SLEP Prep – Reading

 Finding the Main Idea

 1.        Several remedies for too much sun can be made right in your kitchen.  For instance you can soothe a case of sunburn by spreading plain yogurt over the burnt area for ten minutes.  Or you can sit in cool bath water to which you have added a cup of vinegar or baking soda.  If your eyes have been irritated by the sun, cover them for five minutes with chilled tea bags or cotton soaked in milk.

 What’s the main idea?

        A.     Using yogurt to soothe sunburn
  B.      Remedies for sunburn
  C.      Remedies

 2.        It’s well known that trees provide shade, beauty, and wind protection, but there are also two lesser-known benefits of trees.  First, trees clean the air.  Their leaves actually filter out pollution in the air.  One large sugar maple, for example, can remove as much pollution as is put in the air by cars burning a thousand gallons of gas.  The second lesser-known benefit of trees is that they reduce stress.  Experiments show that people relax more when shown scenes with trees than when shown city scenes without natural greenery.

 What’s the main idea?

         A.     Nature
   B.      Benefits of trees
   C.      Anti-stress benefit of trees

 3.        People who are addicted to shopping have a high need for excitement and a low self-esteem.  There seem to be two types of addicted shoppers.  one is the daily shopper, who cannot miss a single day at the stores.  The other is the binge buyer, who goes shopping weekly to buy huge numbers of things.

 What’s the main idea?

      A.     Addicts
B.      Shopping addicts
C.      The binge buyer

 4.        There are two main causes of headaches.  Research shows that most headaches result from muscle tension.  And the most common reason for that muscle tension is continuing stress.  Headaches can also be caused by changes in the supply of blood to the head.  Such changes are often reaction to pollen and food chemicals.

 What’s the main idea?

          A.     Headaches
    B.      Pain
    C.      Muscle tension as a cause of headaches

 5.        Researchers who do surveys depend on what people tell them.  People, however, sometimes lie to surveyors.  In one survey, for instance, people were asked if they used seat belts.  Later, researchers checked to see how many people really did use their seat belts.  It turned out that almost 40 percent of those who said they buckled up did not.  Also, researchers once asked people about their smoking habits.  Then they tested the people’s saliva to find a chemical that is found in the mouths of smokers.  The tests showed that 6 percent of the women and 8 percent of the men had lied about smoking.

 What’s the main idea?

      A.     People who are surveyed
B.      People who are surveyed about smoking
C.      Research studies

 Supporting Details

The topic sentence of each of the following paragraphs is boldfaced.  Locate the number of the one sentence in each paragraph that does not support the main idea.  Read the entire paragraph before making your decision.

 1.  1Local clubs needing to make money can do so in many ways.  2For instance, a baked-goods sale usually attracts many customers.  3A yard sale is also a good choice as it lets clubs offer a broad selection of items at discount prices.  4A talent show will let members show off their talents and provide the audience with a fun time.  5And remember, local clubs should not exclude members on the basis of sex.

 The sentence that does not support the main idea:  ______

2.  1If you take brisk walks for exercise, there are important guidelines you should follow.  2Your clothes should be comfortable and appropriate for the weather.  3You should walk in a safe location, away from traffic.  4Walking has become a popular activity, especially for older people.  5Finally, your shoes should fit properly and be right for the surface you will be walking on.

 The sentence that does not support the main idea:  ______

3.  1Personal computers are a helpful tool for the successful college student.  2Organizing notes can be done quickly on a personal computer.  3Computers have come down in price in recent years.  4Preparing essays and term papers is easier with a personal computer.  5Math and accounting projects take less time when a personal computer is used.

 The sentence that does not support the main idea:  ______

 4.  1There are important safety rules on commercial airplanes.  2Unfortunately, many passengers pay no attention to the rules.  3Seat belts must be securely fastened.  4Tray tables must be locked, and seat backs must be in an upright position.  5If an oxygen mask appears, it must be placed over the face and fastened behind the head.

