Passage 1

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Passage 1
Reality television offers a series of temptations
simultaneously repellent and irresistible. It offers us the
chance to see human wreckage and to feel superior to the
people involved in it or victimized by it. But it also gives
us a chance to admire people when they do well or soar
above their circumstances. It is not so easy to separate
the illicit pleasures of voyeurism—the secretly hoped for
injury—from the higher pleasures of admiration. In
its own way, what is offered in reality television resembles
the combination of elements that has provided sports fans
with compelling entertainment for millennia, minus the
Passage 2
Reality television is universally maligned for being
vapid and uncreative, and everybody seems to think it’s
acceptable to admit to watching these programs only
as a so-called guilty pleasure. Just about every smart
person these days agrees that this stuff is devoid of value.
But there will be a day in the future when people think
differently. There will be a day when this era of television
is remembered as groundbreaking and vital, because reality
shows will have destroyed the myth of normalcy. Reality
television will ultimately prove that there is no “normal”
way to live, and it will validate the notion that every
human experience is autonomous.
Both passages support the claim that reality television
(A) has value in spite of its perceived flaws
(B) exploits the people who appear on it
(C) reveals more about society’s values than do other television programs
(D) is more memorable than other television programs
(E) is similar to sports in the kind of pleasures it provides
The author of Passage 1 mentions “rules” in line 12 in order to
(A) show that reality television is more orderly than many people think
(B) suggest that the nature of televised sports has changed over the years
(C) emphasize the relative lack of constraints in reality television
(D) indicate that participants in reality shows understand how the shows work
(E) imply that sports fans are more sophisticated than reality television viewers

The author of Passage 2 would most likely respond to the claim in lines 2-4, Passage 1 (“It offers
. . . by it”), by maintaining that reality television
(A) features only people who want to be on the shows in the first place
(B) is more likely to focus on people with sensational stories than on those with heartwarming
(C) distinguishes between people who are actually exploited and those who only appear to be
(D) gives normal people a chance to be famous for a brief period of time
(E) acknowledges human individuality rather than emphasizes human failure
Which of the following best describes a difference between the two passages?
(A) Passage 1 takes the point of view of a fan, whereas Passage 2 takes the point of view of a
(B) Passage 1 identifies with the people who appear on the shows, whereas Passage 2 gives the
audience’s perspective.
(C) Passage 1 examines reality television from a political perspective, whereas Passage 2
discusses reality television in a larger social context.
(D) Passage 1 discusses reality television as it is seen at present, whereas Passage 2 considers
how it will be seen in the future.
(E) Passage 1 synthesizes different viewpoints, whereas Passage 2 acknowledges the legitimacy
of many different viewpoints.
Passage 1
Zoe Elford, a young woman employed by a nonprofit
group that works with poor communities around the world,
has spent years picketing grocery stores and talking to
shoppers about genetically engineered food. In 1998 she
was arrested, along with several of her friends, for
uprooting genetically altered plants in a research field in
Oxfordshire, England. The case has since wandered in and
out of several courtrooms. Elford explains, “I felt the urge
to stop the stuff growing, because when you release
genetically altered plants up and down this country, those
sites are living pollution, and that pollution will replicate
itself. Once it’s out there, you can’t get it back, so it’s a
kind of now-or-never situation. It’s an immediate threat.”
That threat, the possibility of unknown consequences, is
the theme of Mary Shelley’s tale about the fateful curiosity
and ambition of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who could
not withstand the lure of knowledge. Heedless of the
consequences, Frankenstein created new life, a creature that
returned to haunt and destroy him.
Shelley’s tale turns a mirror on modern society’s love

