SSAT Middle Level Reading : Making Inferences in Narrative Science Passages

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Making Inferences In Science Passages

Adapted from "Some Strange Nurseries" by Grant Allen in A Book of Natural History (1902, ed. David Starr Jordan)

Many different types of animals employ one of two strategies in raising their young. Certain animals, called “r-strategists,” turn out thousands of eggs with reckless profusion, but they let them look after themselves, or be devoured by enemies, as chance will have it. Other animals, called “K-strategists,” take greater pain in the rearing and upbringing of the young. Large broods indicate an “r” life strategy; small broods imply a “K” life strategy and more care in the nurture and education of the offspring. R-strategists produce eggs wholesale, on the off chance that some two or three among them may perhaps survive an infant mortality of ninety-nine per cent, so as to replace their parents. K-strategists produce half a dozen young, or less, but bring a large proportion of these on an average up to years of discretion.

Which of the following is suggested by the passage's wording?

Possible Answers:

K-strategist animals are in short supply.

Most animals abandon their young to fend for themselves.

It would benefit the environment to ensure the survival of the entire brood of r-strategists. 

Many r-strategists reproduce by laying eggs.

Biology is only the author's hobby, not the field in which he works.

Correct answer:

Many r-strategists reproduce by laying eggs.

Explanation:

Twice in the passage, when the author discusses r-strategists, he refers to them laying eggs. This first happens in the second sentence ("Certain animals, called 'r-strategists,' turn out thousands of eggs with reckless profusion"), and later in the fifth sentence ("R-strategists produce eggs wholesale"). Based on the author's wording, we can correctly assume that many r-strategists reproduce by laying eggs. None of the other answer choices are supported by the passage: nothing suggests that the author pursues biology as a hobby instead of a career; the fact that relative numbers of r-strategists and K-strategists are not discussed in the passage makes it impossible to assert that "most animals abandon their young to fend for themselves" or that "K-strategist animals are in short supply"; and nothing about environmental effects is discussed or suggested either, so "it would benefit the environment to ensure the survival of the entire brood of r-strategists" cannot be the correct answer either.

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