SAT Literature Subject Test

Part III

The Practice SAT Literature Subject Tests

Chapter 13

Practice Test 1



Your responses to the SAT Literature Subject Test questions should be filled in on Test 1 of your answer sheet.


Directions: This test consists of selections from literary works and questions on their content, form, and style. After reading each passage or poem, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on the answer sheet.

Note: Pay particular attention to questions that contain the words NOT, LEAST, or EXCEPT.

Questions 1-9. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.

  1. In the passage, the ripening figs are symbolic of

(A)   the fruits of labor

(B)   the maturation of Babette

(C)   the difficulty of life

(D)   the enigma of nature

(E)   the battle between Maman-Nainaine and Babette

  2. The phrase “but that is the way Maman-Nainaine was” suggests which of the following about Maman-Nainaine?

(A)   She was not aware of the seriousness of the situation.

(B)   She was an overly strict woman.

(C)   Her actions had their own logic.

(D)   She doled out punishment for no reason.

(E)   Figs were her favorite fruit.

  3. What is the effect of the disagreement (lines 1-9)?

(A)   It illustrates Maman-Nainaine’s bad judgment.

(B)   It serves to illustrate the patience of Maman-Nainaine and the impatience of Babette.

(C)   It demonstrates a passage of time.

(D)   It makes Babette appear spoiled and insolent.

(E)   It shows how argumentative Babette can be.

  4. In the passage, Maman-Nainaine’s attitude toward Babette can best be characterized as

(A)   contemptuous

(B)   flippant

(C)   reluctantly accepting

(D)   joyously optimistic

(E)   wisely patient

  5. All of the following pairs of words illustrate the difference between Maman-Nainaine and Babette EXCEPT

(A)   “patient” (line 12) and “restless” (line 13)

(B)   “early” (line 30) and “late” (line 33)

(C)   “purple” (line 27) and “green” (line 28)

(D)   “danced” (line 15) and “sat” (line 22)

(E)   “ripe” (line 2) and “bloom” (line 39)

  6. Which is the effect of the last sentence of the passage?

(A)   It shows that Maman-Nainaine is clearly illogical.

(B)   It serves as ironic counterpoint to the rest of the story.

(C)   It advances the symbolism introduced with the ripened figs.

(D)   It introduces a literary allusion.

(E)   It advances the story beyond its scope.

  7. Maman-Nainaine’s peeling of “the very plumpest figs” (line 35) illustrates that Maman-Nainaine

(A)   is testing their ripeness

(B)   prefers to cook her own food

(C)   is superstitious

(D)   is a refined woman

(E)   enjoys making fun of Babette

  8. The word “though” (line 11) implies which of the following in the context of the sentence?

(A)   The two women were in disagreement.

(B)   Patience is a virtue when waiting for something.

(C)   Figs were not really important.

(D)   Their patience and impatience had no effect on nature.

(E)   Maman-Nainaine’s patience was annoying to Babette.

  9. The narrative point of view of the passage as a whole is that of

(A)   a disapproving observer

(B)   a first-person impartial observer

(C)   the protagonist

(D)   an unreliable narrator

(E)   a third-person objective observer

Questions 10-18. Read the following poem carefully before you choose your answers.

“On His Deceased Wife”

10. “Whom Jove’s great son” (line 3) acts as which of the following?

(A)   a play on words

(B)   a contradiction

(C)   hyperbole

(D)   mythological allusion

(E)   allegory

11. Line 4 refers to which of the following?

  I.   “my late espoused Saint” (line 1)

 II.   “Alcestis” (line 2)

III.   “her glad husband” (line 3)

(A)   I only

(B)   II only

(C)   I and II only

(D)   I and III only

(E)   II and III only

12. In context, the word “save” (line 6) means which of the following?

(A)   preserve

(B)   keep in health

(C)   deliver from sin and punishment

(D)   rescue from harm

(E)   maintain

13. The purpose of the last line is to suggest

(A)   a contrast between dreaming and waking states

(B)   the poet’s depression

(C)   an allusion to the sonnet form

(D)   a parallel to the opening quatrain

(E)   that the writer is optimistic about the future

14. In context, “my fancied sight” (line 10) suggests that the author is

(A)   imbuing his deceased wife with qualities she did not have

(B)   unable to separate reality from dreams

(C)   capriciously conjuring up his wife’s image

(D)   dreaming

(E)   suffering from delusions

15. The author’s attitude toward his wife can best be described as

(A)   inconsolable

(B)   reverential

(C)   hopeful

(D)   incongruous

(E)   obsequious

16. The poem is primarily concerned with

(A)   the mourning process

(B)   the struggle against dying

(C)   the injustice of death

(D)   the nature of immortality

(E)   a belief in heaven

17. What is the effect of using the word “glad” (line 3) instead of “happy” or “joyous”?

(A)   It suggests that the husband is overwhelmed.

