AnswerExplanationsfor Practice Test #2Make time to learn how you canimprove after taking the practice test. 2016 The College Board. College Board and the acorn logo are registered trademarks of the College Board. Thecorporate “Lamp of Learning” logo is a federally registered service mark of National Merit Scholarship Corporation.PSAT/NMSQT is a registered trademark of the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation.5LPT01
PSAT/NMSQT ANSWER EXPLANATIONS READINGPSAT/NMSQT Practice Test #2Reading Test Answer ExplanationsQuestion 1Choice A is the best answer. Falvo believes that when tryingsomething new it’s important to not overdo it. This can be seenmost clearly when Falvo admonishes the newest runner to controlhis impulses and not to run too fast or try too hard when racing withmore experienced runners: “I don’t want you doing anything stupid,Mosher. Some of these boys have been at it for a while. Don’t thinkabout them, think about yourself” (lines 19-22).KEY: ADIFFICULTY: EasyChoice B is incorrect because McCann is described as a “toughlooking kid [who] smiled like a gunslinger” (lines 17-18), implyingthat he is a risk-taker who is likely to push limits. Choice C isincorrect because in the passage Mosher pushes himself until hemakes himself physically sick. Choice D is incorrect because theperson who said “let him go” was watching Mosher “stagger” pastafter he had already pushed himself past his limits.Question 2Choice B is the best answer. The previous question asks whichcharacter believes one shouldn’t push his or her limits when tryingsomething new: the running coach Falvo. The best evidence insupport of that choice is lines 19-22, when Falvo instructs Mosher tocontrol himself when running with the experienced racers by saying“I don’t want you doing anything stupid, Mosher. Some of theseboys have been at it for a while. Don’t think about them, think aboutyourself.”KEY: BDIFFICULTY: MediumChoice A is incorrect because while lines 14-17 show Falvoencouraging McCann not to “drain the well,” they do not addressthe issue of McCann “trying something new,” which is a centralpart of the previous question. Choices C and D are incorrect becauselines 55-60 and 76-79 both show that Mosher pushed himself toohard, not that he controlled himself.Question 3Choice B is the best answer. “Pace yourself. Let them do what theydo. They’ll be about thirty yards ahead after the first lap. Don’tworry about them. Go out slow, feel your way, then bring it home asbest you can. OK?” (lines 24-27). These lines indicate Falvo believesMosher should run for himself and not focus on what the other,more experienced runners in the time trial are doing. The mainKEY: BDIFFICULTY: Medium2
PSAT/NMSQT ANSWER EXPLANATIONS READINGpurpose of these lines is to reemphasize what Falvo had said earlierin the passage about not overdoing it when trying new things.Choice A is incorrect because lines 24-27 were addressedspecifically to Mosher, not the group. Choice C is incorrect becauselines 24-27 are instructions to one runner about a specific race.Choice D is incorrect because lines 24-27 do not reveal anythingabout Falvo’s beliefs as much as they repeat or reemphasize whathe had said earlier.Question 4Choice B is the best answer. In the passage, the narrator, Mosher,shrugged after Falvo told him not to do anything stupid and thensaid “sure” when the coach warned him not to worry about theother runners, responses that both indicate that Mosher wasignoring the coach’s advice (or being dismissive of it).KEY: BDIFFICULTY: EasyChoices A, C, and D are incorrect because when Mosher shrugsat or offers a one-word response to the coach’s advice, it can beinferred that he is simply ignoring it, not that he is a shy, dishonest,or hostile person.Question 5Choice C is the best answer. Falvo’s advice to the runners at thebeginning of the passage was not to push themselves too hard.Even if the more experienced runners did not verbally respond tothat advice, it’s clear they followed it because their running wasdescribed throughout the passage as having a “quiet, aggressive,sustained power that looked like nothing” (lines 38-39) and beingas “smooth as water” (line 42). When passing Mosher on the track,those runners were also said to be “all business now” (line 55),describing efficiency without too much effort; those runners werenot pushing themselves too hard.KEY: CDIFFICULTY: MediumChoices A, B, and D are incorrect because the passage never stateshow the more experienced runners responded to Falvo’s advice(except for McCann’s smiling at the idea he shouldn’t “drain thewell” that day), so it’s impossible to know if those runners wereenthusiastic about it, ignored it, or only pretended to heed it.However, the way those racers were said to have run the time trial(“all business”) does show that they generally accepted what theircoach had said.Question 6Choice D is the best answer. The passage makes clear that Mosherignores Falvo’s advice to stay contained as a runner during the timetrial. Later he makes it clear that he had no idea why he hadn’tKEY: DDIFFICULTY: Hard3
