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

Reading Practice Section 3


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 short story “Into the Past” by Amanda C. Thomas (© 2004 by Amanda C. Thomas).

  1.  The narrator’s imaginative way of viewing her surroundings is best demonstrated in her description of the:

     A. farmhouse.

     B. hens in the chicken coop.

     C. way Aunt Millie braids her hair.

     D. way the earth smelled.

  2.  It can most reasonably be inferred from the passage that the narrator:

     F. thinks New York City is superior to the farm.

     G. has never visited Uncle Desmond and Aunt Millie’s farm before.

     H. sees the visit to the farm as the most important event in her life.

     J. loves her Aunt Millie more than her mother.

  3.  The narrator’s use of sensory details, such as the feel of the hen’s feathers and the taste of the grass stems, most strongly suggests that:

     A. trauma in her childhood made her unable to speak to anyone other than her brother Kiran.

     B. the unfamiliarity of life outside New York makes her more aware of her physical surroundings on the farm.

     C. because she is shy around her extended family, she is more perceptive than her brother Kiran is.

     D. her closeness with Aunt Millie shows her how to appreciate changes in her new environment.

  4.  In line 35 the narrator describes Aunt Millie as “blurred,” which most nearly suggests that:

     F. unlike the narrator’s mother, Aunt Millie doesn’t have sharp features and sophisticated clothing.

     G. Aunt Millie is older than the narrator’s mother, so she has a bad memory and forgets things.

     H. Essie doesn’t see well because she often reads books under her bedcovers.

     J. Aunt Millie doesn’t have as distinctive a personality as the narrator’s mother does.

  5.  It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that the narrator views life on the farm as:

     A. requiring a great deal of hard work that is not appreciated by her aunt and uncle.

     B. an escape from the difficulties of living in impoverished, restrictive conditions in New York City.

     C. a place where daily chores, even those that require that the narrator wake up early, can be enjoyable and satisfying.

     D. a place where the physical nature of the local recreational activities are more suited to boys than to girls.

  6.  It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that which of the following events happened first in the narrator’s life?

     F. She learned to collect eggs from the henhouse.

     G. She met her Aunt Millie and Uncle Desmond.

     H. She visited North Carolina for the first time.

     J. She lived in New York City.

  7.  As depicted in the ninth paragraph (lines 71−80), the relationship between the narrator and Aunt Millie is best described by which of the following statements?

     A. Aunt Millie feels close to the narrator, as shown in the way she puts aside other tasks to braid and condition Essie’s hair.

     B. Aunt Millie feels emotionally cut off from the narrator because of the young girl’s city manners.

     C. Aunt Millie loves the narrator in spite of their different ways of seeing the world.

     D. Aunt Millie is indifferent toward the narrator, seeing her as another part of her daily work.

  8.  Which of the following statements most nearly captures the sentiment behind the narrator’s comment that the food at the farm house tastes like it is “from somewhere” (line 49)?

     F. “The food tasted just like the food I had in New York.”

     G. “The food tasted fresh from the fields, instead of from a supermarket.”

     H. “The food tasted like no other food that I had ever tasted.”

     J. “The food tasted strongly of the rich soil that Uncle Desmond tilled.”

  9.  Details in the second paragraph (lines 11−17) most strongly suggest that the narrator’s mother:

     A. hopes her children will have a good time on the farm, enjoying their summer vacation before school starts again.

     B. feels saddened by the children’s departure and will miss them while they’re away.

     C. believes that life on the farm will teach them the self-discipline they need to survive in the city.

     D. is afraid for them during the long bus ride and hopes the children will not speak to strangers.

10.  Which of the following statements about why the narrator and Kiran will spend the summer on the farm is supported by the passage?

     F. The narrator is weak and sickly, needing the fresh air of the farm to recover her health.

     G. Aunt Millie and Uncle Desmond will teach the children valuable work skills.

     H. The narrator and Kiran wanted to develop a relationship with their cousins.

     J. The children’s mother worried about leaving them alone while she worked.

Passage II

SOCIAL SCIENCE: This passage is adapted from the article “Let Me Think About It: Plants and Consciousness” by Andres C. Tejada (© 2010 by Andres Tejada).

11.  The passage most strongly suggests that the current debate over research into plant consciousness was triggered by which of the following?

