Sporting Futures USA | SAT Prep | Critical Reading 1.6

Question 1 of 20

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1 Weather forecasts specific to wild land fire have been
2 provided since as early as 1916, when the U.S. Weath-
3 er Bureau was still a part of the U.S. Department of
4 Agriculture. In the last decade, though, the fire weather
5 program has been a repeated target of budget cuts.
6 An agreement between the National Weather Service
7 (NWS) and federal land management agencies speci-
8 fies that meteorological support will be provided for
9 wild land fire. The NWS, however, is struggling through
10 a nationwide Modernization and Associated
11 Restructuring (MAR), and the fire community is more
12 than a little worried about the degradation of services
13 that may result.

14 One of the key pieces of MAR is the phasing out of
15 meteorologists who specialize in fire weather. These
16 people are being moved, transferred, re-assigned, or
17 otherwise attritioned out of fire weather forecasting.
18 The NWS contends that its core staff of generalists can
19 do a better job than the fire weather specialists did,
20 with the help of new forecast technology. This new-
21 and-improved technology, however, has proved to be
22 less helpful than expected; it wasn't ready on time and
23 its quality is questionable. In addition, MAR will close
24 the former specialized fire weather offices; the fire
25 meteorologists, or "fire mets," will be absorbed into the
26 staffs of the new modernized offices, where they will
27 take on additional forecast duties including aviation
28 meteorology, hydrology, marine forecasting, and
29 severe weather warnings. MAR's planned transition,
30 though, has been stalling, partly because of problems
31 with the technology, partly because of budget short-
32 falls, and partly because of objections from the wild
33 land fire community.

34 The fire agencies -- the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of
35 Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish &
36 Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs -- see
37 clearly the connection between fire weather and safety.
38 But the NWS has not acknowledged the value of or the
39 need for dedicated fire weather specialists who are
40 familiar with local conditions and weather patterns,
41 and their relevance to fire behavior. The NWS does not
42 seem to understand the connection between these
43 meteorologists and safety -- in fact, the NWS does a
44 dismal job of tracking statistics on the injuries,
45 fatalities, and property damage caused by fire weather.
46 Private for-profit weather companies lobbied Congress
47 to transfer weather services away from government
48 agencies without any understanding of the program-
49 matic structure which is needed in order to maintain
50 timely and accurate fire weather forecasts, and Con-
51 gress has, in turn, slashed funding for the programs.
52 The cumulative effect of these factors has created an
53 explosive situation that has fire agencies worried, and
54 NWS management scrambling for a solution.

Q: The author's tone throughout this passage can best be described as which of the following?

Select one of the following:

  • angry

  • informative

  • vengeful

  • argumentative

  • uncertain

Question 2 of 20

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1 From his studies of the British Constitution, French
2 political philosopher Montesquieu developed the the-
3 ory of separation of powers. Montesquieu argued that
4 the government, in order to guard against the arbitrary
5 exercise of power, should be divided into three distinct
6 departments: the executive, judiciary and legislature.
7 The Founding Fathers utilized separation of powers as
8 a basic tenet in forming the U.S. Constitution, which
9 vests legislative powers in Congress, judicial powers
10 in the Supreme Court and subsidiary courts, and
11 executive powers in the president and his delegates.
12 According to separation of powers, each branch has its
13 own functions, which theoretically prevents any branch
14 from encroaching upon another. Practice, however,
15 necessitates some overlap between branches. The
16 legislature may oppose and impeach members of the
17 executive, and the president may veto legislation. The
18 Supreme Court, whose members are appointed by the
19 president and approved by Congress, can judge the
20 actions of the other branches. Although one branch
21 tends to dominate the others historically, the "checks
22 and balances" of separation of powers ensures that
23 power shifts between them.

Q: Which of the following best describes the author's purpose in the passage?

Select one of the following:

  • to explain why the Supreme Court has more power than either the legislative or executive branches

  • to explain the roles of the three branches of government

  • to argue against the overlap of the three branches of government

  • to explain Montesquieu's role in creating the separation of powers

  • to explain that it was not the Founding Fathers who came up with the idea of separation of powers, but that it was Montesquieu

Question 3 of 20

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Jason had long been considered a ________ student by his teachers; he constantly challenged authority figures and often refused to obey even the simplest request.

Select the word that best completes the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • zealous

  • respectful

  • erudite

  • apathetic

  • belligerent

Question 4 of 20

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1 According to reports from NASA's satellites, the
2 perennial polar ice has shrunken more than 30%
3 since the 1970s, with about half of that coming be-
4 tween 2004 and 2005 alone. Other studies have
5 shown ice in the Arctic Ocean has decreased in thick-
6 ness by about 15% in recent years. If the polar ice cap
7 continues to disappear at this rate, NASA estimates it
8 could be gone all together by 2070. That would mean
9 trouble not only for the climate on earth, but also for life
10 on earth.

