ISEE Middle Level Reading : Making Inferences and Predictions in Science Passages

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #32 : Drawing Inferences From Natural Science Passages

dapted from “Introduced Species That Have Become Pests” in Our Vanishing Wild Life, Its Extermination and Protection by William Temple Hornaday (1913)

The man who successfully transplants or "introduces" into a new habitat any persistent species of living thing assumes a very grave responsibility. Every introduced species is doubtful gravel until panned out. The enormous losses that have been inflicted upon the world through the perpetuation of follies with wild vertebrates and insects would, if added together, be enough to purchase a principality. The most aggravating feature of these follies in transplantation is that never yet have they been made severely punishable. We are just as careless and easygoing on this point as we were about the government of the Yellowstone Park in the days when Howell and other poachers destroyed our first national bison herd, and when caught red-handed—as Howell was, skinning seven Park bison cows—could not be punished for it, because there was no penalty prescribed by any law. Today, there is a way in which any revengeful person could inflict enormous damage on the entire South, at no cost to himself, involve those states in enormous losses and the expenditure of vast sums of money, yet go absolutely unpunished!

The gypsy moth is a case in point. This winged calamity was imported at Maiden, Massachusetts, near Boston, by a French entomologist, Mr. Leopold Trouvelot, in 1868 or 69. History records the fact that the man of science did not purposely set free the pest. He was endeavoring with live specimens to find a moth that would produce a cocoon of commercial value to America, and a sudden gust of wind blew out of his study, through an open window, his living and breeding specimens of the gypsy moth. The moth itself is not bad to look at, but its larvae is a great, overgrown brute with an appetite like a hog. Immediately Mr. Trouvelot sought to recover his specimens, and when he failed to find them all, like a man of real honor, he notified the State authorities of the accident. Every effort was made to recover all the specimens, but enough escaped to produce progeny that soon became a scourge to the trees of Massachusetts. The method of the big, nasty-looking mottled-brown caterpillar was very simple. It devoured the entire foliage of every tree that grew in its sphere of influence.

The gypsy moth spread with alarming rapidity and persistence. In course of time, the state authorities of Massachusetts were forced to begin a relentless war upon it, by poisonous sprays and by fire. It was awful! Up to this date (1912) the New England states and the United States Government service have expended in fighting this pest about $7,680,000!

The spread of this pest has been retarded, but the gypsy moth never will be wholly stamped out. Today it exists in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, and it is due to reach New York at an early date. It is steadily spreading in three directions from Boston, its original point of departure, and when it strikes the State of New York, we, too, will begin to pay dearly for the Trouvelot experiment.

If the author were to learn that the gypsy moth could be efficiently repelled from trees by coating them with a cheap, natural substance, he would likely feel __________.

Possible Answers:

horrified

unsurprised

anxious

exuberant

pessimistic

Correct answer:

exuberant

Explanation:

Throughout the passage, the author makes it apparent that he feels that the gypsy moth is a very damaging invasive species that causes a lot of problems in the United States. He calls it a “winged calamity” and, in the third paragraph, describes how it spread:

“The gypsy moth spread with alarming rapidity and persistence. In course of time, the state authorities of Massachusetts were forced to begin a relentless war upon it, by poisonous sprays and by fire. It was awful! Up to this date (1912) the New England states and the United States Government service have expended in fighting this pest about $7,680,000!”

From this paragraph, we can tell that if the author were to learn that the gypsy moth could be efficiently stopped from damaging trees, he would be most likely to feel “exuberant,” or excited and happy. Nothing in the passage supports any of the other answers.

Example Question #301 : Ssat Middle Level Reading Comprehension

Adapted from Volume Four of The Natural History of Animals: The Animal Life of the World in Its Various Aspects and Relations by James Richard Ainsworth Davis (1903)

The examples of protective resemblance so far quoted are mostly permanent adaptations to one particular sort of surrounding. There are, however, numerous animals which possess the power of adjusting their color more or less rapidly so as to harmonize with a changing environment.

