5 Steps to a 5: AP English language 2017 (2016)


Build Your Test-Taking Confidence

Practice Exam 1

Practice Exam 2



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I __________ did __________ did not complete this part of the test in the allotted 1 hour.

I had __________ correct answers. I had __________ incorrect answers. I left __________ blank.

I have carefully reviewed the explanations of the answers, and I think I need to work on the following types of questions:



Section I

Total Time—1 hour

Carefully read the following passages and answer the questions that follow.

Questions 1–10 are based on the following passage excerpted from Charles Dickens’s Pictures from Italy .


1 . The purpose of the passage is to

A. condemn the squalor of Florence

B. entice visitors to Florence

C. praise the Grand Duke

D. present the dichotomy existing in Florence

E. reveal the author’s worldliness

2 . The primary rhetorical strategy used by the author is

A. narration

B. description

C. analysis

D. process

E. argument

3 . In developing his purpose, the author uses all of the following rhetorical devices except :

A. spatial organization

B. metaphor and simile

C. comparison and contrast

D. imagery

E. chronological order

4 . Which of the following lines contains an example of paradox?

A. line 17

B. lines 18–19

C. lines 4–5

D. lines 26–27

E. line 29

5 . The most probable function of the selected detail which focuses on the murder of the young girl by the old man (20–22) is

A. to emphasize the brutality of the citizens

B. to establish a tone of pathos

C. to criticize the city’s government

D. to warn visitors about the dangers of the city

E. to emphasize the contrasts evident in the city

6 . The abrupt shift caused by a lack of transition between paragraphs 1 and 2 serves to do all of the following except :

A. reemphasize the unexpected nature of murder

B. reinforce the idea that there is no connection between the two paragraphs

C. reinforce the element of contrast

D. reinforce the author’s style

E. immediately whisk the reader to a place of safety away from the murder scene

7 . What can be inferred from the following details taken from the passage

— “small distrustful windows” (4)

— “walls of great thickness” (5)

— “enormous overhanging battlements” (8)

— “secret passage” (29)

A. Florence was not architecturally sound.

B. Florence was designed to protect its artwork.

C. Florence had experienced both warfare and intrigue.

D. Florence was unsuited for habitation.

E. Florence was preparing for war.

8 . Lines 11–22 contain examples of which of the following rhetorical device?

A. antithetical images

B. anecdotal evidence

C. parallel structure

D. denotation

E. inversion

9 . If one were building a house of horrors, which of the following would be best suitable as a model or inspiration?

A. Piazza of the Grand Duke (6–7)

B. Fountain of Neptune (7)

C. Palazzo Vecchio (8)

D. Ponte Vecchio (23)

E. Gallery of the Grand Duke (28)

10 . Which of the following terms has most probably undergone a shift in meaning from Dickens’s time to its current usage?

A. “stately” (12)

B. “squalid” (18)

C. “enchanting” (24)

D. “jealous” (29)

E. “obstacle” (30)

Questions 11–20 are based on the following passage from Margaret Atwood’s “Origins of Stories.”



11 . One reason Atwood gives for the presence of stories in children’s lives is

A. scandalous gossip

B. family secrets

C. supernatural influences

D. listening

E. radio and television

12 . The close association between the reader and the author is immediately established by

A. a first person, plural point of view

B. placing the reader into a family situation

C. using accessible diction and syntax

D. being emotional

E. appealing to the child in the reader

13 . The last sentence of paragraph 2, “From all these scraps …” to “forbidden knowledge,” contains all of the following except :

A. parallel structure

B. a periodic sentence

C. prepositional phrases

D. a compound-complex sentence

E. an ellipsis

14 . The phrase “forbidden knowledge” in the last sentence of the second paragraph can best be categorized as

A. a paradox

B. a biblical allusion

C. hyperbole

D. antithesis

E. understatement

15 . According to the author, the writer is like a child because

A. “We are likely to accept these stories being of the same level of reality as the kitchen stories” [paragraph 4]

B. “… we are taught to regard one kind of story as real …” [paragraph 4, next to last line]

C. “We remained tale-bearers” [paragraph 3]

D. “We will have old husbands’ tales” [paragraph 5]

E. “… the kinds of stories that are told to children have been called nursery tales …” [paragraph 5]

16 . A careful reading of the last two paragraphs of the excerpt can lead the reader to infer that

A. society does not value the storyteller

B. women should be the storytellers

C. storytelling should be left to children

D. men can never be storytellers

E. the author is a mother herself

17 . The predominant tone of the passage is best stated as

A. scathingly bitter

B. sweetly effusive

C. reverently detailed

D. wistfully observant

E. aggressively judgmental

18 . The author makes use of which of the following rhetorical strategies?

A. narration and description

B. exposition and persuasion

C. process and analysis

D. anecdote and argument

E. cause and effect

19 . A shift in the focus of the passage occurs with which of the following?

