LSAT Reading : LSAT Reading Comprehension

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for LSAT Reading

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Law

Adapted from Criminal Psychology: A Manual for Judges, Practitioners, and Students by Hans Gross (1911)

It is a mistake to suppose that it is enough in most cases to study that side of a person that is at the moment important—his or her dishonesty only, his or her laziness, etc. That will naturally lead to merely one-sided judgment and anyway be much harder than keeping the whole person in eye and studying him or her as an entirety. Every individual quality is merely a symptom of a whole nature and can be explained only by the whole complex; the good properties depend as much on the bad ones as the bad on the good ones. At the very least, the quality and quantity of a good or bad characteristic shows the influence of all the other good and bad characteristics. Kindliness is influenced and partly created through weakness, indetermination, too great susceptibility, a minimum acuteness, false constructiveness, untrained capacity for inference; in the same way, again, the most cruel hardness depends on properties which, taken in themselves, are good: determination, energy, purposeful action, clear conception of one's fellows, healthy egotism, etc. Every person is the result of his or her nature and nurture, i.e. of countless individual conditions, and every one of his or her expressions, again, is the result of all of these conditions. If, therefore, he or she is to be judged, he or she must be judged in the light of them all.

For this reason, all those indications that show us the person as a whole are for us the most important, but also those others are valuable which show him or her up on one side only; however, in the latter case, they are to be considered only as an index that never relieves us from the need further to study the nature of our subject.

We ask, for example, what kind of person will give us the best and most reliable information about the conduct and activity, the nature and character, of an individual? We are told: that sort of person who is usually asked for the information—his or her nearest friends and acquaintances and the authorities. Before all of these people do not show themselves as they are because the most honest will show themselves before people in whose judgment they have an interest at least as good as, if not better than they are—that is fundamental to the general egoistic essence of humanity, which seeks at least to avoid reducing its present welfare. Authorities who are asked to make a statement concerning any person can say reliably only how often the individual was punished or came otherwise in contact with the law or themselves. But concerning the individual's social characteristics the authorities have nothing to say; the detectives have to bring an answer. Then the detectives are, at most, simply people who have had the opportunity to watch and interrogate the servants, house-furnishers, porters, and corner-loafers, and other people in the employ of the individual. Why we do not question these people ourselves I cannot say; if we did, we might know these people on whom we depend for important information and might put our questions according to the answers that we need. 

It is a purely negative thing that an official declaration is nowadays not infrequently presented to us in the disgusting form of gossip. But in itself, the form of getting information about people through those who work for them is correct. People show their weaknesses most readily before those whom they hold of no account. This fact is well-known, but not sufficiently studied. It is of considerable importance. The Styrian, Peter Rosegger, one of the best students of mankind, once told a first-rate story of how the most intimate secrets of certain people became common talk although all concerned assured him that nobody had succeeded in getting knowledge of them. The news-agent was finally discovered in the person of an old, quiet woman who worked by the day in various homes and had found a place, unobserved and apparently indifferent, in the corner of the sitting-room. Nobody had told her any secrets, but things were allowed to occur before her from which she might guess and put them together. Nobody had watched this disinterested, ancient lady; she worked like a machine; her thoughts, when she noted a quarrel or anxiety or disagreement or joy, were indifferent to all concerned, and so she discovered a great deal that was kept secret from people perceived to be more important. This simple story is very significant—we are not to pay attention to gossips but to keep in mind that the information of people is in the rule more important and more reliable when the question under consideration is indifferent to them than when it is important.

The author’s attitude towards law and judicial work could best be described as __________.

