Home » ACT » ACT Answer Explanations » Answer Explanations for: ACT Form 0964E, from Preparing for the ACT (2009-2010 through 2011-2012)

Answer Explanations for: ACT Form 0964E, from Preparing for the ACT (2009-2010 through 2011-2012)

  English

Passage I

1)      D) When making a comparison, it is necessary to compare like to like.  This falls under the umbrella of parallel construction.  Hence, it would be inappropriate to compare “unbricking a kiln” to “a person,” “someone,” or “a potter,” since verbs cannot be compared to nouns.  It is only appropriate to compare “unbricking a kiln” to “uncovering buried treasure,” so the underlined portion should be omitted.  When given the option to “OMIT the underlined portion,” you should think carefully about doing so, as this option is correct about half the time it is offered.

2)      H) On questions like this that give you a specific purpose, pay attention primarily to the purpose and minimally to the context.  Sometimes incorrect answers are made to sound great in the context even though they do not accomplish the stated purpose.  H is the only answer choice that accomplishes the purpose that is stated in the question, as it is the only one that discusses pace in any way.  Watch out for incorrect answers like J that use a word or words from the stated purpose but in no way accomplish the purpose.

3)      A) Whenever a verb is underlined, it is wise to match it with its simple subject to check for agreement, remembering that this word can never be found within a phrase, since phrases can only modify the relevant word.  In this case, the subject is the singular “view,” so you need the singular verb “rewards.”  The subject cannot be “shapes” because “shapes” is part of the prepositional phrase that begins with the preposition “of.”  Putting a plural noun in between a singular subject and what should be a singular verb is a common way the ACT tries to trick you on verb agreement questions.  See verb agreement.

4)      G) This is a question of idiomatic language, which means that there isn’t a broad rule that governs this situation; instead, you simply need to know the correct expression or be able to use your ear to figure it out.  Here, the expression is “typical of.”  G is correct over F because the word “more” is unnecessary.

5)      D) The underlined portion should be omitted because it is redundant.  “Over many weeks” already implies “as time goes by.”  The other options are equally redundant.  When given the option to “OMIT the underlined portion,” you should think carefully about doing so, as this option is correct about half the time it is offered.  Ask yourself if there is any possibility the underlined portion could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant.  If there is any chance it could be, it should be omitted.

6)      H) The original sentence incorrectly links two independent clauses with only a comma.  G is incorrect for the same reason, and J simply makes no sense.  H is correct because it turns the second part of the sentence into an appositive phrase which renames the kiln.  Therefore, it is able to be connected to the first part of the sentence using only a comma.

7)      B) This phrase should be kept because it helps develop the passage’s discussion of how kilns are used to make pottery, since it describes one of the key functions of kilns in this process.  A doesn’t work because the phrase makes no mention of time.  C doesn’t work because the essay does not focus specifically on the functioning of kilns.  D is incorrect because this level of detail is appropriate; generally, the ACT loves details, so long as they are relevant.

8)      F) The passage has already mentioned that she has “to crouch,” so it is redundant to state that she “stoops” or “bends over.”  When you notice that one answer choice (including the “NO CHANGE” option) is shorter than the others, recognize that you are being given the option of not including something that has been included in the others.  Check to see if what is included in the other answer choices could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant.  If there is any chance it could be, choose the shorter one.  It is important to use the structure of the question to tip you off to look for possible redundancy; because we often use redundant language in speech, we cannot count on it to necessarily sound bad.

9)      B) “Using twigs for kindling” is a nonessential element of this sentence, meaning that if you were to take it out, the sentence would still make good sense.  Therefore, you must offset it from the rest of the sentence with a comma before it and a comma after it.  A and D are both incorrect because the commas are not around the entire nonessential element.  C is incorrect because it features a semi-colon, which can only be used in between two independent clauses, and the first part of this sentence is not an independent clause since it does not express a complete thought.  See comma use.

10)  F) This is a purpose question, so you should pay primary attention to the prescribed purpose and minimal attention to the context or to which one you would personally use.  Here, answer choice F best accomplishes the purpose that is stated in the question.  Some students are hesitant to choose F because they worry that “controlled” indicates that it is not “extremely intense,” but “controlled” simply indicates that it is contained within the kiln and not about to burn down the building.  An “inferno,” by definition, is “extremely intense.”  G and H are incorrect because they are simply comparing the fire to some point in the past; maybe the fire simply went from extremely small to not quite so small.  J is incorrect because “kind of” is a qualifier that goes against the prescribed purpose.

