## Post-Test for Topics and Main Ideas

1. Which of the following best expresses the topic of the paragraph below?

Drama languished in Europe after the fall of Rome during the fifth and sixth centuries. From about A.D. 400 to 900 almost no record of dramatic productions exists except for those of minstrels and other entertainers, such as acrobats and jugglers, who traveled through the countryside. The Catholic church was instrumental in suppressing drama because the theater—represented by the excesses of Roman productions—was seen as subversive. No state-sponsored festivals brought people together in huge theaters the way they had in Greek and Roman times.

(Adapted from Michael Meyer, The Bedford Introduction to Literature)

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Post-Test for Topics and Main Ideas - Question 1

2. What is the main idea of the paragraph below?

An amoeba can do an unusual mathematical trick: It multiplies by dividing. After it has grown to a certain size, the amoeba’s single cell divides in half to produce two amoebas. In about a day, the two amoebas have grown to the point at which they are ready to divide and form four; the day after that, there are eight amoebas, and so forth. How many amoebas will there be at the end of the week? (Harold R. Jacobs, Mathematics: A Human Endeavor)

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Post-Test for Topics and Main Ideas - Question 2

3. Which of the following best expresses the topic of the paragraph below?

One form of distraction is imagery. Creating a vivid mental image can help control pain or other unpleasant physical symptoms. Usually people create a pleasant and progressive scenario, such as walking along the beach, hiking in the mountains, or enjoying a gathering of friends. Aggressive or arousing imagery can also be useful, such as imagining a heated argument, fighting off an enemy, or driving a race car at high speeds. Whatever imaginary scenario you use, try to visualize all the different sensations involved, including the sights, sounds, aromas, touches, and tastes. The goal is to become so absorbed in your fantasy that you distract yourself from the pain sensations.

(Adapted from Don H. Hockenbury and Sandra E. Hockenbury, Psychology)

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Post-Test for Topics and Main Ideas - Question 3

4. What is the main idea of the paragraph below?

The institution of the foreign migrant worker appears around the world when a relatively rich country is near a relatively poor one and there is access between them. Mexican farm workers in the United States, Algerian farm workers in France, Turkish laborers in Germany, and Ethiopian domestic servants in Kuwait are all examples. Each example shows the combined effects of overpopulation and unequal distribution of employment opportunity and wealth. In all cases, there are dangers that migrant workers will be exploited by local employers who recognize their vulnerability and that they will be resented by local workers who see them as competitors. Cesar Chavez (1927–1994) organized the United Farm Workers union in California in response to such problems in 1962 and after a multiyear strike was able to obtain better wages and working conditions for grape pickers. Similar unions have developed in many places around the world.

(Adapted from Lanny B. Fields, Russell J. Barber, and Cheryl A. Riggs, The Global Past.)

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Post-Test for Topics and Main Ideas - Question 4

5. What is the main idea of the passage below?

Few words have become as strongly linked in the public’s perception of health risks as cholesterol. Just what is cholesterol? Is it bad for us?

Cholesterol is a natural, fatlike substance found in body cells of humans and animals. The body makes use of cholesterol in the formation of hormones and cell membranes. Cholesterol is found in the lean and fat of meat and in animal by-products, such as eggs, milk, and other dairy products. Egg yolks and organ meats like liver and kidney meats contain the highest concentrations of dietary sources of cholesterol. One egg yolk, for example, contains about ten times the amount of cholesterol found in one ounce of meat, poultry, or fish. Cholesterol is not found in any foods derived from plants.

The body actually makes all the cholesterol it requires on its own. We do not need to consume additional cholesterol in our diets. Herein lies the problem: Since cholesterol is present in all animal tissue, including meat, poultry, dairy products, shellfish, and, in lesser amounts, fish, we may take in far more cholesterol from our diet than we could possibly use, which can increase the level of cholesterol circulating in our bloodstream. The body also converts dietary fat into blood cholesterol. The problem is that excess blood cholesterol can result in the formation of fatty deposits on artery walls, impeding the flow of blood to vital organs and increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

(Adapted from Jeffrey S. Nevid, Spencer A. Rathus, and Hannah R. Rubenstein, Health in the New Millennium)

Vocabulary Check

• perception: understanding; way of seeing information
• impeding: slowing down

### Question

Post-Test for Topics and Main Ideas - Question 5

6. The main idea of the following passage is best expressed by which of the following?

It is generally assumed that torture is impermissible, a throwback to a more brutal age. Enlightened societies reject it outright, and regimes suspected of using it risk the wrath of the United States.

