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ACT Assessment Sample Question
Answer Key and Question Explanations

Set 3: Reading

1. The best answer is A. The wood in mass-produced tansu was thinner, not thicker (see lines 7071), which rules out B. There is no evidence available to suggest that tansu became more popular, which rules out C. The burden of lines 7376 is that the variety of types of tansu diminished drastically, which rules out D.

2. The best answer is H. Lines 2122 support the answer, stating that "the greatest demand was for clothing and merchants' chests." The use of tansu as staircase chests (J) and in kitchens (G) is discussed in paragraphs 5 and 6, respectively, but the lines supporting the answer effectively block them as possible choices. F, which refers to black-and-gold lacquered pieces, actually refers to furniture owned in very limited quantity by nobility prior to the Edo Period (see lines 1012) and not to the tansu discussed in the rest of the passage.

3. The best answer is B. Support for the answer is found in the first two lines of the passage. Since tansu are chests for storing clothing (and clothing tansu were kept out of sight--see lines 3738) and other things, not displaying them, A can be ruled out. C is wrong because tansu were built to reflect a shopkeeper's prosperity (see lines 4041). Lines 1012 indicate that tansu were inspired by Chinese furniture; this fact rules out D.

4. The best answer is J. Lines 6473 indicate that tansu acquired sand-cast iron handles (I), that traditional designs were simplified (II), and that the wood used to make tansu became thinner (III). That all three changes are true dictates the choice of J and the other three answers--F, G, and H--must be seen as incomplete.

5. The best answer is D. The context indicates that what caused the patina was years of exposure to smoke and heat. Lines 5557 tell us that household tansu were rarely finished. Thus, B makes little sense. The context makes no mention of carving designs, which makes A implausible. C is also a poor choice, since it is hard to imagine something being described as "lovely" if it has been destroyed.

6. The best answer is G. Support for the answer exists in lines 1720, where the passage states that tansu can "tell us much about the lifestyle and accoutrements of people during the Edo Period." The beginning of mass production in Japan, how it first began, is not discussed in the passage; this rules out I, thereby eliminating H and J as possible choices. And we never learn about industrialists' shortcuts in building furniture, only that at a certain point tansu were mass produced. This rules out II.

7. The best answer is C. Lines 7073 support the answer directly. The passage makes no mention of different types of wood in this context, which rules out A; the thickness of the finish applied is never mentioned, which rules out B; and no mention is made of a renewed interest in black-and-gold lacquered finishes, which makes D an incorrect choice.

8. The best answer is F. The answer is supported by information in the second paragraph, specifically lines 1216. The burden of that (and subsequent) paragraphs is that tansu, previously limited to nobility, became available to many more people in this period, which rules out G. Tansu are identified in lines 4041 as being indicators of a merchant's success, which rules out H as a choice. Some tansu were large, others not, but since we do not know the size of tansu made prior to this period, J is not a good choice.

9. The best answer is A. Lines 1112 mention "black-and-gold lacquered pieces of Chinese inspiration," which supports II. There is no association of use of space (I) or paulownia wood (III) with Chinese influence, which blocks these as choices and effectively rules out B, C, and D.

10. The best answer is G. Lines 4041 support II. Since tansu were practical as well as beautiful, I is a wrong choice, which rules out F and H as possible answers. The passage makes clear that tansu were always on display in houses and businesses, which makes III incorrect and thus rules out J.

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