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ACT Assessment Sample Question
Answer Key and Question Explanations

Set 2: Reading

1. The best answer is C. Lines 2122 explain what being put to the proof requires. Since there was no automatic assumption of innocence in England at this time nor was that something the courts of that time addressed (see lines 1213), A is ruled out. Since innocence could be "proven" (line 50), B is incorrect, and because line 18 makes it clear that only one party was tried, D can also be ruled out.

2. The best answer is F. Support for the answer is found in lines 5456. Floating proved guilt (line 51), which means G is incorrect; H is incorrect because simply wearing bandages for three days did not determine innocence (proof of innocence or guilt came with their removal and inspection of the wound); and J is incorrect because oaths were part of trial by compurgation, not trial by ordeal.

3. The best answer is D. Support for the answer is in the last paragraph, which compares the three kinds of trial: "The oaths that saturated the proceedings called upon God to witness to the truth of the . . . claims . . . , or the justice of their cause . . ." (lines 8285). The passage clearly identifies the assistance of God as necessary in each form of trial. Neither of the procedures described in A or B apply to the trials described in the passage, and C is only one type of the several trials described in the passage.

4. The best answer is F. Lines 7881 support the answer by stating that the judges' only role was to decide which party should be put to proof and the form of the proof. The proceedings were the same for criminal and civil cases (lines 7778), which rules out G; lines 8587 directly contradict what is claimed in H and lines 7881 directly contradict the assertions in J, which eliminates both as plausible answers.

5. The best answer is D. Line 74 supports option I; lines 7677 contradict what is stated in option II (thus eliminating B and C as plausible choices); and lines 8285 prove III. Given that both I and III are true, the best and most complete answer is D.

6. The best answer is F. The answer is clearly supported by information in lines 3235. An oath would be "burst" if precise "swearing" procedures were not followed; an oath is not "burst" by the number of swearers assembled, but by what those swearers say and how they say it, which rules out G. The swearer's trial preference was completely irrelevant, so H is incorrect; and judges had no role in deciding the verdict (see lines 7879), which makes J incorrect.

7. The best answer is B. Trial by compurgation requires oath-helpers, so option I is wrong (thus ruling out A and D). Lines 3638 state that the more serious crimes required ordeals, lesser crimes compurgation, which makes option II true. The same lines reveal that peasants or persons of bad reputation usually had a trial by ordeal, making III incorrect (thus ruling out C). B is thus the only plausible choice.

8. The best answer is H. The answer is strongly supported by information in lines 7476. Choices F, G, and J are either contradicted by that portion of the passage or are illogical in the context of the passage.

9. The best answer is B. Lines 1617 clearly state that trial by battle was used only after the Norman Conquest. All trials discussed in the passage were public and had a known accuser (see line 74), which rules out A; no trials in this era had secret proceedings (lines 7677), which rules out C; and judges had no role in the verdict (lines 7879), which rules out D.

10. The best answer is J. The context makes clear that the process is very precise, and that any mistake has the serious consequence of proving guilt. This would make the swearing anything but "comfortable," which rules out F. H makes no sense in context and G is illogical, for if the "swearing" is dishonest it cannot be "without a mistake" (line 34). Given that the procedure seems quite involved and exacting, J is the best answer.

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