A. “If we’re lucky” [paragraph 4]

B. “Perhaps this is what writers are …” [paragraph 3]

C. “Traditionally, …” [paragraph 5]

D. “Perhaps this reflects the extent to which North American children have been deprived of the grandfathers …” [paragraph 5]

E. “But as things are, language, including the language of the earliest-learned stories …” [paragraph 5]

20 . The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. plead for men to tell more stories

B. criticize censorship

C. idealize children

D. analyze storytelling

E. look at the sources of storytelling

Questions 21-32 are based on the passage taken from an article by E. J. Graff titled “What Makes a Family?” that appears in What is Marriage For? published by Beacon Press, Boston, in 1999.





21 . The thesis of the entire passage can be found in line(s)

A. 1–2

B. 9–10

C. 22

D. 27–29

E. 33–36

22 . The purpose of the first paragraph is to

A. criticize historians

B. define family

C. prove the author’s scholarly intent

D. ease the reader into a scholarly topic

E. establish the time frame of the passage

23 . Footnote 4 is an example of a(n)

A. primary source

B. secondary source

C. assumption of the reader’s background

D. author’s aside

E. link to other sources

24 . The opening sentence of the passage is an example of a(n)

A. cautionary tale

B. analogy

C. paradox

D. ad hoc argument

E. interrogative

25 . The primary rhetorical technique employed by the author to develop this passage is

A. cause and effect

B. narration

C. description

D. process

E. definition

26 . The tone of the passage can most accurately be described as

A. sarcastic and vituperative

B. conversational and scholarly

C. formal and pedantic

D. erudite and exhortative

E. humorous and detached

27 . According to the passage, today’s modern family most resembles that found in

A. Rome in the time of the emperors

B. Bologna in the thirteenth century

C. Pre-eighteenth-century western Europe

D. Great Britain between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries

E. Pre-modern northern Europe

28 . Lines 32–33 (“historians . . . universally”) can be read as a reinforcement of a concept expressed in lines

A. 2–5

B. 9–10

C. 22–24

D. 27–29

E. 41–44

29 . Footnote 6 does all of the following, except :

A. provide primary sources for further calculations and estimates

B. reinforce the concept of the amorphous nature of the term family

C. demonstrate the breadth of the author’s research

D. point to references that the reader can access for further study

E. disclaim any lapses or inadequacies in the author’s discussion of the subject

30 . The author’s anticipation of readers’ questions is demonstrated by her use of

A. diction

B. rhetorical questions

C. direct quotations

D. parentheticals

E. ellipsis

31 . An ambiguous piece of information is found in which of the following footnotes?

A. 2

B. 5

C. 6

D. 7

E. 8

32 . Which of the following was not critical in the evolution of the historical definition of family?

A. common living quarters

B. proprietary rights

C. inheritance

D. economic needs

E. sanguinity

Questions 33–43 are based on the following passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Oration before the Phi Beta Kappa society, at Cambridge University, August 31, 1837, entitled “The American Scholar.”



33 . In context, the word “oracle” in line 25 can best be interpreted to mean the

A. visionary writer

B. inventive writer

C. popular writer of a time

D. intuitive writer

E. writer as critic

34 . In line 17, the word “diet” refers to

A. “Broth of shoes” [paragraph 2, sentence 2]

B. “Boiled grass” [paragraph 2, sentence 2]

C. “Any knowledge” [paragraph 2, sentence 2]

D. “Any love” [paragraph 2, sentence 1]

E. “Printed page” [paragraph 2, sentence 3]

35 . The speaker characterizes the great writers as being able to

A. surprise the reader

B. present universal truths

C. create harmony in their writing

D. be philosophical

E. write about nature

36 . The speaker’s attitude toward great writers in the fourth sentence of paragraph 1 (lines 5–8) might best be described as

A. skeptical

B. confused

C. accusative

D. validated

E. patronizing

37 . The speaker’s tone in the passage can best be described as

A. pretentious

B. analytical

C. satirical

D. ambiguous

E. servile

38 . All of the following lines use figurative language except :

A. “It is remarkable, the character of the pleasure we derive from the best books. They impress us with the conviction that one nature wrote and the same reads.”

B. “… and some preparation of stores for their future wants, like the fact observed in insects …”

C. “We boil grass and the broth of shoes, so the human mind can be fed by any knowledge.”

D. “I would only say that it needs a strong head to bear that diet. One must be an inventor to read well.”

E. “Gowns and pecuniary foundations, though of towns of gold, can never countervail the least sentence or syllable of wit.”

39 . After reading the passage, the reader can infer that the author desires to

A. praise the work of current writers

B. change the curriculum of the college

C. change college administration

D. warn against relying on academic appearances

E. criticize the cost of college

40 . The pronoun “this” in the last sentence of the passage refers to

A. “But they can only highly serve us when they aim not to drill, but to create …”

B. “History and exact science he must learn by laborious reading.”

C. “Thought and knowledge are natures in which apparatus and pretension avail nothing.”

D. “Forget this, and our American colleges will recede in their public importance …”

E. “When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion.”

41 . According to the speaker, the characteristics of the discerning reader include all of the following except :

A. brings himself to the work

B. makes connections with the past

C. discards irrelevancies

D. approaches difficult readings willingly

E. aspires to be a writer

42 . Paragraphs 1 and 2 develop their ideas by means of

I. metaphor and simile

II. allusion

III. paradox

A. I



D. I and II

E. I, II, and III

43 . The purpose of the third paragraph is to

A. defend the role of reading

B. praise history and science

C. delineate the qualities of an ideal college

D. inspire student scholars

E. honor college instructors

Questions 44–54 are based on the following excerpt from Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Sharer .


