ACT Assessment Sample Question
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 70–71), which rules out B. There is no
evidence available to suggest that tansu became more popular, which
rules out C. The burden of lines 73–76 is that the variety of types of
tansu diminished drastically, which rules out D.
2. The best answer is H. Lines 21–22 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
10–12) 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 37–38)
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 40–41). Lines 10–12 indicate that tansu were inspired by Chinese
furniture; this fact rules out D.
4. The best answer is J. Lines 64–73 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
55–57 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 17–20, 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 70–73 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
8. The best answer is F. The answer is supported by
information in the second paragraph, specifically lines 12–16. 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 40–41 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 11–12 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 40–41 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.