PSAT/NMSQT ANSWER EXPLANATIONS READINGfollowed Falvo’s advice: “I don’t know why. I can’t explain it” (line61).Choices A, B, and C are incorrect because line 61 is explicit instating that the narrator did not have a good reason to ignoreFalvo’s advice, not that he did so just because he was determinedto keep up with the other runners, wanted to prove something tohimself, or wanted to improve on his previous time.Question 7Choice B is the best answer. The previous question asks forMosher’s motivation for pushing himself too hard in the time trial.In line 61, Mosher offers no concrete explanation for why he ran thetime trial the way he did: “I don’t know why. I can’t explain it.”KEY: BDIFFICULTY: HardChoice A is incorrect because lines 36-39 describe the other runnersin the time trial but not the narrator. Choice C is incorrect becauselines 73-76 explain Mosher’s physical condition, not his internalmotivation, at the end of the time trial. Choice D is incorrectbecause lines 91-94 explain Falvo’s reaction to Mosher’s race.Question 8Choice A is the best answer. Falvo says to the exhausted Mosher:“‘What we have here,’ he was saying, ‘is a failure to communicate.Stay within yourself, I said. Don’t drain the well, I said’” (lines 8183). By then Mosher had pushed himself so hard that he’d becomephysically ill and used up all his energy.KEY: ADIFFICULTY: EasyChoice B is incorrect because “don’t drain the well” means don’tuse up the valuable energy one has, not “don’t get sick.” ChoicesC and D are incorrect because in the passage Falvo tells Mosher tomaintain his own pace and run his own race, not that he should beconcerned with the other runners or that he shouldn’t quit if tired.Question 9Choice D is the best answer. Lines 88-89 state “He laughed—that bitter Falvo laugh—ha!—like he’d just been vindicated.”“Vindicated” means to be justified or proven correct, which isapt in this context because by running himself into sickness andexhaustion, Mosher had proven correct Falvo’s belief that Moshermight overdo it.KEY: DDIFFICULTY: MediumChoice A is incorrect because “avenged” means to exact vengeanceor satisfaction. Choices B and C are incorrect because in thispassage no one is either set free or defended against; rather, Falvois simply proven correct that Mosher might push too hard in thetime trial.4
PSAT/NMSQT ANSWER EXPLANATIONS READINGQuestion 10Choice A is the best answer. The passage begins with “thenumber of democracies in the world today is unprecedented” andthen continues in the second paragraph by providing the specificnumbers in support of that claim: lines 17-20 state that in 2011,117 of 193 countries were identified as electoral democraciesbut that only 69 of 167 countries had been so labeled in 1989.Beginning in line 23, however, the passage moves away from thesimple claim that the number of political democracies in the worldwas increasing (unprecedented) and begins to analyze the reasonfor that change: “What caused this global transformation?” Theremainder of the passage then focuses more closely on the reasonsthere are more democracies today, including the “local factors” (line24) involved, “poor economic management by many authoritariangovernments” (lines 26-27), and “new reach and speed of massmedia” (lines 37-38).KEY: ADIFFICULTY: MediumChoice B is incorrect because the passage doesn’t claim there isless political openness in the world but more. Choice C is incorrectbecause the passage doesn’t start with one set of data and thenswitch to a conflicting set. Choice D is incorrect because thepassage neither supports nor denounces either democracies orautocracies but simply discusses their increasing and/or decreasingnumbers in the modern world.Question 11Choice D is the best answer. Lines 17-20 state that in 2011, 117 of193 surveyed countries were identified as electoral democracies butthat only 69 of 167 countries were labeled as such in 1989. Thenthose statistics are further explained by being “put another way”(line 20), or stated another way.KEY: DDIFFICULTY: EasyChoices A, B, and C are incorrect because to “put” the statisticsin lines 17-20 “another way” means to explain or state themanother way, not to inflict something on someone by will or force(“impose”), physically set something up (“place”), or encourage orarouse (“incite”).Question 12Choice D is the best answer. Lines 30-31 explain that one waydemocracy was supported around the world was that “Westerngovernments and activists encouraged dissent and held outrewards for reform.” In this context, the rewards being “held out”(line 31) means the rewards being offered.KEY: DDIFFICULTY: EasyChoices A, B, and C are incorrect because the rewards being “heldout” by Western governments and activists refer to the rewards5
