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Contemporary's GED Language Arts, Reading
John M. Reier


GED Practice Quiz


Choose the one best answer for each question. When you have finished the quiz, click on Submit Answers to receive feedback and results. You may also choose to e-mail your results to your instructor.

When you are finished, go to the Web Links or choose a different activity or chapter from the menu on the left.

Question 1 refers to the following excerpt.


       There are some who complain of a man for doing nothing; there are some, still more mysterious and amazing, who complain of having nothing to do. When actually presented with some beautiful blank hours or days, they will grumble at their blankness. When given the gift of loneliness, which is gift of liberty, they will cast it away; they will destroy it deliberately with some dreadful game with cards or a little ball. I speak only for myself; I know it takes all sorts to make a world; but I cannot repress a shudder when I see them throwing away their hard-won holidays by doing something. For my own part, I never can get enough Nothing to do.

G. K. Chesterton, The Autobiography of G.K. Chesterton, 1936


What is the main idea of the paragraph?
Need a Hint?
A)A busy person is a happy person.
B)People should enjoy doing nothing.
C)Leisure and loneliness are one and the same.
D)To do nothing is a terrible waste of time.
E)Every moment of life should be filled with meaningful activity.

Question 2 refers to the following excerpt.


       I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…

       I left the woods [after twenty-six months] for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pondside; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear, that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity!

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854


Why did the author leave the woods?
Need a Hint?
A)He became lonely.
B)He felt it was time for other experiences.
C)He found it difficult to survive.
D)He was bored by living there.
E)He knew he had only a short time to live.

Questions 3 through 5 refer to the following passage.


       Some people like to defend whales and other endangered sea mammals by pointing out how much like humans they are. They say cetaceans form close-knit family groups and take good care of their young. Whales, porpoises, and dolphins, they say, are all highly intelligent creatures who can communicate with each other over long distances. Conservationists praise these animals because they even seem to have a humanlike sense of fun—they sing and play games as humans do.

       Those who compare sea mammals to human beings are well-meaning, but, as naturalist Robert Finch points out, their arguments are "wrong headed." It’s not that their facts are wrong. From what scientists have observed, cetaceans are remarkably intelligent. But it is patronizing and anthropocentric to argue that these animals ought to be protected because they’re so much like us. This suggests that certain animals are important only if they reflect human beings and their values. In fact, whales and other sea mammals are important not because they are like us, but because they are unique. They have a right to exist, and we, as fellow inhabitants of this earth, have no right to destroy them.


According to the passage, why do some people believe that endangered sea animals should be protected?
Need a Hint?
A)because they play games
B)because they are like humans
C)because they form close-knit groups
D)because they take care of their young
E)because they are an important part of the ocean ecosystem

To what does cetaceans most likely refer?
Need a Hint?
A)animals in general
B)human beings
C)endangered animals
D)sea mammals

Which of the following phrases most closely defines anthropocentric?
Need a Hint?
A)being very sentimental
B)having value in its own right
C)reflecting humans and their values
D)being selfish
E)loving animals

Questions 6 and 7 refer to the following excerpt.


       When Segovia and Orezzoli planned Tango Argentino, they agreed on the importance of the music and brought together the best tango musicians in the world. For the entire performance, the orchestra is silhouetted in tiers at center stage, the backdrop to the dancers. The four men in front contribute the special sound of the bandoneón, a narrow accordion-like instrument that they collapse and expand while it lies across their knees.

       Music is the soul of the tango. The violins bring their sweetness. The bandoneónes add the melancholy, each contributing to the romantic illusion that drives the tango. The music is languorous at times, marchlike at others, lilting at still others. It is these changing moods that enables Tango Argentino to be a fulfilling evening in the theater. The evening is more than the dance; it is also music and song. When the orchestra plays its own interludes, indeed, the soul is revealed to be black, Indian, and Caribbean. The singer will introduce the tango’s ironic, bittersweet message, projecting the ideas that will soon find expression in arched bodies and flashing legs.

Robert A. Parker, "Take Two for the Tango," Américas, September/October 1986


According to the author, what makes Tango Argentino satisfying entertainment?
Need a Hint?
A)the moods created by the combination of dance, music, and song
B)the interesting bandoneon music
C)the ethnic background of the orchestra
D)the idea of silhouetting the orchestra on stage
E)The presence of the two planners, Segovia and Orezzoli

Which of the following details does the author use to support the belief that music is of central importance to the tango?
Need a Hint?
A)Segovia and Orezzoli decided to put on a show called Tango Argentino.
B)Bandoneones are musical instruments that resemble accordions.
C)Four men are required to play the bandoneones.
D)Tango dancers arch their bodies and kick their legs in a highly dramatic way.
E)Segovia and Orezzoli got the best tango musicians for their show.

Questions 8 through 10 refer to the following excerpt.


       [Ogilvy] remained standing at the edge of the pit that the Thing had made for itself, staring at its strange appearance, astonished chiefly at its unusual shape and color, and dimly perceiving even then some evidence of design in its arrival. The early morning was wonderfully still, and the sun, just clearing the pine trees towards Weybridge, was already warm. He did not remember hearing any birds that morning, there was certainly no breeze stirring, and the only sounds were the faint movements from within the cindery cylinder. He was all alone on the common.

       Then suddenly he noticed with a start that some of the grey clinker, the ashy incrustation that covered the meteorite, was falling off the circular edge of the end. It was dropping off in flakes and raining down upon the sand. A large piece suddenly came off and fell with a sharp noise that brought his heart into his mouth.

       For a minute he scarcely realized what this means, and, although the heat was excessive, he clambered down into the pit close to the bulk to see the Thing more clearly. He fancied even then that the cooling of the body might account for this, but what disturbed that idea was the fact that the ash was falling only from the end of the cylinder.

       And then he perceived that, very slowly, the circular top of the cylinder was rotating on its body. It was such a gradual movement that he discovered it only through noticing that a black mark that had been near him five minutes ago was now at the other side of the circumference. Even then he scarcely understood what this indicated, until he heard a muffled grating sound and saw the black mark jerk forward an inch or so. Then the Thing came upon him in a flash. The cylinder was artificial—hollow—with an end that screwed out! Something within the cylinder was unscrewing the top!

H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, 1898


At first, what does Ogilvy think the cylindrical object in the pit is?
Need a Hint?
A)a meteorite
B)a large mineral deposit
C)a missle
D)a huge fossil
E)a living creature

In the last sentence of the second paragraph, what does the author indicate with the phrase "brought his heart into his mouth?"
Need a Hint?
A)Ogilvy was sad.
B)Ogilvy was injured.
C)Ogilvy was hungry.
D)Ogilvy was sympathetic.
E)Ogilvy was startled.

Which of the following qualities does Ogilvy seem to possess?
Need a Hint?