Soon enough, Carter was doing all of Uncle Sly’s tricks – only better. Carter had a special talent. His fingers were long and his tendons were taut, which gave him fast hands and expert card-shuffling skills. He could make coins vanish and reappear across the room. He could materialize playing cards out of thin air. He even revised Uncle Sly’s sneeze trick, using ice cubes instead of coins (which was rather impressive, given the size of the average human nostril).
Now, Uncle Sly wasn’t the type of man to celebrate his young nephew’s ability to change up his oldest and best illusion, but he was smart enough to notice an opportunity when it was sneezing ice cubes right in front of him. So on Carter’s birthday, instead of throwing him a party, Uncle Sly decided to test him. He sent the boy up to a random couple on the street to perform his very first show.
As Carter approached, he nervously slicked his blond mop of hair to the side, pinched his pale cheeks, and opened his blue eyes wide.
~After doing card tricks for the couple…~
Carter beamed like the sun. He had brought joy to the young couple. In earning their smiles, he recalled his own parents and their laughter. He didn’t care that there was no party. It was still a very good birthday…
At least until later, when Carter realized his uncle had stolen the man’s wristwatch and the woman’s wedding ring. Uncle Sly had used him. Carter knew too many stories in which villains stole from innocent people. These stories always made him feel as if someone had stolen his parents from him.
What was left of that earlier, good feeling squeezed out of him like a balloon with a leak in it.
Which of these skills is not mentioned in the passage?
a) Vanishing coins and cards
b) Shuffling cards
c) Sneezing coins and cards
d) Sneezing ice cubes
2. Why is Carter’s ice-cube trick described as ‘impressive’?
a) Coins are much larger than ice cubes
b) His uncle said it was better than his own coin-sneezing trick
c) It’d be difficult to sneeze ice due to how small human nostrils are
d) It’d be difficult to sneeze ice cubes due to how small human nostrils are
3. On Carter’s birthday, Uncle Sly decides to:
a) Throw Carter a birthday party so he can perform magic tricks for the first time
b) Test Carter by seeing how well he can do magic tricks at his party
c) Teach Carter how to do magic tricks, like sneezing ice cubes
d) Tell Carter to perform magic tricks so that Uncle Sly can steal from the audience
4. How does Carter feel about his parents?
a) He dislikes them because Uncle Sly is a better guardian than they are
b) He misses them because they have vanished
c) He loves them because they taught him how to do magic tricks
d) He doesn’t mention his parents at all in this passage
5. When Carter sees the couple’s reaction to his tricks, he feels:
a) Happy, because he successfully distracted them while Uncle Sly stole from them
b) Happy, because doing these sorts of magic tricks is what his parents wanted for him
c) Neutral, because he doesn’t really care about their feelings
d) Happy, because he has made them happy
6. Which of these is an example of a simile?
a) “His fingers were long and his tendons were taut.”
b) “…he was smart enough to notice an opportunity when it was sneezing ice cubes right in front of him.”
c) “What was left of that earlier, good feeling squeezed out of him like a balloon with a leak in it.”
d) “…he nervously slicked his blond mop of hair to the side…”
7. “As Carter approached, he nervously slicked his blond mop of hair to the side, pinched his pale cheeks, and opened his blue eyes wide.” Why does Carter do this?
a) He is a vain person who cares very much about his appearance
b) He wants to look as cute as possible so that the couple likes him
c) He is nervous and doing all of this helps him to calm down
d) He’s trying to impress Uncle Sly with his appearance
8. This passage is broken up into different paragraphs. Would it be better if it was all put together into a single paragraph instead?
a) No, because the paragraph would be too crammed with information
b) No, because the general rule is to write a new paragraph when there’s a new idea
c) No, because readers will find just one big paragraph more difficult to read
d) All of the above
e) None of the above
9. Why do you think the author might have named a character ‘Uncle Sly’?
a) To hint to us that Uncle Sly is sneaky and untrustworthy
b) To show us that Uncle Sly is clever and trustworthy
c) There’s no reason, he just thought it was a nice name
d) The author had a sneaky uncle and wanted to put him in the book
10. This passage comes from a book. Which genre do you think the book could be?
a) Mystery adventure
c) Comedy adventure
11. In the last question, you said what the book’s genre could be. Why did you choose this answer? (Reasons can include the passage’s tone, dialogue, plot, etc.)
