SAT passage-based reading test 3

Test Information

Question 14 questions

Time 20 minutes

See All test questions

Take more free SAT passage-based reading tests available from cracksat.net.

Each passage below is followed by questions based on its content. Answer the questions on the basis of what is stated or implied in each passage and in any introductory material that may be provided.

Questions are based on the following passage.

The most wonderful mystery of life may
well be the means by which it created so much
diversity from so little physical matter. The
Line biosphere, all organisms combined, makes up
only about one part in ten billion of Earth's mass. Line5
It is sparsely distributed through a kilometerthick
layer of soil, water, and air stretched over the
Earth's surface. If the world were the size of an
ordinary desktop globe and its surface were viewed
edgewise an arm's length away, no trace of the Line10
biosphere could be seen with the naked eye. Yet
life has, incredibly, divided into millions of species,
each playing a unique role in relation to the whole.

1. The exercise involving the desktop globe (lines 8-10) is meant to

A. suggest that a determined student can master the complexities of ecology
B. compare the diversity of life on different continents
C. reiterate the comparatively small size of Earth
D. emphasize that most of life on Earth is invisible to the naked eye
E. illustrate the extent of the biosphere relative to the size of Earth

2. The tone of the passage is primarily one of

A. detached inquiry
B. playful skepticism
C. mild defensiveness
D. informed appreciation
E. urgent entreaty

Questions are based on the following passage.

In his famous poem on the death of the
Irish poet W. B. Yeats, the English poet W. H.
Auden wrote, "Ireland has her madness and
Line her weather still / For poetry makes nothing
happen." Elsewhere, Auden, with his characteristic Line5
and endearing honesty, commented that all the
verse he wrote in the 1930's did not save a single
person from persecution. He wrote:
"Artists and politicians would get along better
at a time of crisis like the present, if the latter Line10
would only realize that the political history of
the world would have been the same if not a
poem had been written, nor a picture painted,
nor a bar of music composed."

3. In context, "endearing" (line 6) most nearly means

A. surprising
B. self-important
C. attractive
D. disingenuous
E. amusing

4. Auden believed that artists and politicians would "get along better at a time of crisis" (lines 9-10) if politicians would

A. heed the messages that artists convey through art
B. remember the contributions that artists have made to culture through the ages
C. admit that art speaks in a language that is incomprehensible to politicians
D. recognize that art does not affect the course of history
E. acknowledge the role of artists in shaping the consciousness of a nation

Questions are based on the following passages.

Robinson Crusoe, a novel first published in England in 1719, was written by Daniel Defoe. It relates the story of Crusoe's successful efforts to make a tolerable existence for himself after being shipwrecked alone on an apparently uninhabited island. The passages below are adapted from two twentieth-century commentaries by Ian Watt and James Sutherland on the novel's main character.

Passage 1

That Robinson Crusoe is an embodiment of
economic individualism hardly needs demonstration.
All of Defoe's heroes and heroines pursue
Linemoney, and they pursue it very methodically.
Crusoe's bookkeeping conscience, indeed, has Line5
established an effective priority over all of his
other thoughts and emotions. The various forms of
traditional group relationship—family, village, a
sense of nationality—all are weakened, as are the
competing claims of noneconomic individual Line10
achievement and enjoyment, ranging from spiritual
salvation to the pleasures of recreation. For
the most part, the main characters in Defoe's
works either have no family or, like Crusoe, leave
it at an early age never to return. Not too much Line15
importance can be attached to this fact, since
adventure stories demand the absence of conventional
social ties. Still, Robinson Crusoe does have
a home and family, and he leaves them for the
classic reason of economic individualism—that it Line20
is necessary to better his condition." Something
fatal in that propension of nature" calls him to the
sea and adventure, and against "settling to business"
in the station to which he is born—and this
despite the elaborate praise that his father heaps Line25
upon that condition. Leaving home, improving the
lot one was born to, is a vital feature of the individualist
pattern of life.

Crusoe is not a mere footloose adventurer, and
his travels, like his freedom from social ties, are Line30
merely somewhat extreme cases of tendencies that
are normal in modern society as a whole since, by
making the pursuit of gain a primary motive,
economic individualism has much increased the
mobility of the individual. More specifically, the Line35
story of Robinson Crusoe is based on some of the
many volumes recounting the exploits of those
voyagers who in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries had assisted the development of capitalism.
Defoe's story, then, expresses some of the Line40
most important tendencies of the life of his time,
and it is this that sets his hero apart from most
other travelers in literature. Robinson Crusoe is
not, like Ulysses, an unwilling voyager trying to
get back to his family and his native land: profit Line45
is Crusoe's only vocation, and the whole world is
his territory.

