SSAT Upper Level Reading Comprehension Practice Test 3

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When Jason, the son of the dethroned king of Solcus, was a little boy, he was sent away from his parents and placed under the queerest schoolmaster that ever you heard of. This learned person was one of the people, or quadrupeds, called Centaurs. He lived in a cavern and had the body and legs of a white horse, with the head and shoulders of a man. His name was Chiron; and, in spite of his odd appearance, he was a very excellent teacher and had several scholars who afterward did him credit by making great figures in the world. The famous Hercules was one, and so was Achilles, and Philoctetes, likewise, and Aesculapius, who acquired immense repute as a doctor. The good Chiron taught his pupils how to play upon the harp and how to cure diseases and how to use the sword and shield, together with various other branches of education in which the lads of those days used to be instructed, instead of writing and arithmetic.

-from The Golden Fleece,by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1. The main purpose of this passage is to

  • A. describe Jason.
  • B. describe Chiron.
  • C. describe Jason's education.
  • D. explain Jason's family relationships.
  • E. name the scholars taught by Chiron.

2. The word quadruped probably means a(n)

  • A. creature with four feet.
  • B. creature with two feet.
  • C. strange schoolmaster.
  • D. educated person.
  • E. scholar.

3. Chiron

  • A. taught writing and arithmetic to his pupils.
  • B. acquired a reputation as a doctor.
  • C. instructed the Centaurs.
  • D. was the son of Solcus.
  • E. had the body and legs of a horse and the head and shoulders of a man.

The kangaroo is found nowhere in the world but in Australasia. Ages ago, when that part of our earth was cut off from the Asian mainland, this fantastic animal from nature's long-ago was also isolated. There are about two dozen species distributed through Australia, southward to Tasmania and northward to New Guinea and neighboring islands. Some are no bigger than rabbits; some can climb trees. They are known by a variety of picturesque names: wallabies, wallaroos, potoroos, boongaries, and paddymelons. But the kangaroo-the one that is Australia's national symbol-is the great gray kangaroo of the plains, admiringly known throughout the island continent as the Old Man, and also as Boomer, Forester, and Man of the Woods. His smaller mate, in Australian talk, is called a flyer. Their baby is known as Joey.

A full-grown kangaroo stands taller than a man, and commonly weighs 200 pounds. Even when he sits in his favorite position, reposing on his haunches and tilting back on the propping support of his "third leg"-his tail-his head is five feet or more above the ground. His huge hind legs, with steel-spring power, can send him sailing over a ten-foot fence with ease, or in a fight can beat off a dozen dogs. A twitch of his tail can break someone's leg like a match stick.

Kangaroos provide an endless supply of tall tales to which wide-eyed visitors are treated in the land Down Under. The beauty of the tall tales about the kangaroo is that they can be almost as tall as you please and still be close to fact.

4. Kangaroos are found only

  • A. in Australia.
  • B. in Australasia.
  • C. on the Asian mainland.
  • D. in Tasmania.
  • E. on New Guinea.

5. A female kangaroo is called

  • A. a wallaby.
  • B. a potoroo.
  • C. a Joey.
  • D. a flyer.
  • E. the Old Man.

6. The amazing jumping power of the kangaroo is chiefly due to the

  • A. power of the hind legs.
  • B. support of the tail.
  • C. kangaroo's size.
  • D. kangaroo's weight.
  • E. kangaroo's tilted sitting position.

7. Which statement is true according to the passage?

  • A. The name "Old Man" shows the people's dislike of kangaroos.
  • B. Visitors to Australia hear very little about kangaroos.
  • C. A kangaroo's tail is a powerful weapon.
  • D. The most widely known species of kangaroo is no larger than a rabbit.
  • E. Kangaroos have three legs.

8. The author believes that the stories told about kangaroos are generally

  • A. harmful.
  • B. true.
  • C. suspicious.
  • D. beautiful.
  • E. ancient.