SSAT Upper Level Reading Comprehension Practice Test 4

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What is a cord of wood? Some people say the cord is the most elastic unit of measure ever devised by the mind of humans. A "standard" cord is a pile of stacked wood 4 × 4 × 8 feet; that's 128 cubic feet. How much of this is wood? That depends on what kind of wood, the size and straightness of the sticks, and who does the piling. Small crooked sticks, cut from hardwood limbs and piled by one of those cordwood artists who know how to make air spaces, may contain less than 30 cubic feet of solid wood per cord. Smooth, round wood such as birch or spruce, in sizes eight inches and better, will average 100 cubic feet or more per cord. That's with the bark on. Peeled wood will make 10 to 12 percent more cubic volume in the same sized stack.

The heating value of wood varies enormously with the kind of tree. Black locust, white oak, hickory, black birch, and ironwood are the best. A cord of any of these woods, when seasoned, is worth approximately a ton of coal. Beech, yellow birch, sugar maple, ash, and red oak are next. White birch, cherry, soft maple, sycamore, and elm are comparatively poor fuel woods, with basswood, butternut, poplar, and the softwoods at the bottom of the scale.

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

  • A. Fuels
  • B. The Value of a Cord of Wood
  • C. Kinds of Trees
  • D. Standard Measures
  • E. Modern Heating

2. A standard cord of wood

  • A. always contains 128 cubic feet of wood.
  • B. will average 100 cubic feet of wood.
  • C. contains less than 30 cubic feet of solid wood.
  • D. is stacked wood in a pile 4 × 4 × 8 feet.
  • E. is measured by weight of the wood per foot.

3. Removal of the bark before stacking

  • A. increases the cubic volume of wood in a cord.
  • B. makes the stacking easier.
  • C. allows more air spaces in a cord of wood.
  • D. prevents seasoning of wood.
  • E. decreases the measurements of the wood.

4. The amount of heat supplied by wood depends upon the

  • A. person who has piled the wood.
  • B. type of tree from which the wood came.
  • C. way the wood was cut.
  • D. straightness of the sticks.
  • E. amount of bark left on the wood.

5. The most valuable fuel woods come from

  • A. all kinds of birches and oaks.
  • B. any kind of wood that is well-seasoned.
  • C. home-grown beech, maple, cherry, and elm trees.
  • D. hickory, ironwood, black birch, black locust, and white oak.
  • E. sycamore, ash, butternut, and poplar that have been sprayed.

Eight of the city's twelve workers in Venetian glass recently finished one of the most unusual murals ever made for a New York skyscraper. It is an abstract, the creation of Hans Hofmann, a 77-year-old German-born painter.

The mural covers 1,200 square feet of the outer wall of the elevator shaft in the William Kaufman Building at 711 Third Avenue. More than a half-million tiles in close to 500 shades of color have gone into it. Blue, red, and yellow are the chief colors. Each tile was made in Venice and is somewhat less than postage-stamp size. Each is beaten into a special everlasting concrete with a kind of flat wooden hand tool used for nothing else.

Mr. Hofmann did the original color sketch about one-sixth of the final size. This was photographed, and from the negative an enlargement was hand-colored by the artist, cut into sections, and sent in that form to the Vincent Foscato plant in Long Island City, which specializes in Venetian glass tile, or mosaic. There the Venetian specialists, whose trade has been handed down through families through the centuries, set each mosaic into place on the cartoon section, with painstaking fidelity to Mr. Hofmann's color rendering. Although Mr. Foscato's plant keeps 1,400 shades of the glass mosaic, it had to have twelve additional shades specially made in Venice to match the sketch coloring for perfect blending. When all the sections had been filled and approved, they were carried by truck to the building lobby, the walls were covered with a special cement, and the workers carefully beat each bit into place.

6. Which title would be best for this selection?

  • A. Picture by German Artist to Hang in New York
  • B. New Mosaic Designed by Vincent Foscato
  • C. Unusual Photograph Decorates New York Building
  • D. Venetian-Glass Mural Installed in Skyscraper
  • E. The William Kaufman Building

7. The original design was

  • A. painted on the wall of the Kaufman building.
  • B. a fraction of the size of the finished mural.
  • C. imported from Venice.
  • D. larger than the finished mural.
  • E. projected on a large sheet of paper.

8. Mr. Hofmann

  • A. learned from his father how to do mosaic work.
  • B. is a native of New York.
  • C. is a painter.
  • D. lives in Long Island City.
  • E. is a Venetian-glass specialist.

9. In making the mural

  • A. the shades of tile that the Foscato plant had in stock were not adequate.
  • B. 1,412 shades were needed.
  • C. half a million colors were used.
  • D. over 500 shades of color were used.
  • E. 1,400 specialists were consulted.

10. Mr. Hofmann

  • A. took a color photograph of his painting.
  • B. used only the most unusual shades of red, blue, and green.
  • C. had no further connection with the work after making the original sketch.
  • D. died shortly before the mural was completed.
  • E. colored the enlarged reproduction of the original.

11. Of the tiles used

  • A. some were made of special colors by Mr. Foscato.
  • B. all were made by the workers who put the mural in place.
  • C. all were made in Italy.
  • D. all were made in New York.
  • E. many were made by a wooden hand tool.

12. The mosaic was assembled by

  • A. Hans Hofmann.
  • B. an artist specializing in Venetian glass.
  • C. Vincent Foscato of Long Island.
  • D. workers in the Foscato plant.
  • E. Venetian workers.