SAT Literature Subject Test

Part III

The Practice SAT Literature Subject Tests

Chapter 17

Practice Test 3



Your responses to the SAT Literature Subject Test questions should be filled in on Test 3 of your answer sheet.


Directions: This test consists of selections from literary works and questions on their content, form, and style. After 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 poem carefully before you choose your answers.

  1. The word “house” (line 18) is a metaphor for the author’s

(A)   attic

(B)   book

(C)   brain

(D)   shame

(E)   store

  2. According to the poem, how did the author’s manuscript come to be published?

(A)   The press demanded it.

(B)   Her friends took it from her on the sly.

(C)   It was stolen by a publisher.

(D)   She showed it to someone who recommended it for publication.

(E)   The poem does not state its publication history.

  3. According to the poem, how does the author feel about her manuscript?

(A)   She is thrilled to see it in print.

(B)   She thinks it is too dark.

(C)   She is annoyed at its childishness.

(D)   She is horrified by it.

(E)   She is embarrassed by its quality.

  4. The lines “I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet, Yet still thou run’st more hobbling than is meet,” (lines 15-16) refer to the author’s attempt to

(A)   make the book rhyme better

(B)   trim the book’s extraneous parts

(C)   fix the book’s meter

(D)   make sure the book has an even number of pages

(E)   make the book less offensive

  5. The poem as a whole can be considered as

(A)   an extended analogy

(B)   a metaphor for parental worries

(C)   a comparison between two media

(D)   a didactic diatribe

(E)   a discursive exercise

  6. The author’s tone can best be described as

(A)   cheerless

(B)   antipathetic

(C)   dispassionate

(D)   cavalier

(E)   self-deprecating

  7. The word “trim” (line 17) most nearly means

(A)   clothe

(B)   cut

(C)   weave

(D)   hobble

(E)   edit

  8. According to the poem, a friend “less wise than true” is most likely to

(A)   mean well but act foolishly

(B)   tell lies in his friend’s best interest

(C)   cunningly meddle in his friend’s affairs

(D)   sacrifice loyalty for opportunity

(E)   falsely accuse his friend because of lack of knowledge

  9. Which of the following is NOT a hope expressed by the author?

(A)   The book will not fall into the hands of critics.

(B)   Someone else will claim authorship.

(C)   The book will fall into obscurity.

(D)   She can fix the book’s problems through editing.

(E)   She might make some profit.

Questions 10-17. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.

10. The “Colonists” (line 10) are most likely

(A)   prisoners

(B)   readers

(C)   British sailors

(D)   Sydney’s citizens

(E)   American observers

11. The sentence “It is true, all are not yet in a state of completion; but, be it remembered, that what was done gradually in England, in the course of many centuries, has been here effected in the comparatively short period of sixty years” (lines 14-18) serves which of the following purposes in the passage?

(A)   It admits a flaw and accepts the argument.

(B)   It outlines a counterargument and then provides justification.

(C)   It argues a new point and then returns to the main theme.

(D)   It explains a previous point, giving the history behind the argument.

(E)   It compares two cities and finds one superior.

12. The phrase “mean moment” (line 20) can best be rephrased as

(A)   evil intent

(B)   unhappy time

(C)   average length

(D)   routine description

(E)   small importance

13. The main differences between the three paragraphs can be best described as

(A)   paragraph one addresses the reader, paragraph two continues the argument, and paragraph three summarizes the passage so far

(B)   paragraph one sets the passage’s goals, paragraph two tells a history, and paragraph three describes an actual situation

(C)   paragraph one begins the history, paragraph two continues it, and paragraph three concludes it

(D)   paragraph one is descriptive, paragraph two is historical, and paragraph three relates a narrative

(E)   paragraph one is ornate, paragraph two is more subdued, and paragraph three cites examples

14. The second paragraph implies that

(A)   Australia was unsuitable for habitation

(B)   Captain Phillip did not have the backing of the British government

(C)   before the American revolution, Britain used to send its prisoners to America

(D)   Australia had never before been visited by the British

(E)   the “First Fleet” encountered an existing city near Manly Beach.

15. Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of Sydney, according to the passage?

