • A. satisfy his own curiosity.
  • B. start a government study of birds.
  • C. gain fame as the first birdbander.
  • D. chart the phoebe's migration patterns.

7. Audubon proved his theory that

  • A. silver and aluminum are the best metals for birdbands.
  • B. the government should study birds.
  • C. phoebes are the most interesting birds to study.
  • D. birds return to the same nesting place each spring.

8. The word habits means

  • A. naturalists.
  • B. living environments.
  • C. behaviors.
  • D. ecosystem.

An ancient dinosaur-like animal called the Archaeopteryx has long been considered to be the world's first bird. Based on what has been pieced together from fossil evidence, Archaeopteryx was more like a cross between a bird and a dinosaur, rather than fitting clearly in one group or the other. It had teeth, a tail, and claws on its wing—all characteristics that more closely resemble dinosaurs. It also had feathers and wings, like today's birds. Whether the creature was a bird with teeth or a feather-covered dinosaur is a matter of debate, but its existence proved that a link exists between birds and reptiles.

A recent discovery leads us to question the accepted wisdom of Archaeopteryx as the first known bird. According to an article in National Geographic magazine by author Brian Switek, a creature known as Aurornis xui was described by paleontologist Pascal Godefroit in May of 2013. Aurornis was discovered in China. It is believed to have lived 160 million years ago, about 10 million years before Archaeopteryx.

Switek notes that controversy exists over whether Archaeopteryx even was a bird. But for those who believe it was, it appears that it may not have been the first.

Researchers cannot say with certainty that Aurornis was a bird either. There are too few details in the fossil record to make this determination definitively. But one thing based on these discoveries is clear: birds are descendants of dinosaurs. Today's common bird shares an ancestry with predator dinosaurs such as the velociraptor, lending even more meaning to the idea that the early bird gets the worm.

9. Which title best expresses the topic of this selection?

  • A. Studying Dinosaurs
  • B. The Earliest Birds
  • C. Birds versus Dinosaurs
  • D. The History of the Velociraptor

10. According to the passage, Archaeopteryx could best be described as

  • A. an ancient bird without feathers.
  • B. more like a dinosaur than a bird.
  • C. part bird and part dinosaur.
  • D. more like a mammal than a reptile.

11. In the context of the passage, the phrase accepted wisdom most nearly means

  • A. invalid theory.
  • B. historical myth.
  • C. helpful advice.
  • D. widely held view.

12. According to the passage, today's birds are descendants of

  • A. dinosaurs that hunted other animals.
  • B. land-based dinosaurs without tails.
  • C. dinosaurs that ate vegetarian diets.
  • D. ancient Egyptian and Asian reptiles.