Monday, September 26, 2011


SBP Percubaan SPM Bahasa Inggeris

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PERAK Trial 2011 Bahasa Inggeris






Saturday, September 24, 2011

Advanced Reading Practice Questions

Advanced Reading Practice Questions

1. In 1892 the Sierra Club was formed. In 1908 an area of coastal redwood trees north of San Francisco was established as Muir Woods National Monument. In the Sierra Nevada mountains, a walking trail from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney was dedicated in 1938. It is called John Muir Trail.

John Muir was born in 1838 in Scotland. His family name means “moor,” which is a meadow full of flowers and animals. John loved nature from the time he was small. He also liked to climb rocky cliffs and walls.

When John was eleven, his family moved to the United States and settled in Wisconsin. John was good with tools and soon became an inventor. He first invented a model of a sawmill. Later he invented an alarm clock that would cause the sleeping person to be tipped out of bed when the timer sounded.

Muir left home at an early age. He took a thousand-mile walk south to the Gulf of Mexico in 1867and 1868. Then he sailed for San Francisco. The city was too noisy and crowded for Muir, so he headed inland for the Sierra Nevadas.

When Muir discovered the Yosemite Valley in the Sierra Nevadas, it was as if he had come home. He loved the mountains, the wildlife, and the trees. He climbed the mountains and even climbed trees during thunderstorms in order to get closer to the wind. He put forth the theory in the late 1860's that the Yosemite Valley had been formed through the action of glaciers. People ridiculed him. Not until 1930 was Muir's theory proven correct.

Muir began to write articles about the Yosemite Valley to tell readers about its beauty. His writing also warned people that Yosemite was in danger from timber mining and sheep ranching interests. In 1901 Theodore Roosevelt became president of the United States. He was interested in conservation. Muir took the president through Yosemite, and Roosevelt helped get legislation passed to create Yosemite National Park in 1906.
Although Muir won many conservation battles, he lost a major one. He fought to save the Hetch Valley, which people wanted to dam in order to provide water for San Francisco. In the late 1913 a bill was signed to dam the valley. Muir died in 1914. Some people say losing the fight to protect the valley killed Muir.

What happened first?

A. The Muir family moved to the United States.
B. Muir Woods was created.
C. John Muir learned to climb rocky cliffs.
D. John Muir walked to the Gulf of Mexico
E. Muir visited along the east coast.

2. When did Muir invent a unique form of alarm clock?

A. while the family still lived in Scotland
B. after he sailed to San Francisco
C. after he traveled in Yosemite
D. while the Muir family lived in Wisconsin
E. after he took the long walk

3. What did John Muir do soon after he arrived in San Francisco?

A. He ran outside during an earthquake.
B. He put forth a theory about how Yosemite was formed.
C. He headed inland for the Sierra Nevadas.
D. He began to write articles about the Sierra Nevadas.
E. He wrote short stories for the local newspaper.

4. When did John Muir meet Theodore Roosevelt?

A. between 1901 and 1906
B. between 1838 and 1868
C. between 1906 and 1914
D. between 1868 and 1901
E. between 1906-1907

5. What happened last?

A. John Muir died.
B. John Muir Trail was dedicated.
C. Muir's glacial theory was proven.
D. The Sierra Club was formed.
E. John's family visited him.

6. When using a metal file, always remember to bear down on the forward stroke only. On the return stroke, lift the file clear of the surface to avoid dulling the instrument's teeth. Only when working on very soft metals is it advisable to drag the file's teeth slightly on the return stroke. This helps clear out metal pieces from between the teeth.

It is best to bear down just hard enough to keep the file cutting at all times. Too little pressure uses only the tips of the teeth; too much pressure can chip the teeth. Move the file in straight lines across the surface. Use a vice to grip the work so that your hands are free to hold the file. Protect your hands by equipping the file with a handle. Buy a wooden handle and install it by inserting the pointed end of the file into the handle hole.

These directions show you how to-

A. work with a hammer
B. use a file
C. polish a file
D. oil a vise
E. repair shop tools

7. When using a file-

A. always bear down on the return stroke
B. move it in a circle
C. remove the handle
D. press down on the forward stroke
E. wear protective gloves

8. When working on soft metals, you can-

A. remove the handle
B. clear metal pieces from the teeth
C. bear down very hard on the return stroke
D. file in circles
E. strengthen them with added wood

9. Protect your hands by-

A. dulling the teeth
B. dragging the teeth on the backstroke
C. using a vise
D. installing a handle
E. wearing safety gloves

10. “Old woman,” grumbled the burly white man who had just heard Sojourner Truth speak, “do you think your talk about slavery does any good? I don't care any more for your talk than I do for the bite of a flea.”

The tall, imposing black woman turned her piercing eyes on him. “Perhaps not,” she answered, “but I'll keep you scratching.”

The little incident of the 1840s sums up all that Sojourner Truth was: utterly dedicated to spreading her message, afraid of no one, forceful and witty in speech.
Yet forty years earlier, who could have suspected that a spindly slave girl growing up in a damp cellar in upstate New York would become one of the most remarkable women in American history? Her name then was Isabella (many slaves had no last names), and by the time she was fourteen she had seen both parents die of cold and hunger. She herself had been sold several times. By 1827, when New York freed its slaves, she had married and borne five children.

The first hint of Isabella's fighting spirit came soon afterwards, when her youngest son was illegally seized and sold. She marched to the courthouse and badgered officials until her son was returned to her.

In 1843, inspired by religion, she changed her name to Sojourner(meaning “one who stays briefly”) Truth, and, with only pennies in her purse, set out to preach against slavery. From New England to Minnesota she trekked, gaining a reputation for her plain but powerful and moving words. Incredibly, despite being black and female (only white males were expected to be public speakers), she drew thousands to town halls, tents, and churches to hear her powerful, deep-voiced pleas on equality for blacks-and for women. Often she had to face threatening hoodlums. Once she stood before armed bullies and sang a hymn to them. Awed by her courage and her commanding presence, they sheepishly retreated.

During the Civil War she cared for homeless ex-slaves in Washington. President Lincoln invited her to the White House to bestow praise on her. Later, she petitioned Congress to help former slaves get land in the West. Even in her old age, she forced the city of Washington to integrate its trolley cars so that black and white could ride together.

Shortly before her death at eighty-six, she was asked what kept her going. “I think of the great things,” replied Sojourner.

The imposing black woman promised to keep the white man-

A. searching
B. crying
C. hollering
D. scratching
E. fleeing

11. This incident occurred in the-

A. 1760s
B. 1900s
C. 1840s
D. 1920s
E. 1700s

12. Sojourner Truth was raised in a damp cellar in-

A. New York
B. Georgia
C. New Jersey
D. Idaho
E. Maryland

13. Isabella lost both parents by the time she was-

A. twenty-seven
B. two
C. seven
D. fourteen
E. nineteen

14. When New York freed its slaves, Isabella had-

A. problems
B. no children
C. five children
D. an education
E. three children

15. Her change in name was inspired by-

A. a fighting spirit
B. religion
C. her freedom
D. officials
E. friends

16. She traveled from New England to-

A. Canada
B. California
C. Minnesota
D. Alaska
E. Virginia

17. She forced the city of Washington to-

A. integrate its trolleys
B. give land grants
C. care for ex-slaves
D. provide food for ex-slaves
E. clean its trolleys

18. She preached against-

A. smoking
B. slavery
C. alcohol
D. hoodlums
E. women having no rights

19. Sojourner Truth died at-

A. 48
B. 72
C. 63
D. 86
E. 88

20. The Galapagos Islands are in the Pacific Ocean, off the western coast of South America. They are a rocky, lonely spot, but they are also one of the most unusual places in the world. One reason is that they are the home of some of the last giant tortoises left on earth.

Weighing hundreds of pounds, these tortoises, or land turtles, wander slowly around the rocks and sand of the islands. Strangely, each of these islands has its own particular kinds of tortoises. There are seven different kinds of tortoises on the eight islands, each kind being slightly different from the other.

Hundreds of years ago, thousands of tortoises wandered around these islands. However, all that changed when people started landing there. When people first arrived in 1535, their ships had no refrigerators. This meant that fresh food was always a problem for the sailors on board. The giant tortoises provided a solution to this problem.

Ships would anchor off the islands, and crews would row ashore and seize as many tortoises as they could. Once the animals were aboard the ship, the sailors would roll the tortoises onto their backs. The tortoises were completely helpless once on their backs, so they could only lie there until used for soups and stews. Almost 100,000 tortoises were carried off in this way.

The tortoises faced other problems, too. Soon after the first ships, settlers arrived bringing pigs, goats, donkeys, dogs and cats. All of these animals ruined life for the tortoises. Donkey and goats ate all the plants that the tortoises usually fed on, while the pigs. Dogs and cats consumed thousands of baby tortoises each year. Within a few years, it was hard to find any tortoise eggs-or even any baby tortoises.

By the early 1900s, people began to worry that the last of the tortoises would soon die out. No one, however, seemed to care enough to do anything about the problem. More and more tortoises disappeared, even though sailors no longer needed them for food. For another fifty years, this situation continued. Finally, in the 1950s, scientist decided that something must be done.

