AP English Language Practice Test 4

Directions: The multiple choice portion of the AP English Language exam consists of passages from prose works along with questions about the content, form, and style of these passages. After reading this passage, choose the best answer to each question and click on the corresponding letter of your choice. Then click on the right arrow when you are ready to move on to the next question. Start your test prep now with our free AP English Language practice test.


Questions 1-15. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.

(The following is an excerpt from a book by naturalist John Muir.)

No temple made with hands can compare with Yosemite. Every rock in its walls seems to glow with life. Some lean back in majestic repose; others, absolutely sheer or nearly so for thousands of feet, advance beyond their companions in thoughtful attitudes, giving welcome to storms and calms alike, seemingly aware, yet heedless, of everything going on about them. Awful in stern, immovable majesty, how softly these rocks are adorned, and how fine and reassuring the company they keep: their feet among beautiful groves and meadows, their brows in the sky, a thousand flowers leaning confidingly against their feet, bathed in floods of water, floods of light, while the snow and waterfalls, the winds and avalanches and clouds shine and sing and wreathe about them as the years go by, and myriads of small winged creatures birds, bees, butterflies — give glad animation and help to make all the air into music.

Down through the middle of the Valley flows the crystal Merced, River of Mercy, peacefully quiet, reflecting lilies and trees and the onlooking rocks; things frail and fleeting and types of endurance meeting here and blending in countless forms, as if into this one mountain Nature had gathered her choicest treasures, to draw her lovers into close and confiding communion with her.

Sauntering up the foothills to Yosemite by any of the old trails or roads in use before the railway was built from the town of Merced up the river to the boundary of Yosemite Park, richer and wilder become the forests and streams. At an elevation of 6000 feet above the level of the sea the silver firs are 200 feet high, with branches whorled around the colossal shafts in regular order, and every branch beautifully pinnate like a fern frond. The Douglas spruce, the yellow and sugar pines and brown-barked Libocedrus here reach their finest developments of beauty and grandeur. The majestic Sequoia is here, too, the king of conifers, the noblest of all the noble race. These colossal trees are as wonderful in fineness of beauty and proportion as in stature — an assemblage of conifers surpassing all that have ever yet been discovered in the forests of the world.

Here indeed is the tree-lover’s paradise; the woods, dry and wholesome, letting in the light in shimmering masses of half sunshine, half shade; the night air as well as the day air indescribably spicy and exhilarating; plushy fir-boughs for campers’ beds and cascades to sing us to sleep. On the highest ridges, over which these old Yosemite ways passed, the silver fir (Abies magnifica) forms the bulk of the woods, pressing forward in glorious array to the very brink of the Valley walls on both sides, and beyond the Valley to a height of from 8000 to 9000 feet above the level of the sea. The main species of pine, fir, spruce and libocedrus are also found in the Valley itself, but there are no “big trees” (Sequoia gigantea) in the Valley or about the rim of it. The nearest are about ten and twenty miles beyond the lower end of the valley on small tributaries of the Merced and Tuolumne Rivers.1

1Muir, John, The Yosemite, (New York: The Century Company, 1912).

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Question 1
Which phrase or sentence best expresses John Muir's sense of wonder at seeing Yosemite Valley?

A
“Every rock in its walls seems to glow with life.”
B
"...a thousand flowers leaning confidingly against their feet, bathed in floods of water..."
C
"Awful in stern, immovable majesty, how softly these rocks are adorned..."
D
"...myriads of small winged creatures, birds, bees, butterflies - give glad animation and help to make all the air into music."
E
"...as if into this one mountain mansion Nature had gathered her choicest treasures..."
Question 1 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (E). The correct sentence most universally sums up Muir's feelings by personifying Nature's gathering of her choicest treasures in Yosemite Valley.
Question 2
Which words best show Muir's reverence for Yosemite Valley?

