1,296 ACT Practice Questions, 3rd Edition (2013)

Reading Practice Section 2


35 Minutes—40 Questions

DIRECTIONS: There are four passages in this test. Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading each passage, choose the best answer to each question and blacken the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.

Passage I

PROSE FICTION: This passage is adapted from the novel A Passage to America by Aditi C. Thakur (© 2003 by Aditi Thakur).

  1.  It can most reasonably be inferred from the passage that the narrator regards her grandmother as:

     A. comforting.

     B. frightening.

     C. foolish.

     D. out of touch.

  2.  The narrator makes clear that she shops for food in the mornings because:

     F. that’s when the produce arrives at the specialty market.

     G. her husband works late at his job in the university lab.

     H. the outdoor market is cooler during the morning hours.

     J. she used to shop in the mornings when she lived in India.

  3.  As presented in the passage, how does the narrator’s attitude toward living in the U.S. change from when she was a recent arrival until the present day?

     A. At first, she was intimidated by unfamiliar surroundings, but she has since learned to blend Indian and American ways.

     B. At first, she was excited about the prospect of learning new ways, but she has since become disillusioned by the people she meets.

     C. At first, she enjoyed eating out at restaurants with her husband, but she has begun to miss him as he increasingly works late.

     D. At first, she is thrilled by the supermarket displays, but she now refuses to leave her apartment.

  4.  The third paragraph (lines 14−26) primarily emphasizes that the narrator’s visit to the supermarket is motivated by the fact that:

     F. the narrator and her husband are both suffering from homesickness.

     G. groceries are more inexpensive at the supermarket.

     H. unlike the specialty market, the supermarket is within walking distance.

     J. the narrator can’t find the items she needs at the Indian specialty market.

  5.  When the narrator mentions the location of the produce section of the supermarket (lines 32−33), she is implying that:

     A. the produce section has everything she needs to make dinner.

     B. she is surprised that the produce section is not centrally located.

     C. produce sections in Indian supermarkets are always out in the open.

     D. she is surprised to find an imported Indian product there.

  6.  How can the conversation between the narrator and the supermarket clerk (lines 43−47) best be characterized?

     F. The narrator is pleased that the clerk is friendly and able to tell her where to find the items she’s looking for.

     G. The narrator is shocked and upset by the clerk’s hostility toward her.

     H. The narrator is annoyed that the clerk knew what she wanted before she asked.

     J. The narrator wishes the clerk had been more cooperative instead of being distracted by her clothing.

  7.  The narrator refers to the supermarket’s “fluorescent ceiling bulbs” (line 54) in order to:

     A. draw a contrast between the supermarket and the outdoor markets she remembers from India.

     B. explain how her perception of the store’s offerings had changed.

     C. suggest one reason that the supermarket terrified her.

     D. describe why she was able to see the fruits and vegetables more clearly.

  8.  As it is used in line 79, the word unfriendly most nearly suggests that:

     F. the narrator thinks that the clerk doesn’t want her to buy the curry powder.

     G. the narrator considers this curry powder to be different from the curry powder with which she is familiar.

     H. the narrator doesn’t like the ingredients in the curry powder.

     J. the curry powder has been imported from another country.

  9.  The narrator apparently believes which of the following qualities is shared by the old woman who runs the specialty market and the narrator’s grandmother?

     A. Frailty

     B. Stinginess

     C. Sociability

     D. Nervousness

10.  The narrator indicates that, unlike her grandmother and mother, she:

     F. doesn’t always spend all day preparing the evening meal.

     G. doesn’t wear Western-style clothing.

     H. mingles easily with people she doesn’t know.

     J. doesn’t like air conditioning.

Passage II

SOCIAL SCIENCE: This passage is excerpted from “Record Lows” by Clarence Tetley. The article comes from the book Can Music Survive the Digital Revolution? by Clarence Tetley and Lawrence Twinnings (© 2008 by Clarence Tetley).

11.  According to the passage, which of the following is an accurate statement regarding the number of record stores?

     A. Since the rise of digital music sales in 2003, over nine hundred stores have gone out of business.

     B. Twenty to thirty percent of record stores that specialize in 8-track, vinyl, tape, and cassette are expected to close in the next ten years.