Q: In line 2, "perennial" suggests that the ice:

Select one of the following:

  • is more or less round in shape.

  • normally stays frozen all year long.

  • is thicker toward the center of the ice cap.

  • is an essential habitat for polar bears.

  • is deteriorating.

Question 5 of 20

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The ________ minister managed to ________ the church service into a four-hour ordeal.

Select the words that best complete the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • effervescent . . enlighten

  • loquacious . . prolong

  • bashful . . extend

  • wistful . . mourn

  • inexorable . . transcend

Question 6 of 20

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Despite the criminal's ________ during the trial, the judge granted him ________.

Select the words that best complete the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • outbursts . . repression

  • disrespect . . tedium

  • honesty . . probation

  • cooperation . . absolution

  • intransigence . . clemency

Question 7 of 20

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1 The two-party political system in the United States is a
2 relatively recent phenomenon. It has only been in the
3 last forty years that the Republican and Democratic
4 parties have effectively held control of most state and
5 federal elected offices. However, several candidates
6 described as "independent" have made significant
7 impacts on many major races in the last four decades.
8 In 2000, Ralph Nader's run for the Presidency as a
9 Green Party candidate garnered only 2.7% of the popu-
10 lar vote, but those few thousand votes might other-
11 wise have changed the outcome of George W. Bush's
12 razor-thin victory over John Kerry. The 1992 race was
13 also influenced by a third-party candidate, Ross Perot,
14 who ran as the Reform Party candidate. Perot secured
15 19% of the 1992 presidential vote, likely receiving many
16 votes that might otherwise have given George H. W.
17 Bush a better chance to defeat Bill Clinton.

Q: The primary purpose of this passage is to:

Select one of the following:

  • give an overview of the history of the two-party system

  • show the triumphs and failures of a two-party system.

  • change a common misconception about the two-party system.

  • highlight the importance of independent candidates in recent electoral races.

  • discuss the factors that have led to the recent emergence of viable independent candidates.

Question 8 of 20

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1 We sorely need a clearer conception of the truth. We
2 need it in the business of living; especially as a means
3 of avoiding misunderstandings. If we have an abstract
4 idea of what the truth is we are less likely to err in
5 the belief that we are right before we know the truth.
6 We shall hardly be charged with applying new mean-
7 ings to old words if we say facts and the truth are not
8 the same. Facts are part of the truth, just as wheels,
9 rods, levers, and the like are parts of a machine. If
10 we say "the whole truth" every time we refer to the
11 truth, it might make the idea more clear, but let us
12 agree to consider it so, without the need of saying
13 two words where one will do.

14 If you strike me, that becomes a fact as soon as you
15 have done it. Whether you have struck me or not is
16 a question of fact and not a question of truth. The truth
17 may be that you struck me to call my attention to
18 impending danger, or you maybe have struck me in
19 anger, or the blow may be an unimportant episode in
20 a long fight between us.
The truth, as I conceive it, is all the facts in their right
22 or correct relation, the relation which they must bear
23 to one another when the truth is attained. Thus the
24 truth becomes an abstract thing, because we know
25 what it is, although we may not know it. Rarely, indeed,
26 are we able to gather all the facts in relation to a
27 subject, on the one hand, or to correlate them, on the
28 other; nevertheless we must do this if we would
29 know the truth.

30 If this definition is unfamiliar, if we are not accustomed
31 to consider the truth in this sense, I think it will do us
32 no harm to bear it in mind. In courts of law, according
33 to current practice, it might not hold, but we are,
34 fortunately, under no obligation to order our thinking
35 according to the processes of law.
If we exalt the truth and reverence it, the glib and
37 hysterical brothers and sisters who, grasping a single
38 fact, proceed to preach that and that only as the truth,
39 will cause less annoyance. We may acknowledge
40 their facts as facts, which is all they can ask of us. If
41 we still remain unconvinced of the truth of their
42 preachments we shall be contradicting no one. The
43 truth is very great, very large, and when Lessing prayed
44 that to him be given the privilege to seek the truth
45 rather than to know it, because to know it he was not
46 worthy, he spoke as one of the wisest of men. To
47 seek it, to get nearer to it, sometimes perhaps to get a
48 glimpse of it, is all that we may hope for; it is the
49 best we can do.

50 Suppose you and I look at a tree on a hillside. We
51 see only the leaves, and we observe that the tree is
52 green. The tree is green; that is a fact. Let us make a
53 note of it. Then suppose we go a distance away and
54 look at it again. The tree is blue. It is idle for us to
55 say, "It seems blue, but it really is green," because
56 our very organs which gave the reaction of green a
57 while ago now give the reaction of blue. By the same
58 token that the tree was green when we saw it nearby
59 it is blue when we see it from afar. So let us make a
60 second note: the tree is blue. Here we have two con-
61 tradictory statements of fact, neither false, and yet
62 neither the whole truth. The truth about the color of
63 the tree involves a great range of subjects, including
64 the physics of light, the anatomy and physiology of
65 the human eye, photochemistry--in short, a vast store
66 of learning and understanding.

