Critical Reading Practice Test 3 : Sample Questions Answers (PDF)

Critical Reading Practice Test 3: Sample Questions Answers (PDF): Useful for any standardized exam in the United States You can download this practice in PDF (editable and printable) files. In addition, you can also use our Critical Reading Practice Test as a worksheet.

Critical Reading Practice Test 3

 Practice Test Name Critical Reading Test
Test Type Critical Reading Practice Test 3
Question Type Multiple Choice
Passage Type Critical Reading Passages
Difficulty Level High School
Printable/Editable File Available Yes PDF & DOC
Total Question 15
Total Passages Two

Directions: Questions follow the two passages below. Using only the stated or implied information in each passage and in its introduction, if any, answer the questions.

Questions 1-15 are based on the following passages.

The two passages that follow are taken from recent historical studies of Christopher Columbus.

Passage 1

In his history published in 1552, Francisco
Lopez de Gomara wrote: “The greatest event
since the creation of the world (excluding the
incarnation and death of Him who created it)
(5) is the discovery of the Indies.” On the
strength of this realization, Columbus
emerged from the shadows, reincarnated not
so much as a man and historical figure as he
was as a myth and symbol. He came to epitomize
(10) the explorer and discoverer, the man
of vision and audacity, the hero who overcame
opposition and adversity to change history.
By the end of the sixteenth century,
English explorers and writers acknowledged
(15) the primacy and inspiration of Columbus. He
was celebrated in poetry and plays, especially
by the Italians. Even Spain was coming
around. In a popular play, Lope de Vega
in 1614 portrayed Columbus as a dreamer up
(20) against the stolid forces of entrenched
tradition, a man of singular purpose who triumphed,
the embodiment of that spirit driving
humans to explore and discover.
Historians cannot control the popularizers of
(25) history, mythmakers, or propagandists, and
in post-Revolutionary America the few historians
who studied Columbus were probably
not disposed to try. Even if they had
been, there was little information available
(30) on which to assess the real Columbus and
distinguish the man from the myth. With the
discovery and publication of new Columbus
documents by Martin Fernandez de
Navarrete in 1825, this was less of an excuse,
(35) and yet the material only provided
more ammunition to those who would embellish
the symbolic Columbus through the
nineteenth century.
Washington Irving mined the new documents
(40) to create a hero in the romantic mold
favored in the century’s literature. Irving’s
Columbus was “a man of great and inventive
genius” and his “ambition was lofty and
noble, inspiring him with high thoughts, and
(45) an anxiety to distinguish himself by great
achievements.” Perhaps. But an effusive
Irving got carried away. He said that
Columbus’s “conduct was characterized by
the grandeur of his views and the magnanimity
(50) of his spirit . . . . Instead of ravaging
the newly found countries . . . he sought to
colonize and cultivate them, to civilize the
natives.” Irving acknowledged that
Columbus may have had some faults, such
(55) as his part in enslaving and killing people,
but offered the palliating explanation that
these were “errors of the times.”
William H. Prescott, a leading American
historian of the conquest period, said of
(60) Columbus that “the finger of the historian
will find it difficult to point to a single
blemish in his moral character.” Writers and
orators of the nineteenth century ascribed to
Columbus all the human virtues that were
(65) most prized in that time of geographic and
industrial expansion, heady optimism, and
an unquestioning belief in progress as the
dynamic of history.
Most people living in America four centuries

(70) after the voyages of discovery had
created the Columbus they wanted to believe
in and were quite satisfied with their
creation. But scholars were already finding
grounds for a major reassessment of
(75) Columbus’s reputation in history.

Passage 2

Why should one suppose that a culture like
Europe’s, steeped as it was in the ardor of
wealth, the habit of violence, and the pride
of intolerance, dispirited and adrift after a
(80) century and more of disease and famine
and death beyond experience, would be
able to come upon new societies in a fertile
world, innocent and defenseless, and
not displace and subdue, if necessary destroy,
(85) them? Why should one suppose such
a culture would pause there to observe, to
learn, to borrow the wisdom and the ways
of a foreign, heathen people, half naked
and befeathered, ignorant of cities and
(90)kings and metal and laws, and unschooled
in all that the Ancients held virtuous? Was
not Europe in its groping era of discovery
in the fifteenth century in fact in search of
salvation, as its morbid sonnets said, or of
(95)that regeneration which new lands and
new peoples and of course new riches
would be presumed to provide?
And there was salvation there, in the New
World, though it was not of a kind the
(100) Europeans then understood. They thought
first that exploitation was salvation, and
they went at that with a vengeance, and
found new foods and medicines and treasures,
but that proved not to be; that colonization
(105)and settlement was salvation, and
they peopled both continents with conquerors,
and it was not that either. The salvation
there, had the Europeans known
where and how to look for it, was obviously
(110) in the integrative tribal ways, the
nurturant communitarian values, the rich
interplay with nature that made up the
Indian cultures — as it made up, for that
matter, the cultures of ancient peoples
(115) everywhere, not excluding Europe. It was
there especially in the Indian consciousness,
in what Calvin Martin has termed
“the biological outlook on life,” in which
patterns and concepts and the large teleological
(120)constructs of culture are not
human-centered but come from the sense
of being at one with nature, biocentric,
However one may cast it, an opportunity
(125)there certainly was once, a chance for the
people of Europe to find a new anchorage
in a new country, in what they dimly realized
was the land of Paradise, and thus
find finally the way to redeem the world.
(130) But all they ever found was half a world of
nature’s treasures and nature’s peoples that
could be taken, and they took them, never
knowing, never learning the true regenerative
power there, and that opportunity was
(135)lost. Theirs was indeed a conquest of
Paradise, but as is inevitable with any war
against the world of nature, those who win
will have lost — once again lost, and this
time perhaps forever.

