Section 3: Reading
This section is designed to measure your ability to read and understand sho rt passages
similar in topic and style to tho se that students are likely to encounter in North American
universities and colleges. This section co ntains reading passages and questions about the
Leo nardo da Vinci was born on Apr il 15, 1452 in Vinci, Italy. He was the
illegitimate son o f Ser Piero , a Florentine notary and landlord, but lived o n the estate and
was treated as a legitimate son.
In 1483, Leonardo da Vinci drew the first model of a helico pter. It did not lo ok
very much like our moder n day “co pter,” but the idea of what it could do was about the
Leonardo was an artist and sculptor. He was very interested in motion and
movement and tried to show it in his art. I n order to sho w movement, he found it help ful
to study the way thing s mo ved. One su bject he liked to study was birds and how they
flew. He spent many hours watching the birds and examining the str ucture of their
wings. He noticed how they cupped air with their wings and how the feathers helped
hold the air . Through these studies, Leo nardo began to understand ho w birds were able
Lik e many o ther men, Leo nardo began to dream of the day when people wo uld be
able to fly. He designed a machine that used all the thing s he had learned abo ut flig ht,
and thus became the first model of a helicopter.
Poor Leo nardo had only one pr oblem, however. He had no way to give the
necessar y speed to his inventio n. Yo u see, moto rs had not yet been invented and speed
was an impo rtant part o f the flying pr ocess. It would be ano ther four hundred years
before the eng ine was invented and another fifty years befo re it was put to the test in an
airp lane. Leonardo’s dream o f a helicopter finally came to pass in 1936.
The Italian painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, and scientist, Leo nardo died on
May 2, 1519, and was buried in the cloister of San Fio rentino in Amboise.
1. What is the autho r’s main point?
a. The invention of the helicopter.
b. Birds cup air with their wings and use feathers to help hold the air.
c. An overview of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s many skills.
d. Leo nardo da Vinci was born in 1452 and died in 1519.
2. The wor d pro blem in paragrap h five co uld best be replaced by the wo rd:
3. The word it in paragraph two refers to:
a. Leonardo da Vinci
b. The first model helicopter
d. motion and mo vement
4. Which paragraph explains why Leonardo ’s helico pter was not successful in his
a. paragraph 1
b. paragraph 2
c. paragraph 4
d. paragraph 5
5. The wor d illeg itimate in paragraph one is closest in meaning to:
a. against the law or illegal
b. not in correct usage
c. inco rrectly deduced; illogical
d. born out of wedlock
6. The fo llowing sentence wou ld best comp lete which paragraph? “Since then
peo ple have been living out Leo nardo’s dr eam of flying.”
a. paragraph 3
b. paragraph 4
c. paragraph 5
d. paragraph 2
7. What was the main problem with Leonardo ’s invention?
a. motors were not yet invented
b. the birds lost their feathers
c. he was illegitimate
d. he couldn’t draw
8. The wo rd they in the third paragraph refers to:
a. the feathers
b. the birds
c. the studies
d. the wings
9. In what year was the fir st helicopter flown
10. What two things did birds have that Leonardo da Vinci noticed helped them to
a. wings and beaks
b. feathers and talons
c. wings and feathers
d. cups and feather s
11. The wor d thus in the fourth paragraph could best be replaced by:
d. Inappropr iately
Glass fibers are extremely strong; for their weight, they are stronger than steel.
They are made by forcing molten g lass through tiny holes called spinnerets. As many as
four hundred spinnerets are placed to gether, and threads of glass much thinner than
human hairs are drawn off at great speed-miles of thread per minute. As they speed
alo ng, the threads are coated thinly with a type of g lue and twisted into a yarn.
The glass fibers are used with plastics to make boats and car bodies. They are also
woven into heavy clo th for window draperies and into strong belts for making tires
A special kind of glass fiber is causing a revolution in commu nications. A sig nal
of lig ht can be made to travel along the fiber fo r very long distances. B y chang ing the
quality of the light, many messages can be sent at once along one strand of glass. New
office build ings are being “wired” with glass fibers as they are built. The g lass fibers will
be used to connect telephones and computers in ways that not long ago were either
impo ssible or too expensive.
