SAT reading comprehension practice test 03

The passage is taken from a biography of Florence Nightingale who is mainly remembered for her heroic work as a nurse during the Crimean War.

    The name of Florence Nightingale lives in the memory of the
    world by virtue of the heroic adventure of the Crimea. Had she
    died - as she nearly did - upon her return to England, her
    reputation would hardly have been different; her legend would
5   have come down to us almost as we know it today - that gentle
    vision of female virtue which first took shape before the adoring
    eyes of the sick soldiers at Scutari. Yet, as a matter of fact, she
    lived for more than half a century after the Crimean War; and
    during the greater part of that long period all the energy and all the
10  devotion of her extraordinary nature were working at their
    highest pitch. What she accomplished in those years of unknown
    labor could, indeed, hardly have been more glorious than her
    Crimean triumphs; but it was certainly more important. The true
    history was far stranger even than the myth. In Miss Nightingale's
15  own eyes the adventure of the Crimea was a mere incident -
    scarcely more than a useful stepping-stone in her career. It was the
    fulcrum with which she hoped to move the world; but it was
    only the fulcrum. For more than a generation she was to sit in
    secret, working her lever: and her real life began at the very
20  moment when, in popular imagination, it had ended.

    She arrived in England in a shattered state of health. The
    hardships and the ceaseless efforts of the last two years had
    undermined her nervous system; her heart was affected; she
    suffered constantly from fainting-fits and terrible attacks of utter
25  physical prostration. The doctors declared that one thing alone
    would save her - a complete and prolonged rest. But that was also
    the one thing with which she would have nothing to do. She had
    never been in the habit of resting; why should she begin now?
    Now, when her opportunity had come at last; now, when the iron
30  was hot, and it was time to strike? No; she had work to do; and,
    come what might, she would do it. The doctors protested in vain;
    in vain her family lamented and entreated, in vain her friends
    pointed out to her the madness of such a course. Madness? Mad -
    possessed - perhaps she was. A frenzy had seized upon her. As
35  she lay upon her sofa, gasping, she devoured blue-books, dictated
    letters, and, in the intervals of her palpitations, cracked jokes. For
    months at a stretch she never left her bed. But she would not rest.
    At this rate, the doctors assured her, even if she did not die, she
    would become an invalid for life. She could not help that; there
40  was work to be done; and, as for rest, very likely she might rest ...
    when she had done it.

    Wherever she went, to London or in the country, in the hills
    of Derbyshire, or among the rhododendrons at Embley, she was
    haunted by a ghost. It was the specter of Scutari - the hideous
45  vision of the organization of a military hospital. She would lay that
    phantom, or she would perish. The whole system of the
    Army Medical Department, the education of the Medical Officer,
    the regulations of hospital procedure ... rest? How could she rest
    while these things were as they were, while, if the like necessity
50  were to arise again, the like results would follow? And, even in
    peace and at home, what was the sanitary condition of the Army?
    The mortality in the barracks, was, she found, nearly double the
    mortality in civil life. 'You might as well take 1, 100 men every
    year out upon Salisbury Plain and shoot them,' she said. After
55  inspecting the hospitals at Chatham, she smiled grimly. 'Yes, this
    is one more symptom of the system which, in the Crimea, put to
    death 16,000 men.' Scutari had given her knowledge; and it had
    given her power too: her enormous reputation was at her back -
    an incalculable force. Other work, other duties, might lie before
60  her; but the most urgent, the most obvious, of all was to look to
    the health of the Army.

Adapted from: Eminent Victorians, Lytton Strachey (1918)

1. According to the author, the work done during the last fifty years of Florence Nightingale's life was, when compared with her work in the Crimea, all of the following except

A. less dramatic
B. less demanding
C. less well-known to the public
D. more important
E. more rewarding to Miss Nightingale herself.

2. The 'fulcrum' (line 17) refers to her

A. reputation
B. mental energy
C. physical energy
D. overseas contacts
E. commitment to a cause

3. Paragraph two paints a picture of a woman who is

A. an incapacitated invalid
B. mentally shattered
C. stubborn and querulous
D. physically weak but mentally indomitable
E. purposeful yet tiresome

4. The primary purpose of paragraph 3 is to

A. account for conditions in the army
B. show the need for hospital reform
C. explain Miss Nightingale's main concerns
D. argue that peacetime conditions were worse than wartime conditions
E. delineate Miss Nightingale's plan for reform

5. The series of questions in paragraphs 2 and 3 are

A. the author's attempt to show the thoughts running through Miss Nightingale's mind
B. Miss Nightingale questioning her own conscience
C. Miss Nightingale's response to an actual questioner
D. Responses to the doctors who advised rest
E. The author's device to highlight the reactions to Miss Nightingale's plans

6. The author's attitude to his material is

A. disinterested reporting of biographical details
B. over-inflation of a reputation
C. debunking a myth
D. uncritical presentation of facts
E. interpretation as well as narration

7. In her statement (lines 53-54) Miss Nightingale intended to

A. criticize the conditions in hospitals
B. highlight the unhealthy conditions under which ordinary soldiers were living
C. prove that conditions in the barracks were as bad as those in a military hospital
D. ridicule the dangers of army life
E. quote important statistics

Test information

Q 7 questions

Time 10 minutes

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