11)  D) Watch out for the “NOT.”  Answer choice D does not work because the expression requires the word and rather than “or.”  This is a question of idiomatic language, which means that there isn’t a broad rule that governs this situation; instead, you simply need to know the correct expression or be able to use your ear to figure it out.

12)  F) Watch out for the “NOT.”  F does not work because although it forms a grammatically correct sentence, it completely botches the intended meaning, erroneously indicating that the sparks are shooting “at” some chimney that is floating around in the air.  It makes much more sense that, in reality, the sparks are leaving the chimney and entering the sky, and this meaning is accurately captured by answer choices G, H, and J.

13)  C) This is a purpose question, so you should pay primary attention to the prescribed purpose and minimal attention to the context or to which one you would personally use.  Here, the stated purpose is twofold, so the correct answer must accomplish both purposes.  A and B both fail to provide specifics, and D is unnecessarily wordy in a way that is inconsistent with the essay’s style, so C is the only answer that works.

14)  J)  F contains a misplaced modifier.  Although the phrase at the beginning of the original sentence is clearly intended to modify the fire, because it is next to “she,” that is who it is technically modifying.  Therefore, it is saying that Ellen has “died down.”  G is incorrect because it creates two independent clauses joined by a comma and no conjunction.  H is incorrect because it implies that she is using the dying fire to “[brick] up the firebox,” which makes no sense.  J works because it uses a dependent clause in the first part of the sentence, which is correctly joined to the subsequent independent clause with a comma.   See comma use.

15)  A) What is revealed (the pottery) is the result of two things: 1) “of her labor” and 2) “of the fire’s magic.”  Because this is a two item list, the two items are linked by an “and” without the use of a comma.  B is incorrect because “her labor” and “the fire’s magic” are not the same thing.  C is incorrect because it is wordy and really makes no sense.  D is incorrect because, although grammatically correct, it fails to capture the intended meaning of the sentence.

 

Passage II

16)  J) The underlined portion should be omitted because F, G, and H are all redundant given that her father is going on what has already been referred to as “a business trip.”  When given the option to “OMIT the underlined portion,” you should think carefully about doing so, as this option is correct about half the time it is offered.  Ask yourself if there is any possibility the underlined portion could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant.  If there is any chance it could be, it should be omitted.

17)  C) Watch out for the “NOT.”  C is unacceptable because the expression requires the word “as” instead of “after.”  This is an issue of idiomatic language, so there is no rule involved.  You just have to know the expression or be able to use your ear to figure it out.

18)  F) This sentence features indirect quotation since it does not use quotation marks, which are used in direct quotation.  In indirect quotation, a comma is not used between the introduction and what was said.  J is incorrect because a semi-colon is used in between two independent clauses, and the first part of this sentence is not an independent clause since it does not express a complete thought.

19)  B) The gift of a tortoise is a stark contrast to the items the author expected to receive.  C is tricky, since it would be reasonable to assume that the writer expected to receive certain types of gifts because she has received these kinds of gifts in the past, but you do not know this for sure and cannot assume that it is the case.  A is incorrect because in no way does it indicate that the writer is about to receive a tortoise.  D is incorrect because it does not discuss her closeness to her aunt in any way.

20)  F) The expression is “must have” not “must of.”  When you think you are saying “must of,” you are actually saying must’ve, a contraction of must have.  The same applies to should have, could have, would have, etc.  The past participle of a verb is preceded by have or had, not the preposition of.

21)  C) Watch out for the “NOT.”  C is unacceptable because it leaves you with two independent clauses joined by a comma and no conjunction.  The other options all work because they add dependent markers to the beginning of the clause, which turn the clause into a dependent clause.  A dependent clause can then be joined to a subsequent independent clause with a comma.  See comma use.

22)  F) This sentence needs to go between Sentences 1 and 2, since Sentence 1 speaks of “a tortoise” (so it obviously has yet to be introduced by name), and Sentence 2 refers to the tortoise as Rosie, as if it had already been introduced.  If you put G, you may have been thinking about it correctly but thought the question said before instead of “after.”  Be careful, because they like to mix this up.

23)  B) “It turns out” is a nonessential element of this sentence, meaning that if you were to take it out, the sentence would still make good sense.  Therefore, you must offset it from the rest of the sentence with a comma before it and a comma after it.  See comma use.

24)  H) Watch out for the “NOT.”  This is an issue of idiomatic language, so there is no rule involved.  You just have to know the expression or be able to use your ear to figure it out.  Answer choice H is not a correct form of this expression; the others all work.