affair with the new, capturing it and reversing the image.
Where so many are captivated by the possibilities of
technology, others are caught up in anxiety about where
such ventures might lead. Shelley’s tale is fiction. But the
insecticide DDT, once hailed as a savior from malaria and
insect pests, really did poison fish and birds, even as insects
developed resistance to it and it became ineffective in its
original purpose.
Fear of technology’s unforeseen consequences courses
through debates and conversations about genetically
engineered plants, especially in countries with strong
environmental movements. In England, consumer protests
and fears have forced most grocery stores to ban products
with genetically modified ingredients from their shelves.
Such outcomes are an enormous triumph for committed
campaigners like Zoe Elford. What bothers Elford is not so
much the technology itself as the forces she sees behind it,
the “grotesque juggernaut” of corporations that produce
genetically modified food. “We are rapidly losing the
PSAT/NMSQT ® Questions and Answer Explanations 2010-2011 SATURDAY FORM
©The College Board 2011. For the sole use of the person for whom this report has been
provided. Not for duplication or distribution. Page 20Line 40
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natural world to multinational corporations and
governments complicit in their myopic, manic scheme,”
she wrote in 1998, explaining her decision to uproot the
genetically modified plants. She called on her fellow
citizens to “act for democracy, for diversity, and to restore
a land lush with fields, free of genetic pollution, and free of
genetic contamination.”
Passage 2
The defensiveness and intractability of the
biotechnology industry did not develop in a vacuum. It
grew and hardened in reaction to unreasonable, irrational,
and emotional attacks by environmental and consumer
groups. It is easy and tempting to portray industry as the

bad guy, but opponents of GM crops have been equally
guilty of polarizing biotechnology issues. Their extreme
rhetoric and attention-grabbing tactics have helped turn
what should have been a reasoned public debate into an
exercise in mudslinging and name-calling.
The rhetoric of the critics has matched industry hype by
exaggerating risks, warping facts, and latching onto bad
science. Protestors cite poorly replicated laboratory studies
involving test animals when they proclaim the dangers of
transgenic crops, but they ignore field studies indicating
little or no impact. The stories that circulate through the
Web sites and press releases of opponents of GM crops
about the jumping of antibiotic-resistant genes from plants
to bacteria are not backed up with publicly accessible data.
Passions inflamed by these and other misrepresentations of
biotechnology have led to the damaging of university
buildings, clandestine uprootings of GM crops from
farmers’ fields, and claims that genetically modified food
donated for disaster relief in less developed countries was
The protest groups have raised some important issues
about GM crops, but their excessive zeal has diminished
their trustworthiness. The most unfortunate collateral
damage resulting from this destructive debate has been the
loss of perspective on what the appropriate scrutiny of
biotechnology should involve. The posturing and
accusations batted back and forth by extremists on both
sides have obscured the central issue that needs to be
probed: Which gains are worth which risks? The fact is
that we have not yet decided what levels of side effects
from GM crops are worth the benefits. The negative
impacts found so far range from nonexistent to slight to
moderate; there have been no outright disasters. There is no
evidence of health risks from any current GM food. There
is some reason to be concerned that herbicide-resistant
genes that jump to non-GM weeds or crops will transform
PSAT/NMSQT ® Questions and Answer Explanations 2010-2011 SATURDAY FORM
©The College Board 2011. For the sole use of the person for whom this report has been
provided. Not for duplication or distribution. Page 21Line 90
them into superweeds, immune to many herbicides. But
none of these effects is any worse than those caused by
conventional agricultural practices, and the reduced
pesticide use possible with GM crops in many instances has
to be considered a plus for the environment and for human

Which best states the primary relationship between the two passages?
(A) Passage 2 examines the history of the argument put forth in Passage 1.
(B) Passage 2 criticizes the tactics of a particular group while Passage 1 discusses a
representative of that
(C) Passage 2 characterizes a person favorably that Passage 1 openly mocks.
(D) Passage 2 describes new evidence that challenges the ideas espoused in Passage 1.
(E) Passage 2 celebrates the achievements of a group while Passage 1 presents information about
the group
Both passages acknowledge which of the following about genetically modified crops?
(A) Genetic modification of crops will make the world less dependent on harmful pesticides.
(B) Genetically modified crops are more difficult to grow than are conventional crops.
(C) Scientists need to urge caution in the acceptance of genetically modified crops.
(D) Activism has had an impact on the debate over genetically modified crops.
(E) Genetically modified crops will be an important worldwide source of food in the future.
The primary purpose of the opening paragraph of Passage 1 (lines 1-13) is to
(A) present the views and actions of a particular individual
(B) place the work of an organization in a social context
(C) urge readers to adopt a political stance
(D) clarify the extent of an ongoing threat
(E) discredit the work of a committed idealist
The author of Passage 2 would most likely characterize Elford’s actions described in lines 4-7 of
Passage 1 (“In 1998 . . .
England”) as
(A) a result of her desire for personal attention
(B) a response to an unusual circumstance
(C) sparking useful dialogue among normally antagonistic groups
(D) concurring with the recommendations of the scientific community
(E) damaging the credibility of her point of view
The author of Passage 1 mentions “DDT” (line 25) as an example of a substance that
(A) is now being reconstituted chemically
(B) is not well understood by the public
(C) has not been thoroughly studied
(D) eventually proved harmful to the environment

