SSAT Upper Level Reading Comprehension Practice Test 6

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As he threw his head back in the chair, his glance happened to rest upon a bell, a disused bell, that hung in the room and communicated, for some purpose now forgotten, with a chamber in the highest story of the building. It was with great astonishment, and with a strange inexplicable dread, that, as he looked, he saw this bell begin to swing. Soon it rang out loudly, and so did every bell in the house.

This was succeeded by a clanking noise, deep down below as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine merchant's cellar. Then he heard the noise much louder on the floors below; then coming up the stairs; then coming straight toward his door.

It came in through the heavy door, and a specter passed into the room before his eyes. And upon its coming in, the dying flame leaped up, as though it cried, "I know him! Marley's ghost!"

-from A Christmas Carol,by Charles Dickens

1. The word inexplicable means

  • A. explaining in simple terms.
  • B. not able to be taken out of.
  • C. without an expressed reason.
  • D. eerie.
  • E. incapable.

2. The bell that began ringing

  • A. was large and heavy.
  • B. did so by itself.
  • C. could be rung from another room.
  • D. was attached to every bell in the house.
  • E. rested first on his glance.

3. The man who was listening to the bell

  • A. dragged a chain across the wine casks.
  • B. sat perfectly still.
  • C. was apparently very frightened.
  • D. was Marley's ghost.
  • E. was quite curious.

4. The word specter probably means

  • A. a long-handled sword.
  • B. a bright light.
  • C. a hazy, recognizable vision.
  • D. strange noises.
  • E. clanking chains.

5. The man in the story

  • A. first heard noises in his room.
  • B. is probably a wine merchant.
  • C. had been asleep.
  • D. recognized Marley's ghost.
  • E. set the room on fire.

Back in the seventeenth century, when Abraham Rycken owned it, Rikers Island was a tiny spit of land in the East River. It became part of New York City in the 1890s and was used as a convenient place to deposit the rock and soil debris of subway construction. Later, the island became the end of the line for the discards of city households, in a landfill operation that went on until Rikers Island reached its present size of 400 acres.

Robert Moses, then New York's Park Commissioner, was looking for ways to supply city parks with shade trees and eliminate the expense of buying them from commercial nurseries. He noted that weeds grew prodigiously in the landfill, thought that trees and plants might do the same, and arranged to clear a few acres for a trial planting. In 1944, the first 287 shrubs and trees were transplanted from the fledgling nursery to the city's parks. The nursery now covers some 115 acres of the island, and several hundred thousand of its shrubs and trees have been planted along city streets, in parks, around housing projects, and around the malls and paths of the United Nations.

6. To obtain plantings for New York City, authorities

  • A. buy them from the United Nations.
  • B. purchase them from commercial nurseries.
  • C. transplant them from city-owned property.
  • D. buy them from Robert Moses.
  • E. grow them in Central Park.

7. Rikers Island is currently

  • A. 115 acres in area.
  • B. a landfill operation.
  • C. owned by Abraham Rycken.
  • D. 400 acres in area.
  • E. a dumping ground for subway debris.

8. The soil of the island

  • A. is volcanic.
  • B. was enriched by discarded rubbish.
  • C. was brought in from commercial nurseries.
  • D. is a combination of mud and rock.
  • E. was brought in on subways.

9. The first plantings were taken from Rikers Island

  • A. a decade ago.
  • B. about 1890.
  • C. in the seventeenth century.
  • D. quite recently.
  • E. in 1944.