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Reading Comprehension Test Online Preparation & Free Practice Questions – 2024

Job Aptitude Tests Preparation

What Is a Reading Comprehension Test?

The reading comprehension test is a verbal reasoning aptitude test meant to measure your aptitude for gathering information, critical thinking, and understanding of varying contexts. These exams ask you to look at different selections of literature (poems, excerpts of novels, excerpts of articles, et cetera) and answer a series of questions based of the passage.

In this article, we will take a look at a few free sample passages with relative questions and answers. But first, let’s talk about preparation!


How to Prepare for Reading Comprehension Tests?

Regardless of the type of English-based assessment, the easiest ways to prepare are to make a habit of reading for fun and utilizing online practice exams such as the one below! Broadening your reading scope will lead to inherent understanding of context.


What Kind of Questions Can I Expect in Reading Comprehension Tests?

As aforementioned, reading comprehension tests expect you to gather varying bits of information from a given passage to determine your contextual understanding. The question types vary based on the type of passage (poem, novel, article, etc.) and the level of difficulty (elementary to advanced). For the sake of practice, we will look at a particularly difficult excerpt together before you move on to the individual practice selections at the bottom. The practice questions for the example excerpt include tips for tackling the different question types.


Example Excerpt from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Act 1 Scene V


The king comes here to-night.


Lady Macbeth

Thou’rt mad to say it:

Is not thy master with him? Who, were’t so,

Would have inform’d him for preparation.



So please you it is true: our thane1 is coming:

One of my fellows had the speed of him,

Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more

Than would make up his message.


Lady Macbeth

Give him tending2;

He brings great news.


Example Question 1:

Based on the context, which of the following is a synonym for “thane”?

  1. Monarch
  2. Matriarch
  3. Serf
  4. Peasant


Explanation: This is a common question type in reading comprehension exams. The question asks you to identify a given word, analyze the surrounding context for meaning, and determine which choice has a similar meaning. In this example, we can see that the messenger is telling Lady Macbeth that the “thane” is coming. He began the exchange by informing her that the king would be arriving that night, so we can safely assume that “thane” and “king” have the same meaning.

Looking at our answer choices, we can eliminate C and D. Both of these words mean the same thing (a person who is low in the feudal system or a general hierarchy, which is the opposite of a king). Now, looking at choice B, we can parse out that “matriarch” refers to a woman in charge due to the prefix matri-, meaning mother. In the context, “king” and “thane” have a masculine meaning, making “matriarch” a clearly wrong answer. A: Monarch is the correct answer.


Example Question 2:

Which of the below phrases most likely means the same thing as the underlined phrase?

  1. Excited
  2. Exhausted
  3. Calm
  4. Sordid


Explanation: Another common question type within the reading comprehension assessment asks you to reference an underlined phrase and use the given context to determine the meaning. In this question, the underlined phrase is “dead for breath,” which you’ve probably figured out means “breathless” or “out of breath.” Luckily, this meaning makes eliminating choices A and C easy.

A trick that test makers will often use in these types of questions is to throw in an advanced-level vocabulary word (“sordid” in this case) to throw you off. The word “sordid” means dirty or repulsive–so it wouldn’t make sense in the passage’s context. Using this logic, we can safely assume that B: Exhausted is the correct answer.


Example Question 3:

What is most likely the reason the author chose to use the word “tending” in the passage?

  1. “Tending” is referring to making food for the thane, so the author chose this word to show that the king will be hungry when he arrives.
  2. “Tending” is referring to patience, so the author chose this word to show that though the messenger is tired, he should give the king some space when he arrives.
  3. “Tending” is referring to outrage, so the author chose this word to show the reader that Lady Macbeth is angry that the king is coming.
  4. “Tending” is referring to disgust, so the author chose this word to show that everyone is disgusted by the king’s arrival.


Explanation: This question type asks you to use your critical thinking skills to empathize with the author in order to try and understand the author’s purpose. We can again rely heavily on the context: the word “tending” is used in the same place that Lady Macbeth states that the king is bringing good news. Based on this, we can safely eliminate choices C and D.