     A. The invention of polygraph technology

     B. An observed reaction of a plant to a spider in distress

     C. Techniques introduced by the Boston Botanical Gardens

     D. Experiments conducted by Buckner in the late 1960s

12.  Clive Buckner’s observation of his plant as mentioned in the fourth paragraph would most likely be described by Betty Wilkinson and Steve Karnell as which of the following?

     F. Evidence that plants possess a sense of memory

     G. A subtle connection between plant and caretaker

     H. Something that other researchers may have trouble duplicating

     J. An example of a plant’s ability to perceive distress

13.  The last paragraph primarily functions to:

     A. provide specific examples of the body of evidence Clive Buckner would point to in defense of his theory.

     B. suggest that Clive Buckner does not agree that one criticism offered by Steve Karnell is a legitimate one.

     C. illustrate the complete indifference that Clive Buckner feels towards Steve Karnell’s scientific concerns.

     D. imply that Clive Buckner could counsel other experimenters on how to be better caretakers of plants in order to better replicate certain results.

14.  According to the passage, lie-detectors are:

     F. electric train trigger switches.

     G. mechanisms of social reinforcement.

     H. measurable distress signals.

     J. polygraph galvanometer equipment.

15.  The passage most strongly suggests that the social reinforcement required of Sheila Jennings at her job is designed primarily to do which of the following?

     A. Condition the plants to be undisturbed by the sounds of visitors to the Botanical Gardens

     B. Keep the employees alert during their monotonous work routines

     C. Replicate the sounds of wildlife that the plants would hear in their natural habitats

     D. Potentially lead to better plant growth than could be achieved without it

16.  The main point of Steve Karnell’s quotation in the ninth paragraph (lines 83−91) is that:

     F. there are elements of how research is conducted that can make its findings less trustworthy.

     G. some experimenters do not understand the function of control groups in the scientific method.

     H. a blind study would have convincingly proven the existence of plant consciousness.

     J. researchers working with plants are more likely to commit the error of confirmation bias.

17.  The research examples provided in the fourth paragraph (lines 25−40) would potentially most undermine the position of:

     A. Max Crusella.

     B. the author of the passage.

     C. Steve Karnell.

     D. Clive Buckner.

18.  According to the passage, the desire to affirm one’s preconceived notions about an experimental observation is called which one of the following by scientists?

     F. Control groups

     G. Subtle yet meaningful connection

     H. Confirmation bias

     J. Self-deception

19.  According to the passage, Clive Buckner believes that the potential outcome of an experiment measuring plant consciousness is:

     A. highly unorthodox.

     B. unfairly biased.

     C. sometimes inconsistent.

     D. scientifically sound.

20.  The passage indicates that researchers in “this emerging field of research” (line 73) would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements?

     F. The responsiveness of plants to their environment currently lacks an adequate traditional scientific explanation.

     G. The results of many experiments have been tainted by self-deception on the part of the researchers.

     H. There is currently some evidence to support plant consciousness but much more that contradicts it.

     J. There are traditional scientific explanations that best account for the observations recorded in most of these experiments.

Passage III

HUMANITIES: This passage is adapted from the entry “How Songs Make Meaning” from the volume How to Listen to Music Like a Conductor (© 2007 by Air Guitar Press).

21.  When the writer refers to “the rules of polite etiquette” in (lines 18−19), he is most likely referring to rules that:

     A. diminish the role of imagination in playing with action figures or other toys.

     B. are taught to children when they are enrolled in behavior modification classes.

     C. are too restrictive and demanding for songwriters to abide by.

     D. limit certain personal behaviors that others might find irritating or discomforting.

22.  In the third paragraph (lines 11−20), the author says that a songwriter aspires to write songs people will be “happy to hear.” It can reasonably be inferred that which of the following is NOT a characteristic of such songs?

     F. Mimicking joy and anguish

     G. Blending comfort and tension

     H. Fostering a kinship with the listener

     J. Allowing for different interpretations

23.  It can be reasonably inferred that the primary purpose of this passage is to:

     A. explain to readers that expressing pain will enable them to be good songwriters.

     B. convince aspiring songwriters to stop giving in to polite etiquette and instead write catchy songs.

     C. discuss ideas concerning the goals and process of songwriting as well as the relationship to age and expectations of the audience.

