Digital SAT Practice Rhetorical Synthesis #3

1. While researching a topic a student has taken the following notes:

  • The curves of the spine are quite similar in humans and quadrupeds, but there are some distinct differences.
  • In quadrupeds, the curves in spine are turned in the supero-inferior direction, while curves in the human’s spine are in the antero-posterior aspect.
  • The human spine has a single curve through the cervical region while the quadruped generally has two: one with the convexity turned up and one with the convexity turned down. These differences help support the quadruped as gravity pulls along the length of the spine as it moves horizontal to the ground.

The student wants to educate her anatomy class as to why it is important for quadrupeds to have different spinal curves than humans. Which choice most effectively uses relevant information from the notes to accomplish this goal?

A. The human spine differs from the spine of the quadruped in that it has only one curve instead of two. The human spine is curved in the antero-posterior aspect.
B. The human spine needs more support than the spine of the quadruped and therefore has fewer curves.
C. The spine of the quadruped needs to be able to support its spine along a horizontal plane instead of a vertical one. It has different curves to provide this support.
D. Quadrupeds and humans have very similar spines with only a few key differences including the number and orientation of the curves.

2. While researching a topic a student has taken the following notes:

  • There are two types of California valley quail. They look similar, but they have very different habits which makes them easily distinguishable.
  • The type known as the California partridge loves damp underbrush while the more well known valley quail prefer sitting on bare hilltops and open places.
  • Both the California partridge and the valley quail are known for being very wily and able to outsmart most hunters by hugging the ground in patches of grass so as to be close to invisible until nearly stepped upon.

The student wants to introduce the differences in the two types of California valley quail to a group of experienced bird watchers. Which choice most effectively uses relevant information from the notes to accomplish this goal?

A. California has two types of valley quail which look very similar and yet are easily distinguished from one another.
B. Both types of California valley quail find it easy to evade those hunting it by staying low to the ground in high grass.
C. The habitats of the California valley quail types make them very simple to distinguish.
D. The valley quail makes it home in open places like on bare hilltops while the California partridge prefers low and concealed areas like damp underbrush.

3. While researching a topic a student has taken the following notes:

  • Salmon is one of the most valuable of all food fish and is best known for its fight upriver each year to spawn.
  • Salmon are neither freshwater nor saltwater fish.
  • Fish that can survive in fresh and saltwater are known as anadromous fish.
  • The Pacific Salmon is born in freshwater and then is taken by the river current to the ocean where it spends most of its life. Its life ends 3-4 years later when it returns upstream to where it was born, spawns, and then dies.

The student wants to explain to readers what constitutes an anadromous fish and give an example that most people would be familiar with. Which choice most effectively uses relevant information from the notes to accomplish this goal?

A.The Pacific Salmon spawns in freshwater rivers, but spends most of its life in the Pacific Ocean, which is a body of salt water.
B. A fish that can live in either saltwater or freshwater is known as an anadromous fish. A salmon, for instance, spends the beginning and end of its life in rivers, but lives most of its life in the ocean.
C.  Salmon, which is neither a freshwater nor saltwater fish, is one of the most valuable of all commonly eaten fish.
D. Pacific salmon are known for their arduous journey up river from the ocean at the end of their lives. These fish return to their spawning site to reproduce prior to their deaths.

4. While researching a topic a student has taken the following notes:

  • Many people believe the beaver to be the most hardworking animal in the western hemisphere.
  • In English, the phrase “busy beaver” describes a person who is especially industrious, thus illustrating the hard work of the wild mammal.
  • The primary work of beavers, which takes place over a lifetime, is the construction of dams which beavers use as a home and which provides pools of deep water for safety from predators.
  • Beavers are thought to be motivated by the sound of running water. Any time they can hear trickling water, the are driven to seek out material to strengthen their damns and stop the flow of water.

The student wants to include in her essay a sentence that will show what motivates beavers to be so industrious in building dams. Which choice most effectively uses relevant information from the notes to accomplish this goal?

A. Beavers are known as busy and hard-working animals because of their constant efforts to stop the sound of running water which trickles around their homes and dams.
B. The hard-working nature of beavers has made its way into the English language with phrases like “busy beaver”.
C. Beavers construct their own homes over the course of a lifetime, felling trees and gathering materials in order to dam rivers and create their ideal habitat.
D. In order to create pools of deep water, beavers build dams. Deep water provides a safe space for beavers to shelter from predators.