Any answer involving witty narration (e.g. “which was rather impressive, given the size of the average human nostril”), the light-hearted writing style and/or the funny yet adventurous plot would be acceptable.
Note: This passage is from The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris. To my knowledge, utilising this passage as a free educational exercise falls under fair use. If not, please let me know. I want to make sure that everything on this website is fair and right. The questions are of my own creation.
Keywords: fiction, Year 7+, 13 questions overall, 9 MCQs, 4 short-answer questions, classic, Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy, 19th century literature, 19th century Russia.
(Chapter 2, Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy.)
Stepan Arkadyevitch was a truthful man in his relations with himself. He was incapable of deceiving himself and persuading himself that he repented of his conduct. He could not at this date repent of the fact that he, a handsome, susceptible man of thirty-four, was not in love with his wife, the mother of five living and two dead children, and only a year younger than himself. All he repented of was that he had not succeeded better in hiding it from his wife. But he felt all the difficulty of his position and was sorry for his wife, his children, and himself. Possibly he might have managed to conceal his sins better from his wife if he had anticipated that the knowledge of them would have had such an effect on her. He had never clearly thought out the subject, but he had vaguely conceived that his wife must long ago have suspected him of being unfaithful to her, and shut her eyes to the fact. He had even supposed that she, a worn-out woman no longer young or good-looking, and in no way remarkable or interesting, merely a good mother, ought from a sense of fairness to take an indulgent view. It had turned out quite the other way.
Stepan’s wife Dolly is mad at him. Why?
a) He isn’t in love with her.
b) He cheated on her with a younger woman.
c) He cheated on her without her knowledge.
d) He doesn’t feel sorry for her and their children.
2. This passage is written in ____________ and in _____________.
a) Third-person, past tense
b) First-person, past tense
c) Third-person, present tense
d) First-person, present tense
3. What assumptions did Stepan make about Dolly’s reaction to the affair?
a) He assumed that she had already known for years and that she decided to just ignore it.
b) He assumed that she would react in the same way she did: being upset and angry.
c) He assumed that she wouldn’t really care about the affair.
d) He assumed she already knew and was waiting for the right time to bring it up.
4. This passage’s writing style can best be described as:
a) Perfunctory and narrative
b) Wordy and persuasive
c) Complex and narrative
d) Informative and narrative
5. What is the main thing Stepan is sorry for?
a) He’s sorry for the way he has hurt Dolly’s feelings.
b) He’s sorry that he has broken Dolly’s trust.
c) He’s sorry that he wasn’t able to hide his affair properly.
d) He doesn’t feel sorry at all.
6. Stepan describes Dolly as “merely a good mother”. This is:
a) An insult, since Stepan doesn’t value motherhood
b) A compliment, since Stepan finds motherhood important
c) An insult, since Dolly isn’t actually a good mother
d) A joke, since Stepan and Dolly don’t have any children
7. Stepan believes that Dolly “ought from a sense of fairness to take an indulgent view”. What does this mean?
a) The fairest reaction Dolly should have towards Stepan’s affair is to accept it.
b) The fairest reaction Dolly should have towards Stepan’s affair is to have her own affair with someone else.
c) Dolly is being fair in her distressed reaction to Stepan’s affair.
d) Dolly is being fair in her attitude towards Stepan after she found out about the affair.
8. If you had to add a line break (i.e. break up the paragraph), where would be the best place to do it?
a) After the first sentence (“Stepan Arkadyevitch was a truthful man in his relations with himself.”)
b) After the sixth sentence (“Possibly he might have managed to conceal his sins better from his wife if he had anticipated that the knowledge of them would have had such an effect on her.”)
c) After the fourth sentence (“All he repented of was that he had not succeeded better in hiding it from his wife.”)
d) After the ninth sentence (“It had turned out quite the other way.”)
9. What is the overall tone of this passage?
a) Detached and critical
b) Witty and omniscient
c) Comedic and informal
d) Subjective and sagacious
10. If Dolly read this passage, how do you think she’d feel about Stepan’s perspective?
Considering her negative reaction towards Stepan’s affair, she probably wouldn’t be happy to hear that he isn’t sorry that he hurt her feelings. She’d most likely disagree with Stepan’s logic (and pretty much everything that he’s said in this passage).