67 Many facts which seem irreconcilable become har-
68 monious parts of the truth when all the facts are
69 arranged in their right order. So the truth should make
70 us humble and patient with one another. None of us
71 has faculties of universal coordination, and our blind
72 spots, instead of being little delinquencies of percep-
73 tion are in reality vast areas. The most we can claim
74 is that we have a few sighted spots. To see all
75 the facts in their right relation is what we might call
76 the Olympian vision.

Q: The author implies that the "processes of law" (line 35):

Select one of the following:

  • are not useful as guides for cognition.

  • are unresponsive to societal change and therefore lag behind the times.

  • restrict people's thinking.

  • help humans to avoid misunderstandings.

  • are esoteric and can be understood only be specialists.

Question 9 of 20

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Lisa's initial move revealed her ________ skills; she must have never played chess before.

Select the word that best completes the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • formidable

  • nefarious

  • fledgling

  • imperious

  • ineffable

Question 10 of 20

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1 Talk to the handful of "doughboys" who are still alive
2 today--the youngest of which is 105 years old, having
3 lied about his age in order to enlist as an ambulance
4 corpsman in 1917 and they still cannot bring them-
5 selves to discuss the brutal horror that was trench
6 warfare. "I don't want to think about it," one veteran
7 said, though he added that he thinks about his fallen
8 comrades every day of his unnaturally-long life.
9 The experience of any warfare, from our American
10 Civil War to the present conflicts in Iraq and
11 Afghanistan, often leaves veterans dumb, but there
12 was something exponentially more terrible, indeed
13 unspeakable, about the mass slaughter that marked
14 "The War to End All Wars," so named because it was
15 (to that point) that bloodiest conflict known to man.
16 Nearly 10 million soldiers died, and more than 20
17 million were wounded in four years of fighting. It made
18 folks so sick of war that they hoped against hope no
19 new war would ever erupt again.

20 The lethal drones and computerized smart-bombs of
21 today, the napalm and jungle warfare of Vietnam, the
22 frozen tundra and stalemate of the Korean peninsula,
23 or the aerial fire-bombing of The Second World War--
24 for all their selective butchery, they are pale in com-
25 parison with the impassable mud, denuded land-
26 scapes, endless barbed wire and infected vermin, the
27 the mustard gas and killing field in between enemy
28 trenches forever known as "No-Man's Land" that
29 marked this particular conflict as the worst hardship
30 that soldiers ever had to endure. "All this madness,"
31 the British philosopher Bertrand Russell once said,
32 "all this rage, all this flaming death of our civilization
33 and our hopes, has been brought about because a
34 set of official gentlemen, living luxurious lives, mostly
35 stupid, and all without imagination or heart, have
36 chosen that it should occur rather than that any one
37 of them should suffer some infinitesimal rebuff to his
38 country's pride."

39 Of course World War I did not "end all wars," but it did
40 awaken nations to unite initially as the League of
41 Nations and later as the United Nations in order to
42 take steps to correct some of the worst outrages of that
43 barbaric conflict, such as trench warfare, and in that
44 sense endures as the crucible of man's inhumanity to
45 man.

Q: What purpose is served by the author quoting the veteran who said "I don't want to think about it"?

Select one of the following:

  • The veteran's unwillingness to articulate the realities of the war advance the author's point by emphasizing how horrid trench warfare actually was.

  • The veteran's words advance the author's point by educating readers on the horror of trench warfare.

  • The quotation illustrates the point that not many veterans were willing to discuss their experiences in the war.

  • The quotation illustrates one of the many casualties the veteran suffered as a result of trench warfare.

  • The veteran's inability to articulate the realities of the war suggest that it was the less-educated who were called to serve in the war.

Question 11 of 20

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1 In the retrospective "Drawn from Life" at the NAB
2 Gallery, Marion Kryczka, Tom Robinson, and Bob Horn
3 showcase their drawings, paintings, and mixed media,
4 reflecting their life-long fascination with the figure as
5 conceptual art. The artists pay homage to the NAB
6 tradition of "holding figure drawing workshops for art-
7 ists to hone their perception and to use drawing as a
8 starting point as well as a point of departure to see
9 what is possible." And what is remarkable about this
10 show is not just the focus on drawing and the use of
11 traditional materials, but also the depiction of a
12 "Baroque style" portraying drama, vitality, and move-
13 ment--filtered through a modern sensibility. This show
14 is an allegory of art as poetry, transformation, and
15 social commentary.