(E) has become expensive to produce commercially
In line 29, “courses” most nearly means
(A) pursues
(B) lectures
(C) runs
(D) hunts
(E) examines
Zoe Elford most likely intended her comments in lines 44-46 (“act for . . . contamination”) to
(A) offer a defense
(B) incite a response
(C) suggest a compromise
(D) clarify a question
(E) criticize a solution
In line 45, “free of ” most nearly means
(A) unaffected by
(B) cheated of
(C) unpenalized by
(D) open to
(E) liberated by
In Passage 2, the statements in lines 47-51 (“The defensiveness . . . groups”) serve primarily to
(A) provide a solution to a vexing issue
(B) discuss the findings of a scientific study
(C) contextualize a particular state of affairs
(D) defend the theory underlying a practice
(E) analyze specific demands made by a group
The author’s tone in lines 57-71 (“The rhetoric . . . tainted”) is best characterized as
(A) disapproving
(B) anxious
(C) bemused
(D) defiant
(E) sanctimonious
In line 72, “raised” most nearly means
(A) nurtured
(B) broached
(C) erected
(D) increased

(E) collected
Which of the following is found in Passage 1 but not in Passage 2 ?
(A) Rhetorical questions
(B) Statistical data
(C) Extensive quotations
(D) Reference to protestors
(E) Reference to large corporations
Passage 1
We are witnessing a key moment in the history of
our species. For the first time, more people are living in
cities than outside them. Now and into the future, we will
be Homo urbanus —the city dweller. This transition is
profound. For one thing, it is likely to be irreversible. For
another, it is a manifestation of a relentless trend. It has
taken a few millennia for the number of people living in
cities to reach 3 billion. It will take only about 50 years to
double that number.
The tone of the first sentence is best described as
(A) playful
(B) sympathetic
(C) ironic
(D) dramatic
(E) defiant
In context, the phrase “ Homo urbanus ” (line 4) is best described as a
(A) humorous label used to satirize certain behavior
(B) specialized reference to a social oddity
(C) coined term reflecting a recent development
(D) factual description in support of a radical view
(E) new classification intended to replace others used by scientists
Passage 1
In the age of science, belief in phenomena like
astrology, telepathy, and the healing power of crystals is
raging out of control. Author Wendy Kaminer thinks she
knows why: “The more limited your understanding of
science,” she tells us, “the more that scientists resemble
masters of the occult, and the more that paranormal
phenomena seem likely to reflect undiscovered scientific

truths. . . . A persistent irony of scientific progress is its
encouragement of pseudoscientific claims.” So science
actually begets pseudoscience. Scientists regale the public
with speculations about parallel universes, quantum
teleportation, and 10-dimensional superstrings. But what
some nonscientists take from this is that the universe is
so strange that anything can happen.
Which of the following situations is most similar to the “persistent irony” (line 8) ?
(A) A hospital’s efforts to develop procedures for coping with a natural disaster prove pointless
because a
disaster doesn’t occur.
(B) A legislature’s efforts to pass new ethics rules are thwarted by corrupt legislators.
(C) A company’s efforts to sell its products in a new market target a resistant population of
(D) A team’s efforts to win a championship cause some team members to engage in unsporting
(E) A school’s efforts to educate children in good manners lead to an increase in antisocial
The passage suggests which of the following about the “speculations” (line 11) ?
(A) They are difficult even for trained researchers to understand.
(B) They have an unintended effect on some laypersons.
(C) They arouse cynicism toward science on the part of the public.
(D) They encourage nonscientists to take an active interest in scientific research.
(E) They garner attention for those scientists who crave publicity.

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