SSAT Elementary Level Reading : How to Make Predictions Based on Fiction Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SSAT Elementary Level Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #51 : Ssat Elementary Level Reading Comprehension

Read the passage below and make a prediction.

Sara is a very good student. She works very hard in class and takes excellent notes when Mrs. Green is teaching. When she gets home, she always does her homework first thing.  She works twice as hard on something that seems difficult to learn because she doesn’t want to get behind.  Tomorrow is a big day for Sara because she has a very important math test. Math is not her best subject, but she has worked very hard to master the skills on the test.

Make a prediction about how Sara will do on her math test.

Possible Answers:

Sara will fail the test because math is not her best subject.

Sara will be too nervous about the test and will not go to school.

Sara will get every question right, because math is her best subject.

Sara will cheat on the test.

Sara may miss a few questions, but will do great on the test because she has studied hard.

Correct answer:

Sara may miss a few questions, but will do great on the test because she has studied hard.


Since math is NOT Sara's best subject, she has studied really hard for this test. She is most likely to miss a few questions but do well overall.

Example Question #58 : Prose Passages

Eric just got a new puppy last weekend! When Eric’s mom agreed to let him get the dog, she said he will be responsible for taking care of her at all times.  Yesterday, Eric came home from school to find his dog had made a huge mess in the kitchen!  He forgot to put his cereal box away and Gracie, his yellow lab, had spilled the little round puffs all over the floor. After noticing the mess, he went straight to his room and started watching TV.

Make a prediction about what happens when Eric’s mom comes home to find the mess.

Possible Answers:

Eric's mom cleans up the mess.

Eric's mom was happy. 

Eric's mom says he can clean up the mess tomorrow. 

Eric's mom said he can never have cereal again.

Eric's mom is upset and tells him to clean up the mess right away.

Correct answer:

Eric's mom is upset and tells him to clean up the mess right away.


Since Eric's mom said he would be responsible for taking care of the dog, you can predict that his mom would be upset to find the mess in the kitchen. She is most likely going to ask him to clean up the mess immediately. 

Example Question #51 : Prose Passages

Addison is having a bad day. In the morning, she lost her lunch money on the way to school. Her mom told her to put it in the zipper pocket of her backpack, but she didn’t listen and put it in her pants pocket instead. In the afternoon, her class went to the library. When she went to her backpack to retrieve her library book, it was not there!  She could not check out a new book this week. After school, she was talking to her friends on the playground and lost track of time. When she walked out to the front of the school, she realized that the bus had already left!! Her house is over 4 miles away and she is not allowed to walk home alone.

Make a prediction about what Addison will do next.

Possible Answers:

She doesn't want to get into trouble so she will walk home. 

She will call her parents. She will need someone to pick her up since she missed the bus.

She will go have a snack at the cafe because she's hungry.

She will go back to the playground and talk more with her friends. 

She will go to the library to check out a book.

Correct answer:

She will call her parents. She will need someone to pick her up since she missed the bus.


To make a good prediction, you must use the information that the story gives you and what you already know (your life experiences) to tell what is most likely to happen next. Since Addision missed the bus and she is not allowed to walk home, she will most likely call her mom/parents to come get her.

Example Question #1 : Inferential Understanding In Fiction Passages

Adapted from "Belling the Cat" by Aesop (trans. Jacobs 1909)

Long ago, the mice had a general council to consider what measures they could take to outwit their common enemy, the Cat. Some said this and some said that; but at last a young mouse got up and said he had a proposal to make, which he thought would meet the case. "You will all agree," said he, "that our chief danger consists in the sly and treacherous manner in which the enemy approaches us. Now, if we could receive some signal of her approach, we could easily escape from her. I venture, therefore, to propose that a small bell be procured, and attached by a ribbon round the neck of the Cat. By this means we should always know when she was about, and could easily hide while she was in the neighborhood." This proposal met with general applause, until an old mouse got up and said: "That is all very well, but who is to bell the Cat?" The mice looked at one another and nobody spoke. Then the old mouse said: "It is easy to propose impossible remedies."

Based on this passage, who do you think is most likely to bell the cat?

Possible Answers:

The old mouse 

The young mouse 

The cat 

The cat's owners

No one

Correct answer:

No one


It might be reasonable to assume that the young mouse is most likely to bell the cat. And that is certainly the case at the start of the story; however, by the end of the story, the author indicates that no one feels inclined to bell the cat: after the old mouse says "That is all very well, but who is to bell the Cat?" the story says, "The mice looked at one another and nobody spoke.” The fact that nobody spoke suggests no one is willing to step up to the challenge. 

