ACT Reading Practice Test 56: social science

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.


SOCIAL SCIENCE: This passage is adapted from the article Illuminating the Dark Ages by Krista Correa (©2003 Krista Correa).







1. In the passage, which of the following scholars most directly contributed to the popularity of the term "Dark Ages"?

A. Jordan
B. Lindberg
C. Petrarch
D. Numbers

2. The passage most directly credits which of the following activities with the ability to flourish during the Middle Ages?

F. The construction of free-standing domes
G. Skilled and detailed stonework
H. Three-dimensional, realistic art
J. The field of mathematics

3. The passage indicates that, contrary to the historians with a traditional view of the Middle Ages, scholars today believe the Middle Ages were:

A. a transitional period between the classical era and the modern.
B. an era in which significant scientific discoveries were made.
C. an epoch that suffered a decline in learning, art, and architecture.
D. a time when much of the world lived in ignorance.

4. The passage states that an accurate picture of the Middle Ages will likely develop as a result of:

F. reconsidering existing evidence and discovering new evidence.
G. relying on written documents from the Renaissance.
H. new excavations throughout the European countryside.
J. disregarding all Renaissance accounts.

5. According to the passage, people during the Middle Ages did NOT:

A. keep written documents.
B. study advanced mathematics.
C. know how to carve stone well.
D. believe the world was flat.

6. The main purpose of the first paragraph (lines 1–13) is to:

F. compare the advances of the Renaissance and the classical period with the failings of the Middle Ages.
G. list all of the terms used to describe the period between the fifth and fourth century.
H. demonstrate that Petrarch and other writers of the Renaissance lived in a cultural wasteland.
J. introduce the era under discussion and some of the ways it has been described.

7. The passage identifies which of the following as two areas in which learning truly did go into decline during the Middle Ages?

A. Symbolic art and architecture
B. Astronomy and mathematics
C. Dome-building and three-dimensional art
D. Stonework and science

8. It can reasonably be inferred from the first paragraph (lines 1–13) that Renaissance writers such as Petrarch believed that their work would benefit from:

F. association with the classical era.
G. an in-depth study of science.
H. the creation of a well-educated middle class.
J. the new culture of the Renaissance.

9. As it is used in line 5, the word coined most nearly means:

A. counterfeited.
B. plagiarized.
C. spent.
D. created.

10. It can reasonably be inferred from the fourth and fifth paragraphs (lines 33–54) that before the work of modern scholars such as Numbers and Lindberg, most people tended to see educational pursuits during the Middle Ages as:

F. insignificant.
G. scientific.
H. advanced.
J. well-documented.