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Answer Guide: Section 7 (Critical Reading)

  • The test is available here: https://satonlinecourse.collegeboard.org
  • Sentence Completions
    • Question 1: Which word pair means “hard / beat-up”?
      • Eliminate A and B; those first words don’t mean anything like “hard” or “difficult.”
      • Eliminate C and E; those second words don’t mean anything like “beat-up” or “in poor condition”.
      • D is promising; “strenuous” means “difficult” or “requiring exertion”, while “debilitated” means “injured” or “in poor shape”.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 2: Which word means “honored” or “given an award”?
      • Hey, look! Choice C is actually “honored”!
      • Answer: C
    • Question 3: Which word pair means “photographed / traveled”?
      • Eliminate D; the photographer’s work has nothing to do with domestication.
      • Eliminate B, C, and E; those second words don’t mean anything like “traveled”.
      • A meets both criteria.
      • Answer: A
    • Question 4: Which word pair means “icon”?
      • Eliminate A; there’s no mention of Grandma Moses’ originality.
      • B looks promising; “emblem” means “symbol.”
      • Eliminate C; a person cannot be a successor to a country.
      • Eliminate D and E; they’re both negative terms that are unlikely to be applied to a beloved painter.
      • Answer: B
    • Question 5: Which pair means “helpful/harmful”?
      • Eliminate Choices A, B, and D; none of those first words means “helpful”.
      • Eliminate E; “miraculous” does not mean “harmful”.
      • Answer: C
  • Passage-Based Questions
    • Question 6: Which word means “underdeveloped and lacking in sophistication”?
      • A good word here would be something like “simple”.
      • Hey, look! Choice C is “simplistic”!
      • Answer: C
    • Question 7: Which word pair means “talent/understanding”?
      • Eliminate A, C, and D; those first words don’t mean anything like “talent”.
      • While “penchant” means “habit” and “bent” means “inclination” (both good words), “evading” in Choice B means “avoiding”, and a good logician does not avoid complicated arguments.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 8: Which word means “large”?
      • “Voracious” means “hungry”; “disposable” means “able to be thrown away”; “redundant” means “pointless or surplus to requirements”; “superficial means “no more than surface deep”.
      • “Prodigious” means “very large or productive”.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 9: What do the words “seized” and “shook” accomplish?
      • What seizes and shakes things? A dog with a chew toy, perhaps.
      • Choice D, “intensity” describes the behavior of a dog with a chew toy.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 10: What does the public response suggest about Mencken’s writing?
      • If everyone read it, quoted it, and debated it, his writing must have been worthy of both reading and debate.
      • Choice A, “authoritative” goes well with reading, but not debate.
      • Choice B, “controversial” describes something that is hotly debated.
      • Choices C through E are off-topic.
      • Answer: B
    • Question 11: What is the purpose of the reference to beetles in lines 5-6?
      • The passage as a whole is about the importance of understanding an opponent’s point of view. The beetle analogy is an example of how not to do this.
      • Only Choice D is consistent with the main idea of the passage.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 12: What is the primary purpose of the passage?
      • Only Choices B and C have to do with the main idea we identified on Question 11.
      • B is the more specific and limited answer of the two; C requires the reader to infer, as there’s no direct appeal to understand others better.
      • Answer: B
    • Question 13: What do both authors believe about King’s “I Have A Dream” speech?
      • Both passages devote a lot of space to the speech and to people’s reactions to it. Most of those reactions are positive, and the speech is considered to have made a deep impression on all who read or hear it.
      • C expresses this thought with the phrase “profound impact”.
      • Answer: C
    • Question 14: How would Julian Bond’s portrait of the “complete Martin Luther King” look?
      • Bond lists many roles for King that go beyond the famous speech: antiwar activist, challenger of apartheid, etc.
      • Eliminate A; there is little mention of King’s influence outside the U.S.
      • Eliminate B and C; there is little mention of logical errors or of any of King’s contemporaries.
      • D is promising, as it mentions King’s later concerns.
