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SAT Reading Practice: Short Passages (Grades 11-12)

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SAT Reading Practice: Short Passages

An Excerpt from "Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook", 1914

1 Recent years have seen a remarkable improvement in the conditions of child life.
2 In all civilized countries, but especially in England, statistics show a decrease
3 in infant mortality.

4 Related to this decrease in mortality a corresponding improvement is to be seen
5 in the physical development of children; they are physically finer and more
6 vigorous. It has been the diffusion, the popularization of science, which has
7 brought about such notable advantages. Mothers have learned to welcome the
8 dictates of modern hygiene and to put them into practice in bringing up their
9 children. Many new social institutions have sprung up and have been perfected
10 with the object of assisting children and protecting them during the period of
11 physical growth.

12 In this way what is practically a new race is coming into being, a race more
13 highly developed, finer and more robust; a race which will be capable of
14 offering resistance to insidious disease.

15 What has science done to effect this? Science has suggested for us certain very
16 simple rules by which the child has been restored as nearly as possible to
17 conditions of a natural life, and an order and a guiding law have been given to
18 the functions of the body. For example, it is science which suggested maternal
19 feeding, the abolition of swaddling clothes, baths, life in the open air,
20 exercise, simple short clothing, quiet and plenty of sleep. Rules were also laid
21 down for the measurement of food adapting it rationally to the physiological
22 needs of the child’s life.

22 Yet with all this, science made no contribution that was entirely new. Mothers
23 had always nursed their children, children had always been clothed, they had
24 breathed and eaten before.

25 The point is, that the same physical acts which, performed blindly and without
26 order, led to disease and death, when ordered rationally were the means of
27 giving strength and life.
Which of the following best summarizes the central idea of this passage?
  1. Science has had no effect on changing the quality of life for children.
  2. Children thrive not based on practices, but the organization of those practices.
  3. Parents need thorough training to help them raise their children successfully.
  4. Infant mortality rates have begun to decline in developed countries.
As used in line 8, the word "dictates" most nearly means:
  1. syrups and serums
  2. ancient medicines
  3. historic practices
  4. general principles
Based on the information in the passage, which statement best describes the relationship between practices of mothers in the past and current mothers?
  1. Mothers rely more on medicine and advice from doctors.
  2. Mothers once performed the same acts without much understanding.
  3. Mothers have been given more freedom when it comes to raising their children.
  4. Mothers no longer swaddle or breastfeed their children on a regular basis.
As it is used in line 14, the word "insidious" most nearly means:
  1. crafty
  2. subtle
  3. preventable
  4. treacherous

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