HESI Reading Comprehension Exam Questions and Answers
Questions 1 to 4 pertain to the following passage:
It is most likely that you have never had di... [Show More] phtheria. You probably don’t even know anyone who has suffered from this disease. In fact, you may not even know what diphtheria is. Similarly, diseases like whooping cough, measles, mumps, and rubella may all be unfamiliar to you. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, these illnesses struck hundreds of thousands of people in the United States each year, mostly children, and tens of thousands of people died. The names of these diseases were frightening household words. Today, they are all but forgotten. That change happened largely because of vaccines.
You probably have been vaccinated against diphtheria. You may even have been exposed to the bacterium that causes it, but the vaccine prepared your body to fight off the disease so quickly that you were unaware of the infection. Vaccines take advantage of your body’s natural ability to learn how to combat many disease-causing germs, or microbes. What’s more, your body remembers how to protect itself from the microbes it has encountered before. Collectively, the parts of your body that remember and repel microbes are called the immune system. Without the proper functioning of the immune system, the simplest illness—even the common cold—could quickly turn deadly.
On average, your immune system needs more than a week to learn how to fight off an unfamiliar microbe. Sometimes, that isn’t enough time. Strong microbes can spread through your body faster than the immune system can fend them off. Your body often gains the upper hand after a few weeks, but in the meantime you are sick. Certain microbes are so virulent that they can overwhelm or escape your natural defenses. In those situations, vaccines can make all the difference.
Traditional vaccines contain either parts of microbes or whole microbes that have been altered so that they don’t cause disease. When your immune system confronts these harmless versions of the germs, it quickly clears them from your body. In other words, vaccines trick your immune system in order to teach your body important lessons about how to defeat its opponents.
1. What is the main idea of the passage?
A. The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were a dark period for medicine.
B. You have probably never had diphtheria.
C. Traditional vaccines contain altered microbes.
D. Vaccines help the immune system function properly.
2. Which statement is not a detail from the passage?
A. Vaccines contain microbe parts or altered microbes.
B. The immune system typically needs a week to learn how to fight a new disease.
C. The symptoms of disease do not emerge until the body has learned how to fight the microbe.
D. A hundred years ago, children were at the greatest risk of dying from now-treatable diseases.
3. What is the meaning of the word virulent as it is used in the third paragraph?
4. What is the author’s primary purpose in writing the essay?
A. to entertain
B. to persuade
C. to inform
D. to analyze
Questions 5 to 8 pertain to the following passage :
Foodborne illnesses are contracted by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated with bacteria, parasites, or viruses. Harmful chemicals can also cause foodborne illnesses if they have
contaminated food during harvesting or processing. Foodborne illnesses can cause symptoms ranging from upset stomach to diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and dehydration. Most foodborne infections are undiagnosed and unreported, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every year about 76 million people in the United States become ill from pathogens in food. About 5,000 of these people die.
Harmful bacteria are the most common cause of foodborne illness. Some bacteria may be present at the point of purchase. Raw foods are the most common source of foodborne illnesses because they are not sterile; examples include raw meat and poultry contaminated during slaughter.
Seafood may become contaminated during harvest or processing. One in 10,000 eggs may be contaminated with Salmonella inside the shell. Produce, such as spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, and melons, can become contaminated with Salmonella, Shigella, or Escherichia coli (E. coli). Contamination can occur during growing, harvesting, processing, storing, shipping, or final preparation. Sources of produce contamination vary, as these foods are grown in soil and can become contaminated during growth, processing, or distribution. Contamination may also occur during food preparation in a restaurant or a home kitchen. The most common form of contamination from handled foods is the calicivirus, also called the Norwalk-like virus.
When food is cooked and left out for more than two hours at room temperature, bacteria can multiply quickly. Most bacteria don’t produce an odor or change in color or texture, so they can be impossible to detect. Freezing food slows or stops bacteria’s growth, but does not destroy the bacteria. The microbes can become reactivated when the food is thawed. Refrigeration also can slow the growth of some bacteria. Thorough cooking is required to destroy the bacteria.
5. What is the subject of the passage?
A. foodborne illnesses
B. the dangers of uncooked food
D. proper food preparation
6. Which statement is not a detail from the passage?
A. Every year, more than 70 million Americans contract some form of foodborne illness.
B. Once food is cooked, it cannot cause illness.
C. Refrigeration can slow the growth of some bacteria.
D. The most common form of contamination in handled foods is calicivirus.
7. What is the meaning of the word pathogens as it is used in the first paragraph?
C. disease-causing substances
8. What is the meaning of the word sterile as it is used in the second paragraph?
A. free of bacteria
Questions 9 to 12 pertain to the following passage:
There are a number of health problems related to bleeding in the esophagus and stomach. Stomach acid can cause inflammation and bleeding at the lower end of the esophagus. This condition, usually associated with the symptom of heartburn, is called esophagitis, or inflammation of the esophagus. Sometimes a muscle between the esophagus and stomach fails to close properly and allows the return of food and stomach juices into the esophagus, which can lead to esophagitis. In another unrelated condition, enlarged veins (varices) at the lower end of the esophagus rupture and bleed massively. Cirrhosis of the liver is the most common cause of esophageal varices. Esophageal bleeding can be caused by a tear in the lining of the esophagus (Mallory-Weiss syndrome). Mallory-Weiss syndrome usually results from vomiting, but may also be caused by increased pressure in the abdomen from coughing, hiatal hernia, or childbirth. Esophageal cancer can cause bleeding.
