ISEE Lower Level Reading : Language in Contemporary Life Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ISEE Lower Level Reading

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Example Questions

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Example Question #2 : How To Make Inferences Based On Nonfiction Passages

"The Dangers of Sugar" by Daniel Morrison (2014)

Sugar is a highly addictive substance that plays a dangerous role in the health and well-being of people around the world. It is particularly threatening to American health, as it is placed in everything from carbonated sodas to beef jerky and vegetable juice. The average American consumes seventy-five pounds of sugar every year—that is roughly the weight of a elementary school child. Many health experts believe that sugar is the number one contributing factor in the high rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes that can be found in the contemporary United States.

The author’s tone in this passage could best be described as __________.

Possible Answers:

educational and warning

mocking

informational

considerate and generous

ominous and threatening

Correct answer:

educational and warning

Explanation:

In this passage, the author tries to “educate” and “warn” his audience about the extremely unhealthy levels of sugar consumption in the United States. His tone is therefore best seen as “educational” (providing a lesson) and “warning.” To provide further help, “informational” means giving information; “ominous” and “threatening” both mean suggesting something bad is going to happen; “considerate” means kind and thinking about others; “mocking” means making fun of someone or something; and “generous” means giving and kind.

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Tone, Style, And Figurative Language In Contemporary Life Passages

Adapted from Scientific American Supplement No. 1157 Vol. XLV (March 5th, 1898)

"Artists" of the variety stage and the circus are always trying to find something new, for the same old trapeze performances, trials of strength, performances of rope dancers, etc., have been presented so many times that anyone who invents an entirely new trick is sure of making a large amount of money out of it; the more wild and dangerous it is, the better. Anything that naturally stands on its feet but can be made to stand on its head will be well received in the latter attitude by the public. Some such thought as this must have been in the mind of the man who conceived the idea of riding a bicycle on the ceiling instead of on the floor. The "trick" originated with the Swiss acrobat Di Batta, who, being too old to undertake such a performance himself, trained two of his pupils to do it, and they appeared with their wheel in Busch Circus in Berlin. The wheel, of course, ran on a track from which it was suspended in such a way that it could not fall, and the man who operated it used the handle bar as he would the cross bar of the trapeze. One would think that the position of the rider was sufficiently dangerous to satisfy any public, but the inventor of the trick sought to make it appear more wonderful by having the rider carry between his teeth a little trapeze from the crosspiece of which another man hung. Different colored lights were thrown on the performers as they rode around the ceiling, and at the end of the performance first one and then the other dropped into the safety net which had been placed about sixty feet below them.

Circus performers are primarily characterized by their ability to __________.

Possible Answers:

manipulate and entertain

annoy and anger

scare and intimidate

laugh and befriend others

shock and surprise

Correct answer:

manipulate and entertain

Explanation:

In this passage, the author highlights how circus performers are able to manipulate and entertain their audiences. This can be seen in excerpts such as “One would think that the position of the rider was sufficiently dangerous to satisfy any public, but the inventor of the trick sought to make it appear more wonderful by having the rider carry between his teeth a little trapeze from the crosspiece off which another man hung.” The inventor of the trick adds additional detail to the trick so as to make it more entertaining; circus performers know how to manipulate their audience into finding something more wild, dangerous, and entertaining.

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