Glass woo l traps air in a thick, light blanket of fiber s. This blanket is then put
into walls and ceilings to keep warm air in during the winter and coo l air in dur ing the
To make glass wool, mo lten glass is fed into a spinning dru m with many ho les in
it. As the glass threads stream out of the ho les, they are forced downward by a blast o f
hot air and through a spray of glues. The threads are then further blown about to mix
them up as they fall in a thick mat o n a moving belt.
The glass we see thro ugh and drink out o f has many, many other uses besides the ones
12. What was the author’s main purpo se in wr iting the article?
a. To info rm you how special kinds of glass are made and used
b. To persuade you to investigate the many uses of glass beyo nd those
mentioned in the article
c. To info rm you about the strength of glass fibers
d. To info rm you that glue is used to hold strands o f g lass to gether
13. The wor d special in the second paragraph is closets in meaning to:
a. Distinct amo ng others of a k ind
b. Add itio nal
c. Commo n
Glass fibers are made by fo rcing mo lten g lass through: 14.
15. The wor d changing in the seco nd paragraph could best be replaced by the word:
a. Alter ing
16. What are glass fibers woven into cloth fo r?
a. Draper ies
b. Cars and boats
17. The wor d fed in the fo urth paragraph means:
a. To give food to
b. To minister to
c. To support
d. To supply
18. The wor d they in the second sentence o f the first paragraph refers to:
a. Human hair
c. Glass fibers
19. The wor d it in the fourth paragraph refers to:
a. Molten g lass
b. Glass woo l
c. Spinning drum
20. The fo llowing sentence wou ld best comp lete which par agraph? “This
impr ovement in techno lo gy is expected to continu e.”
a. Paragraph 1
b. Paragraph 2
c. Paragraph 3
d. Paragraph 4
21. A sig nal of what can be made to travel along fiber for very long distances?
22. The wor d spray in the fourth paragraph could best be replaced by the word:
a. Sho wer
d. Fo rce
Fo r centuries, people have searched fo r a way to replace dead and decaying teeth
with comfortable false teeth. Many materials have been used to make a set o f false teeth.
The teeth themselves should be made fro m a hard and durable material. They shou ld be
secured to a soft material, making them easy to wear . In the last two decades, dentists
succeeded in making durable false teeth that are comfortable, too .
Two tho usand years ago, the Etr uscans made teeth out of animal bo ne and gold.
These materials were used-with var ying degrees of success-up to the 1700’s. When
George Washington was president, ivory from animals such as elephants became a
popular material fo r false teeth. Doctor s and inventors also tried silver, peal, and agate,
but teeth made fro m these materials wer e very exp ensive. Perhaps the most successful
mater ial was porcelain, invented by a Frenchman abo ut two hundred years ago. White,
strong, and r esistant to decay, porcelain is still used today for mak ing single teeth.
Besides finding a material for the teeth, inventors also had to find a way to secure
them in a person’s mo uth. People tried wire, spr ings, and many k inds o f g lue to
accomplish this. In most cases, however, disco mfort and a likelihood o f the teeth falling
out plagued the person who wore them.
Aro und 1844, an American dentist named Horace Wells used laug hing gas to put
peo ple to sleep before wor king on their teeth. This inno vatio n made dental work a lot
less painfu l. Soon after, an inventor created the fir st fo rm of rubber. This was important
to dentistry because teeth could be attached to the rubber, and the rubber could be mo lded
to fit the shape of the mouth. With these two developments, dentist could work without
causing pain and could fit teeth mor e carefully. False teeth have beco me mor e available
and co mfortable since then, and dentists have co ntinued to impr ove the making and use
of false teeth.
23. What is the main topic of this passage?
a. Horace Wells
b. False teeth
c. Gold and bone
d. The Etruscans
24. The word they in the first paragraph refers to:
25. The wor d var ying in the second paragraph co ld best be replaced by the wo rd:
26. Porcelain was invented after the first use o f:
a. Rubber for hold ing for holding teeth in place
b. Laug hing gas
c. Ivory for making teeth
d. Electric drills
27. When d id Horace Wells begin using laughing gas?
b. Two-tho usand years ago
28. The wor d besides in the third paragraph means:
a. In addition to
b. Stand next to
d. To gether
29. The wo rd them in the third paragr aph refer s to:
30. When was rubber fo und to be a useful material for false teeth?
a. After laughing gas was used to put patients to sleep
b. While George Washington was president
c. Before a Frenchman invented por celain
d. While the Etruscans were making teeth o f bone and gold
31. The fo llowing sentence wou ld best comp lete which par agraph? “It is
unimaginable what will co me next.”
