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SAT reading comprehension practice test 02

The passage is taken from a description of the life of certain Pacific Islanders written by a pioneering sociologist.

    By the time a child is six or seven she has all the essential
    avoidances well enough by heart to be trusted with the care of a
    younger child. And she also develops a number of simple
    techniques. She learns to weave firm square balls from palm
5   leaves, to make pinwheels of palm leaves or frangipani blossoms,
    to climb a coconut tree by walking up the trunk on flexible little
    feet, to break open a coconut with one firm well-directed blow of
    a knife as long as she is tall, to play a number of group games
    and sing the songs which go with them, to tidy the house by
10  picking up the litter on the stony floor, to bring water from the
    sea, to spread out the copra to dry and to help gather it in when
    rain threatens, to go to a neighboring house and bring back a
    lighted faggot for the chief's pipe or the cook-house fire.

      But in the case of the little girls all these tasks are merely
15  supplementary to the main business of baby-tending. Very small
    boys also have some care of the younger children, but at eight or
    nine years of age they are usually relieved of it. Whatever rough
    edges have not been smoothed off by this responsibility for
    younger children are worn off by their contact with older boys.
20  For little boys are admitted to interesting and important activities
    only so long as their behavior is circumspect and helpful. Where
    small girls are brusquely pushed aside, small boys will be
    patiently tolerated and they become adept at making themselves
    useful. The four or five little boys who all wish to assist at the
25  important, business of helping a grown youth lasso reef eels,
    organize themselves into a highly efficient working team; one boy
    holds the bait, another holds an extra lasso, others poke
    eagerly about in holes in the reef looking for prey, while still
    another tucks the captured eels into his lavalava. The small girls,
30  burdened with heavy babies or the care of little staggerers who are
    too small to adventure on the reef, discouraged by the hostility
    of the small boys and the scorn of the older ones, have
    little opportunity for learning the more adventurous forms of work
    and play. So while the little boys first undergo the
35  chastening effects of baby-tending and then have many
    opportunities to learn effective cooperation under the supervision
    of older boys, the girls' education is less comprehensive. They
    have a high standard of individual responsibility, but the
    community provides them with no lessons in cooperation with one
40  another. This is particularly apparent in the activities of young
    people: the boys organize quickly; the girls waste hours in
    bickering, innocent of any technique for quick and efficient
    cooperation.

Adapted from: Coming of Age in Samoa, Margaret Mead (1928)

1. The primary purpose of the passage with reference to the society under discussion is to

A. explain some differences in the upbringing of girls and boys
B. criticize the deficiencies in the education of girls
C. give a comprehensive account of a day in the life of an average young girl
D. delineate the role of young girls
E. show that young girls are trained to be useful to adults

2. The word 'brusquely' (line 22) most nearly means

A. quickly
B. gently
C. nonchalantly
D. abruptly
E. callously

3. The list of techniques in paragraph one could best be described as

A. household duties
B. rudimentary physical skills
C. important responsibilities
D. useful social skills
E. monotonous tasks

4. It can be inferred that the 'high standard of individual responsibility' (line 38) is

A. developed mainly through child-care duties
B. only present in girls
C. taught to the girl before she is entrusted with babies
D. actually counterproductive
E. weakened as the girl grows older.

5. The expression 'innocent of' (line 42) is best taken to mean

A. not guilty of
B. unskilled in
C. unsuited for
D. uninvolved in
E. uninterested in

6. It can be inferred that in the community under discussion all of the following are important except

A. domestic handicrafts
B. well-defined social structure
C. fishing skills
D. formal education
E. division of labor

7. Which of the following if true would weaken the author's contention about 'lessons in cooperation' (line 39) ?

I Group games played by younger girls involve cooperation
II Girls can learn from watching boys cooperating
III Individual girls cooperate with their mothers in looking after babies

A. I only
B. II only
C. III only
D. I and II only
E. I, II and III

8. Which of the following is the best description of the author's technique in handling her material?

A. Both description and interpretation of observations.
B. Presentation of facts without comment.
C. Description of evidence to support a theory.
D. Generalization from a particular viewpoint.
E. Close examination of preconceptions.

Test information

Q 8 questions

Time 10 minutes

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