Sporting Futures USA | SAT Prep | Critical Reading 1.2

Question 1 of 20

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Esther could not believe her eyes; her once ________ little grandson had now become a(n) ________ man.

Select the words that best complete the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • obnoxious . . deferential

  • incorrigible . . unruly

  • excitable . . joyful

  • opinionated . . obstinate

  • depressed . . apathetic

Question 2 of 20

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Please Read Passage and Answer Question Below:

1 Don Hedger had lived for four years on the top floor of
2 an old house on the south side of Washington Square,
3 and nobody had ever disturbed him. He occupied
4 one big room with no outside exposure except on the
5 north. His room was very cheerless, since he never
6 got a ray of direct sunlight; the south corners were
7 always in shadow. In the front corner, the one farther
8 from the window, was a sink, and a table with two
9 gas burners where he sometimes cooked his food.
10 There, too, in the perpetual dusk, was the dog's bed,
11 and often a bone or two for his comfort.

12 The dog was a Boston bull terrier, and Hedger
13 explained his surly disposition by the fact that he had
14 been bred to the point where it told on his nerves. His
15 name was Caesar III, and he had taken prizes at very
16 exclusive dog shows. When he and his master went
17 out to prowl about University Place, or to promenade
18 along West Street, Caesar III was invariably fresh and
19 shining. His pink skin showed through his mottled
20 coat, which glistened as if it had just been rubbed with
21 olive oil, and he wore a brass-studded collar, bought
22 at the smartest saddler's. Hedger, as often as not, was
23 hunched up in an old striped blanket coat, with a
24 shapeless felt hat pulled over his bushy hair, wearing
25 black shoes that had become gray, or brown ones
26 that had become black, and he never put on gloves
27 unless the day was biting cold.

28 Early in May, Hedger learned that he was to have a
29 new neighbor in the rear apartment. His studio was
30 shut off from these rooms by double doors, which,
31 though they were fairly tight, left him a good deal
32 at the mercy of the occupant. The rooms had been
33 leased, long before he came there, by a trained nurse
34 who considered herself knowing in old furniture. She
35 went to auction sales and bought up mahogany and
36 dirty brass and stored it away here, where she meant
37 to live when she retired from nursing. Meanwhile,
38 she sub-let her rooms, with the precious furniture, to
39 young people who came to New York to "write" or
40 "paint"--who proposed to live by the sweat of the
41 brow rather than of the hand, and who desired artistic
42 surroundings. When Hedger first moved in, these
43 rooms were occupied by a young man who tried to
44 write plays,--and who kept on trying until a week ago,
45 when the nurse had put him out for unpaid rent.
46
A few days after the playwright left, Hedger heard
47 an ominous murmur of voices through the bolted
48 double doors: the lady-like intonation of the nurse--
49 doubtless exhibiting her treasures--and another voice,
50 also a woman's, but very different; young, fresh,
51 unguarded, confident. All the same, it would be very
52 annoying to have a woman in there. The only bath-
53 room on the floor was at the top of the stairs in the
54 front hall, and he would always be running into her
55 as he came or went from his bath. He would have to
56 be more careful to see that Caesar didn't leave bones
57 about the hall, too; and she might object when he
58 cooked steak and onions on his gas burner.

59 As soon as the talking ceased and the women left,
60 he forgot them. He was absorbed in a study of para-
61 dise fish at the Aquarium, staring out at people through
62 the glass and green water of their tank. It was a
63 highly gratifying idea; the incommunicability of one
64 stratum of animal life with another,--though Hedger
65 pretended it was only an experiment with unusual
66 lighting. When he heard trunks knocking against the
67 sides of the narrow hall, then he realized that she was
68 moving in at once. Toward noon, groans and deep
69 gasps and the creaking of ropes, made him aware
70 that a piano was arriving. After the tramp of the
71 movers died away down the stairs, somebody touched
72 off a few scales and chords on the instrument, and
73 then there was peace. Presently he heard her lock her
74 door and go down the hall humming something; going
75 out to lunch, probably. He stuck his brushes in a can
76 of turpentine and put on his hat, not stopping to wash
77 his hands. Caesar was smelling along the crack
78 under the bolted doors.