Passage 2

To Ian Watt, Robinson Crusoe is a characteristic
embodiment of economic individualism. "Profit,"
50 he assures us, "is Crusoe's only vocation," and Line50
"only money--fortune in its modern sense--is a
proper cause of deep feeling." Watt therefore
claims that Crusoe's motive for disobeying his
father and leaving home was to better his economic
condition, and that the argument between Crusoe Line55
and his parents in the early pages of the book is
really a debate "not about filial duty or religion,
but about whether going or staying is likely to be
the most advantageous course materially: both
sides accept the economic motive as primary." We Line60
certainly cannot afford to ignore those passages in
which Crusoe attributes his misfortunes to an evil
influence that drove him into "projects and undertakings
beyond my reach, such as are indeed often
the ruin of the best heads in business." But Line65
surely the emphasis is not on the economic
motive as such, but on the willingness to gamble
and seek for quick profits beyond what "the nature
of the thing permitted." Crusoe's father wished
70 him to take up the law as a profession, and if Line70
Crusoe had done so, he would likely have become
a very wealthy man indeed. Crusoe's failure to
accept his father's choice for him illustrates not
economic individualism so much as Crusoe's lack
of economic prudence, indifference to a calm and Line75
normal bourgeois life, and love of travel.

Unless we are to say—and we have no right to
say it—that Crusoe did not know himself, profit
hardly seems to have been his "only vocation."
80 Instead, we are presented with a man who was Line80
driven (like so many contemporary Englishmen
whom Defoe either admired or was fascinated by)
by a kind of compulsion to wander footloose about
the world. As if to leave no doubt about his restless
desire to travel, Crusoe contrasts himself with Line85
his business partner, the very pattern of the economic
motive and of what a merchant ought to be,
who would have been quite happy "to have gone
like a carrier's horse, always to the same inn,
backward and forward, provided he could, as he Line90
called it, find his account in it." Crusoe, on the
other hand, was like a rambling boy who never
wanted to see again what he had already seen.
"My eye," he tells us, "was never satisfied with
seeing, was still more desirous of wandering and Line95
seeing. "

5. The primary focus of this pair of passages is

A. earlier commentaries on Defoe's Robinson Crusoe
B. the exact nature of the flaws in Crusoe's character
C. the style and structure of Robinson Crusoe
D. Defoe's positive portrayal of greed
E. Crusoe's motivation for leaving home and traveling abroad

6. The first paragraph of Passage 1 (lines 1-28) primarily explores the contrast between

A. economics and religion
B. business and adventure
C. family responsibilities and service to one's country
D. Crusoe's sense of duty and his desire for pleasure
E. economic individualism and group-oriented behavior

7. Watt refers to "spiritual salvation" (lines 11-12) as an example of

A. something in which Crusoe seemed to show relatively little interest
B. the ultimate goal in life for most of Defoe's contemporaries
C. an important difference in priorities between Crusoe and his father
D. something that Defoe believed was incompatible with the pursuit of pleasure
E. a crucial value that Crusoe's family failed to pass on to him

8. In both passages, Crusoe's attitude toward the idea of "settling to business" (lines 23-24) like his father is described as

A. eager anticipation
B. conventional acceptance
C. confused uncertainty
D. moral suspicion
E. innate opposition

9. Which statement about Crusoe is most consistent with the information in Passage 1?

A. He left home because his father forced him to do so.
B. He single-mindedly pursued financial gain.
C. He was driven to seek pleasure through world travel.
D. He had a highly developed sense of morality.
E. He was economically imprudent to a fault.

10. The authors of the two passages would apparently agree that Crusoe was

A. motivated only by personal financial gain
B. profoundly unaware of his basic nature and calling in life
C. commendable in his devotion to his family and his business partners
D. willing to take risks
E. responsible for whatever misfortunes befell him in life

11. Both passages indicate that Crusoe's father was

A. similar to the parents of main characters in other works by Defoe
B. confident that his son would succeed in whatever field he chose
C. in favor of more prudent behavior by his son
D. opposed to the business partners chosen by his son
E. proud of his son's ability to survive comfortably after being shipwrecked

12. In line 86, "pattern" most nearly means

A. configuration
B. duplicate
C. decoration
D. perfection
E. model

13. In context, the phrase "find his account in it" (line 91) can best be interpreted to mean

A. be exposed to new experiences
B. make a reasonable profit
C. seek adventure around the world
D. become popular and well known
E. acquire great power and responsibility

14. Crusoe's self-assessment quoted at the end of Passage 2 (lines 94-96) serves primarily to

A. reveal that Crusoe did not know himself as well as he thought he did
B. suggest that vision entails more than merely seeing
C. suggest that, though boylike, Crusoe was more like Ulysses than Watt acknowledges
D. provide support for Sutherland's view of Crusoe
E. introduce one of Crusoe's traits