25)  B) The other answers, while all grammatically correct, make no sense in the context of the sentence, since they all imply that the writer’s aunt has not yet checked with the writer’s parents, while the second part of the sentence indicates that both parents had already agreed.  B is the only choice that correctly implies that the aunt has already checked with the writer’s parents.

26)  G) This is a purpose question, so you should pay primary attention to the prescribed purpose and minimal attention to the context or to which one you would personally use.  Here, you must choose the option that leads into the information in the rest of the paragraph.  Note that because the purpose is context-dependent, you do have to consult the context in this case.  However, consulting the context to gain insight into the specific purpose is far different from the dangerous strategy of reading all the answers in the context and seeing which one sounds best.  Essentially, the question is asking for a good topic sentence for this paragraph.  Because the rest of the paragraph details how to look after a tortoise, G is appropriate.  The paragraph is not primarily about Rosie’s age, where tortoise species are found, or how much some of them can weigh.

27)  D) When you notice that one answer choice is shorter than the others, recognize that you are being given the option of not including something that has been included in the others.  Check to see if what is included in the other answer choices could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant.  If there is any chance it could be, choose the shorter one.  It is important to use the structure of the question to tip you off to look for possible redundancy; because we often use redundant language in speech, we cannot count on it to necessarily sound bad.  In this case, “satisfaction of contentment” is redundant in A.  B is incorrect because it is overly wordy.  C is incorrect because the sentence is about what they eat, not what types of foods keep them exceptionally happy.  Furthermore, the tone of C is inconsistent with the factual tone of the paragraph.  D accurately expresses the meaning without unnecessary words or redundancy.

28)  F) This is a purpose question, so you should pay primary attention to the prescribed purpose and minimal attention to the context or to which one you would personally use.  Here, you need specifics, and F is more specific than any of the other options.

29)  A) On apostrophe questions, you must consider two questions: (1) is it plural or singular and (2) is it possessive or not possessive.  Here, “parents’” is plural because she is talking about both of their backyards.  It is also possessive of “backyards,” so you need the plural possessive form, which correctly places the apostrophe after the s.

30)  G) The plural “families” is needed instead of the singular “family” because “among” implies that it is talking about more than one family.  You need to use “of” instead of “in” simply because that is how the expression goes.  As is usually the case when you are being tested on preposition use, this is a case of idiomatic language, so there is no rule involved.  You either have to know the expression or be able to use your ear to figure it out.

 

Passage III

31)  B) On apostrophe questions, you must consider two questions: (1) is it plural or singular and (2) is it possessive or not possessive.  Here, “family” must be singular because it is talking about one family, and it is possessive because the family is in possession of the farm.  Therefore, it is appropriate to use the singular possessive “family’s.

32)  F) Watch out for the “NOT.”  F makes no sense because it does not explain who or what was “limiting his access to formal education.”  In fact, the structure of the sentence implies that Banneker himself was “limiting his access to formal education,” since phrases modify whatever they are next to.  Obviously, this meaning cannot make sense in the context of the passage.

33)  B) “Who” is correct because “who” is the subject form of the pronoun, and it is the subject of the verb “bought.”  Whom is only used for objects.  A foolproof test is that you use who if it is not preceded by a preposition and is followed by a verb, while you use whom if it is either preceded by a preposition or followed by a noun or pronoun.  In this case, disregard “after completing the term of her contract” in applying this test, since this phrase is a nonessential element of the sentence.  See pronoun case.

34)  J) This information should not be included since it is not necessary and relevant.  It is enough to simply state that she was an indentured servant; it is not necessary, given the purpose of the essay, to go into detail about the conditions of indentured servitude.  Instead, it makes more sense to continue on to the discussion of their daughter, “Benjamin’s mother.”

35)  C) Watch out for the “NOT.”  C is an unacceptable option because it incorrectly joins two independent clauses with no punctuation.  A, C and D are all grammatically correct because a semi-colon, a comma-conjunction, and a period are all acceptable options in between two independent clauses.

36)  H) F is incorrect because it places these three acts in a list, incorrectly implying that they were separate acts.  The list itself is not even grammatically correct, since “displaying” is not the same tense as “constructed” and “displayed,” thereby constituting a parallel construction error.  Similarly, G is incorrect because it makes it sound like he “displayed his interest in mechanical skills” as part of a separate act from “[constructing] a clock.”  J is incorrect because it implies that “his interest in learning” was something the clock was constructed out of in addition to “hand-carved wooden parts.”  H is the only answer that puts all the parts of the sentence in their proper places.

