New SAT Reading Practice Test 73: The Value of Engineering

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The Value of Engineering

One of the greatest vocations one could pursue is engineering. Engineers play a central
role in transforming our world into a safer, more enjoyable place to live. Consider
just one area, which is very close to each of us: our own health. Biomedical engineers
have designed incubators that sustain the lives of premature babies, devices and
05procedures to diagnose conditions and fight diseases, and equipment to restore bodily
functions such as being able to walk or to see. Agricultural and biological engineers
develop medicines, create better ways of growing and protecting our food supply, and,
along with environmental engineers, help to create a cleaner, safer environment in
which to breathe, grow food, and have safe drinking water. Even if you have not met
10such an engineer before, they have set an example of how to be good stewards of our
resources, and we have all benefitted from what they have done for us.
What exactly is engineering? It is the practical application of scientific knowledge.
There are many different areas of engineering. Dr. Seuss helped to open our minds
to all the possibilities of what we can do in life in his book?Oh, The Places You'll Go!
15Engineers make this a reality, both literally and figuratively. In the area of transportation,
engineers design vehicles to help many people daily get from one place to
another, as well as airplanes, space shuttles, and submarines that enable us to explore
the far reaches of the planet and beyond. More broadly, there are four major branches
of engineering, including chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, each
20of which has a number of subdisciplines. Then there are different interdisciplinary
areas of engineering. From the smallest scope, where nanoengineers and biomolecular
engineers design at the level of atoms and molecules, to the largest scope, where civil
engineers design bridges and buildings, the options are many.
Being an engineer is intellectually stimulating and provides continual challenges.
25You will learn not only how things work, but also why different materials such as
woods, metals, or plastics have the properties that they do, depending on their atomic
structure and how they were formed. You become trained to identify what problems
may exist and how to use your knowledge, skills, and creativity to figure out innovative
solutions to fix them. One interesting challenge outlined by the National Academy
30of Engineering is to figure out how to control a fusion reaction to provide us with
energy in a more efficient, economic, and environmentally friendly way. Or how about
discovering how to diagnose and treat conditions people have, based on individual
differences? Quickly assessing someone's genetic profile and having a way to deliver
patient-specific medications to precise locations using nanoparticles are important
35engineering challenges that could improve many people's lives.
It is hard to imagine what life would be like without the contributions engineers
have already made. They have not just helped us to survive, be healthy, explore, and
move around better, but they have also made life more enjoyable through advances
in areas such as communications, computing, and sports. Computer engineers, for
40example, have helped develop devices and software that we can use to make and share
documents and home videos, listen to our favorite music, and talk with co-workers,
friends, and family members across the globe. In sports, different engineers have made
systems and devices that provide us with better, safer equipment, communications
that enable teams to interact better and games to be televised, and environments and
45infrastructure that improve the playing and watching of games.
It is true that everyone has unique desires, so you may prefer a vocation in some
other area. But even our desires themselves can be changed and need to be developed,
so why not try engineering on a smaller level with a project around the house or follow
an engineer around for a while? It might just become the kind of thing you would enjoy
50doing even if you were not getting paid, and perhaps you could become the next Orville
or Wilbur Wright, coming up with a whole new design that takes us to new heights.
Consider also the fruits of engineers' labors: if they have benefitted you so much, why
not do something that could benefit others in kind? At the very least, we need to be
aware that without the contributions of engineers, our lives would be more impoverished,
55so we have a lot for which to be thankful.

1. What is the overall theme of the passage?

  • A. To convince the reader to pursue engineering and abandon other career goals
  • B. To demonstrate the value of engineering and highlight the field's contributions to society
  • C. To give in-depth examples of how biomedical engineering has improved life for everyone
  • D. To provide context for how even small do-it-yourself home projects should be approached with an engineer's mindset

2. As used in line 10, "stewards" most nearly means

  • A. attendants.
  • B. curators.
  • C. assistants.
  • D. guardians.

3. With which statement would the author most likely agree?

  • A. Everyone can incorporate engineering into his or her life as a hobby or personal interest.
  • B. Biomedical engineering is the most useful branch of engineering and most worthy of academic pursuit.
  • C. Dayton, Ohio, is home to the world's greatest engineering minds, including Orville and Wilbur Wright.
  • D. Colleges should increase their scholarships for students studying engineering.

4. Which option gives the best evidence for the previous question?

  • A. Lines 21-23 ("From the . . . many")
  • B. Lines 29-31 ("One interesting . . . way")
  • C. Lines 47-50 ("But even . . . paid")
  • D. Lines 50-53 ("you could . . . like kind")

5. Why does the author reference Dr. Seuss and his book "Oh The Places You'll Go!" in Paragraph 2 (lines 12-23)?

  • A. To reminiscence with the reader about a beloved childhood book
  • B. To set up a transition to discuss the numerous engineering subspecialties
  • C. To signal to the reader that the author is switching to discussion of a new topic
  • D. To use hyperbole while outlining the various types of engineering

6. What is the purpose of lines 21-23?

  • A. To convince students that engineering is applicable to any field
  • B. To inform the reader of the range of engineering careers
  • C. To make the case that engineering is an intellectually stimulating career
  • D. To review the four main branches of engineering

7. Which paragraph gives the most specific evidence in support of the author's statement in line 4 that engineering has made the world a "more enjoyable place to live?"

  • A. Paragraph 2 (lines 12-23)
  • B. Paragraph 3 (lines 24-35)
  • C. Paragraph 4 (lines 36-45)
  • D. Paragraph 5 (lines 46-55)

8. Why does the author mention the National Academy of Engineering challenge in lines 29-31?

  • A. To inform the reader about the difficulty of controlling a fusion reaction
  • B. To lament about the lack of clean, renewable energy sources
  • C. To encourage the reader to enter the contest
  • D. To cite an authority to add credibility to his case

9. What is the point of paragraph 4 (lines 36-45)?

  • A. To make the reader feel that engineering is an accessible career
  • B. To show how life would be different without engineers
  • C. To highlight the contributions of computer and sport engineers
  • D. To give examples of how engineers' contributions are used in daily life

10. As used in lines 54-55, the phrase "more impoverished" most nearly means

  • A. emptier.
  • B. insolvent.
  • C. unproductive.
  • D. indigent.