The stomach is a frequent site of bleeding. Infections with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), alcohol, aspirin, aspirin-containing medicines, and various other medicines (such as nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs]—particularly those used for arthritis) can cause stomach ulcers or inflammation (gastritis). The stomach is often the site of ulcer disease. Acute or chronic ulcers may enlarge and erode through a blood vessel, causing bleeding. Also, patients suffering from burns, shock, head injuries, cancer, or those who have undergone extensive surgery may develop stress ulcers. Bleeding can also occur from benign tumors or cancer of the stomach, although these disorders usually do not cause massive bleeding.
9. What is the main idea of the passage?
A. The digestive system is complex.
B. Of all the digestive organs, the stomach is the most prone to bleeding.
C. Both the esophagus and the stomach are subject to bleeding problems.
D. Esophagitis afflicts the young and old alike.
10. Which statement is not a detail from the passage?
A. Alcohol can cause stomach bleeding.
B. Ulcer disease rarely occurs in the stomach.
C. Benign tumors rarely result in massive bleeding.
D. Childbirth is one cause of Mallory-Weiss syndrome.
11. What is the meaning of the word rupture as it is used in the first paragraph?
12. What is the meaning of the word erode as it is used in the second paragraph?
D. wear away
Questions 13 to 16 pertain to the following passage:
We met Kathy Blake while she was taking a stroll in the park . . . by herself. What’s so striking about this is that Kathy is completely blind, and she has been for more than 30 years.
The diagnosis from her doctor was retinitis pigmentosa, or RP. It’s an incurable genetic disease that leads to progressive visual loss. Photoreceptive cells in the retina slowly start to die, leaving the patient visually impaired.
“Life was great the year before I was diagnosed,” Kathy said. “I had just started a new job; I just bought my first new car. I had just
started dating my now-husband. Life was good. The doctor had told me that there was some good news and some bad news. ‘The bad news is you are going to lose your vision; the good news is we don’t think you are going to go totally blind.’ Unfortunately, I did lose all my vision within about 15 years.”
Two years ago, Kathy got a glimmer of hope. She heard about an artificial retina being developed in Los Angeles. It was experimental, but Kathy was the perfect candidate.
Dr. Mark Humayun is a retinal surgeon and biomedical engineer. “A good candidate for the artificial retina device is a person who is blind because of retinal blindness,” he said. “They’ve lost the rods and cones, the light-sensing cells of the eye, but the rest of the circuitry is relatively intact. In the simplest rendition, this device basically takes a blind person and hooks them up to a camera.”
It may sound like the stuff of science fiction . . . and just a few years ago it was. A camera is built into a pair of glasses, sending radio signals to a tiny chip in the back of the retina. The chip, small enough to fit on a fingertip, is implanted surgically and stimulates the nerves that lead to the vision center of the brain. Kathy is one of twenty patients who have undergone surgery and use the device.
It has been about two years since the surgery, and Kathy still comes in for weekly testing at the University of Southern California’s medical campus. She scans back and forth with specially made, camera-equipped glasses until she senses objects on a screen and then touches the objects. The low-resolution image from the camera is still enough to make out the black stripes on the screen. Impulses are sent from the camera to the 60 receptors that are on the chip in her retina.
So, what is Kathy seeing?
“I see flashes of light that indicate a contrast from light to dark— very similar to a camera flash, probably not quite as bright because it’s not hurting my eye at all,” she replied.
Humayun underscored what a breakthrough this is and how a patient adjusts. “If you’ve been blind for 30 or 50 years, (and) all of a sudden you get this device, there is a period of learning,” he said. “Your brain needs to learn. And it’s literally like seeing a baby crawl
—to a child walk—to an adult run.”
While hardly perfect, the device works best in bright light or where there is a lot of contrast. Kathy takes the device home. The software that runs the device can be upgraded. So, as the software is upgraded, her vision improves. Recently, she was outside with her husband on a moonlit night and saw something she hadn’t seen for a long time.
“I scanned up in the sky (and) I got a big flash, right where the moon was, and pointed it out. I can’t even remember how many years ago it’s been that I would have ever been able to do that.”
This technology has a bright future. The current chip has a resolution of 60 pixels. Humayun says that number could be increased to more than a thousand in the next version.
“I think it will be extremely exciting if they can recognize their loved ones’ faces and be able to see what their wife or husband or their grandchildren look like, which they haven’t seen,” said Humayun.