(A)   religious buildings

(B)   perpendicular side streets

(C)   a long coastline

(D)   a shallow harbor

(E)   good weather

16. The final sentence, “This, at first, gives the place an air of unpleasing sameness and formality, to those accustomed to the winding and romantic streets of an ancient English town; but the eye soon becomes reconciled to the change, and you cease to regret the absence of what is in so many respects undesirable,” most nearly means

(A)   at first, Sydney seems homogenous to people who like England’s historical curved streets, but once you get used to it you stop thinking that windy streets are a good thing

(B)   at first, Sydney seems overly formal to people who have studied England’s history, but eventually you grow accustomed to it and stop noticing it

(C)   at first, Sydney seems unpleasant to English visitors, but once they accept Sydney for what it is, they grow to love it

(D)   at first, Sydney’s streets seem too similar to England’s streets; but once you get to know Sydney you find that’s not the case

(E)   at first, Sydney seems too rigid to fans of England’s historical curved streets, and people are at first apt to regret their visit to Sydney

17. It is reasonable to infer that the author of the passage

(A)   worries that he or she does not have the full support of Australia’s citizens

(B)   believes that Sydney is better than London

(C)    supports urban planning

(D)   is sensitive about his native land

(E)   finds Sydney quaint

Questions 18-27. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.

18. The meeting between the two men can best be described as

(A)   cordial and heartwarming

(B)   melodramatic and saccharine

(C)   acrimonious and awkward

(D)   scandalous and surprising

(E)   fortuitous and serendipitous

19. The character of Nicanor is

(A)   a Roman spying for the Volscians

(B)   Adrian’s distant cousin

(C)   Adrian’s rival for the attentions of a woman

(D)   a mercenary in search of Coriolanus

(E)   a sworn enemy of Adrian

20. The insurrections spoken of in line 15 are most likely

(A)   foreign invasions

(B)   military coups

(C)   monarchical successions

(D)   proletariat uprisings

(E)   conflagrations

21. It can be inferred from the passage that

(A)   Coriolanus’s banishment is the cause of the insurrection

(B)   Coriolanus’s banishment was not the nobles’ choice

(C)   Coriolanus was the king of Rome

(D)   the two men are supporters of Coriolanus

(E)   the two men dread further war

22. “The main blaze” (line 21) refers to

(A)   a universally quelled rebellion

(B)   public outrage at Coriolanus’s banishment

(C)   the fires of purgatory

(D)   incendiary comments

(E)   the people’s revolt

23. The plot the men hatch hinges on the fact that

(A)   Tullus Aufidius is romantically involved with Coriolanus’s wife

(B)   Roman towns catch fire easily

(C)   the nobles are incensed that Coriolanus has been banished

(D)   there is a ready army

(E)   the senators and patricians are not ready for war

24. The line “You take my part from me, sir” could best be restated as

(A)   “Those were the words I was going to speak.”

(B)   “You have usurped my role.”

(C)   “You are making fun of me.”

(D)   “I would give you a present for your kindness.”

(E)   “Yours is the friendship I most cherish.”

25. It can be inferred from the passage that the author intended this play most likely to be

(A)   an amusing comedy

(B)   an extended allegory

(C)   a pastoral study

(D)   a historical enactment

(E)   a political satire

26. The words “appear well” (line 38) can best be replaced by

(A)   fight valiantly

(B)   dress for battle

(C)   emerge victorious

(D)   argue persuasively

(E)   feign health

27. This passage is included in the play most likely to

(A)   serve as a backdrop for a romantic interlude

(B)   provide comic relief

(C)   impart information

(D)   pander to the audience’s interests

(E)   show the audience the ambience of ancient Rome

Questions 28-36. Read the following poem carefully before you choose your answers.