Some of the best known of these cases are found among those mammals and birds that inhabit countries more or less covered with snow during a part of the year. A good instance is afforded by the Irish or variable hare, which is chiefly found in Ireland and Scotland. In summer, this looks very much like an ordinary hare, though rather grayer in tint and smaller in size, but in winter it becomes white with the exception of the black tips to the ears. Investigations that have been made on the closely allied American hare seem to show that the phenomenon is due to the growth of new hairs of white hue. 

The common stoat is subject to similar color change in the northern parts of its range. In summer it is of a bright reddish brown color with the exception of the under parts, which are yellowish white, and the end of the tail, which is black. But in winter, the entire coat, save only the tip of the tail, becomes white, and in that condition the animal is known as an ermine. A similar example is afforded by the weasel. The seasonal change in the vegetarian Irish hare is purely of protective character, but in such an actively carnivorous creature as a stoat or weasel, it is aggressive as well, rendering the animal inconspicuous to its prey.

What can we infer preceded this paragraph?

Possible Answers:

Descriptions of animals that defend themselves by looking like things in a stable environment

Descriptions of changing environments

Descriptions of animals that have not adapted to their environments

Descriptions of animals that defend themselves by looking like things in a changing environment

Descriptions of animals that hunt other animals efficiently by camouflaging themselves

Correct answer:

Descriptions of animals that defend themselves by looking like things in a stable environment

Explanation:

In order to infer what likely “preceded,” or came before, this passage, we should take at what the passage is talking about right when it starts. The passage’s first sentence says, “The examples of protective resemblance so far quoted are mostly permanent adaptations to one particular sort of surrounding.” The “so far quoted” means so far said or provided and tells us that the writer has been talking about “examples of protective resemblance.” This means that the writer most likely discussed “animals that defend themselves by looking like things in a stable environment” in the part of the book that comes right before the passage.

Example Question #1 : Making Inferences And Predictions In Science Passages

Adapted from Volume Four of The Natural History of Animals: The Animal Life of the World in Its Various Aspects and Relations by James Richard Ainsworth Davis (1903)

The examples of protective resemblance so far quoted are mostly permanent adaptations to one particular sort of surrounding. There are, however, numerous animals which possess the power of adjusting their color more or less rapidly so as to harmonize with a changing environment.

Some of the best known of these cases are found among those mammals and birds that inhabit countries more or less covered with snow during a part of the year. A good instance is afforded by the Irish or variable hare, which is chiefly found in Ireland and Scotland. In summer, this looks very much like an ordinary hare, though rather grayer in tint and smaller in size, but in winter it becomes white with the exception of the black tips to the ears. Investigations that have been made on the closely allied American hare seem to show that the phenomenon is due to the growth of new hairs of white hue. 

The common stoat is subject to similar color change in the northern parts of its range. In summer it is of a bright reddish brown color with the exception of the under parts, which are yellowish white, and the end of the tail, which is black. But in winter, the entire coat, save only the tip of the tail, becomes white, and in that condition the animal is known as an ermine. A similar example is afforded by the weasel. The seasonal change in the vegetarian Irish hare is purely of protective character, but in such an actively carnivorous creature as a stoat or weasel, it is aggressive as well, rendering the animal inconspicuous to its prey.

Based on the passage, what can we infer about the weasel?

Possible Answers:

Like the stoat, it also changes its coat color.

Like the stoat, it also lives in burrows.

Like the stoat, it has claws.

Like the Irish hare, has been the subject of investigations.

Like the Irish hare, it has grey fur in the summer.

Correct answer:

Like the stoat, it also changes its coat color.

Explanation:

The weasel is mentioned in two places in the passage, both in the passage’s last paragraph, both reproduced here:

“But in winter, the entire coat [of the stoat], save only the tip of the tail, becomes white, and in that condition the animal is known as an ermine. A similar example is afforded by the
weasel. The seasonal change in the vegetarian Irish hare is purely of protective character, but in such an actively carnivorous creature as a stoat or weasel, it is aggressive as well, rendering the animal inconspicuous to its prey.”

What does the passage tell us about the weasel? Well, we can infer that it is in some way like the stoat, because the passage says “A similar example is afforded by the weasel” right after describing how the stoat’s fur changes color. We are also told that it is carnivorous, but this is not an inference we have to make, and it doesn’t relate to any of the answer choices. The best answer choice is “Like the stoat, it also changes its coat color.” This captures the specific similarity between the stoat and weasel being discussed when the author writes, “A similar example is afforded by the weasel.”