Possible Answers:

exacting and meticulous

considerate and honest

apathetic and overconfident

intense and assured

fraudulent and derisive

Correct answer:

exacting and meticulous

Explanation:

The author’s attitude to the study of law and the practice of judicial work could most accurately be described as thorough, exacting, meticulous, and very thoughtful. Part of his emphasis throughout this essay is to urge the deepest and most well-rounded analysis of an individual that is possible. He states, “Every person is the result of his or her nature and nurture, i.e. of countless individual conditions, and every one of his or her expressions, again, is the result of all of these conditions. If, therefore, he or she is to be judged, he or she must be judged in the light of them all.” Here he is essentially saying “every person is the product of an endless amount of experiences and conditions and yet we must judge him or her in light of all of this endless data.” This is meticulous in the extreme. The other answer choices you could perhaps choose are “intense and assured” and “considerate and honest.” The author is certainly “assured” of himself, but this does not really apply to his attitude towards law and judicial work. Likewise, the author is concerned with the “honesty” of the accused individuals, but this again fails to describe his attitude to his work as well as “exacting and meticulous” does.

Example Question #1 : Lsat Reading Comprehension

Adapted from "The Grand Romantic" in Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde (1914) by Oscar Wilde.

It is when he deals with a sinner that Christ is most romantic, in the sense of most real. The world had always loved the saint as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of God. Christ, through some divine instinct in him, seems to have always loved the sinner as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of man. His primary desire was not to reform people, any more than his primary desire was to a relieve suffering. To turn an interesting thief into a tedious honest man was not his aim. He would have thought little of the Prisoners’ Aid Society and other modern movements of the kind. The conversion of a publican into a Pharisee would not have seemed to him a great achievement. But in a manner not yet understood of the world he regarded sin and suffering as being in themselves beautiful holy things and modes of perfection.

It seems a very dangerous idea. It is—all great ideas are dangerous. That it was Christ’s creed admits of no doubt. That it is the true creed I don’t doubt myself. Of course the sinner must repent. But why? Simply because otherwise he would be unable to realise what he had done. The moment of repentance is the moment of initiation. More than that: it is the means by which one alters one’s past. The Greeks thought that impossible. They often say in their Gnomic aphorisms, "Even the Gods cannot alter the past." Christ showed that the commonest sinner could do it, that it was the one thing he could do. Christ, had he been asked, would have said—I feel quite certain about it—that the moment the prodigal son fell on his knees and wept, he made his having wasted his substance with harlots, his swine-herding and hungering for the husks they ate, beautiful and holy moments in his life. It is difficult for most people to grasp the idea. I dare say one has to go to prison to understand it. If so, it may be worth while going to prison.

There is something so unique about Christ. Of course just as there are false dawns before the dawn itself, and winter days so full of sudden sunlight that they will cheat the wise crocus into squandering its gold before its time, and make some foolish bird call to its mate to build on barren boughs, so there were Christians before Christ. For that we should be grateful. The unfortunate thing is that there have been none since. I make one exception, St. Francis of Assisi. But then God had given him at his birth the soul of a poet, as he himself when quite young had in mystical marriage taken poverty as his bride: and with the soul of a poet and the body of a beggar he found the way to perfection not difficult. He understood Christ, and so he became like him. We do not require the Liber Conformitatum to teach us that the life of St. Francis was the true Imitatio Christi, a poem compared to which the book of that name is merely prose. Indeed, that is the charm about Christ, when all is said: he is just like a work of art. He does not really teach one anything, but by being brought into his presence one becomes something. And everybody is predestined to his presence. Once at least in his life each man walks with Christ.

The primary argument of the second paragraph is that ___________.

Possible Answers:

the Greeks did not understand redemption in the same manner as Christ did

a man can alter the significance of his past

to sin offers one the opportunity to be redeemed

every good idea has an element of danger and subversion behind it

it is worth going to prison in order to understand the notion of repentance and redemption

Correct answer:

a man can alter the significance of his past

Explanation:

In the second paragraph the author is primarily contending that a man can alter the significance of his past. This is seen in the reference to the prodigal son and how the author interprets Christ’s reaction and can also be clearly evidenced when the author states “More than that: it is the means by which one alters one’s past.” And, “Christ showed that the commonest sinner could do it, that it was the one thing he could do.” The answer choice “To sin offers one the opportunity to be redeemed” is closer to the thesis of the whole passage. The other ideas are either secondary arguments or else pieces of evidence used to furnish the primary argument.

Example Question #1 : Humanities

Adapted from "The Grand Romantic" in Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde (1914) by Oscar Wilde.

