The SAT French Subject Test
The Practice SAT French Subject Tests and Explanations
Practice SAT French Subject Test 1: Answers and Explanations
The possible choices are examined for clues that should have indicated the correct answer. To help explain why a choice is right or wrong, resemblances between English and French words are noted, grammatical explanations are given, and an analysis of the Comprehension questions is provided. Key words in the English translations of the questions are in boldface, as are the correct answers.
1 I need to do (pack) my … before leaving on vacation tomorrow.
partir en vacances
2 It’s nice outside; do you want … after dinner?
Il fait beau (notice that these verbs, used with te, are reflexive)
to walk, to go outside
3 The soldier waited impatiently for the end of …
4 It is forbidden to keep your shoes indoors; leave them …
dans la maison
5 Paul needs … to hold up his pants.
soutenir son pantalon
a belt, suspenders
6 For his birthday, the boy received many …
7 I bought … in the bakery next door.
8 The … of my building is 564.
9 There are twelve … in a year.
10 The movie theater is empty; we can … anywhere.
11 When I wear my favorite shoes, I never have sore …
12 I agree with him; I think that he is …
13 My office is located in a different … from my apartment.
neighborhood, city, area
14 The hero … a girl who was in the process of drowning.
15 In summer, one should wear … to protect one’s eyes.
16 One must pay attention before … the road.
17 It is not nice … your friends.
ce n’est pas gentil
to be mean to, to hurt, to tease
18 The constant noise …
annoys me, upsets me
19 The waiter … my glass of wine.
filled, spilled, brought
20 The lady … her arm to catch the ball.
extended, reached out
21 The student wrote … on the work of Maupassant.
an essay, a paper
22 Without the protection of an umbrella, I will be … by the rain.
(A) no negative to go with ne
(B) no pronoun to indicate what is being suggested
(C) correct: ne plus a negative
(D) rien must be used with ne
(A) que is never used with a preposition
(B) correct: qui can be used with prepositions
(C) which—makes no sense
(D) what—makes no sense
25 Odds and Ends: Articles
(A) correct: homme is masculine but because it starts with a silent “h” it takes cet and not ce
(B) huile would require the feminine cette
(C) dame would require the feminine cette
(D) livre would require the regular masculine ce
The required pronoun needs to refer to place or location.
(A) en will refer to location only if used with a verb that normally takes de (Vient-il de là-bas? Oui, il en vient.)
(B) où meaning “where” is used like qui or que to connect phrases
(C) correct: y refers to place
(D) là means “there”
(A) the correct expression would be au Mexique
(B) the correct expression would be en France
(C) correct: for cities, you use à
(D) the correct expression would be en Chine
28 Relative Pronouns
(A) de quoi is an interrogative pronoun when placed at the beginning of a sentence
(B) ce que is a direct object
(C) correct: ce dont is needed with the expression se plaindre de
(D) a quoi uses the wrong preposition
(A) subject pronoun
(B) indirect object pronoun
(C) correct: stressed pronoun as the object of a preposition
(D) reflexive pronoun
(A) correct: réfléchir requires à
(B) you cannot say réfléchir sans
(C) you cannot say réfléchir avec
(D) you cannot use dont with laquelle
(A) correct: vendre requires avoir—“has sold”
(B) être would form a passive tense, “is sold”—does not work
(C) no need for subjunctive
(D) vendre requires avoir, and there is no need for subjunctive
(A) quand cannot be used after au moment
(B) après is a preposition
(C) correct: où is used in expressions of time
(D) durant means during, which doesn’t fit here
(A) the present doesn’t work here since the other action is in the past
(B) correct: imperfect—he was outside in an ongoing way in the past
(C) no need for subjunctive or present
(D) no need for conditional
(A) imperfect—cannot follow an imperfect clause beginning with si
(B) no need for the past conditional
(C) the future
(D) correct: if the si clause uses the imperfect, the following clause will use the present conditional
(A) in this context, laver needs to be reflexive
(B) brosser is used for teeth, not hands
(C) serrer la main, to shake hands
(D) correct: the expression is se laver les mains
(A) décider takes de
(B) avoir le droit takes de
(C) avoir envie takes de
(D) correct: vouloir takes a direct object
(A) correct: il faut que requires the subjunctive
(B) present indicative
(C) future—wrong tense
(D) imperfect—wrong tense
(A) subject pronoun
(B) correct: stressed pronoun as the object of the preposition
(C) reflexive pronoun
(D) indirect object pronoun
(A) correct: present
(B) no need for subjunctive, as nothing is hypothetical
(C) imperfect cannot be used since action has not taken place yet
(D) the future is possible but requires ce—ce sera
40 Odds and Ends
(A) si difficile is not a comparative
(B) le meilleur is a superlative, not a comparative
(C) correct: pire can be used to compare two things
(D) trop is an adverb that needs to modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb
(A) correct: durant means “during”
(B) sinon means “otherwise”
(C) afin de means “in order to”
(D) avant que must be followed by a clause with a verb
(A) this leaves the sentence incomplete
(B) tu would take the verb form as—tu m’as écrit
(C) correct: “it is he who”
(D) personne requires ne in a sentence
(A) imperfect indicates an ongoing action in the past
(B) conditional indicates one thing happening because of another
(C) correct: present
(D) past imperfect indicates an ongoing action that was completed in the past
(A) correct: no agreement
(B) no need for feminine
(C) no need for plural
(D) no need for feminine plural
(A) past—makes no sense
(B) unpleasant (i.e., bad weather)—makes no sense
(C) sad—makes no sense
(D) correct: favorable (i.e., good weather)
(A) far from
(C) correct: finally
(A) you cannot say partir dans Tokyo
(B) without—makes no sense
(C) you cannot say partir en Tokyo
(D) correct: partir pour Tokyo
(A) imperfect—wrong tense
(B) subjunctive—wrong tense
(C) correct: qui est née. Present tense is always used when speaking about birth or death.