28. All of the following are examples of personification EXCEPT

(A)   “burning grasp” (line 2)

(B)   “bruise” (line 3)

(C)   “clamor” (line 5)

(D)   “clashing” (line 8)

(E)   “break” (line 10)

29. A difference between the first and second stanzas is

(A)   stanza one speaks of memory, while stanza two speaks of the future

(B)   stanza one speaks of death, while stanza two speaks of slumber

(C)   stanza one speaks of day, while stanza two speaks of night

(D)   stanza one speaks of children, while stanza two speaks of the past

(E)   stanza one speaks of hurry, while stanza two speaks of patience

30. Which of the following lines contains a simile?

(A)   “But wrapped for ever in thy quiet grave,/ Too little to have known the earthly lot” (lines 6-7)

(B)   “Shall break, or pass as with an army’s tread,/And harm thee not” (lines 10-11)

(C)   “We of the living flesh and restless brain/ Shall plumb the deeps of life and know the strain” (lines 13-15)

(D)   “And then at last when all is touched and tried,/ Our own immutable night shall fall, and deep” (lines 17-18)

(E)   The poem does not contain a simile.

31. The title symbolically represents

(A)   slumber

(B)   burial

(C)   angels

(D)   death

(E)   old age

32. The author’s attitude toward life can best be described as

(A)   life must be endured before death sets us free

(B)   life is sometimes good and sometimes difficult, but it is always short

(C)   life is merely noisy and full of strife

(D)   life is too difficult to be enjoyed

(E)   life’s meaning will be forever obscured

33. From the passage, it can be inferred that the author considers that

(A)   it is better to be dead than to suffer fate’s cruelty

(B)   death is akin to unconsciousness

(C)   death is like being swept away by waves

(D)   death is the same for soldiers as for children

(E)   it is ridiculous to cry tears for the dead

34. The poem is written from the point of view of

(A)   someone who is grieving

(B)   a congregation of mourners

(C)   someone who is dying

(D)   someone who fears death

(E)   someone who has never before been touched by death

35. Which of the following ideas is NOT implied by the poem?

(A)   Life is joyfully or harshly noisy.

(B)   Death is quiet and peaceful.

(C)   Time is like the ocean.

(D)   Life is alternately wonderful and painful.

(E)   The afterlife is superior to our earthly existence.

36. The words “touched and tried” (line 17) represent

(A)   experience

(B)   intensity

(C)   justice

(D)   eternal life

(E)   fruitlessness

Questions 37-46. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.

37. All of the following details suggest that the events in this passage take place in modern times EXCEPT

(A)   the story’s diction

(B)   mention of divorce

(C)   an American girl being in China

(D)   talk of a “new order”

(E)   use of electric lights

38. The line “A flame rushes over Ah Leen’s face; then she becomes white as a water lily” provides examples of which two literary devices?

(A)   metaphor and simile

(B)   authorial intrusion and allusion

(C)   simile and comparison

(D)   literary allusion and metaphor

(E)   apostrophe and anaphor

39. It can be inferred from the passage that

(A)   Ah Leen has disobeyed her father

(B)   Yen Chow is interested only in money

(C)   Ah Leen’s lover has not been in contact with her

(D)   Ah Leen’s American friend has stolen her lover

(E)   Ah Leen is jealous of her American friend

40. The “great slight” (line 5) of which Yen Chow speaks is

(A)   a divorce

(B)   an abandonment

(C)   an interracial marriage

(D)   a deviation from the old ways

(E)   the disrespect of elders

41. The “perfume” (line 21) serves as a symbol of

(A)   the fragility of human ties

(B)   the passing of time

(C)   the strength of the marriage bond

(D)   the sweetness of mutual love

(E)   the endurance of love

42. From the beginning to the end of the passage there is a change in

(A)   point of view

(B)   syntax

(C)   temporal logic

(D)   diction

(E)   theme

43. Paragraph 6 “It is evening …” contains an example of

(A)   simile

(B)   personification

(C)   alliteration

(D)   parallelism

(E)   anthropomorphism

44. The last paragraph suggests that

(A)   the American girl is going to tell Ming Hoan’s parents of the lovers’ reunion

(B)   the American girl has a history with Ming Hoan

(C)   Ming Hoan’s words are offensive to the American girl

(D)   Ming Hoan’s words have caused the American girl to think about her own relationship in a different light

(E)   Chinese morality is incomprehensible to the American girl

45. Why does Ming Hoan not explain his silence?

(A)   He is afraid of hurting Ah Leen.

