Reading Test



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Reading Test


52 Questions

Turn to Section 1 of your answer sheet to answer the questions in this section.

Directions

Each passage or pair of passages below is followed by a number of questions. After reading each passage or pair, choose the best answer to each question based on what is stated or implied in the passage or passages and in any accompanying graphics (such as a table or graph).


Questions 1 through 10 are based on the following passage.


This passage is from Charlotte Brontë, The Professor, originally published in 1857.

No man likes to acknowledge that he has made a mistake in the choice of his profession, and every man, worthy of the name, will row long against wind and tide before he allows himself to cry out, “I am baffled!” and submits to be floated passively back to land. From the first week of my residence in X—— I felt my occupation irksome. The thing itself—the work of copying and translating business‑letters—was a dry and tedious task enough, but had that been all, I should long have borne with the nuisance; I am not of an impatient nature, and influenced by the double desire of getting my living and justifying to myself and others the resolution I had taken to become a tradesman, I should have endured in silence the rust and cramp of my best faculties; I should not have whispered, even inwardly, that I longed for liberty; I should have pent in every sigh by which my heart might have ventured to intimate its distress under the closeness, smoke, monotony, and joyless tumult of Bigben Close, and its panting desire for freer and fresher scenes; I should have set up the image of Duty, the fetish of Perseverance, in my small bedroom at Mrs. King’s lodgings, and they two should have been my household gods, from which my darling, my cherished‑in‑secret, Imagination, the tender and the mighty, should never, either by softness or strength, have severed me. But this was not all; the antipathy which had sprung up between myself and my employer striking deeper root and spreading denser shade daily, excluded me from every glimpse of the sunshine of life; and I began to feel like a plant growing in humid darkness out of the slimy walls of a well.

Antipathy is the only word which can express the feeling Edward Crimsworth had for me—a feeling, in a great measure, involuntary, and which was liable to be excited by every, the most trifling movement, look, or word of mine. My southern accent annoyed him; the degree of education evinced in my language irritated him; my punctuality, industry, and accuracy, fixed his dislike, and gave it the high flavour and poignant relish of envy; he feared that I too should one day make a successful tradesman. Had I been in anything inferior to him, he would not have hated me so thoroughly, but I knew all that he knew, and, what was worse, he suspected that I kept the padlock of silence on mental wealth in which he was no sharer. If he could have once placed me in a ridiculous or mortifying position, he would have forgiven me much, but I was guarded by three faculties—Caution, Tact, Observation; and prowling and prying as was Edward’s malignity, it could never baffle the lynx‑eyes of these, my natural sentinels. Day by day did his malice watch my tact, hoping it would sleep, and prepared to steal snake‑like on its slumber; but tact, if it be genuine, never sleeps.

I had received my first quarter’s wages, and was returning to my lodgings, possessed heart and soul with the pleasant feeling that the master who had paid me grudged every penny of that hard‑earned pittance—(I had long ceased to regard Mr. Crimsworth as my brother—he was a hard, grinding master; he wished to be an inexorable tyrant: that was all). Thoughts, not varied but strong, occupied my mind; two voices spoke within me; again and again they uttered the same monotonous phrases. One said: “William, your life is intolerable.” The other: “What can you do to alter it?” I walked fast, for it was a cold, frosty night in January; as I approached my lodgings, I turned from a general view of my affairs to the particular speculation as to whether my fire would be out; looking towards the window of my sitting‑room, I saw no cheering red gleam.


Question 1.

Which choice best summarizes the passage?

A. A character describes his dislike for his new job and considers the reasons why.

B. Two characters employed in the same office become increasingly competitive.

C. A young man regrets privately a choice that he defends publicly.

D. A new employee experiences optimism, then frustration, and finally despair.

Explanation for question 1.


Question 2.

The main purpose of the opening sentence of the passage is to

A. establish the narrator’s perspective on a controversy.

B. provide context useful in understanding the narrator’s emotional state.

C. offer a symbolic representation of Edward Crimsworth’s plight.

D. contrast the narrator’s good intentions with his malicious conduct.

Explanation for question 2.


Question 3.

During the course of the first paragraph, the narrator’s focus shifts from

A. recollection of past confidence to acknowledgment of present self‑doubt.

B. reflection on his expectations of life as a tradesman to his desire for another job.

C. generalization about job dissatisfaction to the specifics of his own situation.

D. evaluation of factors making him unhappy to identification of alternatives.

Explanation for question 3.