 The sentence that does not support the main idea:  ______

  5.  1Telephones have changed from relatively simple instruments to electronic wonders that make life easier.  2For example, with “call-forwarding,” we don’t’ have to be home to receive a call.  3Portable phones let people talk with each other from such places as golf courses and fishing boats.  4Phones also come in a wide variety of colors and shapes.  5Thanks to cellular phones, we can even talk to people from our automobiles.

 The sentence that does not support the main idea:  ______

 Reading Questions

 A.      1A government study has shown that illiteracy leads to a life of crime.  2Therefore, a new prison program encourages prisoners to improve their reading.  3Incoming prisoners are given a reading test.  4Those who cannot read at an acceptable level are given classes to raise their reading ability at least to the eighth-grade level.  5Inmates who refuse to participate have privileges taken away.  6Prisoners who participate in the program are given the best prison jobs.  7Those who pass the test are encouraged to enroll in college classes.

 

  1. TRUE   FALSE    Incoming prisoners are tested to find out how well they read.
  2. The answer to question 1 can be found in sentence
    1. 1
    2. 3
    3. 4
    4. 7
  3. Most prisoners refuse to participate in the reading program.
    This idea is:
    1. true according to the paragraph
    2. false according to the paragraph
    3. not mentioned in the paragraph
  4. Prisoners who participate in the program are given
    1. the best jobs at the prison
    2. more free time to do what they want
    3. an early release
  5. Incoming prisoners who pass the reading test are encouraged to
    1. earn more privileges
    2. take college classes
    3. teach fellow prisoners

 B.       1There are many causes of polluted air, which is a health hazard to humans, animals, and plants.  2Pollution from the smokestacks of industries that burn high-sulfur coal causes acid rain, which kills trees and lakes.  3Auto exhausts dirties our air with chemicals.  4Even refrigerators and air conditioners contribute to pollution.  5They leak chemicals that destroy Earth’s ozone layer. 6This lets in harmful rays from the sun, which increases the risk of skin cancer. 

 

  1. TRUE   FALSE    Auto exhaust includes chemicals that dirty the air.
  2. The answer to question 6 can be found in sentence
    1. 2
    2. 3
    3. 5
    4. 6
  3. Auto exhaust is the worst polluter of all. This idea is
    1. true according to the paragraph
    2. false according to the paragraph
    3. not mentioned in the paragraph
  4. Refrigerators leak
    1. high-sulfur coal fumes
    2. they harmful rays
    3. chemicals that destroy the ozone layer
  5. Circle the letter of the missing detail:  Destruction of the ozone layer lets in _____ that increase the risk of skin cancer.
    1. dirty air
    2. chemicals
    3. harmful rays from the sun

 Reading Questions

 C.       1High tension jobs have made stress a fact of life for many Americans.  2People use various activities to combat stress.  3Some turn to alcohol, thinking it will relax them.  4For others, sports such as tennis and golf help to release the tension which has built up.  5Still others opt for a little “quiet time,” in which they do things like meditate or take a long hot bath.  6And then there are those who have discovered that a deep massage will relax muscles and refresh the mind and spirit.

 

  1. TRUE   FALSE    Some people believe that alcohol is relaxing.
  2. The answer to question 11 can be found in sentence
    1. 3
    2. 4
    3. 5
    4. 6
  3.  Some people use sports to combat stress. This idea is:
    1. true according to the paragraph
    2. false according to the paragraph
    3. not mentioned in the paragraph
  4. Circle the letter of the missing detail:  According to the paragraph, _____ will relax muscles and refresh the mind and spirit.
    1. alcohol
    2. a hot bath
    3. a deep massage
  5. Quiet activities used to relieve stress include
    1. meditation
    2. a long hot bath
    3. both of the above

 D.      1The economy alternates between “good times: and bad times.”  2Following certain financial guidelines can help people get through bad economic times.  3Drawing up a budget and sticking to it is a big help.  4Paying credit card bills in full will keep debts low.  5Putting aside emergency cash to cover at least three months’ expenses will also help.  6This emergency money should be in a place where it can be reached quickly, like a bank account.  7Finally, having a “crisis borrowing plan” is wise.  8Such a plan could involve borrowing money from a relative or opening a home-equity line of credit.