It is when he deals with a sinner that Christ is most romantic, in the sense of most real. The world had always loved the saint as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of God. Christ, through some divine instinct in him, seems to have always loved the sinner as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of man. His primary desire was not to reform people, any more than his primary desire was to a relieve suffering. To turn an interesting thief into a tedious honest man was not his aim. He would have thought little of the Prisoners’ Aid Society and other modern movements of the kind. The conversion of a publican into a Pharisee would not have seemed to him a great achievement. But in a manner not yet understood of the world he regarded sin and suffering as being in themselves beautiful holy things and modes of perfection.

It seems a very dangerous idea. It is—all great ideas are dangerous. That it was Christ’s creed admits of no doubt. That it is the true creed I don’t doubt myself. Of course the sinner must repent. But why? Simply because otherwise he would be unable to realise what he had done. The moment of repentance is the moment of initiation. More than that: it is the means by which one alters one’s past. The Greeks thought that impossible. They often say in their Gnomic aphorisms, "Even the Gods cannot alter the past." Christ showed that the commonest sinner could do it, that it was the one thing he could do. Christ, had he been asked, would have said—I feel quite certain about it—that the moment the prodigal son fell on his knees and wept, he made his having wasted his substance with harlots, his swine-herding and hungering for the husks they ate, beautiful and holy moments in his life. It is difficult for most people to grasp the idea. I dare say one has to go to prison to understand it. If so, it may be worth while going to prison.

There is something so unique about Christ. Of course just as there are false dawns before the dawn itself, and winter days so full of sudden sunlight that they will cheat the wise crocus into squandering its gold before its time, and make some foolish bird call to its mate to build on barren boughs, so there were Christians before Christ. For that we should be grateful. The unfortunate thing is that there have been none since. I make one exception, St. Francis of Assisi. But then God had given him at his birth the soul of a poet, as he himself when quite young had in mystical marriage taken poverty as his bride: and with the soul of a poet and the body of a beggar he found the way to perfection not difficult. He understood Christ, and so he became like him. We do not require the Liber Conformitatum to teach us that the life of St. Francis was the true Imitatio Christi, a poem compared to which the book of that name is merely prose. Indeed, that is the charm about Christ, when all is said: he is just like a work of art. He does not really teach one anything, but by being brought into his presence one becomes something. And everybody is predestined to his presence. Once at least in his life each man walks with Christ.

The primary purpose of the first paragraph is to __________.

Possible Answers:

explain the author’s belief in predestination

compare mankind’s reverence for the saints with Christ’s reverence for sinners

undermine the work of the Prisoners’ Aid Society and suggest a better course of action

condemn the traditional understanding of Christ’s mission on Earth

illustrate the author’s understanding of the character and mission of Christ

Correct answer:

illustrate the author’s understanding of the character and mission of Christ

Explanation:

The primary purpose of the first paragraph for the author is to demonstrate his personal understanding of Christ’s mission on Earth. It is clear that the author holds an unconventional view of the life and work of Jesus Christ, and he seems to wish to make clear the deficiencies he views in the conventional understanding before proceeding further with the argument. Evidence to support this conclusion can be seen in excerpts such as “Christ, through some divine instinct in him, seems to have always loved the sinner as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of man. His primary desire was not to reform people, any more than his primary desire was to a relieve suffering,” and “But in a manner not yet understood of the world he regarded sin and suffering as being in themselves beautiful holy things and modes of perfection.”

Example Question #2 : Lsat Reading Comprehension

Adapted from "The Grand Romantic" in Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde (1914) by Oscar Wilde.

It is when he deals with a sinner that Christ is most romantic, in the sense of most real. The world had always loved the saint as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of God. Christ, through some divine instinct in him, seems to have always loved the sinner as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of man. His primary desire was not to reform people, any more than his primary desire was to a relieve suffering. To turn an interesting thief into a tedious honest man was not his aim. He would have thought little of the Prisoners’ Aid Society and other modern movements of the kind. The conversion of a publican into a Pharisee would not have seemed to him a great achievement. But in a manner not yet understood of the world he regarded sin and suffering as being in themselves beautiful holy things and modes of perfection.

