ACT reading practice test 19

DIRECTIONS: Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.


HUMANITIES: This passage is adapted from the entry "How Songs Make Meaning" from the volume How to Listen to Music Like a Conductor (? 2007 by Air Guitar Press).

1. When the writer refers to "the rules of polite etiquette" in (lines 18-19), he is most likely referring to rules that:

A. diminish the role of imagination in playing with action figures or other toys.
B. are taught to children when they are enrolled in behavior modification classes.
C. are too restrictive and demanding for songwriters to abide by.
D. limit certain personal behaviors that others might find irritating or discomforting.

2. In the third paragraph (lines 11-20), the author says that a songwriter aspires to write songs people will be "happy to hear." It can reasonably be inferred that which of the following is NOT a characteristic of such songs?

F. Mimicking joy and anguish
G. Blending comfort and tension
H. Fostering a kinship with the listener
J. Allowing for different interpretations

3. It can be reasonably inferred that the primary purpose of this passage is to:

A. explain to readers that expressing pain will enable them to be good songwriters.
B. convince aspiring songwriters to stop giving in to polite etiquette and instead write catchy songs.
C. discuss ideas concerning the goals and process of songwriting as well as the relationship to age and expectations of the audience.
D. outline one author's argument that songwriters are too often limited by the cultural backdrop of their musical upbringing.

4. When the author states a songwriter must aspire to "this private release" (line 70), he is most directly referring to the idea that a songwriter must:

F. describe her experiences with very specific details.
G. outwardly project a genuine internal emotional state.
H. force listeners to develop a kinship with the song.
J. focus on the emotions of joy or anguish.

5. The author states that, unlike children, adolescents approach songs with a goal of:

A. feeling a sense of belonging and familiarity.
B. discovering new trends in fashion and politics.
C. departing from the cultural backdrop of their upbringing.
D. deriving some personal meaning from those songs.

6. The author states that our process of selecting songs can be compared to that of selecting all of the following EXCEPT:

F. our friends.
G. our parents' cooking.
H. our favorite authors.
J. personal trinkets.

7. Which of the following best describes the way the first sentence functions in relation to the passage as a whole?

A. It introduces an idea that the author later explains is not true in the real world of songwriting.
B. It is a claim that facilitates the author's anecdotal introduction to the topic of songwriting.
C. It foreshadows the essay's contention that singing about one's problems is evidence of a lack of self-control.
D. It is a vague idea that is not reinforced or clarified by the details that follow in subsequent paragraphs.

8. According to the passage, the divergent songwriting purposes of "soothes" and "agitates" (line 30) differ from one another in that:

F. soothing songs, unlike agitating ones, have a mellowing effect that is often enjoyable to adults but annoying to younger audiences.
G. soothing songs are associated with inducing sleep or reducing distress while agitating songs can be used to convey ridicule.
H. agitating songs, unlike soothing songs, are often used by relatives to coax a child out of a state of slumber.
J. agitating songs distract us from the things that we passionately hate, while soothing songs are very gentle to our ears.

9. According to the author's analogy, acting and performing music:

A. are completely different.
B. share at least one important characteristic.
C. are more convincing expressing anguish than joy.
D. are completely identical.

10. Based on the passage, the cultural backdrop of a child's upbringing is significant to her appreciation of music because it:

F. predisposes the child to prefer the musical ingredients customary in that culture's music.
G. gives the child a model of what to avoid in order to stand out as an original songwriter.
H. instructs the child concerning the proper structure and political content of songs.
J. will later be the primary basis through which the child is able to make friends.