FREE Reading Comprehension Practice Problems for CAT

Tips on how to approach CAT Reading Comprehension passages
  • Don’t get into the minor details of the passage; just focus on what each paragraph has to say
  • As you read, create a map of the passage; you must remember what thing is located where in the passage
  • Once you read the question, come back to the part of the passage that is likely to have the answer
  • Compare the options and eliminate the incorrect choices based on the evidence that you see in the passage
  • Choose the answer once you are convinced of the right choice

Reading Comprehension Practice Passage

Methods for typing blood were developed around the turn of the century, about the same time that fingerprints were first used for identification. Only in the last decade or two, however, have scientists begun to believe that genetic markers in blood and other bodily fluids may someday prove as useful in crime detection as fingerprints.

The standard ABO blood typing has long been used as a form of negative identification. Added sophistication came with the discovery of additional subgroups of genetic markers in blood and with the discovery that genetic markers are present not only in blood but also in other bodily fluids, such as perspiration and saliva.

These discoveries were of little use in crime detection, however, because of the circumstances in which police scientists must work. Rather than a plentiful sample of blood freshly drawn from a patient, the crime laboratory is likely to receive only a tiny fleck of dried blood of unknown age from an unknown “donor” on a shirt or a scrap of rag that has spent hours or days exposed to air, high temperature, and other contaminants.

British scientists found a method for identifying genetic markers more precisely in small samples. In this process, called electrophoresis, a sample is placed on a tray containing a gel through which an electrical current is then passed. A trained analyst reads the resulting patterns in the gel to determine the presence of various chemical markers.

Electrophoresis made it possible to identify several thousand subgroups of blood types rather than the twelve known before. However, the equipment and special training required were expensive. In addition, the process could lead to the destruction of evidence. For example, repeated tests of a blood-flecked shirt—one for each marker—led to increasing deterioration of the evidence and the cost of a week or more of laboratory time.

It remained for another British researcher, Brian Wrexall, to demonstrate that simultaneous analyses, using an inexpensive electrophoresis apparatus , could test for ten different genetic markers within a 24-hour period. This development made the study of blood and other fluid samples an even more valuable tool for crime detection.

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Question: The author of the passage is primarily concerned with describing

how advances in crime detection methods have led to new discoveries in science
various ways in which crime detection laboratories assist the police
the development of new scientific tools for use in crime detection
areas of current research in the science of crime detection
developments in genetic research and their application to crime detection

Question: It can be inferred from the passage that electrophoresis resembles fingerprinting in that both

provide a form of negative identification in crime detection
were first developed by British scientists
may be used to help identify those who were present at the time of a crime
were developed by scientists at around the same time
must be employed almost immediately after a crime to be effective

Question: The author sets off the word “‘donor’” with quotation marks in order to

emphasize that most of the blood samples received by crime laboratories come from anonymous sources
underscore the contrast between the work done in a crime laboratory and that done in a blood bank
call attention to the fact that, because of underfunding, crime laboratories are forced to rely on charitable contributions
show that the word is being used in a technical, rather than a general, sense
indicate that the blood samples received by crime laboratories are not given freely

Question: The passage contains information that would answer which of the following questions?

Is evidence of genetic markers in bodily fluids admissible in court?
Can electrophoresis be used to identify genetic markers in saliva?
How many subgroups of blood types are currently identifiable?
How accurate is the process of electrophoresis?
How many tests for genetic markers must police scientists run in order to establish the identity of a criminal?

Question: According to the passage, all of the following may reduce the usefulness of a fluid sample for crime detection EXCEPT

the passage of time
discoloration or staining
exposure to heat
the small size of the sample
exposure to contaminants

Question: The passage implies that electrophoresis may help scientists determine

whether or not a sample of blood could have come from a particular person
the age and condition of a dried specimen of blood or other bodily fluid
when and where a crime was probably committed
the cause of death in homicide cases
the age, gender, and ethnic background of an unknown criminal suspect

Question: According to the passage, Brian Wrexall’s refinement of electrophoresis led to

more accurate test results
easier availability of fluid samples
wider applicability of genetic analysis
increased costs of testing
more rapid testing

Question: Which of the following statements about genetic markers can be inferred from the passage?

I. They carry an electrical charge.
II. They cannot be identified through standard ABO blood typing.
III. They were of no use in crime detection before the invention of electrophoresis.
I only
II only

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