Example Question #1 : Making Inferences In Narrative Science Passages

Adapted from Cassell’s Natural History by Francis Martin Duncan (1913)

The penguins are a group of birds inhabiting the southern ocean, for the most part passing their lives in the icy waters of the Antarctic seas. Like the ratitae, penguins have lost the power of flight, but the wings are modified into swimming organs and the birds lead an aquatic existence and are scarcely seen on land except in the breeding season. They are curious-looking creatures that appear to have no legs, as the limbs are encased in the skin of the body and the large flat feet are set so far back that the birds waddle along on land in an upright position in a very ridiculous manner, carrying their long narrow flippers held out as if they were arms. When swimming, penguins use their wings as paddles while the feet are used for steering.

Penguins are usually gregarious—in the sea, they swim together in schools, and on land, assemble in great numbers in their rookeries. They are very methodical in their ways, and on leaving the water, the birds always follow well-defined tracks leading to the rookeries, marching with much solemnity one behind the other in soldierly order. 

The largest species of penguins are the king penguin and the emperor penguin, the former being found in Kerguelen Land, the Falklands, and other southern islands, and the latter in Victoria Land and on the pack ice of the Antarctic seas. As they are unaccustomed from the isolation of their haunts to being hunted and persecuted by man, emperor penguins are remarkably fearless, and Antarctic explorers invading their territory have found themselves objects of curiosity rather than fear to the strange birds who followed them about as if they were much astonished at their appearance. 

The emperor penguin lays but a single egg and breeds during the intense cold and darkness of the Antarctic winter. To prevent contact with the frozen snow, the bird places its egg upon its flat webbed feet and crouches down upon it so that it is well covered with the feathers. In spite of this precaution, many eggs do not hatch and the mortality amongst the young chicks is very great.

We can infer from the passage that penguins probably eat __________ because the passage tells us that __________.

Possible Answers:

fish . . . penguins live most of their lives in the water

seals . . . penguins are carnivorous and hunt in groups

microscopic sea creatures . . . the emperor penguin only lays one egg at a time

kelp and other sea plants . . . penguins are slow in the water

polar bears . . . penguins are unafraid of explorers

Correct answer:

fish . . . penguins live most of their lives in the water

Explanation:

We can narrow down our answer choices by considering which of the options for the second blank the passage actually tells us. This allows us to eliminate the answer choices containing “penguins are carnivorous and hunt in groups” and “penguins are slow in the water.” Deciding between the remaining three answer choices, it doesn’t make sense that penguins would eat “polar bears” because they “are unafraid of explorers”—the second part of the answer may suggest that penguins are bold, and from this we might infer that penguins might try to fight and eat a polar bear, but it’s unlikely that would end well; the reverse is true. It is also doesn’t make sense that penguins would eat “microscopic sea creatures” because “the emperor penguin only lays one egg at a time”—these ideas are unrelated. This leaves us with the correct answer, the idea that penguins probably eat “fish” because “penguins live most of their lives in the water.” This makes sense; if penguins spend most of their lives in the water, they probably eat something that is found in the water, and fish are found in the water.

Example Question #2 : Making Inferences In Narrative Science Passages

Adapted from Cassell’s Natural History by Francis Martin Duncan (1913)

The penguins are a group of birds inhabiting the southern ocean, for the most part passing their lives in the icy waters of the Antarctic seas. Like the ratitae, penguins have lost the power of flight, but the wings are modified into swimming organs and the birds lead an aquatic existence and are scarcely seen on land except in the breeding season. They are curious-looking creatures that appear to have no legs, as the limbs are encased in the skin of the body and the large flat feet are set so far back that the birds waddle along on land in an upright position in a very ridiculous manner, carrying their long narrow flippers held out as if they were arms. When swimming, penguins use their wings as paddles while the feet are used for steering.

Penguins are usually gregarious—in the sea, they swim together in schools, and on land, assemble in great numbers in their rookeries. They are very methodical in their ways, and on leaving the water, the birds always follow well-defined tracks leading to the rookeries, marching with much solemnity one behind the other in soldierly order. 