Question 4.

The references to “shade” and “darkness” at the end of the first paragraph mainly have which effect?

A. They evoke the narrator’s sense of dismay.

B. They reflect the narrator’s sinister thoughts.

C. They capture the narrator’s fear of confinement.

D. They reveal the narrator’s longing for rest.

Explanation for question 4.


Question 5.

The passage indicates that Edward Crimsworth’s behavior was mainly caused by his

A. impatience with the narrator’s high spirits.

B. scorn of the narrator’s humble background.

C. indignation at the narrator’s rash actions.

D. jealousy of the narrator’s apparent superiority.

Explanation for question 5.


Question 6.

The passage indicates that when the narrator began working for Edward Crimsworth, he viewed Crimsworth as a

A. harmless rival.

B. sympathetic ally.

C. perceptive judge.

D. demanding mentor.

Explanation for question 6.


Question 7.

Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to question 6?

A. “the antipathy which had sprung up between myself and my employer striking deeper root and spreading denser shade daily, excluded me from every glimpse of the sunshine of life”

B. “My southern accent annoyed him; the degree of education evinced in my language irritated him”

C. “Day by day did his malice watch my tact, hoping it would sleep, and prepared to steal snake‑like on its slumber”

D. “I had long ceased to regard Mr. Crimsworth as my brother”

Explanation for question 7.


Question 8.

At the end of the second paragraph, the comparisons of abstract qualities to a lynx and a snake mainly have the effect of

A. contrasting two hypothetical courses of action.

B. conveying the ferocity of a resolution.

C. suggesting the likelihood of an altercation.

D. illustrating the nature of an adversarial relationship.

Explanation for question 8.


Question 9.

The passage indicates that, after a long day of work, the narrator sometimes found his living quarters to be

A. treacherous.

B. dreary.

C. predictable.

D. intolerable.

Explanation for question 9.


Question 10.

Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to question 9?

A. “I should have pent in every sigh by which my heart might have ventured to intimate its distress under the closeness, smoke, monotony, and joyless tumult of Bigben Close, and its panting desire for freer and fresher scenes”

B. “I should have set up the image of Duty, the fetish of Perseverance, in my small bedroom at Mrs. King’s lodgings”

C. “Thoughts, not varied but strong, occupied my mind; two voices spoke within me; again and again they uttered the same monotonous phrases.”

D. “I walked fast, for it was a cold, frosty night in January; as I approached my lodgings, I turned from a general view of my affairs to the particular speculation as to whether my fire would be out; looking towards the window of my sitting‑room, I saw no cheering red gleam.”

Explanation for question 10.

Answers and explanations for questions 1 through 10 are provided in the next section of this document. You may skip directly to the beginning of the next passage if you do not want to review answers and explanations now.


Answers and Explanations for Questions 1 through 10



Explanation for question 1.

Choice A is the best answer. The narrator admits that his job is “irksome,” (sentence 2 of paragraph 1) and reflects on the reasons for his dislike. The narrator admits that his work is a “dry and tedious task” (sentence 3 of paragraph 1) and that he has a poor relationship with his superior: “the antipathy which had sprung up between myself and my employer striking deeper root and spreading denser shade daily, excluded me from every glimpse of the sunshine of life” (sentence 4 of paragraph 1).

Choices B, C, and D are incorrect because the narrator does not become increasingly competitive with his employer, publicly defend his choice of occupation, or exhibit optimism about his job.


Explanation for question 2.

Choice B is the best answer. The first sentence of the passage explains that people do not like to admit when they’ve chosen the wrong profession and that they will continue in their profession for a while before admitting their unhappiness. This statement mirrors the narrator’s own situation, as the narrator admits he finds his own occupation “irksome” (sentence 2 of paragraph 1) but that he might “long have borne with the nuisance” (sentence 3 of paragraph 1) if not for his poor relationship with his employer.

Choices A, C, and D are incorrect because the first sentence does not discuss a controversy, focus on the narrator’s employer, Edward Crimsworth, or provide any evidence of malicious conduct.


Explanation for question 3.

Choice C is the best answer. The first paragraph shifts from a general discussion of how people deal with choosing an occupation they later regret (sentence 1 of paragraph 1) to the narrator’s description of his own dissatisfaction with his occupation (sentences 2 through 4 of paragraph 1).

