SAT CRITICAL READING
TESTS FOR PRACTICE
CRITICAL READING TEST 3
1. (B) The contrast here is between revivals (new productions of old plays) and original productions.
2. (B) “But” signals a contrast. In the Ice Ages, musk oxen ranged or roamed over much of the Northern Hemisphere. In recent times, however, they have been confined or limited to the far northernmost regions.
3. (C) The comparison suggests society is an organism made up of many parts serving different roles or functions.
4. (E) By definition, someone credulous or gullible readily believes things without having much reason to do so.
5. (B) “Instead” signals a contrast. The missing word must be an antonym or near-antonym for “physically changes.” Something static or unchanging by definition does not physically change.
6. (B) To be sometimes harsh and sometimes gentle is to act in contradictory ways. Such inconsistencies in behavior might well make someone seem an inexplicable enigma, a mystery that could not be explained.
7. (B) To debunk the subject of a biography is to expose the false claims about that person’s virtues, to poke holes in the legend, so to speak. The subject of this biography, however, deserves the praise she has been awarded. She is even better than tales paint her, surpassing her legend.
8. (A) To come up with or invent a name for something new is to coin a term.
9. (D) Stating that Cromwell showed good sense in his insistence on an honest portrait, the author views this choice with approbation (approval).
10. (E) If to be portrayed accurately, warts and all, is in the best interests of great men, then painters who misrepresent their subjects by concealing their blemishes and imperfections are doing their subjects no real favor.
11. (D) Use the process of elimination to answer this question. The author uses a metaphor: Salk’s release of the vaccine was “the opening shot in a war.” Therefore, you can eliminate (A). The author cites a statistic: polio claimed 600 new victims in 2001. Therefore, you can eliminate (B). The author quotes Salk, a historic figure whose legacy lives on. Therefore, you can eliminate (C). The author makes several assertions. Therefore, you can eliminate (E). Only (D) is left. It is the correct answer. The author never describes a process.
12. (C) In helping wipe out a disease that had crippled children for centuries, Salk did an amazing, stunning amount for humanity.
13. (E) Throughout the passage, the author praises Moore’s “sweet confection,” demonstrating its strengths and showing reasons for its popularity over the years. Thus, the passage chiefly serves to explain the enduring appeal of this classic example of light verse.
14. (D) Moore did not invent any new myths. However, he transformed the old myths of Kris Kringle the sled driver and Saint Nicholas the bishop into our archetypal Santa Claus.
15. (A) Moore uses sources from a variety of traditions—Norwegian, Dutch, possibly even American. To compose something out of elements drawn from such a variety of sources is by definition to be eclectic.
16. (C) To delineate Santa Claus is to depict or portray him. The illustrator Thomas Nast closely based his illustrations of Santa Claus on Moore’s own words.
17. (E) One contrasts Moore’s St. Nick with Irving’s in order to see just how very good and imaginative a job Moore did compared to Irving. Moore goes beyond Irving in furnishing Santa with steeds, naming these steeds, and differentiating them from one another. In doing so, he shows considerable creativity.
18. (B) We never think of questioning what the poem says because, like the poem’s protagonist, we are too awestruck by what we see to ask any questions. We view what occurs with astonishment and awe.
19. (B) The author disregards or dismisses the sneers of the professional deconstructionists (literary critics, members of a literary school with little respect for light verse). He believes the lasting popularity of the piece should outweigh the deconstructionists’ petty criticisms.
20. (C) The phrase “that goes for ‘The Raven’” means “that also holds true for ‘The Raven.’” The author is asserting that he has not ignored the claims of popular favorites like “Casey at the Bat” and “The Raven” in saying Moore’s poem is probably our most popular American poem.
21. (D) “Mere” popularity here means simple popularity, considered apart from any other quality a work of art might possess.
22. (E) A moribund reader is someone figuratively dead or insensitive to the verse he or she reads. (Moribund literally means approaching death; dormant.)
23. (C) The author presents this pair of rhyming words as one of Moore’s “Muse-inspired” better pairings. Clearly, he regards Moore’s use of these words with both delight in the rhyme and admiration for the rhymester.
24. (E) The author does not bother to summarize the story of “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” for the reader. He refers blithely to its anapests and alliteration, mentions its protagonist (whom someone unfamiliar with the poem, not knowing any better, might have confused with Saint Nick), and generally assumes that anyone reading his article will already be familiar in great detail with Moore’s poem.