The largest species of penguins are the king penguin and the emperor penguin, the former being found in Kerguelen Land, the Falklands, and other southern islands, and the latter in Victoria Land and on the pack ice of the Antarctic seas. As they are unaccustomed from the isolation of their haunts to being hunted and persecuted by man, emperor penguins are remarkably fearless, and Antarctic explorers invading their territory have found themselves objects of curiosity rather than fear to the strange birds who followed them about as if they were much astonished at their appearance. 

The emperor penguin lays but a single egg and breeds during the intense cold and darkness of the Antarctic winter. To prevent contact with the frozen snow, the bird places its egg upon its flat webbed feet and crouches down upon it so that it is well covered with the feathers. In spite of this precaution, many eggs do not hatch and the mortality amongst the young chicks is very great.

What can you infer is “the ratitae," underlined in the first paragraph?

Possible Answers:

A bird that lives in Antarctica

A type of fish

A bone found in most birds’ skeletons

A type of flightless bird

A bird that swims

Correct answer:

A type of flightless bird

Explanation:

The ratitae is mentioned in the paragraph’s first passage, when the author writes, “Like the ratitae, penguins have lost the power of flight, but the wings are modified into swimming organs and the birds lead an aquatic existence and are scarcely seen on land except in the breeding season.” In analyzing this, it’s important to ask: to what part of the sentence is “Like the ratitae” specifically referring? It is referring to the fact that “penguins have lost the power of flight.” Thus, the comparison being made here is that both the ratitae and the penguins “have lost the power of flight.” Therefore, we can infer that “the ratitae” is “a type of flightless bird.” 

You may have picked out “a bird that lives in Antarctica” based on the information that precedes the comparison or “a bird that swims” based on the information that follows it. However, neither of these comparisons are being made in the passage: it is specifically the fact that both the ratitae and penguins “have lost the power of flight” that is being stated. Nothing in the passage suggests that “the ratitae” is “a bone found in most birds’ skeletons” or “a type of fish.”

Example Question #31 : Drawing Inferences From Natural Science Passages

Adapted from “Feathers of Sea Birds and Wild Fowl for Bedding” from The Utility of Birds by Edward Forbush (ed. 1922)

In the colder countries of the world, the feathers and down of waterfowl have been in great demand for centuries as filling for beds and pillows. Such feathers are perfect non-conductors of heat, and beds, pillows, or coverlets filled with them represent the acme of comfort and durability. The early settlers of New England saved for such purposes the feathers and down from the thousands of wild-fowl which they killed, but as the population increased in numbers, the quantity thus furnished was insufficient, and the people sought a larger supply in the vast colonies of ducks and geese along the Labrador coast. 

The manner in which the feathers and down were obtained, unlike the method practiced in Iceland, did not tend to conserve and protect the source of supply. In Iceland, the people have continued to receive for many years a considerable income by collecting eider down, but there they do not “kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.” Ducks line their nests with down plucked from their own breasts and that of the eider is particularly valuable for bedding. In Iceland, these birds are so carefully protected that they have become as tame and unsuspicious as domestic fowls In North America. Where they are constantly hunted they often conceal their nests in the midst of weeds or bushes, but in Iceland, they make their nests and deposit their eggs in holes dug for them in the sod. A supply of the ducks is maintained so that the people derive from them an annual income.

In North America, quite a different policy was pursued. The demand for feathers became so great in the New England colonies about the middle of the eighteenth century that vessels were fitted out there for the coast of Labrador for the express purpose of securing the feathers and down of wild fowl. Eider down having become valuable and these ducks being in the habit of congregating by thousands on barren islands of the Labrador coast, the birds became the victims of the ships’ crews. As the ducks molt all their primary feathers at once in July or August and are then quite incapable of flight and the young birds are unable to fly until well grown, the hunters were able to surround the helpless birds, drive them together, and kill them with clubs. Otis says that millions of wildfowl were thus destroyed and that in a few years their haunts were so broken up by this wholesale slaughter and their numbers were so diminished that feather voyages became unprofitable and were given up. 

