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SAT Reading Practice Questions

Passage-Based Reading


   【北京新航道SAT频道】: SAT考试中的批判性阅读分为句子填空选择和阅读理解两种类型。阅读文章的题材涉及面很广,有人文科学领域、社会科学领域、科学领域及文学作品。



These two passages were adapted from autobiographical works. In the first, a playwright describes his first visit to a theater in the 1930's; in the second, an eighteenth-century writer describes two visits to theaters in London.

Following are sample questions about this pair of related passages. In the test, some questions will focus on Passage 1, others will focus on Passage 2, and about half of the questions following each pair of passages in your test will focus on the relationships between the passages.

Some questions require you to identify shared ideas or similarities between the two related passages.

Passage 1

             I experienced a shock when I saw
a curtain go up for the first time. My
mother had taken me to see a play at
the Schubert Theater on Lenox



Line 5

Avenue in Harlem in New York
City. Here were living people
talking to one another inside a large
ship whose deck actually heaved
up and down with the swells of the

Line 10

sea. By this time I had been going to
the movies every Saturday afternoon
— Charlie Chaplin's little comedies,
adventure serials, Westerns. Yet
once you knew how they worked,

Line 15

movies, unlike the stage, left the
mind's grasp of reality intact since
the happenings were not in the
theater where you sat. But to see the
deck of the ship in the theater

Line 20

moving up and down, and people
appearing at the top of a ladder
or disappearing through a door —
where did they come from and
where did they go? Obviously into

Line 25

and out of the real world of Lenox
Avenue. This was alarming.
    And so I learned that there were
two kinds of reality, but that the
stage was far more real. As the

Line 30

play's melodramatic story
developed, I began to feel anxious,
for there was a villain on board who
had a bomb and intended to blow
everybody up. All over the stage

Line 35

people were looking for him but he
appeared, furtive and silent, only
when the searchers were facing the
other way. They looked for him
behind posts and boxes and on top

Line 40

of beams, even after the audience
had seen him jump into a barrel and
pull the lid over him. People were
yelling, "He's in the barrel," but the
passengers were deaf. What

Line 45

anguish! The bomb would go off
any minute, and I kept clawing at
my mother's arm, at the same time
glancing at the theater's walls to
make sure that the whole thing

Line 50

was not really real. The villain was
finally caught, and we happily
walked out onto sunny Lenox
Avenue, saved again.


Passage 2

Line 55

 I was six years old when I saw

my first play at the Old Drury. Upon
entering the theater, the first thing I
beheld was the green curtain that
veiled a heaven to my imagination.
What breathless anticipations I

Line 60

endured! I had seen something like it
in an edition of Shakespeare, an
illustration of the tent scene with
Diomede in Troilus and Cressida. 
(A sight of that image can always

Line 65

bring back in a measure the feeling
of that evening.) The balconies at
that time, full of well-dressed men
and women, projected over the
orchestra pit; and the pilasters*

Line 70

reaching down were adorned with a
glistering substance resembling
sugar candy. The orchestra lights at
length rose. Once the bell sounded.
It was to ring out yet once again —

Line 75

and, incapable of the anticipation, I
reposed my shut eyes in a sort of
resignation upon my mother's lap. It
rang the second time. The curtain
drew up — and the play was

Line 80

Artaxerxes! Here was the court of
ancient Persia. I took no proper
interest in the action going on, for I
understood not its import. Instead,
all my feeling was absorbed in

Line 85

vision. Gorgeous costumes, gardens,
palaces, princesses, passed before
me. It was all enchantment and a
    After the intervention of six or

Line 90

seven years I again entered the doors
of a theater. That old Artaxerxes 
evening had never done ringing in
my fancy. I expected the same
feelings to come again with the same

Line 95

occasion. But we differ from
ourselves less at sixty and sixteen,
than the latter does from six. In that
interval what had I not lost! At six I
knew nothing, understood nothing,

Line 100

discriminated nothing. I felt all,
loved all, wondered all. I could not
tell how, but I had left the temple a
devotee, and was returned a
rationalist. The same things were

Line 105

there materially; but the emblem, the
reference, was gone. The green
curtain was no longer a veil, drawn
between two worlds, the unfolding
of which was to bring back past

Line 110

ages, but a certain quantity of green
material, which was to separate the
audience for a given time from
certain of their fellows who were to
come forward and pretend those

Line 115

parts. The lights — the orchestra
lights — came up a clumsy
machinery. The first ring, and the
second ring, was now but a trick of
the prompter's bell. The actors were

Line 120

men and women painted. I thought
the fault was in them; but it was in
myself, and the alteration which
those many centuries — those six
short years — had wrought in me.

* Pilasters are ornamental columns set into walls.

·1The authors of both passages describe

·(A) a young person's sense of wonder at first seeing a play

·(B) a young person's desire to become a playwright

(C) the similarities between plays and other art forms

·(D) how one's perception of the theater may develop over time

·(E) the experience of reading a play and then seeing it performed

The correct answer is B


Difficulty: Medium

In these lines, Mrs. Pontellier cries for a long time while sitting alone on the porch. Her husband's treatment of her has upset her greatly. The narrator indicates that such behavior by Mr. Pontellier was "not uncommon" but that Mrs. Pontellier had not previously been too bothered by such incidents: "They seemed never before to have weighed much against the abundance of her husband's kindness... "

·(A) is not correct because the issue of "caring for the children" is not the focus of this part of the passage; Mrs. Pontellier's feelings of sadness and "oppression" are not related to her acceptance of "her role" as a mother.