     D. outline one author’s argument that songwriters are too often limited by the cultural backdrop of their musical upbringing.

24.  When the author states a songwriter must aspire to “this private release” (line 70), he is most directly referring to the idea that a songwriter must:

     F. describe her experiences with very specific details.

     G. outwardly project a genuine internal emotional state.

     H. force listeners to develop a kinship with the song.

     J. focus on the emotions of joy or anguish.

25.  The author states that, unlike children, adolescents approach songs with a goal of:

     A. feeling a sense of belonging and familiarity.

     B. discovering new trends in fashion and politics.

     C. departing from the cultural backdrop of their upbringing.

     D. deriving some personal meaning from those songs.

26.  The author states that our process of selecting songs can be compared to that of selecting all of the following EXCEPT:

     F. our friends.

     G. our parents’ cooking.

     H. our favorite authors.

     J. personal trinkets.

27.  Which of the following best describes the way the first sentence functions in relation to the passage as a whole?

     A. It introduces an idea that the author later explains is not true in the real world of songwriting.

     B. It is a claim that facilitates the author’s anecdotal introduction to the topic of songwriting.

     C. It foreshadows the essay’s contention that singing about one’s problems is evidence of a lack of self-control.

     D. It is a vague idea that is not reinforced or clarified by the details that follow in subsequent paragraphs.

28.  According to the passage, the divergent songwriting purposes of “soothes” and “agitates” (line 30) differ from one another in that:

     F. soothing songs, unlike agitating ones, have a mellowing effect that is often enjoyable to adults but annoying to younger audiences.

     G. soothing songs are associated with inducing sleep or reducing distress while agitating songs can be used to convey ridicule.

     H. agitating songs, unlike soothing songs, are often used by relatives to coax a child out of a state of slumber.

     J. agitating songs distract us from the things that we passionately hate, while soothing songs are very gentle to our ears.

29.  According to the author’s analogy, acting and performing music:

     A. are completely different.

     B. share at least one important characteristic.

     C. are more convincing expressing anguish than joy.

     D. are completely identical.

30.  Based on the passage, the cultural backdrop of a child’s upbringing is significant to her appreciation of music because it:

     F. predisposes the child to prefer the musical ingredients customary in that culture’s music.

     G. gives the child a model of what to avoid in order to stand out as an original songwriter.

     H. instructs the child concerning the proper structure and political content of songs.

     J. will later be the primary basis through which the child is able to make friends.

Passage IV

NATURAL SCIENCE: This passage is adapted from “A Comment on Comets” by Dr. Anatole C. Thierry (© 2002 by Weak Alliteration Press).

31.  The primary purpose of the passage is to:

     A. persuade readers that astronomers have not yet done adequate studies to discover the origins of the solar system.

     B. encourage readers to learn to use telescopic equipment to aid in the search for new comets.

     C. describe the characteristics of comets currently known by astronomers and the motivation for their research.

     D. catalogue the experiments planetary scientists have done to determine the composition of comets.

32.  The author would most likely agree with which of the following statements?

     F. There may be minerals in the solar system yet to be discovered by astronomers.

     G. Astronomers will not be able to observe comets brighter than IRAS-Araki-Alcock because their orbital periods are so long.