This practice, followed by the almost continual egging, clubbing, shooting, etc. by Labrador fishermen, may have been a chief factor in the extinction of the Labrador duck, that species of supposed restricted breeding range. No doubt had the eider duck been restricted in its breeding range to the islands of Labrador, it also would have been exterminated long ago.

Which of the following would you LEAST expect to be discussed elsewhere in the book from which this passage was taken?

Possible Answers:

The use of tropical birds’ feathers as hat decorations

The types of birds encountered by the first Antarctic explorers

Falconry

The raising of chickens for their eggs

The practice of sending messages by carrier pigeon

Correct answer:

The types of birds encountered by the first Antarctic explorers

Explanation:

The passage describes how humans use the eider down produced by eider ducks as a commodity for its insulating properties. Given this focus, along with the title of the book from which the passage is taken, The Utility of Birds, we can assume that other topics discussed in the books would deal with ways in which birds are useful to humans. “The use of tropical birds’ feathers as hat decorations,” “the raising of chickens for their eggs,” “falconry,” and “the practice of sending messages by carrier pigeon” all deal with ways in which birds are useful to humans, but “The types of birds encountered by the first Antarctic explorers” does not relate to how birds are useful to humans, so it would be least likely to be discussed elsewhere in a book called The Utility of Birds and is the correct answer.

Example Question #2 : Making Predictions Based On Narrative Science Passages

Adapted from “Feathers of Sea Birds and Wild Fowl for Bedding” from The Utility of Birds by Edward Forbush (ed. 1922)

In the colder countries of the world, the feathers and down of waterfowl have been in great demand for centuries as filling for beds and pillows. Such feathers are perfect non-conductors of heat, and beds, pillows, or coverlets filled with them represent the acme of comfort and durability. The early settlers of New England saved for such purposes the feathers and down from the thousands of wild-fowl which they killed, but as the population increased in numbers, the quantity thus furnished was insufficient, and the people sought a larger supply in the vast colonies of ducks and geese along the Labrador coast. 

The manner in which the feathers and down were obtained, unlike the method practiced in Iceland, did not tend to conserve and protect the source of supply. In Iceland, the people have continued to receive for many years a considerable income by collecting eider down, but there they do not “kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.” Ducks line their nests with down plucked from their own breasts and that of the eider is particularly valuable for bedding. In Iceland, these birds are so carefully protected that they have become as tame and unsuspicious as domestic fowls In North America. Where they are constantly hunted they often conceal their nests in the midst of weeds or bushes, but in Iceland, they make their nests and deposit their eggs in holes dug for them in the sod. A supply of the ducks is maintained so that the people derive from them an annual income.

In North America, quite a different policy was pursued. The demand for feathers became so great in the New England colonies about the middle of the eighteenth century that vessels were fitted out there for the coast of Labrador for the express purpose of securing the feathers and down of wild fowl. Eider down having become valuable and these ducks being in the habit of congregating by thousands on barren islands of the Labrador coast, the birds became the victims of the ships’ crews. As the ducks molt all their primary feathers at once in July or August and are then quite incapable of flight and the young birds are unable to fly until well grown, the hunters were able to surround the helpless birds, drive them together, and kill them with clubs. Otis says that millions of wildfowl were thus destroyed and that in a few years their haunts were so broken up by this wholesale slaughter and their numbers were so diminished that feather voyages became unprofitable and were given up. 

This practice, followed by the almost continual egging, clubbing, shooting, etc. by Labrador fishermen, may have been a chief factor in the extinction of the Labrador duck, that species of supposed restricted breeding range. No doubt had the eider duck been restricted in its breeding range to the islands of Labrador, it also would have been exterminated long ago.

Which of the following most likely happened after the Labrador feather voyages were no longer organized?

Possible Answers:

Eider down began to be used for other purposes in North America.

A population of the Labrador duck was reestablished.

The price of eider down in North America plummeted.

The quality of bedding in North America became preferable to that found in Iceland.

North Americans imported eider down from Iceland.

Correct answer:

North Americans imported eider down from Iceland.