     C. Before the rise of digital music in 2003, there were fewer than 2,000 independent stores in business.

     D. Over the next ten years, another 900 stores are expected to perish.

12.  Which of the following best describes the silver lining described in the last paragraph (line 76)?

     F. Older, more technologically savvy men are relieved that innovations in downloading allow them to no longer have to travel to record stores.

     G. Record stores have been forced to become cheaper and more efficient in a desperate attempt to lure superstore customers back.

     H. The improved marketing of posters and album covers has been found to discourage the practice of digital downloads.

     J. Older men who savor the experience of shopping at record stores remain a loyal customer base for record store owners.

13.  In the context of the passage the phrase “downright prehistoric” (line 35) is used to support the idea that:

     A. older men cannot find music in 8-track, vinyl, tape, or cassette formats in most record stores.

     B. downloading digital music to an MP3 player offers a size and capacity that the CD format cannot match.

     C. the downloading speed of most computers is too sluggish to appeal to consumers.

     D. young people would buy more CDs if the CDs were reduced in size.

14.  It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that Spelling has which of the following attitudes toward consumers who have stopped using record stores?

     F. They do not share any interests with the type of inquisitive shoppers who go to record stores not knowing what they want.

     G. They will not find any sense of community in buying their music online since there will be no cashier to talk to while ringing up their sale.

     H. They are correct in believing that record stores do not always have the best prices available for a given CD.

     J. They are chiefly to blame for the hardships facing record stores, despite the fact that many people blame superstores instead.

15.  In the context of the passage, the first paragraph is intended to:

     A. criticize Spelling’s record store for failing to keep up with the modern music market.

     B. explain the lack of interest most music consumers have in collectibles.

     C. demonstrate that even record stores with valuable and rare merchandise are struggling.

     D. suggest that record store owners do not really understand real estate.

16.  It can be reasonably inferred from the passage that before 1999, consumers purchasing their music over the internet led to digital downloads reducing CD sales by:

     F. less than 20 percent.

     G. between 20 and 25 percent.

     H. between 25 and 30 percent.

     J. more than 30 percent.

17.  According to the passage, what enables superstores to be able to sell products at small or even non-existent profit margins is:

     A. the significant amount of capital required to build such a superstore.

     B. the expectation of selling higher quantities of merchandise than smaller stores.

     C. the greater number they can carry due to their warehouse sizes.

     D. the ambitiousness of the economic planners who crafted their business models.

18.  According to the passage, what effect has Sam Walton had on the record store industry?

     F. Record stores have based their business models on one he created.

     G. He tried to change the record store industry’s model of community.

     H. He was one of the record store industry’s most passionate critics.

     J. He was involved in the evolution of the superstore, which is a competitor of record stores.

19.  The passage offers all of the following as reasons modern consumers might not shop at record stores EXCEPT:

     A. a higher price tag on goods available more cheaply elsewhere.

     B. a fear of being unwelcome in a community of music “experts.”

     C. a preference for a different format of music than the CD.

     D. the ability to buy music, groceries, and clothing all at once.

20.  The author states that superstores will recover their initial building costs:

     F. once all their capital is invested.

     G. once all their goods are purchased.

     H. once the store finally opens.

     J. several years after the store has opened.

Passage III

HUMANITIES: This passage is excerpted from the article “The Road to Reconciliation” by Patsky Irktour (© 2006 by The Ames Iowan).”

21.  Which of the following best characterizes the narrator’s initial childhood feelings toward Mexican art?

     A. It was familiar and thus lacking in interest.

     B. It was primitive and used too many geometric designs.

     C. It symbolized the only form of “true art.”

     D. Because it reminded her of home, it was beloved.

22.  In the second paragraph (lines 12−24), the parents’ response to their daughter’s gifts of prints can best be described as:

     F. grateful.

     G. tolerant.

     H. horrified.

     J. perplexed.

23.  The narrator’s point of view in this passage could best be described as:

     A. a grown woman reflecting on her past experience.

     B. a child describing her first encounter with Mexican art.

     C. an artist explaining the process of creation.

     D. a parent fondly recalling a child’s mistaken beliefs.

24.  When the narrator states that she “saw [her] parents’ collection as almost shameful” (lines 20−21), she most nearly means that she:

     F. felt that her parents were unable to afford high quality art.

     G. would feel uncomfortable inviting her college friends home to visit.

     H. believed that her parents’ art was inferior to the art she studied at school.

     J. could not understand why her parents chose to display any art.

25.  As it is used in line 47, the word victorious most nearly means:

     A. conquering.

     B. aggressive.

     C. winning.

     D. successful.

26.  Which of the following is the most accurate description of the emotional transition experienced by the narrator in the passage?