It seems a very dangerous idea. It is—all great ideas are dangerous. That it was Christ’s creed admits of no doubt. That it is the true creed I don’t doubt myself. Of course the sinner must repent. But why? Simply because otherwise he would be unable to realise what he had done. The moment of repentance is the moment of initiation. More than that: it is the means by which one alters one’s past. The Greeks thought that impossible. They often say in their Gnomic aphorisms, "Even the Gods cannot alter the past." Christ showed that the commonest sinner could do it, that it was the one thing he could do. Christ, had he been asked, would have said—I feel quite certain about it—that the moment the prodigal son fell on his knees and wept, he made his having wasted his substance with harlots, his swine-herding and hungering for the husks they ate, beautiful and holy moments in his life. It is difficult for most people to grasp the idea. I dare say one has to go to prison to understand it. If so, it may be worth while going to prison.

There is something so unique about Christ. Of course just as there are false dawns before the dawn itself, and winter days so full of sudden sunlight that they will cheat the wise crocus into squandering its gold before its time, and make some foolish bird call to its mate to build on barren boughs, so there were Christians before Christ. For that we should be grateful. The unfortunate thing is that there have been none since. I make one exception, St. Francis of Assisi. But then God had given him at his birth the soul of a poet, as he himself when quite young had in mystical marriage taken poverty as his bride: and with the soul of a poet and the body of a beggar he found the way to perfection not difficult. He understood Christ, and so he became like him. We do not require the Liber Conformitatum to teach us that the life of St. Francis was the true Imitatio Christi, a poem compared to which the book of that name is merely prose. Indeed, that is the charm about Christ, when all is said: he is just like a work of art. He does not really teach one anything, but by being brought into his presence one becomes something. And everybody is predestined to his presence. Once at least in his life each man walks with Christ.

Which of these most closely reflects why the author believes sin and suffering are “modes of perfection?”

Possible Answers:

Because they allow one the opportunity to be saved and redeemed

Because they undermine the work of Christ on earth

Because they allow one to understand oneself

Because they reveal the true nature of humanity

Because they offer opportunities for forgiveness and repentance

Correct answer:

Because they allow one the opportunity to be saved and redeemed

Explanation:

Answering this question requires an understanding of the overall thesis of this passage. The author believes that Christ would have had great affection for those who have sinned, because in doing so they are offered the opportunity to repent and in doing so be saved and redeemed. This idea is best captured in the second paragraph, where the author discusses the story of the prodigal son: “Christ, had he been asked, would have said—I feel quite certain about it—that the moment the prodigal son fell on his knees and wept, he made his having wasted his substance with harlots, his swine-herding and hungering for the husks they ate, beautiful and holy moments in his life. It is difficult for most people to grasp the idea.” The answer choice, “Because they offer opportunities for forgiveness and repentance,” is close to correct, but the author places great emphasis on the manner in which an individual is saved and redeemed into Christianity, rather than simply forgiven.

Example Question #3 : Lsat Reading Comprehension

Adapted from "The Grand Romantic" in Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde (1914) by Oscar Wilde.

It is when he deals with a sinner that Christ is most romantic, in the sense of most real. The world had always loved the saint as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of God. Christ, through some divine instinct in him, seems to have always loved the sinner as being the nearest possible approach to the perfection of man. His primary desire was not to reform people, any more than his primary desire was to a relieve suffering. To turn an interesting thief into a tedious honest man was not his aim. He would have thought little of the Prisoners’ Aid Society and other modern movements of the kind. The conversion of a publican into a Pharisee would not have seemed to him a great achievement. But in a manner not yet understood of the world he regarded sin and suffering as being in themselves beautiful holy things and modes of perfection.