Explanation:

The first paragraph tells us that the Labrador feather voyages were organized to keep up with an increased demand for eider down caused by an increased North American population. The passage doesn’t mention any alternative sources of eider down being used after the Labrador feather voyages were no longer organized. Therefore, we can eliminate the answer choice “The price of eider down in North America plummeted” since if eider down became more rare, its price would likely have gone up, not down. We can also eliminate the answer choice “Eider down began to be used for other purposes in North America” as this is not suggested in the passage at all and would require more information to be supported. “The quality of bedding in North America became preferable to that found in Iceland” cannot be correct either, as in the first paragraph, the author claims that eider down makes the best bedding, and if eider down becomes rare in North America, it’s not likely that the quality of North American bedding will exceed that of bedding made in Iceland, where eider down is assumed to be more available. “A population of the Labrador duck was reestablished.” cannot be the correct answer because the passage tells us that the Labrador duck went extinct, and if a species is extinct, there are no living members left from which populations of it could be reestablished. This leaves us with one answer, the correct one: “North American populations had to import eider down from Iceland.” This makes sense, as if less eider down were available in North America but there was still a desire for it, it would be likely to be imported from elsewhere in the world.

Example Question #1 : Making Inferences In Narrative Science Passages

Adapted from “Humming-Birds: As Illustrating the Luxuriance of Tropical Nature” in Tropical Nature, and Other Essays by Alfred Russel Wallace (1878)

The food of hummingbirds has been a matter of much controversy. All the early writers down to Buffon believed that they lived solely on the nectar of flowers, but since that time, every close observer of their habits maintains that they feed largely, and in some cases wholly, on insects. Azara observed them on the La Plata in winter taking insects out of the webs of spiders at a time and place where there were no flowers. Bullock, in Mexico, declares that he saw them catch small butterflies, and that he found many kinds of insects in their stomachs. Waterton made a similar statement. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of specimens have since been dissected by collecting naturalists, and in almost every instance their stomachs have been found full of insects, sometimes, but not generally, mixed with a proportion of honey. Many of them in fact may be seen catching gnats and other small insects just like fly-catchers, sitting on a dead twig over water, darting off for a time in the air, and then returning to the twig. Others come out just at dusk, and remain on the wing, now stationary, now darting about with the greatest rapidity, imitating in a limited space the evolutions of the goatsuckers, and evidently for the same end and purpose. Mr. Gosse also remarks, ” All the hummingbirds have more or less the habit, when in flight, of pausing in the air and throwing the body and tail into rapid and odd contortions. This is most observable in the Polytmus, from the effect that such motions have on the long feathers of the tail. That the object of these quick turns is the capture of insects, I am sure, having watched one thus engaged pretty close to me.”

What can we infer from the underlined sentence, “Many [hummingbirds] in fact may be seen catching gnats and other small insects just like fly-catchers, sitting on a dead twig over water, darting off for a time in the air, and then returning to the twig"?

Possible Answers:

Gnats are rarely found near bodies of water.

All hummingbirds live in the desert.

Some hummingbirds live in the desert.

Some hummingbirds live near bodies of water.

All hummingbirds live near bodies of water.

Correct answer:

Some hummingbirds live near bodies of water.

Explanation:

What does the underlined sentence tell us? It refers to “Many” hummingbirds, not “all hummingbirds,” so we can’t infer that what it says holds true for all hummingbirds. This allows us to eliminate the answer choices that begin with “all hummingbirds,” leaving us with “Gnats are rarely found near bodies of water,” “Some hummingbirds live in the desert,” and “Some hummingbirds live near a body of water.” Regarding gnats, the sentence doesn’t suggest that they are rarely found near bodies of water, since it mentions hummingbirds “may be seen catching gnats and other small insects just like fly-catchers” and implies that they do this by “sitting on a dead twig over water, darting off for a time in the air, and then returning to the twig.” We’re down to two answer choices: whether some hummingbirds live in the desert or near a body of water. The sentence doesn’t mention anything about deserts; on the contrary, it tells us that “many” hummingbirds catch gnats. The way that these hummingbirds do this begins with them “sitting on a dead twig over water.” So, we are told that many hummingbirds catch gnats and that in catching gnats, they sit over water. From this, we can infer that many hummingbirds live near bodies of water.