16 Marion Kryczka's series begins with "Emperor of Ice-
17 Cream," a study in pastel on paper and another in oil
18 on canvas. Kryczka believes that "painting is like poetry
19 because both are filled with symbolism and both tell a
20 story." His series is named after the Wallace Stevens
21 poem "The Emperor of Ice-Cream," which has been
22 interpreted by some as celebrating the triumph of life's
23 pleasures and sensualities over the absoluteness of
24 death. Stevens re-emphasizes in the poem's last line
25 that "the only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream,"
26 perhaps meaning that what matters most is enjoying
27 life with all one's senses fully engaged, as they are
28 when eating ice-cream. Kryczka begins his story with a
29 chair in the foreground of a dimly-lit sitting room, beck-
30 oning the viewer to come into his world with a front row
31 seat. In the background, we see two women in profile,
32 one sitting and the other standing, both looking intently
33 at what appears to be a painting on the wall.

34 There is a bowl of ice-cream and a sheaf of wrapped
35 flowers on a long table, dividing the sitting room and
36 the doorway to the kitchen, which is bathed in natural
37 light. We are engaged in a painting that resembles the
38 17th-century Dutch master Pieter de Hooch with the il-
39 lusion of real perspective, portrayal of natural light, and
40 subtle use of color and tone. But, at the same time, the
41 painting also allows for a sense of modernism with
42 gestural drawings, a blend of realism and abstraction,
43 and a push and pull of intimate, close-up space and
44 receding space. Kryczka draws us deeply into the
45 world of poetry as painting.

46 Tom Robinson's series, including portraits, mixed me-
47 dia figures, and a video presentation of his models,
48 is "a newer form of art" for the artist. "Hannah" is a
49 larger-than-life portrait, first drawn gesturally with char-
50 coal on paper, then enhanced with Adobe Photoshop,
51 and finally printed on special paper, giving the portrait a
52 lithographic quality. The drawing resembles the real
53 person (seen on the video) but seems to emerge as a
54 character from a Kafkaesque landscape drawn in
55 Manga.* Her eyes are looking to the side as if she is
56 attempting to peer over her shoulder without moving
57 her head, trying to see if someone is following her.
58 We look closely at her enlarged pupils, trying to un-
59 cover any hidden images, but there is nothing there
60 except for reflected light. She could easily become a
61 Japanese anime heroine, with shifting features and
62 flowing hair, or a William Kentridge study of sustained
63 ambiguity. Robinson's drawings, enhanced by his use
64 of technology and mixed media, engage us with his
65 view of art as transformation.

66 Bob Horn's series includes large-scale frontal por-
67 traitures and smaller drawings of toys and cultural
68 icons, all drawn with charcoal and white pastel on fine-
69 art paper. Horn's "Expulsion from the Garden" brings to
70 mind the early-Renaissance artist Massacio's fresco
71 of Adam and Eve, and Michelangelo's "The Fall and
72 Expulsion from the Garden of Eden," with the entice-
73 ment of the snake and the fall occurring simultane-
74 ously in the same painting. What is memorable about
75 these Renaissance-era paintings is the artists' ability
76 to express real emotional turmoil in the figures--Adam
77 and Eve feel fear, shame, guilt, sadness, and despair.
78 But in Horn's tongue-in-cheek interpretation, the expul-
79 sion reveals a Humpty-Dumpty apple figure looking for-
80 lornly in the distance, as a bewildered Homer Simpson
81 in his underwear and a smiling "dime-store Barbie"
82 march in single file away to oblivion.

83 In another series, Horn's "Man with Ring" and "Woman
84 with Ring" evoke Rembrandt's use of chiaroscuro**
85 and his ability to bring a naturalness to his subjects to
86 highlight their personalities. Horn's realistic style
87 brings to mind the 19th-century realist Henri Fantin-
88 Latour, who painted traditional portraits with great
89 detail in austere, understated compositions. However,
90 in Horn's portraits, both the man and woman are wear-
91 ing rings not on their fingers, as they might have in a
92 Fantin-Latour portrait, but in their noses. Dressed in a
93 New York Yankees T-shirt, the young African-American
94 man carries an expression of intelligence, serious-
95 ness, and wonderment at the same time. Although the
96 young woman is wearing only a nose ring, her coun-
97 tenance tells us that she is strong, smart, outgoing,
98 and playful. Welcome to Bob Horn's world.

*Manga is a Japanese print cartoon.
**Chiaroscuro is using light and shadow for dramatic effect.

Q: The author most likely utilizes so many comparisons to artists from earlier eras in order to:

Select one of the following:

  • argue that modern art is superior to the art of previous centuries.

  • show off his or her knowledge of art history.

  • demonstrate the downward trajectory of drawing and painting since their heyday in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

  • illustrate the dependence of visual artists on poetry for inspiration throughout many artistic movements.

  • explain with concrete examples how Kryczka, Robinson, and Horn blend elements of older artistic styles with a modern sensibility.

