Practice Questions on Reading Comprehension
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Common Information

We now come to the second part of our journey under the sea. The first ended with the moving scene in the coral cemetery which left a deep impression on my mind. I could no longer content myself with the theory which satisfied Conseil. That worthy fellow persisted in seeing in the Commander of the Nautilus one of those unknown servants who return mankind contempt for indifference. For him, he was a misunderstood genius who, tired of earth’s deceptions, had taken refuge in this inaccessible medium, where he might follow his instincts freely. To my mind, this explains but one side of Captain Nemo’s character. Indeed, the mystery of that last night during which we had been chained in prison, the sleep, and the precaution so violently taken by the Captain of snatching from my eyes the glass I had raised to sweep the horizon, the mortal would of the man, due to an unaccountable shock of the Nautilus, all put me on a new track. No; Captain Nemo was not satisfied with shunning man. His formidable apparatus not only suited his instinct of freedom, but perhaps also the design of some terrible retaliation.

That day, at noon, the second officer came to take the altitude of the sun. I mounted the platform, and watched the operation. As he was taking observations with the sextant, one of the sailors of the Nautilus (the strong man who had accompanied us on our first submarine excursion to the Island of Crespo) came to clean the glasses of the lantern. I examined the fittings of the apparatus, the strength of which was increased a hundredfold by lenticular rings, placed similar to those in a lighthouse, and which projected their brilliance in a horizontal plane. The electric lamp was combined in such a way as to give its most powerful light. Indeed, it was produced in vacuo, which insured both its steadiness and its intensity. This vacuum economised the graphite points between which the luminous are was developed – an important point of economy for Captain Nemo, who could not easily have replaced them; and under these conditions their waste was imperceptible. When the Nautilus was ready to continue its submarine journey, I went down to the saloon. The panel was closed, and the course marked direct west.

We were furrowing the waters of the Indian Ocean, a vast liquid plain, with a surface of 1, 200,000,000 of acres, and whose waters are so clear and transparent that any one leaning over them would turn giddy. The Nautilus usually floated between fifty and a hundred fathoms deep. We went on so for some days. To anyone but myself, who had a great love for the sea, the hours would have seemed long and monotonous; but the daily walks on the platform, when I steeped myself in the reviving air of the ocean, the sight of the rich waters through the windows of the saloon, the books in the library, the compiling of my memoirs, took up all my time, and left me not a moment of ennui or weariness.

From the 21st to the 23rd of January the Nautilus went at the rate of two hundred and fifty leagues in twenty-four hours, being five hundred and forty miles, or twenty-two miles an hours. If we recognized so many different varieties of fish, it was because, attracted by the electric light, they tried to follow us; the greater part, however, were soon distanced by our speed, though some kept their place in the waters of the Nautilus for a time. The morning of the 24th, we observed Keeling Island, a coral formation, planted with magnificent cocoas, and which had been visited by Mr. Darwin and Captain Fitzroy. The Nautilus skirted the shores of this desert island for a little distance. Soon Keeling Island disappeared from the horizon, and our course was directed to the north-west in the direction of the Indian Peninsula.

From Keeling Island our course was slower and more variable, often taking us into great depths. Several times they made use of the inclined planes, which certain internal levers placed obliquely to the waterline. I observed that in the upper regions the water was always colder in the high levels than at the surface of the sea. On the 25th of January the ocean was entirely deserted; the Nautilus passed the day on the surface, beating the waves with its powerful screw and making them rebound to a great height. Three parts of this day I spent on the platform. I watched the sea, nothing on the horizon, till about four o’clock a steamer running west on our counter. Her masts were visible for an instant, but she could not see the Nautilus, being too low in the water. I fancied this steamboat belonged to the P.O. Company, which runs from Ceylon to Sydney, touching at King George’s Point and Melbourne.

At five o’clock in the evening, before that fleeting twilight which binds night to day in tropical zones, Conseil and I were astonished by a curious spectacle. It was a shoal of Argonauts traveling along on the surface of the ocean. We could count several hundreds. These graceful molluscs moved backwards by means of their locomotive tube, through which they propelled the water already drawn in. Of their eight tentacles, six were elongated, and stretched out floating on the water, whilst the other two, rolled up flat, were spread to the wing like a light sail. I saw their spiral-shaped and fluted shells, which Cuvier justly compares to an elegant skiff. For nearly an hour the Nautilus floated in the midst of this shoal of molluscs.

