Practice Questions on Reading Comprehension
Verbal Test Questions and Answers

Common Information

Although European decisions during the 16th and 17th centuries to explore, trade with, and colonize large portions of the world brought tremendous economic wealth and vast geographic influence, the enormous success of European maritime ventures during the age of exploration also engendered a litany of unintended consequences for most of the nations with which Europe interacted. Due to their incredible military force, religious zeal, and uncompromising goal of profit, Europeans often imposed their traditions, values, and customs on the people with whom they traded. They frequently acted without regard to the long-term welfare of others as their principal concern was short-term economic gain. Since many nations that traded with Europe placed high value on their historical customs, some natives became deeply disconcerted by the changes that occurred as a result of European power. These factors, coupled with perennial domestic political instability, caused numerous countries to grow increasingly resistant to European influence.

One potent example of this ideological shift can be seen in the actions of the Tokugawa government of Japan. In its Seclusion Edict of 1636, the government attempted to extricate cultural interactions with Europe from the intimate fabric of Japanese society. The Edict attempted to accomplish this by focusing on three areas. First, it sought to curb cultural exchange by eliminating people bringing European ideas into Japan. The Edict stated, "Japanese ships shall by no means be sent abroad….All Japanese residing abroad shall be put to death when they return home." Second, the Edict focused on limiting trade. Articles 11 through 17 of the Edictimposed stringent regulations on trade and commerce. Third, the government banned Christianity, which it saw as an import from Europe that challenged the long-established and well-enshrined religious traditions of Japan. The government went to considerable lengths to protect its culture. Article eight of the Edict stated, "Even ships shall not be left untouched in the matter of exterminating Christians."

With the example of Japan and the examples of other countries that chose a different response to European influence, it is perhaps not too far of a stretch to conclude that Japan made the right decision in pursuing a path of relative isolationism. As history unfolded during the next 400 years, in general, countries that embraced European hegemony, whether by choice or by force, tended to suffer from pernicious wealth inequality, perennial political instability, and protracted underdevelopment.

Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 6

Q6.

Common Information Question: 6/7

According to the passage, the Japanese government took all of the following actions in an attempt to protect Japanese culture and way of life EXCEPT:

A.

Prohibit Japanese from visiting other countries, even to see family

B.

Execute Japanese citizens who settled in other countries but later decided to return to Japan

C.

Heavily regulate foreign economic trade

D.

Destroy all remnants of Christianity

E.

Prohibit criticism of the feudal shogun system of government

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Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 7

Q7.

Common Information Question: 7/7

The primary purpose of the above given passage is to:

A.

Explain the actions of the Tokugawa government of Japan

B.

Compare the results of countries that pursued protectionism with those that pursued globalization

C.

Explore the consequences of some European trade and exploration along with analysing a country’s response to it

D.

Argue for the success of European trade as a means to create wealth and exert influence

E.

Elucidate the root of frustration with European imperialism

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Common Information

Alexander Pope was born an only child to Alexander and Edith Pope in the spring of 1688. The elder Pope, a linen-draper and recent convert to Catholicism, soon moved his family from London to Binfield, Berkshire in the face of repressive, anti-Catholic legislation from Parliament. Described by his biographer, John Spence, as "a child of a particularly sweet temper," and with a voice so melodious as to be nicknamed the "Little Nightingale," the child Pope bears little resemblance to the irascible and outspoken moralist of the later poems. Though barred from attending public school or university because of his religion, Pope was eager to achieve and hence, largely self-educated. He taught himself French, Italian, Latin, and Greek, and read widely, discovering Homer at the precocious age of six.

At twelve, Pope composed his earliest extant work, Ode to Solitude; the same year saw the onset of the debilitating bone deformity that plagued Pope until the end of his life. Originally attributed to the severity of his studies, the illness is now commonly accepted as Pott’s disease, a form of tuberculosis affecting the spine that stunted his growth—Pope’s height never exceeded four and a half feet—and rendered him hunchbacked, asthmatic, frail, and prone to violent headaches. His physical appearance made him an easy target for his many literary enemies in later years, who referred to the poet as a "hump-backed toad." Pope’s Pastorals, which he claimed to have written at sixteen, were published in Jacob Tonson’s Poetical Miscellanies of 1710 and brought him swift recognition. An Essay on Criticism, published anonymously the year after, established the heroic couplet as Pope’s principal measure. It included the famous line "a little learning is a dangerous thing." The poem was said to be a response to an on-going debate on the question of whether poetry should be natural, or written according to predetermined artificial rules inherited from the classical past. It attracted the attention of Jonathan Swift and John Gay, who became Pope’s lifelong friends and collaborators. Together they formed the Scriblerus Club, a congregation of writers endeavouring to satirize ignorance and poor taste through the invented figure of Martinus Scriblerus, who served as a precursor to the dunces in Pope’s late masterpiece, the Dunciad.