Question 12 of 20

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1 In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt, campaigning for pres-
2 ident on the Progressive Party ticket, endorsed
3 compulsory health insurance as part of his platform.
4 The same year, an organization of progressive econo-
5 mists started a crusade to make health insurance
6 mandatory for workers who earned less than $1,200 a
7 year (about $25,000 today). The cost of the premiums
8 would be shared by employer and employee (two-fifths
9 each) and the state. Compulsory health insurance,
10 proponents argued, would eliminate sickness as a
11 cause of poverty.

12 For a few years, it looked as though health-insurance
13 legislation in the U.S. was inevitable, and advanta-
14 geous for workers and doctors. With access to prompt
15 medical care, laborers would be able to return to their
16 jobs more quickly, keeping their families fed. And
17 doctors would prosper if a growing number of patients
18 could pay their fees. More than a dozen state legisla-
19 tures began considering compulsory health insurance
20 based on a model bill drafted by a labor group.

21 But the "professional philanthropists, busybody social
22 workers, misguided clergymen and hysterical women,"
23 as an opponent described them, hadn't reckoned on a
24 mighty resistance movement of some the unlikeliest
25 political bedfellows in history. They included commer-
26 cial insurance companies; fraternal organizations;
27 pharmacists; manufacturers; Samuel Gompers, then
28 president of the American Federation of Labor, and
29 some other labor unions; Christian Scientists; assort-
30 ed xenophobes and anti-Communists; and -- the coup
31 de grace -- doctors.

32 Although united in their goal to defeat mandatory insur-
33 ance, the challengers had wildly different motives.
34 Commercial insurance companies and fraternal or-
35 ganizations sold sickness and burial policies and
36 feared losing business. Pharmacists suspected the
37 government would start telling patients what medi-
38 cines to take and how much they should cost. Samuel
39 Gompers argued that the solution to the problem of ill-
40 ness was not compulsory insurance but higher wages.
41 Management didn't want to pay for another benefit,
42 especially if, as a representative of an industry trade
43 group argued, "the sickness had been contracted
44 either through intemperate or licentious living."

45 America's entry into World War I in 1917 provided an-
46 other knock against health insurance: It was unAmeri-
47 can. As California prepared for a referendum on the
48 issue, commercial insurers published pamphlets
49 picturing Kaiser Wilhelm II with the caption, "Made in
50 Germany. Do you want it in California?" (Voters re-
51 jected the measure.) In Albany, an insurance bill under
52 consideration by the state Legislature came "straight
53 from Germany" and was "devilish in principle and
54 foreign to American ideals," argued Henry W. Berg, a
55 New York doctor. It never got out of committee.

56 The AALL also neglected to woo physicians, often ig-
57 noring their opinions when negotiating the legislation
58 Most doctors became convinced that health insurance
59 would insert the dubious judgment of the government
60 between patient and doctor, and cut their pay. Charles
61 H. Mayo, president of the American Medical Associa-
62 tion, urged physicians to be wary of "anything which
63 reduced the income of the physician" because that
64 would "limit his training, equipment and efficiency."
65 In the end, not a single state passed a health insur-
66 ance law. Henry Seager, one-time head of the AALL
67 and a Columbia University professor, said, "We are
68 still so far from considering illness as anything beyond
69 a private misfortune against which each individual and
70 each family should protect itself, as best it may, that
71 Germany's heroic method of attacking it as a national
72 evil through government machinery seems to us to
73 belong almost to another planet."


74 Politicians and pundits lump the terms "health care"
75 and "health insurance" together as though they are the
76 same thing. For example, Sen. Max Baucus, Montana
77 Democrat, recently said, "One in 6 Americans does not
78 have access to health care. And in my home state of
79 Montana, an even greater percentage of people have
80 limited access to health care: 1 in 5 Montanans lack
81 health insurance."

82 In reality, however, health care and health insurance
83 are quite different. Health care is the products and ser-
84 vices used for the prevention, treatment and manage-
85 ment of illness. Health insurance, on the other hand, is
86 a way of paying for health care. Specifically, it is an
87 agreement whereby the insurer pays for the health
88 care costs of the insured.

89 Believing health care and health insurance are the
90 same thing easily leads to some mistaken, if not
91 dangerous, notions. It leads to the beliefs that (1) uni-
92 versal health care and universal health insurance are
93 the same; and (2) that if a nation has universal health
94 insurance, where the government pays for every citi-
95 zen's health care, that nation will have universal health
96 care, where citizens will have ready access to health
97 care whenever they need it. As the experience of other
98 nations shows, however, universal health insurance
99 often leads to very restricted access to health care.
100 In nations where the government provides universal
101 health insurance -- such as Canada, Sweden and the
102 United Kingdom -- there are few restraints on citizens'
103 demand for health care. This leads to many citizens
104 overusing health care and creates a strain on govern-
105 ment budgets. To keep the costs from exploding, those
106 governments must restrict access to health care by
107 using waiting lists, canceling surgeries or delaying
108 access to new treatments such as prescription drugs.
109 The consequences can be quite harmful.