(B)   It links to “great” and “gave” by alliteration.

(C)   It stresses that the husband is a particular person.

(D)   It distinguishes between “Jove’s great son” and the husband.

(E)   It alludes to “I” in line 1.

18. Which of the following are terms of opposition in the poem?

(A)   “embrace” and “inclined” (line 13)

(B)   “day” and “night” (line 14)

(C)   “Full sight” and “without restraint” (line 8)

(D)   “wash’t” (line 5) and “Purification” (line 6)

(E)   “sight” (line 10) and “shin’d” (line 11)

Questions 19-27. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.

19. Which of the following is the intended effect of the pauses in Mr. Keeble’s conversation?

(A)   It demonstrates that he is a feeble man.

(B)   It makes his speech disjointed.

(C)   It shows his hesitancy in approaching his wife.

(D)   It slows the rhythm of the conversation.

(E)   It elucidates his main point.

20. Which of the following expresses a mythological allusion made in the passage?

(A)   “interest on the loan” (lines 28-29)

(B)   “no sign of it” (lines 20-21)

(C)   “turned her to marble” (lines 17-18)

(D)   “in Lincolnshire” (line 12)

(E)   “the Pygmalion and Galatea business” (lines 18-19)

21. All of the following represent metaphors or similes used by the authors EXCEPT

(A)   “She had congealed” (line 16)

(B)   “enquired the statue icily” (line 30)

(C)   “coming to life” (line 31)

(D)   “presumably breathing” (line 20)

(E)   “Like some spell” (lines 16-17)

22. The phrase “the place is apparently coining money” (lines 25-26) is meant to imply

(A)   the farm is presently engaged in illegal activities

(B)   the farm is profitable

(C)   the investment is unnecessary

(D)   the farm serves as a bank for the local people

(E)   Lincolnshire is a profitable place to live

23. Which of the following expresses Mr. Keeble’s wife’s feeling toward the loan?

(A)   amused detachment

(B)   utter disgust

(C)   preformed opposition

(D)   blatant apathy

(E)   neutrality

24. All of the following are physical manifestations of Mr. Keeble’s anticipation of his wife’s response EXCEPT

(A)   “Keenly alive” (line 1)

(B)   “had to rattle the keys” (line 3)

(C)   “was not looking at his wife” (line 5)

(D)   “his eyes on the carpet” (line 10)

(E)   “producing another obbligato” (line 23)

25. The phrase “in Lincolnshire, I think she said” (lines 12-13) implies that which of the following is true of Keeble?

(A)   Keeble is unaware of the location of the farm.

(B)   Keeble thinks the location is unimportant.

(C)   Keeble’s memory is failing.

(D)   Keeble is attempting to appear casual.

(E)   Keeble wants to conceal the location from his wife.

26. Keeble’s relationship with his wife is such that

  I.   he needs her approval

 II.   he is disgusted by her

III.   he is intimidated by her

(A)   II only

(B)   III only

(C)   I and III only

(D)   II and III only

(E)   I, II, and III

27. The last line implies which of the following?

(A)   Mr. Keeble’s wife is not interested in lending him money.

(B)   Mr. Keeble’s wife is interested in the proposition.

(C)   Mr. Keeble has succeeded in his mission.

(D)   Mr. Keeble’s wife is keeping an open mind about the loan.

(E)   Mr. Keeble’s wife wants to hear more about the loan.

Questions 28-37. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.

[A street in London]

28. The word “sundry” (line 1) most nearly means

(A)   groceries

(B)   numerous

(C)   provisions

(D)   infrequent

(E)   few

29. The main effect of the Earl of Lincoln’s first four lines is to

(A)   return Lord Mayor’s generosity

(B)   acknowledge his indebtedness to Lord Mayor

(C)   emphasize the differences between the men

(D)   flatter Lord Mayor’s vanity

(E)   get Lord Mayor to agree to the marriage of Lacy and Rose

30. What reason does the Earl of Lincoln give for his opposition to Lacy and Rose’s marriage?

(A)   Rose is not a pleasant person.

(B)   Courtiers cannot marry.

(C)   The wedding will be too expensive.

(D)   Lacy does not love Rose.

(E)   Lacy will not be able to provide for Rose.