1712 saw the first appearance of the The Rape of the Lock, Pope’s best-known work and the one that secured his fame. Its mundane subject—the true account of a squabble between two prominent Catholic families over the theft of a lock of hair—is transformed by Pope into a mock-heroic send-up of classical epic poetry. It originated from a quarrel between two families with whom Pope was acquainted. The cause was not very small − the 7th Lord Petre cut off a lock of Miss Arabella Fermor’s hair, and kept it as a trophy. Although Pope did not admit it, the title of the work was most likely influenced by Alessandro Tassoni’s mock-epic The Rape of the Bucket, from 1622.

Turning from satire to scholarship, Pope in 1713 began work on his six-volume translation of Homer’s Iliad. He arranged for the work to be available by subscription, with a single volume being released each year for six years, a model that garnered Pope enough money to be able to live off his work alone, one of the few English poets in history to have been able to do so.

In 1719, following the death of his father, Pope moved to an estate at Twickenham, where he lived for the remainder of his life. Here he constructed his famous grotto. The celebrated grotto was, in fact, an imaginative method of linking the riverside gardens with the gardens which lay on the other side of the road leading from Twickenham to Teddington. Encouraged by the success of the Iliad, Pope went on to translate the Odyssey— which he brought out under the same subscription model as the Iliad—and to compile a heavily-criticized edition of Shakespeare, in which Pope "corrected" the Bard’s meter and made several alterations to the text, while leaving corruptions in earlier editions intact.

In addition to his translation of the "Odyssey," which he completed with Broome and Fenton in 1726, Pope published "Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady" and the "Epistle of Eloïsa to Abelard" in 1717. Also, in 1725, he published an annotated edition of William Shakespeare.

Other works include: "Essay on Man" (1715),"Epistles" (1732- 34), four "Moral Essays," and other epistles, all of which explore the philosophy and metaphysics. Pope’s uprightness had everything to do with his artistic merit. He wrote satire in the service of virtue – not simply self-defence.

Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 8

Q8.

Common Information Question: 1/7

As per passage, which of the following can be said true about Pott’s disease?

A.

The 18th-century English poet Alexander Pope died as a result of Pott’s disease.

B.

It is tuberculosis of spine and causes abnormal backward curvature of the same resulting in a hunchback.

C.

It is an abnormal backward curvature of the spine and causes weight loss resulting in a hunchback.

D.

Individuals suffering from Pott’s disease typically experience back pain, night sweats, fever, weight loss, and anorexia.

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Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 9

Q9.

Common Information Question: 2/7

As per passage, which of the following lists all the works by Alexander Pope?

A.

Ode to Solitude, Pope’s Pastorals, An Essay on Criticism, Dunciad, The Rape of the Lock, translation of Iliad, translation of Odyssey, Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady, Epistle of Eloïsa to Abelard, Essay on Man, Epistles, and Moral Essays.

B.

Ode to Solitude, Poetical Miscellanies, An Essay on Criticism, Dunciad, The Rape of the Lock, translation of Homers Iliad and the Odyssey, Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady, Epistle of Eloïsa to Abelard, Essay on Man, Epistles, and Moral Essays.

C.

Ode to Solitude, Pope’s Pastorals, An Essay on Criticism, Dunciad, The Rape of the Lock, The Rape of the Bucket, translation of Iliad, translation of Odyssey, Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady, Epistle of Eloïsa to Abelard, Essay on Man, Epistles, and Moral Essays.

D.

Ode to Solitude, Pope’s Pastorals, An Essay on Criticism, Dunciad, The Rape of the Lock, The Rape of the Bucket, translation of Iliad, translation of Odyssey, Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady, Essay on Man, Epistles, and Moral Essays.

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Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 10

Q10.

Common Information Question: 3/7

Which of the following can be assumed as a valid reason for Pope to write the poem - "The Rape of the Lock"?

A.

He wished to patch up a bitter public feud which had broken out between two well-known families.

B.

He wished to present a true account of a squabble between two prominent Catholic families over the theft of a lock of hair.

C.

He wished to present a neat paradox: to persuade us that he’s an independent thinker and a man of moral integrity.

D.

Cannot be determined from the passage.

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