44 . Within the passage, the long, sinuous sentences emphasize the

A. narrator’s sense of anticipation

B. objectivity of nature

C. insecurity of the narrator

D. passive nature of the journey

E. fearful tone of the passage

45 . In the next to last sentence of the passage (lines 21–24), “devious curves” most likely is used to reinforce

A. the unpredictability of the water

B. the hidden nature of the stream

C. the concept of the complexity of what lies beneath the surface of the story

D. the mystery of nature

E. all of the above

46 . The passage as a whole can best described as

A. an interior monologue

B. a melodramatic episode

C. an evocation of place

D. a historical narrative

E. an allegory

47 . The first sentence of the passage helps to establish tone by means of

A. structure that reflects the strangeness of the experience described

B. parallel structure that contrasts with the chaos of the situation

C. alliteration to heighten the imagery

D. irony to create a sense of satire

E. hyperbole that exaggerates the danger of the situation

48 . Which of the following ideas can be supported based on the third sentence (lines 9–12) beginning with “And when I …”?

A. The speaker enjoys watching boats sailing on the horizon.

B. The speaker wants to revel in the beauty and grace of nature.

C. The speaker responds to the symmetry and balance of nature.

D. The speaker realizes how vulnerable man is in the universe.

E. The speaker is fearful of the earth and sea.

49 . All of the following contribute to the feeling of solitude except :

A. “… the impassive earth had swallowed her up without an effort …”

B. “a group of barren islets”

C. “the grove surrounding the great Paknam pagoda”

D. “the monotonous sweep of the horizon”

E. “ruins of stone walls, towers, and blockhouses”

50 . The passage is organized primarily by means of

A. spatial description

B. definition

C. chronological order

D. order of importance

E. parallelism

51 . In the third to last sentence of the passage (lines 18–21) beginning with “Here and there . . . ,” the figure of speech used to describe “the windings of the great river” is

A. personification

B. simile

C. apostrophe

D. antithesis

E. symbol

52 . The writer emphasizes his solitude by using all of the following rhetorical techniques except :

A. heavy descriptive emphasis placed on setting

B. overt statement of the absence of other people

C. tracking the departure of the tugboat

D. diction that emphasizes desertion and neglect

E. contrasting the present situation with previous times

53 . A characteristic of the author’s style is

A. succession of allusions

B. the use of emotional language

C. terse sentence structure

D. vividness of contrasting images

E. shifts in points of view

54 . The tone of the passage can best be described as

A. cynical

B. reflective

C. sarcastic

D. elegiac

E. apathetic


Section II

Total Time—2 hours

Question 1

(Suggested time 40 minutes. This question counts as one-third of the total score for Section II.)

Carefully read Chief Seattle’s oration to Governor Isaac I. Stevens, who had just returned from Washington, D.C., with orders to buy Indian lands and create reservations. In a well-written essay, identify Chief Seattle’s purpose and analyze the rhetorical strategies he uses to convey his purpose. Consider such items as figurative language, organization, diction, and tone.




Question 2

Suggested Writing Time: 40 minutes

A new word has entered the American vocabulary: affluenza . A 1997 PBS documentary titled Affluenza introduced this new term and defined it: “ n. 1. The bloated, sluggish, and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste, and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.”

Since then, scholars, journalists, political leaders, artists, and even comedians have made America’s ever-increasing consumption the subject of dire warnings, academic studies, social commentary, campaign promises, and late-night TV jokes.

Carefully read the following sources (including any introductory information). Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least three of the sources, take a position that supports, opposes, or qualifies the claim that Americans are never satisfied. They are constantly wanting new things and are never content with what they have. There is a superabundance of “stuff,” and Americans have lost their sense of meaning. As Sheryl Crow’s 2002 lyrics state, “it’s not having what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve got.”

Make certain that you take a position and that the essay centers on your argument. Use the sources to support your reasoning; avoid simply summarizing the sources. You may refer to the sources by their letters (Source A, Source B, etc.) or by the identifiers in the parentheses below.

Source A (Aristotle’s Ethics )

Source B (The Declaration of Independence )

Source C (John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism )

Source D (Cartoon by Jim Sizemore)

Source E (Jessie H. O’Neill’s The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence )

Source F (Lewis Lapham’s Money and Class in America )

Source G (“Wealth” by Andrew Carnegie)

Source A

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

Certainly the future is obscure to us, while happiness, we claim, is an end and something in every way final… . If so, we shall call happy those among living men in whom these conditions are, and are to be fulfilled .

Happiness is desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else. But honor, pleasure, reason, and every virtue we choose indeed for themselves, but we choose them also for the sake of happiness, judging that by means of them we shall be happy. Happiness, on the other hand, no one chooses for the sake of these, nor, in general, for anything other than itself. Happiness, then, is something final and self-sufficient .

He is happy who lives in accordance with complete virtue and is sufficiently equipped with external goods, not for some chance period but throughout a complete life .