79 Hedger encouraged him. "Come along, Caesar.
80 You'll soon get used to a new smell."

81 In the hall stood an enormous trunk, behind the
82 ladder that led to the roof, just opposite Hedger's
83 door. The dog flew at it with a growl of hurt amaze-
84 ment. They went down three flights of stairs and out
85 into the brilliant May afternoon.

86 Hedger strolled about the Square for the dog's health.
87 The fountain had but lately begun operations for the
88 season and was throwing up a mist of rainbow water.
89 Plump robins were hopping about on the soil; the
90 grass was newly cut and blindingly green. Looking
91 up the Avenue through the Arch, one could see the
92 young poplars with their bright, sticky leaves, and
93 shining horses and carriages,--occasionally an auto-
94 mobile, mis-shapen and sullen, like an ugly threat in
95 a stream of things that were bright and beautiful and
96 alive.

97 While Caesar and his master were standing by the
98 fountain, a girl approached them, crossing the Square.
99 Hedger noticed her because she wore a lavender cloth
100 suit and carried in her arms a big bunch of fresh lilacs.
101 He saw that she was young and handsome,--beautiful,
102 in fact. She, too, paused by the fountain and looked
103 back through the Arch up the Avenue. She smiled
104 rather patronizingly as she looked, and at the same
105 time seemed delighted. Her slowly curving upper lip
106 and half-closed eyes seemed to say: "You're gay,
107 you're exciting, you are quite the right sort of thing;
108 but you're none too fine for me!"

109 In the moment she tarried, Caesar stealthily ap-
110 proached her and sniffed at the hem of her lavender
111 skirt, then he ran back to his master and lifted a face
112 full of emotion and alarm, his lower lip twitching under
113 his sharp white teeth and his hazel eyes pointed with
114 a very definite discovery. He stood thus, motionless,
115 while Hedger watched the lavender girl go up the
116 steps and through the door of the house in which he
117 lived.

118 "You're right, my boy, it's she!"

Question: Hedger's reaction to hearing the voice of his new neighbor implies that:

Select one of the following:

  • he is excited at the prospect of living next to a young, confident woman.

  • he usually disapproves of the artists to whom the nurse sub-leases her apartment.

  • he believes females to be more fastidious than males.

  • he has little experience with women.

  • he is embarrassed at the prospect of sharing space with a woman.

Question 3 of 20

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His ________ manipulation of the space shuttle's robotic arm demonstrated his skills as a seasoned astronaut.

Select the word that best completes the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • nefarious

  • adroit

  • parochial

  • efficient

  • inept

Question 4 of 20

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Please read the passage and answer the question below.

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.

Question: Which of the following techniques is not used strategically at some point in the passage to develop the author's argument?

Select one of the following:

  • compare/contrast

  • persuasion

  • cause/effect

  • chronology

  • allegory

Question 5 of 20

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On July 16, 1935 parking meters were first installed on the business streets of Oklahoma City much to the _________ of the merchants of the city.

Select the word that best completes the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • chagrin

  • clamor

  • redress

  • haste

  • surmise

Question 6 of 20

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The employees had always thought their boss was ________ and fair, so they were shocked to hear of her ________ decisions.

Select the words that best complete the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • scrupulous . . unconscionable

  • truculent . . disingenuous

  • sympathetic . . haphazard

  • supportive . . saccharine

  • reprehensible . . magnanimous

Question 7 of 20

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Please read the passages and answer the question below.

Passage 1

1 Even the most jaded observer of American corporate
2 culture had to blink when, earlier this month, Home
3 Depot's board of directors handed the company's
4 C.E.O., Bob Nardelli, more than two hundred million
5 dollars after pushing him out of his job. Nardelli had
6 not delivered for shareholders: Home Depot's stock
7 price went down about six percent during his tenure.
8 And, while his operating performance was actually
9 quite good, he would have made a lot of money even if
10 it hadn't been: most of his contract was guaranteed,
11 and, when he had a hard time meeting a particular tar-
12 get for his bonus, the board generously substituted an
13 easier one.