Kathy dreams of a day when blindness like hers will be a distant memory. “My eye disease is hereditary,” she said. “My three daughters happen to be fine, but I want to know that if my grandchildren ever have a problem, they will have something to give them some vision.”
13. What is the primary subject of the passage?
A. a new artificial retina
B. Kathy Blake
C. hereditary disease
D. Dr. Mark Humayun
14. What is the meaning of the word progressive as it is used in the second paragraph?
B. gradually increasing
15. Which statement is not a detail from the passage?
A. The use of an artificial retina requires a special pair of glasses.
B. Retinal blindness is the inability to perceive light.
C. Retinitis pigmentosa is curable.
D. The artificial retina performs best in bright light.
16. What is the author’s intention in writing the essay?
A. to persuade
B. to entertain
C. to analyze
D. to inform
Questions 17 to 21 pertain to the following passage:
Usher syndrome is the most common condition that affects both hearing and vision. The major symptoms of Usher syndrome are hearing loss and an eye disorder called retinitis pigmentosa, or RP. Retinitis pigmentosa causes night blindness and a loss of peripheral vision (side vision) through the progressive degeneration of the retina. The retina, which is crucial for vision, is a light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. As RP progresses, the field of vision narrows, until only central vision (the ability to see straight ahead) remains. Many people with Usher syndrome also have severe balance problems.
There are three clinical types of Usher syndrome. In the United States, types 1 and 2 are the most common. Together, they account for approximately 90 to 95 percent of all cases of juvenile Usher syndrome. Approximately three to six percent of all deaf and hearing- disabled children have Usher syndrome. In developed countries, such as the United States, about four in every 100,000 newborns have Usher syndrome.
Usher syndrome is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. The term autosomal means that the mutated gene is not located on either of the chromosomes that determine sex; in other words, both males and females can have the disorder and can pass it along to a child. The word recessive means that in order to have Usher syndrome, an individual must receive a mutated form of the Usher syndrome gene from each parent. If a child has a mutation in one Usher syndrome gene but the other gene is normal, he or she should have normal vision and hearing. Individuals with a mutation in a gene that can cause an autosomal recessive disorder are called carriers, because they carry the mutated gene but show no symptoms of the disorder. If both parents are carriers of a mutated gene for Usher syndrome, they will have a one-in-four chance of producing a child with Usher syndrome.
Usually, parents who have normal hearing and vision do not know if they are carriers of an Usher syndrome gene mutation. Currently, it is not possible to determine whether an individual without a family history of Usher syndrome is a carrier. Scientists at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) are hoping to change this, however, as they learn more about the genes responsible for Usher syndrome.
17. What is the main idea of the passage?
A. Usher syndrome is an inherited condition that affects hearing and vision.
B. Some people are carriers of Usher syndrome.
C. Usher syndrome typically skips a generation.
D. Scientists hope to develop a test for detecting the carriers of Usher syndrome.
18. What is the meaning of the word symptoms as it is used in the first paragraph?
D. perceptible signs
19. Which statement is not a detail from the passage?
A. Types 1 and 2 Usher syndrome are the most common in the United States.
B. Usher syndrome affects both hearing and smell.
C. Right now, there is no way to identify a carrier of Usher syndrome.
D. Central vision is the ability to see straight ahead.
20. What is the meaning of the word juvenile as it is used in the second paragraph?
C. occurring in children
21. What is the meaning of the word mutated as it is used in the third paragraph?
Questions 22 to 27 pertain to the following passage:
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that defends the body against attacks by foreign invaders. These invaders are primarily microbes—tiny organisms such as bacteria, parasites, and fungi—that can cause infections. Viruses also cause infections, but are too primitive to be classified as living organisms. The human body provides an ideal environment for many microbes. It is the immune system’s job to keep the microbes out or destroy them.
The immune system is amazingly complex. It can recognize and remember millions of different enemies, and it can secrete fluids and cells to wipe out nearly all of them. The secret to its success is an elaborate and dynamic communications network. Millions of cells, organized into sets and subsets, gather and transfer information in response to an infection. Once immune cells receive the alarm, they produce powerful chemicals that help to regulate their own growth and behavior, enlist other immune cells, and direct the new recruits to trouble spots.
Although scientists have learned much about the immune system, they continue to puzzle over how the body destroys invading microbes, infected cells, and tumors without harming healthy tissues. New technologies for identifying individual immune cells are now allowing scientists to determine quickly which targets are triggering an immune response. Improvements in microscopy are permitting the first-ever observations of living B cells, T cells, and other cells as they interact within lymph nodes and other body tissues.
In addition, scientists are rapidly unraveling the genetic blueprints that direct the human immune response, as well as those that dictate the biology of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. The combination of new technology with expanded genetic information will no doubt reveal even more about how the body protects itself from disease.
22. What is the main idea of the passage?
A. Scientists fully understand the immune system.
B. The immune system triggers the production of fluids.
C. The body is under constant invasion by malicious microbes.
D. The immune system protects the body from infection.
23. Which statement is not a detail from the passage? [Show Less]