      • Eliminate E; King’s private life is barely mentioned.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 15: How would the author of Passage 2 react to lines 7-11 of Passage 1?
      • Those lines express an idea mentioned in both passages.
      • Only Choice E, “complete agreement”, mentions any kind of real agreement at all.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 16: What does the word “suffered” mean in context?
      • Because it is a speech doing the “suffering”, not a human being, most of the meanings of the word having to do with human feelings can be eliminated..
      • Eliminate B, D, and E; these are all things that humans do and inanimate objects cannot do.
      • Eliminate C; it’s off-topic.
      • Answer: A
    • Question 17: What is the purpose of lines 31-34?
      • The lines in question are a list of things that don’t happen anymore, in part because of and in reaction to King’s work.
      • Only Choice D suggests what this list does–give a series of examples to support the author’s point.
      • All of the other choices are off-topic.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 18: Why does the author mention the “sermon” in line 35?
      • The “sermon” is called “Ingratitude,” which King calls a particularly great sin. It comes in the middle of a discussion of how people should, and do, show gratitude for King’s work.
      • Choice E, which mentions an “obligation” to King, is very close to the idea of gratitude. No other answer is remotely close to this idea.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 19: How would the author of Passage 2 characterize the description of Martin Luther King Day in Passage 1?
      • The author of Passage 2 focuses on how King’s legacy has been oversimplified, with the complex or troubling parts glossed over.
      • Choice D, “simplistic” is a good term for how this author would view a typical MLK Day celebration.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 20: What transition occurs in lines 57-58?
      • The passage begins by describing King’s ideas; after this transition, the passage talks about how people understand and apply those ideas (or, rather, how they fail to do so).
      • A is consistent with this notion.
      • Eliminate B; the author never challenges King’s beliefs.
      • Eliminate C; there is little mention of King’s intellectual predecessors.
      • Eliminate D; King’s weaknesses are never enumerated.
      • Eliminate E; no one is attacked.
      • Answer: A
    • Question 21: What is the effect of lines 76-79?
      • Eliminate A; neither author denies King’s importance.
      • Eliminate C; the author of Passage 2 doesn’t challenge the author of Passage 1 all that much.
      • Eliminate D; nothing in here is funny.
      • Eliminate E; the author of Passage 1 does not embrace this perspective.
      • Answer: B
    • Question 22: What does the author of Passage 1 do that the author of Passage 2 doesn’t?
      • The only difference that stands out is that the author of Passage 1 cites Julian Bond’s criticism of the treatment of the speech–and disagrees with it.
      • Only Choice A reflects this.
      • Eliminate B through D; these choices are approaches that both passages take.
      • Eliminate E; neither passage assumes the reader is unfamiliar with King’s ideas.
      • Answer: A
    • Question 23: Why would the author of Passage 2 say we commemorate “Martin Luther King the dreamer”?
      • Look at lines 76-82. The author states that the “dreamer” is easier to accept than more controversial sides of King. That means the “dreamer” portrayal is seen as gentler and less offensive.
      • Only Choice C, “reassuring”, describes a gentle and inoffensive option.
      • Answer: C
    • Question 24: What is the relationship between the two passages?
      • Eliminate A; Passage 1 doesn’t really express political goals.
      • Eliminate C and D; Passage 2 neither romanticizes anybody nor focuses on the history of Martin Luther King Day.
      • Eliminate E; Passage 1 does not denounce King.
      • Answer: B
  • Recommended supplementary material to view SAT questions featured in lesson answer guides: The Official SAT Study Guide by the College Board.

Answer Guide: Section 7 (Critical Reading)

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:10
  • Sentence Completions 0:54
    • Question 1
    • Question 2
    • Question 3
    • Question 4
    • Question 5
  • Passage-Based Questions 3:37
    • Question 6
    • Question 7
    • Question 8
    • Question 9
    • Question 10
    • Question 11
    • Question 12
    • Question 13
    • Question 14
    • Question 15
    • Question 16
    • Question 17
    • Question 18
    • Question 19
    • Question 20
    • Question 21
    • Question 22
    • Question 23
    • Question 24