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Answer Explanations for: PSAT Saturday 2012 (Form S)

Section 1: Critical Reading

Sentence Completions

1)      A) Because Dett’s work was “pioneering,” the first blank requires a word that means motivate or encourage, so A is the best option, with B, D, and E possibly working as well.  The second blank requires a word that means investigate or appreciate, so A is the only word that works for the second blank.

2)      C) The first blank requires a word that means without “breakdowns,” so a word that means working or usable is needed.  Therefore, C and E are the best options for the first blank, with D possibly working as well.  The second blank requires a word that means not using “correct procedures,” so a word meaning incorrect is needed.  Therefore, A and C are the only words that could work for the second blank.  C is the correct answer because it is the only option that works for both blanks.

3)      D) The blank requires a word that means not “moving,” so D is the correct answer.

4)      E) The first blank requires a word that means motivation for, so C or E could work for the first blank.  The second blank requires a word that means solve, so E is the only option that works for the second blank.

5)      C) Because Johnson is boastful and takes all credit for himself, the blank requires a word that means egotism or overconfidence, so C is the correct answer.

6)      B) If these works played a role in creating a new genre of fiction, the blank requires a word that means formative or groundbreaking, so B is the correct answer.

7)      C) The word “though” informs you that the second part of the sentence must be a contrast to the first part of the sentence.  Therefore, the blank requires a word that means steadfast or unmoving, so C is the correct answer.

8)      D) Although it usually makes sense to consider the two blanks separately, this question requires you to consider them together.  Together the words in the two blanks must make an expression that reflects the meaning of the portion of the sentence after the colon.  In other words, the expression must indicate that the book oversimplifies that which it discusses, so the answer is D.

 

Passage Based Reading

9)      B) The passage primarily describes the role of films within a society, so B is the correct answer.  This function is stated clearly in the first sentence of the paragraph.  This function is then restated in the last sentence.  Phrases such as “within a culture” (line 2) and “personal culture” (line 11) provide the most specific evidence that B is the correct answer.

10)  A) These lines state that the movies become integrated into who we are, so A is the best answer.

11)  D) The passage describes the author’s father as a man who collects, repurposes, and creates things from junk, so D is the correct answer, as the father “recombines” junk to fit new purposes.

12)  E) On vocabulary in context questions, examine the context of the word as it is used in the passage and come up with your own idea of what it means before looking at any of the answer choices.  It is important to do so even if you think you know what the word means, because these questions often feature uncommon secondary definitions of words.  Having your own idea of what the word means before looking at the answer choices will help prevent you from being tempted by words that sound good but are ultimately incorrect.  Here, “native” means innate or natural, so E is the correct answer.  Watch out for answer choice A, which provides another common definition of the word “native” but does not make sense in this context.

13)  E) On vocabulary in context questions, examine the context of the word or phrase as it is used in the passage and come up with your own idea of what it means before looking at any of the answer choices.  It is important to do so even if you think you know what the word means, because these questions often feature uncommon secondary definitions of words.  Having your own idea of what the word or phrase means before looking at the answer choices will help prevent you from being tempted by answers that sound good but are ultimately incorrect.  Here, “take the measure” means understand or decipher, so E is the correct answer.  Specifically, the second part of the sentence (lines 4-5) provides evidence that this is the intended meaning of the phrase.

14)  D) This phrase, taken in the context of lines 5-10, describes the ability of good readers to decide that they do not agree with what they are reading.  Lines 8-10 note that this is a skill that is only learned with time, as one becomes a good reader.  Answer choice A could be tempting, but the passage does not “criticize” the inability to disagree with the text, instead simply stating that the ability to do so is a learned skill.

15)  A) In lines 8-10, the passage states that the ability to think critically about what one has read is learned only after one learns to paraphrase what one has read, so the skills are presented as a “hierarchy.”  Answer choice C could be tempting, since much of the passage (lines 29-70) is devoted to making this contrast, but the skills described in line 10 are not used to make this point.  D could also be tempting, but the point the passage is making is that kids cannot be expected to think critically about what they are reading until a certain point in their development as readers and thinkers.

16)  D) The phrase “It is also why” informs you that the reason for this censorship is described previously, in lines 5-10.  Because children lack the ability to think critically about or disagree with what they read, adults feel the need to control what children read.

17)  B) This attitude is described as the ability to “suspend belief” (line 14) and think critically about what one is reading rather than blindly accepting it.  This attitude is summarized in lines 5-7.

18)  E) These lines state that children in each of these grades are thought to have different experiences, which makes different reading materials appropriate for each grade, since the content must be appropriate to the different experiences.

19)  D) This quote involves two pairings of opposites and therefore serves to underscore that the point made in lines 34-35 (that TV is watched, not read or listened to) is universally true for all people, so the best answer is D.

20)  B) When taken in the context of lines 43-51, this statement contributes to the author’s point that no learning is required to understand television, and there is no systematic way that people go about learning to understand TV.  The author contrasts this with reading, which requires significant learning undertaken in a systematic manner.

21)  C) In these lines, the critic claims that people naturally have the ability to watch and understand television and that people do not improve their TV watching skills by watching more TV.  If answer choice C were true, it would undermine this statement by showing that people do in fact improve their ability to watch TV by watching more TV.

22)  E) These studies, described in lines 54-59, show that children can competently watch TV just like adults would from the age of 3, which proves the point discussed in lines 34-54 – that because TV watching requires no specialized skills, all people watch TV in an identical manner.  Answer choice C is extremely tempting, since it paraphrases the finding of the studies, as described in lines 54-59.  However, the author does not use the finding of these studies simply for its own sake.  Instead, the author uses this finding as evidence to support the point the passage has been discussing since line 34, as described above.

23)  E) Taken in the context of lines 67-70, the point the author makes in describing the “physical form” (lines 68-69) of the television is that because it is relatively large, a television cannot simply be placed where children cannot physically get to it.

24)  B) Lines 83-87 indicate that electronic media destroy childhood by providing everybody with the same access to information, keeping no secrets from children since their age does not limit their ability to understand or access information.