Choices A, B, and D are incorrect because the first paragraph does not focus on the narrator’s self‑doubt, his expectations of life as a tradesman, or his identification of alternatives to his current occupation.


Explanation for question 4.

Choice A is the best answer. In sentence 4 of paragraph 1, the narrator is describing the hostile relationship between him and his superior, Edward Crimsworth. This relationship causes the narrator to feel like he lives in the “shade” and in “humid darkness.” These words evoke the narrator’s feelings of dismay towards his current occupation and his poor relationship with his superior—factors that cause him to live without “the sunshine of life”.

Choices B, C, and D are incorrect because the words “shade” and “darkness” do not reflect the narrator’s sinister thoughts, his fear of confinement, or his longing for rest.


Explanation for question 5.

Choice D is the best answer. The narrator states that Crimsworth dislikes him because the narrator may “one day make a successful tradesman” (sentence 2 of paragraph 2). Crimsworth recognizes that the narrator is not “inferior to him” but rather more intelligent, someone who keeps “the padlock of silence on mental wealth in which [Crimsworth] was no sharer” (sentence 3 of paragraph 2). Crimsworth feels inferior to the narrator and is jealous of the narrator’s intellectual and professional abilities.

Choices A and C are incorrect because the narrator is not described as exhibiting “high spirits” or “rash actions,” but “Caution, Tact, [and] Observation” (sentence 4 of paragraph 2). Choice B is incorrect because the narrator’s “humble background” is not discussed.


Explanation for question 6.

Choice B is the best answer. Sentence 1 of paragraph 3 states that the narrator “had long ceased to regard Mr. Crimsworth as my brother.” In these lines, the term “brother” means friend or ally, which suggests that the narrator and Crimsworth were once friendly towards each other.

Choices A, C, and D are incorrect because the narrator originally viewed Crimsworth as a friend, or ally, and later as a hostile superior; he never viewed Crimsworth as a harmless rival, perceptive judge, or demanding mentor.


Explanation for question 7.

Choice D is the best answer. In sentence 1 of paragraph 3, the narrator states that he once regarded Mr. Crimsworth as his “brother.” This statement provides evidence that the narrator originally viewed Crimsworth as a sympathetic ally.

Choices A, B, and C do not provide the best evidence for the claim that Crimsworth was a sympathetic ally. Rather, choices A, B, and C provide evidence of the hostile relationship that currently exists between the narrator and Crimsworth.


Explanation for question 8.

Choice D is the best answer. In sentence 4 of paragraph 2, the narrator states that he exhibited “Caution, Tact, [and] Observation” at work and watched Mr. Crimsworth with “lynx‑eyes.” The narrator acknowledges that Crimsworth was “prepared to steal snake‑like” if he caught the narrator acting without tact or being disrespectful towards his superiors (sentence 5 of paragraph 2). Thus, Crimsworth was trying to find a reason to place the narrator “in a ridiculous or mortifying position” (sentence 4 of paragraph 2) by accusing the narrator of acting unprofessionally. The use of the lynx and snake serves to emphasize the narrator and Crimsworth’s adversarial, or hostile, relationship.

Choices A and B are incorrect because the description of the lynx and snake does not contrast two hypothetical courses of action or convey a resolution. Choice C is incorrect because while sentences 4 through 5 of paragraph 2 suggest that Crimsworth is trying to find a reason to fault the narrator’s work, they do not imply that an altercation, or heated dispute, between the narrator and Crimsworth is likely to occur.


Explanation for question 9.

Choice B is the best answer. Sentence 5 of paragraph 3 states that the narrator noticed there was no “cheering red gleam” of fire in his sitting‑room fireplace. The lack of a “cheering,” or comforting, fire suggests that the narrator sometimes found his lodgings to be dreary or bleak.

Choices A and D are incorrect because the narrator does not find his living quarters to be treacherous or intolerable. Choice C is incorrect because while the narrator is walking home he speculates about the presence of a fire in his sitting‑room’s fireplace (sentence 5 of paragraph 3), which suggests that he could not predict the state of his living quarters.


Explanation for question 10.

Choice D is the best answer. In sentences 4 and 5 of paragraph 3, the narrator states that he did not see the “cheering” glow of a fire in his sitting‑room fireplace. This statement provides evidence that the narrator views his lodgings as dreary or bleak.