(D) wrong person—this is the conjugation for the pronoun “tu,” not “ma femme” (elle)
(A) you cannot say née en Japon
(B) correct: née au Japon (Japon is masculine, so “au” is correct, not “à la”)
(C) you cannot say née à Japon
(D) you cannot say née dans Japon
(B) did not always—this does not make sense in context
(C) correct: never
51 Odds and Ends
(D) correct: so much
(A) correct: to attend
(B) to knock down
(C) to sit
(D) to aspire, to inhale, etc.
(A) in spite (of the fact)
(B) correct: because—parce que
(D) as soon as
(C) correct: calm
(A) to get rid of
(B) to overflow
(C) to develop
(D) correct: to take off
56 Odds and Ends: Adjectives
(A) correct: past participle or adjective
(B) verb: to study
(C) noun: a study
(D) noun: a student
(D) correct: weeks
(A) correct: present—follows Maintenant
(D) passé composé
59 What did the couple do before looking for the café?
(A) “They waited.”
(B) “They took their car to a garage.”: correct—another way of saying Ayant laissé la voiture au garage …
(C) “They spoke to two children.”: familiar words—wrong context
(D) “They hit something.”: familiar words—wrong context
60 Where is the couple?
(A) À Chartres: familiar words—wrong context
(B) “in a village”: ne formaient pas un village
(C) “in a big town”: common sense—if it’s not even a village, it’s certainly not a city
(D) “in a suburb of the town”: correct—key words are un faubourg lointain
61 For what reason did the couple go to the café?
(A) “to eat a good meal”: no, since Ils commandèrent n’importe quoi pour justifier leur présence.
(B) “to find someone to talk to”: no context for this
(C) “to ask directions”: no context for this
(D) “to pass the time”: correct—ils décidèrent d’attendre dans un café
62 What does the author mean by “l’heure creuse”?
(A) “that there were a lot of people in the café”: incorrect—the café was empty
(B) “that it was almost night”: no context for this
(C) “that no one was there”: correct—Il n’y avait personne.
(D) “that it was time for the café to close”: no context for this
63 What impression did the lady have at the café?
(A) “that she had eaten cotton”: familiar words—wrong context
(B) “that she had on too much makeup”: familiar words—wrong context
(C) “that there was too much noise”: familiar words—wrong context
(D) “that she couldn’t hear”: correct—les bruits ne lui parvenaient qu’assourdis
64 The author writes in a style that is
(B) “neutral”: the author is obviously doing more than just describing the scene
(C) “humorous”: correct—tip-offs are word play (rangé, se range), exaggeration
65 What makes the race car driver appear?
(A) “the act of getting behind the wheel”: et que réveille le simple contact du pied sur l’accélérateur
(B) “the sunrise”
(C) “the action of waking up”