It seems a very dangerous idea. It is—all great ideas are dangerous. That it was Christ’s creed admits of no doubt. That it is the true creed I don’t doubt myself. Of course the sinner must repent. But why? Simply because otherwise he would be unable to realise what he had done. The moment of repentance is the moment of initiation. More than that: it is the means by which one alters one’s past. The Greeks thought that impossible. They often say in their Gnomic aphorisms, "Even the Gods cannot alter the past." Christ showed that the commonest sinner could do it, that it was the one thing he could do. Christ, had he been asked, would have said—I feel quite certain about it—that the moment the prodigal son fell on his knees and wept, he made his having wasted his substance with harlots, his swine-herding and hungering for the husks they ate, beautiful and holy moments in his life. It is difficult for most people to grasp the idea. I dare say one has to go to prison to understand it. If so, it may be worth while going to prison.

There is something so unique about Christ. Of course just as there are false dawns before the dawn itself, and winter days so full of sudden sunlight that they will cheat the wise crocus into squandering its gold before its time, and make some foolish bird call to its mate to build on barren boughs, so there were Christians before Christ. For that we should be grateful. The unfortunate thing is that there have been none since. I make one exception, St. Francis of Assisi. But then God had given him at his birth the soul of a poet, as he himself when quite young had in mystical marriage taken poverty as his bride: and with the soul of a poet and the body of a beggar he found the way to perfection not difficult. He understood Christ, and so he became like him. We do not require the Liber Conformitatum to teach us that the life of St. Francis was the true Imitatio Christi, a poem compared to which the book of that name is merely prose. Indeed, that is the charm about Christ, when all is said: he is just like a work of art. He does not really teach one anything, but by being brought into his presence one becomes something. And everybody is predestined to his presence. Once at least in his life each man walks with Christ.

The author’s tone in this passage is primarily __________.

Possible Answers:

obstinate

impious

piteous

demanding

assured

Correct answer:

assured

Explanation:

Throughout this passage the author’s tone could most accurately be described as “assured.” That the author is sure of himself and will allow for no debate or doubt can be evidenced in such excerpts as “that it was Christ’s creed admits of no doubt. That it is the true creed I don’t doubt myself,” and, “I feel quite certain about it.” The author is neither overwhelmingly “demanding” nor “obstinate.” Depending on the religious beliefs of the reader, it might be reasonable to declare the author “impious,” but this is closer to an audience reaction than it is to a description of the tone.

Example Question #1 : Social Science

Adapted from "The Moral Leadership of the Religious Press,” a speech given in May 1893 by Susan B. Anthony

People expect too much of the press and too much of the ministers. It is the pews that make the pulpit and decide what the pulpit shall be, and it is the constituents and subscribers for the religious papers that decide what the religious paper shall be, and therefore when you tell me that a minister is thus and so in opposing any great moral reform, or that the religious press and newspaper is thus and so, what do you tell me? You tell me that the majority of the people in the pews indorse that minister, that the majority of the church members who read that paper won't allow that editor to speak anything on the question. That is all. I am glad that the day is changing, and that the people are feeling that the press is a little laggard and want to whip it up a little.

Take the specific question of suffrage. It is but recently that the religious press has begun to speak in tolerably friendly terms in relation to us. Take the great Methodist Episcopal church; think of its having an editor chosen by the general conference, Mr. Buckley, denounce the suffrage movement as something born—not of heaven, and yet if the vast majority of the members of the Methodist church were in favor of the enfranchisement of women and felt that it was a religious duty of the church to take its position in that direction, and of the religious newspaper, the organ of the society, to take position, Mr. Buckley would either be born again or else he would be slipped out of that editorial chair. He would be born again. He would believe in suffrage before he would lose his position.

I am not irreverent. I look to the public press. I look to the president of an organization, to the exponents of any society, religious or otherwise, as to the hands of the clock. They tell the time of day. Representing the suffrage movement, I stand to express the idea how high the tide has risen with the majority of the suffrage men and women of the day, and that is what a leader can do and but little more. We do not get very much ahead. We call ourselves leaders, but generally there are some down in the ranks a good deal ahead of us if they only had power to speak. I wish we had a great woman's rights press that knew how to speak the deepest and holiest thought of the best women of this country on the question of religious liberty, of political liberty, and of all liberty. And next to having such a press of our own is of course having the press of all the different denominations, of all the different political parties, of all the different interests in the country, come as near as possible to expressing our idea; and therefore, when I take up the Western Methodist paper, I forget what its name is, when I take up the Advance, when I take up any of the Western religious newspapers I am made to feel that their editors have been born again into this recognition of the principle of equality of rights in the church for the women as well as for the men. I suppose the New York Observer and the New York Advocate and so on will have to lag behind until they are moved over on the ferry boat. However much they hold back, they have to go with the boat. I suppose these old papers will hang back just as long as they possibly can.