     H. Comets are older than the Earth as indicated by their greater distance from the Sun.

     J. Collections of samples directly from the surface of comets will be difficult because of comets’ unpredictability.

33.  According to the passage, which situation creates a comet’s maximum brightness as observed from Earth?

     A. Its coma is much bigger than its nucleus.

     B. It is closer to the Earth and therefore moves more quickly.

     C. Its perihelion occurs after it passes the Earth.

     D. It is at its closest to the Earth after its perihelion.

34.  Which of the following questions is NOT answered by information given in the passage?

     F. What do astronomers hope to learn by studying comets?

     G. What causes some comets to be trailed by such a long tail?

     H. What prevents astronomers from cataloging more new comets and predicting their approach to the Earth?

     J. Why do comets have such a highly eccentric orbit?

35.  Information in the first paragraph indicates that “the appearance of comets” requires all of the following EXCEPT:

     A. the viewer to have a powerful telescope.

     B. solar winds and radiation pressure to scatter the coma.

     C. a portion of the surface material to evaporate.

     D. an envelope of gas and dust much larger than the nucleus.

36.  The passage mentions astronomers observing all of the following about comets EXCEPT:

     F. unusual minerals in the chemical composition that have not been found on Earth.

     G. comets that emit bright light from their nuclei.

     H. changes in apparent brightness at different times and in different environments.

     J. orbits that take comets to the edges of the Sun’s gravitational influence.

37.  In the context of the third paragraph (lines 29−48), lines 34−38 primarily serve to emphasize the:

     A. relationship a comet’s apparent speed has to its other visual characteristics, such as its apparent diameter.

     B. influence a comet’s distance from Earth with regard to its perihelion has on a comet’s apparent brightness.

     C. disappointment astronomers feel when highly anticipated celestial events do not live up to their expectations.

     D. difficulty in predicting when comets will be visible in the sky because of their highly eccentric orbits.

38.  The passage most nearly indicates that attempts to study comets directly have been:

     F. prevented by technical difficulties.

     G. used to explain life on Earth.

     H. unsuccessful so far.

     J. promising, but incomplete.

39.  As it is used in line 55, the phrase “characteristics beyond the novelty of these comets” most likely refers to:

     A. the likelihood of discovering new comets.

     B. the difficulty of detecting distant comets.

     C. comets’ chemical composition.

     D. the age of comets.

40.  The main purpose of the last paragraph is to:

     F. describe particular experiments that have been performed on comets as they pass near the Earth.

     G. convince readers that comets are responsible for the evolution of intelligent species.

     H. discuss the reasons planetary scientists are interested in pursuing direct study of comet material.

     J. contradict outdated information about the origin of the solar system.

Reading Practice
Section 3
Answers and Explanations


  1. B

  2. G

  3. B

  4. F

  5. C

  6. J

  7. A

  8. G

  9. B

10. J

11. D

12. H

13. B

14. J

15. D

16. F

17. C

18. H

19. C

20. F

21. D

22. F

23. C

24. G

25. D

26. H

27. B

28. G

29. B

30. F

31. C

32. F

33. D

34. J

35. A

36. G

37. B

38. J

39. C

40. H


Passage l

  1.  B  The narrator relates that she thinks of the hens as slumbering ladies (line 65), which is a metaphorical way of thinking that connects with her imagination. By contrast, the farmhouse is described merely as neat and white(lines 30−31), so those terms don’t signal anything in particular about the narrator’s imagination, so you can get rid of choice (A). Similarly, Essie’s narratives of how Aunt Millie braids her hair (line 72) and how the earth smells (lines 50−51) are straightforward, rather than imaginative. Therefore, choice (B) is the best answer.

  2.  G  Look for the context clues that suggest Essie has never visited the farm before, such as her reference to the unfamiliar farm country in line 24, or her description of the red barn as looking just like my mother’s descriptions and the pictures in books I’d seen when I was younger (lines 31−33). In the passage, Essie doesn’t characterize her life in New York as preferable to any of her farm experiences, so you should eliminate choice (F). As for choice (H), you could argue that her experiences on the farm are important enough for her to remember vividly, but she doesn’t say that her visit was the most important event of her life, so reject this answer choice. Choice (J) is not supported by the passage.

  3.  B  Essie mentions that she and her brother had made a pact to take note of all the details that differed from their life at home in New York, which suggests that their unfamiliar surroundings made their perceptions more acute. Thus, choice (B) is the best answer. The passage doesn’t mention any trauma Essie has suffered, and we don’t know that she can’t speak, so choice (A) doesn’t work. The passage doesn’t indicate that Essie is more perceptive than Kiran is, nor that she is especially shy, so eliminate choice (C). And nothing Essie describes indicates that her relationship with Aunt Millie increases her awareness of her surroundings, so choice (D) isn’t accurate.

  4.  F  The narrator uses the term blurred to suggest a contrast between Aunt Millie and her own mother, who is all sharp lines and tight angles (lines 34−35), so choice (F) is the best fit. Elsewhere in the passage, Essie seems to have keen powers of observation and eyesight, as in the sections where she looks out of the bus windows (lines 18−37), so choice (H) isn’t a good fit, and the passage doesn’t indicate that Aunt Millie’s personality is either more or less distinctive than is the narrator’s mother’s, so choice (J) doesn’t work well. Choice (G) doesn’t come up in this passage.

