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SAT Reading Practice Test - 4


The passages below discuss the function of gold and how it relates to economic policy. Passage 1 was excerpted from scholarly writings on the subject of economics in 1914. Passage 2 has been adapted from a 1923 tract on economic reform.

Passage 1
Money is, in general, for both borrowers and lenders, the most convenient
standard of deferred payments. But the practice of speaking of all things in
terms of gold gives rise to the popular notion that the value of gold is always
the same, while the value of other things changes. In truth, a fixed objective
(5) standard of value is not possible to attain. Although the value of gold is
stable as compared with most things, it rests on the estimates made by
people and is constantly changing with conditions.

The current new supplies of gold are comparatively regular. For centuries at
a time there was little change in the methods of mining gold and there were
(10) no radical changes in its output. The nature of the use of gold, likewise,
under ordinary conditions, is more stable than is that of most other goods.
Moreover, the stock of gold in monetary uses is but slowly worn out; it is,
therefore, a large reservoir into which flows a comparatively small stream of
annual production; the existing stock is twenty or thirty times the annual
(15) output. Yet the value of gold expressed in other things is never quite stable,
and sometimes several influences combine to affect it greatly and suddenly.
Recent inventions, chemical and mechanical, moreover, have considerably
altered the conditions of production. While, therefore, it is the best standard
yet devised and put into actual practice, it is very imperfect. A standard better
(20) than a single metal, more stable than a single commodity, is desirable if it
can be found.

Passage 2
The considerable success with which gold maintained its stability of value in
the changing world of the nineteenth century was certainly remarkable. But
the conditions of the future are not those of the past. We have no sufficient
ground for expecting the continuance of the special conditions which
(5) preserved a sort of balance before the war. For what are the underlying
explanations of the good behavior of gold during the nineteenth century?

In the first place, it happened that progress in the discovery of gold mines
roughly kept pace with progress in other directions. But this stage of history
is now almost at an end. A quarter of a century has passed since the
(10) discovery of an important deposit. Material progress is more dependent
now on the growth of scientific and technical knowledge, of which the
application to gold-mining may be intermittent. Years may elapse without
great improvement in the methods of extracting gold; and then the genius of
a chemist may realize past dreams and forgotten hoaxes, transmuting base
(15) into precious metal, or extracting gold from sea water. Gold is liable to be
either too dear or too cheap. In either case, it is too much to expect that a
succession of accidents will keep the metal steady.

1. Which statement about the use of gold is supported by both passages?
A) Gold remains a more stable commodity than most other nonrenewable resources
B) Precious metals like gold are a high-risk investment that should be carefully researched.
C)It is not an ideal standard on which to base the value of currency.
D) Innovations in science and technology are making the use of gold obsolete.
E) The value of gold and the levels of mining output are unlikely to change in the near future.

2. The author of Passage 2 would most likely regard the statement that "it is the best standard yet devised and put into practice" (lines 18-19, Passage1) as
A) valid
B) naive
C) absurd
D) ignorant
E) ambiguous

3. The author of Passage 1 uses the phrase "greatly and suddenly" primarily to
A) contrast possibilities with recent historical trends
B) provoke fear and persuade his audience that the use of gold is unwise
C) demonstrate his knowledge of recent events
D) suggest that the open market is more volatile without a gold standard
E) argue that production should be regulated

4. In line 4 of Passage 2, "ground" most nearly means
A) resource
B) land
C) opportunity
D) motive
E) basis

5. In lines 12-16, the author of Passage 2 indicates that gold is
A) relevant to economic policy only as a commodity
B) subject to a larger number of variables affecting its value than ever before
C) unlikely to increase in value as scientific advances are made
D) useful only as long as the supply remains steady
E) more abundant because of modern developments in technology

Instructions: Reading: Sentence Completion (5 questions)

6. The last remaining wonder of the ancient world, the Great Pyramid of Cheops, was the world's highest man-made structure for 4,000 years; its mysterious design also contains the most _________ arrangement of passages and chambers hidden inside any pyramid.
A) prosaic
B) apprehended
C) pensive
D) intricate
E) taciturn

7. Methane, a colorless, odorless substance, is the main ________ of natural gas.
A) constituent
B) technology
C) force
D) conformity
E) category

8. When they were found to be _____________ radioactive chemicals into the walls of the laboratories at Harvard University, the ant colonies had to be ___________ .
A) harboring .. vanquished
B) ferrying .. exterminated
C) misappropriating .. dispatched
D) amplifying .. exposed
E) extracting .. besieged

9. Geographical and religious influences have contributed to the beauty and ________ of the Somali oratory, which has _____________ through the ages.
A) eloquence .. flourished
B) temerity .. escalated
C) durability .. dominated
D) innovation .. extended
E) endurance .. consecrated

10. The fabled African city of Timbuktu lost some of its ________ when a French explorer returned alive after visiting it in 1827.
A) eccentricity
B) panache
C) mystique
D) essence
E) appraisal

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