English Language Proficiency Test : Making inferences based on the passage

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Example Question #11 : Making Inferences Based On The Passage

1 Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow, attend to the history of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia.

2 … According to the custom which has descended from age to age among the monarchs of the torrid zone, Rasselas was confined in a private palace, with the other sons and daughters of Abyssinian royalty, till the order of succession should call him to the throne.

3 The place which the wisdom or policy of antiquity had destined for the residence of the Abyssinian princes was a spacious valley in the kingdom of Amhara, surrounded on every side by mountains, of which the summits overhang the middle part. 4 The only passage by which it could be entered was a cavern that passed under a rock, [and the] outlet of the cavern was concealed by a thick wood, and the mouth which opened into the valley was closed with gates of iron, forged by the artificers of ancient days, so massive that no man, without the help of engines, could open or shut them.

5 From the mountains on every side rivulets descended that filled all the valley with verdure and fertility, and formed a lake in the middle, inhabited by fish of every species, and frequented by every fowl whom nature has taught to dip the wing in water. 6 This lake discharged its superfluities by a stream, which entered a dark cleft of the mountain on the northern side, and fell with dreadful noise from precipice to precipice till it was heard no more.

What can we deduce about the setting of the passage?

Possible Answers:

It is isolated

It is completely invented

It is part of an egalitarian society

It is very warm

It belongs to a very strict kingdom

Correct answer:

It is very warm

Explanation:

If you didn’t recognize that Abyssinia is an antiquated name for Ethiopia, an African country, you could still deduce that the setting is in a warm location from the words “torrid zone” (Sentence 2). Torrid means extremely hot or dry. While some of the details may seem fantastical to contemporary readers, the setting is not an invention of the author’s.

Passage adapted from Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas: Prince of Abyssinia (1759)

Example Question #12 : Making Inferences Based On The Passage

1 Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow, attend to the history of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia.

2 … According to the custom which has descended from age to age among the monarchs of the torrid zone, Rasselas was confined in a private palace, with the other sons and daughters of Abyssinian royalty, till the order of succession should call him to the throne.

3 The place which the wisdom or policy of antiquity had destined for the residence of the Abyssinian princes was a spacious valley in the kingdom of Amhara, surrounded on every side by mountains, of which the summits overhang the middle part. 4 The only passage by which it could be entered was a cavern that passed under a rock, [and the] outlet of the cavern was concealed by a thick wood, and the mouth which opened into the valley was closed with gates of iron, forged by the artificers of ancient days, so massive that no man, without the help of engines, could open or shut them.

5 From the mountains on every side rivulets descended that filled all the valley with verdure and fertility, and formed a lake in the middle, inhabited by fish of every species, and frequented by every fowl whom nature has taught to dip the wing in water. 6 This lake discharged its superfluities by a stream, which entered a dark cleft of the mountain on the northern side, and fell with dreadful noise from precipice to precipice till it was heard no more.

According to the passage, when would Rasselas leave his palace?

Possible Answers:

When he needed to venture beyond the mountains

When the king called him for a meeting

When war was declared

When the kingdom of Amhara adopted him as their own

When the king died

Correct answer:

When the king died

Explanation:

Sentence 2 notes that Rasselas “was confined in a private palace… till the order of succession should call him to the throne.” The phrase “order of succession” implies the death of a king and his succession by a prince or younger relative. In other words, Rasselas will leave the palace when it’s time for him to take over the throne.

Passage adapted from Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas: Prince of Abyssinia (1759)

Example Question #21 : Inferences

1 Of the monstrous neglect of education in England, and the disregard of it by the State as a means of forming good or bad citizens, and miserable or happy men, private schools long afforded a notable example. 2 Although any man who had proved his unfitness for any other occupation in life, was free, without examination or qualification, to open a school anywhere; although preparation for the functions he undertook, was required in the surgeon who assisted to bring a boy into the world, or might one day assist, perhaps, to send him out of it; in the chemist, the attorney, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker; the whole round of crafts and trades, the schoolmaster excepted; and although schoolmasters, as a race, were the blockheads and impostors who might naturally be expected to spring from such a state of things, and to flourish in it; these Yorkshire schoolmasters were the lowest and most rotten round in the whole ladder. 3 Traders in the avarice, indifference, or imbecility of parents, and the helplessness of children; ignorant, sordid, brutal men, to whom few considerate persons would have entrusted the board and lodging of a horse or a dog; they formed the worthy cornerstone of a structure, which, for absurdity and a magnificent high-minded Laissez-Aller neglect, has rarely been exceeded in the world.