110 In 1997, three patients in Northern Ontario, Canada,
111 died while on a waiting list to receive heart surgery.
112 One patient had been waiting more than six months to
113 receive bypass surgery. In Britain, patient Mavis Skeet's
114 cancer surgery was canceled four times, during which
115 time her cancer became inoperable. It is important to
116 note, however, that all these people had health insur-
117 ance -- that is, their governments would pay for their
118 health care. What they did not have was ready access
119 to treatment. As the Canadian Supreme Court said
120 upon ruling a ban on private health care as unconstitu-
121 tional, "access to a waiting list is not access to health care."

Q: According to Passage 1, those who opposed compulsory health insurance could best be described as:

Select one of the following:

  • motivated solely by fiduciary issues.

  • self-motivated and cold.

  • a lofty group of educated people.

  • ignorant of the link between lack of health insurance and poverty.

  • a motley group, linked only by their opposition to compulsory health insurance.

Question 13 of 20

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Samantha was neither amiable nor forthright, but was instead known for her ________ and ________ nature.

Select the words that best complete the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • perplexed . . gullible

  • peevish . . herbivorous

  • hostile . . scheming

  • agreeable . . deceitful

  • predatory . . contracted

Question 14 of 20

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1 Our ape ancestors have passed on to us a legacy de-
2 fined by the power of natural selection and written in
3 the molecular chemistry of DNA. For the most part it is
4 a wonderful inheritance, but it does contain an
5 annihilative tendency which, now that we have access
6 to weapons of mass destruction, could hasten our own
7 demise as a species. We humans have long intuited
8 our potential for self-sabotage and so have built
9 civilizations with laws and systems of justice,
10 civilizations which value diplomacy and mediation, in
11 an attempt to quash our internecine birthright. We
12 might continue to hope that humans will realize the
13 calamitous effects of their violent behavior and end
14 their lethal actions of their own accord, but we temper
15 our ideals with pragmatism and offer incentives to
16 discourage violence. The problem is that our DNA
17 holds bloodthirsty savagery within it at unconscious
18 and irrational levels. A male chimpanzee who
19 challenges another's rank is not motivated by the
20 promise of more numerous sexual conquests or better
21 food or a longer life. Those rewards explain why nat-
22 ural selection has favored the desire for power in the
23 long term, but the immediate impetus motivating the
24 chimp who vies for status is simpler, deeper, and less
25 subject to the vagaries of context. His actions are
26 spurred simply by the wish to dominate his peers.
27 Unconscious of the evolutionary rationale that placed
28 this prideful goal in his temperament, the chimp de-
29 vises complex and original strategies to achieve
30 ascendancy. In the same way, the motivation of male
31 chimpanzees on a border patrol is not to gain land or
32 win females. Their stimulus has its roots in their de-
33 sire to intimidate the opposition, to beat them to a
34 pulp, to erode their ability to mount a challenge. Win-
35 ning is an end in itself.

36 To my eyes, humans look much the same.

Q: What would the author of this passage probably posit about humankind's ability to live in peace?

Select one of the following:

  • While it appears that chimpanzees are driven by an innate need for power, humans are able to overcome their genetic inheritance and seek peace through nonviolent means.

  • Humans, unlike chimpanzees, realize that winning is not really an end in itself and therefore naturally tend to be peaceful.

  • Better laws and more civilized behavior will ultimately lead to peace.

  • Humans will eventually realize that violence doesn't pay off and peace will become an ultimate reality.

  • The desire for power is hard-wired into humans and it results in violence which is impossible to completely eradicate.

Question 15 of 20

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The lecture was so ________ that the students couldn't help but fall asleep.

Select the word that best completes the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • lascivious

  • exuberant

  • banal

  • facetious

  • prurient

Question 16 of 20

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While some critics perceived the film as ________, the New York Times proclaimed it a work of ________.

Select the words that best complete the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • shocking . . boring

  • fabulous . . terrific

  • amateur . . watchable

  • absurd . . crude

  • juvenile . . genius

Question 17 of 20

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Please Note: Question is at the bottom of this Reading Passage.

1 Ever since the Census Bureau released figures
2 showing that married-couple households are now a
3 minority, my phone has been ringing off the hook with
4 calls from people asking: "How can we save mar-
5 riage? How can we make Americans understand that
6 marriage is the most significant emotional connection
7 they will ever make?"

8 I think these are the wrong questions--indeed, such
9 questions would have been almost unimaginable
10 through most of history. It has only been in the last
11 century that Americans have put all their emotional
12 eggs in the basket of coupled love. Because of this
13 change, many of us have found joys in marriage our
14 great-great-grandparents never did. But we have also
15 neglected our other relationships, placing too many
16 burdens on a fragile institution and making social life
17 poorer in the process. In fact, according to the Census
18 Bureau's figures, the number of people who depended
19 totally on a spouse for important conversations, with no
20 other person to turn to, almost doubled, to 9.4 percent
21 from 5 percent. Not surprisingly, the number of people
22 saying they didn't have anyone in whom they confided
23 nearly tripled.