The first part of their plan was to get rid of as many cats, dogs and other animals as they could. Next, they tried to make sure that more baby tortoises would be born. To do this, they started looking for wild tortoise eggs. They gathered the eggs and put them in safe containers. When the eggs hatched, the scientists raised the tortoises in special pens. Both the eggs and tortoises were numbered so that the scientists knew exactly which kinds of tortoises they had-and which island they came from. Once the tortoises were old enough and big enough to take care of themselves, the scientists took them back to their islands and set them loose. This slow, hard work continues today, and, thanks to it, the number of tortoises is now increasing every year. Perhaps these wonderful animals will not disappear after all.

What happened first?

A. Sailors took tortoises aboard ships.
B. The tortoise meat was used for soups and stews.
C. Tortoises were put onto their backs.
D. Settlers brought other animals to the islands.
E. Pigs had been all the sailors had to eat.

21. What happened soon after people brought animals to the islands?

A. Tortoise eggs were kept in safe containers.
B. Scientists took away as many animals as they could.
C. The animals ate the tortoises' food and eggs.
D. The tortoises fought with the other animals.
E. The tortoises continued to wander freely.

22. When did people start to do something to save the tortoises?

A. in the 1500s
B. in the 1950s
C. in the early 1900s
D. in the 1960s
E. in the 1400s

23. What happens right after the tortoise eggs hatch?

A. The scientists take the tortoises back to their islands.
B. The scientists get rid of cats, dogs, and other animals.
C. The sailors use the tortoises for food.
D. The scientist raised the tortoises in special pens.
E. The scientist encouraged the villagers to help.

24. What happened last?

A. The tortoises began to disappear.
B. The number of tortoises began to grow.
C. Scientists took away other animals.
D. Tortoises were taken back to their home islands.
E. The number of tortoises began to decrease.

25. The first person in the group starts off by naming anything that is geographical. It could be a city, state, country, river, lake, or any proper geographical term. For example, the person might say,”Boston.” The second person has ten seconds to think of how the word ends and come up with another geographical term starting with that letter. The second participant might say, “Norway,” since the geographical term has to start with “N.” The third person would have to choose a word beginning with “ Y.” If a player fails to think of a correct answer within the time limit, that player is out of the game. The last person to survive is the champion.

This game may help you with-

A. history
B. music
C. geography
D. sports
E. current events

26. The person trying to answer needs-

A. no time limit
B. to know geography only
C. to ignore the last letters of words
D. to know something about spelling and geography
E. to be a good speller

27. Before you choose your own word, think about how-

A. the last word starts
B. the last word ends
C. smart you are
D. long the last word is
E. the spelling of the first word

28. The answer must be-

A. in New York
B. within the United States
C. proper geographical terms
D. in the same region
E. along a coast line

29. Charles A. Lindbergh is remembered as the first person to make a nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic, in 1927. This feat, when Lindbergh was only twenty-five years old, assured him a lifetime of fame and public attention.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh was more interested in flying airplanes than he was in studying. He dropped out of the University of Wisconsin after two years to earn a living performing daredevil airplane stunts at country fairs. Two years later, he joined the United States Army so that he could go to the Army Air Service flight-training school. After completing his training, he was hired to fly mail between St. Louis and Chicago.
Then came the historic flight across the Atlantic. In 1919, a New York City hotel owner offered a prize of $25,000 to the first pilot to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. Nine St. Louis business leaders helped pay for the plane Lindbergh designed especially for the flight. Lindbergh tested the plane by flying it from San Diego to New York, with an overnight stop in St. Louis. The flight took only 20 hours and 21 minutes, a transcontinental record.

Nine days later, on May 20,1927, Lindbergh took off from Long Island, New York, at 7:52 A. M. He landed at Paris on May 21 at 10:21 P. M. He had flown more than 3,600 miles in less than thirty four hours. His flight made news around the world. He was given awards and parades everywhere he went. He was presented with the U. S. Congressional Medal of Honor and the first Distinguished Flying Cross. For a long time, Lindbergh toured the world as a U. S. goodwill ambassador. He met his future wife, Anne Morrow, in Mexico, where her father was the United States ambassador.

During the 1930s, Charles and Anne Lindbergh worked for various airline companies, charting new commercial air routes. In 1931, for a major airline, they charted a new route from the east coast of the United States to the Orient. The shortest, most efficient route was a great curve across Canada, over Alaska, and down to China and Japan. Most pilots familiar with the Arctic did not believe that such a route was possible. The Lindberghs took on the task of proving that it was. They arranged for fuel and supplies to be set out along the route. On July 29, they took off from Long Island in a specially equipped small seaplane. They flew by day and each night landed on a lake or a river and camped. Near Nome, Alaska, they had their first serious emergency. Out of daylight and nearly out of fuel, they were forced down in a small ocean inlet. In the next morning's light, they discovered they had landed on barely three feet of water. On September 19, after two more emergency landings and numerous close calls, they landed in China with the maps for a safe airline passenger route.

Even while actively engaged as a pioneering flier, Lindbergh was also working as an engineer. In 1935, he and Dr. Alexis Carrel were given a patent for an artificial heart. During World War I in the 1940s, Lindbergh served as a civilian technical advisor in aviation. Although he was a civilian, he flew over fifty combat missions in the Pacific. In the 1950s, Lindbergh helped design the famous 747 jet airliner. In the late 1960s, he spoke widely on conservation issues. He died August 1974, having lived through aviation history from the time of the first powered flight to the first steps on the moon and having influenced a big part of that history himself.

What did Lindbergh do before he crossed the Atlantic?

A. He charted a route to China.
B. He graduated from flight-training school.
C. He married Anne Morrow.
D. He acted as a technical advisor during World War II.
E. He was responsible for the fuel supply for planes.

30. What happened immediately after Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic?

A. He flew the mail between St. Louis and Chicago.
B. He left college.
C. He attended the Army flight-training school.
D. He was given the Congressional Medal of Honor.
E. He married Anne Morrow.

31. When did Charles meet Anne Morrow?

A. before he took off from Long Island
B. after he worked for an airline
C. before he was forced down in an ocean inlet
D. after he received the first Distinguished Flying Cross
E. when visiting his parents

32. When did the Lindberghs map an air route to China?

A. before they worked for an airline
B. before Charles worked with Dr. Carrel
C. after World War II
D. while designing the 747
E. when he was thirty

33. What event happened last?

A. Lindbergh patented an artificial heart.
B. The Lindberghs mapped a route to the Orient.
C. Lindbergh helped design the 747 airline.
D. Lindbergh flew fifty combat missions.
E. Charles finally was given an honorary degree from college.

34. Always read the meter dials from the right to the left. This procedure is much easier, especially if any of the dial hands are near the zero mark. If the meter has two dials, and one is smaller than the other, it is not imperative to read the smaller dial since it only registers a small amount. Read the dial at the right first. As the dial turns clockwise, always record the figure the pointer has just passed. Read the next dial to the left and record the figure it has just passed. Continue recording the figures on the dials from right to left. When finished, mark off the number of units recorded. Dials on water and gas meters usually indicate the amount each dial records.

These instructions show you how to –

A. read a meter
B. turn the dials of a meter
C. install a gas meter
D. repair a water meter
E. be prepared for outside employment

35. Always read the meter dials-

A. from top to bottom
B. from right to left
C. from left to right
D. from the small to the large dial
E. from the large dial to the small dial

36. As you read the first dial, record the figures

A. on the smaller dial
B. the pointer is approaching
C. the pointer has just passed
D. at the top
E. at the bottom

37. When you have finished reading the meter, mark off-

A. the number of units recorded
B. the figures on the small dial
C. the total figures
D. all the zero marks
E. the last reading of the month

38. The village of Vestmannaeyjar, in the far northern country of Iceland, is as bright and clean and up-to-date as any American or Canadian suburb. It is located on the island of Heimaey, just off the mainland. One January night in 1973, however, householders were shocked from their sleep. In some backyards red-hot liquid was spurting from the ground. Flaming “skyrockets” shot up and over the houses. The island's volcano, Helgafell, silent for seven thousand years, was violently erupting!

Luckily, the island's fishing fleet was in port, and within twenty-four hours almost everyone was ferried to the mainland. But then the agony of the island began in earnest. As in a nightmare, fountains of burning lava spurted three hundred feet high. Black, baseball-size cinders rained down. An evil-smelling, eye-burning, throat-searing cloud of smoke and gas erupted into the air, and a river of lava flowed down the mountain. The constant shriek of escaping steam was punctuated by ear-splitting explosions.

As time went on, the once pleasant village of Vestmannaeyjar took on a weird aspect. Its street lamps still burning against the long Arctic night, the town lay under a thick blanket of cinders. All that could be seen above the ten-foot black drifts were the tips of street signs. Some houses had collapsed under the weight of cinders; others had burst into flames as the heat ignited their oil storage tanks. Lighting the whole lurid scene, fire continued to shoot from the mouth of the looming volcano.