… 4 I cannot call to mind, now, how I came to hear about Yorkshire schools when I was a not very robust child, sitting in bye-places near Rochester Castle, with a head full of Partridge, Strap, Tom Pipes, and Sancho Panza; but I know that my first impressions of them were picked up at that time, and that they were somehow or other connected with a suppurated abscess that some boy had come home with, in consequence of his Yorkshire guide, philosopher, and friend, having ripped it open with an inky pen-knife.

In Sentence 3, what is the “structure” the speaker describes?

Possible Answers:

Parenthood

Professional life in England

The schoolteachers’ union

English education

British aristocracy

Correct answer:

English education

Explanation:

In yet another complex sentence, the speaker notes that indifferent parents, helpless children, and brutal schoolteachers “formed the worthy cornerstone of a structure, which… has rarely been exceeded in the world.” The only answer choice that encompasses all three of these elements is “English education.”

Passage adapted from Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby (1838).

Example Question #11 : Making Inferences Based On The Passage

1 Of the monstrous neglect of education in England, and the disregard of it by the State as a means of forming good or bad citizens, and miserable or happy men, private schools long afforded a notable example. 2 Although any man who had proved his unfitness for any other occupation in life, was free, without examination or qualification, to open a school anywhere; although preparation for the functions he undertook, was required in the surgeon who assisted to bring a boy into the world, or might one day assist, perhaps, to send him out of it; in the chemist, the attorney, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker; the whole round of crafts and trades, the schoolmaster excepted; and although schoolmasters, as a race, were the blockheads and impostors who might naturally be expected to spring from such a state of things, and to flourish in it; these Yorkshire schoolmasters were the lowest and most rotten round in the whole ladder. 3 Traders in the avarice, indifference, or imbecility of parents, and the helplessness of children; ignorant, sordid, brutal men, to whom few considerate persons would have entrusted the board and lodging of a horse or a dog; they formed the worthy cornerstone of a structure, which, for absurdity and a magnificent high-minded Laissez-Aller neglect, has rarely been exceeded in the world.

… 4 I cannot call to mind, now, how I came to hear about Yorkshire schools when I was a not very robust child, sitting in bye-places near Rochester Castle, with a head full of Partridge, Strap, Tom Pipes, and Sancho Panza; but I know that my first impressions of them were picked up at that time, and that they were somehow or other connected with a suppurated abscess that some boy had come home with, in consequence of his Yorkshire guide, philosopher, and friend, having ripped it open with an inky pen-knife.

In Sentence 4, what are “Partridge, Strap, Tom Pipes, and Sancho Panza”?

Possible Answers:

Names of evil schoolteachers

Popular theatrical characters

Names of unfortunate schoolchildren

Textbooks used by bad schoolteachers

Adventure books the speaker has read

Correct answer:

Adventure books the speaker has read

Explanation:

We see in this sentence that the speaker is reminiscing about his childhood. As a boy, he had “a head full of Partridge, Strap, Tom Pipes, and Sancho Panza,” so it stands to reason that these things must be in the common parlance. We can tell by the italics that the names he list must be the titles of literary or theatrical works, and the only answer choice that fits these criteria is “adventure books the speaker has read.”

Passage adapted from Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby (1838).

Example Question #61 : English Language Proficiency Test (Elpt)

1 It has afforded the Author great amusement and satisfaction, during the progress of this work, to learn, from country friends and from a variety of ludicrous statements concerning himself in provincial newspapers, that more than one Yorkshire schoolmaster lays claim to being the original of Mr. Squeers. 2 One worthy, he has reason to believe, has actually consulted authorities learned in the law, as to his having good grounds on which to rest an action for libel; another, has meditated a journey to London, for the express purpose of committing an assault and battery on his traducer; a third, perfectly remembers being waited on, last January twelve-month, by two gentlemen, one of whom held him in conversation while the other took his likeness; and, although Mr. Squeers has but one eye, and he has two, and the published sketch does not resemble him (whoever he may be) in any other respect, still he and all his friends and neighbours know at once for whom it is meant, because—the character is so like him.