5. While researching a topic, a student has taken the following notes:

  • The passenger pigeon is a now-extent species of North American bird that once existed in numbers that probably reached the billions across the continent.
  • The pigeons traveled in vast flocks that were said to blot out the sun for house as they would migrate.
  • Due to their extensive population, passenger pigeons were seen as easy prey for both human sustenance and to sell for income. This led to wholesale extinction.
  • Today, conservationists use the story of the passenger pigeon as a cautionary tale: no matter how extensive a population is, poor management can lead to extinction.

The student would like to explain to classmates already familiar with the concept of extinction what led to the extinction of the North American Passenger Pigeon. Which choice most effectively uses relevant information from the notes to accomplish this goal?

A. The extinction of a species is when all individuals are dead and the species no longer exists. The passenger pigeon is one extinct species, its population having dropped from several billion to zero.
B. The passenger pigeon of North America was one time known for its massive flocks and billions of individuals. It is now extinct.
C. The passenger pigeon, once ubiquitous in North America, is now a cautionary tale of wildlife management.
D. The extinction of the passenger pigeon was because of its abundance. Humans thought that this easy food bird could never be extinguished because of its enormous population. They consequently hunted it to extinction.

6. While researching a topic, a student has taken the following notes:

  • Frogs of the genus Ptychohyla live in central America and are generally not well known. They are small and have minimally webbed hands.
  • Ptychohyla can sport a range of colors including yellow, reddish brown, and green with white stripes on the lips and flanks. Most Ptychohyla lack bright flashy colors.
  • As tadpoles, Ptychohyla live in mountain streams and sport streamlined bodies; they have low fins upon long tails.

The student would like to explain how a young biologist might identify frogs of the genus Ptycholyla while collecting specimens. Which choice most effectively uses relevant information from the notes to accomplish this goal?

A. Ptychohyla in their tadpole stages have streamlined bodies which feature low fins and long tails. They can be found in mountain streams.
B. Central American streams are the homes for tadpoles of the genus Ptychohyla which are relatively unknown.
C. Ptychohyla can be difficult to find because they do not have bright markings that make them stand out from their surroundings.
D. In looking for Ptychohyla, key features include white stripes on the lips and flanks and a range of muted colors.

7. While researching a topic, a student has taken the following notes:

  • In 1946 a party from the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History discovered a new species of turtle in Beaver County, Oklahoma.
  • Belonging to the genus Chrysemys, the newly discovered turtle is extinct and was only discovered through fossilized remains.
  • It is believed that this species of soft-shell turtle abounded in the early Pliocene.
  • When compared to similar species of the same era, differences are seen in the size of the anterior margin, the more concave anterior end of  the carapace, and the longer vertebrae.

The student wants to emphasize that this new species of turtle has no extant individuals. Which choice most effectively uses relevant information from the notes to accomplish this goal?

A. While the turtle species is new to scientists, it is actually quite ancient. So ancient, in fact, that it is completely extinct.
B. The newly-discovered species of soft-shell turtle is believed to be from the Pliocene era and was discovered through fossilized remains.
C. This species of turtle differs from its near relatives in the size of its anterior margin and vertebrae.
D. Discovered by the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, the fossilized remains were dug up in Beaver County, Oklahoma.

8. While researching a topic, a student has taken the following notes:

  • Snakes in the species Pituophis deppei are tan with dark blotches and spots which may form stripes or paired spots along the anterior of the body.
  • P. deppei is found throughout Central and southern Mexico and can have regional variations in coloring and scale covering.
  • P. deppei are different from other snakes in their genus in their possession of two rather than four prefrontal plates.
  • P. deppei has been known to scientists and under study since the mid-19th century.

The student wants to explain the external features of P. deppei as well as their unique skeletal feature. Which choice most effectively uses relevant information from the notes to accomplish this goal?

A. Known to scientists since the mid 19th century, P. deppei have just two prefrontal plates rather then the four that are found in other species of their genus.
B. P. deppei are generally tan with dark blotches and spots; they are unique in that they have fewer prefrontal plates than other similar species.
C. With stripes formed from dark blotches on tan scales, P. deppei have been studied by scientists since the mid-19th century.  
D. P. deppei look different depending on the region in which they live. Both coloring and scale cover differ between individuals in the species.

