Reading Comprehension Practice

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SAT/GRE/GMAT/GAT General Reading Comprehension Sample Questions:
Read the following passage and answer the given questions

A main component of NASA’s search for evidence of life on Mars is the identification of biosignatures. The most common of these indicative markers of extant or extinct life are carbonate minerals, which are formed when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reacts with other minerals and liquid water. A widely held belief among astrobiologists is that proof of running or standing liquid water can be construed as diagnostic evidence of the existence of life. It has been established that a large portion of the red planet’s surface contains areas of frozen water, leading some scientists to theorize that the climate of ancient Mars was hotter and wetter than today, with a greenhouse-like atmosphere heavy with carbon dioxide. In this type of atmosphere, the existence of vast oceans similar to that of Earth would have been a very real possibility. Images of the landscape of Mars have lent support to these theories. But , perhaps, we are applying traditional criteria for diagnostic markers of life on Earth to another planet, and as new discoveries are teaching us, our understanding of life on our own planet is limited, and accordingly, so is our index of biosignatures. For example, microscopic life forms have recently been found in some of the most extreme temperatures and environments on our planet that scientists previously believed were completely inhospitable to the support of life. Evidence of rock-eating microbes has been discovered almost a mile beneath the ocean floor, and living in the seemingly dead deep-freeze of Antarctic ice. Such findings contradict the idea that a specified, delicate set of circumstances is necessary for the development and sustenance of life.

1. Images of the landscape of Mars
(A) support that the climate of ancient Mars was hotter and wetter than today
(B) give evidence of rock-eating microbes
(C) identifies biosignatures
(D) support the possibility of oceans similar to that of Earth
(E) none of these

2. The primary purpose of the passage is
(A) research for evidence of life on Mars
(B) identification of biosignatures
(C) to dispute the possibility of the existence of any life on Mars
(D) emphasis on the need of understanding of life on Earth
(E) none of these

3. According to the passage, which of the following statements is/are true for Mars?
I. large portion of the red planet’s surface contains areas of frozen water
II. the climate of ancient Mars was hotter and wetter than today
III. has oceans similar to that of Earth
(A) I only
(B) I and II
(C) I and III
(D) II and III
(E) I, II and III

4. According to the passage, which of the following statement is NOT true?
I. Evidence of rock-eating microbes a mile beneath the ocean floor of the Earth
II. Life forms cannot be found in the most extreme temperatures
III. Carbonate minerals are the most common biosignatures
(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) III only
(D) I and II
(E) II and III

5. Areas of frozen water on Mars leads to the believe
(A) the existence of life on Mars
(B) greenhouse-like atmosphere heavy with carbon dioxide
(C) the possibility of biosignatures
(D) proof of running or standing liquid water
(E) none of these

ANSWERS: ENGLISH READING COMPREHENSION PRACTICE
1. D
2. D
3. A
4. B
5. B