New SAT Reading Practice Test 72: Buyer's Remorse

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Buyer's Remorse: the European Union and the Grexit

Ernest Hemingway once boasted that he could tell a story in six words: "For sale:
baby shoes, never worn." Nonetheless, I'm not impressed; ask me to summarize something
as vast as the global whole of the 20th Century, and I think I can do him four better:
Europe fought. 100 years, eight Popes, and two world wars all boiled down to just
05those words. Europe. Fought.
Such a volatile connected history makes it all the more fascinating that the entirety
of the combative continent was able to redress its respective grievances, apply the
salve to decades-old festering wounds, shuck off fervent nationalism, and join together
in marital bliss as a veritable European Union.
10But the honeymoon—as honeymoons are wont to do—has ended. The initial endorphin
rush of uniting toward a greater purpose has long passed, and all of Europe now
finds itself in something very much like international relationship counseling. "He can't
manage our finances,"
Germany bemoans as the reluctant breadwinner. "She refuses to
help now that I need her most,"
Greece exclaims. "Listen to you two! You have no idea of
15the sordid sort of things that we've seen!"
the rest of the continent marvels, obliged to
play a role somewhere between character witness and neutral arbiter in this geopolitical
lovers' quarrel. Yet, as the saying goes, "breaking up is hard to do." Now that all lowhanging
fruit romantic metaphors have been exhausted, at that crossroads is where we
now find ourselves.
20Tomorrow, Greece will go before its creditors to learn its fate: either the rest of
Europe (read: Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel) will extend a £1.5 billion loan
to the Greeks so that they might pay off a previous International Monetary Fund float,
or this idyllic Mediterranean Titan of yore will finally meet its end, defaulting on its
debt and hopping the next train toward the ghost town called European Banishment.
25Such an exit (dubbed Grexit by the media, in their eminent wit) might well be the
first domino to fall in a series of developments that could destabilize the region and
threaten the validity and vitality of the E.U. henceforth.
Consequential possibilities abound. For one, should Greece receive said funding
and be permitted to remain, at what point does Germany tire of paying child support?
30The natural conclusion to that fatigue in Berlin would be a harried rummaging through
the attic in search of leftover Deutsche marks, desperate to replace the Euro and
nostalgic for the autonomy of yesteryear when currency was their own and not some
perverted fiscal tragedy of the commons. Moreover, the precedent is set for further
disqualification with a Grexit perhaps Spain, Portugal, Ireland, or Italy might be the
35next one left without a chair when the music stops, resigned to their fate as wallflowers
on the outside looking in.
Yet, perhaps the most troublesome possibility is that an isolated Greece would be an
impressionable Greece—desperate both for allies and access to their coffers. Current
Greek optimistic sentiment is that Russia might don its shining armor and rescue the
40fledgling castaways with a godsend of a loan. But, given Putin's recent sleight of hand
in Crimea, any such lending may not be so much an act of charity as a Trojan Horse;
Vladimir's Kremlin friends are a crafty bunch, and their endgame is opaque. Alas,
such is the problem with deciphering ulterior motives: they often aren't clear until the
history books go to print. The trillion dollar question is, when the ink dries, will the
45E.U. be listed in the chapters of current events? Or, will it be relegated to the annals of
academia, its skeleton but a diplomatic case study of oil and water, its ashes little more
than a Kennedy School lecture on the perils of collaboration between square pegs and
round holes?

1. What is the overall point of the passage?

  • A. To explain the current challenges of the European Union and ponder its future
  • B. To make the case that Greece should have never been admitted to the European Union
  • C. To convince the reader that a continent-wide currency is a rejection of sound economic theory
  • D. To demonstrate how Russia is often helpful to floundering countries

2. What is the purpose of paragraph 1 with respect to the passage as a whole?

  • A. To give the reader a brief overview of European history
  • B. To demonstrate that the author is a superior writer to Hemingway
  • C. To show that even long stories can be concisely summarized
  • D. To draw the reader's interest by placing the topic of the passage in a global and historical context

3. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 6-9 ("Such . . . Union")
  • B. Lines 10-12 ("But the . . . counseling")
  • C. Lines 20-24 ("Tomorrow . . . Banishment")
  • D. Lines 40-42 ("But . . . opaque")

4. In paragraph 3 (lines 10-19), what primary purpose does the personification of the countries serve?

  • A. To give the reader further insight into the thoughts of the countries' leaders
  • B. To demonstrate how the countries might discuss extending a loan to Greece
  • C. To use a metaphor to further explain the conflict between the countries
  • D. To further predict the consequences of military conflict

5. As used in line 16, "arbiter" most nearly means

  • A. pundit.
  • B. legate.
  • C. helper.
  • D. referee.

6. With which of these statements would the author most likely agree?

  • A. The European Union is innovative and serves as a sound model for other continents.
  • B. Without the European Union, Greece may make desperate diplomatic decisions.
  • C. Germany and Chancellor Merkel want to exit the European Union and return to Deutsch marks.
  • D. If the Grexit occurs, Greece will certainly exploit Russia's finances and natural resources.

7. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 6-9 ("Such . . . Union")
  • B. Lines 17-19 ("Now that . . . ourselves")
  • C. Lines 30-33 ("The natural . . . commons")
  • D. Lines 37-38 ("Yet . . . coffers")

8. Lines 25-27 ("Such . . . henceforth.") primarily suggest that the author believes that a Greek exit from the European Union

  • A. is all but certain, so must be embraced.
  • B. could have unforeseen and negative consequences.
  • C. will cause the downfall of European civilization.
  • D. should be avoided at all costs.

9. As used in line 33, "perverted" most nearly means

  • A. deviant.
  • B. foreign.
  • C. unfortunate.
  • D. premeditated.

10. Which of the following would most accurately paraphrase lines 44-48 ("The trillion . . . holes")?

  • A. Will the countries of the European Union end their conflicts peacefully or by resorting to an expensive arms race?
  • B. Will the European Union become obsolete and only read about in textbooks as a lesson in things that are dysfunctional?
  • C. Will the Kennedy School give frequent lectures about the European Union and its success?
  • D. Will the European Union extend a loan to Greece to ensure future success and prosperity for all countries?