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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- Medium Essay 4  
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Sample Essays



8 questions/ 12 minutes

This essay is previously used in the chapter. You may choose to skip over it.

As in the case of so many words used by the biologist and physiologist, the word acclimatization is hard to define. With increases in scientific knowledge and understanding, meanings of words change. Originally the term acclimatization was taken to mean only the ability of human beings, animals, or plants to accustom themselves to new and strange climatic conditions - primarily altered temperature. A person or a wolf moves to a hot climate and is uncomfortable there, but after a time is better able to withstand the heat. But aside from temperature, there are other aspects of climate. A person or an animal may become adjusted to living at higher altitudes than those it was originally accustomed to. At very high altitudes, such as those that aviators may be exposed to, low atmospheric pressure becomes a factor of primary importance. In changing to a new environment, a person may meet new conditions of temperature or pressure, and in addition may have to contend with different chemical surroundings. On high mountains, the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere may be relatively small; in crowded cities, a person may become exposed to relatively high concentrations of carbon dioxide or even carbon monoxide, and in various areas may be exposed to conditions in which the water content of the atmosphere is extremely high or extremely low. Thus, in the case of humans, animals and even plants, the concept of acclimatization includes the phenomena of increased toleration of high or low temperature, of altered pressure, and of changes in the chemical environment.

Let us define acclimatization, therefore, as the process in which an organism or a part of an organism becomes inured to an environment that is normally unsuitable to it or lethal for it. By and large, acclimatization is a relatively slow process. The term should not be taken to include relatively rapid adjustments such as those that our sense organs are constantly making. This type of adjustment is commonly referred to by physiologists as "adaptation." Thus, our touch sense soon becomes accustomed to the pressure of our clothes and we do not feel them; we soon fail to hear the ticking of a clock; obnoxious odors after a time fail to make much impression on us, and our eyes in strong light rapidly become insensitive.

The fundamental fact about acclimatization is that all animals and plants have some capacity to adjust themselves to changes in their environment. This is one of the most remarkable characteristics of living organisms, a characteristic for which it is extremely difficult to find explanations.  

1. According to the reading selection, all animals and plants

(A) have an ability for acclimatization.
(B) can adjust to only one change in the environment at a time.
(C) are successful in adjusting themselves to changes in their environments.
(D) can adjust to natural changes in the environment but not to artificially induced changes.
(E) that have once acclimatized themselves to an environmental change can acclimatize themselves more rapidly to subsequent changes.

2. It can be inferred from the reading selection that

(A) every change in the environment requires acclimatization by living things.
(B) plants and animals are more alike than they are different.
(C) biologists and physiologists study essentially the same things.
(D) the explanation of acclimatization is specific to each plant and animal.
(E) as science develops, the connotation of terms may change.

3. According to the reading selection, acclimatization

(A) is similar to adaptation.
(B) is more important today than it was formerly.
(C) involves positive as well as negative adjustment.
(D) may be involved with a part of an organism but not with the whole organism.
(E) is more difficult to explain with the more complex present-day environment than it was formerly.

4. By inferencing from the reading selection, which one of the following would NOT require the process of acclimatization?

(A) an ocean fish placed in a lake
(B) a shallow diver making a deep dive
(C) an airplane pilot making a high-altitude flight
(D) a person going from daylight into a darkened room
(E) a businessman moving from Denver, Colorado, to New Orleans, Louisiana

5. According to the passage, a major distinction between acclimatization and adaptation is that acclimatization

(A) is more important than adaptation.
(B) is relatively slow and adaptation is relatively rapid.
(C) applies to adjustments while adaptation does not apply to adjustments.
(D) applies to terrestrial animals and adaptation to aquatic animals.
(E) is applicable to all animals and plants and adaptation only to higher animals and man.

6. The word "inured" in the first sentence of paragraph two most likely means

(A) exposed
(B) accustomed
(C) attracted
(D) associated
(E) in love with

7. The function of paragraph 2 in the passage as a whole is to:

(A) illuminate the human element of acclimatization.
(B) explain the role of scientists in acclimatization research.
(C) provide a definition corresponding to the examples cited in paragraph 1.
(D) detail the environmental adjustments animals make to their environment.
(E) show the links between important terms used elsewhere in the essay.  

8. The author is most likely:

(A) a researcher in the field of adaptive mechanisms.
(B) a student of biology.
(C) a veterinarian looking to explain an issue of importance.
(D) the editor of a scientific publication.
(E) the founder of a new field of science.



Medium Essay 3

Medium Essay 5