  5.  C  Essie does say that there was a lot of work to do on the farm, but the passage doesn’t suggest that this work was unappreciated by her aunt and uncle, so choice (A) should be eliminated. Instead, Essie talks about how much she enjoys the work, particularly collecting eggs from the farm’s chickens (lines 60−61), so choice (C) is a better fit. The narrator neither contrasts farm life with any difficulties in New York nor argues that boys and girls have different roles on the farm, so get rid of choices (B) and (D).

  6.  J  As it says in lines 8−10, I had never been outside of New York City before, so I was nervous about moving, not to mention that I had never met my aunt and uncle before. Thus, choice (J) gives the event that took place first in the narrator’s life.

  7.  A  The paragraph in question is an account of how Aunt Millie would braid and treat the narrator’s hair. The fact that Aunt Millie takes time away from other responsibilities to make time for this activity implies that she is not cut off from or indifferent toward Essie, so choices (B) and (D) don’t agree with the passage. Choice (C) focuses on the different worldviews of Aunt Millie and the narrator and how these differences might drive them apart, but that possibility isn’t supported either here or elsewhere in the passage.

  8.  G  In depicting the food at the farm, Essie says that the food is similar but not identical to the food she has eaten in New York, so you can eliminate choice (F), which doesn’t account for the subtle differences she explains. At the other end of the scale is choice (H), which implies that the food is entirely unfamiliar compared to the food she’s eaten before. Choice (J) is an overly literal rendering of the narrator’s connection between the meal and the farm that produced it. This leaves choice (G) as the most accurate description.

  9.  B  The two most important details that suggest the mother’s sadness are the tear Essie spots in the corner of her mother’s eye (line 14), and the fact that her mother waves to Essie and Kiran for a long time after the bus pulls away (line 15). The passage doesn’t contain any details that connote the mother’s desire for the children to have a good time, so choice (A) doesn’t work. The reason the narrator’s mother sends the children to the North Carolina farm is that her new job would require them to stay by themselves too much (lines 5−7); she doesn’t indicate that learning self-discipline on the farm is important to her, so you shouldn’t select choice (C). Finally, although the mother is described as wary of leaving the children at home while she is at her job, the passage doesn’t signal that she has any fears about the bus ride, so eliminate choice (D).

10.  J  All of the answer choices besides choice (J) contain information not covered specifically in the passage: nothing suggests that the narrator is sickly. Although Essie and Kiran might learn new skills on the farm, we don’t know whether these skills will be valuable, nor does anyone give this as the reason for the trip, and whereas the children’s cousin Ike is mentioned in the passage, the relationship among the cousins is not given as a reason for the trip. Only choice (J) refers to information that appears in the passage (lines 5−7).

Passage ll

11.  D  The first paragraph describes plant consciousness attaining scientific credibility mainly since the work of Clive Buckner came to light (lines 10−11). Professor Wilkinson also says that Buckner’s work opened up a Pandora’s box of bad science (lines 71−72). The second paragraph identifies that his shocking work took place forty years ago, and the blurb indicates that the passage was written in 2007. These details support choice (D). The polygraph was involved in Buckner’s early experiments, but the invention of the polygraph is not mentioned in the passage which makes choice (A) incorrect. Choice (B) describes one of the experiments which followed Buckner’s work, so it could not be the original catalyst. Choice (C) makes an unsupportable claim that the scientists at the Boston Botanical Gardens were innovators in their field and sparked subsequent controversy.

12.  H  Buckner observed a reaction taking place in his plant as soon as he had a thought of burning the plant. While Buckner takes this to mean that plants can perceive human thoughts, Wilkinson and Karnell are referred to in the passage as skeptics who believe that the crazy notion of mind-reading plants is partly a result of poorly conducted experiments that are difficult to repeat by other, more skeptical scientists. This supports choice (H). Choices (G) and (J) represent interpretations sympathetic to Buckner’s. Choice (F) would not be appropriate to this experiment nor would it appeal to the skeptical point of view of Wilkinson and Karnell.