The next day, 26th of January, we cut the equator at the eighty-second meridian and entered the northern hemisphere. During the day a formidable troop of sharks accompanied us. They were "cestracio philippi" sharks, with brown backs and whitish bellies, armed with eleven rows of teeth, their throat being marked with a large black spot surrounded with white like an eye. There were also some Isabella sharks, with rounded snouts marked with dark spots. These powerful creatures often hurled themselves at the windows of the saloon with such violence as to make us fell very insecure. But the Nautilus, accelerating her speed, easily left the most rapid of them behind.

About seven o’clock in the evening, the Nautilus, half-immersed, was sailing in a sea of milk. At first sight the ocean seemed lactified. Was it the effect of the lunar rays? No; for the moon, scarcely two days old, was still lying hidden under the horizon in the rays of the sun. The whole sky, though lit by the sidereal rays, seemed black by contrast with the whiteness of the waters. Conseil could not believe his eyes, and questioned me as to the cause of this strange phenomenon. Happily I was able to answer him.

"It is called a milk sea," I explained. "A large extent of white wavelets often to be seen on the coasts of Amboyna, and in these parts of the sea."
"But, sir," said Conseil, "can you tell me what causes such an effect? For I suppose the water is not really turned into milk."

"No, my boy’ and the whiteness which surprises you is caused only by the presence of myriads of luminous little worm, gelatinous and without colour, of the thickness of a hair, and whose length is not more than seven-thousandths of an inch. These insects adhere to one another sometimes for several leagues."

"Several leagues!" exclaimed Conseil.

"Yes, my boy; and you need not try to compute the number of these infusoria. You will not be able, for, if I am not mistaken, ships have floated on these milk seas for more than forty miles."
Towards midnight the sea suddenly resumed its usual colour; but behind us, even to the limits of the horizon, the sky reflected the whitened waves, and for a long time seemed impregnated with the vague glimmerings of an aurora borealis.

Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 31


Common Information Question: 1/4

Find the TRUE Sentence:


According to the narrator, the above-mentioned journey was taking place during full moon period.


According to Conseil, the Captain of the Nautilus in which they were traveling was really a brilliant person, a fact which had been corroborated by many people.


It is implied from the passage that although the author was witnessing many interesting events during their journey, he was not always having his way.


From the chronicle, it is understood that the Nautilus was in the vicinity of the Island of Crespo on the 25th of January.

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Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 32


Common Information Question: 2/4

Find the FALSE sentence:


After entering the Northern Hemisphere, the narrator witnessed several sea creatures, including several varieties of sharks, which kept bumping on the windows of the submarine.


On 25th January, the second officer of Nautilus came to the platform for measuring the altitude of the sun and for that purpose took observations with the sextant.


After January 24, Nautilus started traveling at a relatively reduced speed, and some of the time it was going further away from the sea-surface.


The course of Nautilus took them near the Keeling Island, which had earlier been visited by Mr. Darwin and Captain Fitzroy.

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Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 33


Common Information Question: 3/4

Match the following:

                 1. Molluscs                              i.  Colourless
                 2. Sharks                                 ii. Tentacles
                 3. Infusoria                              iii. Coco
                 4. Coral                                   iv. Snouts


1-ii, 2-iv, 3-i, 4-iii


1-iii, 2-i, 3-iv, 4-ii


1-iv, 2-iii, 3-ii, 4-i


1-iii, 2-ii, 3-iv, 4-i

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Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 34


Common Information Question: 4/4

Find the TRUE statement:


During 22nd to 24th of January, Nautilus was traveling at the rate of two hundred and fifty leagues in twenty-four hours, which means a speed of twenty-two miles an hour.


On 26th January for approximately and hour the narrator witnessed a shoal of molluscs, and he enjoyed watching their spiral-shaped and fluted shells.


On the 25th of January the narrator came across a steamboat, which was owned by P.O. Company, which travels between Ceylon to Sydney.


The electric lamp of the submarine was an example of efficiency and effective fixture

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Common Information

Turning the business around involved more than segmenting and pulling out of retail. It also meant maximizing every strength we had in order to boost our profit margins. In re-examining the direct model, we realized that inventory management was not just a core strength; it could be and incredible opportunity for us, and one that had not yet been discovered by any of competitors.

In Version 1.0 of the direct model, we eliminated the reseller, thereby eliminating the mark-up and the cost of maintaining a store. In Version 1.1, we went one step further to reduce inventory inefficiencies. Traditionally, a long chain of partners was involved in getting a product to the customer. Let’s say you have a factory building a PC we’ll call model #4000. The system is then sent to the distributor, which sends it to the warehouse, which sends it to the dealer, who eventually pushes it on to the consumer by advertising, "I’ve got model #4000. Come and buy it." If the consumer says, "But I want model #8000," the dealer replies, "Sorry, I only have model #4000." Meanwhile, the factory keeps building model #4000s and pushing the inventory into the channel.

