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    Reading Comprehension
  I: Introduction  
  II: The Challenge  
  III: The Five Steps  
  IV: Question Types  
  V: Tips  
  VI: Sample Essays  
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VI. Reading Comprehension Sample Questions- Easy Essay 3  
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Sample Essays


5 questions/ 9 minutes

Aristotelian abiogenesis, also known as spontaneous generation, was the theory according to which fully formed living organisms sometimes arise from not-living matter. Aristotle explicitly taught this form of abiogenesis, and laid it down as an observed fact that some animals spring from putrid matter, that plant lice arise from the dew that falls on plants, fleas are developed from putrid matter, mice come from dirty hay, and so forth.

The first step in the scientific refutation of the theory of Aristotelian abiogenesis was taken by the Italian Francesco Redi, who, in 1668, proved that no maggots were bred in meat on which flies were prevented by wire screens from laying their eggs. From the seventeenth century onwards it was gradually shown that, at least in the case of all the higher and readily visible organisms, spontaneous generation did not occur, but that omne vivum ex ovo, every living thing came from a pre-existing living thing.

The invention of the microscope carried the refutation further. In 1683 Antoni van Leeuwenhoek discovered bacteria, and it was soon found that however carefully organic matter might be protected by screens, or by being placed in stoppered receptacles, putrefaction set in, and was invariably accompanied by the appearance of myriads of bacteria and other low organisms. Then, in 1768, Lazzaro Spallanzani proved that microbes came from the air, and could be killed by boiling. His work paved the way for Louis Pasteur.

It was due chiefly to Louis Pasteur that the occurrence of abiogenesis in the microscopic world was disproved as much as its occurrence in the macroscopic world. If organic matter were first sterilized and then prevented from contamination from without, putrefaction did not occur, and the matter remained free from microbes. The presence of bacteria, or their spores, is so universal that only extreme precautions guard against a re-infection of the sterilized material. It was thus concluded definitely that all known living organisms arise only from pre-existing living organisms.

1. The passage suggests that Aristotle:

I. believed organisms emerge from non-living matter
II. was unaware of the microscopic world
III. was the only theorist to teach spontaneous generation

(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) I and II only
(D) I and III only
(E) I, II and III

2. The author's main purpose is to:

(A) chronicle a set of scientific discoveries
(B) describe the history of bacteria science
(C) follow a theory from its creation to refutation
(D) theorize about the nature of the generation of life
(E) illuminate the meaning of a term in science

3. Redi's discovery is important because:

I. The discovery paved the way for Louis Pasteur's discovery
II. Redi proved that maggots arise from eggs, not from meat.
III. The discovery showed that life comes from other life.

(A) I only
(B) III only
(C) I and III only
(D) II and III only
(E) I, II and III

4. The tone of the passage is:

(A) factual
(B) concerned
(C) inquisitive
(D) bombastic
(E) critical

5. This passage is most likely to be found in a(n):

(A) newspaper editorial
(B) biography of Artistotle
(C) history textbook
(D) scientific journal
(E) encyclopedia


Easy Essay 2

Easy Essay 4