14 The size of Nardelli's severance was startling, but his
15 "heads I win, tails you lose" arrangement is far from
16 unusual in corporate America these days. For all the
17 talk of restraining C.E.O. pay, most compensation
18 committees remain what Warren Buffett once called
19 them--"tail-wagging puppy dogs." At some companies,
20 this is simply because the C.E.O. has packed the
21 board with cronies. But at Home Depot Nardelli did not
22 pick the board members, and most of them were what
23 are usually called independent directors--ones who
24 don't work for the company or do any business with it.
25 Even when an independent board negotiates a
26 C.E.O.'s contract, however, the directors are often, in a
27 sense, negotiating with themselves. Of the ten inde-
28 pendent members of Home Depot's board, for in-
29 stance, eight are or have been C.E.O.s. Since C.E.O.
30 pay is often driven by comparisons between compa-
31 nies, directors have a certain interest in keeping
32 executive pay high. Furthermore, the salaries keep
33 escalating because, board members argue, there just
34 aren't enough good C.E.O. candidates out there.
35 There's no evidence that this is actually the case, but
36 who is more likely to feel that good C.E.O.s are rare
37 other than C.E.O.s?

38 A more complex problem lies in the nature of the social
39 networks that bind directors and executives together.
40 Home Depot has an exceptionally well-connected
41 board. On average, its directors sit on two other out-
42 side boards, and the compensation-committee chair-
43 man sits on four. Connections are often beneficial--
44 they insure that people are well-informed, creating
45 opportunities for new business. Unfortunately, the
46 more connected board members are, the likelier they
47 are to overpay for executive talent. In some cases,
48 which economists call "interlocking" directorates, this
49 is straightforward: I sit on your board and you sit on
50 mine, and we both have an incentive to be generous.
51 Sure enough, several studies have found that compa-
52 nies with interlocking directors pay C.E.O.s significantly
53 more. Surprisingly, though, connectedness remains
54 important even when the links are not direct. A study of
55 S&P 500 companies, by Amir Barnea and Ilan Guedj,
56 finance professors at the University of Texas, found
57 that, even after other factors were accounted for,
58 C.E.O.s at companies whose directors sat on a num-
59 ber of other boards were paid thirteen per cent more
60 than C.E.O.s at companies whose directors were not.

61 Why? One reason is that the more connections board
62 members have, the more likely they are to end up with
63 what you could call "friend of a friend" links to the com-
64 pany's C.E.O. A recent study by a team of business-
65 school professors mapped the social networks of
66 twenty-two thousand directors at more than three
67 thousand companies, charting the degrees of separa-
68 tion between directors and C.E.O.s, and found that
69 at companies where there are what the study's authors
70 termed "short, friendly" links between directors and
71 executives, C.E.O.s are paid significantly more. But
72 even in the absence of this kind of explicit back-
73 scratching, the tight connections between board
74 members insure that, once an idea takes hold at a few
75 companies, it's easier for it to spread, in a viral fashion.

Passage 2

76 Unlike many Americans, whose salaries aren't keep-
77 ing up with inflation, chief executives are seeing their
78 compensation packages rise by 13 percent annually. A
79 tight market allows C.E.O.s to command top dollars,
80 since there are so few with the leadership skills
81 needed to run a public company, some experts say
82 Critics argue the system for setting C.E.O. pay is
83 flawed and does not give enough consideration to
84 performance. They worry that giving C.E.O.s large per-
85 centage increases year after year causes resent-
86 ment among many workers, who have endured
87 decreases in wages, increases in health care costs,
88 pension reductions, and the loss of jobs overseas
89 during a slumping economy.

90 "We believe all employees should be paid fairly and
91 that includes workers and the C.E.O.," said Brandon
92 Rees, a research analyst with the AFL-CIO, a national
93 association of labor unions. "The trend has been that
94 C.E.O.s take a disproportionate share of compen-
95 sation." In 2004, the average chief executive earned
96 $10 million in total compensation, a 13 percent
97 increase over 2003, according a survey by consulting
98 firm Pearl Meyer & Partners for The New York Times.
99 However, the average American worker in a non-
100 supervisory job earned a salary of $27,485 in 2004,
101 only a 2.2 percent increase over 2003, according to
102 the AFL-CIO.
103 Many experts insist that comparing an executive's job
104 to that of a front-line worker is unfair, since the
105 expectations are different. They add that many of
106 the increases in compensation are tied directly to
107 a company's performance in a given year. That's the
108 case with A.L. "Tom" Giannopoulos, head of informa-
109 tion systems company Micros Systems Inc., whose
110 total compensation grew 69 percent, to $3.5 million,
111 in 2004 from $2.08 million in 2003. The increase
112 reflected an 80 percent growth in the value of the com-
113 pany's stock during 2004, said Louise Casamento,
114 a company spokeswoman. Excluding stock options
115 and other perks, Giannopoulos' annual salary grew 19
116 percent to $820,000 in 2004, compared with average
117 workers, whose salaries increased by 5.5 percent to
118 6 percent each year, she said.

