Get a good sense of what to expect on the new SAT Reading Test with these practice questions. If you want to read more about command of evidence questions (psst, there’s one of those in this quiz!), check out this blog. Happy quizzing!
Excerpt from Rachel Ehrenberg’s The Facts Behind the Frack, from an issue of Science News.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, wrenches open rock deep beneath the Earth’s surface, freeing the natural gas that’s trapped inside. (1) Proponents argue that fracking-related gas recovery is a game changer, a bridge to the renewable energy landscape of the future. (2) The gas, primarily methane, is cheap and relatively clean. (3) Because America is brimful of the stuff, harvesting the fuel via fracking could provide the country jobs and reduce its dependence on foreign sources of energy. (4)
But along with these promises have come alarming local incidents and national reports of blowouts, contamination and earthquakes. (5) Fracking opponents contend that the process poisons air and drinking water and may make people sick. (6) Fears that fracking companies are operating in a Wild West environment with little regulation have prompted political action. (7) Legislation banning the process has been considered but is now on hold in California. (8) New York — which sits atop a giant natural gas reserve — has a statewide fracking moratorium; pending policies would allow the process only where local officials support it. (9)
Reading Practice Question 1
The main purpose of the passage is to…
a. consider investing in an energy company that will create new jobs through fracking.
b. argue in favor of new legislation that restricts fracking in certain regions.
c. present an analysis of data that proves the harmful effects of fracking.
d. explore the circumstances that have led to legislation regarding energy sources.
Reading Practice Question 2
The author argues that fracking…
a. is the best long term energy resource option.
b. will completely change the energy industry.
c. needs an overhaul to best meet energy production needs.
d. does not need to be addressed seriously.
Reading Practice Question 3
Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
a. Sentence 2 (“Proponents…future.”)
b. Sentence 4 (“Because…energy.”)
c. Sentence 7 (“Fears…action.”)
d. Sentence 9 (“New York…support it.”)
Question 1 Answer
The correct option is D. The author mentions that fracking creates new jobs, but does not give details about investing in such a company, so Option A is incorrect. While the author mentions a few harmful effects of fracking, Option C is incorrect because she does not provide or closely analyze specific data. Option B and Option D both mention legislation, but Option B suggests that the author has a biased point of view, when the author actually presents both pro and con sides of a debate. The author includes both positive and negative effects of fracking, leading her into a discussion of the legal issues surrounding fracking, making Option D the best choice.
Question 2 Answer
Option B is the best answer. While the author mentions the “energy landscape of the future,” she does not claim that fracking is the best option for that future, so Option A is incorrect. She does, however, mention that that “fracking-related gas recovery is a game changer.” The rest of the passage details both sides of the fracking debate, showing that changes are already happening within the energy resource industry (Option B). The author mentions that the lack of regulation has led to political action, but we don’t know whether an overhaul will actually affect energy production, so Option C is incorrect. Finally, Option D is incorrect, because examples like pollution and earthquakes show that the fracking debate does need to be taken seriously.
Question 3 Answer
Option B is the correct answer, because it shows that fracking is changing the future of the industry. None of the other sentences support the correct answer to Practice Question 2.
Note: On the SAT, the individual sentences won’t be numbered; instead, you’ll see line numbers beside the passage. Sometimes multiple sentences, or just a fragment of a sentence, might be included in an answer choice. BUT you will see this formatting, with the beginning and end of the quoted lines in parenthesis.