The result is a glut of model #4000s that nobody wants. Inevitably, someone ends up with too much inventory, and you see big price corrections. The retailer can’t sell it at the suggested retail price, so the manufacturer loses money on price protection (a practice common in our industry of compensating dealers for reductions in suggested selling price). Companies with long, multi-step distribution systems will often fill their distribution channels with products in an attempt to clear out older technologies or meet their financial targets. This dangerous and inefficient practice is called "channel stuffing". Worst of all, the customer ends up paying for it by purchasing systems that are already out of date.

Because we were building directly to fill our customers’ orders, we didn’t have finished goods inventory devaluing on a daily basis. Because we aligned our suppliers to deliver components as we used them, we were able to minimize raw material inventory. Reductions in component costs could be passed on tour customers quickly, which made them happier and improved our competitive advantage. It also allowed us to deliver the latest technology to our customers faster than our competitors.

The direct model turns conventional manufacturing inside out. Conventional manufacturing dictates that you should always have a stockpile of raw materials, because if you run out, your plant can’t keep going. But if you don’t know what you need to build because of dramatic changes in demand, you run the risk of ending up with terrific amount of excess and obsolete inventory. That is not the goal. The concept behind the direct model has nothing to do with stockpiling and everything to do with information. The quality of your information is inversely proportional to the amount of assets required, in this case excess inventory. With less information about customer needs, you need massive amounts of inventory. So, if you have great information – that is, you know exactly what people want and how much – you need that much less inventory. Less inventory, of course, corresponds to less inventory depreciation. In the computer industry, component prices are always falling as suppliers introduce faster chips, bigger disk drives, and modems with ever-greater bandwidth. Let’s say that Dell has six days of inventory. Compare that to an indirect competitor who has twenty-five days of inventory with another thirty in their distribution channel. That’s a difference of forty-nine days, and in forty-nine days, the cost of materials will decline about 6 percent.

Then there’s the threat of getting stuck with obsolete inventory if you’re caught in a transition to a next generation product, as we were with those memory chips in 1989. As the product approaches the end of its life, the manufacturer has to worry about whether it has too much in the channel and whether a competitor will dump products, destroying profit margins for everyone. This is a perpetual problem in the computer industry, but with the direct model, we have virtually eliminated it. We know when our customers are ready to move on technologically, and we can get out of the market before its most precarious time. We don’t have to subsidize our losses by charging higher prices for other products.

And ultimately, our customer wins. Optimal inventory management really starts with the design process. You want to design the product so that the entire product supply chain, as well as the manufacturing process, is oriented not just for speed but for what we call velocity. Speed means being fast in the first place. Velocity means squeezing time out of every step in the process.

Inventory velocity has become a passion for us. To achieve maximum velocity, you have to design your products in a way that covers the largest part of the market with the fewest number of parts. For example, you don’t need nine different Disk drives when you can serve 98 percent of the market with only four. We also learned to take into account the variability of low-cost and high-cost components. Systems were reconfigured to allow for a greater variety of low-cost parts and a limited variety of expensive parts. The goal was to decrease the number of components to manage, which increased the velocity, which decreased the risk of inventory depreciation, which increased the overall health of our business system.

We were also able to reduce inventory well below the levels anyone thought possible by constantly challenging and surprising ourselves with the results. We had our internal skeptics when we first started pushing for ever-lower levels of inventory. I remember the head of our procurement group telling me that this was like "flying low to the ground 300 knots." He was worried that we wouldn’t see the trees.

In 1993, we had 2.9billioninsalesand220 million in inventory. Four years later, we posted $12.3 billion in sales ad had inventory of 33 million. We’re now down to six days of inventory and we’re starting to measure it in hours instead of days. Once you reduce your inventory while maintaining your growth rate, a significant amount of risk comes from the transition from one generation of product to the next. Without traditional stockpiles of inventory, it is critical to precisely time the discontinuance of the older product line with the ramp-up in customer demand for the newer one. Since we were introducing new products all the time, it became imperative to avoid the huge drag effect from mistakes made during transitions.

Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 35


Common Information Question: 1/3

Find out the TRUE statement:


According to the passage, the working of the direct model was being heavily exploited by all players in the software business.


Analysis of the supply chain of the product reveals that the product is sent to the warehouse by the dealer, and delay at that stage leads to an obvious increase in cost.


The nature of the computer industry is such that the production decision at factory level is usually undertaken after getting the customer demand feedback from the distributors.


Whenever the production of some old-fashioned model of a product by a company exceeds the existing demand. The market forces create a downward pressure on its prices.

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