The eruption continued for six months. Scientists and reporters arrived from around the world to observe the awesome natural event. But the town did not die that easily. In July, when the eruption ceased, the people of Heimaey Island returned to assess the chances of rebuilding their homes and lives. They found tons of ash covering the ground. The Icelanders are a tough people, however, accustomed to the strange and violent nature of their Arctic land. They dug out their homes. They even used the cinders to build new roads and airport runways. Now the new homes of Heimaey are warmed from water pipes heated by molten lava.

The village is located on the island of-

A. Vestmannaeyjar
B. Hebrides
C. Heimaey
D. Helgafell
E. Heimma

39. The color of the hot liquid was-

A. orange
B. black
C. yellow
D. red
E. gray

40. This liquid was coming from the –

A. mountains
B. ground
C. sea
D. sky
E. ocean

41. The island's volcano had been inactive for-

A. seventy years
B. seven thousand years
C. seven thousand months
D. seven hundred years
E. seventy decades

42. Black cinders fell that were the size of__

A. baseballs
B. pebbles
C. golf balls
D. footballs
E. hail-stones

43. Despite the eruption-

A. buses kept running
B. the radio kept broadcasting
C. the police kept working
D. street lamps kept burning
E. the television kept broadcasting

44. This volcanic eruption lasted for six ___.

A. weeks
B. hours
C. months
D. days
E. years

Reading Main Idea Practice Questions

Reading Main Idea Practice Questions

1. Americans have always been interested in their Presidents' wives. Many First Ladies have been remembered because of the ways they have influenced their husbands. Other First Ladies have made the history books on their own.

At least two First Ladies, Bess Truman and Lady Bird Johnson, made it their business to send signals during their husbands' speeches. When Lady Bird Johnson thought her husband was talking too long, she wrote a note and sent it up to the platform. It read, “It's time to stop!” And he did. Once Bess Truman didn't like what her husband was saying on television, so she phoned him and said,” If you can't talk more politely than that in public, you come right home.”

Abigail Fillmore and Eliza Johnson actually taught their husbands, Millard Fillmore and Andrew Johnson, the thirteenth and seventeenth Presidents. A schoolteacher, Abigail eventually married her pupil, Millard. When Eliza Johnson married Andrew, he could not read or write, so she taught him herself.

It was First Lady Helen Taft's idea to plant the famous cherry trees in Washington, D. C. Each spring these blossoming trees attract thousands of visitors to the nation's capital. Mrs. Taft also influenced the male members of her family and the White House staff in a strange way: she convinced them to shave off their beards!

Shortly after President Wilson suffered a stroke, Edith Wilson unofficially took over most of the duties of the Presidency until the end of her husband's term. Earlier, during World War I, Mrs. Wilson had had sheep brought onto the White House lawn to eat the grass. The sheep not only kept the lawn mowed but provided wool for an auction sponsored by the First Lady. Almost $100,000 was raised for the Red Cross.

Dolly Madison saw to it that a magnificent painting of George Washington was not destroyed during the War of 1812. As the British marched toward Washington, D. C., she remained behind to rescue the painting, even after the guards had left. The painting is the only object from the original White House that was not burned.

One of the most famous First Ladies was Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She was active in political and social causes throughout her husband's tenure in office. After his death, she became famous for her humanitarian work in the United Nations. She made life better for thousands of needy people around the world.

What is the main idea of this passage?

A. The Humanitarian work of the First Ladies is critical in American government.
B. Dolly Madison was the most influential president's wife.
C. Eleanor Roosevelt transformed the First Lady image.
D. The First Ladies are important in American culture.
E. The First Ladies are key supporters of the Presidents.

2. Of the many kinds of vegetables grown all over the world, which remains the favorite of young and old alike? Why, the potato, of course.

Perhaps you know them as “taters,” “spuds,” or “Kennebees,” or as “chips,” “Idahoes,” or even “shoestrings.” No matter, a potato by any other name is still a potato- the world's most widely grown vegetable. As a matter of fact, if you are an average potato eater, you will put away at least a hundred pounds of them each year.

That's only a tiny portion of the amount grown every year, however. Worldwide, the annual potato harvest is over six billion bags- each bag containing a hundred pounds of spuds, some of them as large as four pounds each. Here in the United States, farmers fill about four hundred million bags a year. That may seem like a lot of “taters,” but it leaves us a distant third among world potato growers. Polish farmers dig up just over 800 million bags a year, while the Russians lead the world with nearly 1.5 billion bags.

The first potatoes were grown by the Incas of South America, more than four hundred years ago. Their descendants in Ecuador and Chile continue to grow the vegetable as high as fourteen thousand feet up in the Andes Mountains. ( That's higher than any other food will grow.) Early Spanish and English explorers shipped potatoes to Europe, and they found their way to North America in the early 1600s.

People eat potatoes in many ways-baked, mashed, and roasted, to name just three. However, in the United States most potatoes are devoured in the form of French fries. One fast-food chain alone sells more than $1 billion worth of fries each year. No wonder, then, that the company pays particular attention to the way its fries are prepared.

Before any fry makes it to the people who eat at these popular restaurants, it must pass many separate tests. Fail any one and the spud is rejected. To start with, only russet Burbank potatoes are used. These Idaho potatoes have less water content than other kinds, which can have as much as eighty percent water. Once cut into “shoestrings” shapes, the potatoes are partly fried in a secret blend of oils, sprayed with liquid sugar to brown them, steam dried at high heat, then flash frozen for shipment to individual restaurants.

Before shipping, though, every shoestring is measured. Forty percent of a batch must be between two and three inches long. Another forty percent has to be over three inches. What about the twenty percent that are left in the batch? Well, a few short fries in a bag are okay, it seems.

So, now that you realize the enormous size and value of the potato crop, you can understand why most people agree that this part of the food industry is no “small potatoes.”

What is the main idea of this passage?

A. Potatoes from Ireland started the Potato Revolution.
B. The average American eats 50 lbs of potatoes a year.
C. French fries are made from potatoes.
D. Potatoes are a key vegetable in America.
E. The various terms for potatoes have a long history.

3. What does the word patent mean to you? Does it strike you as being something rather remote from your interests? If it does, stop and think a moment about some of the commonplace things that you use every day, objects that you take for granted as part of the world around you. The telephone, radio, television, the automobile, and the thousand and one other things (even the humble safety pin) that enrich our lives today once existed only as ideas in the minds of men. If it had not been possible to patent their ideas and thus protect them against copying by others, these inventions might never have been fully developed to serve mankind.

If there were no patent protection there would be little incentive to invent and innovate, for once the details of an invention became known, hordes of imitators who did not share the inventor's risks and expenses might well flood the market with their copies of his product and reap much of the benefit of his efforts. The technological progress that has made America great would wither rapidly under conditions such as these.

The fundamental principles in the U. S. patent structure came from England. During the glorious reign of Queen Elizabeth I in England, the expanding technology was furthered by the granting of exclusive manufacturing and selling privileges to citizens who had invented new processes or tools- a step that did much to encourage creativity. Later, when critics argued that giving monopoly rights to one person infringed on the rights of others, an important principle was added to the patent structure: The Lord Chief Justice of England stated that society had everything to gain and nothing to lose by granting exclusive privileges to an inventor, because a patent for an invention was granted for something new that society never had before.

Another basic principle was brought into law because certain influential people in England had managed to obtain monopoly control over such age-old products as salt, and had begun charging as much as the traffic would bear. The public outcry became so great that the government was forced to decree that monopoly rights could be awarded only to those who created or introduced something really unique. These principles are the mainstays of our modern patent system in the United States.

In colonial times patent law was left up to the separate states. The inconsistency, confusion, and unfairness that resulted clearly indicated the need for a uniform patent law, and the men who drew up the Constitution incorporated one. George Washington signed the first patent law on April 10,1790, and less than four months later the first patent was issued to a man named Samuel Hopkins for a chemical process, an improved method of making potash for use in soapmaking.

In 1936 the Patent Office was established as a separate bureau. From the staff of eight that it maintained during its first year of operation it has grown into an organization of over 2500 people handling more than 1600 patent applications and granting over 1000 every week.

The Patent Office in Washington, D. C., is the world's largest library of scientific and technical data, and this treasure trove of information is open for public inspection. In addition to more than 3 million U. S. patents, it houses more than 7 million foreign patents and thousands of volumes of technical literature. Abraham Lincoln patented a device to lift steam vessels over river shoals, Mark Twain developed a self-pasting scrapbook, and millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt invented a shoe-shine kit.

A patent may be granted for any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter ( a chemical compound or combinations of chemical compounds), or any distinct and new variety; of plant, including certain mutants and hybrids.

The patent system has also helped to boost the wages of the American worker to an unprecedented level; he can produce more and earn more with the computer, adding machines, drill press or lathe. Patented inventions also help keep prices down by increasing manufacturing efficiency and by stimulating the competition that is the foundation of our free enterprise system.

The decades of history have disclosed little need for modification of the patent structure. Our patent laws, like the Constitution from which they grew, have stood the test of time well. They encouraged the creative processes, brought untold benefits to society as a whole, and enabled American technology to outstrip that of the rest of the civilized world.

