SAT CRITICAL READING
TESTS FOR PRACTICE
CRITICAL READING TEST 2
1. (C) Given the examples listed, the administration seems unusually considerate of or attentive to the well-being of its employees.
2. (D) By definition, an assemblyman’s constituents are the voters who belong to the district he represents.
3. (C) If trees have adapted to survive short, mild winters, then they’re not likely to do well in harsh winters with extreme temperature changes. In fact, they will prove vulnerable to (defenseless against) cold snaps and sudden thaws.
4. (E) Unlike a contemporary feminist, Abigail Adams accepted the then-traditional view of the roles of women and men.
The second clause of the sentence serves to explain in what way Abigail Adams was unlike feminists today.
5. (D) The author is making highly negative comments, ones that go beyond being casually dismissive (indifferent or disapproving) to being bluntly contemptuous (scornful).
6. (B) Though people assumed Doisneau’s pictures were unposed, he acknowledged (admitted) he had staged some shots that were supposed to have been candid (informal, unposed).
7. (C) The jovial-appearing Cory used a mask of lightheartedness to camouflage or disguise his underlying depression.
8. (B) Someone insecure would be likely to construe (interpret) disagreement as betrayal (disloyalty).
9. (B) The retreat to which the author finds herself drawn is a haven or refuge.
10. (E) The author values the quiet, comfortable retreat. Her tone is appreciative.
11. (E) Consider the choices in turn. The author provides the example of Herschel; eliminate (A). She cites Denlinger as an authority; eliminate (B). She mentions a time frame, pre-Victorian times, and the late eighteenth century; eliminate (C). She refers to that tired old cliché about a woman’s place being in the home; eliminate (D). She does not, however, propose a solution. The correct choice is (E).
12. (B) In the final sentence of the passage, the author points out that Herschel’s astronomical catalogues are still in use, an indication of the extent to which her work continues to be helpful nowadays.
13. (D) The author tells or narrates what happens during the period of time just before the conductor gives the upbeat to signal the orchestra to begin.
14. (D) The opening of the first paragraph states that “the qualities that distinguish great conductors,” the qualities about which the author is going to speak, “lie far beyond and above what we have spoken of.” Clearly, he has just been speaking of other qualities that conductors must possess. However, these are not the high, artistic skills that one needs to be a great conductor. They are merely the technical skills needed to be a reasonably competent conductor.
15. (C) The magic moment for beginning a piece of music is the moment that “feels exactly right” (lines 10 and 11). The conductor’s decision is based on instinct, on feelings, not on logic; it is intuitive.
16. (D) The author does not mean we are literally trapped or captive; he is being figurative or metaphorical.
17. (C) Throughout the passage, the author uses different approaches to give the reader an idea of the nature of just what a conductor does. Here, he compares a conductor’s working with time to a sculptor’s working with physical blocks of stone. He does this to help the reader get an image of the conductor’s work.
18. (B) “Mold” here is a fixed pattern or shape.
19. (A) The author states that “no conductor can learn or acquire” the mysteries or most important attributes of conducting. The “natural faculty for deep perception” is inborn or innate.
20. (E) The author looks on the baton as a tool he uses to help him communicate with the orchestra, in other words, as a tool for transmitting meaning.
(A) is incorrect. The author does not consider the baton either necessary (he can gesture equally clearly with his hands) or evil.
(B) is incorrect. The author is not talking about the baton as a symbol; he is talking about it as an instrument that gets used.
(C) is incorrect. In talking of the baton’s being “charged with a kind of electricity,” the author is being figurative, not literal. He does not literally look on the baton as an electrical appliance or tool.
(D) is incorrect. The author never states a preference for one means of communication over the other.
21. (A) The author suggests a variety of things the conductor can do to get a performance out of the musicians—cajoling (coaxing), demanding, raging. Clearly he believes conductors must do whatever it takes to motivate the musicians to want to perform.
22. (E) The author is talking about projecting his feelings, conveying his emotions so vividly and intensely that they reach each and every one of his hundred musicians, no matter where in the orchestra they are. Thus, in singling out the “last” player, the one farthest back, in the “second” violin section, the section behind the first violins, he is emphasizing the distance across which the conductor must communicate.