13.  B  Buckner’s response to Karnell’s line of criticism is that the varied outcomes of plant consciousness experiments are actually supportive of Buckner’s scientific predictions that plants have a unique response to a given caretaker. Therefore, choice (B) is supportable because Buckner thinks Karnell’s point strengthens the plant consciousness theory, not weakens it. There are no specific examples offered, as choice (A) states. While Buckner disagrees with Karnell’s criticism, there is nothing to suggest that he is completely indifferent to this criticism, as choice (C) states. Rather, Buckner thinks Karnell’s concerns are relevant support of Buckner’s theory. There is nothing to support choice (D)’s idea that Buckner plans to train other experimenters.

14.  J  In the second paragraph, lie-detectors are defined as polygraph galvanometer equipment, which supports choice (J). Choices (F), (G), and (H) contain familiar wording from elsewhere in the passage but not attributable to lie-detectors.

15.  D  The reference to social reinforcement is followed by a comment that the idea behind this seems to be that interacting with these plants will help them flourish. This makes choice (D) an acceptable choice. There is nothing in the paragraph or the passage to support the goals stated in choices (A) and (C). The rationale stated in choice (B) is referred to in the passage as what a casual observer might mistake as the purpose of Sheila’s behavior.

16.  F  By referring to parts of the scientific method that some of the plant experiments lacked, Karnell is trying to demonstrate that the observed results that some experimenters have interpreted as plant-consciousness are unreliable from the start because of flawed methodology. This supports choice (F), which paraphrases that poorly conducted studies can make for less trustworthy findings. Karnell’s point does not specifically accuse researchers of not understanding the point of a control group, as choice (G) states. He would not necessarily believe a well-conducted study would prove that there is plant consciousness as choice (H) states. He does not make a distinction about confirmation bias being more likely in plant related experiments, which makes choice (J) unsupportable.

17.  C  The fourth paragraph discusses the steady flow of research that attempts to revisit and replicate Buckner’s hypothesis. Because Steve Karnell maintains that other researchers have had a hard time duplicating evidence of plant consciousness, these experiments would undermine Karnell’s position. The positions of Crusella, choice (A), and Buckner, choice (D), are in line with the research being conducted. The author’s position on this issue is never revealed, which makes choice (B) unsupportable.

18.  H  The passage defines confirmation bias as researchers interpreting experimental observations to agree with their premeditated goals, what they’re trying to prove or discover. This makes choice (H) correct. Choices (F) and (G) involve familiar wording that is not explicitly defined in the passage, and choice (J) describes a concept defined as ignoring potential alternative explanations to justify a faulty hypothesis. That is not a fair paraphrase for what this question is asking, which makes choice (J) incorrect.

19.  C  In the fifth paragraph, Buckner acknowledges that many experiments fail to replicate the same results and says that the outcome is very dependent on the researcher. This statement makes choice (C) the most supportable answer choice because the likelihood of having different results means the outcome is inconsistent. Choice (A) relates to the third paragraph but not to Buckner’s specific words. Choice (B) relates to the skeptics’ point of view. Choice (D) is unjustifiably confident and not supported by Buckner’s quotation.

20.  F  Researchers in this field think that there is a mountain of evidence that plants are sensitive to their environments in ways that traditional science is not equipped to describe and believe that there needs to be some kind of new scientific explanation. This supports the idea of choice (F) that there is currently no sufficient traditional scientific explanation for the observed evidence. Choices (G) and (J) are points of view that belong to skeptics who do not think this is worthwhile or well-conducted scientific research. Choice (H) characterizes the available evidence in a way that is not supported anywhere in the passage.

Passage lII

21.  D  The context before this sentence explains that we all get yelled at by others to cease our incessant noise making. In other words, we are being a nuisance by singing our songs. This behavior is lessened as we learn the rules of etiquette, so choice (D) is correct in saying that these rules instruct us to refrain from behavior like singing that may annoy others. Choice (A) is incorrect because the rules of etiquette do not necessarily pertain to playing with toys, particularly if one was playing alone. Choice (B) is incorrect because it is not supportable to assume the author is referring to specific etiquette classes, as opposed to maturing through ordinary socialization. Choice (C) is incorrect because it is unfairly assuming that songwriters will not abide by rules of etiquette, whereas the author explains that songwriters will attempt to adjust their songs so that they are no longer a nuisance, which would be a polite gesture.

