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PRAXIS I Reading Practice Questions

After reading the passages, answer the questions that follow.

Of all the natural sciences there is not one which offers such sublime objects to the attention of the inquirer as does the science of astronomy. From the earliest ages the study of the stars has exercised the same fascination as it possesses at the present day. Among the most primitive peoples, the movements of the sun, the moon, and the stars commanded attention from their supposed influence on human affairs. 

The practical utilities of astronomy were also obvious in primeval times. Maxims of extreme antiquity show how the avocations of the husbandman are to be guided by the movements of the heavenly bodies. The positions of the stars indicated the time to plough, and the time to sow. To the mariner who was seeking a way across the trackless ocean, the heavenly bodies offered the only reliable marks by which his path could be guided. There was, accordingly, a stimulus both from intellectual curiosity and from practical necessity to follow the movements of the stars. Thus began a search for the causes of the ever-varying phenomena which the heavens display. 

1. What is the main idea of this passage?

  1. Sailors use the stars to navigate.
  2. Astrology is an ancient practice.
  3. The stars have always been in the exact same place.
  4. Mankind has always been interested in astronomy.

2. What is the best antonym for primeval?

  1. modern
  2. ancient
  3. stupid
  4. intelligent

3. What does the author mean by the phrase 'avocations of the husbandman'?

  1. duties of a spouse
  2. responsibilities of a family member 
  3. tasks of the farmer
  4. preferences of an astronomer

4. The belief that the position of the sun, moon, and stars has an influence on human behavior is called:

  1. geology
  2. astronomy
  3. anthropology
  4. astrology

5. Why did people desire to learn more about the behavior of the sun, moon, and stars?

  1. Because they thought the heavenly bodies influenced human behavior
  2. To help them know when to plant their crops
  3. To navigate 
  4. All of the above

In accordance with my promise to Jesse, the outlaw, I sought the wild, hill-folded, forest-muffled retreat of the James brothers at an early hour of the following morning. The retreat was a secure one. Admirably mounted as I was, and with a good memory for landmarks, I could never, unaided, have penetrated to the log farmhouse. The same lad who had guided me to the road on the previous day was in waiting to help me to retrace my steps. 

Up to that point I had found the rocky road and bridle paths thoroughly but imperceptibly sentineled. No wonder that the outlaws felt secure, in spite of the boldness of their depredations. Every scattered farmhouse, every herder's hut, every woodcutter's cabin, contained a friend or a spy in their nefarious cause. A hostile party, or even a single suspicious-looking stranger, could not have come within half a mile of the log house without its occupants receiving timely warning of the approach. 

6. This passage probably comes from:

  1. an editorial
  2. an epic poem
  3. a memoir
  4. a brochure

7. This passage probably comes from a text involving which historical figure?

  1. Henry James
  2. Jesse James
  3. James K. Polk
  4. Abraham Lincoln

8. What quality of the hideout does the author admire?

  1. cleanliness
  2. comfort
  3. seclusion
  4. charm

9. Based on context, what does the word 'depredations' probably mean in this passage?

  1. discounts
  2. responsibilities
  3. guarantees
  4. misdeeds

10. How would the James brothers know if someone approached their hideout?

  1. They would hear the rustle of the leaves.
  2. They would be warned by the people who lived nearby.
  3. They would see smoke in the distance.
  4. They would hear the chirping of birds.

Answer Key

1. D. The passage advances the idea that people have always been interested in astronomy, for a variety of reasons.

2. A. Based on context, it is clear that the word primeval means ancient.

3. C. Avocation means work, and a husbandman is a farmer.

4. D. The word astrology comes from the Greek words meaning star and knowledge.

5. D. All of these reasons are mentioned within the passage.

6. C. It seems that the author is attempting to describe historical personages in an entertaining way.

7. B. The passage refers to someone named Jesse and to the James outlaws.

8. C. The majority of the passage describes the extreme seclusion of the hideout.

9. D. The use of the word implies that the outlaws would fear getting in trouble for their depredations.

10. B. The author states that all of the surrounding homes contained allies of the James outlaws.

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