To judge from the lives that men lead, most men seem to identify the good, or happiness, with pleasure: which is the reason why they love the life of enjoyment. The mass of mankind are evidently quite slavish in their tastes, preferring a life suitable to beasts .

With regard to what happiness is (men) differ, and the many do not give the same account as the wise. For the former think it is some plain and obvious thing, like pleasure, wealth, or honor. They differ, however, from one another—and often even the same man identifies it with different things, with health when he is ill, with wealth when he is poor .

Source B

The Declaration of Independence

From the opening paragraph of The Declaration of Independence.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights: that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed . . .

Source C

Utilitarianism , written by John Stuart Mill, an eighteenth-century British philosopher, in 1863. Available at http://www.utilitarianism.com/mill2.htm .

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 2 entitled “What Utilitarianism Is.”

… The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure. . . .

… no intelligent human being would consent to be a fool, no instructed person would be an ignoramus, no person of feeling and conscience would be selfish and base, even though they should be persuaded that the fool, the dunce, or the rascal is better satisfied with his lot than they are with theirs. They would not resign what they possess more than he for the most complete satisfaction of all desires which they have in common with him. If they ever fancy they would, it is only in cases of unhappiness so extreme, that to escape from it they would exchange their lot for almost any other, however undesirable in their own eyes. A being of higher faculties [humans] requires more to make him happy, is capable probably of more acute suffering, and certainly accessible to it at more points, than one of the inferior type [animals]: but in spite of these liabilities, he can never really wish to sink into what he feels to be a lower grade of existence… . Whoever supposes that this preference takes place at a sacrifice of happiness—that the superior being, in anything like equal circumstances, is not happier than the inferior—confounds two very different ideas, of happiness and content. It is indisputable that the being whose capacities of enjoyment are low, has the greatest chance of having them fully satisfied; and a highly endowed being will always feel that any happiness which he can look for, as the world is constituted, is imperfect. But he can learn to bear its imperfections, but only because he feels not at all the good which those imperfections qualify. It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than the fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides .

Source D

Cartoon by Jim Sizemore

Available at http://www.cartoonstock.com/blowup.asp?imageref=jsi0087&artist=Sizemore,=+Jim&topic=consumerism .

This cartoon appeared in a recent issue of The New Yorker .


Source E

O’Neill, Jesse H. The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence , The Affluenza Project: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1997.

The following is adapted from passages in Jesse H. O’Neill’s book and from the mission statement of The Affluenza Project founded by O’Neill. Available at http://www.affluenza.com .

The malaise that currently grips our country comes not from the fact that we don’t have enough wealth, but from a terrifying knowledge that has begun to enter our consciousness that we have based our entire lives, our entire culture and way of being on the belief that “just a little bit more” will finally buy happiness .

Although many people in our culture are beginning to question the assumptions of the American Dream, we still live in a time of compulsive and wasteful consumerism .

Statistics to consider:

• Per capita consumption in the United States has increased 45 percent in the past twenty years .

• During the same period, quality of life as measured by the index of social health has decreased by roughly the same percentage .

• The average working woman plays with her children forty minutes a week—and shops six hours .

• Ninety-three percent of teenage girls list shopping as their favorite pastime .

Source F

Lapham, Lewis. Money and Class in America: Notes and Observations on Our Civil Religion , Grove Press: New York, 1988.

The following is a passage from Mr. Lapham’s text.

I think it fair to say that the current ardor of the American faith in money easily surpasses the degrees of intensity achieved by other societies in other times and places. Money means so many things to us—spiritual as well as temporal—that we are at a loss to know how to hold its majesty at bay. …

Henry Adams in his autobiography remarks that although the Americans weren’t much good as materialists they had been “so deflected by the pursuit of money” that they could turn “in no other direction.” The natural distrust of the contemplative temperament arises less from the innate Philistinism than from a suspicion of anything that cannot be counted, stuffed, framed or mounted over the fireplace in the den. Men remain free to rise or fall in the world, and if they fail it must be because they willed it so. The visible signs of wealth testify to an inward state of grace, and without at least some of these talismans posted in one’s house or on one’s person an American loses all hope of demonstrating to himself the theorem of his happiness. Seeing is believing, and if an American success is to count for anything in the world it must be clothed in the raiment of property. As often as not it isn’t the money itself that means anything; it is the use of money as the currency of the soul .

Against the faith in money, other men in other times and places have raised up countervailing faiths in family, honor, religion, intellect and social class. The merchant princes of medieval Europe would have looked upon the American devotion as sterile stupidity; the ancient Greek would have regarded it as a form of insanity. Even now, in the last decades of a century commonly defined as American, a good many societies both in Europe and Asia manage to balance the desire for wealth against the other claims of the human spirit. An Englishman of modest means can remain more or less content with the distinction of an aristocratic name or the consolation of a flourishing garden; the Germans show to obscure university professors the deference accorded by Americans only to celebrity; the Soviets honor the holding of political power; in France a rich man is a rich man, to whom everybody grants the substantial powers that his riches command but to whom nobody grants the respect due to a member of the National Academy. But in the United States a rich man is perceived as being necessarily both good and wise, which is an absurdity that would be seen as such not only by a Frenchman but also by a Russian. Not that the Americans are greedier than the French, or less intellectual than the Germans, or more venal than the Russians, but to what other tribunal can an anxious and supposedly egalitarian people submit their definitions of the good, the true and the beautiful if not to the judgment of the bottom line?