 

  1. TRUE   FALSE    According to the author, paying credit card bills in full each month can help during bad economic times.
  2. The answer to question 16 can be found in sentence
    1. 2
    2. 3
    3. 4
    4. 5
  3. The country is now going through difficult economic times. This idea is:
    1. true according to the paragraph
    2. false according to the paragraph
    3. not mentioned in the paragraph
  4. Emergency cash should be available to cover
    1. credit card expenses
    2. at least three months’ expenses
    3. the possibility that relatives may want to borrow money
  5. Opening a home-equity line of credit, according to the passage, would
    1. provide emergency cash for at least three months’ expenses.
    2. be part of a “crisis borrowing plan.”
    3. be a first step toward fixing up a home.

 More Supporting Details

 A.      In any high school, almost every student belongs to one of the three subcultures.  One subculture is the delinquent group, the least popular of the subcultures members of this group hate school, the faculty, and any other authority figures.  The next step on the ladder of popularity is the academic subculture.  Hard-working students who value their education belong to this group.  The third subculture is the most popular – the fun subculture.  Looks, clothes, cars, dates and social status are what interest members of this group.

 Heading:  ______________________________

List of major details:

1.  ____________________________________
2.  ____________________________________
3.  ____________________________________

 B.       Various types of remedies have been developed for snoring.  One common type of remedy tries to keep people from sleeping on their backs, the usual position for snoring.  Such remedies include gadgets like the “snore ball whistle,” a rubber ball clipped to the seat of the snorer’s pajamas.  The ball whistles when the snorer rolls onto his or her back.  There are also various anti-snoring chin straps.  They are based on the fact that people can’t snore if they don’t open their mouths.  A third, less common remedy is surgery.  That works only in the rare cases where the snoring is caused by growths of tissue in the sinus area.

 Heading:  ______________________________

List of major details:

1.  ____________________________________
2.  ____________________________________
3.  ____________________________________

 C.       Although smoking cigarettes is never healthy, there are three ways to reduce the risk involved.  First of all, switch to a low-tar and low-nicotine brand.  Some cigarettes have twice as much of these dangerous ingredients as others.  Secondly, allow less smoke to enter your lungs.  Instead of inhaling deeply, take short, shallow puffs of the cigarette.  And finally, put out the cigarette when it’s half gone.  The last half of each cigarette contains 60 percent of its tar and nicotine.

Heading:  ______________________________

List of major details:

1.  ____________________________________
2.  ____________________________________
3.  ____________________________________

D.      You will do better on tests if you follow a few simple suggestions.  First, study experts say that slow and steady preparation for exams is best.  Cramming the night before is less effective and more stressful.  Another helpful method is to arrive early for a test.  It’s calming to have a few minutes to sit down in the classroom, collect your thoughts and find a pen or pencil.  Third, once the test begins, answer the easier questions first.  Then go back and tackle the hard ones.  Finally, you will do better on essay questions if you make a brief outline before beginning to write.

Heading:  ______________________________

List of major details:

1.  ____________________________________
2.  ____________________________________
3.  ____________________________________
4.  ____________________________________

Inferences

         In 1892, Lizzy Borden’s parents were found brutally murdered.  They had been hacked to death, as if with an axe.  But did their accused daughter Lizzy really do it?  Lizzy Borden herself testified that she had bought a small axe just two days before the crime.  And she was caught burning a dress that was stained with blood.  In spite of this evidence, the jury found Lizzy innocent.

