Free CUNY Reading Practice Test
Read the passage and answer the questions that follow.
While Thomas Edison was a newsboy on the train a request came to him one day to go to the office of E. B. Ward & Company, at that time the largest owners of steamboats on the Great Lakes . The captain of their largest boat had died suddenly, and they wanted a message taken to another captain who lived about fourteen miles from Ridgeway station on the railroad. This captain had retired, taken up some lumber land, and had cleared part of it. Edison was offered $15 by Mr. Ward to go and fetch him, but as it was a wild country and would be dark, Edison stood out for $25, so that he could get the companionship of another lad. The terms were agreed to. Edison arrived at Ridgeway at 8.30 P.M. , when it was raining and as dark as ink. Getting another boy with difficulty to volunteer, he launched out on his errand in the pitch- black night. The two boys carried lanterns, but the road was a rough path through dense forest.
1. From this passage, we can infer that Edison:
A: knew all about animals.
B: hated the other boy.
C: lived in a city.
D: read the newspaper every day.
2. Why did the shipping company ask Edison to fetch the captain?
A: he was a better captain
B: to stop trees from being cut down
C: another captain had retired
D: another captain had recently died
3. In contrast to the other boy, Edison was:
A: scared of bears
B: able to see the road
C: a newsboy
D: determined to get the job done.
4. Why did Edison want an extra $10?
A: so that he could buy dinner on the way
B: so that he could get another boy to accompany him
C: so that he could buy extra lamp oil
D: because he was a slick negotiator
5. The word ‘ravished’ probably means:
B: cleared of trees
6. Which of the following phrases is an example of simile?
A: ‘up against a tree’
B: ‘dark as ink’
C: ‘pitch-black night’
D: ‘a faint gleam of daylight’
7. About how old was Edison when this story happened?
8. Why did the message have to be delivered that night?
A: so that the captain could catch the morning train
B: so that the captain could get a good night’s sleep
C: so that the captain could brush his teeth
D: so that Edison could earn his money
9. This passage was probably taken from:
A: a collection of folklore
B: a biography of Thomas Edison
C: a novel about steamboat captains
D: a history of the forest
10. What lesson did Edison learn from this experience?
A: to be prepared
B: to always hold out for more money
C: to learn about animals
D: to buy extra lamp oil
1. C. Edison is a newsboy, and admits that he doesn’t know much about animals.
2. D. The shipping company needed a replacement captain immediately.
3. D. Edison refuses the other boy’s suggestion that they stop or climb a tree.
4. B. Edison was afraid to make the journey by himself.
5. B. The passage refers to stumps as a feature of the ‘ravished’ forest.
6. B. A simile is a figurative expression including the word like or as.
7. B. Edison was a newsboy, a job usually held by kids between the ages of 8 and 14.
8. A. The passage states explicitly that they had to reach the captain that night so he could leave the next morning.
9. B. The passage appears to be part of a larger narrative of the life of Edison.
10. A. Edison decided that he would always learn whatever he needed to know before beginning an enterprise.
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