37)  C) You need the possessive “its” because the components belong to the watch.  It’s can only mean it is, which clearly doesn’t work in this case, and “its’” isn’t even a word.  “Their” doesn’t work because it is a plural pronoun, which doesn’t agree with the singular antecedent “watch.”  See pronoun agreement.

38)  H) Both G and H are grammatically correct in this sentence.  However, the verb tense of G implies a past action that continues to this day – in other words, that the clock has been going for 40 years and is still going strong.  This clearly makes no sense given that the clock was built in 1753.  The verb tense used in H correctly implies that the clock’s four decades of accuracy occurred in the past and are now over.

39)  D) When you notice that one answer choice is shorter than the others, recognize that you are being given the option of not including something that has been included in the others.  Check to see if what is included in the other answer choices could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant.  If there is any chance it could be, choose the shorter one.  In this case, the additions made to A, B, and C are simply unnecessary.  There is no need to inject such emotion into the piece, and doing so is inconsistent with the factual tone of the essay.

40)  F) This is a transition question, so you should read the previous sentence and the sentence the error is in without reading any of the transition words, so you can think clearly about how they are related.  Here, the first sentence describes one thing Banneker did, and the second sentence describes something else he did, so F and H provide an appropriate transition.  There is no cause and effect relationship, so the transition in G and J does not work.  Answer choice F is correct because a period is needed to separate thetwo independent clauses.  The transition is simply a prepositional phrase added to the beginning of the second independent clause and correctly separated from that independent clause with a comma.  See transition words.

41)  A) This last part of the sentence is giving yet another example of Banneker’s never-ending desire to keep learning.  If the correct answer does not immediately jump out at you on this type of question (and this will often be the case), use process of elimination.  B doesn’t work because the previous paragraph has nothing to do with music.  C is incorrect because it is in no way funny.  D might be tempting because it mentions music, but this mention of music is not a digression, as it is relevant to the passage’s depiction of Banneker of a man who never tires of learning new things.

42)  G) Whenever a pronoun is underlined, match it with its antecedent.  If there is no clear and recent antecedent, use a noun instead of a pronoun.  There would be no clear and recent antecedent for “them” or “those,” as offered in answer choices F and H, respectively.  Therefore, it makes sense to specify the subject of the sentence by using a noun instead, as is done in G.  J doesn’t work because “things” is a vague term that does not specify anything.  See pronoun agreement.

43)  D) When you are given the option to “OMIT the underlined portion,” you should seriously consider doing so, since this option is correct about half the time it is offered.  Consider what you are being given the option of omitting, and ask yourself if there is any chance it could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant.  If there is any chance it could be, you should choose to omit.  In this case, it is correct to “OMIT the underlined portion” because A, B, and C all give information that is redundant with the word “annual,” which is already included in the sentence.

44)  J) Answer choice J is the best conclusion to and summary of the essay, since it touches on all of his many professions, his love of learning, and his contributions to society.  F, G, and H are all too narrow in focus, touching only on part of his career and biography.

45)  A) Make sure you take the time to be certain on this type of question.  The paragraph belongs where it is since the passage is a chronological account of Banneker’s life and career.  The dates in Paragraph 5 are later than the dates in any of the other paragraphs, so it should come after these paragraphs with the exception of Paragraph 6, which contains no dates and is simply a conclusion.

 

Passage IV

46)   J) When you are given the option to “OMIT the underlined portion,” you should seriously consider doing so, since this option is correct about half the time it is offered.  Consider what you are being given the option of omitting, and ask yourself if there is any chance the underlined portion could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant.  If there is any chance it could be, you should choose to omit.  In this case, it is correct to omit because F, G, and H all give information that is redundant with the word “wilderness,” since the descriptions in F, G, and H are all presupposed by the word “wilderness.

47)  C) Whenever a pronoun is underlined, you should match it with its antecedent to check for agreement.  You must use the plural pronoun “they” to agree with the plural antecedent “kayaks.”  A and B are both singular and therefore do not agree.  D is wrong because it creates a fragment.  See pronoun agreement.

48)  G) This sentence should be kept because it clarifies the type of boat a kayak is, which might otherwise be unclear to the reader.  F is incorrect because the sentence does not talk about “different types of kayaks.”  H is incorrect because the sentence is in fact pertinent to the previous sentence.  J is incorrect because the sentence is in no way wordy.