 1.  The passage suggests that Lizzy Borden

        a.  hated her parents
       
b.  killed her parents
       
c.  might have killed her parents

 2.  We can assume that the bloodstained dress

        a.  was something that Lizzy did not want to keep
        b.  had belonged to Lizzy
        c.  was worn by Lizzy on the day her parents died

 3.  We can infer that

        a.  the jury was sure Lizzy was innocent
       
b.  the jury was sure Lizzy was guilty
        c.  the jury felt there wasn’t enough evidence against Lizzy to convict her

      

Read the sentences below and put a check by the two inferences that are most strongly supported by the information in the passage, logic, and your experience.

 1.  This morning, our cat was waiting at our doorstep.  He was purring.  Next to him was a dead mouse.

        _____  a.  The cat had caught the mouse.
       
_____  b.  There are mice in the house.
       
_____  c.  The cat was pleased with what he had done.
       
_____  d.  The speaker will no longer let the cat outside.

 2.  Recently, a well-known mall store chained all its coats and jackets to the racks.  To try one on, a customer has to ask a clerk to unlock it.  Also, a security guard is posted just inside the doorway.

        _____  a.  Other stores in the mall have also chained their coats and jackets to racks.
       
_____  b.  The store is trying to discourage shoplifters.
       
_____  c.  The coats and jackets are valuable.
       
_____  d.  The mall store is in a poor neighborhood.

 3.  At 3:00, Curtis stomped into his office and slammed the door.  A few minutes later, he pulled open all the drawers of his desk and started tossing their contents into a empty carton.  At 3:15, he marched out of the office, carrying the carton.  “You can send my final check to my home address,” he yelled to the secretary on his way out the door.

        _____  a.  Curtis has been fired.
       
_____  b.  Curtis will be moving to a better office.
       
_____  c.  Curtis is upset.
       
_____  d.  Curtis does not plan to return to his office.

2.  A recent survey of 1,000 business people revealed that 89% take work home with them.  In addition, 85% work more than 45 hours a week, and 65% work more than one weekend a month.  According to the survey, 81% of these people suffer from stress, and 48% feel stress every day.

        _____  a.  Nobody works harder than people in business.
       
_____  b.  A business career can be demanding.
       
_____  c.  Careers in business often involve a lot of stress.
       
_____  d.  Business people can handle stress better than other people.

More Inferences

 A.      A US District Court judge recently was listening to the closing arguments in a felony trial when his usual court clerk noticed something strange.  The judge was furiously writing on a legal pad.  When the arguments ended and the judge called for a recess, the curious clerk looked to see what the judge had written.  Scribble repeatedly on the pad were the words “Don’t go to sleep  You must not go to sleep!”  When the clerk entered the judge’s chambers, she found him asleep on the couch.

     1.  We can infer that

        a.  the judge was old
       
b.  the judge had a sleeping disorder
       
c.  the judge was trying hard not to fall asleep in court

2.  We can also infer that

        a.  the judge was bored by the trial’s proceedings
       
b.  the judge did not normally write such comments during a trial
       
c.  the judge was embarrassed when the court clerk entered his chambers

 B.       People whose noses run during a romantic embrace shouldn’t worry that they are allergic to their true love.  Researchers say that it is perfectly normal for men and women to get a stuffed or runny nose during passionate moments.  The congestion is caused by changes in hormones that can occur during  pleasurable excitement.  Such changes can happen at any stage of life.  Men, however, are most likely to experience this condition during adolescence or old age.  This is because their hormone levels are in a state of change during those times.  For the same reason, women are especially prone to romance-related stuffy noses during pregnancy.

     1.  We can assume that

        a.  in most people, hormone levels remain constant
       
b.  our hormone levels vary, especially at certain times in our lives
       
c.  changes in hormones are more drastic in men than in women

2.  We can infer that
       
a.  if we get runny noses during romantic activities, we must stop what we are doing
       
b.  hormones influence our noses
       
c.  it is easier to catch a cold when passionate than during any other activity

3.  The passage suggests that

        a.  everyone experiences a runny nose during passion in some time in his or her life
       
b.  men should not engage in romantic embraces during adolescence or old age
        c.  a runny nose during passion can happen to anyone

       

Read the sentences below and put a check by the two inferences that are most strongly supported by the information in the passage, logic, and your experience.