22.  F  Although the concept of happy to hear is not defined precisely, you should expect that anything the author discusses with a positive tone is something songwriters use to approach this goal. Choice (F) is correct because the mimicry of joy and anguish is brought up by the author as a potentially negative capacity of a songwriter, contrasted with songwriting that is infused with genuine emotional meaning (lines 79−86). Choice (G) is discussed in paragraph five; there’s a balance of two opposing forces we enjoy in music … one soothes, the other agitates. Choice (H) is discussed in paragraph seven. Choice (J) is discussed in the final few paragraphs as something songwriters aspire to do so that audience members can more personally identify with songs.

23.  C  The passage is mainly a descriptive discussion of songwriting, including how we approach and absorb music as children, adolescents, and adults, and some of the considerations songwriters face in their craft. Choice (C) effectively captures the scope and tone of the passage. The other three choices present too narrow a purpose and/or critical tone. Choice (A) is incorrect because much of the passage had nothing to do with expressing pain. Choice (B) is incorrect because the author does not specifically endorse catchy music. Choice (D) is incorrect because the author mentions cultural upbringing only as an influence on songwriting, not as a negative limitation.

24.  G  Whenever you see a pronoun as in this private release, the explanation of what this is should be the preceding idea. The sentence before this one describes the feeling of one’s inner world radiating out. Choice (G) is the closest paraphrase to that idea. Choice (F) is incorrect because the author explains why refraining from specific details is sometimes helpful to a songwriter. Choice (H) is incorrect because the tone of forcing a listener to develop a kinship is too strong and unsupportable. Choice (J) is incorrect because the author never says a songwriter must focus on these two emotions.

25.  D  The passage states that as adolescents we look to find personal meaning in lyrics. This makes choice (D) correct. Choice (A) is incorrect because a sense of belonging and familiarity is identified as something children also look for in songs, similar to preferring their parents’ cooking due to its familiarity. Choice (B) is incorrect because of the unsupportable language that adolescents are seeking to discover new trends rather than just to identify with the dress and politics of certain artists. Choice (C) is incorrect because the passage never mentions adolescents rebelling against their cultural upbringing.

26.  H  Choice (H) is correct because one’s favorite authors are never mentioned; the closest mention is that successful songs win over listeners just as successful stories do. Choices (F), (G), and (J) are all comparisons made in paragraph seven.

27.  B  Choice (B) is correct because the author proceeds to discuss personal details of what influenced his early songwriting. Choice (A) is incorrect because the author never contradicts this first idea. Choice (C) is incorrect because the author contends that expressing one’s troubles is only frowned upon as a lack of self-control in speech. Choice (D) is incorrect because the idea of the first paragraph is reinforced throughout the first few paragraphs.

28.  G  Choice (G) is correct because soothing songs are often used to distract from anxiety or coax into slumber, while agitating songs can be customized into any taunt. Choice (F) is incorrect because the passage says nothing about soothing songs being preferred by adults. Choice (H) is incorrect because agitating songs are not mentioned as a way to wake up a sleeping child. Choice (J) is incorrect because agitating songs are not mentioned as a way to distract us from things we hate.

29.  B  The last sentence states that just as audiences can discern between good and bad acting, they can discern between authentic and contrived performances of music. Choice (B) is therefore supported and correct. Choice (A) is incorrect because the author mentions something that acting and performing music have in common. Choice (C) is incorrect because the author never makes a comparative statement about which is more convincing, anguished or joyful acting/music. Choice (D) is incorrect because it is too strong. Although the author states one thing acting/singing have in common, it is unsupportable to say that they are completely identical.

30.  F  The passage states that the cultural backdrop calibrates her listening tastes, and it is connected to the previous sentence’s notion that a child will naturally prefer her parents’ cooking just because of its familiarity. These ideas support choice (F) and make it correct. Choice (G) is incorrect because the passage does not mention songwriters striving to avoid their cultural upbringing. Choice (H) is incorrect because the tone of the paragraph suggests the surrounding culture influences musical tastes but does not necessarily instruct the proper structure. Choice (J) is incorrect because of extreme and unsupportable language about a cultural context being the primary basisof how a child makes friends.

Passage lV

31.  C  The passage describes current information about comets and provides an explanation for why astronomers are interested in comets. Though there are still some things unknown about the origins of the solar system, pointing this out is not the primary purpose of the passage, as choice (A) indicates. The passage does not indicate that readers should aid in the search for comets as choice (B) suggests. Only one specific mineral in the composition of comets is mentioned in the passage, so eliminate choice (D).