24 The solution to this isolation is not to ramp up our
25 emotional dependence on marriage. Until 100 years
26 ago, most societies agreed that it was dangerously
27 antisocial to elevate marital affection and nuclear-
28 family ties above commitments to neighbors, extended
29 kin, civic duty and religion.

30 From medieval days until the early 19th century, diaries
31 and letters more often used the word love to refer to
32 neighbors, cousins and fellow church members than
33 to spouses. Victorian novels and diaries were as
34 passionate about brother-sister relationships and
35 same-sex friendships as about marital ties.

36 By the early 20th century, though, the sea change in the
37 culture wrought by the industrial economy had
38 loosened social obligations to neighbors and kin,
39 giving rise to the idea that individuals could meet their
40 deepest needs only through romantic love, culminat-
41 ing in marriage. Under the influence of Freudianism,
42 society began to view intense same-sex ties with sus-
43 picion and people were urged to reject the emotional
44 claims of friends and relatives who might compete with
45 a spouse for time and affection.

46 The insistence that marriage and parenthood could
47 satisfy all an individual's needs reached a peak in the
48 cult of "togetherness" among middle-class suburban
49 Americans in the 1950s. Women were told that
50 marriage and motherhood offered them complete
51 fulfillment. Men were encouraged to let their wives
52 take care of their social lives.

53 But many men and women found these prescriptions
54 stifling. Women who entered the work force in the
55 1960s joyfully rediscovered social contacts and
56 friendships outside the home. And women's lead in
57 overturning the cult of 1950s marriage inspired many
58 men to rediscover what earlier generations of men had
59 taken for granted -- that men need deep emotional
60 connections with other men, not just their wives.
61 Researchers soon found that men and women with
62 confidants beyond the nuclear family were mentally
63 and physically healthier than people who relied on just
64 one other individual for emotional intimacy and
65 support.

66 So why do we seem to be slipping back in this regard?
67 It is not because most people have voluntarily em-
68 braced nuclear-family isolation. Indeed, the spread of
69 "virtual" communities on the Internet speaks to a deep
70 hunger to reach out to others. Instead, it is the expan-
71 sion of the post-industrial economy that seems to be
72 driving us back to a new dependence on marriage.
73 According to the researchers Kathleen Gerson and
74 Jerry Jacobs, 60 percent of American married couples
75 have both partners in the work force, up from 36 per-
76 cent in 1970, and the average two-earner couple now
77 works 82 hours a week. This increase in working
78 hours is probably why the time Americans spend
79 socializing with others off the job has declined by
80 almost 25 percent since 1965. Their free hours are
81 spent with spouses.

82 As Americans lose the wider face-to-face ties that build
83 social trust, they become more dependent on romantic
84 relationships for intimacy and deep communication,
85 and more vulnerable to isolation if a relationship
86 breaks down. In some cases we even cause the
87 breakdown by loading the relationship with too many
88 expectations. Marriage is generally based on greater
89 equality and deeper friendship than in the past, but
90 even so, it is hard for marriage to compensate for the
91 way that work has devoured time once spent cultiva-
92 ting friendships.

93 The solution is not to revive the failed marital experi-
94 ment of the 1950s, as so many commentators noting
95 the decline in married-couple households seem
96 to want. Nor is it to lower our expectations that we'll
97 find fulfillment and friendship in marriage. Instead, we
98 should raise our expectations for, and commitment to,
99 other relationships. Paradoxically, we can strengthen
100 our marriages the most by not expecting them to be
101 our sole refuge from the pressures of the modern work
102 force. Instead, we need to restructure both work and
103 social life so we can reach out and build ties with
104 others, including people who are single or divorced.
105 That indeed would be a return to marital tradition--not
106 the 1950s model, but the pre-20th-century model that
107 has a much more enduring pedigree.

Q: The author attributes which of the following factors as the chief transformer of the institution of marriage?

Select one of the following:

  • we have also neglected our other relationships (lines 14-15)

  • overturning the cult of 1950s marriage (line 57)

  • Americans have put all their emotional eggs in the basket of coupled love (lines 11-12)

  • insistence that marriage and parenthood could satisfy all an individual's needs (lines 46-47)

  • loading the relationship with too many expectations (line 87)

Question 18 of 20

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Eddie had a ________ appetite for knowledge; by the time he was seventeen, he'd read every volume in his school library and was attempting to take on the ________ challenge of reading every book in the town library.

Select the words that best complete the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • voracious . . gargantuan

  • great . . meager

  • lackadaisical . . enormous

  • scanty . . monstrous

  • humble . . ambiguous

Question 19 of 20

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Everyone in that family has remarkable ________; several of them started new careers in their sixties and now, twenty years later, are still assets to their workplaces!