Example Question #11 : Making Inferences And Predictions In Science Passages

Adapted from Chatterbox Stories of Natural History by R. Worthington (1880)

Among the various wild animals which inhabit the earth, it is difficult to decide which are really friendly and which are really hostile to man's interests. The actual fact appears to be that there is neither hostility nor friendship. If farmers and gardeners kill off too many birds, nature revenges herself by sending a plague of insects which the small birds, if alive, would have eaten. Gamekeepers ruthlessly shoot hawks and kites, or snare stoats and polecats, with the result that their game grows up too thick for its feeding ground, sickly specimens are allowed to linger on, and a destructive murrain follows. The rook, no doubt, is fond of eggs, but nevertheless he does the farmer good service when he devours the grubs which are turned up by the plow; and as the salmon disease, which of late has proved so destructive, is attributed by the best authorities to overcrowding, that glossy-coated fisherman, the otter, is really a benefactor to the followers of Izaak Walton's gentle craft.

“Izaak Walton’s gentle craft” is most probably __________.

Possible Answers:

fishing

scientific inquiry

farming

hunting

poetry

Correct answer:

fishing

Explanation:

We know from the broad context of this text that the “gentle craft” is likely to be related to the rearing and use of animals, so we can reasonably rule out “poetry” and “scientific inquiry.” Likewise, the use of the word “gentle” suggests that Izaak Walton was not a hunter. This leaves us with “farming” and “fishing” as viable options. Given that the mention of Izaak Walton takes place in the portion of text that is discussing salmon and fishermen, it is reasonable to conclude that “Izaak Walton’s gentle craft” is most probably “fishing.”

Example Question #12 : Making Inferences And Predictions In Science Passages

Adapted from Anecdotes of the Habits and Instincts of Animals by Mrs. R. Lee (1852)

The Carnivora are divided by naturalists into three groups, the characters of which are taken from their feet and manner of walking. Bears rank among the Plantigrada, or those which put the whole of their feet firmly upon the ground when they walk. They are occasionally cunning and ferocious, but often evince good humor and a great love of fun. In their wild state, they are solitary the greater part of their lives. They climb trees with great facility; live in caverns, holes, and hollow trees; and in cold countries, retire to some sequestered spot during the winter, where they remain concealed and bring forth their young. Some say they are torpid, but this cannot be, for the female bears come from their retreats with cubs that have lived upon them, and it is not likely that they can have reared them and remained without food; they are, however, often very lean and wasted, and the absorption of their generally large portion of fat contributes to their nourishment. The story that they live by sucking their paws is, as may be supposed, a fable; when well-fed they always lick their paws, very often accompanying the action with a peculiar sort of mumbling noise. There are a few which will never eat flesh, and all are able to do without it. They are, generally speaking, large, clumsy, and awkward, possessing large claws for digging, and often walk on their hind feet, a facility afforded them by the peculiar formation of their thigh bone. They do not often attack in the first instance, unless impelled by hunger or danger; they are, however, formidable opponents when excited. In former times, there were few parts of the globe in which they were not to be found, but, like other wild animals, they have disappeared before the advance of man. Still they are found in certain spots from the northern regions of the world to the burning climes of Africa, Asia, and America. The latest date of their appearance in Great Britain was in Scotland during the year 1057.

The author of this passage would most likely believe that someone who had been attacked by a bear was __________.

Possible Answers:

Very unlucky to have caught a bear at the wrong moment

Responsible for the well-being of the bear

Foolish or unlucky depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack

Extremely foolish to have gotten himself in that position

It is impossible to say.

Correct answer:

Foolish or unlucky depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack

Explanation:

Answering this question requires you to read the passage carefully and select the relevant piece of information from which to make a prediction. Toward the end of the passage, the author says, “[Bears] do not often attack in the first instance, unless impelled by hunger or danger; they are, however, formidable opponents when excited.” So, in the author's opinion, bears only attack when forced by “hunger or danger"; from this, we can reasonably predict that the author of this passage would believe someone attacked by a bear would have been either foolish or unlucky—foolish if he or she made the bear feel in danger, unlucky if he or she encountered the bear when it was hungry.

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