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Passage Reading and English Comprehension

Like many people acting on the desire to eat healthy and local, Acropolis resident Eduardo Jimenez decided to plant a garden in his backyard. He tilled the soil, he planted the seeds, and he even erected a fence to keep out the deer. Eduardo did everything right. Or so it seems. Harvest time has come, and he has not one tomato, bean, or leaf of lettuce to show for his hard work. How did this happen? The answer comes in the form of a small, brown, particularly smelly insect: the stink bug.

Unlike their fastidious cousins, stink bugs feed on some 300 species of plants, including figs, mulberries, corn, and citrus fruits as well as soybeans, legumes, and weeds. Although they do little damage to the plant itself, they make the fruits and vegetables unmarketable. For this reason, stink bugs pose the most serious threat to the big agriculturalists and macro farm operators. Macro farmers have more invested in their produce, and therefore have more to lose. While hobbyists like Eduardo are left to face the disappointment of an unsuccessful garden, macro farmers are forced to live with the loss of entire tracts of cash crops—a fact that has left many barely able to clothe their children or put food on the table. Last season alone, several New Jersey pepper farmers saw 75% of their crops damaged. Pennsylvania lost half of its peach population, and, according to the US Apple Association, apple farmers in the mid-Atlantic states lost $37 million. This year could be worse.

As a result of this decline in the supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, shoppers have seen adjustments—sometimes quite dramatic—in prices at the grocery store. Prices of apples in Maryland are up 8%. In the north-Atlantic states, prices for peppers shot up an astounding 14%. Not only are these items becoming more expensive, but they are also getting harder to find. Last week, Marge Jenkins of Athens, Georgia reported having to check three different stores before stumbling upon a decent batch of peas. And this, she assures us, is a regular occurrence.

Accidentally brought from Asia, the stink bug has no natural predators in America, and thus its population is soaring. Reported sightings of stink bugs are becoming increasingly numerous, as the desiccated, brown, trapezoidal shells of the dead bugs are ubiquitous in some areas. This has farmers and scientists alike scratching their heads in search of a remedy. Hope, they believe, may lie with an Asian parasitic wasp, which helpfully lays its eggs inside stink bug eggs. The larvae of the wasp devour the stink bug from the inside. Implementation of such a solution is still several years away, as scientists must first determine if it is safe for the wasp to be introduced into America. Until then, some farmers are resorting to homemade traps. Others have even contemplated the use of peacocks and praying mantises, which, they hypothesize, will gulp down the little stinkers.

1506. Based on its use in paragraph 2, it can be inferred that fastidious belongs to which of the following word families?

(a) forward, assertive, proactive
(b) demanding, particular, critical
(c) delicate, insubstantial, frail
(d) passionate, fervent, avid

1507. In paragraph 2, the author most likely refers to people like Eduardo as "hobbyists" in order to

(a) illustrate the type of person who plants a home garden
(b) characterize the type of person who is most likely to be affected by stink bugs
(c) emphasize the idea that gardeners are relatively unskilled compared to farmers
(d) juxtapose the impact of stink bugs on gardeners with that on farmers

1508. According to the author, what is the biggest problem resulting from stink bugs?

(a) Hobbyists like Eduardo Jimenez are unable to eat healthy and local
(b) Fresh fruits and vegetables are becoming harder to find
(c) Peppers and apples are becoming increasingly scarce
(d) Macro farmers are losing their crops

1509. Based on the information in paragraph 3, it can be inferred that an increase in supply results in

(a) a decrease in price
(b) an increase in demand
(c) low availability
(d) reduced importance

1510. Which of the following statements would the author most likely agree with?

(a) The fight against stink bugs is hopeless.
(b) There is a possible remedy to the stink bug problem, but it is unlikely to succeed
(c) In hopes of eradicating stink bugs, several solutions are in the works
(d) While the stink bug problem is difficult, most believe it to be short-lived

1511. Using the passage as a guide, it can be understood that

I. Macro farmers commonly use pesticides, artificial hormones, and other synthetic materials
II. Until a solution to the stink bug problem is found, it is probably not a good time to start a home garden in Washington DC
III. Introducing foreign insects to closed environments can cause hazardous imbalances

(a) I only
(b) II only
(c) I and II only
(d) II and III only

1512. As used in the final paragraph, which of the following describes something that is ubiquitous?

(a) On Valentine's Day, our school was littered with little pink love notes. I even found one stuck to my shoe when I got home
(b) Ignacio counted eight purple trucks on the way to work today. He is in the market for a new truck and would like to get a color that nobody else already has
(c) The copier malfunctioned and showered paper all over the room. It took Earnest twenty minutes to clean it up
(d) Upon taking the hot dogs from the fire, flies swarmed the campers. Jaime wished he had brought bug spray

TOTAL

Detailed Solution




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1. Passage Reading 2. Verbal Logic 3. Non Verbal Logic 4. Numerical Logic

5. Data Interpretation 6. Reasoning 7. Analytical Ability 8. Basic Numeracy

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