1. (C) “Despite” signals a contrast. Right now, fencing in America is in a stage of growth; the fencing association’s membership is expanding. However, the association fears that fencing will not grow but die out (face extinction) if spectators cannot understand what’s going on. Thus, fencing needs to become more accessible (comprehensible).
2. (D) Precise wording reduces the chances of ambiguity (confusion about meaning).
3. (D) It would be a daunting (discouraging) task to get to know over 700 people in the course of one semester. Such a large group is in itself daunting.
4. (A) “Spurious” means false or fake. Malcolm argues that biographers make up or invent the facts they narrate, so the orderly narrative you read and take as historically true is actually illusory (deceptive; unreal).
5. (A) By definition, magisterial means authoritative or commanding.
6. (E) The author of Passage 1 compares the Jane Austenites to “regular churchgoers” who “scarcely notice what is being said,” and asserts that “criticism slumbers.” Thus, Passage 1 supports the generalization that the Austenites’ reverence for Austen is uncritical.
7. (A) Stressing Austen’s caustic comments and penetrating perceptions, the author of Passage 2 depicts her primarily as an ironic observer.
8. (E) Use the process of elimination to answer this question. Does the author of Passage 2 pose a question? Yes, she asks, “Who, reading that caustic comment, can ever again think of Austen as Gentle Jane?” Eliminate (A).
Does the author of Passage 2 cite an authority? Yes, she quotes the critic Natalie Tyler. Eliminate (B).
Does the author of Passage 2 define a term? Yes, she defines zingers as “remarks that startle, even shock, the unwary reader.” Eliminate (C).
Does the author of Passage 2 provide an example? Yes, she provides an example of a zinger: Austen’s comment on the scarcity of men, particularly “any that were good for much.” Eliminate (D).
Does the author of Passage 2 propose a hypothesis? No, she does not. The correct choice is (E).
9. (D) Passage 1 refers to the “brightness” which the Jane Austenite ascribes to his idol. Passage 2 quotes Tyler on Austen’s “penetrating, perspicacious, and piercingly accurate” perceptions. Clearly, the two passages agree that Austen possessed an acute intellect.
10. (C) The author states that warfare for the Kiowas “was preeminently a matter of disposition rather than of survival.” In other words, they were warlike in nature.
11. (D) The author comments that the Kiowas “never understood the grim, unrelenting advance of the U.S. Cavalry.” They lacked the unswerving determination that kept the cavalrymen pursuing their foes long after a band of Kiowas would have changed its course.
12. (B) Born too late to experience the actual fighting and famine, the author’s grandmother did experience the bleak, cheerless attitude of the defeated warriors, “the dark brooding” of the older Kiowa men.
13. (D) Describing the Kiowas as “a lordly and dangerous society of fighters and thieves, hunters and priests of the sun” (lines 53 and 54), members of a courageous and proud tribe, the author clearly regards them with admiration.
14. (B) Before they acquired horses, the Kiowas were tied to the ground, forced to move slowly in the course of their journey toward the dawn. Once they had horses, however, they were liberated to rove more freely; their wandering spirit was no longer tied down.
15. (D) The Kiowas’ origin myth describes how “they entered the world through a hollow log.” Thus, it is an explanation of how they came to be on Earth.
16. (C) The author’s emphasis is on the elephant’s importance as a “creator of habitat” for other creatures.
17. (C) To mount an effort to rescue an endangered species is to launch or initiate a campaign.
18. (D) The elephant is “the architect of its environment” in that it physically alters its environment, transforming the landscape around it.
19. (C) The author states that it is the elephant’s metabolism and appetite—in other words, its voracity or ravenous hunger—that leads to its creating open spaces in the woodland and transforming the landscape.
20. (C) In this excerpt from a newspaper article, the author objectively reports the effect of the decline in the elephant population on other species that inhabit the savanna. His style can best be described as reportorial.
21. (C) Since the foraging of elephants creates a varied landscape that attracts a diverse group of plant-eating animals and since the presence of these planteaters in turn attracts carnivores, it follows that elephants have an indirect effect on the hunting patterns of certain carnivores.
22. (E) You can arrive at the correct answer choice through the process of elimination.