Example Question #1 : How To Make Predictions Based On Fiction Passages

Adapted from "The Box of Robbers" in American Fairy Tales by L. Frank Baum (1901)

No one intended to leave Martha alone that afternoon, but it happened that everyone was called away, for one reason or another. Mrs. McFarland was attending the weekly card party held by the Women's Anti-Gambling League. Sister Nell's boyfriend had called quite unexpectedly to take her for a long drive. Papa was at the office, as usual. It was Mary Ann's day out. As for Emeline, the maid, she certainly should have stayed in the house and looked after the little girl, but Emeline had a restless nature.

"Would you mind, miss, if I just crossed the alley to talk to Mrs. Carleton's girl?" she asked Martha.

"'Course not," replied the child. "You'd better lock the back door, though, and take the key, for I shall be upstairs."

"Oh, I'll do that, of course, miss," said the delighted maid, and ran away to spend the afternoon with her friend, leaving Martha quite alone in the big house, and locked in, into the bargain.

From the whole of this passage, what can you predict will happen when Martha is home alone?

Possible Answers:

She will finish all her homework

She will make dinner for everyone

She will walk to meet her father at his office

Something will go wrong 

She will play with her toys

Correct answer:

Something will go wrong 


The passage begins by describing how Martha has been accidently left alone. The fact that it is an accident suggests that Martha should not be left alone. The passage ends by restating that Martha is alone and indicating that should she get in trouble if she is locked into the house as well. The author is clearly suggesting that something will go wrong for Martha as a result of her being alone.

Example Question #63 : Prose Passages

Adapted from Myths and Legends of All Nations by Logan Marshall (1914)

When the great city of Troy was taken, all the chiefs who had fought against it set sail for their homes. But there was wrath in heaven against them, for they had carried themselves haughtily and cruelly in the day of their victory. Therefore they did not all find a safe and happy return. For one was shipwrecked and another was shamefully slain by his false wife in his palace, and others found all things at home troubled and changed and were driven to seek new dwellings elsewhere. And some, whose wives and friends and people had been still true to them through those ten long years of absence, were driven far and wide about the world before they saw their native land again. And of all, the wise Ulysses was he who wandered farthest and suffered most.

Based on the last few sentences of this passage, how do you think the author would continue this story?

Possible Answers:

By describing the great battle at Troy

By describing the suffering and wanderings of Ulysses

By questioning the right of gods to intervene in the lives of men

By providing evidence of the vengeful behavior of the gods

By listing all the various chiefs who have suffered more than Ulysses

Correct answer:

By describing the suffering and wanderings of Ulysses


The last sentence says “And of all, the wise Ulysses was he who wandered farthest and suffered most.” This suggests that the author is about to change focus from a discussion about the general suffering of the various chiefs to a focus on the specific sufferings and wanderings of Ulysses. This question requires you to make a prediction about the future direction of the passage based on the information you have already read. When tackling these questions, pay the most attention to the passage's last few sentences, as these will reveal any changes in direction and any hints as to the new direction the story will take, if it is changing direction.

Example Question #61 : Ssat Elementary Level Reading Comprehension

Adapted from The Lion and the Mouse by Aesop, translated by Joseph Jacobs (1909)

Once, when a Lion was asleep, a little Mouse began running up and down upon him. This soon woke the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon him and opened his big jaws to swallow him. 

"Pardon, O King," cried the little Mouse, "forgive me this time and I shall never forget it. Who knows but what I may be able to do you a turn some of these days?" The Lion was so tickled at the idea of the Mouse being able to help him, that he lifted up his paw and let him go.

Some time after, the Lion was caught in a trap and the hunters who desired to carry him alive to the King tied him to a tree while they went in search of a wagon to carry him on.

Just then, the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad plight in which the Lion was, went up to him and soon gnawed away the ropes that bound the King of the Beasts. "Was I not right?" said the little Mouse.

How do you think the Lion felt when the Mouse saved him?

Possible Answers:






Correct answer:



We can assume that the Lion felt a positive emotion when the Mouse arrived and saved him from his predicament. We can eliminate the answer choices that are negative ("upset" and "disturbed") or unrelated to the situation ("powerful" and "pensive"), which leaves us with the correct answer choice, "relieved."