·(C) is not correct because it is precisely her relationship with her husband that has made her "so depressed."

·(D) is not correct because there is no indication in the passage that "something that happened before her husband went out" has made Mrs. Pontellier "angry." In fact, it is his behavior after his return that has upset her.

·(E) is not correct because whether Mrs. Pontellier is "as worldly as her husband" is irrelevant to her reaction to his treatment of her; the passage suggests not that she lacks sophistication but that he lacks consideration.

·(B) is correct because Mrs. Pontellier's "strange and unfamiliar" mood of "oppression" and "anguish" marks a new realization on her part of her "unhappiness" with her husband.

2Some questions assess your comprehension of information that is directly stated in a passage.

The "happenings" mentioned in line 17 refer to the

·(A) work undertaken to produce a movie

·(B) events occurring in the street outside the theater

·(C) fantasies imagined by a child

·(D) activity captured on the movie screen

·(E) story unfolding on the stage

The correct answer is D


Difficulty: Medium

To answer this question correctly, you have to understand lines 13-18, a rather complex sentence that makes an important distinction in Passage 1. The author indicates that, unlike plays, movies leave "the mind's grasp of reality intact," because the "happenings" in a movie are not occurring in the actual theater. Instead, images are projected on a screen in the theater.

·(A) and (B) are wrong because, when you insert them in place of the word "happenings," the sentence in lines 13-18 makes no sense.

·(C) is wrong; even if the movies being referred to include "fantasies" in them, they are not "imagined by a child" but are actually projected on the movie screen.

·(E) is wrong because, in line 17, "happenings" refers to the "story unfolding" in a movie, not "on the stage."

·(D) is the correct answer; the word "happenings" refers to the "activity captured on the movie screen."

You may be asked to recognize the author's tone or attitude in a particular part of a passage, or in the passage as a whole.

3In the final sentence of Passage 2 ("I thought... in me"), the author expresses

·(A) exultation

·(B) vindication

·(C) pleasure

·(D) regret

·(E) guilt

The correct answer is D


Difficulty: Hard

Even though this question focuses on a single sentence, you must understand the context in which the statement occurs in order to determine the feeling expressed by the author. In the second paragraph of Passage 2, the author states that the experience of attending a play at age 12 or 13 was much different than at age 6. "The same things were there materially" in the theater, but the older child knew much more than the younger one about what was going on. Ironically, this increased knowledge actually decreased the author's pleasure in attending the play. "In that interval what had I not lost," the author exclaims in lines 97-98.

·(A) and (C) are incorrect because the author does not feel "exultation" about or take "pleasure" in the "alteration" that has occurred; on the contrary, the author laments it.

·(B) is incorrect because there is no expression of "vindication" in the final sentence; the author is not trying to justify, support, or defend the experiences described in the passage but rather explain the changes that have occurred due to the passage of time.

·(E) is incorrect because, even though the final sentence states that the "fault" was not in the actors but in the now more knowledgeable child, the author feels no "guilt" about the change. There is no way to avoid the passage of time (and the learning that goes along with it). Aging is not the child's "fault," but the loss of a youthful sense of wonder and innocence can still cause regret.

·(D) is the correct answer. Where the younger child saw nobles in "the court of ancient Persia," the older child saw "men and women painted." Thus the final sentence of Passage 2 expresses "regret" concerning the changes that "those many centuries — those six short years — had wrought" in the author.

Some questions require you to determine and compare the primary purpose or main idea expressed in each passage.

4Which of the following best describes the difference between Passages 1 and 2?

·(A) Passage 1 remembers an event with fondness, while Passage 2 recalls a similar event with bitter detachment.

·(B) Passage 1 considers why the author responded to the visit as he did, while Passage 2 supplies the author's reactions without further analysis.

·(C) Passage 1 relates a story from a number of different perspectives, while Passage 2 maintains a single point of view.

·(D) Passage 1 treats the visit to the theater as a disturbing episode in the author's life, while Passage 2 describes the author's visit as joyful.

·(E) Passage 1 recounts a childhood experience, while Passage 2 examines how a similar experience changed over time.

The correct answer is E


Difficulty: Medium

This question asks you to do two things: first, understand the overall subject or purpose of each passage; second, recognize an important "difference between" the two.

·(A) is wrong because there is neither bitterness nor "detachment" in Passage 2. In fact, the first paragraph of Passage 2 expresses excitement and "enchantment," and the second paragraph expresses disappointment and regret.

·(B) is wrong because Passage 2 includes a great deal more than just "the author's reactions" to visiting the theater; most of the second paragraph provides "further analysis" of what had changed and why the reactions to the two visits were so different.

·(C) is wrong because it reverses the two narrative approaches in this pair of passages. Passage 1 "maintains a single point of view," that of the youthful first-time theatergoer, whereas the author of Passage 2 presents at least two "different perspectives," that of the enchanted six year old and of the older child returning to the theater.

·(D) is wrong because the author of Passage 1 does not find his first visit to the theater "disturbing" in a negative way. Although he feels "shock" when the curtain goes up and anxiety during the play, these responses merely indicate how effective and "real" the performance was for him. In the end, the child and his mother walked "happily" out of the theater.

·(E) is the correct answer because the entire first passage does indeed tell the story of a particular "childhood experience" - a trip to the theater - while the second passage describes two different trips to the theater and how the "experience changed over time."