SAT Section 3 Critical Reading

24 Questions | Total Attempts: 121

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SAT Reading Quizzes & Trivia

This section is filled with reading comprehension and sentence completion questions.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    Our once thriving High School Nature Club is now ____ ; the programs have had to be canceled due to lack of support.
    • A. 

      Defunct

    • B. 

      Extant

    • C. 

      Resurgent

    • D. 

      Burgeoning

    • E. 

      Renovated

  • 2. 
    ____ by nature, Jones spoke very little even to his own family members.
    • A. 

      Garrulous

    • B. 

      Equivocal

    • C. 

      Taciturn

    • D. 

      Arrogant

    • E. 

      Gregarious

  • 3. 
      Questions 3 and 4 are based on the following passage.    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  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

  • 4. 
    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

  • 5. 
        Questions 5 and 6 are based on the following passage.     I have previously defined a sanctuary as a place where man     is passive and the rest of Nature active. But this general     definition is too absolute for any special case. The mere     fact that man has to protect a sanctuary does away with his 5   purely passive attitude. Then, he can be beneficially active     by destroying pests and parasites, like bot-flies or     mosquitoes, and by finding antidotes for diseases like the     epidemic which periodically kills off the rabbits and thus     starves many of the carnivora to death. But, except in cases 10  where experiment has proved his intervention to be     beneficial, the less he upsets the balance of Nature the     better, even when he tries to be an earthly Providence. Adapted from: Animal Sanctuaries in Labrador, W Wood (1911) The author implies that his first definition of a sanctuary is ____________.
    • A. 

      Totally wrong

    • B. 

      Somewhat idealistic

    • C. 

      Unhelpful

    • D. 

      Indefensible

    • E. 

      Immutable

  • 6. 
    The author’s argument that destroying bot-flies and mosquitoes would be a beneficial action is most weakened by all of the following except ______________.
    • A. 

      Parasites have an important role to play in the regulation of populations

    • B. 

      The elimination of any species can have unpredictable effects on the balance of nature

    • C. 

      The pests themselves are part of the food chain

    • D. 

      These insects have been introduced to the area by human activities

    • E. 

      Elimination of these insects would require the use of insecticides that kill a wide range of insects

  • 7. 
     Questions 7-18 are based on the following passage.  The extract is taken from Darwin's book The Voyage of the Beagle.In the book he describes his voyage around the world as a ship's naturalist. On this voyage he gathered evidence that was to lead him to put forward his Theory of Evolution.    That large animals require a luxuriant vegetation, has     been a general assumption which has passed from     one work to another; but I do not hesitate to say that     it is completely false, and that it has vitiated the 5   reasoning of geologists on some points of great     interest in the ancient history of the world. The     prejudice has probably been derived from India, and     the Indian islands, where troops of elephants, noble     forests, and impenetrable jungles, are associated 10  together in every one's mind. If, however, we refer to     any work of travels through the southern parts of     Africa, we shall find allusions in almost every page     either to the desert character of the country, or to the     numbers of large animals inhabiting it. The same 15  thing is rendered evident by the many engravings     which have been published of various parts of the     interior.     Dr. Andrew Smith, who has lately succeeded in     passing the Tropic of Capricorn, informs me that, 20  taking into consideration the whole of the southern     part of Africa, there can be no doubt of its being a     sterile country. On the southern coasts there are some     fine forests, but with these exceptions, the traveller     may pass for days together through open plains, 25  covered by a poor and scanty vegetation. Now, if we     look to the animals inhabiting these wide plains, we     shall find their numbers extraordinarily great, and     their bulk immense. We must enumerate the elephant,     three species of rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, the 30  giraffe, the bos caffer, two zebras, two gnus, and     several antelopes even larger than these latter     animals. It may be supposed that although the species     are numerous, the individuals of each kind are few.     By the kindness of Dr. Smith, I am enabled to show 35  that the case is very different. He informs me, that in     lat. 24', in one day's march with the bullock-wagons,     he saw, without wandering to any great distance on     either side, between one hundred and one hundred     and fifty rhinoceroses - the same day he saw several 40  herds of giraffes, amounting together to nearly a     hundred. At the distance of a little more than one     hour's march from their place of encampment on the     previous night, his party actually killed at one spot     eight hippopotamuses, and saw many more. In this 45  same river there were likewise crocodiles. Of course     it was a case quite extraordinary, to see so many great     animals crowded together, but it evidently proves that     they must exist in great numbers. Dr. Smith describes     the country passed through that day, as 'being thinly 50  covered with grass, and bushes about four feet high,     and still more thinly with mimosa-trees.'     Besides these large animals, every one the least     acquainted with the natural history of the Cape, has     read of the herds of antelopes, which can be 55  compared only with the flocks of migratory birds.     The numbers indeed of the lion, panther, and hyena,     and the multitude of birds of prey, plainly speak of     the abundance of the smaller quadrupeds: one     evening seven lions were counted at the same time 60  prowling round Dr. Smith's encampment. As this able     naturalist remarked to me, the carnage each day in     Southern Africa must indeed he terrific! I confess it is     truly surprising how such a number of animals can     find support in a country producing so little food. The 65  larger quadrupeds no doubt roam over wide tracts in     search of it; and their food chiefly consists of     underwood, which probably contains much nutriment     in a small bulk. Dr. Smith also informs me that the     vegetation has a rapid growth; no sooner is a part 70  consumed, than its place is supplied by a fresh stock.     There can be no doubt, however, that our ideas     respecting the apparent amount of food necessary for     the support of large quadrupeds are much     exaggerated. 75  The belief that where large quadrupeds exist, the     vegetation must necessarily be luxuriant, is the more     remarkable, because the converse is far from true. Mr.     Burchell observed to me that when entering Brazil,     nothing struck him more forcibly than the splendour of 80  the South American vegetation contrasted with that of     South Africa, together with the absence of all large     quadrupeds. In his Travels, he has suggested that the     comparison of the respective weights (if there were     sufficient data) of an equal number of the largest 85  herbivorous quadrupeds of each country would be     extremely curious. If we take on the one side, the     elephants hippopotamus, giraffe, bos caffer, elan,five     species of rhinoceros; and on the American side, two     tapirs, the guanaco, three deer, the vicuna, peccari, 90  capybara (after which we must choose from the     monkeys to complete the number), and then place     these two groups alongside each other it is not easy to     conceive ranks more disproportionate in size. After the     above facts, we are compelled to conclude, against 95  anterior probability, that among the mammalia there     exists no close relation between the bulk of the     species, and the quantity of the vegetation, in the     countries which they inhabit. Adapted from: Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin (1890) The author is primarily concerned with __________.
    • A. 