a. Paragraph 1
b. Paragraph 2
c. Paragraph 3
d. Paragraph 4
32. The wor d mo lded in the fourth paragraph means:
a. Fo rmed into a shape
b. To form an organic growth
c. To ma ke a n orname nt
d. The fitting of a shoe
33. The wor d resistant in the seco nd paragrap h could best be replaced by the word:
b. Insu sceptible
The lens on a camera has only two tasks. First, it must gather in as much light as
possible in o rder to activate the sensitive chemicals on the film. Second, it must organize
the light rays so that they form a sharp image on the film. These may so und like simple
tasks, but they are not.
One of the sharpest lenses is merely a pinhole in a sheet of cardboard, metal,
plastic, or a similar material. If the pinhole is tiny enough, the image can be quite sharp,
but then very little light is admitted. For most purposes, even the most sensitive film
would take too lo ng to reco rd an image.
A glass lens is much better because it lets in much mor e lig ht and focuses it on the
film. Yet simp le glass lenses are sharpest only in their centers. As more o f the lens is
used, the image su ffers in sharpness.
One reason a simple lens can cause problems is that it is shaped like a section of a
sphere. Spherical lenses do not focus perfectly on flat film, so the image is slightly
disto rted, especially at the edges. Another reaso n is that the lens can act partly like a
prism. This means that some of the colors in the image will no t focus properly, and the
image will be fuzzy.
One so lutio n is to block off all but the sharp- fo cusing center of the lens. If you
block off the edges of the lens, ho wever, less lig ht will get to the film. Early lenses had
to compromise between shar pness and light-gathering power.
Very sharp lenses that admit as much light as po ssible can be bu ilt by making
them with several separate lenses, or elements. A multiple-element lens has from two to
nine separate lenses. Some elements are cemented together, and some have a gap
between them. Further more, the elements are often made o f d ifferent kinds of glass, each
with a different ability to bend light r ays. Some of the elements are there just for
co rrecting problems caused by the other elements! The results are worth it, though:
pictures can be taken in many different light conditio ns, and they have a sharpness you
can almost feel.
34. The word it in the first paragraph refers to:
35. The wor d distorted in the fourth paragraph means:
a. Out of a proper or natural relation
b. Clean and in shape
c. Purified, as one
36. In what ways does an image suffer if too large an area of the spherical lens is
The edges of the image beco me fuzzy a.
b. Too much lig ht is admitted
c. Too little light is admitted
d. Colors change
37. What is the main disadvantage o f a simple lens that is made sharp by using just
a. With less light-gathering power, the lens is utterly useless.
b. With less lig ht-gathering power, the lens is useful only in br ig ht lig ht.
c. With more light-gathering power, the lens is useful only in dim light.
d. With more light-gathering power, the lens is utterly useless.
38. The wor d sharpest in the third paragraph is closest in meaning to:
a. Having clear fo rm and detail
b. Terminating in an edge o r a point
c. Intellectually penetrating; astute
d. Having a thin edge or a fine point suitable for or capable o f cutting or
39. The wor d it in the fourth paragraph refers to:
a. Glass lens
c. Simple lens
a. Flat film
40. The wor d sensitive in the seco nd paragraph could best be replaced by the word:
41. The wor d ability in the sixth paragraph co uld best be replaced by the wo rd:
42. The meaning of the word solution as used in the fifth paragraph is closest in
a. A homogeneo us mixture of two or more substances, which may be so lids,
liqu ids, gases, or a combination of these
b. The answer to or dispositio n o f a problem
c. The state of being d issolved
d. Release; deliverance; discharge
43. What is the minimum number of lenses in multiple-element lens?
d. Twenty- nine
44. The wor d fuzzy in the fourth paragraph means:
45. The wo rd admitted in the sixth paragraph is closest in meaning to :
a. To permit to enter
b. To have room for; accommodate
c. To grant to be real, valid, or true; acknowledge
d. To make acknowledgment