A
“Awful in stern, immovable majesty…”
B
"...this one mountain..."
C
"...beauty and grandeur…”
D
"...beautiful groves and meadows..."
E
“…give glad animation and help to make all the air into music."
Question 2 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). Muir's word choice evokes majesty and an almost religious experience that can be found in no man-made temple. While (C) and (D) call the Valley beautiful, (A) implies an ethereal majesty that reveals Muir’s deep reverence.
Question 3
What explicit or implicit philosophical assumptions and beliefs does John Muir express in this passage?

A
The natural beauty of Yosemite is mystical and magical.
B
Muir indirectly claims that while temples and man-made buildings are beautiful, they do not match the beauty of Yosemite.
C
No man-made structure, no matter how sacred, can adequately compare with the natural beauty and majesty of Yosemite.
D
The assumption is that people should attempt to construct temples and other structures in the most natural way possible.
E
Yosemite, though physically impressive, is made even more stunning by the diversity of its plant and tree species.
Question 3 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). It is clear from the first sentence that Muir directly compares Yosemite to a temple. Though he does discuss trees in Yosemite, the larger philosophical idea is that Yosemite has a holiness about it, like a temple or religious structure.
Question 4
What literary device does the author use in the following sentence?

“…things frail and fleeting and types of endurance meeting here and blending in countless forms, as if into this one mountain Nature had gathered her choicest treasures…”

A
onomatopoeia
B
personification
C
alliteration
D
irony
E
anecdote
Question 4 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). The author capitalizes “Nature” and then assigns it the pronoun “her” as if it was a human woman. This is personification.
Question 5
Which of the following is true about the geography of Yosemite?

A
The trees that are inside Yosemite Valley are not considered particularly large.
B
The silver firs are not found below 600 feet.
C
It has a more diverse plant-life than animal-life.
D
Yosemite Valley in not located inside Yosemite Park.
E
The town of Merced lies outside Yosemite Park.
Question 5 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (E). According to the third paragraph, Merced is outside Yosemite since it is stated that a traveler must go “from the town of Merced up the river to the boundary of Yosemite Park.” (A) may be tempting, but is a distortion of information found in the final paragraph.
Question 6
Why does the author use quotation marks around the phrase “big trees” in the final paragraph?

A
to express the opinion that the relative size of the trees in Yosemite compared with most other trees is smaller.
B
to relay scientific information about the Latin name for large Sequoia trees.
C
to imply that comparatively, the trees in the one area of Yosemite are smaller than those in another area.
D
to indicate a sarcastic opinion that the trees mentioned are in fact rather small.
E
to describe the physical measurement of the trees found in the Valley or about the rim of it.
Question 6 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). In context, the author states that there are no “big trees” after spending two paragraphs discussing numerous large trees that are in the outskirts of the Valley, including the Douglas spruce and the “majestic Sequoia.” More likely, the author means that though there are trees in the Valley, they are not “big” compared to the ones discussed previously.
Question 7
Which of the following trees are NOT found in Yosemite Valley?

A
pine
B
spruce
C
libocedrus
D
maple
E
fir
Question 7 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). The last paragraph states that “the main species of pine, fir, spruce, and libocedrus are also found in the Valley itself.” Of the answer choices, only the maple tree is missing from the passage.
Question 8
The information in the sentence below would fit most logically in which of the following paragraphs of the passage?

Thus it appears that Yosemite, presenting such stupendous faces of bare granite, is nevertheless imbedded in magnificent forests.

A
Paragraph 1
B
Paragraph 2
C
Paragraph 3
D
Paragraph 4
E
It is irrelevant and should be omitted.
Question 8 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). The trees of Yosemite are first mentioned in paragraph 3 and then discussed additionally in paragraph 4. Since the keyword “thus” is included here, it feels like this sentence is summarizing the discussion of trees. A summation would best go at the end of a discussion, so paragraph 4 would be the most logical placement. The information here is similar to what the passage describes and so would not be called “irrelevant.”
Question 9
Which of the following versions of the sentence, reproduced below, is clearest?

These colossal trees are as wonderful in fineness of beauty and proportion as in stature — an assemblage of conifers surpassing all that have ever yet been discovered in the forests of the world.