1. In lines 18–23 of the first paragraph, the reference to the play by Lope de Vega serves to

I. give an example of Columbus’s reputation in Spain.
II. demonstrate how widespread Columbus’s reputation had become.
III. exemplify how Columbus was already a myth and symbol of the discoverer.

  • A. I only
  • B. II only
  • C. I and III only
  • D. II and III only
  • E. I, II, and III
View Correct Answer
 Answer: E

The sentence on Lope de Vega’s play does all three. It gives an example of a play by a Spanish playwright using Columbus as a hero; it shows that Columbus’s reputation had reached to the popular theater; and it gives an example of Columbus in his symbolic role as the “embodiment of that spirit driving humans to explore and discover.” 

2. In Passage 1 (line 28), the word “disposed” means

  • A. arranged.
  • B. employed.
  • C. settled.
  • D. inclined.
  • E. given away.
View Correct Answer
 Answer: D

The best of the five definitions here is “inclined.” Although the verb “dispose” can mean to arrange or to give away, the context here makes clear that the meaning is something like not inclined to struggle against the myth of Columbus, and the next sentence, as well as the rest of the paragraph, confirms this meaning.  

3. In Passage 1 (line 40), the phrase “romantic mold” most nearly means

  • A. pattern concerned with love.
  • B. idealized manner.
  • C. visionary model.
  • D. fictitious shape.
  • E. escapist style.
View Correct Answer
 Answer: B

The nouns used for “mold” here — pattern, manner, model, shape, or style — are all adequate; “romantic” here is best defined by idealized. The word is explained further by the phrase “favored in the century’s literature,” and the quotations from Irving that follow depict an idealized rather than a visionary, fictitious, or escapist hero  

4. Of the following words used in the third paragraph of Passage 1, which most clearly reveals a judgment of the modern author as opposed to that of Washington Irving?

  • A. “mined” (line 39)
  • B. “ambition” (line 43)
  • C. “Perhaps” (line 46)
  • D. “magnanimity” (lines 49–50)
  • E. “palliating” (line 56)
View Correct Answer
 Answer: C

Since “ambition” and “magnanimity” are direct quotations from Irving, neither is possible. The word “mined” expresses no judgment, and “palliating” refers neutrally to Irving’s inadequate explanation. The use of “Perhaps,” the only word in its sentence, expresses the author’s reluctance to accept Irving’s assessment of Columbus.  

5. The major purpose of Passage 1 is to

  • A. praise the daring and accomplishments of Columbus.
  • B. survey the reputation of Columbus from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century.
  • C. contrast the real Columbus of history with the mythic Columbus of the nineteenth century.
  • D. describe the benefits and the damage of Columbus’s voyages.
  • E. reveal the unforeseen and harmful consequences of Columbus’s voyages.
View Correct Answer
 Answer: B

The first paragraph surveys Columbus’s reputation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the second, third, and fourth deal with the nineteenth century. Although the last paragraph predicts a reevaluation in the twentieth century, the passage does not deal with the hostile criticism of the explorer. 

6. With which of the following generalizations would the author of Passage 1 be most likely to agree?

I. The values of a historical period are usually reflected by the heroes people of that time choose to idolize.
II. What people believe about historical figures is usually what they want to believe.
III. Written history is usually a record of the truth as it is known at the time of writing.

  • A. I only
  • B. I and II only
  • C. I and III only
  • D. II and III only
  • E. I, II, and III
View Correct Answer
 Answer: B

The fourth paragraph explains how the nineteenth-century Columbus reflected what that period most valued, and the last paragraph refers to people creating “the Columbus they want to believe in.” The account of nineteenthcentury historians’ indifference to the Columbus documents discovered in 1825 contradicts the notion that history is truth as it is known at the time of writing.  

7. The questions of the first paragraph of Passage 2 (lines 76–97) serve chiefly to

  • A. raise doubts about issues that cannot be explained.
  • B. defend and justify the actions of Europeans in the age of discovery.
  • C. suggest areas that future historians might profitably explore.
  • D. show how much easier it is to understand issues of the distant past with the objectivity given by time.
  • E. reveal the author’s ideas about the nature of Europeans at the time of Columbus’s voyages.
View Correct Answer
 Answer: E

Each of the questions reveals more of the author’s ideas about the Europeans at the time of Columbus’s voyages. The passage goes on to show
how these limitations led to the exploitation of the New World. The paragraph does not defend or justify their actions.  