What is the main idea of this passage?

A. The patent system encourages free enterprise.
B. The Constitution protects the patent system.
C. The patent system in England has been influential in American patent development.
D. Patents are important tools for inventors.
E. Patented inventions protect the inventor, free enterprise, and the creative process.

4. Most people think it's fine to be “busy as a beaver.” Little do they know. Beavers may work hard, but often they don't get much done.

Beavers are supposed to be great tree cutters. It is true that a beaver can gnaw through a tree very quickly. (A six-inch birch takes about ten minutes.) But then what? Often the beaver does not make use of the tree. One expert says that beavers waste one out of every five trees they cut.

For one thing, they do not choose their trees wisely. One bunch of beavers cut down a cottonwood tree more than one hundred feet tall. Then they found that they could not move it.

In thick woods a tree sometimes won't fall down. It gets stuck in the other trees. Of course, doesn't think to cut down the trees that are in the way. So a good tree goes to waste.

Some people think that beavers can make a tree fall the way they want it to. Not true. (In fact, a beaver sometimes gets pinned under a falling tree.) When beavers cut a tree near a stream, it usually falls into the water. But they do not plan it that way. The fact is that most trees lean toward the water to start with.

Now what about dam building? Most beaver dams are wonders of engineering. The best ones are strongly built of trees, stones, and mud. They are wide at the bottom and narrow at the top.

Beavers think nothing of building a dam more than two hundred feet long. One dam, in Montana, was more than two thousand feet long. The largest one ever seen was in New Hampshire. It stretched four thousand feet. It made a lake large enough to hold forty beaver homes.

So beavers do build good dams. But they don't always build them in the right places. They just don't plan. They will build a dam across the widest part of the stream. They don't try to find a place where the stream is narrow. So a lot of their hard work is wasted.

Beavers should learn that it's not enough to be busy. You have to know what you're doing, too. For example, there was one Oregon beaver that really was a worker. It decided to fix a leak in a man-made dam. After five days of work it gave up. The leak it was trying to block was the lock that boats go through.

What is the main idea of this passage?

A. Beavers may be hard working animals, but they don't always choose the most efficient mechanisms.
B. Beavers are excellent dam builders.
C. New Hampshire was the site of the largest beaver dam.
D. Beavers are well developed tree cutters.
E. Beavers are poor surveyors of aquatic environments in some cases.

5. The raisin business in America was born by accident. It happened in 1873 in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Many farmers raised grapes in this valley. That year, just before the grape harvest, there was a heat wave. It was one of the worst heat waves ever known. It was so hot the grapes dried on the vines. When they were picked, California had its first raisin crop.

People were surprised to find how good raisins were. Everybody wanted more. So the San Joaquin farmers went into the raisin business. Today, of course, they do not let the grapes dry on the vines. They treat them with much more care.

In late August the grapes start to ripen. They are tested often for sweetness. The growers wait until the sugar content is twenty-one percent. Then they know the grapes are ripe enough to be picked.

Skilled workers come to the vineyards. They pick the bunches of grapes by hand. The workers fill their flat pans with grapes. They gently empty the pans onto squares of paper. These squares lie between the long rows of vines. They sit in the sun.

Here the grapes stay while the sun does its work. It may take two weeks or longer. The grapes are first dried on one side. When they have reached the right color, they are turned to dry on the other side. The grapes are dried until only fifteen percent of the moisture is left. Then they have turned into raisins.

The raisins are rolled up in the paper on which they have dried. Trucks take them from the fields. They are poured into big boxes called sweatboxes. Each box holds one hundred and sixty pounds of raisins. Here, any raisins that are a bit too dry take moisture from those that have a bit too much. After a while they are all just moist enough.

The big boxes are trucked next to the packaging plant. They are emptied onto a conveyor belt that shakes the raisins gently. This knocks them from their stems. A blast of air whisks the stems away. The water bath is next. Then the plump brown raisins have a last inspection. They are again checked for moisture and sugar. Then they go on a belt to packing machines. Here they are poured into packages, which are automatically weighed and sealed. The raisins are now ready for market.

What is the main idea of this passage?

A. The creation of raisins in America was an accident.
B. The process of raisin development requires multiple steps.
C. Raisins on the grocery store shelf undergo a brief fermentation process.
D. Raisins are cleaned thoroughly at the packing plant.
E. California has been the leader in American raisin development.

6. In 1976, Sichan Siv was crawling through the jungle, trying to escape from Cambodia. By 1989, however, Siv was working in the White House, in Washington D. C., as an advisor to the President of the United States. How did this strange journey come about?

Like millions of Cambodians, Siv was a victim of a bloody civil war. One of the sides in this war was the Cambodian government. The other was a group called the Khmer Rouge. When the Khmer Rouge won the war, the situation in Cambodia got worse. Many people were killed, while others were forced into hard labor. Sometimes entire families were wiped out.

Siv came from a large family that lived in the capital of Cambodia. After finishing high school, Siv worked for a while with a Cambodian airline company. Later, he taught English. After that, he took a job with CARE, an American group that was helping victims of the war.

Siv had hope to leave Cambodia before the Khmer Rouge took over the country. Unfortunately, he was delayed. As a result, he and his family were taken from their homes and forced to labor in rice fields. After a while, Siv managed to escape. He rode an old bicycle for miles, trying to reach Thailand where he would be free and safe. For three weeks he slept on the ground and tried to hide from the soldiers who were looking for him. Caught at last, he was afraid he would be killed. Instead, he was put into a labor camp, where he worked eighteen hours each day without rest. After several months, he escaped again; this time he made it. The journey, however, was a terrifying one. After three days of staggering on foot through mile after mile of thick bamboo, Siv finally made his way to Thailand.

Because he had worked for an American charity group, Siv quickly found work in a refugee camp. Soon he was on his way to the states. He arrived in June of 1976 and got a job-first picking apples and then cooking in a fast-food restaurant. Siv, however, wanted more than this; he wanted to work with people who, like himself, had suffered the hardship of leaving their own countries behind. Siv decided that the best way to prepare for this kind of work was to go to college. He wrote letters to many colleges and universities. They were impressed with his school records from Cambodia, and they were impressed with his bravery. Finally, in 1980, he was able to study at Columbia University in New York City. After finishing his studies at Columbia, Siv took a job with the United Nations. He married an American woman and became a citizen. After several more years, he felt that he was very much a part of his new country.

In 1988, Siv was offered a job in the White House working for President Reagan's closest advisors. It was a difficult job, and he often had to work long hours. However the long hard work was worth it, because Siv got the opportunity to help refugees in his work.

What is the main idea of this passage?

A. Persistence and courage are global ideas.
B. Siv covered a large area during his life.
C. Siv persevered to become an American citizen
D. Siv overcame numerous challenges to come to American and help others.
E. Siv persevered to become an American citizen.

7. When you want to hang the American flag over the middle of a street, suspend it vertically with the blue field, called the union, to the north and east-west street. When the flag is displayed with another banner from crossed staffs, the American flag is on the right. Place the staff of the American flag in front of the other staff. Raise the flag quickly and lower it slowly and respectfully. When flying the flag at half-mast, hoist it to the top of the pole for a moment before lowering it to mid-pole. When flying the American flag with banners from states or cities, raise the nation's banner first and lower it last. Never allow the flag to touch the ground.

What is the main idea of this passage?

A. The American flag is the symbol of American freedom.
B. The American flag has fifty stars.
C. Placing the American flag inappropriately will draw government intervention.
D. American flag should be flown differently in certain situations.
","The flag should be lowered quickly and respectfully.

8. What if someone told you about a kind of grass that grows as tall as the tallest trees? A grass that can be made as strong as steel? A grass from which houses, furniture, boats, and hundreds of other useful things can be made? A grass that you would even enjoy eating? Would you believe that person? You should, for that grass is bamboo, the “wood” of 1,001 uses.

Bamboo may look like wood, but it is part of the family of plants that includes wheat, oats, and barley. It is a kind of grass. This grass is not just a material for making useful products. Young bamboo is eaten, often mixed with other vegetables, in many Asian foods.

Bamboo grows in many parts of the world. In the United States it grows in an area from Virginia west to Indiana and south to Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. Most bamboo, however, is found in warm, wet climates, especially in Asia and on the islands of the South Pacific Ocean.

In most Asian countries, bamboo is nearly as important as rice. Many Asians live in bamboo houses. They sit on bamboo chairs and sleep on bamboo mats. They fence their land with bamboo and use the wood for cages for chickens and pigs.

Bamboo is used to build large buildings as well as homes. When it is glued in layers, it becomes as strong as steel. On some islands in the South Pacific, bamboo is even used for water pipes. This extraordinary material has many other uses. It is used to make musical instruments, such as flutes and recorders. Paper made from bamboo has been highly prized by artists for thousands of years.