3 While the Author cannot but feel the full force of the compliment thus conveyed to him, he ventures to suggest that these contentions may arise from the fact, that Mr. Squeers is the representative of a class, and not of an individual. 4 Where imposture, ignorance, and brutal cupidity, are the stock in trade of a small body of men, and one is described by these characteristics, all his fellows will recognise something belonging to themselves, and each will have a misgiving that the portrait is his own.

Based on the passage, who is “Mr. Squeers”?

Possible Answers:

A character of the author’s

The author’s alias

The lawyer prosecuting a libel case for the author

A real acquaintance of the author

A real person the author has unintentionally parodied

Correct answer:

A character of the author’s

Explanation:

This passage concerns the author’s amused reaction to a variety of schoolteachers who all claim to be the original Mr. Squeers. Some of these schoolteachers claim so despite marked differences between themselves and Mr. Squeers, so we can deduce that Mr. Squeers is not a real person. Rather, he is a character of the author’s.

Passage adapted from Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby (1838).

Example Question #11 : Making Inferences Based On The Passage

1 It has afforded the Author great amusement and satisfaction, during the progress of this work, to learn, from country friends and from a variety of ludicrous statements concerning himself in provincial newspapers, that more than one Yorkshire schoolmaster lays claim to being the original of Mr. Squeers. 2 One worthy, he has reason to believe, has actually consulted authorities learned in the law, as to his having good grounds on which to rest an action for libel; another, has meditated a journey to London, for the express purpose of committing an assault and battery on his traducer; a third, perfectly remembers being waited on, last January twelve-month, by two gentlemen, one of whom held him in conversation while the other took his likeness; and, although Mr. Squeers has but one eye, and he has two, and the published sketch does not resemble him (whoever he may be) in any other respect, still he and all his friends and neighbours know at once for whom it is meant, because—the character is so like him.

3 While the Author cannot but feel the full force of the compliment thus conveyed to him, he ventures to suggest that these contentions may arise from the fact, that Mr. Squeers is the representative of a class, and not of an individual. 4 Where imposture, ignorance, and brutal cupidity, are the stock in trade of a small body of men, and one is described by these characteristics, all his fellows will recognise something belonging to themselves, and each will have a misgiving that the portrait is his own.

In the context of Sentence 3, who is the “traducer”?

Possible Answers:

Mr. Squeers

A schoolteacher

A lawyer

The author

The publisher

Correct answer:

The author

Explanation:

We see in Sentence 3 that a schoolteacher “has meditated a journey to London, for the express purpose of committing an assault and battery on his traducer.” To traduce someone is to slander or speak ill of them. In the eyes of the schoolteacher, this person is the author.

Passage adapted from Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby (1838).

Example Question #13 : Making Inferences Based On The Passage

"A group of the townspeople stood on the station siding of a little Kansas town, awaiting the coming of the night train, which was already twenty minutes overdue. The snow had fallen thick over everything; in the pale starlight the line of bluffs across the wide, white meadows south of the town made soft, smoke-colored curves against the clear sky. The men on the siding stood first on one foot and then on the other, their hands thrust deep into their trousers pockets ... "

Adapted from "The Sculptor's Funeral" Willa Cather (1905)

What is causing the men to put their hands in their pockets? 

Possible Answers:

They are guarding their wallets

They are cold

It's a habit

They are bored

Correct answer:

They are cold

Explanation:

The text indicates that it has been snowing and that the train is late. They are shifting from one foot to the other as they wait. We can infer that they put their hands in their pockets because it is cold outside and they want to stay as warm as possible. 

Although the men could be putting their hands in their pockets out of boredom as they wait, the better inference is that they are cold. The main point of many prior details described how cold the area is. 

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