SSAT Upper Level Reading Comprehension Practice Test 18

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On the 18th of August, 1920, I walked into the Tennessee state legislature, gripping my mother's letter and wearing my anti-suffrage red rose boutonniere. On this day, 35 other states had already ratified the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. Only one more state's vote was necessary to finally grant suffrage to women. The measure had already passed through the State Senate, but progress stalled when the vote came up before the House of Representatives. We had lobbied for weeks, firmly against the idea of allowing women to vote, with still others in the opposite corner. Pro- and anti-suffragists had descended upon Nashville in swarms, and it seemed that, even after a motion to table the vote was defeated in a tie, today's vote would not allow the amendment to pass its last barrier en route to adoption. As the proceedings began, words from my mother's letter rang in my head: "Hurrah, and vote for suffrage! Don't keep them in doubt." When asked for my vote on the matter, my response was so quick, the looks of surprise on my fellow legislators' faces could not be disguised. With that single utterance, a half-century of activism by the likes of Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul came to an end. The next day, I shared: "I know that a mother's advice is always safest for her boy to follow."

1. Which of the following events occurred in August 1920?

  • A. Women began campaigning for equal rights.
  • B. Women were granted equal employment opportunities.
  • C. Pro- and anti-suffragists traveled to Nashville.
  • D. Susan B. Anthony was born.
  • E. The 19th Amendment was defeated.

2. In the context of the passage, suffrage most likely means

  • A. right to work
  • B. right to bear arms
  • C. right to vote
  • D. right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
  • E. right to free speech

3. You can tell that the author had previously voted against women's suffrage because

  • A. his mother's letter said "don't keep them in doubt"
  • B. he knew a mother's advice is always best to follow
  • C. the Senate had voted against the bill
  • D. his colleagues were surprised by his affirmative vote
  • E. he was wearing a yellow rose

4. According to the passage, the red rose was a symbol of

  • A. anti-suffrage beliefs
  • B. the author's love for his mother
  • C. Nashville
  • D. Susan B. Anthony
  • E. nothing

5. The author's main purpose in writing this passage was most likely to

  • A. tell a fictional story
  • B. explain the challenges of the women's suffrage movement
  • C. recount a significant event in his life
  • D. criticize anti-suffrage beliefs
  • E. compare women's suffrage to equal rights

Florence Nightingale was born into a rich, well-connected British family, and if her parents had had their way, she would have married a rich gentleman and settled into a conventional upper-class woman's life. Alas, at 17 she had several encounters that she felt were calls from God, compelling her to serve others; by 24 she renounced her parents' wishes and undertook the task of educating herself to become a nurse.

During the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale and a team of 38 volunteer nurses—whom she had trained herself—were sent to the Ottoman Empire, near modern day Istanbul. When they arrived, they found soldiers receiving poor care from overworked doctors, living in squalor, and developing infections as a result of neglected hygiene. Nutrition was paltry and supplies were extremely limited, which Nightingale believed profoundly influenced the death rate. Ultimately, her experience in Crimea led her to advocate for sanitary living conditions, which reduced peacetime deaths in the army and influenced how future hospitals were designed. After two years in Crimea, Nightingale returned to England and established the Nightingale Training School for nurses at St. Thomas' Hospital. After nurse training, nurses were sent all over Britain to work in hospitals using the Nightingale model. Florence Nightingale's theories, particularly regarding sanitation, military health, and hospital planning, still influence the medical field today.

6. It can be inferred that Nightingale's parents believed that

  • A. maintaining sanitary conditions was a necessary component of overall good health
  • B. Nightingale should not have gone to the Ottoman Empire
  • C. nursing was an inappropriate vocation for an upper-class woman
  • D. Nightingale was too young to decide her own career
  • E. Nightingale should have become a nun

7. The author implies that Nightingale believed soldiers were dying especially from

  • A. unsanitary conditions
  • B. poor medical care from overworked doctors
  • C. fetid living conditions
  • D. inadequate nutrition
  • E. infections

8. According to the author, upper-class women of Nightingale's generation

  • A. pursued a variety of interests
  • B. had few vocational options
  • C. typically got married
  • D. went to college
  • E. followed callings from God

9. According to the passage, upon her return to England, Nightingale

  • A. found soldiers receiving poor care
  • B. got married
  • C. advocated for sanitary conditions
  • D. influenced hospital planning
  • E. established a nursing school

10. It can be inferred that Nightingale believed in

  • A. fulfilling her parents' aspirations
  • B. God
  • C. the Crimean War
  • D. conforming to conventions
  • E. St. Thomas

11. The author refers to modern day Istanbul as

  • A. the Ottoman Empire
  • B. the location of St. Thomas hospital
  • C. Nightingale's first nursing assignment
  • D. an area near which Nightingale worked
  • E. Nightingale's birthplace