SSAT Upper Level Reading : Locating Details in Argumentative Social Science Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SSAT Upper Level Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Main Idea, Details, Opinions, And Arguments In Argumentative Social Science Passages

Adapted from "Federalist No. 46. The Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared" by James Madison in The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay (1788)

Many considerations, besides those suggested on a former occasion, seem to place it beyond doubt that the first and most natural attachment of the people will be to the governments of their respective states. Into the administration of these a greater number of individuals will expect to rise. From the gift of these a greater number of offices and emoluments will flow. By the superintending care of these, all the more domestic and personal interests of the people will be regulated and provided for. With the affairs of these, the people will be more familiarly and minutely conversant. And with the members of these, will a greater proportion of the people have the ties of personal acquaintance and friendship, and of family and party attachments; on the side of these, therefore, the popular bias may well be expected most strongly to incline.

Experience speaks the same language in this case. The federal administration, though hitherto very defective in comparison with what may be hoped under a better system, had, during the war, and particularly whilst the independent fund of paper emissions was in credit, an activity and importance as great as it can well have in any future circumstances whatever. It was engaged, too, in a course of measures which had for their object the protection of everything that was dear and the acquisition of everything that could be desirable to the people at large. It was, nevertheless, invariably found, after the transient enthusiasm for the early Congresses was over, that the attention and attachment of the people were turned anew to their own particular governments; that the federal council was at no time the idol of popular favor; and that opposition to proposed enlargements of its powers and importance was the side usually taken by the men who wished to build their political consequence on the prepossessions of their fellow-citizens.

Which of the following is NOT a result the author mentions as likely to arise from people being more attached to their state governments than to their federal government?

Possible Answers:

More state governmental offices will be created.

State taxes will increase in order to pay for expanding state governments.

Citizens will be more aware of the actions of their state governments.

More people will have friends and relatives who work in the state governments.

More individuals will work for state governments.

Correct answer:

State taxes will increase in order to pay for expanding state governments.

Explanation:

While it is logical that state taxes may very well rise if all of the other effects of citizens' preference for state government take place, the author never mentions taxes in the paragraph. All of the other answer choices are mentioned in the first paragraph of the passage as potential effects caused by the relative popularity of state governments.

Example Question #2 : Main Idea, Details, Opinions, And Arguments In Argumentative Social Science Passages

Adapted from "Federalist No. 46. The Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared" by James Madison in The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay (1788)

Many considerations, besides those suggested on a former occasion, seem to place it beyond doubt that the first and most natural attachment of the people will be to the governments of their respective states. Into the administration of these a greater number of individuals will expect to rise. From the gift of these a greater number of offices and emoluments will flow. By the superintending care of these, all the more domestic and personal interests of the people will be regulated and provided for. With the affairs of these, the people will be more familiarly and minutely conversant. And with the members of these, will a greater proportion of the people have the ties of personal acquaintance and friendship, and of family and party attachments; on the side of these, therefore, the popular bias may well be expected most strongly to incline.

Experience speaks the same language in this case. The federal administration, though hitherto very defective in comparison with what may be hoped under a better system, had, during the war, and particularly whilst the independent fund of paper emissions was in credit, an activity and importance as great as it can well have in any future circumstances whatever. It was engaged, too, in a course of measures which had for their object the protection of everything that was dear and the acquisition of everything that could be desirable to the people at large. It was, nevertheless, invariably found, after the transient enthusiasm for the early Congresses was over, that the attention and attachment of the people were turned anew to their own particular governments; that the federal council was at no time the idol of popular favor; and that opposition to proposed enlargements of its powers and importance was the side usually taken by the men who wished to build their political consequence on the prepossessions of their fellow-citizens.

Which of the following events occurred after the war?

Possible Answers:

The domestic interests of citizens were provided for.

More people were related to or friends with federal government officials.

The independent fund of paper emissions was in credit.

More state governmental offices were created.

The people turned their attention from the federal government to their specific state governments.

Correct answer:

The people turned their attention from the federal government to their specific state governments.

Explanation:

Answering this question correctly requires you to read very carefully in order to figure out the exact chronology of events described by the author in the passage. "More state governmental offices were created" and " "The domestic interests of citizens were provided for" cannot be correct because they are both hypothetical, potential effects of state government popularity presented by the author in his theoretical argument in the first paragraph. "The independent fund of paper emissions was in credit" cannot be correct because according to the author, this occurred during the war, not after it. Finally, "More people were related to or friends with federal government officials" cannot be correct because the author suggests that more people will be related to or friends with state government officials as a theoretical possibility in the first paragraph. The only remaining answer is the correct one: "The people turned their attention from the federal government to their specific state governments." This is supported by the sentence "It was, nevertheless, invariably found, after the transient enthusiasm for the early Congresses was over, that the attention and attachment of the people were turned anew to their own particular governments," found in the second paragraph.

Example Question #124 : Isee Upper Level (Grades 9 12) Reading Comprehension

Adapted from the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America by Thomas Jefferson (1776)

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Who is addressed in this passage?

Possible Answers:

The French government

The English Parliament

The king of England

The colonies

The world

Correct answer:

The world

Explanation:

The key clue for this question is the final sentence of this selection, "To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world."  The Declaration did have purposes in the colonies and in England; however, it was above all addressed to the world. The general tone implies this, but this sentence in particular shows the universal audience of this passage.

Example Question #1 : Locating Details In Argumentative Social Science Passages

Adapted from The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln (1863)

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The introduction presents __________.

Possible Answers:

an acknowledgement of the counterargument

an introductory aside

a historical context 

a scientific theory

an acknowledgement of the counterargument

speculation 

Correct answer:

a historical context 

Explanation:

The introduction puts the Civil War within the historical context of United States history. By referencing the birth of the nation the author is trying to link contemporary events with significant events in past in order that the audience might observe an unbroken chain of historical relation.

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