Bamboo is light and strong, and it bends without breaking. It is cheap, floats on water, almost never wears out, and is easy to grow. Nothing else on earth grows quite so fast as bamboo. At times you can even see it grow! Botanists have recorded growths of more than three feet in just twenty-four hours! Bamboo is hollow and has a strong root system that almost never stops growing and spreading. In fact, only after it flowers, an event that may happen only once every thirty years, will bamboo die.

There are more than a thousand kinds of bamboo. The smallest is only three inches tall and one-tenth of an inch across. The largest reaches more than two hundred feet in height and seven inches in diameter. No wonder, then, that the lives of nearly half the people on earth would change enormously if there were no longer any bamboo. No wonder, too, that to many people bamboo is a symbol of happiness and good fortune.

What is the main idea of this passage?

A. Bamboo has at least 2,000 uses.
B. Bamboo grows at an amazing rate and is found primarily in Asia.
C. Bamboo is an amazing grass that can be used in multiple ways.
D. There are at least a 1,000 types of bamboo.
E. Bamboo could be considered a flower in some cases.

9. Every year since 1986, some of the world's most daring runners have gathered in the desert of Morocco. They are there to take part in one of the most difficult races in the world. The Marathon of the Sands, as it is called, covers over 125 miles of desert and mountain wilderness. The runners complete the course in fewer than seven days, and they run with their food, clothing, and sleeping bags on their backs.

The Marathon of the Sands was founded in 1986 by Patrick Bauer. His idea was to give the runners, who come from all over the world, a special kind of adventure. Most of the runners in this race have found that they form deep friendships with the other runners during their days and nights in the desert. Facing terrible heat and complete exhaustion, they learn much about themselves and each other.

For most of the runners, though, the challenge of the race is the main reason for coming. On the first day, for example, they run fifteen miles across a desert of sand, rocks, and thorny bushes. Few runners finish the day without blistered and raw feet. They also suffer from a lack of water. (They are allowed less than nine quarts of water during each day of the race.) Most of all, they are exhausted when they arrive at the campsite for the night.

The second day, the runners are up at 6:00 A. M. Within a few hours, it is 100 degrees F, but the runners do not hesitate. They must cover eighteen miles that day. That night, they rest. They must be ready for the next day's run.

On the third day, the runners must climb giant sand dunes- the first they have faced. Dust and sand mix with the runners' sweat. Soon their faces are caked with mud. After fifteen miles of these conditions, the runners finally reach their next camp.

The race continues like this for four more days. The fourth and fifth days are the worst. On the fourth day, the runners pass through a level stretch and a beautiful, tree-filled oasis, but then, on this and on the next day, they cross more than twenty-one miles of rocks and sand dunes. The temperature soars to 125 degrees F, and many runners cannot make it. Helicopters rush fallen runners to medical help. Runners who make it to the end of the fifth day know that the worst is over.

On the sixth day, heat and rocks punish the racers terribly. In the Valley of Dra, the wind picks up and, as the desert heat is thrust against them with great force, they grow more and more exhausted.

The seventh day is the last, with only twelve miles to be covered. The dusty, tired, blistered runners set out at daybreak. Near the finish line, children race along with the runners, for everybody has caught the excitement. The ones who have run the whole marathon know they have accomplished what most people could not even dream of. “During the hard moments,” says one contestant who has raced here twice, “I'd think, ‘Why am I here?' Then I'd realize I was there to find my limits.”

What is the main idea of this passage?

A. The Marathon of the Sands race tests the limits of human endurance.
B. The runners run at their own pace.
C. The race causes the strong to stumble and the weak to not finish.
D. The seventh day is the hardest day of the race.
E. Every runner runs the race to find their human limits.

10. High in the Andes Mountains in Peru stands the ancient city of Machu Picchu. No one knows why this great city was built, nor is it likely that we will ever know. Nevertheless, the deserted city of Machu Picchu is important for what it reveals about the ancient Inca people of South America.

The Incas once ruled a great empire that covered a large part of the South American continent. The empire was more than five hundred years old when the first Spanish explorers, looking for gold, went to that continent in the sixteenth century.

The Incas were an advanced people. They were skillful engineers who paved their roads and built sturdy bridges. They plowed the land in such a way that rains would not wash away valuable soil. They dug ditches to carry water into dry areas for farming.

Even though they did not know about the wheel, the Incas were able to move huge stone blocks- some as heavy as ten tons- up the sides of mountains to build walls. The blocks were fitted so tightly, without cement of any kind, that it would be impossible to slip a knife blade between them! The walls have stood firm through great storms and earthquakes that have destroyed many modern buildings.

The Incas were great artists, too. Today, Incan dishes and other kinds of pottery are prized for their wonderful designs. Since both gold and silver were in great supply, the Incas created splendid objects from these precious metals.

While it is true that the Incas had no written language, they kept their accounts by using a system of knotted strings of various lengths and colors. The sizes of the knots and the distances between them represented numbers.

At its height, the Incan empire included as many as thirty million people. The emperor ruled them with an iron hand. He told his subjects where to live, what to plant, how long they should work-even whom they could marry. Since he owned everything, the emperor gave what he wished when he wished- and in the amount he wished -to his people.

In 1533 Spanish explorers led by Francisco Pizarro murdered the emperor of the Incas. Earlier, the heir to the Incan empire had also been killed. The Incas, who had always been entirely dependent on their emperor, now had no recognized leader. The Spaniards easily conquered the empire and plundered its riches.

Have the Incas disappeared from South America? Not at all. In Peru alone, once the center of that great empire, eighty percent of the twenty million people are descendants of the Inca people. Evidence of the Incan empire can be found in many other places in South America as well. You can even visit Machu Picchu. The remains of this ancient city still stand high in the mountains of Peru, an awesome tribute to this once powerful empire.

What is the main idea of this passage?

A. The Incas once inhabited the ancient city of Machu Picchu.
B. Peru was the primary country of the Incas.
C. The Incan empire can be found in ancient cities and was plundered by the Spanish.
D. Spanish conquerors destroyed the Incan empire in the thirteenth century.
E. Machu Picchu was the capital of the Incan empire.


Reading Comprehension Practice Questions

1. Questions 1-7.

In the sixteenth century, an age of great marine and terrestrial exploration, Ferdinand Magellan led the first expedition to sail around the world. As a young Portuguese noble, he served the king of Portugal, but he became involved in the quagmire of political intrigue at court and lost the king's favor. After he was dismissed from service to the king of Portugal, he offered to serve the future Emperor Charles V of Spain.

A papal decree of 1493 had assigned all land in the New World west of 50 degrees W longitude to Spain and all the land east of that line to Portugal. Magellan offered to prove that the East Indies fell under Spanish authority. On September 20, 1519, Magellan set sail from Spain with five ships. More than a year later, one of these ships was exploring the topography of South America in search of a water route across the continent. This ship sank, but the remaining four ships searched along the southern peninsula of South America. Finally they found the passage they sought near a latitude of 50 degrees S. Magellan named this passage the Strait of All Saints, but today we know it as the Strait of Magellan.

One ship deserted while in this passage and returned to Spain, so fewer sailors were privileged to gaze at that first panorama of the Pacific Ocean. Those who remained crossed the meridian we now call the International Date Line in the early spring of 1521 after ninety-eight days on the Pacific Ocean. During those long days at sea, many of Magellan's men died of starvation and disease.

Later Magellan became involved in an insular conflict in the Philippines and was killed in a tribal battle. Only one ship and seventeen sailors under the command of the Basque navigator Elcano survived to complete the westward journey to Spain and thus prove once and for all that the world is round, with no precipice at the edge.

The sixteenth century was an age of great ___exploration.

A. cosmic
B. land
C. mental
D. common man
E. none of the above

2. Magellan lost the favor of the king of Portugal when he became involved in a political ___.

A. entanglement
B. discussion
C. negotiation
D. problems
E. none of the above

3. The Pope divided New World lands between Spain and Portugal according to their location on one side or the other of an imaginary geographical line 50 degrees west of Greenwich that extends in a ___ direction.

A. north and south
B. crosswise
C. easterly
D. south east
E. north and west

4. One of Magellan's ships explored the ___ of South America for a passage across the continent.

A. coastline
B. mountain range
C. physical features
D. islands
E. none of the above

5. Four of the ships sought a passage along a southern ___.

A. coast
B. inland
C. body of land with water on three sides
D. border
E. answer not available

6. The passage was found near 50 degrees S of ___.

A. Greenwich
B. The equator
C. Spain
D. Portugal
E. Madrid

7. In the spring of 1521, the ships crossed the ___ now called the International Date Line.

A. imaginary circle passing through the poles
B. Imaginary line parallel to the equator
C. area
D. land mass
E. answer not found in article

8. Questions 8-14
Marie Curie was one of the most accomplished scientists in history. Together with her husband, Pierre, she discovered radium, an element widely used for treating cancer, and studied uranium and other radioactive substances. Pierre and Marie's amicable collaboration later helped to unlock the secrets of the atom.

Marie was born in 1867 in Warsaw, Poland, where her father was a professor of physics. At the early age, she displayed a brilliant mind and a blithe personality. Her great exuberance for learning prompted her to continue with her studies after high school. She became disgruntled, however, when she learned that the university in Warsaw was closed to women. Determined to receive a higher education, she defiantly left Poland and in 1891 entered the Sorbonne, a French university, where she earned her master's degree and doctorate in physics.