Source G

“Wealth” written by Andrew Carnegie 1 published in North American Review , CCCXCI, June 1889. Available at http://facweb.furman.edu/~benson/docs/carnegie.htm .

The following is excerpted from the article by Andrew Carnegie.

The problem of our age is the proper administration of wealth, so that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship. The conditions of human life have not only been changed, but revolutionized, within the past few hundred years. In former days there was little difference between the dwelling, dress, food, and environment of the chief and those of his retainers. The Indians are today where civilized man then was. When visiting the Sioux, I was led to the wigwam of the chief. It was just like the others in external appearance, and even within the difference was trifling between it and those of the poorest of his braves. The contrast between the palace of the millionaire and the cottage of the laborer with us today measures the change which has come with civilization .

This change, however, is not to be deplored, but welcomed as highly beneficial. It is well, nay, essential for the progress of the race, that the houses of some should be homes for all that is highest and best in literature and the arts, and for all the refinements of civilization, rather than that none should be so. Much better this great irregularity than universal squalor. Without wealth there can be no Maecenas. 2 The “good old times” were not good old times. Neither master nor servant was as well situated then as today. A relapse to old conditions would be disastrous to both—not the least so to him who serves—and would sweep away civilization with it. But whether the change be for good or ill, it is upon us, beyond our power to alter, and therefore to be accepted and made the best of. It is waste of time to criticize the inevitable .

1 Late nineteenth-century American capitalist and philanthropist

2 Patron of the arts in ancient Rome

Question 3

In his essay “The Wilderness Idea,” Wallace Stegner states the following.

Without any remaining wilderness we are committed wholly, without chance for even momentary reflection and rest, to a headlong drive into our technological termite-life, the Brave New World of a completely man-controlled environment .

Write a well-constructed essay that defends, challenges, or qualifies Stegner’s statement using your own knowledge, experience, observation, or reading.



1 . D

2 . B

3 . E

4 . A

5 . E

6 . B

7 . C

8 . A

9 . C

10 . D

11 . D

12 . A

13 . E

14 . B

15 . C

16 . A

17 . D

18 . B

19 . C

20 . E

21 . A

22 . D

23 . C

24 . C

25 . E

26 . B

27 . B

28 . A

29 . A

30 . D

31 . A

32 . E

33 . A

34 . E

35 . B

36 . D

37 . B

38 . A

39 . D

40 . C

41 . E

42 . D

43 . C

44 . D

45 . E

46 . C

47 . A

48 . C

49 . C

50 . A

51 . B

52 . E

53 . D

54 . B

Explanations of Answers to the Multiple-Choice Section

The Dickens Passage

1 . D. The very first sentence indicates the author’s purpose. Here, the reader is told directly that Florence is both fanciful and somber, rich and stern.

2 . B. This selection is based on a quite specific description of Florence and an area within the city. To correctly answer this question, the student needs to be familiar with the different types of rhetorical strategies.

3 . E. The reader is brought from the general street scene to a specific prison and then to a specific scene outside the prison. Metaphors, similes, and imagery are found throughout the selection, such as “small cells like ovens,” “distrustful windows.” Contrast and comparison are provided with such phrases as “faded and tarnished Great Saloon” placed next to the “walls which record the triumphs of the Medici.” The passage does NOT follow a specific timeline.

4 . A. The test taker needs to know the definition of paradox and must be able to recognize it in a given text. Here, smoke is being used to purify the air even though it is in itself a pollutant.

5 . E. Dickens is not warning people away from Florence, nor is he criticizing its government. What the text and its selection of details do is to reinforce the idea of Florence being a city of contrast (youth and age, life and death, bright flowers and squalid prisons).

6 . B. There is no support from a close reading of the text that will allow you to defend choice B, which sees no connection between the two scenes described. Obviously both reveal aspects of Florence. Both are descriptive, with the second paragraph containing the selective contrast with the first paragraph.

7 . C. Distrustful and secret are indicative of “intrigue,” and building thick walls and huge battlements points to the need for protection from aggression. No other choice provides these same inferences.

8 . A. A close look at each of the selected lines reveals opposites being placed side by side. This is the nature of antithesis.

9 . C. The Palazzo Vecchio is described using such terms as “ponderous gloom,” “faded” and “tarnished” and “mouldering.” These are evocative of a place that is creepy and frightening. None of the other choices projects these qualities.

10 . D. In Dickens’s time, “jealous” was used to indicate the state of being watchful or closely guarded. If you look at the context of the line, you can see that “jealous” has nothing to do with our current use of the word.

The Atwood Passage

11 . D. Although you might be inclined to accept A, B, or E as possible correct choices, you should be aware that these are specific things the child hears. Each of these would cancel the other out, because they would be equally valid. Choice C is nowhere to be found in the selection. Therefore, the appropriate choice is D, listening.

12 . A. The very first word of the selection is “Our.” This immediately links the writer and the reader. Both are vested with this choice of pronoun.

