SSAT Middle Level Reading Comprehension Practice Test 6

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You may love to walk along the seashore and collect beautiful shells, but do you ever think about whose home that shell was before you found it? That's right, seashells are the home of a whole group of creatures known as shellfish. Some of the most common types of shellfish are the mussel, the clam, and the scallop.

It may surprise you to learn that the shellfish themselves make the shells. They manage to draw calcium carbonate, a mineral, from the water. They use that mineral to build the shell up layer by layer. The shell can grow larger and larger as the shellfish grows in size.

There are two main types of shells. There are those that are a single unit, like a conch's shell, and those that are in two pieces, like a clam's shell. The two-piece shell is called a bivalve, and the two pieces are hinged together, like a door, so that the shell can open and close for feeding.

1. The "home" mentioned in line 2 most likely refers to

  • A. the sea
  • B. the planet
  • C. the places shellfish can be found
  • D. the shell
  • E. a shelter for fish

2. Which of the following questions is answered by the passage?

  • A. How do shellfish reproduce?
  • B. How much does the average shellfish weigh?
  • C. What is the average life span of a shellfish?
  • D. What do shellfish feed on?
  • E. How do shellfish make their shells?

3. This passage is primarily concerned with

  • A. how shellfish differ from other fish
  • B. the life span of shellfish
  • C. shellfish and their habitats
  • D. a general discussion of shells
  • E. the origin of shells

4. The author uses the comparison of the bivalves' hinge to a door in order to

  • A. illustrate how the shell opens and closes
  • B. explain why the shell is so fragile
  • C. give a reason for the shells that are found open
  • D. explain the mechanism for how the shells are made
  • E. illustrate that shellfish are not so different from other fish

5. What is the best title of the selection?

  • A. A Conch by Any Other Name Would Shell be as Sweet
  • B. Going to the Beach
  • C. I Can Grow My Own Home!
  • D. The Prettiest Aquatic Life
  • E. How to Find Shells

6. According to the passage, the primary difference between the conch's shell and the clam's shell is that

  • A. the conch shell is more valuable than the clam's shell
  • B. the conch shell protects better than the clam's shell
  • C. the conch shell is more beautiful than the clam's shell
  • D. the clam's shell is more difficult for the clam to manufacture than the conch shell is for the conch to manufacture
  • E. the conch shell has fewer pieces than the clam shell