(D) “a horn”: familiar word—klaxonner—but wrong context
66 According to the passage, Jérôme Charnelet is usually
(A) “a race car driver”: familiar words—wrong context
(B) “of an amiable disposition”: correct—ce bon père de famille …
67 How does Jérôme react to the green light?
(A) “He stops.”: makes no sense
(B) “He swats a fly.”: familiar words—wrong context
(C) “He has trouble seeing colors.”: you’re interpreting too literally
(D) “He becomes a crazy driver.”: correct—il voit rouge
68 What would convince Jérôme to change his position on the road?
(A) “the realization that he is in the middle of the road”: familiar words—wrong context
(B) “his sense of obligation to the other drivers”: familiar words—wrong context
(C) “the horns of other drivers”: correct—après avoir subi une klaxonnade nourrie … “After having been subjected to continuous honking …”
(D) “the color of the traffic light”: familiar words—wrong context
69 We understand that Jérôme drives in a manner that is
(B) “steady”: familiar word—rangée—but wrong context
(D) “obsessed”: correct—obsédée; the key word is démoniaque
70 These apartments
(A) “will be renovated in 2005”—no context for this
(B) “were renovated in the 19th century”—familiar words—wrong context
(C) “are being renovated”: correct—“en cours de rénovation”
(D) “are renovated”
71 This advertisement is aimed at
(A) “prospective buyers”: correct—“bureau de vente”
(B) “future tenants”—no context for this
(C) “elderly people”—no context for this
(D) “sellers”—familiar word—wrong context
72 After reading this advertisement, one is aware of everything BUT
(A) “the proximity of Paris to the residence“—aux portes de Paris
(B) “the opening hours of the sales office”—du lundi au samedi de 9 h 30 à 19 h
(C) “the precise address of the residence”: correct—this is the only thing one does not know about these apartments
(D) “the existence of a show apartment“—appartementtémoin
73 This passage is concerned with
(A) “the number of students in the educational system”: incorrect—percentages are given, not numbers
(B) “the attitudes of French adolescents”: correct
(C) “the way to change the attitude of French students”: no context for this
(D) “recent changes in the educational system”: no context for this
74 What does the expression “ils en ont ras le bol” mean?
(A) “that they do not have enough to eat”
(B) “that they complain about their studies”
(C) “that they should shave”
(D) “that they are sick and tired of something”: correct—ils en ont assez
75 According to certain students, where does one learn the most?
(A) “at home”: no context for this
(B) “at school”: obviously incorrect
(C) “in a hierarchy”: incorrect—this is one of the problems
(D) “in life”: correct—à la radio, au cinéma, à la télévision ou en voyageant …
76 What is the strongest criticism of the educational system?
(A) “There is too much work.”: no context for this
(B) “The students are bored.”: a concern, but not the biggest problem
(C) correct: l’école est souvent coupée de la vie … “school is often cut off from life …”
(D) “ There are not enough bosses.”: just the opposite
77 The narrator expects
(A) “to be scolded by his boss”: correct—j’ai pensé qu’il allait me dire de moins téléphoner et de mieux travailler
(B) “to get a raise”: no context for this
(C) “to discuss a project with his boss”: no context for this
(D) “to annoy the boss”: familiar words—wrong context
78 What does the boss do?
(A) “He annoys the narrator.”: familiar words—wrong context
(B) “He orders him to go to Paris.”: too strong—the boss asks if he wants to go
(C) “He asks what the narrator thinks of a suggestion.”: correct—Il voulait seulement avoir mon avis sur la question
(D) “He refuses to let the narrator go to Paris.”: wrong
79 What does the boss want to do in Paris?
(A) “He wants to live there.”: perhaps, but too vague to be a good answer
(B) “He wants to work for a big company.”: familiar words—wrong context
(C) “He wants to open an office.”: correct—l’intention d’installer un bureau à Paris …
(D) “He wishes to betray his company.”: no evidence for this
80 Why does the boss suggest the project to the narrator?
(A) “because the narrator isn’t working well”: no, the narrator is evidently being rewarded
(B) “because he thinks the narrator would be happy with such a life”: correct—il me semble que c’est une vie qui doit vous plaire
(C) “because the boss is too young to do it himself”: familiar words—but misleading
(D) “because it’s all the same to the narrator”: familiar words—wrong context
81 What reaction does the narrator have to the idea of going to Paris?
(A) “He is irritated.”: no context for this
(B) “He is happy.”: he is neither happy nor unhappy
(C) “He feels rejuvenated.”: no context for this
(D) “He’s not very interested.”: correct—dans le fond cela m’était égal
82 What makes a river bigger?
(A) “an increase in water that comes from the mouth of the river”: familiar words—wrong context
(B) “the presence of something that blocks the way”: correct—Quand une rivière est bouchée par une grosse pierre …
(C) “the presence of rocks”: familiar words—wrong context
(D) “the freedom of water”: familiar words—wrong context
83 Why does the author describe a river?
(A) “to characterize Trenet’s music”: not in this case
(B) “to explain nature”: makes no sense
(C) “to show Trenet’s importance”: tricky—but not an answer to this question
(D) “to make an analogy with the development of song”: correct—Il se passe souvent la même chose dans l’histoire des arts.
84 It is inferred that before Trenet, the song (in this context, la chanson means songs in general)
(A) “was more like a river”: makes no sense
(B) “was more complicated”: no context for this
(C) “had fewer possibilities”: correct—après lui les artistes se sentent plus libres …
(D) “was more artistic”: no context for this
85 One can infer that Trenet
(A) “introduced a new way of presenting a song”: correct—Charles Trenet a fait sauter ce qui bouchait la chanson française …
(B) “loved nature”: makes no sense
(C) “wrote a hundred songs”: familiar words but wrong context
(D) “wasn’t liked by other singers”: no context for this