13 . E. If you look carefully, you find examples of all of the choices except E. An ellipsis is punctuation comprising three periods. You find none in this sentence. Its function is to notify the reader that a piece of the text has been omitted.

14 . B. The question makes reference to wanting or seeking something not permitted, such as Adam and Eve being warned not to eat of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. The other choices are simply not appropriate to the relationship between forbidden and knowledge .

15 . C. This is a rather easy question. The entire third paragraph supports this idea.

16 . A. The answer is clearly supported in the last sentence of paragraph 4. That which is immediately practical and helpful in a very tangible way is the more valuable.

17 . D. Words, phrases used, and specific details given in this passage support the adjective “wistful” (paragraphs 3 and 4). She is observant throughout the passage as she provides details of the child acquiring her stories. The writer’s wistfulness is reiterated in the last paragraph as she states her yearning for men to share in the language of storytelling.

18 . B. The only choice that presents two strategies actually present in the text is B. The entire passage employs exposition to support the author’s purpose. Even the final paragraph, which attempts to persuade, uses exposition to strengthen the appeal to have men welcomed into the language of storytelling. (If you are not crystal clear about the terminology used in the choices, this may be one of those questions you choose to skip, because it can be time consuming trying to determine the correct choice.)

19 . C. The abruptness of “Traditionally,” provides no real connection with the previous paragraph or the previous sentence. It is an obvious break that grabs the reader’s attention and leads him or her to Atwood’s point.

20 . E. Throughout the passage, Atwood is taking a close look at the beginnings of storytelling. Although she does attempt to persuade us of the need to encourage men to tell their stories, this is not the primary purpose of the piece. It is important to also notice that the title is a clue to this answer.

The Family Passage

21 . A. The entire passage is concerned with the concept of family in general, not just the Roman and pre-modern era family. The choices other than A all concern these.

22 . D. Through humor, exaggeration, common allusions, and rhetorical questions, the author invites the reader to join her family as a prelude to a scholarly examination of the roots of the word family .

23 . C. The footnote identifies a case that some readers may not be familiar with. No sources are cited or referenced. The footnote is strictly informative.

24 . C. This is a vocabulary question that demands you know and can identify each of the terms. Knowing the definition of each can only lead you to choose C.

25 . E. Each piece of information provided in the passage is given in terms of defining what a family is.

26 . B. The first paragraph establishes the conversational tone with its lighthearted references. But, the author’s use of footnotes, direct quotations from experts, and historical references all indicate a scholarly presentation.

27 . B. If one closely reads the passage, the only location cited that has a family unit consisting of a mother, father, and children is Bologna in the thirteenth century.

28 . A. The word family does NOT have a universal definition. Each culture and time period defined it according to its own circumstances.

29 . A. This footnote contains NO specifics that were gathered via observation and experience. There is no data from census, and so forth.

30 . D. Even though the reader can locate instances of choices C and E in both paragraphs, they are not responding to a probable reader-generated question. The parentheticals come immediately after a word or phrase that could raise questions from a reader.

31 . A. The comment separated only by commas leaves the reader unclear as to whom the personal communication refers: Dixon, Treggiari, or the author.

32 . E. Lines 24–25, 27–29, 43–44, and 56–57 support choices A, B, C, and D.

The Emerson Passage

33 . A. If you go back to the next to last sentence of paragraph 2, you will see the phrase “the seer’s hour of vision.” Your knowledge of synonyms will lead you to choose A.

34 . E. Using the process of substitution, it is not difficult to eliminate all choices other than “the printed page.”

35 . B. For Emerson, the universal crosses barriers between time and place. This idea is supported in the third sentence of paragraph 1.

36 . D. Using the process of elimination while looking carefully at the given lines, you will discover that the only answer that correctly relates to Emerson’s attitude is D. All the others are negative.

37 . B. Vocabulary is a key factor in this question. In this passage, Emerson is “taking apart” the qualities of a great writer, book, and college. This is what an analytical essay does.

38 . A. In the first two sentences of paragraph 1, Emerson is setting up the parameters of his argument. There is no figurative language here.

39 . D. Carefully reading the last paragraph, especially the last three sentences, can only lead you to choose D. None of the other choices is logical within the context of the passage.

40 . C. Antecedents come before the given pronoun, and as close as possible to that pronoun. With this in mind, the fifth sentence of paragraph 3 is the only choice that correctly and logically fits the criteria.

41 . E. If you pay close attention to the second paragraph, you will find all the choices, except E.

42 . D. Emerson alludes to “great English poets” in the first paragraph, and to a proverb and other writers in the second paragraph. Similes and metaphors can be found throughout both paragraphs, but no paradox is evident.

43 . C. Because this is an analytical passage, including the final paragraph, C is the only acceptable choice.

The Conrad Passage

44 . D. The very nature of sentences that are long and flowing serves to create a corresponding mood of passivity, ease, and timelessness. This lack of tension in the structure is not indicated in any of the other choices.

45 . E. Each of the choices deals with what is yet unknown to the narrator and the reader. The phrase “devious curves” foreshadows the complexity of the novella itself.

46 . C. This exemplifies that choosing the correct answer can be dependent on the student’s knowing definitions of terms and ability to recognize them in context. No other choice is acceptable in characterizing this passage.

