What Short Reading Passages Look Like
What Short Reading Passages Look Like
Short RPs are about 100 words long and are followed by just two questions. Short RP questions are just like long RP questions. Every question fits into one of the seven categories we covered for long RPs:
  1. Main Idea
  2. Attitude or Tone
  3. Specific Information
  4. Implied Information
  5. Themes and Arguments
  6. Technique
  7. Words in Context
A Complete Short RP Example
Here’s a sample short RP, complete with two questions. Read the passage and the questions straight through. Then we’ll go over strategies for approaching short RPs like this one, including an explanation of how to answer the two questions about this passage using our four-step short RP strategy.

Airplanes are such a common form of travel that it’s easy to forget just how recently they were invented. Today, even a person in the middle of nowhere would not be surprised to see a plane in the sky. But before the Wright brothers flew their plane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1910, most scientists thought flight by heavier-than-air machines would never be achieved. Never. In fact, the word “airplane” didn’t come into common usage until after 1945.

1. The reference to the “person in the middle of nowhere” primarily serves to
(A) introduce a new argument
(B) challenge common beliefs
(C) highlight the limitations of an accepted idea
(D) question modern morals
(E) indicate the scope of a change
2. The author of the passage would most likely agree with each of the following statements EXCEPT
(A) airplanes are a relatively recent innovation
(B) the Wright brothers took the first airplane flight
(C) air travel remains the privilege of the elite
(D) the word “airplane” was rarely used in the early twentieth century
(E) airplanes can be seen almost anywhere
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