23. (B) The author’s concern is for the orchestra to learn to function as a whole. He views the temperamental behavior of conductors—ranting, cursing, insulting musicians—with tolerance, accepting these actions as either unimportant personal quirks on the part of the conductor or tactical moves in the conductor’s grand design to stimulate the musicians to play at their best.
24. (E) In dedicating himself to “the service of the composer’s meaning” (lines 129–132), the conductor is laboring to maintain the integrity of the musical piece in accordance with the composer’s design.
1. (C) To complete the comparison, in the same way that the roads all led to the city of Rome, the heart of the Roman Empire, the blood vessels all lead to or empty into the heart.
2. (E) To give the visual details of past events is to make history real to people.
3. (A) A predilection or fondness for classical music could well lead someone to subscribe to the symphony for a season.
4. (D) The president did not say much about farm subsidies: he was noncommittal, taking no clear position on this important issue. He also did not say much about the more important or vital issue of unemployment.
(C) is incorrect. While it would be possible in this context to describe the president as uncommunicative about farm subsidies, it would be inaccurate to describe the critical issue of unemployment as merely academic (theoretical; of no practical significance).
5. (C) In navigating tricky legal waters, one hopes to be able to avoid judicial quagmires (marshes; swamps) in which one might bog down.
6. (D) Passage 2 reports the skepticism felt by many bird-watchers about the ivory-bill’s alleged rediscovery and points out the tentativeness of the researchers’ claims. In doing so, it questions the validity of the ornithologists’ initial celebration.
7. (C) The final sentence of Passage 1 speaks of the rediscovery of the ivory-bill as miraculous. The author of Passage 2 looks on such miracles with suspicion. Lacking strong evidence that would make him a believer, he remains unconvinced.
8. (A) To hedge is to avoid making a clear, direct response or statement. Thus, in beginning to hedge, the Cornell scientists are now being intentionally noncommittal.
9. (E) Passage 1 describes the many sightings and the corroborative video recording evidence that had to be completed before the research team was ready to present its case. Passage 2 discusses the challenge of finding conclusive evidence of living ivory-bills in the Big Woods region. Both passages emphasize that proving a supposedly extinct species to be extant has presented challenges to the researchers involved.
10. (D) The shadowy, gloomy understory is dimly lit or obscure.
11. (D) The plants that exist only within the compass of the canopy live within its boundaries.
12. (B) The tree trunks provide the epiphytes only with a good location up in the canopy. Being nonparasitic, epiphytes cannot draw moisture (or any nourishment whatsoever) from tree trunks.
13. (E) Having developed features that collect and retain rainwater, epiphytes clearly are particularly well suited to the retention (holding; storing up) of liquid.
14. (D) Because epiphytes do not sink their roots into the earth, they lack connections to the earth and thus do not have direct access to water in the ground. They have direct access to water only when it rains.
15. (C) Both desert cacti and arboreal cacti grow in environments in which access to moisture is difficult to achieve. The desert cacti lack access to moisture because the amount of rainfall in desert regions is minimal and little moisture exists in the soil. The arboreal cacti lack access to moisture because they grow high up in the canopy with no root connections to the soil. Thus, both kinds of cacti have had to develop features to cut down or reduce the loss of moisture.
16. (E) The passengers are walking because the coach cannot carry them uphill. Note that the horses have already come to a stop three times.
17. (C) The author describes the immediate, rather unwholesome area. However, he never contrasts it with more attractive areas.
18. (C) Given the inclement weather, the muddy footing, and the uphill struggle, the fact that the horses (brute animals) strongly attempted to turn back to Blackheath suggests that they were more reasonable creatures than the humans who forced them to struggle on.
19. (C) The lead horse shook his head and everything upon it, that is, his head and his harness, which made a rattling noise.
20. (B) It is not surprising that, at the sudden, emphatic noise the nervous passenger started or jumped.
21. (C) All the descriptive terms in the paragraph—mist “like an evil spirit,” “waves of an unwholesome sea,” fog “dense enough to shut out everything from the light”—emphasize the gloominess and dark melancholy of the scene.
22. (C) The sentence that immediately precedes the reference to the Captain maintains that anyone on the road might be in league with robbers, that is, might be a robber’s accomplice or confederate. Thus, to be in the Captain’s pay means to be a robber’s paid accomplice, and the Captain is clearly a highway robber or highwayman.
