Comprehension practice exercise for SSC CGL

Comprehension practice exercise for SSC CGL

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     Topic Relted Posts

     English Topics

  1. Pronoun
  2. Voice
  3. Verb
  4. Tag
  5. Nonfinite Verb
  6. Narration
  7. Conjunction
  8. Article
  9. Adverb
  10. Noun
  11. Degree
  12. Case
  13. Adjective
  14. A to Z idioms book PDF for SSC PDF Download
  15. One Word Substitution in for SSC PDF Download
  16. Word meaning for SSC PDF Download
  17. Important Synonyms Words PDF Download
  18. SSC – Antonymous PDF – Previous year Download
  19. SSC All previous year Idioms and Phrases PDF Download
  20. Common Errors in Spoken English

Reading Comprehension Passages With Questions and Answers


Questions 1 through 7 refer to the following passage:
In the 16th 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 by 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 50 degrees S latitude. Magellan named this passage the Strait of All Saints, but today it is known 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 now known as the International Date Line in the early spring of 1521 after 98 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 17 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.

1. The 16th century was an age of great ______ exploration.
common man
None of the above
2. Magellan lost the favor of the king of Portugal when he became involved in a political ________.
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.
north and south
south east
north and west

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4. One of Magellan’s ships explored the _________ of South America for a passage across the continent.
mountain range
physical features
None of the above
5. Four of the ships sought a passage along a southern ______.
body of land with water on three sides
Answer not available
6. The passage was found near 50 degrees S of ________.
The equator
7. In the spring of 1521, the ships crossed the _______ now called the International Date Line.
imaginary circle passing through the poles
imaginary line parallel to the equator
land mass
Answer not available

The following passage refers to questions 8 through 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 an 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.

8. The Curies’ _________ collaboration helped to unlock the secrets of the atom.
9. Marie had a bright mind and a ______ personality.

10. When she learned that she could not attend the university in Warsaw, she felt _________.
None of the above
11. Marie _________ by leaving Poland and traveling to France to enter the Sorbonne.
challenged authority
showed intelligence
was distressed
Answer not available
12. _________ she remembered their joy together.
13. Her _________ began to fade when she returned to the Sorbonne to succeed her husband.
14. Even though she became fatally ill from working with radium, Marie Curie was never _________.

The following passage refers to questions 15 through 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 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 sulfuric 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 an animal specimen, scientists 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 everyone 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 other cities and cultures.

15. Herculaneum and its harbor were buried under _________ lava.
Answer not available
16. The poisonous gases were not _________ in the air.
able to float
able to evaporate
able to condense
17. Scientists analyzed data about Vesuvius in the same way that a zoologist _________ a specimen.
describes in detail
studies by cutting apart
Answer not available


Answers & Explanations
1. B“Terrestrial” means land. No choice here offers a synonym for “marine,” e.g. nautical/naval/water/seagoing, and no other choices match either marine or terrestrial.

2. A
“Quagmire” means literally a bog or marsh, and figuratively an involved situation difficult to escape; entanglement is a synonym, more specifically similar than the other choices.

3. A
Longitudes are imaginary geographical lines running north and south. Latitudes run east and west. The other choices do not equal either latitude or longitude in direction.

4. C
Topography means the physical features of a land mass. It does not mean coastline (A), mountain range (B), or islands (D).

5. C
A peninsula is a piece of land connected to the mainland by an isthmus and projecting into the ocean such that it is surrounded on three sides by water. A peninsula is not a coast (A); it is not found inland (B); and it is not a border (D).

6. B
The passage was found near 50 degrees S latitude. Latitudes are measured horizontally, in relation to the equator or central imaginary line, equidistant between the North and South Poles. Longitudes are measured vertically. Greenwich (A), the location of zero degrees longitude, adopted as the global standard, is both incorrect and never named in the passage. Spain (C), Portugal (D), and Madrid (E) in Spain are also incorrect.

7. A
Meridians are imaginary geographical circles intersecting the poles. Imaginary lines parallel to the equator (B) are latitudes. The International Date Line is a specific meridian, not an area (C). It is not a land mass (D) as it crosses both water and land.

8. A
“Amicable” means friendly. It does not mean competitive (B), i.e. oppositional, ambitious, or aggressive; courteous (C), i.e. polite; industrious (D), i.e. hard-working; or chemistry (E): their collaboration was in physics, but moreover, the passage specifically describes their collaboration as “amicable.”

9. B
“Blithe” means light-hearted. It does not mean strong (A), humorous (B) or funny; strange (D), or envious (E).

10. B
“Disgruntled” means annoyed. It does not mean hopeless (A), depressed (C), or worried (D).

11. A
Marie challenged authority by going to study at the Sorbonne, because Warsaw’s university did not admit women. The passage indicates this challenge by describing her “defiantly” leaving Poland for France; i.e., she was defying authority. The passage does not indicate she showed intelligence (B), “behaved” (C), or was distressed (D) or upset by her move.

12. A
A synonym for “despondently” is “dejectedly,” meaning sadly, with despair or depression. The passage indicates this by describing Curie’s emotional state as one of “heartbreaking anguish” over her husband’s sudden accidental death. She is not described in this passage as worried (B) by her memories, or recalling them tearfully (C), happily (D), or irefully (E), i.e. angrily.

13. C
The closest synonym for the “feeling of desolation” (despair) described in the passage is wretchedness. Misfortune (A) or ill fate/luck is not as close. Anger (B) is a separate emotion from desolation. Disappointment (D) is also different from desolation, meaning feeling let-down rather than hopeless. Ambition (E) is drive to succeed or accomplish things. It was not Curie’s ambition that faded upon returning to the Sorbonne but her depression.

14. C
“Disillusioned” means disappointed. It does not mean troubled (A), i.e. concerned or disturbed; worried (B) or anxious; sorrowful (D) or sad; or disturbed (E).

15. B
“Coagulated” means solidified. Liquid (A) is an opposite of solid. Flowing (C) assumes a liquid, not solid, state. Gas (D) is another opposite of solid. (Three states of matter, like volcanic material, are liquid, solid, and gaseous.)

16. A
“Buoyant” means able to float. The passage indicates this by indicating that the gases therefore, sank toward earth and suffocated people. Buoyant does not mean visible (B) or possible to see. Able to float/buoyant does not mean able to evaporate (C). Evaporation means turning to vapor, which only liquids can do. Gases are already vapors. Buoyant does not mean invisible (D) or unseen. Able to float does not mean able to condense (E), i.e. turn from vapor to liquid.

17. B
“Dissect” means to cut apart for study. It does not mean to describe in detail (A), to photograph (C), or to chart (D) a specimen.

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