SAT Reading Comprehension - Paired Passages

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SAT Reading Quizzes & Trivia

The two passages are accompanied by questions based on the content of each and the relationship between them. Answer the questions on the basis of what is stated or implied in the reading extracts and any introductory material.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

        Much of what goes by the name of pleasure is simply an effort     to destroy consciousness. If one started by asking, what is     man? what are his needs? how can he best express himself?     one would discover that merely having the power to avoid work 5   and live one’s life from birth to death in electric light and     to the tune of tinned music is not a reason for doing so. Man     needs warmth, society, leisure, comfort and security: he also     needs solitude, creative work and the sense of wonder. If he     recognized this he could use the products of science and 10  industrialism eclectically, applying always the same test:     does this make me more human or less human? He would then     learn that the highest happiness does not lie in relaxing,     resting, playing poker, drinking and making love simultaneously. Adapted from an essay by George Orwell

  • 2. 

        Examine the recently laid egg of some common animal, such as     a salamander or newt. It is a minute spheroid – an apparently     structureless sac, enclosing a fluid, holding granules in     suspension. But let a moderate supply of warmth reach its 5   watery cradle, and the plastic matter undergoes changes so     rapid, yet so steady and purposeful in their succession, that     one can only compare them to those operated by a skilled     modeler upon a formless lump of clay. As with an invisible     trowel, the mass is divided and subdivided into smaller and 10  smaller portions. And, then, it is as if a delicate finger     traced out the line to be occupied by the spinal column, and     molded the contour of the body; pinching up the head at one     end, the tail at the other, and fashioning flank and limb     into due proportions, in so artistic a way, that, after 15  watching the process hour by hour, one is almost     involuntarily possessed by the notion, that some more subtle     aid to vision than a microscope, would show the hidden     artist, with his plan before him, striving with skilful     manipulation to perfect his work. Adapted from an essay by T H Huxley

  • 3. 

    Passage 3     There are not many places that I find it more agreeable to     revisit when in an idle mood, than some places to which     I have never been. For, my acquaintance with those spots is     of such long standing, and has ripened into an intimacy of 5   so affectionate a nature, that I take a particular interest     in assuring myself that they are unchanged. I never was in     Robinson Crusoe’s Island, yet I frequently return there. I     was never in the robbers’ cave, where Gil Blas lived, but     I often go back there and find the trap-door just as heavy 10  to raise as it used to be. I was never in Don Quixote’s     study, where he read his books of chivalry until he rose     and hacked at imaginary giants, yet you couldn’t move a     book in it without my knowledge. So with Damascus, and     Lilliput, and the Nile, and Abyssinia, and the North Pole, 15  and many hundreds of places — I was never at them, yet it     is an affair of my life to keep them intact, and I am     always going back to them. Passage 4     The books one reads in childhood create in one’s mind a     sort of false map of the world, a series of fabulous 20  countries into which one can retreat at odd moments     throughout the rest of life, and which in some cases can     even survive a visit to the real countries which they are     supposed to represent. The pampas, the Amazon, the coral     islands of the Pacific, Russia, land of birch-tree and 25  samovar, Transylvania with its boyars and vampires, the     China of Guy Boothby, the Paris of du Maurier—one could     continue the list for a long time. But one other     imaginary country that I acquired early in life was     called America. If I pause on the word “America”, and 30  deliberately put aside the existing reality, I can call     up my childhood vision of it. Adapted from: The Uncommercial Traveller, C Dickens (1860)

  • 4. 

    The author implies that the answers to the questions in sentence two would reveal that human beings

    • A.

      Are less human when they seek pleasure

    • B.

      Need to evaluate their purpose in life

    • C.

      Are being alienated from their true nature by technology

    • D.

      Have needs beyond physical comforts

    • E.

      Are always seeking the meaning of life

    Correct Answer
    D. Have needs beyond physical comforts
    Explanation
    The author implies that the answers to the questions in sentence two would reveal that human beings have needs beyond physical comforts. This suggests that humans are not solely driven by their physical desires and that there are other aspects of their well-being that need to be fulfilled.

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  • 5. 

    2. The author would apparently agree that playing poker is

    • A.

      Often an effort to avoid thinking

    • B.

      Something that gives true pleasure

    • C.

