Language Network

 Test Practice

Critical Reading Questions

Critical reading questions test your ability to comprehend written material and to draw inferences from what you read. The following strategies can help you answer these types of questions:

  • Skim the entire passage quickly.
  • Read the questions that follow the passage.
  • Reread the passage carefully, keeping the questions you will have to answer in mind.
  • Reread each question carefully. Then choose the response that best answers the question. If necessary, go back and reread the relevant parts of the passage.
  • Pay particular attention to critical words or expressions that will help you determine exactly what a question is asking, words like implied, means, best, first, opinion, convince, summary, and evidence.


Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage and in any introductory material that may be provided.

The following passage is from the short story "Louisa, Please Come Home" by the American author Shirley Jackson. The story is narrated by Louisa Tether, a young woman who ran away from home three years ago. She is now returning with her old next-door neighbor, Paul, to confront her family.

I wondered if they were watching us from the window. It was hard for me to imagine how my mother and father would behave in a situation like this, because they always made such a point of being quiet and dignified and proper . . . the front door ahead was still tight shut. I wondered if we would have to ring the doorbell; I had never had to ring this doorbell before. I was still wondering when Carol opened the door for us. "Carol!" I said. I was shocked because she looked so old, and then I thought that of course it had been three years since I had seen her, and she probably thought that I looked older, too. "Carol," I said. "Oh, Carol!" I was honestly glad to see her.

1. Who is the "I" in this passage?

A. Carol

B. Louisa's father

C. Louisa

D. a girl pretending to be Louisa

E. Louisa's psychiatrist

2. Which statement best explains the meaing of the clause "I had never had to ring this doorbell before" in the context of this passage?

A. Until she ran away, she had lived in that house and could come and go freely.

B. She has never lost her key to the house before.

C. She has always used the back door, which doesn't have a bell.

D. She used to just knock on the door when she forgot her key.

E. Her parents installed the doorbell after she left home.

Answers: 1. C; 2. A

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