Which of the following scenarios would best support the author’s main point in the first paragraph?

Possible Answers:

A male minister will not tolerate talk of suffrage, but a female minister condones it.

A newspaper wields its power unfavorably to reinforce the status quo.

A political candidate changes his stance to reflect his or her constituents’ opinions.

A church opposes the power of the press and advances its own publishing company.

The governing body of a church refuses to acknowledge its congregation’s viewpoint.

Correct answer:

A political candidate changes his stance to reflect his or her constituents’ opinions.

Explanation:

The author’s main argument in the first paragraph is that ministers’ opinions are shaped by their congregations, and that these elected church officials cater to the demands of the people who elect them. The scenario that would best support this argument would be another example of an elected leader changing his or her policies to suit the electorate, and this example can most nearly be found in a political candidate who changes stance to reflect his or her constituents’ opinions.

Example Question #1 : Social Science

Adapted from The Elementary Forms of Religious Life by Émile Durkheim (trans. Joseph Ward Swain) (1915)

For a long time it has been known that the first systems of representations with which men have pictured to themselves the world and themselves were of religious origin. There is no religion that is not a cosmology at the same time that it is a speculation — upon divine things. If philosophy and the sciences were born of religion, it is because religion began by taking the place of the sciences and philosophy. But it has been less frequently- noticed that religion has not confined itself to enriching the human intellect, formed beforehand, with a certain number of ideas; it has contributed to forming the intellect itself. Men owe to it not only a good part of the substance of their knowledge, but also the form in which this knowledge has been elaborated.

At the roots of all our judgments there are a certain number of essential ideas which dominate all our intellectual life; they are what philosophers since Aristotle have called the categories of the understanding: ideas of time, space, class, number, cause, substance, personality, etc. They correspond to the most universal properties of things. They are like the solid frame which encloses all thought; this does not seem to be able to liberate itself from them without destroying itself, for it seems that we cannot think of objects that are not in time and space, which have no number, etc. Other ideas are contingent and unsteady; we can conceive of their being unknown to a man, a society or an epoch ; but these others appear to be nearly inseparable from the normal working of the intellect. They are like the frame-work of the intelligence. Now when primitive religious belief s are systematically analysed, the principal categories are naturally found. They are born in religion and of religion; they are a product of religious thought.

Which of the following statements most clearly follows a parallel line of reasoning to the author's argument about religion?

Possible Answers:

As congregants disagree strongly in many churches, a religion does not have an especially strong pull over its adherents ideology.

As many children grow up to have different views from their parents, a parent's belief does little to shape a child's worldview.

As a political ideology provides many answers, an ardent partisan will have a worldview largely shaped by his or her political party's beliefs.

As scientific research makes new discoveries, old beliefs must slowly fade away from public consciousness.

As a difficult and complicated field of inquiry, any popular influence that philosophy has is limited.

Correct answer:

As a political ideology provides many answers, an ardent partisan will have a worldview largely shaped by his or her political party's beliefs.

Explanation:

The author argues that religion's framework of understanding is so strong and pervasive that a religious believer will be influenced by religion in every aspect of belief and thought. This pervasiveness, especially as it is not seen by the individual very clearly, is most similar to a political party providing a complete worldview for its members. Another way to think about this would be the more modern example of auto-tuners. Auto-tuners will take in any note and synthesize that note to fit into a musical key, therefore no note can interact with the auto-tuner without being altered by the key in which the auto-tuner is operating. Durkeim holds that the depth of religious thinking actually alters the interactions and ideas that come into contact with a person whose world view has been "tuned" to a certain kind of religious thinking.

Example Question #2 : Social Science

Passage adapted from Theodore Roosevelt's “Fourth Annual Message to Congress” (1904).

