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ACT Reading Test - 1

Los Angeles, Past and Present

1 Commonly known only by its initials, LA-officially, the City of Los Angeles-boasts more than a dozen well-known nicknames, among them the City of Angels and Shangri-LA, after the mythical paradise of Hinduism. Indeed it would perhaps be impossible to know how many other ways there are of referring to Los Angeles or how many languages are spoken within its city limits. However, the sheer fact that LA goes by so many names reflects its rich and complex history and its often conflicted social and economic development. Glimpses of its early history, when the grounds for its later diversity and growth were laid, are particularly fascinating.

2 Though the City of Los Angeles as we know it was only formally incorporated in 1850, human settlement in the area dates back to 3000 BCE, when the enormous floodplain now known as the Los Angeles Basin was populated by native peoples, including a group called the Tongve. Cut by the Los Angeles river and ringed by the Transverse Mountains, the floodplain provided an ideal environment for agriculture and the development of economies based on farming and trade. Two tribes in particular-now called the Gabrielinos and the Fernandinos, following the names given them by Spanish colonists-established small but thriving towns that represent the first so-to-speak urban developments in LA.

3 In the 17th and 18th century, explorers from Spain and other European countries arrived in California; native peoples were both suppressed by and aided the new arrivals as they attempted to make their region into a second, Europeanized homeland. As was the case with many European settlements, the Fernandinos and especially the Gabrielinos provided crucial assistance to colonists, advising them as they planted their crops. The two groups, natives and colonists, also experienced significant racial mixing. The missions, the streets laid by Spanish farmers and business owners as the town grew: these were the foundations of what would become the brightest city in the country, lit by spotlights and movie marquees. Indeed, in an almost beautiful coincidence, the same generous sunshine that made the region ideal for agriculture in 3000 BCE attracted movie producers to Los Angeles in the early 1900s because it was the cheapest way to develop film before the invention of electric light.

4 After an intervening century of development, an incredibly diverse population of 3.8 million now calls Los Angeles home. Hispanic communities comprising both immigrants from Central and South America and descendants of colonists and native peoples-as well as transplants from other parts of the United States-cluster around the center of the city and extend all the way to the sea. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the city attracted a thriving black population, since the southern and eastern portions of the United States offered fewer jobs and more pronounced forms of post-abolitionist racism. Chinese immigrants arrived in Southern California in the late 19th century; though Japanese Americans were interned after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, they still represent a portion of the city's Asian population. Koreatown, near the heart of Los Angeles, is the wealthiest and densest Korean community outside of Korea, North or South. Moreover-and for good or for ill-all these communities share breathing room with astronomically wealthy celebrities.

5 One might say that Los Angeles represents the demographic future of the United States as a whole. Beyond its social makeup, the city certainly represents a vast and lively portion not only of the United States but of North America and the world. Some residents of and visitors to the city contend that it is a city without a memory, where the importance of local knowledge and culture has been erased by international wealth. Billions and billions of dollars are spent and made in the film, music and television industries in Los Angeles every day, but the real richness of the city lies in its people and its past. That history has never been peaceful, precisely-nor is it possible to retrieve the lives of the untold numbers of people who have made the region their home for more than five thousand years-but they have all contributed to its beauty, history, and growth.

Select the most complete answer from the four choices presented below each question.

1. One of the author's main points in the first paragraph is that:
A) Diversity in cities can lead to those cities developing several different names.
B) Evidence of Los Angeles's diverse history and culture can be seen in the city's many names.
C) Visiting Los Angeles is the best way to understand the city.
D) New York City is not as large or as interesting as Los Angeles.

2. Most of the fourth paragraph is dedicated to a discussion of which ethnic group?.
A) Chinese Americans
B) Asian Americans
C) Japanese Americans
D) Hispanics

3. Why might it be important for the author to note in the third paragraph that the region's ample sunshine attracted filmmakers to Los Angeles?
A) Sunshine also explains why Californians are much more cheerful than residents of other states.
B) Meteorological patterns always affect economic development. The author is thus including a piece of information necessary to the passage.
C) Sunshine also attracted early farmers to the region, making the detail an evocative one to include.
D) Los Angeles is called the City of Sunshine.

4.What does the author of the passage mean by the phrase "the first so-to-speak urban developments" at the end of the second paragraph?
A) The author is introducing the use of a technical phrase ("urban developments").
B) The author is indicating that though early settlements were not towns as we understand the word, they are still the forerunners of modern Los Angeles.
C) The author intends to strike a note of sarcasm or irony.
D) The author is expressing the idea that Los Angeles destroyed the native settlements that existed in the Los Angeles Basin.

5. According to the third paragraph,
A) More than the Gabrielinos, the Fernandinos helped European colonists grow food and settle the Los Angeles Basin.
B) The Gabrielinos and the Fernandinos helped European colonists settle the Los Angeles Basin, and are now referred to by Spanish names for that reason.
C) The Gabrielinos and the Fernandinos are referred to by Spanish names because they intermarried with the Spanish.
D) More than the Fernandinos, the Gabrielinos helped European colonists grow food and settle the Los Angeles Basin.

6. It may reasonably be inferred from the entire passage (paragraphs 1-6) that:
A) The author would like for readers to visit Los Angeles.
B) Los Angeles would not have been the same without the arrival of Asian American immigrants.
C) The history of ethnic groups in Los Angeles is worth investigating.
D) The author is interested in the history of Los Angeles and wants to communicate information about the city.

7. The fourth paragraph could be best summarized by which of the following choices?
A) Almost 4 million people now live in Los Angeles, making it the largest city in the world.
B) As the largest city in the world, Los Angeles naturally contains more different kinds of ethnic groups than any other.
C) Asians are the most populous ethnic group in Los Angeles, with more than 3.8 million.
D) Los Angeles is a very diverse city.

8. Which represents the most complete list of names for Los Angeles provided by the passage?

A) LA, the City of Los Angeles, the City of Angels, Shangri-LA
B) LA, the City of Angels, Shangri-LA
C) Shangri-LA, La-La-Land, the City of Angels, LA
D) Shangri-LA, the City of Angels, LA, LAX

9. The double meaning of which word is used to structure the sentence underlined in the last paragraph?
A) past
B) people
C) richness
D) lies

10. The main point of the last paragraph is that:
A) Los Angeles's inhabitants have made their city great.
B) Money has ruined Los Angeles, particularly money from the entertainment industry.
C) The entertainment industry has made Los Angeles great.
D) The future of Los Angeles will continue to be shaped by its legacy of economic oppression.

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