Choices A, B, and C do not provide the best evidence that the narrator views his lodgings as dreary. Choices A and C are incorrect because they do not provide the narrator’s opinion of his lodgings, and choice B is incorrect because sentence 3 of paragraph 1 describes the narrator’s lodgings only as “small.”



This is the end of the answers and explanations for questions 1 through 10. Go on to the next page to begin a new passage.

Questions 11 through 21 are based on the following passage and supplementary material.


This passage is adapted from Iain King, “Can Economics Be Ethical?” Copyright 2013 by Prospect Publishing.

Recent debates about the economy have rediscovered the question, “is that right?”, where “right” means more than just profits or efficiency.

Some argue that because the free markets allow for personal choice, they are already ethical. Others have accepted the ethical critique and embraced corporate social responsibility. But before we can label any market outcome as “immoral,” or sneer at economists who try to put a price on being ethical, we need to be clear on what we are talking about.

There are different views on where ethics should apply when someone makes an economic decision. Consider Adam Smith, widely regarded as the founder of modern economics. He was a moral philosopher who believed sympathy for others was the basis for ethics (we would call it empathy nowadays). But one of his key insights in The Wealth of Nations was that acting on this empathy could be counter‑productive—he observed people becoming better off when they put their own empathy aside, and interacted in a self‑interested way. Smith justifies selfish behavior by the outcome. Whenever planners use cost‑benefit analysis to justify a new railway line, or someone retrains to boost his or her earning power, or a shopper buys one to get one free, they are using the same approach: empathizing with someone, and seeking an outcome that makes that person as well off as possible—although the person they are empathizing with may be themselves in the future.

Instead of judging consequences, Aristotle said ethics was about having the right character—displaying virtues like courage and honesty. It is a view put into practice whenever business leaders are chosen for their good character. But it is a hard philosophy to teach—just how much loyalty should you show to a manufacturer that keeps losing money? Show too little and you’re a “greed is good” corporate raider; too much and you’re wasting money on unproductive capital. Aristotle thought there was a golden mean between the two extremes, and finding it was a matter of fine judgment. But if ethics is about character, it’s not clear what those characteristics should be.

There is yet another approach: instead of rooting ethics in character or the consequences of actions, we can focus on our actions themselves. From this perspective some things are right, some wrong—we should buy fair trade goods, we shouldn’t tell lies in advertisements. Ethics becomes a list of commandments, a catalog of “dos” and “don’ts.” When a finance official refuses to devalue a currency because they have promised not to, they are defining ethics this way. According to this approach devaluation can still be bad, even if it would make everybody better off.

Many moral dilemmas arise when these three versions pull in different directions but clashes are not inevitable. Take fair trade coffee (coffee that is sold with a certification that indicates the farmers and workers who produced it were paid a fair wage), for example: buying it might have good consequences, be virtuous, and also be the right way to act in a flawed market. Common ground like this suggests that, even without agreement on where ethics applies, ethical economics is still possible.

Whenever we feel queasy about “perfect” competitive markets, the problem is often rooted in a phony conception of people. The model of man on which classical economics is based—an entirely rational and selfish being—is a parody, as John Stuart Mill, the philosopher who pioneered the model, accepted. Most people—even economists—now accept that this “economic man” is a fiction. We behave like a herd; we fear losses more than we hope for gains; rarely can our brains process all the relevant facts.



These human quirks mean we can never make purely “rational” decisions. A new wave of behavioral economists, aided by neuroscientists, is trying to understand our psychology, both alone and in groups, so they can anticipate our decisions in the marketplace more accurately. But psychology can also help us understand why we react in disgust at economic injustice, or accept a moral law as universal. Which means that the relatively new science of human behavior might also define ethics for us. Ethical economics would then emerge from one of the least likely places: economists themselves.


Begin skippable figure description.

The figure presents a line graph titled “Regular Coffee Profits Compared to Fair Trade Coffee Profits in Tanzania.” The horizontal axis is labeled “Year,” and years from 2000 to 2008, in increments of 2, appear along the horizontal axis. The vertical axis is labeled “Amount, in U S cents per pound.” Numbers 0 to 160, in increments of 20, appear along the vertical axis, and there are horizontal grid lines at these numbers.