119 Defending CEOs, some argue: "Not everyone is
120 capable of running a truly global company. Companies
121 pay them for literally giving over their entire lives to
122 the company . . Yes, they make a lot of money, but
123 you have to compare what it takes to do it."

Question: The description of Nardelli's compensation arrangement in lines 14-16 serves to suggest that:

Select one of the following:

  • Nardelli's compensation package, as a whole, is unusually generous.

  • mere chance determines a C.E.O.'s compensation package.

  • Nardelli's lawyers tricked Home Depot's board of directors into approving his compensation package.

  • American C.E.O.s are the highest paid C.E.O.s in the world.

  • many C.E.O.s are guaranteed high pay regardless of performance.

Question 8 of 20

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Please read passage and answer question below.

Passage 1

1 Sarah Lam, an eighth-grader at Presidio Middle
2 School in San Francisco, has learned to manage her
3 time better since sixth grade, when she spent three to
4 four hours toiling over nightly assignments, she said.
5 But her schedule these days--which includes orches-
6 tra, working as a tutor, plus two to three hours of
7 homework--is packed. Her father has occasionally
8 had to use college texts to help her answer science
9 homework questions.

10 Yet there's no evidence that lobbing on the home-
11 work in elementary grades boosts test scores later,
12 according to Harris Cooper, a psychology professor
13 at University of Missouri, who reviewed dozens of
14 studies and concluded homework may begin to pay
15 off in junior high. Cooper said giving large amounts of
16 homework in elementary school may have "negative
17 benefits" such as frustration, negative self-image and
18 not enough time to do other important activities. The
19 National Parent Teacher Association has
20 recommended 10 minutes per grade level, but
21 acknowledges that some kids have less and some
22 have a lot more. So why are schools doing it?
23 "There seem to be two sources," said Cooper. "Some
24 of the pressure is coming from parents who are
25 highly achievement-oriented. The other source is new
26 state standards, which are requiring teachers to
27 teach more, while at the same time requiring more
28 non-academic activities. In my district, for example,
29 fourth-graders learn swimming." There are parents
30 who protest, but principals and teachers say just as
31 many ask for more homework. Many believe that
32 heavy homework, while stressful, is a necessary bur-
33 den in a world that's increasingly competitive. They
34 assist when they can. Some hire homework coaches
35 to help their kids keep up and relieve the stress that
36 arguing over doing it can cause. Others sign up their
37 kids for test-taking classes or enrichment courses.
38 Businesses like Kumon and Score--which give kids
39 test practice--and the Report Card in San Rafael,
40 which sells educational materials and offers both
41 regular tutoring and enrichment classes, have
42 sprouted around the Bay area.

43 "The amount of homework kids are getting is out-
44 rageous," said Donna Gray, a tutor who offers not
45 only remedial help to students, but also enrichment
46 work some parents feel is necessary for their kids to
47 stay competitive. "If you don't develop physically,
48 emotionally and socially as well, it's not good . . ."
49 said Gray, a retired teacher who has a waiting list of
50 clients in Tiburon. "It's society today. I believe that
51 teachers today wouldn't give homework like this if it
52 weren't for the parents. The young teachers here
53 worry about the parents. They're smart, high-
54 achieving. It's hard for them to live up to what the
55 parents expect."

