Sporting Futures USA | SAT Prep | Critical Reading 1.6

SportingFutures USA
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Question 1

Please Note: Question is at the bottom of this Reading Passage. 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?
  • angry
  • informative
  • vengeful
  • argumentative
  • uncertain

Question 2

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

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.
  • zealous
  • respectful
  • erudite
  • apathetic
  • belligerent

Question 4

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

The ________ minister managed to ________ the church service into a four-hour ordeal. Select the words that best complete the sentence.
  • effervescent . . enlighten
  • loquacious . . prolong
  • bashful . . extend
  • wistful . . mourn
  • inexorable . . transcend

Question 6

Despite the criminal's ________ during the trial, the judge granted him ________. Select the words that best complete the sentence.
  • outbursts . . repression
  • disrespect . . tedium
  • honesty . . probation
  • cooperation . . absolution
  • intransigence . . clemency

Question 7

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

Please Note: Question is at the bottom of this Reading Passage. 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. 21 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. 36 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):
  • 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

Lisa's initial move revealed her ________ skills; she must have never played chess before. Select the word that best completes the sentence.
  • formidable
  • nefarious
  • fledgling
  • imperious
  • ineffable

Question 10

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

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

Please Note: Question is at the bottom of this Reading Passage. PASSAGE 1: 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." PASSAGE 2: 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:
  • 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

Samantha was neither amiable nor forthright, but was instead known for her ________ and ________ nature. Select the words that best complete the sentence.
  • perplexed . . gullible
  • peevish . . herbivorous
  • hostile . . scheming
  • agreeable . . deceitful
  • predatory . . contracted

Question 14

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

The lecture was so ________ that the students couldn't help but fall asleep. Select the word that best completes the sentence.
  • lascivious
  • exuberant
  • banal
  • facetious
  • prurient

Question 16

While some critics perceived the film as ________, the New York Times proclaimed it a work of ________. Select the words that best complete the sentence.
  • shocking . . boring
  • fabulous . . terrific
  • amateur . . watchable
  • absurd . . crude
  • juvenile . . genius

Question 17

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?
  • 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

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.
  • voracious . . gargantuan
  • great . . meager
  • lackadaisical . . enormous
  • scanty . . monstrous
  • humble . . ambiguous

Question 19

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.
  • omniscience
  • loquacity
  • momentum
  • morbidity
  • longevity

Question 20

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:
  • 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.
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