23. (B) Viewing one another with suspicion, the passengers maintain a guarded or wary stance.
24. (E) By definition, genial means cordial or friendly. However, the situation shown here is grim and unfriendly rather than genial. Thus, the word is being used in an ironic, unexpected way.
1. (E) Currently, the railroads can take on additional shipping only during the winter; at other times of the year, they can’t absorb any more traffic. During the winter months the waterway could not take traffic away from the railroads (an icebound waterway is useless as a route for traffic). Thus, those in favor of the waterway argue that it will supplement or be a desirable addition to railroad facilities and will not threaten or endanger the railroads.
2. (C) George Burns had even greater celebrity or renown in the 1980s than he had known in the 1940s.
3. (C) “Despite” signals the contrast between the mole rat’s repulsive, disgusting habits and its meticulous, painstakingly careful cleaning of its burrow.
4. (A) It is a major requisite (requirement or necessity) of the genre that the biographer be able to reconstruct or mentally build up again his or her subject’s inner life.
5. (A) The dictionary defines serendipity as good luck, and aptitude for making valuable discoveries by accident. Newton’s discovery of the law of gravity is a classic example of serendipity at work.
6. (D) The opposite of a purposeful, determined action is a desultory, aimless one.
“Not” is a contrast signal. The missing word must be an antonym or near-antonym for “purposeful.”
7. (B) In the first paragraph the author, by likening the prejudice against the Japanese to the prejudice below the Mason-Dixon line, argues that anti-Japanese feeling was comparable to racial prejudice in the South.
8. (A) The intensity of anti-Japanese feeling is explained in part by the fact that the Japanese “were of a distinct racial group; no amount of acculturation could mask their foreignness” (lines 11–13). Logically, then, had their physical appearance been different, they might not have experienced such intense hatred.
9. (D) Among the causes of prejudice against the Japanese was the rapidity with which the Japanese immigrants adopted the so-called Protestant ethic, which includes the notion that you must work hard to be successful.
10. (E) Before the war, anti-Japanese feelings were most intense in northern California. Afterward, southern California became the locus of prejudice. World War II, then, shifted the center of anti-Japanese feeling.
11. (E) The passage explains that labor unions provided the base of the anti-Japanese movement. Presumably, labor unions voiced their opposition because members felt that their jobs were being threatened by Japanese workers.
12. (D) The author of Passage 2 cautions readers not to confuse anti-Semitism with other forms of anti-immigrant sentiment, but to be mindful of “different kinds of anti-Semitism.” The passage then describes many forms and guises (appearances) of anti-Semitism.
13. (D) The author refers to ideological anti-Semitism as that which has “no direct connection with … ethnic integration.” In other words, it is hatred of others’ assumed beliefs and values, such as the anti-Semitic notion cited in the passage that Jews want to take control of the United States.
14. (A) According to the passage, ideological anti-Semitism has not been as “productive of violence as other racial and religious phobias.” When violence has occurred, therefore, it has been inspired or fed by social anti-Semitism.
15. (A) The second paragraph of the passage lists several explanations for hatred of Jews, but not that it is hard to tell a Jew from a non-Jew.
16. (B) In the third paragraph Winrod and Smith are cited as examples of anti-Semites whose hatred of Jews was based largely on religion. As the passage says, except for Winrod and Smith, “one looks in vain for a clearly religious animus” to explain anti-Semitic feelings.
17. (C) The first passage pinpoints California as the center of anti-Japanese feeling and gives several precise explanations for its growth in that state. In contrast, Passage 2 portrays anti-Semitism as a more complex and diffuse (widespread) form of bigotry. It describes various reasons for anti-Semitism and fails to identify a place or region where it is concentrated.
18. (C) Both authors cite irrational thinking as the cause of prejudice. The first says the “opposition to the Japanese was based upon fears which were largely nonrational” (lines 47–50), while the second refers to the role played by “irrational anti-Semitic fantasies” (lines 64–67).
19. (A) Economic reasons dominate both authors’ explanations of prejudice. The Japanese were hated for challenging whites in many businesses and professions, for working hard, and for competing with American workers for jobs. Jews were accused of plotting to take control of America’s money supply, wrecking the financial system, and taking over the communications and entertainment industries.