Marie was fortunate to have studied at the Sorbonne with some of the greatest scientists of her day, one of whom was Pierre Curie. Marie and Pierre were married in 1895 and spent many productive years working together in the physics laboratory. A short time after they discovered radium, Pierre was killed by a horse-drawn wagon in 1906. Marie was stunned by this horrible misfortune and endured heartbreaking anguish. Despondently she recalled their close relationship and the joy that they had shared in scientific research. The fact that she had two young daughters to raise by herself greatly increased her distress.

Curie's feeling of desolation finally began to fade when she was asked to succeed her husband as a physics professor at the Sorbonne. She was the first woman to be given a professorship at the world-famous university. In 1911 she received the Nobel Prize in chemistry for isolating radium. Although Marie Curie eventually suffered a fatal illness from her long exposure to radium, she never became disillusioned about her work. Regardless of the consequences, she had dedicated herself to science and to revealing the mysteries of the physical world.

The Curies' ____ collaboration helped to unlock the secrets of the atom.

A. friendly
B. competitive
C. courteous
D. industrious
E. chemistry

9. Marie had a bright mind and a __personality.

A. strong
B. lighthearted
C. humorous
D. strange
E. envious

10. When she learned that she could not attend the university in Warsaw, she felt___.

A. hopeless
B. annoyed
C. depressed
D. worried
E. none of the above

11. Marie ___ by leaving Poland and traveling to France to enter the Sorbonne.

A. challenged authority
B. showed intelligence
C. behaved
D. was distressed
E. answer not available in article

12. _____she remembered their joy together.

A. Dejectedly
B. Worried
C. Tearfully
D. Happily
E. Sorrowfully

13. Her ____ began to fade when she returned to the Sorbonne to succeed her husband.

A. misfortune
B. anger
C. wretchedness
D. disappointment
E. ambition

14. Even though she became fatally ill from working with radium, Marie Curie was never ____.

A. troubled
B. worried
C. disappointed
D. sorrowful
E. disturbed

15. Questions 15-19.

Mount Vesuvius, a volcano located between the ancient Italian cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, has received much attention because of its frequent and destructive eruptions. The most famous of these eruptions occurred in A. D. 79.

The volcano had been inactive for centuries. There was little warning of the coming eruption, although one account unearthed by archaeologists says that a hard rain and a strong wind had disturbed the celestial calm during the preceding night. Early the next morning, the volcano poured a huge river of molten rock down upon Herculaneum, completely burying the city and filling in the harbor with coagulated lava.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the mountain, cinders, stone and ash rained down on Pompeii. Sparks from the burning ash ignited the combustible rooftops quickly. Large portions of the city were destroyed in the conflagration. Fire, however, was not the only cause of destruction. Poisonous sulphuric gases saturated the air. These heavy gases were not buoyant in the atmosphere and therefore sank toward the earth and suffocated people.

Over the years, excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum have revealed a great deal about the behavior of the volcano. By analyzing data, much as a zoologist dissects a specimen animal, scientist have concluded that the eruption changed large portions of the area's geography. For instance, it turned the Sarno River from its course and raised the level of the beach along the Bay of Naples. Meteorologists studying these events have also concluded that Vesuvius caused a huge tidal wave that affected the world's climate.
In addition to making these investigations, archaeologists have been able to study the skeletons of victims by using distilled water to wash away the volcanic ash. By strengthening the brittle bones with acrylic paint, scientists have been able to examine the skeletons and draw conclusions about the diet and habits of the residents. Finally, the excavations at both Pompeii and Herculaneum have yielded many examples of classical art, such as jewelry made of bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin.

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius and its tragic consequences have provided us with a wealth of data about the effects that volcanoes can have on the surrounding area. Today volcanologists can locate and predict eruptions, saving lives and preventing the destruction of cities and cultures.

Herculaneum and its harbor were buried under ___lava.

A. liquid
B. solid
C. flowing
D. gas
E. answer not available

16. The poisonous gases were not ___ in the air.

A. able to float
B. visible
C. able to evaporate
D. invisible
E. able to condense

17. Scientists analyzed data about Vesuvius in the same way that a zoologist ___ a specimen.

A. describes in detail
B. studies by cutting apart
C. photographs
D. chart
E. answer not available

18. ____have concluded that the volcanic eruption caused a tidal wave.

A. Scientist who study oceans
B. Scientist who study atmospheric conditions
C. Scientist who study ash
D. Scientist who study animal behavior
E. Answer not available in article

19. Scientist have used ___water to wash away volcanic ash from the skeletons of victims.

A. bottled
B. volcanic
C. purified
D. sea
E. fountain

20. Questions 20-24.

Conflict had existed between Spain and England since the 1570s. England wanted a share of the wealth that Spain had been taking from the lands it had claimed in the Americas.

Elizabeth I, Queen of England, encouraged her staunch admiral of the navy, Sir Francis Drake, to raid Spanish ships and towns. Though these raids were on a small scale, Drake achieved dramatic success, adding gold and silver to England's treasury and diminishing Spain's omnipotence.

Religious differences also caused conflict between the two countries. Whereas Spain was Roman Catholic, most of England had become Protestant. King Philip II of Spain wanted to claim the throne and make England a Catholic country again. To satisfy his ambition and also to retaliate against England's theft of his gold and silver, King Philip began to build his fleet of warships, the Armada, in January 1586.

Philip intended his fleet to be indestructible. In addition to building new warships, he marshaled one hundred and thirty sailing vessels of all types and recruited more than nineteen thousand robust soldiers and eight thousand sailors. Although some of his ships lacked guns and others lacked ammunition, Philip was convinced that his Armada could withstand any battle with England.

The martial Armada set sail from Lisbon, Portugal, on May 9,1588, but bad weather forced it back to port. The voyage resumed on July 22 after the weather became more stable.

The Spanish fleet met the smaller, faster, and more maneuverable English ships in battle off the coast of Plymouth, England, first on July 31 and again on August 2. The two battles left Spain vulnerable, having lost several ships and with its ammunition depleted. On August 7, while the Armada lay at anchor on the French side of the Strait of Dover, England sent eight burning ships into the midst of the Spanish fleet to set it on fire. Blocked on one side, the Spanish ships could only drift away, their crews in panic and disorder. Before the Armada could regroup, the English attacked again on August 8.

Although the Spaniards made a valiant effort to fight back, the fleet suffered extensive damage. During the eight hours of battle, the Armada drifted perilously close to the rocky coastline. At the moment when it seemed that the Spanish ships would be driven onto the English shore, the wind shifted, and the Armada drifted out into the North Sea. The Spaniards recognized the superiority of the English fleet and returned home, defeated.

Sir Francis Drake added wealth to the treasury and diminished Spain's ____.

A. unlimited power
B. unrestricted growth
C. territory
D. treaties
E. answer not available in article

21. Philip recruited many ___soldiers and sailors.

A. warlike
B. strong
C. accomplished
D. timid
E. non experienced

22. The ____ Armada set sail on May 9, 1588.

A. complete
B. warlike
C. independent
D. isolated
E. answer not available

23. The two battles left the Spanish fleet ____.

A. open to change
B. triumphant
C. open to attack
D. defeated
E. discouraged

24. The Armada was ___ on one side.

A. closed off
B. damaged
C. alone
D. circled
E. answer not available in this article

25. Questions 25-29.

The victory of the small Greek democracy of Athens over the mighty Persian empire in 490 B. C. is one of the most famous events in history. Darius, king of the Persian empire, was furious because Athens had interceded for the other Greek city-states in revolt against Persian domination. In anger the king sent an enormous army to defeat Athens. He thought it would take drastic steps to pacify the rebellious part of the empire. Persia was ruled by one man.

In Athens, however, all citizens helped to rule. Ennobled by this participation, Athenians were prepared to die for their city-state. Perhaps this was the secret of the remarkable victory at Marathon, which freed them from Persian rule. On their way to Marathon, the Persians tried to fool some Greek city-states by claiming to have come in peace. The frightened citizens of Delos refused to believe this. Not wanting to abet the conquest of Greece, they fled from their city and did not return until the Persians had left. They were wise, for the Persians next conquered the city of Etria and captured its people.

Tiny Athens stood alone against Persia. The Athenian people went to their sanctuaries. There they prayed for deliverance. They asked their gods to expedite their victory. The Athenians refurbished their weapons and moved to the plain of Marathon, where their little band would meet the Persians. At the last moment, soldiers from Plataea reinforced the Athenian troops.

The Athenian army attacked, and Greek citizens fought bravely. The power of the mighty Persians was offset by the love that the Athenians had for their city. Athenians defeated the Persians in archery and hand combat. Greek soldiers seized Persian ships and burned them, and the Persians fled in terror. Herodotus, a famous historian, reports that 6400 Persians died, compared with only 192 Athenians.

Athens had ____the other Greek city-states against the Persians.