     F. A young artist moves away from the more familiar art of her heritage and comes to appreciate art produced by other groups.

     G. A student moves from dismissing the art with which she grew up to eventually appreciating its merits.

     H. The narrator recognizes the superiority of her cultural heritage and rejects the European tradition she had previously studied.

     J. An art student decides to pursue her career as a traditional Mexican artist after she visits an art studio in Mexico.

27.  The old man in the studio is portrayed as:

     A. skilled yet uneducated.

     B. focused and talented.

     C. insightful but rude.

     D. hesitant and forgetful.

28.  As it is used in line 66, the phrase “launched himself at the canvas” most nearly means to:

     F. attack the piece of artwork.

     G. paint without skill.

     H. paint more actively.

     J. hesitate momentarily.

29.  It can most reasonably be inferred that the narrator’s decision not to speak to the painter (lines 72−74) is due to:

     A. her fear that the painter will be unwilling to respond to her questions.

     B. the painter’s own silence during the time that he is painting.

     C. a feeling of honor and respect for the painter’s talent.

     D. her pride that she is more familiar with “true art” than the painter.

30.  The sixth and last paragraphs (lines 51−78) most nearly indicate that after her experience watching the painter, the narrator is:

     F. condescending yet curious.

     G. bored yet tolerant.

     H. humbled and respectful.

     J. annoyed and offended.


NATURAL SCIENCE: This passage is adapted from the entry “Migration” from Wallace Wimpole’s Bird Book (© 1998 by Wallace Wimpole).

31.  The main purpose of the passage is to:

     A. discuss the research techniques of scientists studying bird migration.

     B. provide data on the distances traveled seasonally by various migratory bird species.

     C. describe various factors that stimulate migratory behavior in birds.

     D. prove the effects of weather on bird migration.

32.  The author uses the information in parentheses in lines 6−8 primarily to:

     F. prevent readers from misunderstanding the statistic cited in the previous sentence.

     G. debunk claims that the biological mechanism for migration is complex.

     H. imply that ornithologists disagree about whether birds choose their migration schedule.

     J. prove the assertion that the migration cycle is changing due to global warming.

33.  The passage mentions which of the following as a limitation to Dolnik and Blyumental’s research?

     A. Their focus on only one species of diurnal migratory land birds with a relatively short migration path

     B. Their selection of the Baltic Coast

     C. Their destruction of healthy birds for research purposes

     D. Their inaccurate counts of the total number of birds in each flock, because of the constant movement of individual birds

34.  The main purpose of the third paragraph (lines 22−35) is to:

     F. specify the many sources of food birds use as energy to fuel their migratory movements.

     G. document the weather conditions that impact birds’ ability to fly.

     H. present a variety of reasons why the availability of nourishment is important in the timing of bird migration.

     J. summarize several scientific principles discovered by observing migratory birds.

35.  As presented in the passage, the statement in lines 44−45 is best described as:

     A. an assumption based on a small sample of a few captured chaffinches.

     B. a characterization based on the comparison of the fat content of the bodies of many individual chaffinches.

     C. an observation based on the visual appearance of chaffinches as they flew over the Baltic Coast.

     D. an opinion based on the personal preferences of Dolnik and Blyumental.

36.  It can reasonably be inferred that researchers have measured the longest migration periods and distances for which of the following types of migratory birds?

     F. Land birds

     G. Sea birds

     H. Tropical birds

     J. Temperate birds

37.  Based on the passage, scientists observe that compared to wild birds, caged birds may be:

     A. less likely to use weather conditions to time their migrations.

     B. more likely to amass stores of body fat.

     C. unable to differentiate between day and night.

     D. just as capable of sensing the changing of the seasons.

38.  Suppose that a scientist were to replicate the exact conditions of Dolnik and Blyumental’s experiments as described in the passage. At which of the following times would the scientist reasonably expect to find the greatest number of birds migrating?