PSAT/NMSQT ANSWER EXPLANATIONS READINGbeing offered, not that those rewards were being resisted, awaited,or avoided.Question 13Choice D is the best answer. Lines 56-59 state that “according toone study of the world’s democratic electoral systems, Brunei maybe the only country where ‘electoral politics has failed to put downany meaningful roots at all.’” These lines support the claim thatthere’s been a global trend toward political openness as they makeclear that there’s only one country on Earth (Brunei) where suchopenness cannot be found.KEY: DDIFFICULTY: HardChoice A is incorrect because line 23 asks a question related to theproportion of democracies in the world but nothing about “politicalopenness.” Choice B is incorrect because lines 26-27 explain onereason authoritarian regimes have failed. Choice C is incorrectbecause lines 41-42 address the factor of the modern media inpolitics.Question 14Choice A is the best answer. While the passage states and supportsthe idea that there are more democracies and fewer autocraciesin the world today, it further explains that, perhaps surprisingly,even those autocracies are becoming more open: “With far fewerrepressive regimes in the world, one might have expected theholdouts to be places where freedom and political competition areincreasingly suppressed. But in fact the opposite is true” (lines 5963).KEY: ADIFFICULTY: MediumChoices B, C, and D are incorrect because in lines 59-63, the passageexplicitly supports the idea that freedom in modern autocracies isnot being “increasingly suppressed” (“in fact the opposite is true”),but the passage says nothing about conflicting data and opinionpolls regarding life in those autocracies (choice B), that democracyhas faced a number of local setbacks (choice C), or that politicalopenness in autocratic countries has declined (choice D).Question 15Choice C is the best answer. The previous question asks about theunexpected state of political openness in autocratic regimes, withlines 59-63 clearly explaining that there is more political openness tobe found in those regimes than might have been assumed: “With farfewer repressive regimes in the world, one might have expected theholdouts to be places where freedom and political competition areincreasingly suppressed. But in fact the opposite is true.”KEY: CDIFFICULTY: Hard6
PSAT/NMSQT ANSWER EXPLANATIONS READINGChoices A, B, and D are incorrect because the previous questionasks about how politically open modern autocratic regimes tendto be, but lines 18-22 discuss the proportion of democracies in theworld today; lines 46-50 describe shifts in public attitudes towarddemocracy; and lines 73-77 analyze reasons why some politicalautocracies may have changed.Question 16Choice B is the best answer. Lines 63-64 explain that whileelections are central to democracy, other indicators of the opennessof a society include “freedom of the press, civil liberties, [and]checks and balances that limit the power of any single institution”(lines 65-67).KEY: BDIFFICULTY: MediumChoices A, C, and D are incorrect because “freedom of the press”is clearly cited in line 65 as being an indicator of political openness,but the passage says nothing similar about a strong head of state,confidence in the military, or the presence of a digital culture.Question 17Choice D is the best answer. While the graph shows there weremore than 80 autocracies around the world in 1975, that number issmaller than the number of democracies (nearly 100) that the graphshows existed in 2011.KEY: DDIFFICULTY: EasyChoice A is incorrect because the graph shows that approximatelyonly 20 democracies existed in 1950. Choice B is incorrect becausethe graph shows that fewer than 80 democracies existed in 1995.Choice C is incorrect because the graph shows that approximatelyonly 20 autocracies existed in 2011.Question 18Choice B is the best answer. The graph shows the linesrepresenting the number of autocracies and the number ofdemocracies intersecting between 1985 and 1990, when there wereapproximately 60 of each of those types of government around theworld.