31. The Earl of Lincoln’s attitude toward his cousin can best be described as

(A)   censoriousness

(B)   apathy

(C)   romantic love

(D)   dislike

(E)   affection

32. It can be inferred from the sentence “A goodly science for a gentleman/Of such descent!” (lines 33-34) that

(A)   the profession of shoemaker is not appropriate for someone of high birth

(B)   shoemakers often declare bankruptcy

(C)   the Earl of Lincoln admires the profession of shoemaker

(D)   as a shoemaker, the Earl of Lincoln’s cousin will make a thousand pounds a year

(E)   shoemaking is a scientific occupation

33. Lord Mayor’s attitude toward Lacy can best be described as

(A)   reluctant affection

(B)   avuncular indulgence

(C)   cautious approval

(D)   undeserved respect

(E)   disguised disapproval

34. The line “Well, fox, I understand your subtlety” (line 42)

(A)   allows Lord Mayor to speak to the Earl of Lincoln without others hearing them

(B)   entices the audience by revealing a secret

(C)   alienates the audience by prevarication

(D)   creates an atmosphere of unease in the play

(E)   insults the Earl of Lincoln

35. All of the following words are used to describe Lacy EXCEPT

(A)   “affected” (line 6)

(B)   “high” (line 13)

(C)   “poor” (line 13)

(D)   “unthrift” (line 20)

(E)   “jolly” (line 30)

36. This scene reveals a conflict between

(A)   generosity and frugality

(B)   prodigality and profligacy

(C)   youth and age

(D)   joy and melancholy

(E)   expression and emotions

37. The author has the Earl of Lincoln mention the French wars (line 53) in order to

(A)   reveal Lacy’s new profession

(B)   foreshadow a military death

(C)   elucidate the causes of the conflict

(D)   explain a system of privilege

(E)   home in on a national debate

Questions 38-45. Read the following poem carefully before you choose your answer

38. It can be inferred that the speaker(s) in line 4 is/are

(A)   an angel

(B)   St. Peter

(C)   the blades of grass

(D)   God

(E)   the one little blade of grass

39. God’s attitude toward the last little blade of grass may best be described as

(A)   condescending

(B)   neutral

(C)   admiring

(D)   disdainful

(E)   morally superior

40. The main idea of the poem is that

(A)   it is better to do nothing than too much

(B)   it is better to forget if you have done something wrong

(C)   it is better to be modest than to be boastful

(D)   it is better to keep your problems to yourself

(E)   if you need to tell your bad deeds to someone, you are not worthy of respect

41. The word “presently” (line 10) means which of the following in the context of the poem?

  I.   as a gift

 II.   after a while

III.   changing the topic

(A)   I only

(B)   II only

(C)   I and III only

(D)   II and III only

(E)   I, II, and III

42. It can be inferred that the small blade was “ashamed” (line 9) because

(A)   it was smaller than the others

(B)   it was disgusted with the other blades of grass

(C)   it didn’t feel worthy of God’s attention

(D)   it was bitter and lonely

(E)   it thought its acts greater than the others’ acts

43. The fact that God called the one blade “ ‘O best’ ” (line 18) can best be characterized as

(A)   unexpected

(B)   satiric

(C)   tragic

(D)   comic

(E)   unfortunate

44. Which is the effect of lines 16-17 in relation to the rest of the poem?

(A)   They reveal God’s egotism.

(B)   They heighten anticipation for the last line.

(C)   They shift the narrative voice.

(D)   They echo the last lines of the first stanza.

(E)   They reveal the poet’s true feelings.

45. God’s attitude toward the blades of grass as a group is

(A)   shameful

(B)   unstated

(C)   disgusted

(D)   disapproving

(E)   melancholy

Questions 46-54. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.

46. The narrative tone in the above piece can best be described as

(A)   wry

(B)   bitterly ironic

(C)   detached

(D)   melodramatic

(E)   secretive

47. What is implied by the phrase “could make no advantage of it” (line 7) ?

(A)   Lady Bertram could use the news to suit her best interest.

(B)   Lady Bertram was unable to write about the news.

(C)   Lady Bertram could not relay the news in a pleasant light.

(D)   Lady Bertram could convey only part of the news.

(E)   Lady Bertram was bound to secrecy.

48. In context, the word “want” (line 14) means

(A)   requirement

(B)   desire

(C)   poverty

(D)   lack

(E)   defect

49. What is the “benefit” referred to in line 23 ?

(A)   friends with whom to visit

(B)   the ability to assist others

(C)   a house full of visitors

(D)   people willing to write letters

(E)   news to write about

50. The “amplifying style” (line 19) is one in which

(A)   things sound more important than they are

(B)   small bits of news are stretched in importance

(C)   the speaker’s voice is very loud

(D)   people are made to sound grand

(E)   one writes in a large, bold print

51. It can be inferred that Sir Thomas is

(A)   Lady Bertram’s son

(B)   Lady Bertram’s husband

(C)   a boarder at Mansfield

(D)   a relative of the Grants

(E)   a friend of Lady Bertram

52. The last three lines serve to illustrate which of the following about Lady Bertram?

(A)   She has found something to write about.