     F. On the first day of the migration wave in the morning

     G. On the second day of the migration wave in the morning

     H. On the second day of the migration wave in the afternoon

     J. On the third day of the migration wave in the afternoon

39.  Based on the passage, how should the statement that Dolnik and Blyumental “determined the social influence healthy birds have” (lines 42−43) most likely be understood?

     A. Dolnik and Blyumental found a greater number of healthy than unhealthy chaffinches in flocks that migrated.

     B. During waves of migration, lean chaffinches were found to emulate the feeding behavior of fat chaffinches.

     C. Dolnik and Blyumental discovered that chaffinches became less healthy as the migration continued.

     D. After fatter chaffinches flew, Dolnik and Blyumental observed greater and greater numbers of leaner chaffinches begin to migrate.

40.  The author most nearly characterizes the migratory pattern made by wandering albatrosses as:

     F. common for coastal birds.

     G. typical of temperate migrants.

     H. uncommon among migratory birds.

     J. unusual for long-distance migrants such as sea birds.

Reading Practice
Section 2
Answers and Explanations


  1. A

  2. J

  3. A

  4. F

  5. B

  6. H

  7. B

  8. G

  9. C

10. F

11. A

12. J

13. B

14. H

15. C

16. F

17. B

18. J

19. B

20. J

21. A

22. G

23. A

24. H

25. D

26. G

27. B

28. H

29. C

30. H

31. C

32. F

33. A

34. H

35. B

36. G

37. D

38. H

39. D

40. H


Passage I

  1.  A  Although the narrator calls the memory of her grandmother almost painfully (lines 66−67), she goes on to note that her grandmother’s image was one to which the narrator has often come back whenever I’ve needed consolation or company (lines 69−70). This description doesn’t match the words featured in choices (B), (C), or (D), so choice (A) is the best selection here.

  2.  J  Choice (J) takes note of the narrator’s desire to seek the patterns of our life in India, including my daily morning visits to the market to do the day’s food shopping (lines 12−13), so that’s the best answer. The time at which the produce arrives at the market isn’t mentioned in the passage, so you should eliminate choice (F). Although the information in choice (G) is true according to the passage, that fact doesn’t influence the narrator’s shopping time. Choice (H) presents information not contained in the passage.

  3.  A  We know the narrator is initially intimidated by the strangeness of her new environment—the unfamiliar streets and landmarks of our new city (line 18)—but near the end of the passage she mentions that she has learned to combine products from both the specialty market and the supermarket, which implies that she has become more comfortable. The fact that she puts on a sweatshirt and uses quick prep sauces near the end of the passage confirms this reading; therefore, choice (A) is appropriate. Choice (B) is wrong on both counts: The narrator is not excited to learn new ways at the outset of her stay, and the only person she encounters (the grocery clerk) leaves her only temporarily annoyed, not disillusioned. Eliminate choice (C) because the first part of the answer suggests that the couple enjoyed eating out at restaurants; lines 17−20 make clear that the narrator and her husband are eating at restaurants because they’re intimidated by their new surroundings, not because they like to dine out. Choice (D) isn’t a good choice because the narrator specifies that she had been to the specialty market earlier in the day, when she had seen the old woman who reminded her of her grandmother (lines 66−67), so she is clearly not refusing to leave her apartment.

  4.  F  This question provides a good opportunity for you to eliminate wrong answers. Choices (G), (H), and (J) all rely on information not presented in the passage, so you can get rid of all three. The narrator writes that she promised to go to the supermarket so we could both have a taste of the home we’d been aching for (lines 25−26), so choice (F) is the best answer.

  5.  B  You can start by eliminating choice (A), because the narrator says explicitly that the produce section is missing items she considers staples (lines 34−35). Choice (C) is too extreme and, while the narrator is surprised to see the produce section tucked away, she does not make any statement regarding Indian supermarkets or suggest that the produce sections are always out in the open. Choice (D) refers to an event that takes place elsewhere in the store. The narrator comments that the produce section is surprisingly tucked away (lines 32−33), a description that suggests she had expected the produce section to be more centrally situated. Thus, choice (B) is the best option.

  6.  H  Note that although the clerk stares at the narrator, he immediately replies to her question and displays a wide, unexpectedly amiable grin (line 47), so you can get rid of the answers that describe the clerk as unfriendly or unhelpful—i.e., choices (G) and (J). Choice (F) depicts the clerk correctly, but the narrator tells us that she was irritated, not pleased. Choice (H) is the best answer.

