SSAT Middle Level Reading Practice Test 18

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An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to sloppy workmanship and used substandard materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you".

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in thehousewe have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differently.

-Author Unknown

1. In the last paragraph,houserefers to

  • A. one's past
  • B. a carpenter's finished work
  • C. one's life
  • D. shelter from difficulties
  • E. one's job

2. In second paragraph, why is the carpenter's "heart not in his work"?

  • A. He could not find the right materials for the house.
  • B. He was upset with the contractor regarding the job.
  • C. He was concerned about not receiving a paycheck.
  • D. His wife did not want him to undertake this project.
  • E. He was about to retire and figured he could relax.

3. Which title would be the most appropriate for the passage?

  • A. Building a House of Love
  • B. Life is a Do-It-Yourself Project
  • C. Carpenters are People Too
  • D. Finding Peace in Retirement
  • E. Labor is a Precious Gift

4. According to the passage, the carpenter did not know

  • A. why his family had grown distant.
  • B. why the builder came to inspect the house.
  • C. retirement would mean more work.
  • D. he was building his retirement home.
  • E. his wife had already paid for the house.

5. Which statement is best represented in this passage?

  • A. Your life is the result of past attitudes and choices.
  • B. Today is not finished until tomorrow comes.
  • C. Plan wisely or retirement could lead to your death.
  • D. You must decide to honor family or work.
  • E. Trusting your boss could lead to a loss of wages.