 1.  One of Japan’s greatest delicacies can also kill you.  The blowfish, prized for its delicious and tender flesh, also contains a quick paralyzing poison.  In Japan, a the blowfish is never served unless it is prepared by specially trained and licensed chefs who know how to remove all of the poison.  Even so, the only way to know if all of the poison has been removed is to see if the diner survives.

                _____  a.  Eating a blowfish can be dangerous.
               
_____  b.  The blowfish is the most poisonous fish in Japan.
               
_____  c.  The blowfish should be prepared only by specialists.
               
_____  d.  Many people die soon after eating a blowfish.

2.  Lightning doesn’t always strike outdoors.  In fact, people can be killed inside their homes.  Lightning can come in through an open window or door and then bounce around a room until it finds a way outside again.  Also, any appliance which conducts electricity can act as a magnet for dangerous lightning.  Lightning can even be conducted through telephone wires and electrocute a person talking on the phone.

                _____  a.  Nothing is more dangerous than lightning.
               
_____  b.  A lightning storm can be harmful whether you are inside or outside.
               
_____ c.  Lightning has killed more people using electrical appliances than people talking
                                 on the phone.
               
_____  d.  During a lightning storm, it is safer not to use the telephone or electrical appliances.

 Patterns of Organization

 1.  There are adventurous outdoor sports to appeal to almost anyone.  For example, one such sport, hiking, can be done by just about anyone.  Another, mountain biking, can be enjoyed by entire families.  Yet another, mountain climbing, calls for participants who have good powers of concentration and are in excellent shape.

The paragraph’s main pattern of organization
a.  list of items
b.  time order
c.  cause and effect

2.  A Los Angeles lawyer named Steve is happy about the one time he didn’t go to court.  On a cross-country flight, the movie came on.  He reached into his carry-on bag and pulled out a set of headphones.  He was told by a flight attendant that he could not use them.  The flight attendant said that he had to “rent” the airline’s headphones.  The lawyer insisted this was not fair and continued to watch the movie with his own headphones.  When the plane landed, airport police arrested him and charged him with “theft of the movie’s soundtrack.”  The lawyer was detained briefly, then released.  The case was turned over to the local district attorney, who decided not to prosecute.

The paragraph’s main pattern of organization:
a.  time order
b.  list of items
c.  comparison and/or contrast

 3.  Many people without a job must do without life’s necessities.  So it is no surprise that being unemployed can have harmful effects on health.  In poor countries especially, unemployment may mean having little or no medical care.  Also, the experience of unemployment itself can affect one’s health.  Studies have shown anxiety and depression can result from the loss of a job.  Alcohol and tranquilizer abuse increase with unemployment.  One study showed that when unemployment rises, the death rate for heart disease also rises.

The paragraph’s main pattern of organization:
a.  time order
b.  comparison and/or contrast
c.  cause and effect

 4.  A mutant is a plant or animal that has brand-new characteristics.  It can be the beginning of an entirely new group of plants or animals.  For instance, a mutant – a dwarf orange cauliflower – was recently found in a field of normal white cauliflower.  The mutant was crossed with a regular-sized cauliflower to produce a new vegetable – a full-sized orange cauliflower.

The paragraph’s main pattern of organization:
a.  list of items
b.  time order
c.  definition and example

 5.  A recent survey indicated that the cities which are growing fastest are the least pleasant to live in.  Lagos, Nigeria; Lima, Peru; and Mexico City, Mexico are among the fastest-growing cities in the world.  They are growing so fast that the quality of life there has suffered.  In contrast, cities such as Melbourne, Australia; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Seattle, Washington are growing at a much slower pace.  They are considered to be among the most livable cities in the world.

The paragraph’s main pattern of organization:
a.  timer order
b.  comparison and/or contrast
c.  definition and example