  7.  B  First, find the reference to fluorescent lighting; the narrator says that it bleached out the packages’ colors, making them flat and lifeless (line 59). Choice (D) is nearly an opposite answer, whereas choice (A) refers to a contrast the narrator doesn’t draw in the passage. Choice (C) points to an earlier part in the passage; by the time the narrator describes the lighting, she is no longer intimidated by the store (and terrified is certainly too strong in any case). Choice (B) correctly references the passage’s description of the fluorescent lights: I observed that the supermarket’s fluorescent ceiling bulbs effectively bleached out the shelves’ contents. The bottles and boxes no longer seemed exotic or glamorous (lines 53−56).

  8.  G  Unfriendly is a strange word to apply to an inanimate object such as a jar of curry powder, so examine the context to try to make sense of that term here. The narrator has just been thinking about the different spices—each with its own … subtle but memorable color—that her grandmother used to make homemade curry powder (lines 77−78). In the next lines, the narrator sets up a contrast between the unfamiliar curry powder in the supermarket and the familiar result of her grandmother’s efforts. Consequently, choice (G) is the best option. Choices (H) and (J) don’t work because the narrator doesn’t mention either the curry powder’s ingredients or its country of origin. And you can eliminate choice (F) because the clerk in fact tells the narrator where to find the product.

  9.  C  The passage tells us that the old woman is noteworthy for handing out sample pieces of fruit and explaining how adding one more ingredient will perfect the planned dish (lines 64−66), so she’s neither nervous nor stingy. Thus, you can eliminate choices (B) and (D). The passage refers to the grandmother’s swift, sure knife (line 76), a portrait that is at odds with the idea that she is frail, so you can get rid of choice (A). Only sociability, choice (C), really describes how kind and welcoming the narrator’s grandmother seemed, even to strangers.

10.  F  You can eliminate choice (G) because the narrator describes putting on a college sweatshirt before starting to prepare the meal (lines 86−88). The passage says that the narrator’s grandmother does get along easily with others, so choice (H) is inaccurate. And you should avoid picking choice (J) because the passage doesn’t say whether the narrator’s grandmother or mother liked or disliked air conditioning. In fact, the passage mentions the narrator’s mother only once; in line 86, the narrator says that she uses a combination of the specialty market items and the supermarket’s quick prep materials, so making dinner isn’t the all-day task it often was for my grandmother and even my mother. This observation closely reflects choice (F), so that’s your best response.

Passage II

11.  A  The passage states that more than 900 independent record stores have perished since the rise of digital music sales in 2003 (lines 11−13). This supports choice (A). Choice (B) features percentages from the passage which refer to the impact on CD sales, not the number of record stores that specialize in older formats. Choice (C) states that fewer than 2,000 stores were in business prior to 2003, but the passage tells us only that this is the current number of stores in business. Choice (D) makes a prediction that is not found in the passage.

12.  J  The silver lining refers to the gray-haired older men that are the largest segment of the record store consumer base and gives reasons why they don’t seem to be lured away by the alternatives (lines 79−80). The fact that a trip to the record store allows older men to escape their careers and reconnect with their childhoods is support for choice (J)’s claim that they savor the experience. Choice (F) describes the opposite of what this paragraph reports about older men. Choice (G) is incorrect because the passage says that older men are not lured away by superstores, not that record stores have lured customers back. Choice (H) uses words from the paragraph like posters(line 84) and album covers (line 85) to make an unsupportable claim about their effects on downloaded music.

13.  B  Prehistoric is used figuratively to mean old-fashioned. The context of this paragraph describes the growing trend of downloadable music and describes its appeal to younger consumers, saying recent technology allows thousands of songs to fit onto a small, portable device and questions why anyone would want a CD instead (lines 31−35). Choice (B) correctly identifies the implication that CDs are no longer a preferred choice among some consumers. Choice (A) is not supported by the passage. Choice (C) refers to download speeds, which the passage does not discuss. Choice (D) suggests that size is the only problem with CDs, when the passage also specifically mentions how few songs CDs can carry.