(B)   He is embarrassed of the reason.

(C)   He wants to protect their parents.

(D)   He doesn’t feel he owes her an explanation.

(E)   Ah Leen does not ask him to explain.

46. The main theme of the story is

(A)   old customs are better than new ones

(B)   two people’s love is stronger than circumstance

(C)   love can indeed be extinguished by time apart

(D)   absence makes the heart grow fonder

(E)   one can never truly know the heart of another

Questions 47-54. Read the following poem carefully before you choose your answers.

47. The words “Smitten with” (line 2) could best be replaced with

(A)   Caressed by

(B)   Filtered through

(C)   In love with

(D)   Awed by

(E)   Struck by

48. The poet’s attitude in this poem is

(A)   resigned

(B)   stung

(C)   sullen

(D)   inured

(E)   imperious

49. Which of the following does NOT appear in the poem?

(A)   elusive water

(B)   an assortment of flora

(C)   potent liquor

(D)   evocative melody

(E)   exotic reverie

50. Which of the following does the first stanza employ?

(A)   religious iconography

(B)   paired alliteration

(C)   melancholic preaching

(D)   antipathetic musing

(E)   character revelation

51. It is reasonable to assume that the author equates music with

(A)   a mocking death

(B)   sweet fruit

(C)   his lost love

(D)   original sin

(E)   serpentine slyness

52. All of the following lines contain examples of personification EXCEPT

(A)   line 3

(B)   line 7

(C)   line 20

(D)   line 21

(E)   line 22

53. The third stanza lists examples of

(A)   anecdotal evidence

(B)   unpleasant memories

(C)   inclement weather

(D)   fickle fate

(E)   love’s intensity

54. Which of the following could replace the last line of the passage?

(A)   In love, it’s said, one cannot blunder.

(B)   Love like an army my heart did plunder.

(C)   Neither day nor night can thus resign.

(D)   I mourn their passing and decline.

(E)   May head and heart now intertwine.

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

55. The two men are most likely

(A)   old friends

(B)   of different cultures

(C)   future enemies

(D)   negotiators

(E)   members of the clergy

56. The passage moves from

(A)   past to future

(B)   general to specific

(C)   narration to dialogue

(D)   recitation to soliloquy

(E)   complexity to simplicity

57. The word “Ayiih!” (line 24) is an example of

(A)   Father Damien singing

(B)   Father Damien’s language

(C)   Chopin’s music

(D)   Father Damien’s first name

(E)   an interjection

58. The main theme of the passage explores

(A)   cultural differences

(B)   ironic subtext

(C)   the connection between love and music

(D)   the nature of relationships

(E)   the influence of music

59. From the passage, Nanapush’s attitude can be described as one of

(A)   intense curiosity

(B)   didactic patronization

(C)   guarded politeness

(D)   affirming sycophancy

(E)   scholarly enthusiasm

60. The phrase “flooded in the heart” (line 30) can best be replaced with

(A)   overcome by joy

(B)   racked with nostalgia

(C)   filled with emotion

(D)   engorged with blood

(E)   momentarily confused

61. In the last paragraph, Father Damien says the piano is made of time because

(A)   he does not know the word for “wood” in Nanapush’s language

(B)   wood seemed too banal for so important an instrument

(C)   time seems to be as eternal as the capacity for music

(D)   he once saw a piano in a river

(E)   he is trying to change the subject to one he feels more comfortable with



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 3

  1. C

  2. B

  3. E

  4. C

  5. A

  6. E

  7. A

  8. A

  9. B

10. D

11. B

12. E

13. B

14. C

15. D

16. A

17. C

18. E

19. A

20. D

21. B

22. E

23. C

24. A

25. D

26. C

27. C

28. E

29. C

30. B

31. D

32. B

33. B

34. A

35. E

36. A

37. A

38. A

39. C

40. B

41. E

42. A

43. A

44. D

45. C

46. B

47. E

48. B

49. E

50. B

51. C

52. B

53. E

54. D

55. B

56. C

57. E

58. E

59. A

60. C

61. C

SAT Literature Subject Test—Score Conversion Table