8. In Passage 2 (lines 90–91), the phrase “unschooled in all that the Ancients held virtuous” is used to

I. reflect the European view of the American natives.
II. reveal a significant foundation of European culture in the period.
III. give a reason for the European contempt for the native Americans.

  • A. III only
  • B. I and II only
  • C. I and III only
  • D. II and III only
  • E. I, II, and III
View Correct Answer
 Answer: E

All three are accurate descriptions of the effects of the phrase. The phrase “a foreign, heathen people, half naked and befeathered, ignorant of cities and kings and metal and laws, and unschooled in all that the Ancients held virtuous” is the European view of the native Americans as superior, contemptuous of their ignorance of Greece and Rome, which had become important to Europe in the age of discovery. The point of view of this phrase is that of the fifteenth-century European, not that of the twentieth-century author.  

9. Which of the following does Passage 2 present as discovered and understoodby the Europeans in America?

  • A. Human-centered cultures
  • B. New foods and medicines
  • C. Communitarian values
  • D. An Indian consciousness
  • E. An ecocentric culture
View Correct Answer
 Answer: B

The second paragraph refers to new foods and medicines found in the New World.  

10. According to Passage 2, a “biological outlook on life” would be best defined as one in which

  • A. the interdependence of all life forms is understood.
  • B. humans are the measure of all things.
  • C. the needs of rich and poor are equally considered.
  • D. the economic well-being of all races is emphasized.
  • E. the primary motivation is survival of the species.
View Correct Answer
 Answer: A

The passage presents the biological outlook as one in which humans have a sense of being at one with nature, where humans’ relation to earth and all its life forms is more important than their relation to other humans. Choices B and E are just what the biological outlook is not. Choices C and D are concerned with economic rather than ecological well-being.  

11. The major purpose of Passage 2 is to

  • A. describe the benefits and damage of Columbus’s discovery.
  • B. present Columbus’s discovery as a tragically missed opportunity to regenerate Europe.
  • C. attack the greed and cruelty that inspired the European colonization of America.
  • D. defend the European colonization of America as historically determined and unavoidable.
  • E. evaluate as objectively as possible the meaning of the European incursion into the Americas.
View Correct Answer
 Answer: B

The passage argues that, properly understood, the discovery might have brought regeneration to Europe, but the Europeans, tragically, could only exploit and destroy the new-found lands. The passage does criticize this European failure, but this criticism is not its real point. The passage does not describe the benefits of the discovery A, and it is by no means objective E.  

12. Of the five paragraphs in Passage 1, which one best prepares the reader for the contents of Passage 2?

  • A. The first (lines 1–23)
  • B. The second (lines 24–38)
  • C. The third (lines 39–57)
  • D. The fourth (lines 58–68)
  • E. The fifth (lines 69–75)
View Correct Answer
 Answer: E

The last paragraph of Passage 1 refers to “a major reassessment of Columbus’s reputation,” and Passage 2 presents a view of the consequences of Columbus’s voyages totally unlike the heroic adulation of the first four paragraphs of the first passage  

13. Compared to Passage 1, Passage 2 may be described by all the following EXCEPT

  • A. more personal
  • B. more philosophical
  • C. more judgmental
  • D. more historical
  • E. more emotional
View Correct Answer
 Answer: D

Passage 2 presents a highly personal, highly emotional, judgmental, philosophical view of Columbus’s discovery. But it is not more historical than Passage 1. In fact, it presents only the view of its twentieth-century author, and Passage 1 samples opinions from several periods.  

14. Compared to that of Passage 1, the prose of Passage 2 makes greater use of all the following EXCEPT

  • A. words in series
  • B. rhetorical questions
  • C. understatements
  • D. repetitions
  • E. parallel phrases
View Correct Answer
 Answer: C

The style of Passage 2 is characterized by its use of words in series, repetition, parallel phrases, and rhetorical questions. It does not use understatement. Some readers, no doubt, would argue that it depends on overstatement.  

15. Which of the following aptly describes a relationship between Passage 1 and Passage 2?
I. Passage 1 predicts a reevaluation of Columbus’s accomplishments, and Passage 2 makes that reevaluation.
II. Passage 1 calls attention to the way the image of Columbus in each period reflects the values of that period, and Passage 2 presents
an image that reflects late twentieth-century ideas.
III. Passage 1 focuses on the reputation of Columbus, and Passage 2 emphasizes his unique character.

  • A. III only
  • B. I and II only
  • C. I and III only
  • D. II and III only
  • E. I, II, and III
View Correct Answer
 Answer: B 

The first two statements are just, but although Passage 1 focuses on Columbus’s reputation, Passage 2 does not even mention Columbus by
name. The second passage does reevaluate the discovery of America. The second passage also presents an interpretation of the voyages of discovery that reflects the late twentieth-century concern for the wisdom of ancient cultures, ecology, and the dangers of warring against nature.  

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