14.  H  Spelling concedes the greater affordability of superstore prices (line 69), making choice (H) a valid inference. He believes superstore shoppers miss out on mingling with record store clientele with similar interests, not that they share no similar interests as choice (F) states. He does not say anything about the online music purchasing process lacking any sense of community, so you can eliminate choice (G). He does not blame consumers as choice (J) states but rather struggles to come up with a reason why they should want to go to a record store.

15.  C  The passage as a whole is an analytical look at the troubles facing the record store industry. Introducing the passage with the anecdote of Spelling’s store is intended to give one illustration of a store that is suffering because of industry conditions, not because the store is inherently flawed. This supports choice (C). Choice (A) is incorrect because the passage does not ever try to criticize record stores for a lack of modernization. Choice (B) is incorrect because the passage never mentions whether consumers are or are not interested in rare musical commodities. Choice (D) is incorrect because the passage does not suggest that record store owners lack real estate knowledge but rather that they are increasingly forced to relinquish their stores due to lagging business.

16.  F  The context of this paragraph discusses digital music as a growing trend, saying consumers are increasingly likely to buy their music this way. Therefore, if digital music since 1999 has reduced CD sales by twenty to thirty percent, it can be reasonably inferred that prior to 1999 the percentage was lower. Choices (G), (H), and (J) all suggest that the impact of digital music was the same prior to 1999 as it is now or even larger.

17.  B  The passage states that because superstores expect to sell a higher volume of goods than that of a specialized store (lines 44−45), superstores can afford to make prices very low. This supports choice (B). A large initial amount of investment, a wide variety of merchandise, and a warehouse-sized facility are all mentioned as characteristics of superstores but do not in and of themselves give a reason for why prices can be made low, making choices (A) and (C) incorrect. The ambitiousness of the economic planners of superstores is not mentioned, making choice (D) unsupportable.

18.  J  Sam Walton is identified as the creator of the superstore business model, and superstores are mentioned throughout the passage as one of the two main economic forces creating a decline in business for record stores. This makes choice (J) the correct answer. Record stores do not use the superstore business model as choice (F) states. Sam Walton is not mentioned as having any direct goals or criticisms toward the record store industry as choices (G) and (H) state.

19.  B  Choice (A) is supported by numerous references to the fact that superstores sell CDs at lower prices than do record stores. Choice (C) is mentioned in the discussion of digital downloads, explaining that a CD is harder to put in one’s pocket than an MP3 player and holds less than 1% as much music (lines 34−35). Choice (D) is supported by saying that superstores hold the allure of allowing a shopper to make music, clothing, and grocery purchases at the same cash register (lines 42−43). The fear of being unwelcome, as choice (B) states, is never mentioned in the passage.

20.  J  The author states that superstores have to keep prices so low when they open that it will be years before a superstore recovers the initial money put into building it. This supports choice (J). Since choices (F), (G), and (H) are all steps mentioned that come before this point, they cannot be correct.

Passage III

21.  A  The narrator discusses her childhood feelings toward Mexican art in the first paragraph. She describes herself as having grown up surrounded by art (line 1) at home and bored by art while on vacation, when her parents would shop at roadside stands. Therefore, the best answer is choice (A). Choice (B) incorrectly mentions geometric designs, which are not discussed in the passage. Choice (C) incorrectly refers to a phrase used later in the passage, in reference not to Mexican art but to the European art the narrator studied in school. Choice (D) incorrectly attributes the feelings of the narrator’s parents, who do in fact like the art because it reminds them of home, to the narrator herself.

22.  G  The second paragraph deals with the narrator’s decision to study art in college and her growing preference for European art. At the end of the paragraph, she describes bringing European prints home to her parents, who respond by smiling, then putting the new prints in the narrator’s bedroom. Therefore, although they do accept the gift, they do not seem very excited about it, making choice (G), tolerant, the best answer. Choice (F) is incorrect because although the parents might be grateful, no evidence of this is given in the passage. Choices (H) and (J) both suggest negative reactions where none is suggested in the passage—there is no evidence that the parents are horrified or perplexed.

23.  A  This passage is told in past tense: the narrator is looking back on events from her past. Therefore, choice (A) is the best answer. Choice (B) incorrectly identifies the narrator as a child during all of the events in the passage, which is incorrect because it describes her college experiences. Choice (C) incorrectly identifies the narrator as an artist, as opposed to the art student that she actually is. Choice (D) is incorrect because the narrator’s parents are explicitly mentioned during the passage and are not themselves the narrators.