56 Now that homework appears to be at a peak, the
57 pendulum is bound to swing in the other direction,
58 said Gill, who believes reasonable amounts of home-
59 work can be a useful learning tool and give parents
60 "a window into the classroom." There already may be
61 a modest backlash brewing. Take, for example, Gill's
62 research colleague Steven Schlossman, head of the
63 history department at Carnegie Mellon University. He
64 said he had pulled his ninth-grade son out of private
65 school near Pittsburgh because of the unwieldy
66 amount of homework. One week, as an experiment,
67 Schlossman did the homework himself. It took him 35
68 hours. "That's what stimulated my interest in the
69 subject of homework," he said. "This is one of the
70 dramas going on throughout middle class America
71 that very few people want to talk about. They fear if
72 their child can't do it, he's destined to failure. But the
73 amount of trauma, if anyone wants to measure it, I'll
74 venture is extraordinary."

Passage 2

75 A comprehensive review of academic performance
76 around the world gives bad marks to excessive
77 homework. Teachers in Japan, the Czech Republic
78 and Denmark assign relatively little homework, yet
79 students there score well, researchers said this week.
80 "At the other end of the spectrum, countries with very
81 low average scores--Thailand, Greece, Iran--have
82 teachers who assign a great deal of homework," says
83 Penn State researcher David Baker. "American stu-
84 dents appear to do as much homework as their peers
85 overseas--if not more--but still only score around the
86 international average," said co-researcher Gerald
87 LeTendre. Baker and LeTendre examined the Third
88 International Study of Mathematics and Sciences
89 (TIMSS), which in 1994 collected data from schools
90 in 41 nations on performance in grades 4, 8 and 12.
91 Additional similar data from 1999 was factored in.
92 The homework burden is especially problematic in
93 poorer households, where parents may not have the
94 time or inclination to provide an environment condu-
95 cive to good study habits, the researchers conclude.
96 In particular, drills designed to improve memorization
97 may not be suited to many homes.

98 "An unintended consequence may be that those chil-
99 dren who need extra work and drill the most are the
100 ones least likely to get it," Baker said. "Increasing
101 homework loads is likely to aggravate tensions within
102 the family, thereby generating more inequality and
103 eroding the quality of overall education."

104 In the early 1980s, U.S. teachers began assigning
105 more homework, the researchers say. The shift was
106 in response to mediocre performance in comparison
107 to Japanese students. At the same time, the trend
108 was going the other way in Japanese schools. The
109 new study found U.S. math teachers assigned more
110 than two hours of homework a week in 1994-95,
111 while in Japan the figure was about one hour per
112 week. "Undue focus on homework as a national
113 quick-fix, rather than a focus on issues of instruc-
114 tional quality and equity of access to opportunity to
115 learn, may lead a country into wasted expenditures of
116 time and energy," LeTendre says. The homework
117 burden might also affect performance among children
118 of higher-income parents. "Parents are extremely
119 busy with work and household chores, not to mention
120 chauffeuring young people to various extracurricular
121 activities, athletic and otherwise," LeTendre said.
122 "Parents might sometimes see exercises in drill and
123 memorization as intrusions into time."

Question: The first two sentences of Passage 2 imply that:

Select one of the following:

  • giving less homework allows students more time to prepare for standardized tests.

  • giving more homework does not raise test scores.

  • international test score comparison yields little helpful information.

  • large homework assignments help boost test scores.

  • American teachers are not as effective as their counterparts in foreign countries.

Question 9 of 20

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At nineteen, Derek Jacobi played the part of Julius Caesar only as an ________.

Select the word that best completes the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • acrobat

  • aristocrat

  • amateur

  • understudy

  • advocate

Question 10 of 20

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Please Read the passage bellow and answer question below.

Passage 1

1 Even the most jaded observer of American corporate
2 culture had to blink when, earlier this month, Home
3 Depot's board of directors handed the company's
4 C.E.O., Bob Nardelli, more than two hundred million
5 dollars after pushing him out of his job. Nardelli had
6 not delivered for shareholders: Home Depot's stock
7 price went down about six percent during his tenure.
8 And, while his operating performance was actually
9 quite good, he would have made a lot of money even if
10 it hadn't been: most of his contract was guaranteed,
11 and, when he had a hard time meeting a particular tar-
12 get for his bonus, the board generously substituted an
13 easier one.