      Discussing the relationship between the size of mammals and the nature of vegetation in their habitats

    • B. 

      Contrasting ecological conditions in India and Africa

    • C. 

      Proving the large animals do not require much food

    • D. 

      Describing the size of animals in various parts of the world

    • E. 

      Explaining that the reasoning of some geologists is completely false

  • 8. 
    The word ‘vitiated’ (line 4) most nearly means ___________.
    • A. 

      Infiltrated

    • B. 

      Occupied

    • C. 

      Impaired

    • D. 

      Invigorated

    • E. 

      Strengthened

  • 9. 
    According to the author, the ‘prejudice’ (line 7) has lead to ________________.
    • A. 

      Errors in the reasoning of biologists

    • B. 

      False ideas about animals in Africa

    • C. 

      Incorrect assumptions on the part of geologists

    • D. 

      Doubt in the mind of the author

    • E. 

      Confusion in natural history

  • 10. 
    The author uses information provided by Dr. Smith to ___________.            I supply information on quality and quantity of plant life in South Africa            II indicate the presence of large numbers of animals            III give evidence of numbers of carnivorous animals
    • A. 

      I only

    • B. 

      II only

    • C. 

      III only

    • D. 

      I and II only

    • E. 

      I, II, and III

  • 11. 
    The flocks of migratory birds (line 55) are mentioned to _____________.
    • A. 

      Describe an aspect of the fauna of South Africa

    • B. 

      Illustrate a possible source of food for large carnivores

    • C. 

      Contrast with the habits of the antelope

    • D. 

      Contrast with the habits of the antelope

    • E. 

      Indicate the abundance of wildlife

  • 12. 
    The ‘carnage’ (line 61) refers to the ______________.
    • A. 

      Number of animals killed by hunters

    • B. 

      Number of prey animals killed by predators

    • C. 

      Number of people killed by lions

    • D. 

      Amount of food eaten by all species

    • E. 

      Damage caused by large animals

  • 13. 
    To account for the ‘surprising’ (line 63) number of animals in a ‘country producing so little food’ (line 64), Darwin suggests all of the following as partial explanations except __________________.
    • A. 

      Food which is a concentrated source of nutrients

    • B. 

      Rapid regrowth of plant mat

    • C. 

      Large area for animals to forage in

    • D. 

      Mainly carnivorous animals

    • E. 

      Food requirements have been overestimated

  • 14. 
    The author makes his point by reference to all of the following except _______________.
    • A. 

      Travel books

    • B. 

      Published illustrations

    • C. 

      Private communications

    • D. 

      Recorded observations

    • E. 

      Historical documents

  • 15. 
    Darwin quotes Burchell’s observations in order to __________________.
    • A. 

      Counter a popular misconception

    • B. 

      Describe a region of great splendor

    • C. 

      Prove a hypothesis

    • D. 

      Illustrate a well-known phenomenon

    • E. 

      Account for a curious situation

  • 16. 
    Darwin apparently regards Dr. Smith as ____________________.
    • A. 

      Reliable and imaginative

    • B. 

      Intrepid and competent

    • C. 

      Observant and excitable

    • D. 

      Foolhardy and tiresome

    • E. 

      Incontrovertible and peerless

  • 17. 
    Darwin’s parenthetical remark (line 83-84) indicates that ________________.
    • A. 