A
Delete “fineness of”
B
Replace “are as” with “are not as”
C
Change “in stature — an assemblage” to “in stature; an assemblage”
D
Change “assemblage” to “assemblance”
E
Add “and will ever be” after “that have ever yet”
Question 9 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). The sentence doesn’t lose any meaning if this phrase is deleted, and the sentence becomes more succinct and clear. Though eloquent, this passage has elements of wordiness, and on occasion a more directly stated sentiment is preferable. None of the other changes offered here are necessary. (B) creates a confusing meaning, while (C) makes a run-on sentence.
Question 10
In context, the tone of the portion of the passage that mentions the “branches whorled around the colossal shaft in regular order…” can best be described as

A
jocular
B
anthemic
C
scandalous
D
prurient
E
spurious
Question 10 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). The tone throughout is one of deep admiration and appreciation for the natural beauty of Yosemite. The description here is meant to be rousing, and uplifting, and so the word “anthemic” is a strong fit.
Question 11
In the following excerpt, who or what does the pronoun “their” refer to?

“…their feet among beautiful groves and meadows, their brows in the sky, a thousand flowers leaning confidingly against their feet…”

A
human visitors
B
John Muir and his friends
C
rocks
D
trees
E
streams
Question 11 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). “Their” refers back to “these rocks” mentioned earlier in the sentence. The sentence is personifying the rocks as if they are humans keeping “company” with the other natural elements.
Question 12
Which of the following best describes the relationship between the first paragraph and the second paragraph of the passage?

A
The first provides evidence to support the author’s opinion as a whole; the second states a secondary opinion of the author’s.
B
The first provides information without which the construction of the passage lacks focus; the second states the main thesis of the passage.
C
The first states evidence bearing against the author’s initial description; the second is the author’s main opinion.
D
The first is a point of view that the author as a whole opposes; the second provides supporting examples against the position being opposed.
E
The first identifies the author’s thesis and develops it; the second provides additional support for that thesis.
Question 12 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (E). The first paragraph lays out a clear thesis: “no temple made with hands can compare with Yosemite.” The paragraph then begins to discuss what is specifically impressive about Yosemite. The second paragraph continues that theme with its mention of the River Merced and what it adds to Yosemite’s beauty and grandeur.
Question 13
The word “exhilarating” in the final paragraph most nearly means

A
dumbstruck
B
thundering
C
infuriating
D
invigorating
E
portentous
Question 13 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). In context the author states, “…the night air as well as the day air indescribably spicy and exhilarating” We can infer the night air and day air in this context produce a positive feeling. Invigorating means “making one feel strong, healthy, and full of energy”. Invigorating is closest in meaning to exhilarating.
Question 14
All of the following can be inferred from the passage EXCEPT

A
The highest point in Yosemite is above 8000 feet.
B
Yosemite’s landscape is made up of forest, river, and desert terrain.
C
The silver fir is one of the most common types of trees in Yosemite.
D
It is possible to take public transportation to Yosemite.
E
Yosemite contains more than one river.
Question 14 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). Nowhere in the passage does it indicate that Yosemite would have a dry, desert terrain in any of its areas. Consistently, the passage describes a lush landscape. Though it at one point mentions “faces of bare granite,” it is likely Muir is describing the sides of the mountains, not a desert area. (D) is supported by the mention of the “railway” in the third paragraph. (E) is supported by the mention of the Tuolumne River in the last sentence of the passage.
Question 15
Which of the following statements about the endnote, reproduced below, is correct?

1John Muir, The Yosemite, (New York: The Century Company, 1912).

A
John Muir died in the year 1912.
B
John Muir’s environmental philosophy club was termed, “The Century Company.”
C
Though he lived in New York, John Muir published his book in California.
D
The Century Company was located in the Yosemite Valley.
E
The Century Company first published Muir’s book in 1912.
Question 15 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (E). In a correct endnote, the parentheses include the city of publication, the publication company, and the year of the first printing. Choice (E) correctly identifies this. The other choices misinterpret the given information.
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