49)  C) No punctuation is needed here.  F is incorrect because semi-colons only go in between two independent clauses, and here neither what comes before nor what comes after the semi-colon is an independent clause since neither expresses a complete thought.  B is a tempting answer because your ear might tell you to put a comma here, but as a rule, never put a comma between a subject and its verb, even if it is a place where you naturally pause while reading the sentence.  Here, “The two principal types of kayaks” is the subject of the sentence and the verb is “are,” so they cannot be separated with a comma.  Be particularly careful with long and/or non-concrete subjects, as this type of subject often seems like it would take a comma before its verb.  A dash is inappropriate for the same reason a comma is; no punctuation is needed between a subject and its verb.  See comma use.

50)  J) F and G can be eliminated because the est ending is only used when comparing three or more things, and here the sentence is only comparing two.  “Larger” is the proper comparative form of the adjective “large,” so it is unnecessary to say “more large.”  When deciding whether to put an er at the end of an adjective or a more in front of it, use your ear.  Only if the er option sounds off should you go with more.  If they both sound OK, opt for the er.  The same applies for est vs. most.  See adjectives, adverbs, and comparisons.

51)  C) “The tumultuous rapids of swift-moving rivers” is a nonessential element of the sentence, since if you were to take it out, the rest of the sentence would still make sense.  Because it is nonessential, it should be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma before it and a comma after it.  See comma use.

52)  J) Even though this transition word is in the middle of a sentence, it is not linking the two parts of the sentence; instead, it is linking the entire sentence to the previous sentence.  You should read the previous sentence and the sentence the error is in without reading any of the transition words so you can think clearly about how they are related.  Here, the first sentence discusses the stability of kayaks.  The second sentence indicates that kayakers should still use safety gear in case a boat does capsize.  These two ideas are going in opposite directions, so J is the correct answer, as it is the only option that indicates contradiction.  F implies that something has finally happened, G implies that the sentence is giving an example of a previously stated generalization, and H implies a cause and effect relationship.

53)  D) Watch out for the “LEAST.”  All these options are grammatically correct, so you must consider the meaning of the two parts of the sentence (or in some options the two sentences) so you can choose the correct transition.  There is a cause and effect relationship between the two parts, which is correctly expressed by A, B, and C.  D incorrectly expresses a contradictory relationship.  See transition words.

54)  F) This is a purpose question, so you must pay primary attention to the purpose and minimal attention to which option you would use.  Here, the purpose is context-dependent, so you must read and consider the end of the sentence before attempting to choose an answer.  The end of the sentence describes the natural environment and wildlife, and F is the answer that works the best with this description.

55)  C) The paragraph break should be between Sentences 4 and 5 since Sentence 4 is the last sentence discussing white-water kayaks and Sentence 5 is the first sentence discussing sea kayaks.  If you answered B, you may have been thinking the right thing and mistakenly thought the question was asking after which sentence.  Watch out, because the ACT likes to mix up how they word these questions.

56)  G)  Whenever a verb is underlined, you must consider agreement and tense.  Here, tense is easy; because the entire essay is written in the present tense, you must use the present tense here as well, so H and J can be eliminated.  To check for agreement, match the verb with its simple subject.  Here, that subject is “equipment,” which is singular, so you must use the singular “is.”  It would be easy to mistake “kayaks” for the subject, but “kayaks” cannot be the subject because it is the object of the double prepositional phrase “for both types of kayaks,” and the subject can never be found within a phrase.   The ACT loves to trick test takers by putting a phrase that ends with a plural word in between a singular subject and what should be a singular verb.  See verb agreement and verb tense.

57)   B) A is incorrect because two independent clauses cannot be separated by a comma without a conjunction.  They also cannot be joined without any punctuation as in D.  Both B and C are grammatically correct by joining two independent clauses with a comma-conjunction, but C uses the wrong conjunction, as there is no cause and effect relationship.  Whenever you are offered a period, semi-colon, or comma conjunction in any of the answer choices, check to see if you have two independent clauses by seeing if both parts are capable of standing alone.

58)  J) When you are asked where to put a word or phrase within a sentence, it is likely a modifying word or phrase.  Ask yourself who or what the word or phrase is modifying, and put it right next to whatever it is modifying.  Here the underlined portion describes the path of “the paddle,” so J is the best answer.  See misplaced modifiers.

59)  B) The conjunction “but” is joining two items here, so no punctuation is needed.