Select the word that best completes the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • omniscience

  • loquacity

  • momentum

  • morbidity

  • longevity

Question 20 of 20

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Please Note: Question is at the bottom of this Reading Passage.

1 Everyone knows that American culture has under-
2 gone drastic changes over the last several decades.
3 Perhaps no cultural institution has changed more
4 drastically in that time than the art museum. Forty
5 years ago, the typical art museum was a staid and
6 stately place. Its architecture, often neo-classical,
7 tended to suggest grandeur and to elicit contempla-
8 tion. Soaring columns and marble halls bespoke an
9 opulence of purpose as well as material wealth. Even
10 museums that departed from the neo-classical model,
11 such as New York's Museum of Modern Art, strove to
12 embody a dignified seriousness about the vocation
13 of art.

14 At that time, the museum was widely regarded as a
15 'temple of art,' a special place set apart from the
16 vicissitudes of the quotidian. The decibel level was
17 low, decorum high, and crowds, generally, were
18 sparse. In the culture at large, there was broad agree-
19 ment that the art museum had a twofold curatorial
20 purpose: to preserve and exhibit objects of historical
21 interest and commanding aesthetic achievement, and
22 to nurture the public's direct experience of those
23 objects. 'Art,' not 'amenity,' came first on the museum's
24 menu. The seriousness of the art museum was a
25 reflection of the seriousness of the art world. If
26 some works of art were deliberately playful or even
27 frivolous, art itself was entrusted with the important
28 task of educating the imagination and helping to
29 humanize and refine the emotions. Accordingly,
30 art museums were democratic but not demotic
31 institutions. They were open, but not necessarily
32 accessible, to all. The bounty they offered exacted
33 the homage of informed interest as the price of
34 participation. Accessibility was a privilege anyone
35 could earn, not a right that everyone enjoyed. The
36 1960s put paid to all that. There are still a handful of
37 holdouts: odd institutions here and there that cling
38 stubbornly to the old ways. But the 'blockbuster'
39 mentality that began developing in the 1960s helped
40 to transform many art museums into all-purpose
41 cultural emporia. Increasingly, success was measured
42 by quantity, not quality, by the take at the box office
43 rather than at the bar of aesthetic discrimination.

44 Indeed, as the egalitarian imperatives of the 'sixties
45 insinuated themselves more and more thoroughly in-
46 to mainstream culture, the very ideal of aesthetic excel-
47 lence came under fire. Adulation, not connoisseur-
48 ship, was the order of the day. Many commentators --
49 even many artists -- rejected outright the pursuit of
50 aesthetic excellence; they saw it as an elitist holdover
51 from the discredited hierarchies of the past. Others
52 subordinated the aesthetic dimension of art to one
53 or another political program or intellectual obsession.
54 Notoriety, not artistic accomplishment, became the
55 chief goal of art, even as terms like 'challenging' and
56 'transgressive' took precedence over 'beautiful' and
57 and other traditional commendations in the lexicon
58 of critical praise. Art was still a talismanic necessity,
59 the presence of which underwrote an institution's
60 social pretensions as well as its tax-exempt status.
61 But increasingly art functioned more as a catalyst
62 than an end in itself -- one attraction among many
63 and not necessarily the most important. The coffee
64 bar or restaurant, the movie theater or gift store or
65 interactive computer center vied for attention. Art
66 merely added the desired patina of cultural
67 sophistication.

68 The triumph of quantity over quality showed itself
69 in other ways as well. It used to be that art museums
70 were like oases: relatively few and far between. But
71 in the 1960s it became an article of faith in some
72 quarters that anyone could be an artist; it is our mis-
73 fortune that so many people seem to have believed
74 that dogma. Suddenly there was a Niagara of new
75 art clamoring for attention. Established art museums
76 undertook ambitious building programs to house
77 the stuff; museumless towns and college campuses
78 scurried to remedy their lack. When it came to
79 anything that could be congregated under the banner
80 of 'the arts,' the watchword was 'more is better.'
81 Everywhere one looked there was a new or greatly
82 expanded museum or arts center. No self-respecting
83 population dared be without some visible 'commit-
84 ment to the arts.' But the curious logic that subordi-
85 nated aesthetic to political considerations also meant
86 that while possessing a museum became a badge of
87 social respectability, 'respectability' itself had become
88 a deeply suspect idea. Art museums are still monu-
89 ments to civic pride -- and, sometimes, assets to civic
90 coffers. The irony is that today many museums extol
91 values utterly at odds with the civilization that produced
92 and that continues to sustain them.

Q: Lines 14-16 ("At that time . . . of the quotidian"), portray museums as:

Select one of the following:

  • stable and unchanging even in the midst of great societal upheaval.

  • separate from the ups and downs of daily life.

  • sacred space set aside for contemplation of the divine.

  • disconnected from the turmoil of the class struggle.

  • irrelevant to the majority of citizens.


Sporting Futures USA | SAT Prep | Critical Reading 1.6

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