47 . A. This compound-complex sentence sets the task for the reader with its convoluted structure and imagery. This reflects the very essence the narrator is presenting to the reader of the strangeness of the experience.

48 . C. The diction, which includes “joined,” “edge to edge,” and “half brown, half blue,” supports the idea of balance and corresponding symmetry.

49 . C. Choices A, B, D, and E all reinforce the feeling of abandonment and aloneness. Choice C does not contribute to this impression of isolation; it is rather just a descriptive detail.

50 . A. By its very definition, spatial description will provide the reader an opportunity to sense the setting by means of directions, scale, dimension, and color.

51 . B. Just find the word as , and you will easily locate the simile comparing the light to scattered pieces of silver.

52 . E. A careful reading of the passage uncovers each of the given choices except E. Nowhere in the excerpt does the narrator indicate a contrast between the current situation and a previous one.

53 . D. The passage contains no allusions, has no real emotional diction, and maintains a constant first person point of view. And, most obviously, it does not rely on short, direct sentences. Therefore, the only choice is D.

54 . B. The entire passage involves the reader in the narrator’s thoughtful and reflective observations about his or her surroundings.

Sample Student Essays

Rubrics for Seattle Passage

High-Range Essay


• Clearly identifies Seattle’s purpose and attitude

• Successfully and effectively analyzes the rhetorical strategies used to accomplish the author’s purpose

• Effectively cites specifics from the text to illustrate rhetorical devices and their meanings and effects on the oration

• Indicates a facility with organization

• Effectively manipulates language

• Few, if any, syntactical errors

Mid-Range Essay

• Correctly identifies Seattle’s purpose and attitude

• Understands the demands of the prompt

• Cites specific examples of rhetorical devices found in the text and effects on the oration

• Ideas clearly stated

• Less well-developed than the high-range essays

• A few lapses in diction or syntax

Low-Range Essay

• Inadequate response to the prompt

• Misunderstands, oversimplifies, or misrepresents Seattle’s purpose and attitude

• Insufficient or inappropriate use of examples to develop the demands of the prompt

• Lack of mature control of elements of essay writing

Students apparently found the question quite accessible. Most recognized the figurative language used in the passage and were able to incorporate examples into their essays. They were able to recognize the purpose and emotional appeal of Seattle’s oration. The more perceptive writers recognized the subtleties of Seattle’s manipulation of the situation—his implied sarcasm and his subtle threatening predictions.

Chief Seattle Passage—Student Sample A




Chief Seattle Passage—Student Sample B



Rating Student Sample A

This is a high-range essay for the following reasons:

• An immediate and clear indication of Seattle’s purpose and attitude

• Understanding and discussion of Seattle’s attitude and purpose (paragraph 2)

• Demonstration of a mature voice

• Thorough and effective connection between texts and insights (last two sentences of paragraph 2)

• Superior use of connective tissue—transitions and echo words (“in addition,” “despite his calm,” “acting respectfully,” “winning favor”)

• Refers to a variety of rhetorical strategies and devices to support the writer’s assertion (paragraph 3: rhetorical questions), (paragraph 3: cause and effect), (paragraph 4: details), (paragraph 4: figurative language)

• Mature perceptions and insights (paragraph 2, sentence 2), (paragraph 4, sentence 2), (paragraph 5, next to last sentence)

• Mature writing style (last sentence)

This high-range essay indicates the clear voice of a mature writer and reader. Once the writer has committed to Seattle’s purpose and attitude, the writer develops in each successive paragraph a supporting aspect of the stated purpose and/or attitude.

Rating Student Sample B

This is a mid-range essay for the following reasons:

• Concise, on-target development of prompt

• Indicates an understanding of the oration

• Makes intelligent points, but does not always develop them or defend them (paragraph 3, last sentence)

• Each paragraph deals with a different strategy (paragraph 2: emotional details), (paragraph 3: rhetorical questions), (paragraph 4: simile), (paragraph 5: antithesis)

• Good connective tissue

• A few lapses in syntax and diction (paragraph 3, next to last sentence)

This essay is indicative of a writer who understands both the passage and the prompt. There is an adequate analysis of the rhetorical strategies and devices present in the text, and the student reaches for unique insights (paragraph 4, last sentence). The lack of development of a couple of the cited points places this essay squarely in the mid-range.

Rubric for the Affluenza Synthesis Essay


A 9 essay has all the qualities of an 8 essay, and the writing style is especially impressive , as is the analysis and integration of the specifics related to affluenza and the given sources.

An 8 essay effectively and cohesively addresses the prompt. It clearly takes a position on affluenza and supports the argument using carefully integrated and appropriate evidence, including at least three of the given sources. The essay also shows the writer’s ability to control language .

A 7 essay has all the properties of a 6 essay, only with a more complete , well-developed, and integrated argument, or a more mature writing style.

A 6 essay adequately addresses the prompt. The argument centers on affluenza and integrates, as well as makes use of, appropriate evidence, including at least three references from the given sources. These elements are less fully integrated and/or developed than scores in the 7, 8, or 9 range. The writer’s ideas are expressed with clarity, but the writing may have a few errors in syntax and/or diction.