60)  G) If the correct answer does not jump out at you, process of elimination is a great approach.  F can be eliminated because although the paragraph mentions the use of “upper-body muscles,” this is hardly a “detailed description of the muscles involved.”  H can be eliminated because the paragraph does not get into any scientific explanations about water movement.  J can be eliminated because the paragraph does not deal with environmental stewardship.  Therefore, the correct answer is G, which does seem to work, since the paragraph does discuss the interplay between “kayakers, kayaks, and water.”

 

Passage V

61)  C) “Of burning rock” is an essential phrase because it is necessary in order to specify what is meant by “seams.”  Therefore, no commas are needed around this phrase.  The semi-colon doesn’t work because semi-colons are used in between two independent clauses, and here neither what comes before it nor what comes after it expresses a complete thought.  See comma use.

62)  J) Watch out for the “NOT.”  J doesn’t work because a period is used to separate two independent clauses, but what comes after the period is a fragment, since it does not express a complete thought.

63)  C) C is correct because it parallels the structure of “to feed.”  In lists or comparisons, the items should be expressed in as similar a manner as possible.  See parallel construction.

64)  H) H is the most straightforward way of saying that that is where they live.  F and G are incorrect because this radioactive environment is more than just adequate for these specific bacteria.  J is incorrect because it features casual language inappropriate to this passage.  Also, it is necessary to use “still others” rather than “others,” since the passage has already discussed “some” and “others.”

65)  B)  A and D are quickly eliminated because “to” is a preposition and this sentence calls for the comparative “too.”  B is correct because a comma is not needed after “poisonous” since the list has ended at this point.  See comma use.

66)  G) “Called extremophiles” is a nonessential element of this sentence because if it were removed, the rest of the sentence would still make sense.  Therefore, it is necessary to offset it from the rest of the sentence by putting a comma before it and a comma after it.  See comma use.

67)  D) Watch out for the “NOT.”  Here you have two independent clauses, even though the second one is quite short.  The semi-colon and period both work in between two independent clauses.  The dash would also work in this situation.  Dashes are like generic punctuation that can act like commas, semi-colons, and colons.  (Never choose a dash over another option you know works, but use it as a backup plan when you know you need punctuation and none of the other options are acceptable.)  Here, the dash is acting like a semi-colon.  D is unacceptable because two independent clauses can never be joined without any punctuation.

68)  J) Here you are being tested on verb tense.  The entire passage is discussing extremophiles that are currently living (and discussing them in the present tense), so it is necessary to use the present tense, as in J.  The other options are different types of past tense.

69)  D) When you notice that one answer choice is shorter than the others, recognize that you are being given the option of not including something that has been included in the others.  Check to see if what is included in the other answer choices could be considered unnecessary, irrelevant, or redundant.  If it could be, choose the shorter one.  In this case, answer choices A, B, and C all contain irrelevant information.  Each of these answers adds information that, while kind of related to something mentioned in the sentence, is simply going off on a tangent and is therefore irrelevant.

70)  G) Without this part of the sentence, the “Here” in the next sentence would be completely unclear.  The justification for F makes no sense because the Juan de Fuca Ridge is in the Pacific Ocean.  H is wrong because it contradicts nothing from the previous paragraph, and J doesn’t work because this information is not found anywhere else in the paragraph.

71)  A) On questions like this that give you a specific purpose, pay attention primarily to the purpose and minimally to the context.  Sometimes incorrect answers are made to sound great in the context even though they do not accomplish the stated purpose.  Here, A is the only option that accomplishes the stated purpose, as it is the only option that uses specific and vivid imagery.

72)  J) When you are asked where to put a word or phrase within a sentence, it is likely a modifying word or phrase.  Ask yourself who or what the word or phrase is modifying, and put it right next to whatever it is modifying.  Here “from cracks” modifies “gush” and “in the ocean floor” modifies “cracks,” so “from cracks” must be placed in between “gush” and “in the ocean floor” to read “gush from cracks in the ocean floor.”  See misplaced modifiers.

73)  A) Watch out for the “LEAST.”  Answer choice A doesn’t work because it does not specify that these psychrophiles live in extremely cold environments.  The other answer choices all specify this important detail.

74)  G) This part of the sentence is a necessary transition because it links the discussion of extremophiles in essay to the conclusion that discusses the possibility of extraterrestrial life.  Without this transition, the discussion of the possibility of extraterrestrial life might seem out of place.

75)  D) This is a transition question, so you should read the previous sentence and the sentence the error is in without reading any of the transition words, so you can think clearly about how they are related.  Here, the second sentence contains a fact that supports the previous statement, so D represents an appropriate transition.  The other three options all express contradiction, which does not work in this context.  See transition words.