SSAT Upper Level Reading Comprehension Practice Test 9

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"There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say, Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round-apart from the veneration due to its sacred origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that-as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow travelers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, Uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

The clerk in the tank involuntarily applauded.

"Let me hear another sound from you," said Scrooge, "and you'll keep your Christmas by losing your situation! You're quite a powerful speaker, sir," he added, turning to his nephew. "I wonder you don't go into Parliament."

-from A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

1. The word veneration probably means

  • A. worship.
  • B. disapproval.
  • C. agreement.
  • D. love.
  • E. participation.

2. The first speaker

  • A. is a very religious person.
  • B. enjoys and celebrates Christmas.
  • C. is defending Christmas.
  • D. has been fired by Scrooge.
  • E. is obviously frightened of Scrooge.

3. The first speaker believes that Christmas

  • A. is a pleasant nuisance.
  • B. is an excuse for people to throw wild parties.
  • C. has been separated from its religious origin.
  • D. could be a profitable time of year.
  • E. brings out the best in people.

4. The phrase "by one consent" is synonymous with

  • A. affirmation.
  • B. reaffirmation.
  • C. partially.
  • D. unanimously.
  • E. contractual.

5. Scrooge probably is angry with

  • A. the speaker and the clerk.
  • B. only the speaker.
  • C. only the clerk.
  • D. people who celebrate Christmas.
  • E. no one.

One day recently, a man in a ten-gallon hat appeared at the gate of New York's famous Bronx Zoo. "Just stopped by on my way through town," he told zoo officials. "I've got an animal outside I think you might like to see."

The officials raised their eyebrows and looked at each other meaningfully, but the man in the hat didn't seem to notice. He went on to introduce himself as Gene Holter. "I call it a Zonkey," he said calmly, "because it's a cross between a donkey and a zebra. I've got his parents out there, too."

The zoo officials didn't wait to hear about the parents. They left their desks and started for the gate. Outside, Mr. Holter opened the side door of a huge truck and reached inside. Calmly, he pulled out a gibbon, and hung it, by its tail, from a tree. Then he walked past five ostriches and carried out the baby Zonkey.

Just three weeks old, the only Zonkey in the world had long ears, a face and legs covered with candy stripes, and a body covered with brown baby fuzz. The parents were on hand, too. The father was no ordinary zebra. He was broken to ride, and one of the zoo officials realized a lifelong dream when he jumped on the zebra's back and cantered around.

When last seen, Mr. Holter and his caravan were on their way to Dayton and then to Anaheim, California, where they live year-round.

6. Mr. Holter's manner was

  • A. boastful.
  • B. excitable.
  • C. demanding.
  • D. matter-of-fact.
  • E. personable.

7. When Mr. Holter first approached the zoo officials, they

  • A. were excited about his announcement.
  • B. thought he was telling a tall tale.
  • C. thought he was an interesting person.
  • D. couldn't wait to realize a lifelong dream.
  • E. laughed behind his back.

8. Mr. Holter probably made a living

  • A. as a veterinarian.
  • B. traveling and showing his animals.
  • C. breeding animals for scientific experiments.
  • D. working as a zoo official.
  • E. filming animals.