Example Question #65 : Prose Passages

Adapted from Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans by Edward Eggleston (1896)

Daniel Webster was a great statesman. As a little boy he was called "Little Black Dan." When he grew larger, he was thin and sickly-looking, but he had large, dark eyes. People called him "All Eyes."

He was very fond of his brother Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a little older than Daniel. Both the boys had fine minds. They wanted to go to college, but their father was poor.

Daniel had not much strength for work on the farm, so little "All Eyes" was sent to school and then to college. Ezekiel stayed at home and worked on the farm.

While Daniel was at school, he was unhappy to think that Ezekiel could not go to college also. He went home on a visit. He talked to Ezekiel about going to college. The brothers talked about it all night. The next day Daniel talked to his father about it. The father said he was too poor to send both of his sons to college. He said he would lose all his little property if he tried to send Ezekiel to college, but if their mother and sisters were willing to be poor, he would send the other son to college.

The mother and sisters were asked. It seemed hard to risk the loss of all they had. It seemed hard not to give Ezekiel a chance. They all shed tears over it.

The boys promised to take care of their mother and sisters if the property should be lost. Then they all agreed that Ezekiel should go to college too.

Daniel taught school while he was studying to help pay the expenses. After Daniel was through his studies in college, he taught school in order to help his brother. When his school closed, he went home. On his way, he went round to the college to see his brother. Finding that Ezekiel needed money, he gave him a hundred dollars. He kept but three dollars to get home with.

The father's property was not sold. The two boys helped the family. Daniel soon began to make money as a lawyer. He knew that his father was in debt. He went home to see him. He said, "Father, I am going to pay your debts."

The father said, "You cannot do it, Daniel. You have not money enough."

"I can do it," said Daniel, "and I will do it before Monday evening."

When Monday evening came round, the father's debts were all paid.

How do you think Daniel's father felt when Daniel paid off his debts?

Possible Answers:






Correct answer:



When Daniel paid off his father's debts, we can assume that Daniel's father would react with a positive emotion because ridding oneself of debt is something positive. The correct answer choice is "thankful," meaning pleased and relieved, because Daniel's father will likely be pleased with his son's generosity and relieved that all of his debts have been paid.

Example Question #66 : Prose Passages

Adapted from The Book of Nature Myths by Florence Holbrook (1902)

One day, a crane was sitting on a rock far out in the water when he heard a voice say, "Grandfather Crane, Grandfather Crane, please come and carry us across the lake." It was the voice of a child and when the crane had come to the shore, he saw two little boys holding each other's hands and crying bitterly.

"Why do you cry?" asked the crane, "and why do you wish to go across the lake, away from your home and friends?"

"We have no friends," said the little boys, crying more bitterly than ever. "We have no father and no mother and a cruel witch troubles us. She tries all the time to do us harm and we are going to run away where she can never find us."

"I will carry you over the lake," said the crane. "Hold on well, but do not touch the back of my head, for if you do, you will fall into the water and go to the bottom of the lake. Will you obey me?"

"Yes, indeed, we will obey," they said. "We will not touch your head, but please come quickly and go as fast as you can. We surely heard the voice of the witch in the woods."

It really was the witch and she was saying over and over to herself, "I will catch them and I will punish them so that they will never run away from me again. They will obey me after I have caught them."

The crane bore the two little boys gently to the other shore and when he came back, there stood the witch.

"Dear, gentle crane," she said, "you are so good to everyone. Will you carry me over the lake? My two dear children are lost in the woods and I have cried bitterly for them all day long."

The spirit of the lake had told the crane to carry across everyone that asked to be taken over, so he said, "Yes, I will carry you across. Hold on well, but do not touch the back of my head, for if you do, you will fall into the water and go to the bottom of the lake. Will you obey me?"

"Yes, indeed, I will," said the witch, but she thought, "He would not be so timid about letting me touch the back of his head if he were not afraid of my magic. I will put my hand on his head and then he will always be in my power." So when they were far out over the lake, she put her hand on the crane's head, and before she could say "Oh!" she was at the bottom of the lake.

"You shall never live in the light again," said the crane, "for you have done no good on earth. You shall be a whitefish."

How do you think the little boys would react to hearing that the witch fell into the bottom of the lake?

Possible Answers:

They would be worried.

They would be passive.

They would be irate.

They would be relieved.

They would be anxious.

Correct answer:

They would be relieved.


Since the witch had been terrorizing the little boys, we can assume that they would react positively to hearing that the witch could not hurt them anymore. The best answer choice is "They would be relieved," because it is the only answer choice conveying a positive reaction.

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