11. When is Stepan an honest person? How do we know this?
Stepan is only honest when he thinks about himself. In other words, he never lies to himself. We know this because of the very first line: “Stepan Arkadyevitch was a truthful man in his relations with himself.”
12. Describe Stepan’s character with two different adjectives. Use quotes to support your answer.
Any adjective concerning Stepan’s selfishness, honesty with himself, promiscuity or narcissism would be acceptable. Every sentence is actually related to this question (depending on the adjectives you choose)!
13. What is Stepan’s opinion of Dolly? Use one quote to support your answer.
He doesn’t find her attractive, interesting or young. The best quote to use here would be: “He had even supposed that she, a worn-out woman no longer young or good-looking, and in no way remarkable or interesting…”. Other acceptable answers include his disregard for her feelings or his underestimating her reaction to the affair.
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Note: This passage is from Chapter 2 of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. To my knowledge, utilising this passage as a free educational exercise falls under fair use. If not, please let me know. I want to make sure that everything on this website is fair and right. The questions are of my own creation.
Keywords: Year 8+, 15 questions, 12 MCQs, 3 short-answer questions, science, non-fiction, National Geographic.
(“Limited Capacity Storage: Short-term memory”. Memory: What It Is, How It Works, and Ways You Can Improve It, National Geographic, Tula Karras.)
Limited capacity storage: Short-term memory
Our limited capacity storage systems aren’t meant to retain information for very long. Similar to a Snapchat message or an Instagram story, information that enters our brain through our senses fade rather quickly unless we have a reason to retain it or unless we practice it. While this sounds inefficient — why can’t we hold every bit of information for a long while? — it’s actually a good thing. Like a hoarder with objects they will never use, our brain would become so crowded remembering everything we experienced that we wouldn’t be able to find and retrieve the things we truly need and want to remember. Although experts generally divide our limited capacity storage systems into short-term memory and working memory, many experts consider short-term memory a component within working memory. Science is still trying to distinguish their many features.
Short-term (or immediate) memory is the ability to remember a short list of things within a short span of time — usually no longer than 30 seconds and sometimes less. Short-term memories are not stored permanently, but rather stay on our radar briefly in the present moment. We often use short-term memory when we don’t have things in our environment to cue us — so we might engage short-term memory to hold a list of grocery items in our mind by repeating it over and over if we can’t write it down, or when remembering someone’s phone number, or when holding figures in our head while doing an arithmetic problem.
What best summarises the primary aim of this passage?
a) To inform the reader on the attributes of short-term memory
b) To persuade the reader of short-term memory’s flaws
c) To illuminate upon the positive attributes of short-term memory
d) To detail short-term memory and its relationship to working memory
2. Which of these quotes is an example of a simile?
a) “Science is still trying to distinguish their many features.”
b) “…we might engage short-term memory to hold a list of grocery items in our mind…”
c) “…why can’t we hold every bit of information for a long while?”
d) “Like a hoarder with objects they will never use…”
3. Look for any parentheses in the passage. What is their purpose?
a) They include extra, irrelevant information
b) They give a synonym for a previously described term
c) They provide an example to illustrate a point further
d) There are no parentheses in this passage
4. According to the passage, why is short-term memory a positive thing?
a) If it didn’t exist, our memory would become too cluttered with too much information
b) It allows us to consciously forget things
c) If it didn’t exist, we would forget every memory we came across
d) It helps us to study and encode information, like phone numbers
5. “Similar to a Snapchat message or an Instagram story, information that enters our brain through our senses fade rather quickly…” This comparison most likely aims to:
a) Make the article more appealing to the younger generations
b) Illustrate the idea in a way that is understandable to the average reader
c) Make money for the author through Snapchat/Instagram sponsorship
d) Describe the longevity of memory
6. What is the purpose of using sub-sections in this passage?
a) To divide diametrical pieces of information into different areas
b) To make the passage seem less wordy and prolix
c) To categorise pieces of information that focus on different yet related ideas
d) To extend the amount of information that is contained in the passage
7. Look for the em-dashes. In this passage, what are they not used for?
a) To interject with an example that expands upon an idea
b) To clarify an otherwise ambiguous piece of information
c) To divide sentences, making them more efficient
d) To replace a punctuation mark
8. According to the passage, short-term memory is:
a) A well-known and clearly defined concept
b) A definite sub-section within working memory
c) A widely-accepted yet somewhat underdeveloped idea
d) A detailed concept that has remained unchanged from its conception
9. Which of these statements is false?
a) Short-term memory and working memory are two separate concepts
b) Short-term memory holds information for around 30 seconds
c) It’s impossible to remember information held in short-term memory
d) It’s possible that short-term memory is a part of working memory
10. Which of the following would be the best alternate title for this passage?
a) The Disadvantages of Short-term Memory
b) Defining and Explaining Short-term Memory
c) An Analysis of Limited Capacity Storage Systems
d) The Relationship Between Short-term Memory and Working Memory
11. What is this passage’s tone?
a) Direct and avuncular
b) Formal and apoplectic
c) Informative and partial
d) Objective and sagacious
12. Based on this passage, what is a limited-capacity storage system?
a) A kind of memory that only remembers lists for a short time
b) Unlimited storage that contains permanent memories
c) A mental network that creates short-term memories
d) A category of memories that hold information briefly
13. Write down a quote from the passage that uses inclusive language.
Any quote the includes ‘we’, ‘our’ or any other inclusive words would be an acceptable answer.
14. “While this sounds inefficient…“. What is the word ‘this’ referring to?
‘This’ refers to the concept that “information that enters our brain through our senses fade rather quickly unless we have a reason to retain it or unless we practice it.” You can use that quote if you want, but most of your answer should be in your own words.
15. List two things the passage has taught you about short-term memory.
Anything from the duration of short-term memory to its relationship with working memory is acceptable.
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Note: this passage is from the November 2020 Memoryissue of National Geographic Magazine. To my knowledge, utilising this passage as a free educational exercise falls under fair use. If not, please let me know. I want to make sure that everything on this website is fair and right. The questions are of my own creation.
Keywords: Year 7-8, poetry, the Romantic period, poetic techniques, literary devices, human nature, 8 MCQs, 2 short-answer questions.
The correct answers are highlighted in yellow!
The following is a complete poem by John Keats. It’s titled ‘The Human Seasons’.
Four Seasons fill the measure of the year; There are four seasons in the mind of man: He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear Takes in all beauty with an easy span: He has his Summer, when luxuriously Spring’s honied cud of youthful thought he loves To ruminate, and by such dreaming high Is nearest unto heaven: quiet coves His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings He furleth close; contented so to look On mists in idleness—to let fair things Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook. He has his Winter too of pale misfeature, Or else he would forego his mortal nature.
This poem’s tone would best be described as:
a) Pessimistic and sarcastic
b) Apoplectic and lyrical
c) Acerbic and bellicose
d) Observant and explanatory
2. In this poem, Man is described as being like two animals (a bird and a cow). This is an example of:
a) A metaphor and a zoomorphism
b) A simile and alliteration
c) A triptych and a zoomorphism
d) A simile and consonance
3. What is this poem’s structure?
a) ABAB ABAB ABAB CC
b) ABBB ABBB ABBB CC
c) ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
d) AABB CCDD EEFF GG
4. Which of these is a literary device that is used in the poem?
5. As established, Man is associated with cows in the poem. Which line does this?
a) “his Winter too of pale misfeature”
b) “Spring’s honied cud of youthful thought”
c) “when his wings / He furleth close”
d) “when fancy clear / Takes in all beauty with an easy span”
6. Autumn has the highest number of lines and the most description. What is a possible reason behind this choice?
a) Autumn represents the slowest stage of a life; a high number of lines reflects that longevity.
b) Autumn is John Keats’ favourite season, as evidenced by his detailed description of it.
c) Autumn is the longest season of the year, so it is only logical for it to have the highest number of lines.
d) Autumn is a time of play and pleasure. A high number of lines reinforces those themes.
