Quizzes: SAT/ACT Reading

The following passages are accompanied by questions testing your comprehension of information that is either stated or implied in the passage. Some questions may also ask about the role or purpose of various pieces of information within the passage.
Each question is accompanied by four answers, labeled A through D. Select the answer that provides the best response to each question. Remember that all questions can be answered using only the information provided in the passage; no outside knowledge is required.


1. Whatever the old adage might warn, there is a bit of merit to judging a book by its cover — if only in one respect. Consider the blurb, one of the most pervasive, longest-running — and, at times, controversial — tools in the publishing industry. For such a curious word, the term “blurb” has amassed a number of meanings in the decades since it worked its way into our vocabulary, but lately it has referred to just one thing: a bylined endorsement from a fellow writer — or celebrity — that sings the praises of a book's author right on the cover of their book. (https://www.npr.org/2015/09/27/429723002/forget-the-book-have-you-read-this-irresistible-story-on-blurbs)

The passage indicates that blurbs have provoked

2. For millennia, we’ve made decisions about what to grow or not grow—and what to eat or not eat. That’s what agriculture is: a series of decisions we, and our ancestors, have made about what we want our food and food system to look and taste like. But our ability to make these decisions—and indulge in our pleasures—is being compromised in ways that are unprecedented.

While some places in the world are experiencing an increase of diversity in certain parts of their diet, the general trend is the same one we see in phones and fashion: standardization. Every place looks and tastes more similar—and the country that sets this trend is America. The refined carbohydrates, animal proteins and added fats and sugars that make up the majority of our diets have also become the template diet for the world.(https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/globalization-climate-change-foods-180957355/#A0OYcthsogtTeH0v.99)

The passage indicates that decisions about food consumption have become

3. Experiments in mice and rats suggest that certain microbes living in your body as part of the gut microbiome have ways of letting the brain know when they've received enough nutrients to reach their goal—creating a billion more of their kind. Those signals seem to turn hunger on and off in their hosts.

The findings build on a bounty of evidence that microbes play a key role in the physiology of appetite—and perhaps could help people with eating disorders.

"We have long known that after eating we get a feeling of fullness. Most have assumed that it is because our stomach or intestines are stretched," says Martin Blaser, director of NYU's Human Microbiome Program and author of Missing Microbes. "We never thought that the bacteria we were carrying could be part of that signal, but this new work provides evidence that that is what is occurring.”(https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/gut-bacteria-may-be-controlling-your-appetite-180957389/)

The passage suggests that a “feeling of fullness” results from

4. At present physicists have two separate rulebooks explaining how nature works. There is general relativity, which beautifully accounts for gravity and all of the things it dominates: orbiting planets, colliding galaxies, the dynamics of the expanding universe as a whole. That’s big. Then there is quantum mechanics, which handles the other three forces—electromagnetism and the two nuclear forces. Quantum theory is extremely adept at describing what happens when a uranium atom decays, or when individual particles of light hit a solar cell. That’s small.(https://nautil.us/issue/29/scaling/will-quantum-mechanics-swallow-relativity)

The primary purpose of the passage is to

5. It began among children. In the village minister’s house, two little girls crawled under the furniture, made silly noises, spread their arms out like wings and tried to fly. The strangest thing—to any person who has spent more than 10 minutes on a grade-school playground—is that it was strange at all.

But standards of behavior for young girls were more exacting in 17th-century New England than they are today. The primary sources adopt a tone of perplexity. Nine-year-old Betty Parris, the parson’s daughter, and her 11-year-old cousin, Abigail Williams, had always been model children, “well Educated and of good Behaviour,” according to one chronicle. Soon, word spread through Salem: They had been bewitched. Clergymen came, then constables. (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/11/how-satan-came-to-salem/407866/)

An underlying assumption of the passage is that

6. While it is true that Thoreau did not live so simple a life at Walden as he claimed, he was no paranoid hoarder. He offered legitimate reasons to oppose government actions and among them was not a desire for the dissolution of the body politic but for its improvement. He never sought accumulation, the hallmark of the prepper, who is so mistrustful of the civilization around him, yet so embedded in its political economy, that he can only escape it by owning and patrolling as much of it as possible. All Thoreau wanted was time, and he was willing to give up most goods to obtain it. (adapted from https://bostonreview.net/blog/thoreau-walden-simon-waxman)

The passage suggests that Thoreau believed government actions

7. Psychologists have tried to weed out the motivations of mountain climbers for decades. Some concluded that high-risk athletes – mountaineers included – are sensation-seekers who thrive off thrill. Yet think for a moment about what climbing a mountain like Everest entails – weeks spent at various camps, allowing the body to adapt to altitude; inching up the mountain, step-by-step; using sheer willpower to push through unrelenting discomfort and exhaustion – and this explanation makes less sense. Sports psychology researcher Matthew Barlow suspected that sensation-seeking theory has long been misapplied to mountaineers. His research suggests that, compared to other athletes, mountaineers tend to possess an exaggerated “expectancy of agency”. In other words, they crave a feeling of control over their lives. Because the complexities of modern life defy such control, they are forced to seek agency elsewhere. (adapted from https://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151008-the-graveyard-in-the-clouds-everests-200-dead-bodies)

In context of the passage, the statement “they crave a feeling of control over their lives” primarily serves to

8. The shark’s long history starts in the late Silurian period, about 450 million years ago. It was a time when sea levels were high and coral reefs began to form. The Earth’s climate was warm and stable. Molluscs, crinoids, and trilobites were some of the only living creatures on the Earth before scorpions and centipedes appeared on land. Around this time, sharks too appeared, evidenced by the oldest known shark scales found in Siberian deposits. (https://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20151003-the-epic-history-of-sharks)

It can be reasonably inferred that during the late Silurian period

9. To some degree, politics has always involved deception. The advent of television intensified this, shrinking attention spans, creating ways to distort and vilify and dramatizing the existential stakes of prosaic debates. Think Lyndon Johnson’s devastating ‘‘Daisy’’ ad in his 1964 re-­election campaign against Barry Goldwater, which showed a little girl picking petals off a daisy and the sudden explosion of a bright, shiny mushroom cloud. (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/06/magazine/the-politics-of-distraction.html?_r=0)

The passage indicates that television

10. The latest release in the humpback whale’s haunting sound collection is a track so unusual that scientists hardly know what to make of it. Unlike anything on the hit album Songs of the Humpback Whale (released in 1970, the wildlife recording went multi-platinum), the mysterious new noise has such a low beat it’s scarcely audible.

Near the lower limit of human hearing, the so-called “pulse trains" are deeper than any confirmed humpback vocalization, according to Jim Darling, a research biologist with the Whale Trust Maui in Hawaii.

It's “as if listening to a heartbeat with a stethoscope,” says Darling, whose study on the phenomenon was published November 5 in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

In research partially funded by the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration, Darling and colleagues recorded the strange sounds near the Hawaiian island of Maui (map), where up to 10,000 humpbacks gather each winter to give birth and mate.

Humpback vocalizations, including the complex and wide-ranging “whale song” performed by males, typically have an audio frequency between 80 and 4,000 hertz (Hz). But the newly described pulse sounds were found to have a significantly lower frequency of around 40 Hz. The low limit for human hearing is 20 hz.

“We are just so used to hearing a certain type of sounds from humpbacks, and this was out of that range,” says Darling. (https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/12/151207-humpback-whales-sounds-noises-oceans-animals/)

The passage indicates that humpback whale “songs"