      An example of man’s need for society

    • D.

      Something that man must learn to avoid

    • E.

      Inhuman

    Correct Answer
    A. Often an effort to avoid thinking
    Explanation
    The correct answer suggests that playing poker is often an effort to avoid thinking. This implies that people may engage in playing poker as a means of distraction or escape from their thoughts or problems. It suggests that poker can serve as a form of entertainment or diversion rather than a serious intellectual activity.

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  • 6. 

    3. The author makes his main point with the aid of  

    • A.

      Logical paradox

    • B.

      Complex rationalization

    • C.

      Observations on the connection between art and science

    • D.

      Scientific deductions

    • E.

      Extended simile

    Correct Answer
    E. Extended simile
    Explanation
    The author uses an extended simile to make his main point. This means that he is using a comparison that is continued throughout the text to illustrate his argument or idea. The extended simile helps to clarify and emphasize his main point by drawing parallels between two different concepts or ideas.

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  • 7. 

    4. In the context of the final sentence the word “subtle” most nearly means

    • A.

      Not obvious

    • B.

      Indirect

    • C.

      Discriminating

    • D.

      Surreptitious

    • E.

      Scientific

    Correct Answer
    C. Discriminating
    Explanation
    In the context of the final sentence, the word "subtle" means discriminating. This means that the word refers to something that is not obvious or easily noticeable, but requires careful observation or analysis to understand or distinguish.

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  • 8. 

    The first sentence of passage 3 contains an element of

    • A.

      Paradox

    • B.

      Legend

    • C.

      Melancholy

    • D.

      Humor

    • E.

      Self-deprecation

    Correct Answer
    A. Paradox
    Explanation
    The first sentence of passage 3 contains an element of paradox because it presents a statement that seems contradictory or absurd on the surface. Paradoxes often involve a play on words or a situation that goes against common sense or expectations. In this case, the first sentence may present a contradictory idea or a situation that is seemingly impossible or illogical.

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  • 9. 

    By calling America an “imaginary country” the author of passage 4 implies that

    • A.

      America has been the subject of numerous works for children

    • B.

      He has never seen America

    • C.

      His current vision of that country is not related to reality

    • D.

      America has stimulated his imagination

    • E.

      His childhood vision of that country owed nothing to actual conditions

    Correct Answer
    E. His childhood vision of that country owed nothing to actual conditions
    Explanation
    The author of passage 4 implies that his childhood vision of America was not based on reality. This suggests that the author's perception of America during his childhood was not influenced by actual conditions or facts about the country. Instead, it was a product of his imagination or perhaps influenced by fictional works or stories about America.

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  • 10. 

     Both passages make the point that

    • A.

      Imaginary travel is better than real journeys

    • B.

      Children’s books are largely fiction

    • C.

      The effects of childhood impressions are inescapable

    • D.

      Books read early in life can be revisited in the imagination many years later

    • E.

      The sight of imaginary places evokes memories

    Correct Answer
    D. Books read early in life can be revisited in the imagination many years later
    Explanation
    The correct answer is "books read early in life can be revisited in the imagination many years later". This is supported by both passages as they both mention the ability to revisit and remember books read in childhood.

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  • 11. 

    Both passages list a series of places, but differ in that the author of passage 3

    • A.

      Has been more influenced by his list of locations

    • B.

      Never expects to visit any of them in real life, whereas the writer of passage two thinks it at least possible that he might

    • C.

      Is less specific in compiling his list

    • D.

      Wishes to preserve his locations in his mind forever, whereas the author of passage two wishes to modify all his visions in the light of reality

    • E.

      Revisits them more often

    • F.

      Revisits them more often

    Correct Answer
    B. Never expects to visit any of them in real life, whereas the writer of passage two thinks it at least possible that he might
    Explanation
    The correct answer suggests that the author of passage 3 never expects to visit any of the listed locations in real life, while the writer of passage two believes that it is possible for him to visit them. This implies that the author of passage 3 is more influenced by his list of locations and sees them as purely imaginary or unattainable, whereas the writer of passage two considers the possibility of experiencing these places in reality.

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  • Mar 18, 2023
    Quiz Edited by
    ProProfs Editorial Team
  • Mar 05, 2014
    Quiz Created by
    Murraytestprep
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