The graph has two lines. One line appears at the top and another appears at the bottom of the graph. The key indicates that the high line represents fair trade coffee, and the low line represents regular coffee. The high line, representing fair trade coffee, stays between the two horizontal grid lines at 120 and 140. It remains flat from 2000 to 2007 and goes up a little from 2007 to 2008. The low line, representing regular coffee, fluctuates from 2000 to 2008. The approximate data for the low line for the years 2000 through 2008 are as follows.

2000: 52.

2001: 35.

2002: 22.

2003: 22.

2004: 23.

2005: 42.

2006: 41.

2007: 59.

2008: 61.

End skippable figure description.


Question 11.

The main purpose of the passage is to

A. consider an ethical dilemma posed by cost‑benefit analysis.

B. describe a psychology study of ethical economic behavior.

C. argue that the free market prohibits ethical economics.

D. examine ways of evaluating the ethics of economics.

Explanation for question 11.


Question 12.

In the passage, the author anticipates which of the following objections to criticizing the ethics of free markets?

A. Smith’s association of free markets with ethical behavior still applies today.

B. Free markets are the best way to generate high profits, so ethics are a secondary consideration.

C. Free markets are ethical because they are made possible by devalued currency.

D. Free markets are ethical because they enable individuals to make choices.

Explanation for question 12.


Question 13.

Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to question 12?

A. “Some argue that because the free markets allow for personal choice, they are already ethical.”

B. “But before we can label any market outcome as “immoral,” or sneer at economists who try to put a price on being ethical, we need to be clear on what we are talking about.”

C. “Smith justifies selfish behavior by the outcome.”

D. “When a finance official refuses to devalue a currency because they have promised not to, they are defining ethics this way.”

Explanation for question 13.


Question 14.

As used in sentence 2 of paragraph 2, “embraced” most nearly means

A. lovingly held.

B. readily adopted.

C. eagerly hugged.

D. reluctantly used.

Explanation for question 14.


Question 15.

The main purpose of the fifth paragraph is to

A. develop a counterargument to the claim that greed is good.

B. provide support for the idea that ethics is about character.

C. describe a third approach to defining ethical economics.

D. illustrate that one’s actions are a result of one’s character.

Explanation for question 15.


Question 16.

As used in sentence 1 of paragraph 6, “clashes” most nearly means

A. conflicts.

B. mismatches.

C. collisions

D. brawls.

Explanation for question 16.


Question 17.

Which choice best supports the author’s claim that there is common ground shared by the different approaches to ethics described in the passage?

A. “There are different views on where ethics should apply when someone makes an economic decision.”

B. “From this perspective some things are right, some wrong—we should buy fair trade goods, we shouldn’t tell lies in advertisements.”

C. “Take fair trade coffee (coffee that is sold with a certification that indicates the farmers and workers who produced it were paid a fair wage), for example: buying it might have good consequences, be virtuous, and also be the right way to act in a flawed market.”

D. “We behave like a herd; we fear losses more than we hope for gains; rarely can our brains process all the relevant facts.”

Explanation for question 17.


Question 18.

The main idea of the final paragraph is that

A. human quirks make it difficult to predict people’s ethical decisions accurately.

B. people universally react with disgust when faced with economic injustice.

C. understanding human psychology may help to define ethics in economics.

D. economists themselves will be responsible for reforming the free market.

Explanation for question 18.


Question 19.

Data in the graph about per‑pound coffee profits in Tanzania most strongly support which of the following statements?

A. Fair trade coffee consistently earned greater profits than regular coffee earned.

B. The profits earned from regular coffee did not fluctuate.

C. Fair trade coffee profits increased between 2004 and 2006.

D. Fair trade and regular coffee were earning equal profits by 2008.

Explanation for question 19.


Question 20.

Data in the graph indicate that the greatest difference between per‑pound profits from fair trade coffee and those from regular coffee occurred during which period?

A. 2000 to 2002

B. 2002 to 2004

C. 2004 to 2005

D. 2006 to 2008

Explanation for question 20.


Question 21.

Data in the graph provide most direct support for which idea in the passage?

A. Acting on empathy can be counterproductive.

B. Ethical economics is defined by character.

C. Ethical economics is still possible.

D. People fear losses more than they hope for gains.

Explanation for question 21.

Answers and explanations for questions 11 through 21 are provided in the next section of this document. You may skip directly to the beginning of the next pair of passages if you do not want to review answers and explanations now.



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