24.  H  The narrator’s comment that describes her parents’ collection as almost shameful is mentioned as part of the discussion comparing the art of the narrator’s childhood to the art that she studied at school. She sees her parents’ art as inferior and tries to bring them European art, which she prefers. Therefore, choice (H) is the best answer. Choice (F) is incorrect because the passage does not address her parents’ finances. Choice (G) is incorrect because the passage never discusses how the narrator feels about bringing friends to her home. Choice (J) is incorrect because the narrator herself advocates displaying art—she just prefers art of a different style.

25.  D  The word victorious is used in the phrase our victorious arrival in California. At this point, the passage has just described the difficulties that the narrator has encountered on her road trip but she is still planning to end at her parents’ house in California. Choice (D), successful, is the best match for this description and best aligns with the idea that the arrival in California will signify a successful end to that leg of the trip. Choices (A), (B), and (C) give alternatives to the word victorious but these words do not make sense in the context of the passage.

26.  G  The passage begins with the narrator describing her childhood, surrounded by but not appreciating the Mexican art loved by her parents. She then begins to study art in college, where she begins to prefer European art, and considers it superior. At the end of the passage, however, she has an encounter with a Mexican artist that changes her perceptions and helps her to begin to appreciate Mexican art. Therefore, choice (G) is the best answer, as it addresses this shift from disdain to appreciation. Choice (F) is incorrect because it describes a change in the opposite direction. Choice (H) is too strong—there is no evidence that the narrator decides to reject European art. Choice (J) makes a claim that is unsupported by the passage, particularly because of the claim made earlier in the passage that the narrator wants to be the curator of a museum.

27.  B  The old man is discussed in the sixth and final paragraphs, after the narrator wanders into the studio where he is painting. He is described as slightly hunched overseeing something else entirely, and otherwise occupied. The narrator sees him as focused on his painting to the exclusion of anyone else in the room. Moreover, the narrator’s decision to leave the studio silently, out of respect for his mastery, demonstrates that she is impressed by his abilities. Therefore, choice (B) is the best answer, as it best encompasses both the painter’s attention to his work and his artistic abilities. Choice (A) is incorrect because nowhere does the passage discuss the old man’s level of education. Choice (C) incorrectly describes the old man as rude. Although he does not acknowledge the presence of the narrator, the passage explains this in terms of his focus, and specifically states that he does not appear unfriendly. Choice (D) is incorrect because the passage does not support the idea that the old man is forgetful.

28.  H  The phrase launched himself at the canvas is used to describe the old man’s actions once he decides what to paint. It transitions him from sitting, lost in thought, to adding details to the face at a furious pace. Therefore, a good translation of the phrase would be went into action. Choice (H), the correct answer, does the best job of capturing this transition. Choice (F) is incorrect because the old man does not literally attack the canvas. Choice (G) is incorrect because the old man is later described as having a great deal of skill. Choice (J) is incorrect because the old man’s hesitation ended with the action that is being described.

29.  C  At the end of the passage, the narrator expresses a desire to speak with the painter but explains her decision not to because he looked like he was otherwise occupied, his thoughts on some past time. She then leaves the studio silently, as anyone would when leaving the presence of a master, showing her newfound respect for the old man. Therefore, choice (C) is the best answer, as it correctly identifies the narrator’s decision as due primarily to this feeling of respect. Choice (A) incorrectly describes the narrator as afraid, an idea that is not supported by the passage. Choice (B) is incorrect because it does not address the narrator’s expressed feelings of respect. Choice (D) is incorrect because it does not address the narrator’s change of heart, as shown in the latter portion of the passage.

30.  H  The final paragraphs of the passage describe the narrator’s recognition that the old man she sees painting has a great deal of talent. Therefore, choice (H) is the best answer, as it correctly identifies the author’s feelings of respect and her decision to leave the studio without making noise. Choice (F) is incorrect because the narrator is not described as condescending after her encounter. Choice (G) incorrectly describes the narrator as bored, which is not supported by her actions in the passage. Choice (J) is incorrect because the passage does not support the claim that the narrator is either annoyed or offended.

