AP English Language and Composition Practice Test 27

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Question 12 questions

Time 13 minutes

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Questions 1-12 refer to the following information.

The passage below is an excerpt from a book by a 20th-century author.

Does history repeat itself? In our Western world in the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries, this question used to be debated as an academic exercise. The spell of
well-being which our civilization was enjoying at the time had dazzled our grandfathers
Lineinto the quaint pharisaical notion that they were "not as other men are";
5they had come to believe that our Western society was exempt from the possibility
of falling into those mistakes and mishaps that have been the ruin of certain other
civilizations whose history, from the beginning to end, is an open book. To us, in our
generation, the old question has rather suddenly taken on a new and very practical
significance. We have awakened to the truth (how, one wonders, could we ever have
10been blind to it?) that Western man and his works are no more invulnerable than the
now extinct civilizations of the Aztecs and the Incas, the Sumerians and the Hittites.
So today, with some anxiety, we are searching the scriptures of the past to find out
whether they contain a lesson that we can decipher. Does history give us any information
about our own prospects? And, if it does, what is the burden of it? Does it
15spell out for us an inexorable doom, which we can merely await with folded hands-
resigning ourselves, as best we may, to a fate that we cannot avert or even modify by
our own efforts? Or does it inform us, not of certainties, but of probabilities, or bare
possibilities, in our own future? The practical difference is vast, for, on this second
alternative, so far from being stunned into passivity, we should be aroused to action.
20On this second alternative, the lesson of history would not be like an astrologer's
horoscope; it would be like a navigator's chart, which affords the seafarer who has
the intelligence to use it a much greater hope of avoiding shipwreck than when he
was sailing blind, because it gives him the means, if he has the skill and courage to
use them, of steering a course between charted rocks and reefs.
25It will be seen that our question needs defining before we plunge into an attempt
to answer it. When we ask ourselves, "Does history repeat itself?" do we mean no
more than, "Does history turn out to have repeated itself, on occasions, in the past?"
Or are we asking whether history is governed by inviolable laws which have not only
taken effect in every past case to which they have applied, but are also bound to take
30effect in every similar situation that may arise in the future? On this second interpretation,
the word "does" would mean "must"; on the other interpretation it would
mean "may." On this issue, the writer of the present article may as well put his cards
on the table at once. He is not a determinist in his reading of the riddle of human
life. He believes that where there is life there is hope, and that, with God's help, man
35is master of his own destiny, at least to some extent, in some respects.

1. The author of the passage can best be characterized as someone who

2. In the context of the first paragraph, "grandfathers" (lines 3–4) probably refers to all of the following EXCEPT

3. In line 7, the phrase "an open book" refers to

4. Which of the following best describes a rhetorical shift that occurs in the sentence "To us, in our generation . . . ." (lines 7–9)?

5. The primary function of the author's observation made in the parentheses (lines 9–10) is

6. In line 12 the word "scriptures" is best interpreted to mean

7. The end of the first paragraph (lines 20–24) contains all of the following rhetorical features EXCEPT

8. The phrase "this second alternative" (line 20) refers to which of the following?

9. By comparing an "astrologer's horoscope" (lines 20–21) and a "navigator's chart" (line 21), the author intends to convey the idea that

10. In its context, the word "intelligence" (line 22) can best be defined as

11. For which of the following reasons does the writer use the expression, "put his cards on the table" (lines 32–33)?

I. To win the reader's confidence

II. To indicate that he hasn't yet made up his mind on the question

III. To acknowledge a personal bias

12. Which of the following most accurately describes the author's intent throughout the passage?