Question I is answerable on the basis of the passage. The elephant’s foraging opens up the surroundings by knocking down trees and stripping off branches. Therefore, you can eliminate (B) and (D).
Question II is answerable on the basis of the passage. Gazelles are grazers; giraffes are browsers. Therefore, you can eliminate (A).
Question III is answerable on the basis of the passage. The concluding sentence states that when elephants disappear the rain forest reverts. Therefore, you can eliminate (C).
Only (E) is left. It is the correct answer.
23. (B) The author is listing the many species that depend on the elephant as a creator of habitat. Thus, the host of smaller animals is the very large number of these creatures that thrive in the elephant’s wake.
24. (C) The author is in favor of the effect of elephants on the environment; he feels an accidental or fortuitous result of their foraging is that it allows a greater variety of creatures to exist in mixed-growth environments.
1. (E) A modernization program logically would attempt to eliminate or get rid of problems.
2. (C) Something that cannot be solved with ease remains a mystery or enigma.
3. (D) If you simply watch or observe the skilled activities of others, you are passive, that is, inactive.
4. (C) The key phrase here is “stick together.” Small particles of matter join together to form larger ones. In other words, they coalesce.
5. (C) A misnomer (incorrect designation) by definition misnames something. The writer here is arguing that mole rats have been given the wrong name.
6. (C) Einstein’s humility was not a pose that he put on for an audience. His profound, deep humility was clearly sincere (genuine; unfeigned).
7. (C) Throughout the passage, the narrator, a small boy, wishes that his father had been a tougher, more heroic sheriff. To justify his father’s peaceful nature to himself as well as to his reader, he explains why his father had not gone to war like other men.
8. (A) We are told that, when the men returned from war, they “wanted nothing more than to work their farms and ranches and to live quietly with their families.” In essence, the war veterans had had their fill of shooting and death.
9. (C) The narrator disapproves of his father’s clothes. At least the other men “wore boots and Stetsons.” All told, the boy thinks that his father is pretty dull, especially for a sheriff in Montana.
10. (E) The boy wishes that his father carried a “nickel-plated Western Colt .45,” perhaps one that had been carried by a gunslinging sheriff in the old West. In short, his gun should have been a more impressive firearm.
11. (A) The passage is tinged with the boy’s regret that his father was not a tougher, more glamorous sheriff. In fact, he says that aspects of his father’s job “disappointed” him.
12. (C) Theatrical properties or props are usually movable items (not costumes or furniture) that actors use onstage during a performance. Note how the author describes the boys’ likely fate, to be hauled offstage as if they were inanimate physical objects (lines 94–100).
13. (A) The stage is rude in the same sense that “the rude bridge that arched the flood” is rude: it is a roughly made, somewhat primitive structure.
14. (E) The narrator uses the phrase “such as they were” to dismiss the supposed perks or privileges of stage royalty. Considering that his father’s reward was to stand under a hot sun wearing a heavy costume, it is clear that his father received very little for his efforts.
15. (D) Given that he forgot their birthdays and never helped them fix their toys, the narrator’s father clearly was “not dependable to his children.” He “enjoyed being the center of attention”: he gloried in acting like a king and starring in one-man shows. He “had an appealing appearance,” evinced by the good looks that attracted his wife. He “was uncomfortable with his responsibilities,” tired of dealing with household problems. All he lacked was the liking of those who shared his home, who grew to be as tired of him as he asserted he was of them.
16. (B) The narrator has told the story of his father to better understand his complex feelings toward his father, who abandoned his family responsibilities in pursuit of ambitions the narrator neither shares nor fully understands.
17. (B) The authors of the two passages portray their fathers as deficient in some important way. The father in Passage 1 is not tough and courageous enough to suit his son, and the father in Passage 2 is flawed in many ways—from his inability to succeed in his career to his destructive self-centeredness.
18. (D) Neither son seems to have a close relationship with his father. In essence, they are distant.
19. (E) The author of Passage 1 seems to be asking how a man can be both a sheriff in Montana and a wimp at the same time. It’s puzzling to the boy. The author of Passage 2 analyzes his father closely, but not with a sense of confidence in his findings. In many ways the father remainspuzzling. As the passage says, the author never understood why the father endured his low-paid, uncelebrated career as an actor working for fairs.