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Reading Comprehension Practice for GRE 5
questions 1 to 3 below are based on this passage:
From Annie Dillard's essay "Total Eclipse"
A college student, a boy in a blue parka who carried a Hasselblad, said to us, "Did you see that little white ring? It looked like a Life Saver. It looked like a Life Saver up in the sky." And so it did. The boy spoke well. He was a walking alarm clock. I myself had at that time no access to such a word. He could write a sentence, and I could not. I grabbed that Life Saver and rode it to the surface. And I had to laugh. I had been dumbstruck on the Euphrates River, I had been dead and gone and grieving, all over the sight of something which, if you could claw your way up to that level, you would grant looked very much like a Life Saver. It was good to be back among people so clever; it was good to have all the world's words at the mind's disposal, so the mind could begin its task. All those things for which we have no words are lost. The mind-the culture-has two little tools, grammar and lexicon: a decorated sand bucket and a matching shovel. With these we bluster about the continents and do all the world's work. With these we try to save our very lives.
1. What are the primary literary devices that the author uses in this passage?
A Metaphor and analogy
B Irony and simile
C Humor and pathos
D Personal anecdote and allegory
E Allusion and inverted syntax
2. All are possible interpretations of the author's concluding points EXCEPT:
A Language is a crucial institution for human development.
B Clear articulation of ideas can help elucidate even the most complex situations.
C As long as there continue to be attempts to explain our world there will continue to be human progress.
D Grammatical correctness is imperative when communicating philosophical ideas.
E Sometimes the simplest of observations can be the most profound.
3. What is the author's purpose in describing the boy as an "alarm clock"?
A To explain metaphorically how he awakened her from her lack of speech.
B To suggest that time is fleeting, and we must observe natural wonders while we can.
C To provide an image that coincides with his shrill interruption of her thoughts.
D To parallel the idea of the eclipse as it cycles through its course in the sky.
E To demonstrate how much time she spent staring at the sky once the eclipse ended.
Questions 4-6 are based on following paragraph
From Louis Menand's essay," Name that Tone.
There is a new cell-phone ring tone that can't be heard by most people over the age of twenty, according to an NPR report. The tone is derived from something called the Mosquito, a device invented by a Welsh security firm for the noble purpose of driving hooligans, yobs, scamps, ne'er-do-wells, scapegraces, ruffians, tosspots, and bravos away from places where grownups are attempting to ply an honest trade. The device emits a seventeen-kilohertz buzz, a pitch that is too high for older ears to register but, as we learn from additional reporting by the Times, is "ear-splitting" for younger people. A person or persons unknown have produced a copy of the Mosquito buzz for use as a cell-phone ring tone, evidently with the idea that it will enable students to receive notification of new text messages while sitting in class, without the knowledge of the teacher.
The Times, in a welcome but highly uncharacteristic embrace of anarchy, celebrated this development as an ingenious guerrilla tactic in youth's eternal war against adult authority-"a bit of techno-jujitsu," as the paper put it. But it's not entirely clear which side is the winner here. When you hear the tone, it apparently sets your teeth on edge, which means that, if the entire class suddenly grimaces, it's a good bet that one of the students just got a text message. (Which probably says "sup." Youth, as George Bernard Shaw correctly observed, is wasted on the young.) Anyway, what was wrong with "vibrate only"?
4. The primary purpose of the passage is to:
A Criticize the obsession of today's youth with technology.
B Encourage media outlets to support this new cell phone ring tone.
C Describe the technical specs of this new ring tone.
D Encourage further rebellion amongst today's youth.
E Introduce a new ilk of technology and initiate a discussion of its true efficacy.
5. Why is it important to note the "highly uncharacteristic embrace of anarchy" by the Times?
A The deviation from the norm of the publication calls even more attention to the new technology by piquing readers' attention.
B Such a prevalent publication's encouragement of anarachy could be perceived by the government as a serious threat.
C It suggests that it is being used ironically by the Times to actually express disapproval.
D It is likely an advertizing ploy by the maker of the ring tone to gain sales.
E Older adults need to be worried about the increasingly aggressive tactics of youth.
6. What is the author trying to convey by describing young people as "hooligans, yobs, scamps, ne'er-do-wells, scapegraces, ruffians, tosspots, and bravos"?
A The opinion that, whatever name you call them by, young people will continue to disturb business transactions.
B An insulting tone implying the ignorance of youth.
C That all young people can be generalized into one of these descriptive groups.
D A sense of criticism on the part of older adults who feel patronizing toward young people.
E Support for embracing jargon when communicating between people of different generations.
Reading Comprehension Practice Test 1
Reading Comprehension Practice Test 2
Reading Comprehension Practice Test 3
Reading Comprehension Practice Test 4
Reading Comprehension Practice Test 5
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