(B)   She is spreading malicious rumors.

(C)   She is concerned about the news she is sending.

(D)   She is unaware of Fanny’s feelings.

(E)   She is worried about her niece.

53. Lady Bertram is best described as

(A)   a social pariah

(B)   an unwanted family member

(C)   a disenfranchised member of society

(D)   a gossipy aristocrat

(E)   a disillusioned elderly woman

54. The phrase “even to her niece” (line 22) shows that Lady Bertram

(A)   doesn’t much care for her niece

(B)   is unhappy with her niece

(C)   is uncomfortable around her niece

(D)   doesn’t need to have much to say to her niece

(E)   dislikes the prospect of writing to her niece

Questions 55-61. Read the following poem carefully before you choose your answers.

55. The tone of the poem can best be described as

(A)   cautionary

(B)   mythic

(C)   sarcastic

(D)   optimistic

(E)   hopeful

56. The poem is primarily concerned with

(A)   the importance of beauty

(B)   the lesson to be learned from the past

(C)   the fleeting nature of youth

(D)   telling a story for the girls’ benefit

(E)   the permanence of death

57. “Blear eyes fallen from blue” (line 15) is most probably meant to suggest that

(A)   the woman’s beauty has deteriorated

(B)   the woman is tired

(C)   the woman is going blind

(D)   disease can happen suddenly

(E)   the girls are responsible for the woman’s loss of beauty

58. “And chattering on the air” (line 8) refers to

  I.   the girls

 II.   the bluebirds

III.   the teachers

(A)   I only

(B)   I and II only

(C)   I and III only

(D)   II and III only

(E)   I, II, and III

59. The author’s characterization of the woman in the last stanza can best be described as

(A)   a description of decay

(B)   unyielding and hurtful

(C)   disdainful and disgusted

(D)   pleasant and nostalgic

(E)   full of unhidden emotion

60. The phrases “Without believing a word” (line 4) and “think no more” (line 6) illustrate the girls’

(A)   innate sense of suspicion

(B)   inherent difficulty with understanding subjects

(C)   lack of concern about weighty subjects

(D)   frail nature

(E)   disregard for the feelings of others

61. The poem’s theme could best be described as

(A)   she who hesitates is lost

(B)   beauty is a fading flower

(C)   all that glitters is not gold

(D)   beauty is truth, truth beauty

(E)   a penny saved is a penny earned



How to Score The Princeton Review 
Practice SAT Literature Subject Test

When you take the real exam, the proctors will collect your test booklet and bubble sheet and send your answer sheet to New Jersey, where a computer looks at the pattern of filled-in ovals on your answer sheet and gives you a score. We couldn’t include even a small computer with this book, so we are providing this more primitive way of scoring your exam.

Determining Your Score

STEP 1   Using the answer key on the next page, determine how many questions you got right and how many you got wrong on the test. Remember: Questions that you do not answer do not count as either right or wrong answers.

STEP 2   List the number of right answers here.


STEP 3   List the number of wrong answers here. Now divide that number by 4. (Use a calculator if you’re feeling particularly lazy.)

(B)____÷ 4 = (C)____

STEP 4   Subtract the number of wrong answers divided by 4 from the number of correct answers. Round this score to the nearest whole number. This is your raw score.

(A) – (C) = ____

STEP 5   To determine your real score, take the number from Step 4 and look it up in the left-hand column of the Score Conversion Table on this page; the corresponding score on the right is your score on the exam.

Answer Key to Practice SAT Literature Subject Test 1

  1. B

  2. C

  3. B

  4. E

  5. E

  6. C

  7. A

  8. D

  9. E

10. D

11. C

12. C

13. A

14. D

15. B

16. A

17. B

18. B

19. C

20. E

21. D

22. B

23. C

24. A

25. D

26. B

27. A

28. B

29. C

30. E

31. A

32. A

33. E

34. B

35. C

36. E

37. A

38. D

39. C

40. C

41. B

42. C

43. A

44. B

45. B

46. A

47. B

48. D

49. E

50. B

51. B

52. A

53. D

54. D

55. A

56. C

57. A

58. B

59. A

60. C

61. B

SAT Literature Subject Test—Score Conversion Table