A 5 essay demonstrates that the writer understands the prompt . The argument/claim/position about affluenza is generally understandable, but the development and/or integration of appropriate evidence, and at least three of the given sources are limited or uneven. The writer’s ideas are expressed clearly with a few errors in syntax or diction.

A 4 essay is not an adequate response to the prompt. The writer’s argument indicates a misunderstanding, an oversimplification, or a misrepresentation of the assigned task. The writer may use evidence that is not appropriate or not sufficient to support the argument, or may use fewer than three of the given sources. The writing presents the writer’s ideas, but it may indicate immaturity of style and control.

A 3 essay is a lower 4 because it is even less effective in addressing the question. It is also less mature in its syntax and organization.

A 2 essay indicates little success in speaking to the prompt . The writer may misread the question, only summarize the given sources, fail to develop the required argument, or simply ignore the prompt and write about another topic. The writing may also lack organization and control of language and syntax. ( Note: No matter how well written, a summary will never rate more than a 2. )

A 1 essay is a lower 2 because it is even more simplistic , disorganized , and lacking in control of language .

Student A



Student B



Rating the Student Essays: Affluenza

Student A

This is a high-range essay for the following reasons:

• The essay opens dramatically, immediately catching the reader’s attention. It creatively defines the term and implies the argument to follow.

• The writer establishes a tone and voice through diction and allusion: shout , tweaked , Bergdorf , and eBay .

• The writer illustrates the argument by presenting an extended analogy.

• Following a rhetorical question that serves as a transitional device, the writer adeptly incorporates and comments on one of the sources.

• Personal examples and strong details and images continue to support and develop the writer’s position.

• The writer employs proper citation guidelines.

• The conclusion is especially effective because it enforces the opening, leaves the reader with the essence of the argument, and presents the writer’s thesis as a parting comment.

Student B

This is a mid-range essay for the following reasons:

• The writer states a position on Americans being afflicted with affluenza: “The claim that Americans are never satisfied holds much validity and gains more validity as the economy continues to flourish.”

• The writer recognizes and addresses the demands of the prompt.

• The writer properly integrates transitions.

• Varied sentence structure is evident in the analysis.

• The development is organized into an orderly presentation.

• The essay presents a clear thesis in the next-to-last paragraph: “Money is what drives us to work extra hours, but what will that money buy us? Not happiness, but simply objects—objects that may bring us happiness for a day or so, but will never satisfy us in the long run.”

• The analysis of the writer’s sources is brief, leaving the reader looking for more development.

Rubrics for the Stegner Essay

High-Range Essay


• Correctly identifies Stegner’s position and attitude regarding the environment and wilderness

• Effectively presents a position about Stegner’s position and attitude

• Clear writer’s voice

• Successfully defends his or her position

• Presents carefully reasoned arguments making reference to specific examples from personal experience, knowledge, reading

• Effectively manipulates language

• Few, if any, syntactical errors

Mid-Range Essay

• Correctly identifies Stegner’s position and attitude about the environment and wilderness

• Understands the demands of the prompt

• Clearly states the position of the writer

• Presents a generally adequate argument that makes use of appropriate examples

• Less well-developed than the high-range essay

• Ideas clearly stated

• A few lapses in diction or syntax

Low-Range Essay

• Inadequate response to the prompt

• Misunderstands, oversimplifies, or misrepresents Stegner’s position and attitude

• Insufficient or inappropriate use of examples to develop the writer’s position

• Lack of mature control of elements of essay writing

This prompt posed some difficulties for students. Many had a tendency to address only one aspect of it: the loss of wilderness. Often, they did not adequately connect this to the Brave New World concept of a human-controlled environment. The stronger writers included references to and discussions of the “reflection and rest” in their essays. Many student writers opposed Stegner’s position by expanding on the concept of wilderness. Those who agreed with Stegner cited pertinent illustrations ranging from the rain forest to gasoline princes to overpopulation and the ozone layer. Contradictory and qualifying essays relied heavily on humankind’s “frontier spirit” and artistic endeavors.

Stegner Passage—Student Sample A




Stegner Passage—Student Sample B


Rating Student Sample A

This is a high-range essay for the following reasons:

• Effectively covers the points made by Stegner in his statement

• Clearly takes a position regarding Stegner’s statement

• Thoroughly develops the argument with specific examples and historical references (paragraphs 2 and 3)

• Indicates and discusses the fallacy of Stegner’s statement (paragraphs 4 and 5)

• Good topic adherence

• Thorough development of the points of the writer’s argument

• Mature voice, diction, and syntax

This high-range essay was written by a student who is both confident and well-versed and one who has balanced the presentation with scientific and introspective illustrations in support of the argument.

Rating Student Sample B

This is a mid-range essay for the following reasons:

• Clearly understands Stegner’s statement and the demands of the prompt

• Creative voice is present

• An interesting objectification of humanity (paragraph 2 —“Homo Sapiens”)

• Strong conclusion

• Linkage between man’s destruction of the wilderness and its consequences needs further development

• Development of the argument needs further support

• A few syntactical errors

• Lacks needed transitions

This student writer has a definite opinion to which he or she gives a strong voice. Although there is a strong, clear opening and conclusion, the body paragraphs containing the argument need further development.