32.  F  The mention of other new minerals that may be found on lines 73−74 indicates that the author believes that there are still some undiscovered minerals in the solar system. Though comet IRAS-Araki-Alcock was the brightest comet in recent times, the passage does not make any predictions about future bright comets, eliminating choice (G). The passage indicates that comets were made at the same time as the rest of the solar system on lines 55−58, so you can get rid of choice (H). Line 76 talks about scientist’s plan to retrieve material but the passage does not indicate any possible reasons for difficulty in completing the mission, so eliminate choice (J).

33.  D  The third paragraph states that the comet’s nearness to Earth in relation to perihelion, or closest approach to the sun, strongly affects a comet’s apparent brightness. All comets are described as having large comas compared to their nuclei, so eliminate choice (A). Though comets do seem to move more quickly when they are closer to the Earth, this is not the cause of the apparent brightness, eliminating choice (B). If a comet’s perihelion occurs after it is closest to earth, it will be relatively cold and solid (line 33), not bright, so you can eliminate (C).

34.  J  The passage describes comets’ orbits as erratic, but does not explain why. The last paragraph answers the question in choice (F). The first paragraph describes the solar winds and radiation pressure from the Sun (line 7) that form the tail, answering the question in choice (G). Comets are most often invisible (line 28), which explains why new ones are difficult to discover, answering choice (H).

35.  A  Lines 12−13 state that the brightest comets can be seen with the naked eye, so no telescope is needed to detect comets. The information in choice (B) in line 7 indicates that solar winds and radiation pressure are required to make a comet’s tail visible. The comet is created when frozen matter evaporates (line 4), eliminating choice (C). The material in the comet can fill an area up to a million kilometers around the solid nucleus (line 6) supporting the information in choice (D).

36.  G  According to line 11, comets cast no light of their own. Line 70 discusses the discovery of a previously unknown mineral, supporting the information in choice (F). The example of the two appearances of Halley’s comet in the third paragraph support the changes in apparent brightness at different times mentioned in choice (H). Line 59 states that comets come from areas barely within the Sun’s gravitation, so eliminate choice (J).

37.  B  The example of Halley’s comet is used to show how a comet’s distance to Earth, especially in relation to its perihelion (line 30) affects its brightness. Choice (A) discusses speed which is not related to the example of Halley’s comet, but rather comet IRAS-Araki-Alcock (lines 43−44). Though the second pass of Halley’s comet was a disappointment (line 36), this information is not what the example is used to emphasize in the passage, so eliminate choice (C). Choice (D) incorrectly suggests that comets are unpredictable with regard to when they will be visible, rather than how bright they will be.

38.  J  The last paragraph discusses interesting results of examination of dust from a comet as well as future missions that have not yet been completed. There was no mention of technical difficulties, so eliminate choice (F). Though some scientists hope (line 65) that information gained from direct study of comets might explain life on Earth, this has not yet happened as indicated in choice (G). Lines 68−70 state that samples of comet dust have been collected and successfully examined, contradicting choice (H).

39.  C  The quotation refers to the aspects of comets that interest astronomers. These are discussed in detail in the next paragraph as primarily chemical differences between comets and the Earth, and in this paragraph, it is mentioned that comets are thought to represent remnants of many of the chemical materials from which the social system was created. Choice (A) indicates the interest in novelty of the comets, not the characteristics beyond novelty. The difficulty of detecting comets is explained in the passage, but is not described as being of particular interest to astronomers, so eliminate choice (B). Though comets are said in the passage to provide a fossil record (line 61) of the solar system, this is because they are unchanged, not because they are older.

40.  H  The last paragraph is mainly about the reasons scientists study comets. Choice (F) suggests that many experiments have been performed on passing comets, but the paragraph mentions only one, and indicates that many planned experiments have yet to be tried. Though some scientists hope that comet material may reveal information about the origins of life on Earth (lines 79−81), the passage does not suggest that comets caused evolution, as stated in choice (G). Although lines 72−75 mention that information about comets may cause scientists to reconsider new models for the origins of the solar system in the future, the passage does not contradict current models, so eliminate choice (J).