GED Reasoning through Language Arts Reading Skills Practice

By Murray Shukyn, Dale E. Shuttleworth, Achim K. Krull

The reading component of the Reasoning though Language Arts section on the GED consists of excerpts from fiction and nonfiction. Each excerpt is followed by multiple-choice items based on the reading material.

For the questions in this section, choose the one best answer to each question. Work carefully, but don’t spend too much time on any one question. Be sure you answer every question. You can find the answers for these items later in this section.

Sample questions

Questions 1–6 refer to the following article from the United States Geological Service Newsroom.

USGS scientists and Icelandic partners found avian flu viruses from North America and Europe in migratory birds in Iceland, demonstrating that the North Atlantic is as significant as the North Pacific in being a melting pot for birds and avian flu.

A great number of wild birds from Europe and North America congregate and mix in Iceland’s wetlands during migration, where infected birds could transmit avian flu viruses to healthy birds from either location.

By crossing the Atlantic Ocean this way, avian flu viruses from Europe could eventually be transported to the United States. This commingling could also lead to the evolution of new influenza viruses. These findings are critical for proper surveillance and monitoring of flu viruses, including the H5N1 avian influenza that can infect humans.

“None of the avian flu viruses found in our study are considered harmful to humans,” said Robert Dusek, USGS scientist and lead author of the study. “However, the results suggest that Iceland is an important location for the study of avian flu… . ”

During the spring and autumn of 2010 and autumn of 2011, the USGS researchers and Icelandic partners collected avian influenza viruses from gulls and waterfowl in southwest and west Iceland… . By studying the virus’ genomes … the researchers found that some viruses came from Eurasia and some originated in North America. They also found viruses with mixed American-Eurasian lineages.

“For the first time, avian influenza viruses from both Eurasia and North America were documented at the same location and time,” said Jeffrey Hall, USGS co-author and principal investigator on this study. “Viruses are continually evolving, and this mixing of viral strains sets the stage for new types of avian flu to develop.”

  1. How dangerous is this new potential source of avian flu to humans?

    • (A)very dangerous

    • (B) not very dangerous, for now

    • (C) a concern but not particularly dangerous

    • (D) serious enough that it requires monitoring

  2. Before this discovery, where did scientists believe most birds carrying the avian flu intermingled with North American birds?

    • (A) South Pacific

    • (B) Central America

    • (C) Eurasia

    • (D) North Pacific

  3. Why was the finding of Eurasian, North American, and mixed virus genomes in the same locale significant?

    • (A) It proved that birds carrying the disease from both Eurasia and North America were present.

    • (B) It proved that the avian flu was spreading between continents via Iceland.

    • (C) It proved that the avian flu virus had mingled in Iceland.

    • (D) All of the above.

  4. Why is the mixing of avian flu viruses in Iceland an important concern?

    • (A) It can lead to a new dangerous strain of avian flu.

    • (B) Cold viruses are constantly evolving.

    • (C) It provides lead time to develop new vaccines.

    • (D) It suggests tourists avoid that area.

  5. Which of these terms best describes the tone of this passage?

    • (A) light-hearted

    • (B) deeply concerned

    • (C) factual and straightforward

    • (D) gloomy

  6. Which strain of the avian flu virus can infect humans?

    • (A) the bird flu

    • (B) the H5N1 strain

    • (C) the avian H5 flu

    • (D) the Eurasian avian flu

Answers and explanations

  1. D. serious enough that it requires monitoring. The text states that the comingling of the virus strains is serious enough to require monitoring. Now that a new area of possible comingling is found, the text implies it, too, should be monitored. Choice (A) isn’t supported by the text, and even though Choices (B) and (C) are possible, they’re not as clear and important a statement as Choice (D).

  2. D. North Pacific. The text states that this finding shows the North Atlantic is as significant melting pot for birds and avian flu as the North Pacific. Choice (B) isn’t mentioned; and although Eurasia is mentioned, it isn’t mentioned as a place where birds from Europe and North America mingle.

  3. D. All of the above. According to the text, all of these statements are true. The finding of the various virus’s genomes proves that this is a place where birds from both Eurasia and North America were present, it proves that the flu was spreading between continents via Iceland, and it proves that the avian flu virus had mingled in Iceland.

  4. A. It can lead to a new dangerous strain of avian flu. The text states that the virus evolves readily, and that the mingling of North American and Eurasian strains can lead to new varieties dangerous to humans. Cold viruses and flu viruses aren’t the same, so Choice (B) is irrelevant. Although Choices (C) and (D) may be partially true, they’re not the best options.

  5. C. factual and straightforward. The tone of the passage is very calm, very factual. It isn’t lighthearted, deeply concerned, or gloomy.

  6. B. the H5N1 strain. The text refers only to the H5N1 strain as a possible human flu. The term bird flu refers to the entire category of disease, not just the version dangerous to human. There’s no mention in the text of an H5 flu, and Eurasian avian flu simply refers to one part of the world were many strains of avian flu originate.