In dealing with the questions of immigration and naturalization it is indispensable to keep certain facts ever before the minds of those who share in enacting the laws. First and foremost, let us remember that the question of being a good American has nothing whatever to do with a man's birthplace any more than it has to do with his creed. In every generation from the time this Government was founded men of foreign birth have stood in the very foremost rank of good citizenship, and that not merely in one but in every field of American activity; while to try to draw a distinction between the man whose parents came to this country and the man whose ancestors came to it several generations back is a mere absurdity. Good Americanism is a matter of heart, of conscience, of lofty aspiration, of sound common sense, but not of birthplace or of creed. The medal of honor, the highest prize to be won by those who serve in the Army and the Navy of the United States decorates men born here, and it also decorates men born in Great Britain and Ireland, in Germany, in Scandinavia, in France, and doubtless in other countries also. In the field of statesmanship, in the field of business, in the field of philanthropic endeavor, it is equally true that among the men of whom we are most proud as Americans no distinction whatever can be drawn between those who themselves or whose parents came over in sailing ship or steamer from across the water and those whose ancestors stepped ashore into the wooded wilderness at Plymouth or at the mouth of the Hudson, the Delaware, or the James nearly three centuries ago. No fellow-citizen of ours is entitled to any peculiar regard because of the way in which he worships his Maker, or because of the birthplace of himself or his parents, nor should he be in any way discriminated against therefor. Each must stand on his worth as a man and each is entitled to be judged solely thereby.

There is no danger of having too many immigrants of the right kind. It makes no difference from what country they come. If they are sound in body and in mind, and, above all, if they are of good character, so that we can rest assured that their children and grandchildren will be worthy fellow-citizens of our children and grandchildren, then we should welcome them with cordial hospitality.

Based on the statement above, if Theodore Roosevelt were President of the United States today, which of the following policies would he be most likely to enact?

Possible Answers:

Immigration rights for people that have had at least one immediate family member in the United States for at least 20 years

Unlimited immigration for people that pass a background check

Strict laws that allow only a limited number of immigrants from democratic countries

Unlimited immigration regardless of a person's background or country of origin

Strict immigration laws that allow only a few thousand immigrants into the United States each year

Correct answer:

Unlimited immigration for people that pass a background check

Explanation:

Roosevelt's main point in this portion of his speech is that good American citizens can come from any country and have any set of beliefs as long as they are of good character. The two answers that most closely follow this point are, "Unlimited immigration for people that pass a background check," and "Unlimited immigration regardless of a person's background or country of origin." The three other answers directly oppose Roosevelt's theory as outlined. The key is in his repeated sentiment that "good character" is required to make a good American citizen. It can be inferred from this belief that Roosevelt would approve of a background check before granting citizenship instead of just allowing anyone to enter the US regardless of potential past crimes.

Example Question #1 : Parallel Reasoning And Analogous Cases In Social Science Passages

Adapted from The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature by William James (1902)

Most books on the philosophy of religion try to begin with a precise definition of what its essence consists of. Some of these would-be definitions may possibly come before us in later portions of this course, and I shall not be pedantic enough to enumerate any of them to you now. Meanwhile the very fact that they are so many and so different from one another is enough to prove that the word "religion" cannot stand for any single principle or essence, but is rather a collective name. The theorizing mind tends always to the oversimplification of its materials. This is the root of all that absolutism and one-sided dogmatism by which both philosophy and religion have been infested.

Let us not fall immediately into a one-sided view of our subject, but let us rather admit freely at the outset that we may very likely find no one essence, but many characters which may alternately be equally important to religion. If we should inquire for the essence of "government," for example, one man might tell us it was authority, another submission, another police, another an army, another an assembly, another a system of laws; yet all the while it would be true that no concrete government can exist without all these things, one of which is more important at one moment and others at another. The man who knows governments most completely is he who troubles himself least about a definition that shall give their essence. Enjoying an intimate acquaintance with all their particularities in turn, he would naturally regard an abstract conception in which these were unified as a thing more misleading than enlightening. And why may not religion be a conception equally complex?

The author includes the various descriptions of "government" in order to __________.