9. While researching a topic, a student has taken the following notes:

  • Given the lengthy history between humanity and cattle, there is much wisdom in how we care for cows; however, there are some old wives’ tales that persist in the husbandry of this animal.
  • “Hollow Horn” is a supposed illness that can impact most types of cattle, yet the horns of most cattle are naturally hollow, making the diagnosis of such a condition by drilling into the horn an unnecessary procedure.
  • Cattle’s horns can be a diagnostic tool for illness other than “hollow horn”.
  • When a cow’s horn is warm to the touch it is evidence of a fever and when it is cold the animal may be suffering from impaired circulation.

The student wants to give an overview of cattle health as it relates to the horns of cattle. Which choice most effectively uses relevant information from the notes to accomplish this goal?

A. Humans have been tending cattle for centuries. However, there are still mistakes that are made in caring for sick cattle.
B. Hollow horn is known as an illness that can impact many types of cattle. It is diagnosed by drilling a hole into the horn of the animal.
C. The horns of cattle can be used as a diagnostic tool. If the horn is hot the individual has a fever while if it is cool the animal likely has bad circulation.
D. Old wives’ tales can impair the ability of farmers and specialists in caring for their livestock, including cattle.

10. While researching a topic, a student has taken the following notes.

  • In caring for the equine species, a good horseman must pay special attention to the food offered to each horse as needs may differ from individual to individual.
  • Some individuals may refuse to eat large meals in which case they should be offered smaller portions several times a day. Other individuals may bolt their food, eating so fast that they don’t properly chew. These individuals should be fed away from the rest of the stable and should have small amounts of straw mixed into their feed to encourage proper chewing.
  • Proper care for the dentistry of all horses is important, as their method of chewing often leads to irregular wear which can cause issues with the ability to eat.

The student wants to explain to a friend the best feeding practices for a horse that is eating too fast. Which choice most effectively uses relevant information from the notes to accomplish this goal?

A. The food offered to horses is very important in maintaining health. Different individuals may have different needs such as smaller portions, more frequent feedings, or isolation feeding.
B. When a horse tends to bolt his or her food, feedings should occur away from other horses and straw should be mixed into the food.
C. Chewing improperly or too quickly may lead to irregular wear in horses, so carers should be careful to avoid bolting.
D. A horse that refuses to eat a sufficient amount of food should be fed several small meals throughout the day to increase their intake.

  1. C. The question asks for information about why the different spinal curves are important for quadrupeds (four legged animals). The final bullet point provides information about how the differences in the curves, as discussed in the second and third bullet points, provides support for the quadruped as the spine moves horizontally to the ground. This makes option C the best answer. Answer options A and D are incorrect as they discuss difference, but not why those differences are important for quadrupeds. Option B is incorrect as it misreads the fourth bullet point.
  2. D. The question is asking for the difference between the two types of birds. Only answer option D clarifies what those differences are. Answer options A and C both state that they are easy to distinguish but don’t explain what the differences are. Answer option B only explains the similarities between the two types of bird.
  3. B. The question requires both a definition of what an anadromous fish is and an example. Answer option B is the only option which fulfills both of these requirements.
  4. A. Since the student wants to explain why beavers are so driven, the answer must include information about beavers needing to stop the sound of running water. This means that only option A is correct and the other options are incorrect.
  5. D. Answer option A explains extinction in general, but not the extinction of the passenger pigeon. Answer Options B and C give details about the passenger pigeon, but not about how it became extinct. This only leaves option D which gives clear details about the end of the passenger pigeon.
  6. D. The question asks how these frogs might be identified. Answer option A explains how the tadpoles could be identified and is therefore incorrect. Answer option B describes where they live, but not how to identify them within that habitat. Answer option C explains why they are hard to identify, but gives no clear information on how to do so. This leaves answer option D which explains what to look for in searching for Ptycholyla.
  7. A. The question asks for an answer that emphasizes that there are no “extant” (surviving) individuals. Answer option A is the only choice which makes it clear that the turtle is extinct.
  8. B. The question requires two things: a description of external features and information on their unique skeletal feature. The skeleton of this snake is different in the number of prefrontal plates and the exterior features are described in the first bullet point. The only answer that discusses both of these things is option B.
  9. C.  Options A and D do not discuss how the horn of the cattle relates to its health. Option B gives incorrect information about hollow horn. The notes explain that hollow horn is not a real illness. Option C discusses how the horn of the cattle relate to health.
  10. B. Bolting is when a horse eats their food so quickly they don’t properly chew it. Answer option B explains what feeding practices should be used in order to help prevent bolting. This best answers the question. Answer option A is too general. Answer option C cautions against bolting, but does not explain best practices to avoid it. Answer option D discusses best practices for horses that don’t eat enough, not horses that eat too quickly.