7. Which of these line best demonstrate the use of contrast?
a) “when his wings / He furleth close” and “he would forego his mortal nature“
b) “He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear / Takes in all beauty with an easy span” and “There are four seasons in the mind of man“
c) “Four Seasons fill the measure of the year” and “There are four seasons in the mind of man“
d) “He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear / Takes in all beauty with an easy span” and “His soul has in its Autumn…contented so to look / On mists in idleness“
8. Winter is spoken about _____________. This is most likely to illustrate ___________.
a) Sporadically, winter’s longetivity
b) A lot, winter’s brevity
c) Briefly, winter’s brevity
d) Briefly, winter’s longevity
9. Is this poem about actual seasons or something else? How can you tell? Provide two pieces of evidence from the text to support your answer (adjectives, the title, dialogue etc.).
Keats is using the seasons to represent stages of a human’s life. We know this because of the second line: “There are four seasons in the mind of man”. Any answer that pointed out adjectives relating to seasons and/or lines directly linking seasons to a life stage (e.g. “quiet coves / His soul has in its Autumn”) is accepted. The poem’s title (“The Human Seasons”) also counts as acceptable evidence.
10. Choose one season. What kind of personality does this season show in the poem? Provide three adjectives/lines from the text to support your answer.
Spring = anything relating to “lusty”, “beauty” or “easy”.
Summer = anything related to “dreaming”, “ruminating” or “luxury”.
Autumn = anything related to “quiet”, “idleness” or “closed”.
Winter = anything related to “pale”, “misfeature” or “mortal”.
Have any questions? Feel free to message or comment! I’m always happy to help. 🙂
Note: To my knowledge, utilising this passage as a free educational exercise falls under fair use. If not, please let me know. I want to make sure that everything on this website is fair and right. The questions are of my own creation.
It was as black in the old closet as old blood. They had shoved me in and locked the door. I breathed heavily through my nose, fighting desperately to remain calm. I tried counting to ten on every intake of breath, and to eight as I released each one slowly into the darkness. Luckily for me, they had pulled the gag so tightly into my open mouth that my nostrils were left unobstructed, and I was able to draw in one slow lungful after another of the stale, musty air.
I tried hooking my fingernails under the silk scarf that bound my hands behind me but, since I always bit to the quick, there was nothing to catch. Jolly good luck then that I’d remembered to put my fingertips together, using them as ten firm little bases to press my palms apart as they had pulled the knots tight.
Now I rotated my wrists, squeezing them together until I felt a bit of slack, using my thumbs to work the silk down until the knots were between my palms – then between my fingers. If they had been bright enough to think of tying my thumbs together, I should never have escaped. What utter morons they were.
Was the narrator able to breathe through her nose? Why/why not?
a) Yes, because the gag in her mouth was slack
b) Yes, because the silk scarf was too tight
c) Only a little, because the air was too stale and musty
d) Yes, because her nostrils weren’t blocked
2. What does the main character try to do first?
a) Unbind herself and call for help
b) Slacken the scarf binding her body
c) Breathe in and out in a slow and calming way
d) Undoing all of her fingers from the scarf
3.“Bit to the quick”, as used in the passage, is a phrase that means:
a) Jumping to conclusions
b) Going a bit too quickly
c) Biting to the bottom of your fingernails
d) Biting something quickly
4.In the third paragraph, ‘slack’ is used to mean:
5.How did the narrator undo the scarf tied around her hands?
a) She rotated her wrists and pressed her palms apart with her fingertips
b) She hooked her fingernails under the scarf and edged the knot towards her fingers
c) She pressed her fingertips together so the scarf wouldn’t be too tight
d) She used her thumbs to move the scarf down so the knot was within her fingers
6. Based on this passage, what would best describe the narrator?
a) Avuncular and condescending
b) Amiable and patient
c) Sagacious and level-headed
d) Knowledgeable and anxious
7. Which of these quotes is an example of a colloquialism?
a) “It was as black in the old closet as old blood.”
b) “Jolly good luck…”
c) “What utter morons…”
d) There are no colloquialisms in this passage
8. The passage is from a novel. The novel’s genre is most likely to be:
a) A slice of life comedy
9.What is the main character’s opinion of her captors?Use one piece of evidence from the text to support your answer.
The main character doesn’t think very highly of the people who have tied her up and trapped her. She thinks that they are not very smart. Some pieces of evidence from the text include: “If they had been bright enough to think…” and “What utter morons they were”.
10.What do you think will happen directly after this passage?
Any answer regarding the main character escaping the closet would be acceptable. Any details about how the main character would take revenge on her captors would also be accepted.