Possible Answers:

show that government is a very different concept to define, more so than religion

show how concepts other than religion are as difficult to define in simple terms

show that government is a more interesting subject than religion

show that the difficulty of defining religion is unique to the study of religion

show how "religion" and "government" often mean the same thing

Correct answer:

show how concepts other than religion are as difficult to define in simple terms

Explanation:

When the author invokes the many different ways "government" is defined, he is doing so to show that his point about the complexities around defining "religion" can happen in other areas. In particular, the author wishes to show that the multifaceted way "government" can be defined means that a rigid approach to "religion" will not produce a suitable definition.

Example Question #3 : Social Science

Adapted from the third volume of The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon (1782)

The spectator who casts a mournful view over the ruins of ancient Rome, is tempted to accuse the memory of the Goths and Vandals, for the mischief which they had neither leisure, nor power, nor perhaps inclination, to perpetrate. The tempest of war might strike some lofty turrets to the ground; but the destruction which undermined the foundations of those massy fabrics was prosecuted, slowly and silently, during a period of ten centuries; and the motives of interest, that afterwards operated without shame or control, were severely checked by the taste and spirit of the emperor Majorian. The decay of the city had gradually impaired the value of the public works. The circus and theaters might still excite, but they seldom gratified, the desires of the people: the temples, which had escaped the zeal of the Christians, were no longer inhabited, either by gods or men; the diminished crowds of the Romans were lost in the immense space of their baths and porticos; and the stately libraries and halls of justice became useless to an indolent generation, whose repose was seldom disturbed, either by study or business. The monuments of consular, or Imperial, greatness were no longer revered, as the immortal glory of the capital: they were only esteemed as an inexhaustible mine of materials, cheaper, and more convenient than the distant quarry. Specious petitions were continually addressed to the easy magistrates of Rome, which stated the want of stones or bricks, for some necessary service: the fairest forms of architecture were rudely defaced, for the sake of some paltry, or pretended, repairs; and the degenerate Romans, who converted the spoil to their own emolument, demolished, with sacrilegious hands, the labors of their ancestors. Majorian, who had often sighed over the desolation of the city, applied a severe remedy to the growing evil.

He reserved to the prince and senate the sole cognizance of the extreme cases which might justify the destruction of an ancient edifice; imposed a fine of fifty pounds of gold (two thousand pounds sterling) on every magistrate who should presume to grant such illegal and scandalous license, and threatened to chastise the criminal obedience of their subordinate officers, by a severe whipping, and the amputation of both their hands. In the last instance, the legislator might seem to forget the proportion of guilt and punishment; but his zeal arose from a generous principle, and Majorian was anxious to protect the monuments of those ages, in which he would have desired and deserved to live. The emperor conceived that it was his interest to increase the number of his subjects; and that it was his duty to guard the purity of the marriage-bed: but the means which he employed to accomplish these salutary purposes are of an ambiguous, and perhaps exceptionable, kind. The pious maids, who consecrated their virginity to Christ, were restrained from taking the veil till they had reached their fortieth year. Widows under that age were compelled to form a second alliance within the term of five years, by the forfeiture of half their wealth to their nearest relations, or to the state. Unequal marriages were condemned or annulled. The punishment of confiscation and exile was deemed so inadequate to the guilt of adultery, that, if the criminal returned to Italy, he might, by the express declaration of Majorian, be slain with impunity.

The way in which the author describes the barbarians is analogous to __________.

Possible Answers:

a professor talking about rudimentary facts in a room full of experts

a person in a debate reassessing a misconceived subject

a man talking about his brother

an apologist talking about a taboo topic

a doctor describing a malignant and highly feared illness

Correct answer:

a person in a debate reassessing a misconceived subject

Explanation:

Of these five choices, the best is "a person in a debate reassessing a misconceived subject." The author is supposedly presenting facts, but they are more opinions than facts as he does not go into any great detail to prove them. He does reassess the general opinion of the barbarians as those who destroyed Rome, so he is initially dealing with a misconceived subject. The analogy of the doctor would be correct if the word “malignant” was replaced with “benign.”

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