Passage IV

31.  C  The passage discusses many influences on the timing of birds’ migration periods. Though one specific research study is described, this is not the main idea of the passage, as choice (A) indicates. The distance traveled by the wandering albatross is mentioned, but the distances of other birds are not specified, as suggested by choice (B). Weather is only one of several factors mentioned that influences birds’ decisions to migrate, so eliminate choice (D).

32.  F  The author mentions that many birds do not migrate to prevent a misinterpretation that the 50 million birds cited as migratory in the previous sentence may indicate the total number of birds in the world. The author agrees that the biological mechanism for migration is complex; therefore, he does not want to undermine this idea, as indicated by choice (G). There is no suggestion in the passage of a disagreement among ornithologists, so eliminate choice (H). There is no support that the migration cycle is changing, as stated in choice (J).

33.  A  The passage states that Dolnik and Blyumental’s work focuses only on chaffinches, which are a type of diurnal migratory land bird. The last paragraph indicates that chaffinches have a shorter migration path than many other species. The focus on a particular geographical area is not cited as a weakness, as indicated by choice (B). Though the passage indicates that Dolnik and Blyumental did destroy birds in their research, the passage does not identify this as a limitation, so eliminate choice (C). The passage states that Dolnik and Blyumental were able to establish the total population (line 41), so eliminate choice (D).

34.  H  The purpose of the third paragraph is to provide explanations of several ways that food supply influences the timing of bird migration. Though some sources of food are listed, their specification is not the primary purpose of the paragraph, as stated in choice (F). Weather conditions are mentioned, but the paragraph does not mention the way weather affects bird flight, so eliminate choice (G). The passage does not indicate that any general scientific principles have been discovered through the observation of migratory birds, as suggested by choice (J).

35.  B  Dolnik and Blyumental measured the fat content of all the birds they captured, so their description of some as very fat (line 45) must be based on a comparison between the captured birds. There is no indication of the sample size in the researchers’ experiment, so eliminate choice (A). The fact that Dolnik and Blyumental examined the carcasses of birds (line 39) means that they were not merely observing the birds in flight to make their assessment, as indicated in choice (C). The passage does not indicate that the scientists conducting the study had any preference as to the fat content of the birds, so eliminate choice (D).

36.  G  The passage states that wandering albatrosses travel hundreds of thousands of kilometers each year, and these are a species of sea bird. Chaffinches are the example of land birds, which the passage indicates have shorter migration paths, so eliminate choice (F). The first paragraph mentions that tropical birds often do not migrate at all, so eliminate choice (H). Temperate birds’ migration times and distances are not clearly indicated, so eliminate choice (J).

37.  D  The example of caged birds is used to indicate that birds have an internal ability to sense the time at which their species migrate. The passage indicates that caged birds experience migratory restlessness (line 20) because they cannot migrate, so eliminate choice (A). Stores of body fat are discussed in the passage only in relation to chaffinches, so eliminate choice (B). There is no suggestion in the passage that a bird in a cage loses its ability to tell the difference between night and day, as indicated in choice (C).

38.  H  The passage states that chaffinch migration volume peaked (lines 50−51) in the afternoon of the second day. Choice (F) indicates the time at which only very fat birds flew (line 45). Choice (G) includes the time right before the volume peaked. Choice (J) notes the time at which all the birds that began to migrate were very lean (lines 53−54), but does not indicate the number of birds that fit this description.

39.  D  The passage says that healthy birds influenced the remaining population that was not as physically fit for migration (lines 43−44), explaining why more and more lean birds flew after the fat birds. The passage contains no comparison of the numbers of healthy versus unhealthy birds, as indicated by choice (A). The passage states that the lean chaffinches ate before flying, whereas the fat chaffinches flew without eating, so eliminate choice (B). There is no indication that Dolnik and Blyumental monitored the health of individual chaffinches over the entire migration, which would be necessary to come to the conclusion stated in choice (C).

40.  H  The phrase few species indicates that the extreme distances traveled by wandering albatrosses is unusual in migratory birds. The coastal birds in choice (F) would include chaffinches, which migrate much shorter distances than wandering albatrosses. The passage does not indicate whether wandering albatrosses are temperate migrants, so eliminate choice (G). Wandering albatrosses are long-distance migratory sea birds, so their behavior cannot be considered unusual for this type of bird, as indicated in choice (J).