A. refused help to
B. intervened on behalf of
C. wanted to fight
D. given orders for all to fight
E. defeated

26. Darius took drastic steps to ___ the rebellious Athenians.

A. weaken
B. destroy
C. calm
D. placate
E. answer not available

27. Their participation___to the Athenians.

A. gave comfort
B. gave honor
C. gave strength
D. gave fear
E. gave hope

28. The people of Delos did not want to ___ the conquest of Greece.

A. end
B. encourage
C. think about
D. daydream about
E. answer not available

29. The Athenians were ___by some soldiers who arrived from Plataea.

A. welcomed
B. strengthened
C. held
D. captured
E. answer not available

30. Questions 30-32.

The Trojan War is one of the most famous wars in history. It is well known for the ten-year duration, for the heroism of a number of legendary characters, and for the Trojan horse. What may not be familiar, however, is the story of how the war began.
According to Greek myth, the strife between the Trojans and the Greeks started at the wedding of Peleus, King of Thessaly, and Thetis, a sea nymph. All of the gods and goddesses had been invited to the wedding celebration in Troy except Eris, goddesses of discord. She had been omitted from the guest list because her presence always embroiled mortals and immortals alike in conflict.

To take revenge on those who had slighted her, Eris decided to cause a skirmish. Into the middle of the banquet hall, she threw a golden apple marked “for the most beautiful.” All of the goddesses began to haggle over who should possess it. The gods and goddesses reached a stalemate when the choice was narrowed to Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Someone was needed to settle the controversy by picking a winner. The job eventually fell to Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, who was said to be a good judge of beauty.

Paris did not have an easy job. Each goddess, eager to win the golden apple, tried aggressively to bribe him.

“I'll grant you vast kingdoms to rule, “ promised Hera. “Vast kingdoms are nothing in comparison with my gift,” contradicted Athena. “Choose me and I'll see that you win victory and fame in war.” Aphrodite outdid her adversaries, however. She won the golden apple by offering Helen, Zeus' daughter and the most beautiful mortal, to Paris. Paris, anxious to claim Helen, set off for Sparta in Greece.

Although Paris learned that Helen was married, he accepted the hospitality of her husband, King Menelasu of Sparta, anyway. Therefore, Menelaus was outraged for a number of reasons when Paris departed, taking Helen and much of the king's wealth back to Troy. Menelaus collected his loyal forces and set sail for Troy to begin the war to reclaim Helen.

Eris was known for ___both mortals and immortals.

A. scheming against
B. involving in conflict
C. feeling hostile toward
D. ignoring
E. comforting

31. Each goddess tried ___to bribe Paris.

A. boldly
B. effectively
C. secretly
D. carefully
E. answer not stated

32. Athena ___ Hera, promising Paris victory and fame in war.

A. denied the statement of
B. defeated
C. agreed with
D. restated the statement
E. questioned the statement

33. Questions 33-37.

One of the most intriguing stories of the Russian Revolution concerns the identity of Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II. During his reign over Russia, the Czar had planned to revoke many of the harsh laws established by previous czars. Some workers and peasants, however, clamored for more rapid social reform. In 1918 a group of these people, known as Bolsheviks, overthrew the government. On July 17 or 18, they murdered the Czar and what was thought to be his entire family.

Although witnesses vouched that all the members of the Czar's family had been executed, there were rumors suggesting that Anastasia had survived. Over the years, a number of women claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia. Perhaps the best –known claimant was Anastasia Tschaikovsky, who was also known as Anna Anderson.

In 1920, eighteen months after the Czar's execution, this terrified young woman was rescued from drowning in a Berlin river. She spent two years in a hospital, where she attempted to reclaim her health and shattered mind. The doctors and nurses thought that she resembled Anastasia and questioned heer about her background. She disclaimed any connection with the Czar's family.

Eight years later, though, she claimed that she was Anastasia. She said that she had been rescued by two Russian soldiers after the Czar and the rest of her family had been killed. Two brothers named Tschaikovsky had carried her into Romania. She had married one of the brothers, who had taken her to Berlin and left her there, penniless and without a vocation. Unable to invoke the aid of her mother's family in Germany, she had tried to drown herself.

During the next few years, scores of the Czar's relatives, ex-servants, and acquaintances interviewed her. Many of these people said that her looks and mannerisms were evocative of the Anastasia that they had known. Her grandmother and other relatives denied that she was the real Anastasia, however.
Tried of being accused of fraud, Anastasia immigrated to the United States in 1928 and took the name Anna Anderson. She still wished to prove that she was Anastasia, though, and returned to Germany in 1933 to bring suit against her mother's family. There she declaimed to the court, asserting that she was indeed Anastasia and deserved her inheritance.

In 1957, the court decided that it could neither confirm nor deny Anastasia's identity. Although we will probably never know whether this woman was the Grand Duchess Anastasia, her search to establish her identity has been the subject of numerous books, plays, and movies.

Some Russian peasants and workers___for social reform.

A. longed
B. cried out
C. begged
D. hoped
E. thought much

34. Witnesses ___ that all members of the Czar's family had been executed.

A. gave assurance
B. thought
C. hoped
D. convinced some
E. answer not stated

35. Tschaikovsky ____any connection with the Czar's family.

A. denied
B. stopped
C. noted
D. justified
E. answer not stated

36. She was unable to ___the aid of her relative.

A. locate
B. speak about
C. call upon
D. identify
E. know

37. In court she ___ maintaining that she was Anastasia and deserved her inheritance.

A. finally appeared
B. spoke forcefully
C. testified
D. gave evidence
E. answer not stated

38. Questions 38-39.

King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette ruled France from 1774 to 1789, a time when the country was fighting bankruptcy. The royal couple did not let France's insecure financial situation limit their immoderate spending, however. Even though the minister of finance repeatedly warned the king and queen against wasting money, they continued to spend great fortunes on their personal pleasure. This lavish spending greatly enraged the people of France. They felt that the royal couple bought its luxurious lifestyle at the poor people's expense.

Marie Antoinette, the beautiful but exceedingly impractical queen, seemed uncaring about her subjects; misery. While French citizens begged for lower taxes, the queen embellished her palace with extravagant works of art. She also surrounded herself with artists, writers, and musicians, who encouraged the queen to spend money even more profusely.

While the queen's favorites glutted themselves on huge feasts at the royal table, many people in France were starving. The French government taxed the citizens outrageously. These high taxes paid for the entertainments the queen and her court so enjoyed. When the minister of finance tried to stop these royal spendthrifts, the queen replaced him. The intense hatred that the people felt for Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette kept building until it led to the French Revolution. During this time of struggle and violence (1789-1799), thousands of aristocrats, as well as the king and queen themselves, lost their lives at the guillotine. Perhaps if Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette had reined in their extravagant spending, the events that rocked France would not have occurred.

The people surrounding the queen encouraged her to spend money ____.

A. wisely
B. abundantly
C. carefully
D. foolishly
E. joyfully

39. The minister of finance tried to curb these royal ___.

A. aristocrats
B. money wasters
C. enemies
D. individuals
E. spenders

40. Questions 40-45.

Many great inventions are greeted with ridicule and disbelief. The invention of the airplane was no exception. Although many people who heard about the first powered flight on December 17,1903, were excited and impressed, others reacted with peals of laughter. The idea of flying an aircraft was repulsive to some people. Such people called Wilbur and Orville Wright, the inventors of the first flying machine, impulsive fools. Negative reactions, however, did not stop the Wrights. Impelled by their desire to succeed, they continued their experiments in aviation.

Orville and Wilbur Wright had always had a compelling interest in aeronautics and mechanics. As young boys they earned money by making and selling kites and mechanical toys. Later, they designed a newspaper-folding machine, built a printing press, and operated a bicycle-repair shop. In 1896, when they read about the death of Otto Lilienthal, the brother's interest in flight grew into a compulsion.

Lilienthal, a pioneer in hang-gliding, had controlled his gliders by shifting his body in the desired direction. This idea was repellent to the Wright brothers, however, and they searched for more efficient methods to control the balance of airborne vehicles. In 1900 and 1901, the Wrights tested numerous gliders and developed control techniques. The brothers' inability to obtain enough lift power for the gliders almost led them to abandon their efforts.

After further study, the Wright brothers concluded that the published tables of air pressure on curved surfaces must be wrong. They set up a wind tunnel and began a series of experiments with model wings. Because of their efforts, the old tables were repealed in time and replaced by the first reliable figures for air pressure on curved surfaces. This work, in turn, made it possible for them to design a machine that would fly. In 1903 the Wrights built their first airplane, which cost less than one thousand dollars. They even designed and built their own source of propulsion- a lightweight gasoline engine. When they started the engine on December 17, the airplane pulsated wildly before taking off. The plane managed to stay aloft for twelve seconds, however, and it flew one hundred twenty feet.

By 1905 the Wrights had perfected the first airplane that could turn, circle, and remain airborne for half an hour at a time. Others had flown in balloons or in hang gliders, but the Wright brothers were the first to build a full-size machine that could fly under its own power. As the contributors of one of the most outstanding engineering achievements in history, the Wright brothers are accurately called the fathers of aviation.