      Burchell’s data are not reliable

    • B. 

      Burchell’s ideas are not to be given much weight

    • C. 

      Comparison of the weights of herbivores is largely speculative

    • D. 

      Darwin’s views differ from Burchell’s

    • E. 

      More figures are needed before any comparison can be attempted

  • 18. 
    Anterior probability (line 95) refers to _________________.
    • A. 

      What might have been expected

    • B. 

      Ideas of earlier explorers

    • C. 

      Ideas of earlier explorers

    • D. 

      Hypotheses of other scientists

    • E. 

      Former information

  • 19. 
    Questions 19-22 are based on the following passage. Paragraph one     That Priestley's contributions to the knowledge of chemical     fact were of the greatest importance is unquestionable; but     it must be admitted that he had no comprehension of the     deeper significance of his work; and, so far from 5   contributing anything to the theory of the facts which he     discovered, or assisting in their rational explanation,     his influence to the end of his life was warmly exerted in     favor of error. From first to last, he was a stiff adherent     of the phlogiston doctrine which was prevalent when his 10  studies commenced; and, by a curious irony of fate, the man     who by the discovery of what he called "dephlogisticated air"     furnished the essential datum for the true theory of     combustion, of respiration, and of the composition of water,     to the end of his days fought against the inevitable 15  corollaries from his own labors. Paragraph two     It is a trying ordeal for any man to be compared with Black     and Cavendish, and Priestley cannot be said to stand on     their level. Nevertheless his achievements are truly     wonderful if we consider the disadvantages under which he 20  labored. Without the careful scientific training of Black,     without the leisure and appliances secured by the wealth of     Cavendish, he scaled the walls of science; and trusting to     mother wit to supply the place of training, and to ingenuity     to create apparatus out of washing tubs, he discovered more 25  new gases (including oxygen, which he termed     “dephlogisticated air”) than all his predecessors put     together had done. Both passages adapted from: Science & Education, T H Huxley (1893)Which pairing best reflects the main emphasis of the two passages? The first focuses mainly on Priestley’s ________________.
    • A. 

      Discoveries of chemical fact; the second on his ingenuity

    • B. 

      Discovery of “dephlogisticated air”; the second on his discoveries of gases

    • C. 

      Lack of theoretical understanding; the second on his lack of training

    • D. 

      Importance to future science; the second on his status in relation to his contemporaries

    • E. 

      Theoretical misconceptions; the second on his success in the face of disadvantage

  • 20. 
    It can be inferred that “dephlogisticated air” is I a misnomer, but relating to something important II a gaseous substance discovered by Priestley II something not fully understood by Preistley
    • A. 

      I only

    • B. 

      II only

    • C. 

      I and III

    • D. 

      II and III

    • E. 

      I, II, and III

  • 21. 
    The metaphor “scaled the walls of science” conveys the idea that Priestley ______________.
    • A. 

      Climbed to the pinnacle of science

    • B. 

      Fought his way to the top

    • C. 

      Escaped the confines of traditional ideas

    • D. 

      Achieved success in a difficult endeavor

    • E. 

      Clawed his way up against opposition

  • 22. 
    The attitude of both the passages to Priestley’s scientific work could be described as _______________.
    • A. 

      Firm disapproval

    • B. 

      Wholehearted praise

    • C. 

      Qualified approval

    • D. 

      Determined neutrality

    • E. 

      Ambivalence

  • 23. 
    Questions 23 and 24 are based on the following passage.     Could Washington, Madison, and the other framers of the     Federal Constitution revisit the earth in this year 1922,     it is likely that nothing would bewilder them more than     the recent Prohibition Amendment. Railways, steamships, 5   the telephone, automobiles, flying machines, submarines     – all these developments, unknown in their day, would     fill them with amazement and admiration. They would     marvel at the story of the rise and downfall of the     German Empire; at the growth and present greatness of 10  the Republic they themselves had founded. None of these     things, however, would seem to them to involve any     essential change in the beliefs and purposes of men as     they had known them. The Prohibition Amendment, on the     contrary, would evidence to their minds the breaking 15  down of a principle of government which they had deemed     axiomatic, the abandonment of a purpose which they had     supposed immutable. Adapted from: Our Changing Constitution, C W Pierson (1922) It can be inferred that the paragraph is intended as ______________________.
    • A. 

      An introduction to a discussion of a constitutional amendment

    • B. 

      A summary of social and political change since the writing of the Federal Constitution

    • C. 

      An introduction to a history of the Constitution

    • D. 

      A clarification of the author’s view of a controversy

    • E. 

      A summation of a discussion on political history

  • 24. 
    The author apparently believes that the “principle of government” mentioned in the last sentence is _______________.
    • A. 

      Not implicit in the original Constitution

    • B. 

      To be taken as true for all time

    • C. 

      Apparently violated by the Prohibition Amendment

    • D. 

      An essential change in the beliefs of the American people

    • E. 

      Something that would bewilder Washington and Madison

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