This page contains a free asset sample test for reading comprehension.
Our practice Asset Reading Skills Tests are in the same format as the actual Asset Exam.
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Asset Sample Test Reading Passage:
In the Black Hills in the state of South Dakota in the United States, four visages protrude from the side of a mountain. The faces are those of four United States' presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Overseen and directed by the Danish-American sculptor John Gutzon Borglum, the work on this giant display of outdoor art was a Herculean task that took 14 years to complete.
A South Dakota state historian named Doane Robinson originally conceived of the idea for the memorial sculpture. He proposed that the work be dedicated to popular figures, who were prominent in the western United States and accordingly suggested statues of western heroes such as Buffalo Bill Cody and Kit Carson. Deeming a project dedicated to popular heroes frivolous, Borglum rejected Robinson's proposal. It was Borglum's firm conviction that the mountain carving be used to memorialize individuals of national, rather than regional, importance.
Mount Rushmore therefore became a national memorial, dedicated to the four presidents who were considered most pivotal in US history. Washington was chosen on the basis of being the first president. Jefferson, who was of course a president, was also instrumental in the writing of the American Declaration of Independence. Lincoln was selected on the basis of the mettle he demonstrated during the American Civil war, Roosevelt for his development of Square Deal policy, as well as being a proponent of the construction of the Panama Canal. Commencing with Washington's head first, Borglum quickly realized that it would be best to work on only one head at a time, in order to make it compatible with its surroundings. In order to help him visualize the final outcome, he fashioned a 1.5 meter high plaster model on a scale of 1 to 12.
Work on the venture began in 1927 and was completed in 1941. The cost of the project was nearly $1,000,000, which was raised mostly from national government funds, but also from charitable donations from magnanimous and benevolent members of the public. The carving of the mountain was tedious and arduous work, employing 360 men who worked in groups of 30. The daily working conditions on the mountainside can best be described as treacherous. For instance, men were often strapped inside leather harnesses that dangled over the cliff edge. Further, workers needed great strength to withstand the exertion of drilling into the mountainside.
The workmen faced frequent delays due to a dearth of financial backing in the early days, in addition to inclement weather throughout the 14 year period. Adverse conditions were also discovered when the carving of Jefferson began. The detection of poor quality stone on the mountain to the left of Washington resulted in Jefferson’s face being repositioned to the right side. In spite of these setbacks, Mount Rushmore remained the best choice for the location of the memorial. Yet, a large amount of the rock had to be blasted away from the mountain using dynamite or pneumatic drills, and as a result, approximately 450,000 tons of rock still lies at the foot of the mountain today.
Asset Sample Test Reading Questions:
1) The word visage in this passage is closest in meaning to
2) The word frivolous in this passage is closest in meaning to
3) According to the passage, all of the following statements about Mount Rushmore are true EXCEPT:
A. The project was predominantly funded on a federal level.
B. Generous private individuals contributed financial backing for the work.
C. Funding was plentiful at the beginning of the project.
D. Adverse weather conditions sometimes hampered work on the project.
4) The word venue in this passage is closest in meaning to
5) Why did Doane Robinson suggest that the western heroes be the subject of the monument?
A. Western heroes were well-known and loved by the public.
B. The westward expansion movement would not have been successful without Buffalo Bill Cody and Kit Carson.
C. Such figures were of national import.
D. The dedication of a sculpture to Western heroes would raise their profiles.
6) Based solely on the information contained in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the passage, which of the following statements about the selection of presidents for Mount Rushmore is TRUE?
A. There was some debate about which presidents to choose.
B. These four presidents were well known internationally.
C. These presidents changed the course of US policy and history.
D. These presidents were of some importance regionally.
7) Why was it necessary to change the location of the carving for Jefferson?
A. because of poor weather
B. due to a lack of money
C. because the rock on the original location was of inferior condition
D. since Borglum changed his mind
8) Which of the following statements accurately expresses the author’s attitude about John Gutzon Borglum and his work?
A. He was a talented and perceptive artist.
B. He was profligate in his spending for the Mount Rushmore project.
C. His work was misunderstood during his lifetime.
D. His work is an inappropriate legacy.
Asset Sample Test Reading Answers:
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