14 The size of Nardelli's severance was startling, but his
15 "heads I win, tails you lose" arrangement is far from
16 unusual in corporate America these days. For all the
17 talk of restraining C.E.O. pay, most compensation
18 committees remain what Warren Buffett once called
19 them--"tail-wagging puppy dogs." At some companies,
20 this is simply because the C.E.O. has packed the
21 board with cronies. But at Home Depot Nardelli did not
22 pick the board members, and most of them were what
23 are usually called independent directors--ones who
24 don't work for the company or do any business with it.
25 Even when an independent board negotiates a
26 C.E.O.'s contract, however, the directors are often, in a
27 sense, negotiating with themselves. Of the ten inde-
28 pendent members of Home Depot's board, for in-
29 stance, eight are or have been C.E.O.s. Since C.E.O.
30 pay is often driven by comparisons between compa-
31 nies, directors have a certain interest in keeping
32 executive pay high. Furthermore, the salaries keep
33 escalating because, board members argue, there just
34 aren't enough good C.E.O. candidates out there.
35 There's no evidence that this is actually the case, but
36 who is more likely to feel that good C.E.O.s are rare
37 other than C.E.O.s?

38 A more complex problem lies in the nature of the social
39 networks that bind directors and executives together.
40 Home Depot has an exceptionally well-connected
41 board. On average, its directors sit on two other out-
42 side boards, and the compensation-committee chair-
43 man sits on four. Connections are often beneficial--
44 they insure that people are well-informed, creating
45 opportunities for new business. Unfortunately, the
46 more connected board members are, the likelier they
47 are to overpay for executive talent. In some cases,
48 which economists call "interlocking" directorates, this
49 is straightforward: I sit on your board and you sit on
50 mine, and we both have an incentive to be generous.
51 Sure enough, several studies have found that compa-
52 nies with interlocking directors pay C.E.O.s significantly
53 more. Surprisingly, though, connectedness remains
54 important even when the links are not direct. A study of
55 S&P 500 companies, by Amir Barnea and Ilan Guedj,
56 finance professors at the University of Texas, found
57 that, even after other factors were accounted for,
58 C.E.O.s at companies whose directors sat on a num-
59 ber of other boards were paid thirteen per cent more
60 than C.E.O.s at companies whose directors were not.

61 Why? One reason is that the more connections board
62 members have, the more likely they are to end up with
63 what you could call "friend of a friend" links to the com-
64 pany's C.E.O. A recent study by a team of business-
65 school professors mapped the social networks of
66 twenty-two thousand directors at more than three
67 thousand companies, charting the degrees of separa-
68 tion between directors and C.E.O.s, and found that
69 at companies where there are what the study's authors
70 termed "short, friendly" links between directors and
71 executives, C.E.O.s are paid significantly more. But
72 even in the absence of this kind of explicit back-
73 scratching, the tight connections between board
74 members insure that, once an idea takes hold at a few
75 companies, it's easier for it to spread, in a viral fashion.

Passage 2

76 Unlike many Americans, whose salaries aren't keep-
77 ing up with inflation, chief executives are seeing their
78 compensation packages rise by 13 percent annually. A
79 tight market allows C.E.O.s to command top dollars,
80 since there are so few with the leadership skills
81 needed to run a public company, some experts say
82 Critics argue the system for setting C.E.O. pay is
83 flawed and does not give enough consideration to
84 performance. They worry that giving C.E.O.s large per-
85 centage increases year after year causes resent-
86 ment among many workers, who have endured
87 decreases in wages, increases in health care costs,
88 pension reductions, and the loss of jobs overseas
89 during a slumping economy.

90 "We believe all employees should be paid fairly and
91 that includes workers and the C.E.O.," said Brandon
92 Rees, a research analyst with the AFL-CIO, a national
93 association of labor unions. "The trend has been that
94 C.E.O.s take a disproportionate share of compen-
95 sation." In 2004, the average chief executive earned
96 $10 million in total compensation, a 13 percent
97 increase over 2003, according a survey by consulting
98 firm Pearl Meyer & Partners for The New York Times.
99 However, the average American worker in a non-
100 supervisory job earned a salary of $27,485 in 2004,
101 only a 2.2 percent increase over 2003, according to
102 the AFL-CIO.
103 Many experts insist that comparing an executive's job
104 to that of a front-line worker is unfair, since the
105 expectations are different. They add that many of
106 the increases in compensation are tied directly to
107 a company's performance in a given year. That's the
108 case with A.L. "Tom" Giannopoulos, head of informa-
109 tion systems company Micros Systems Inc., whose
110 total compensation grew 69 percent, to $3.5 million,
111 in 2004 from $2.08 million in 2003. The increase
112 reflected an 80 percent growth in the value of the com-
113 pany's stock during 2004, said Louise Casamento,
114 a company spokeswoman. Excluding stock options
115 and other perks, Giannopoulos' annual salary grew 19
116 percent to $820,000 in 2004, compared with average
117 workers, whose salaries increased by 5.5 percent to
118 6 percent each year, she said.