The idea of flying an aircraft was ___to some people.

A. boring
B. distasteful
C. exciting
D. needless
E. answer not available

41. People thought that the Wright brothers had ____.

A. acted without thinking
B. been negatively influenced
C. been too cautious
D. had not given enough thought
E. acted in a negative way

42. The Wright's interest in flight grew into a ____.

A. financial empire
B. plan
C. need to act
D. foolish thought
E. answer not in article

43. Lilenthal's idea about controlling airborne vehicles was ___the Wrights.

A. proven wrong by
B. opposite to the ideas of
C. disliked by
D. accepted by
E. opposed by

44. The old tables were __ and replaced by the first reliable figures for air pressure on curved surfaces.

A. destroyed
B. canceled
C. multiplied
D. discarded
E. not used

45. The Wrights designed and built their own source of ____.

A. force for moving forward
B. force for turning around
C. turning
D. force to going backward
E. none of the above

In the midst of Hardship

(google image)


At dawn they returned home
their soaky clothes torn
and approached the stove
their limbs marked by scratches
their legs full of wounds
but on their brows
there was not a sign of despair

The whole day and night just passed
they had to brave the horrendous flood
in the water all the time
between bloated carcasses
and tiny chips of tree barks
desperately looking for their son's
albino buffalo that was never found

They were born admist hardship
and grew up without a sigh or a complaint
now they are in the kitchen, making
jokes while rolling their cigarette leaves

-Latiff Mohidin


The villagers returned home early in the morning. Their clothes were torn and wet as they walked into their kitchen. Their arms and legs had cuts all over but they were not depressed.

They had spent one whole day and night searching for their son's albino buffalo, wading through the floodwaters, surrounded by broken twigs, pieces of tree barks and animal carcasses. However, they did not find the buffalo.

The villagers had been born into a life of hardships but they never grumbled. Even after all they had been through, they could still crack jokes and relax in the kitchen.


This poem tells of the hardship that a family in a village faces after a big flood. The elders return at dawn in soaking-wet clothes. They go straight to the kitchen. They are probably hungry. Their hands and legs are bruised but they do not show any sign of despair or of losing hope.
After braving the dreadful flood for the last 24 hours, they still can not find their son’s albino buffalo. Despite all the adversities and suffering, the people in the poem do not complain or lament on their misfortunes. They spend time together, enjoying each other’s company. They are grateful for the fact what they still have instead of what is lost. Life goes on with their daily chores of preparing food and habit of rolling their cigarette leaves. They are still able to joke with one another.





They returned home at dawn and headed for the stove. Their clothes were soaking wet and tattered. Their bodies were covered with scratches and wounds. Yet, they did not display any signs of being worried.


They were out in the flood the whole day and night. They were surrounded by dead animals and parts of trees that had been destroyed by the flood. They searched desperately for their son’s albino buffalo but were unable to find it.


They were born into poverty and difficulty, but they do not complain about their suffer. Instead, they sit in the kitchen, cracking jokes while smoking cigarettes.


The setting of the poem is in the house.


* Stoicism in life
* Family love
* Acceptance of way of life


1. We should learn to accept problems in life with a positive outlook.
2. We must attempt to face and solve problems.
3. Failure is part of growing up.
4. Do not despair in the face of failure.


* Understanding and sympathetic
* Dismal
* Acceptance of situation


* Third person pint of view.


* Language is simple and easy to understand.
* The style is simple with no rhyming scheme.


* Imagery – Gives picture of poet’s thoughts e.g ‘soaky clothes torn’ and ‘legs full of wounds’
* Alliteration – e.g. ‘but on their brows’
* Symbols – e.g. ‘horrendous flood’ and ‘bloating carcasses’
* Diction – e.g. ‘stove’ and ‘brows‘



The setting of the poem is in the house and a flooded village.


The theme is not the hardship itself but how the family handles it. The lines ‘but on their brows’- ‘there was not a sign of despair’ show their optimism. They returned home at dawn in soaking-wet clothes that is all torn-up and with bruises and cuts all over but, their face did not show any sign of hopelessness and despair that would normally be expected. These two lines further accentuate the point on optimism of this family.

Another major theme is love in the family. Love binds them together. This is shown when they searched desperately for their son’s albino buffalo.

Moral Values

We should learn to accept problems in life with a positive outlook. It means that although we are facing problems, we should not complain but instead we must attempt to face it courageously and solve whatever problems in hand. Failure is part of growing up. We should not despair in the face of failure.

Point of View

* Third person point of view.

Language, Style and Literary Devices

Language is simple and easy to understand. The style is simple with no rhyming scheme. There are no full-stops in the poem. This is shows that there is no end for hardship.

Imagery – Gives picture of poet’s thoughts

* soaky clothes torn
* limbs marked by scratches
* legs full of wounds
* bloated carcasses
* tiny chips of tree barks
* rolling cigarette leaves


* albino buffalo – symbol of something that should treasured
* horrendous flood – symbol of terrible trials
* stove – symbol of warmth and sustenance
* bloated carcasses – symbol of death and decay


This poem tells of the hardship that a family in a village faces after a big flood. It takes a lot of courage and strength to see the silver lining and to move on after that. Yet, that is exactly what this family is doing. They’re spending time together, enjoying each other’s company and they are actually grateful for what they still have instead of what was lost. As we can read in the poem – they returned home without finding the buffalo but they did not seem to be really bothered by it. They accept fate as it is but more importantly, it portrays how they are different from many people who are materialistic. Although the Albino buffalo is a rare species of the buffalo family, the family in the poem is not very worried that their precious buffalo is missing. This poem wants to convey the hardship that they endured and even though they saw many dead animals floating because of the flood, they were still searching for the buffalo. It is important to know that they did not complain and did not lose hope as they were used to difficult life. They refuse to let it ruin their day and their spirit. The main concern is that they did try to find it as the buffalo belongs to their son. This shows that they were looking for it as they were concerned for their son’s lost.


Exercise for Poem In the Midst of Hardship

Exercise 1

Write TRUE or FALSE for each statement below. If the statement is false, write the correct statement in the space provided.

1.The family just experienced a bad flood

2.The family lived in city

3.The flood lasted for one day and night

4.Animals and humans were drowned in the flood

5.The flood victims’ hands and legs were covered by cuts all over

6.They returned home in the afternoon after the flood

7.Once the family was back home, they felt relieved

8.They would rather enjoy themselves than complaint about the flood

Choose TRUE or FALSE for each of the statement below.
1.When did the family go back home?

(A) Late at night
(B) In the afternoon
(C) In the evening
(D) Early morning

2.Why do you think some family members approached the stove?
(A) To wash up
(B) To cook a meal
(C) To eat together
(D) To keep their food

3.What was not seen on their brows?
(A) A sad look
(B) A happy look
(C) An expression of hopelessness
(D) An expression of disgust

4.The word ‘horrendous’ means
(A) Exciting
(B) Enjoyable
(C) Tragic
(D) Awful

5.If you have to `brave` a danger, you have to
(A) Give up quickly
(B) Run away from it
(C) Protect yourself from it
(D) Endure it with resilience

6.If an animal is an albino, it is_____in complexion.
(A) White
(B) Grey
(C) Black
(D) Cream

7.Why did the tiny chips float in the floodwater?
(A) They were light
(B) The trees were uprooted
(C) The water caused the chips to break off from the tree barks
(D) The trees were cut donw by the villagers

8.What type of life is a life of hardship?
(A) A happy life
(B) An easy life
(C) A life of suffering
(D) A life of torture

Rewrite the quotations from the poem in your own words.
Quotation from the poem In your own words

1.Not a sign of despair

2.Their soaky clothes torn

3.Their limbs marked by scratches

4.Had to brave the horrendous flood

5.Born amidst hardship

6.Grew up without a sigh

Exercise 4

Read the following passage. Fill in the blanks with one suitable word or phrase.

The flood victims are glad to go back home. They have gone through a time. The floodwater very high. They were wading among and chips of the barks. It was an sight. As their son had lost his buffalo, they were looking for it. However, they to find it. Back home, the women started cooking. The men stood in the talking. They were also rolling . This was a time to feel and complain about their .

( + (answers)

More Exercises

In stanza 1, 'soaky clothes' are caused by
1. ? the heavy downpour
2. ? water shortage
3. ? falling into the river
4. ? sweating profusely
Why did they approach the stove?
1. ? To dry themselves up
2. ? To change their stove
3. ? To boil water
4. ? To cook breakfast
Which phrase in Stanza 3 indicates the jovial feelings of the family despite what they have gone through?
1. ? There was not a sign of despair
2. ? They were born admist hardship
3. ? Their limbs marked by scratches
4. ? Making jokes while rolling their cigarette leaves
Who were desperately looking for their son's albino buffalo?
1. ? The father and the mother
2. ? The head villager
3. ? The albino buffalo's family
4. ? The villagers
When did the family reach their home?
1. ? In the evening
2. ? At midnight
3. ? Early morning
4. ? In the afternoon


Friday, September 23, 2011