Looking at our remaining choices and the context, we know that the messenger states that the king is “dead for breath” meaning “exhausted,” but there is no mention of food anywhere in the passage. The lack of context for food makes A an improbable answer, leaving us with the correct answer, B.


Reading Comprehension Test Sample Questions & Answers

Using what you’ve learned so far, take advantage of the following free example passages and questions. An answer key can be found at the bottom! Remember that the exam is testing your aptitude for critical thinking and use of context, and that question types can vary based on the type of passage. Below you will find three sample passages, one of each of the most common passage types: a poem, a novel excerpt, and an article excerpt.


Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction2 ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

“Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost

  1. Based on the poem, which of the following is most likely the author’s stance on why the world will end?
    1. “Ice” symbolizes love. The author believes that love between humans will cause the destruction of the world.
    2. “Fire” symbolizes desire, which can be an analogy for greed. The author believes that greed will cause the destruction of the world.
    3. “Fire” symbolizes desire, while “ice” symbolizes hate. The author believes that either greed or hate could be catalysts for the end of the world.
    4. None of the above.
  2. Why did the author choose to use the word “destruction” in line 7 of the poem?
    1. The word “destruction” emphasizes the apocalyptic feel of the poem.
    2. The word “destruction” refers to how freezing items has the potential to ruin them.
    3. The word “destruction” shows that fire will be the cause of the end of the world.
    4. None of the above.
  3. Which of the following is a synonym for the underlined word?
    1. Ruin
    2. Demolish
    3. Give
    4. Satisfy




At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles. Urgent message to the inhabitants of this town, they say. Depart immediately to open country3.

The tide climbs. The moon hangs small and yellow and gibbous. On the rooftops of beachfront hotels to the east, and in the gardens behind them, a half-dozen American artillery units drop incendiary rounds into the mouths of mortars.

Excerpt from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

  1. Why did the author most likely choose to format the underline phrase as it is rather than using a list with commas?
    1. It is grammatically incorrect to format a list using commas.
    2. The original format depicts what the moon looks like in a way that is easy for readers to understand.
    3. The author does not believe that a list with commas is appropriate for the paragraph.
    4. The repetitive use of “and” amplifies the tension that is building in the paragraph.
  2. Based on the context of the passage, what is a potential theme within the novel?
    1. Peace
    2. War
    3. Sanctity
    4. Turmoil
  3. Why does the author choose to tell readers what the pamphlets say?
    1. The message on the pamphlets aids in the overall tone of urgency.
    2. The message on the pamphlets aids in the overall tone of peace.
    3. The message on the pamphlets aids in the overall tone of normalcy.
    4. The message on the pamphlets was unnecessary to the passage.


Environmental advocates maintain that plastics are largely single-use. A 2020 Greenpeace USA survey found that plastics with resin codes #3-7 are virtually impossible to recycle, because of limited facility processing capabilities and insufficient market demand. Lawsuits are currently ongoing against Walmart and Keurig Green Mountain, arguing that those companies have violated Federal Trade Commission guidance by presenting plastic items as recyclable. The corporate giants have defended themselves against the allegations and emphasize their commitment to sustainability.

Excerpt from “How Useful is Recycling, Really?” by E. A. Crunden writing for The Atlantic.

  1. Which of the following is a synonym for the underlined word?
    1. Sufficient
    2. Plentiful
    3. Scarce
    4. Abundant
  2. What is the purpose of including data from a survey in the article?
    1. The survey is being used as a placeholder for actual data that would strengthen the argument.
    2. The use of cited data strengthens the argument by providing real-world examples of environmental impact.
    3. The survey nullifies the impact of the word “lawsuit” in following lines.
    4. The use of cited data weakens the author’s argument that the companies in question are fighting for lessening the environmental impact of plastics.



  1. C
  2. A
  3. D
  4. D
  5. B
  6. A
  7. C
  8. B