I believe this attitude is unwise. There are situations in which torture is not merely permissible but morally mandatory. Moreover, these situations are moving from the realm of imagination to fact.

(Michael Levin, “The Case for Torture”)

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Post-Test for Topics and Main Ideas - Question 6

7. What is the main idea of the following passage?

I am not advocating torture as punishment. Punishment is addressed to deeds irrevocably past. Rather, I am advocating torture as an acceptable measure for preventing future evils. So understood, it is far less objectionable than many extant punishments. Opponents of the death penalty, for example, are forever insisting that executing a murderer will not bring back his victim (as if the purpose of capital punishment were supposed to be resurrection, not deterrence or retribution). But torture, in the cases described, is intended not to bring anyone back but to keep innocents from being dispatched. The most powerful argument against using torture as a punishment or to secure confessions is that such practices disregard the rights of the individual. Well, if the individual is all that important — and he is — it is correspondingly important to protect the rights of individuals threatened by terrorists. If life is so valuable that it must never be taken, the lives of the innocents must be saved even at the price of hurting the one who endangers them.

(Michael Levin, “The Case for Torture”)

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Post-Test for Topics and Main Ideas - Question 7

8. What is the main idea of the following passage?

…Sometimes schools back down when threatened with lawsuits, and many students willing to challenge their suspensions should ultimately prevail in court if their judges recognize the Bill of Rights. But repression is becoming respectable, and some federal judges are as wary of free speech as school administrators are. Student speech rights have, after all, been steadily eroding for the past two decades. The landmark 1969 Supreme Court decision Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District upholding the right to wear a black armband to school to protest the Vietnam War has not been overruled, but its assertion that students do not leave their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse door has not been honored either.

Students’ press rights have been severely restricted, as has their right to express themselves sartorially. Unhampered by logic, judges have ruled that clothing choices are not expressive (and so are not protected by the First Amendment), but they’ve given schools the power to prohibit clothing when it conveys what administrators consider inappropriate messages. In a recent Utah case, a federal district court judge upheld the suspension of a high school student who wore a pro-vegan T-shirt to school and started a petition protesting a ban on vegan symbols. School officials associated veganism with the militant branch of the animal rights movement and labeled the T-shirt a gang symbol. (In Alabama and Mississippi, the Star of David has been banned as a gang symbol.) “Schools need to run, and administrators need to make rules,” the judge in the vegan T-shirt case explained idiotically. “That’s the only reason they exist.”

(Wendy Kaminer, “The War on High Schools.”)

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Post-Test for Topics and Main Ideas - Question 8

9. What is the main idea of the following passage?

Juvenile crime is relatively low today. According to the Department of Justice, violent juvenile crime has declined since the early 1990s and is at its lowest point since 1986. Violence in high schools has also declined substantially; the chances of a child being shot in school are “literally one in a million,” criminologist James Alan Fox recently remarked in the New York Times. Some may find a one-in-a-million chance of being murdered unacceptable, and random shootings naturally arouse nearly everyone’s anxiety. Still, according to a Times survey of teenagers conducted in October, both violence and fear of violence appear to have declined among America’s teens.

Fear of illicit drugs, however, remains high among adults, especially those who rule the schools. The war on drugs has greatly diminished students’ rights (along with the rights of adults). Schools treat students like criminal suspects partly because they view nearly every student as a suspected or potential drug user. Urine testing is becoming common in schools, and courts are sometimes loathe to strike it down. In 1995 the Supreme Court upheld random drug testing for student athletes. In 1999 a federal appeals court in St. Louis held that students could be tested for drugs before participating in any extracurricular activity.

(Wendy Kaminer, “The War on High Schools.”)

### Question

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Post-Test for Topics and Main Ideas - Question 9

10. What is the topic of the following passage?

Stringed instruments produce their sound by means of taut strings attached to a sound box, a hollow box containing a body of air that recreates (that is, vibrates along with the strings) to amplify the string sound.

The strings themselves can be played with a bow, as with the violin and other orchestral strings; the bow is strung tightly with horsehair, which is coated with a substance called rosin, so that the bow grips the strings. Or else the strings can be plucked or strummed, as on the guitar or the banjo, using the fingers or a small pick. Strings can be plucked on bowed instruments, too, for special effects. This is called pizzicato.

(Adapted from Joseph Kerman and Gary Tomlinson, Listen)

Vocabulary Check:

• taut: pulled tightly
• amplify: make louder