119 Defending CEOs, some argue: "Not everyone is
120 capable of running a truly global company. Companies
121 pay them for literally giving over their entire lives to
122 the company . . Yes, they make a lot of money, but
123 you have to compare what it takes to do it."

Question: The primary purpose of Passage 2 is to:

Select one of the following:

  • debunk the idea that C.E.O.s' high salaries can be attributed to social networking.

  • exonerate C.E.O.s from the charges of unfair pay lobbed at them by critics.

  • question a widely-accepted view about why C.E.O.s are paid such a generous amount.

  • explain the workings of Micros Systems Inc.'s compensation plan.

  • describe two opposing views regarding C.E.O. compensation.

Question 11 of 20

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The venerable actor, believing that certain scenes in his new film's script were utterly ________, ________ argued for their deletion, managing to convince even the screenwriter to agree with his point of view.

Select the words that best complete the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • implausible . . cogently

  • circuitous . . haphazardly

  • scintillating . . vapidly

  • assiduous . . futilely

  • auspicious . . peremptorily

Question 12 of 20

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Please read passage and answer question below

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.

Question: The author most likely chose the phrase "selective butchery" (line 24) to describe warfare because it is all of the following except:

Select one of the following:

  • ironic

  • graphic

  • harsh

  • noncommittal

  • emotionally charged

Question 13 of 20

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There is no doubt that Melissa is ________: her handwriting is as beautiful when she writes with her right hand as it is when she writes with her left.

Select the word that best completes the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • ambidextrous

  • enamored

  • attentive

  • foppish

  • meddlesome

Question 14 of 20

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In the years preceding World War II, the harsh totalitarian rulers in Europe used vicious means to ________ individualism and ________ opposition to the government.

Select the words that best complete the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • allow . . squash

  • extinguish . . support

  • control . . encourage

  • encourage . . destroy

  • crush . . obliterate

Question 15 of 20

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Looking to join forces with the dominate political club on campus, John's club asked to ________ with Tim's club, but Tim remained ________, refusing to change his club's course of action.

Select the words that best complete the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • proliferate . . salubrious

  • merge . . embraceable

  • bolster . . nonchalant

  • bolster..malleable

  • amalgamate . . obdurate

Question 16 of 20

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The celebrity's entourage was a bevy of self-serving ________ who endlessly fawned over him.

Select the word that best completes the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • sycophants

  • underlings

  • volunteers

  • inferiors

  • autocrats

Question 17 of 20

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Despite studying for weeks, Jenny found many questions on the exam to be ________.

Select the word that best completes the sentence

Select one of the following:

  • lenient

  • impervious

  • arduous

  • redundant

  • sophisticated

Question 18 of 20

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Although it seemed the jury would surely convict him, there was sufficient ________ evidence to support a verdict of "not guilty."

Select the word that best completes the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • exculpatory

  • derisive

  • transitory

  • incriminating

  • ingratiating

Question 19 of 20

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Please read passage and answer question below.

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.

Question: Which of the following statements about the artists discussed in this passage is probably true?

Select one of the following:

  • They have had long careers.

  • Being exhibited at NAB Gallery is the highlight of their careers.

  • They are extremely famous.

  • They are colleagues and friends.

  • They have influenced one another strongly throughout their careers.

Question 20 of 20

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The ________ vanilla ice cream was ________ to the real thing, which had a much better taste.

Select the words that best complete the sentence.

Select one of the following:

  • fake . . superior

  • artificial . . dominant

  • substitute . . lacking

  • ersatz . . secondary

  • inimical . . inferior

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Sporting Futures USA | SAT Prep | Critical Reading 1.2

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