PSAT Writing & Language Practice

Directions: Each PSAT Writing & Language passage is followed by 10 questions. Read the passage and select the answer to each question that is most effective in improving the quality of the writing or in making the passage conform to the standard conventions of English.

Questions 1–10 are based on the following passage.

[1] After the success of legalized recreational marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington,  1  many states have progressing legislation to bring the marijuana business to their state. [2] States that have legalized recreational marijuana have seen a large tax boon. [3] As of 2018, Colorado had reportedly collected over $1.5 billion in taxes related to legal marijuana sales, despite  2  having legalized recreational marijuana less than 5 years earlier.

[4] Since the “War on Drugs” was initiated by Richard Nixon in 1971,  3  drug-related arrests were the subject of a lot of controversy. [5] Opponents of the War on Drugs point out how these arrests disproportionately affect people of color. [6]  4  While legalized recreational marijuana seems to be gaining traction all over the country, there are many supporters who are upset with how the drug is being legalized, and more specifically who is benefitting from it. [7] This problem became even more visible in the 1980’s, as crack cocaine hit America’s streets. [8] If someone were to go back and look through arrest records for crack cocaine, they might conclude that the drug was used almost exclusively by people of color. [9] In actuality, crack cocaine was used by people of all races, but the police and courts were targeting people of color. [10] Additionally, arrests for crack cocaine typically led to much harsher prison sentences than arrest for powder cocaine, which was perceived as a drug used more in white communities. [11] American laws still reflected this balance 20 years  5  later, and when the mandatory sentence for 5 grams of crack cocaine was the same as the mandatory sentence for 500 grams of powder cocaine.

Marijuana is obviously a very different drug from cocaine, otherwise no state would be considering legalization.  6  Marijuana arrests, however, have similarly affected the African American community way more than they have affected the white community.  7  That’s why some groups who support legalization are concerned about how it is happening. They worry that the people most affected by marijuana laws are being left out of the new legislation. They argue that after years of  8  targeting people of color, these laws are going to be repealed so that rich, white business owners can profit off the drug. The scary accusation inherent in that criticism is that people didn’t care about the fact that these laws were mistreating people of color  9  while there was money to be made.

Some states are taking measures to try to fix this problem, though. Connecticut, for example, has created a pathway to legalized recreational marijuana that would consider the communities that have been disproportionately affected by the laws being repealed. The bill will incentivize minority participation in Connecticut’s legal marijuana  10  industry, but would wipe arrest records for the drug clean. The hope is that this will allow minority business owners the chance to get in on the ground floor of an industry that has historically hurt their community.

Congratulations - you have completed .

You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%.

Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%


Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1

 1  

A
NO CHANGE
B
many states have legislation in progress to bring the marijuana business to their state.
C
many states have progressive legislation to bring the marijuana business to their state.
D
many states have legislated a progressive way to bring the marijuana business to their state.
Question 1 Explanation: 
Answer choice (B) is correct because it makes the sentence active rather than passive. Answer choices (C) and (D) imply that these states have found a way to legislate marijuana that is different than what other states are doing, which is not what the writer is trying to say.
Question 2

 2  

A
NO CHANGE
B
having recreational marijuana legalized less than 5 years earlier.
C
having legalized marijuana recreationally less than 5 years earlier.
D
having legalized recreational marijuana fewer than 5 years earlier.
Question 2 Explanation: 
Answer choice (D) is correct because “fewer” should be used when something is countable, while “less” should be used when discussing a lower degree of something. For example, there may be fewer than 10 items in your grocery cart, but the express line typically takes less time to get through than regular lines.
Question 3

 3  

A
NO CHANGE
B
drug-related arrests was the subject of a lot of controversy.
C
drug-related arrests have been the subject of a lot of controversy.
D
drug-related arrests has been the subject of a lot of controversy.
Question 3 Explanation: 
Answer choice (C) is correct because the original sentence uses the past tense verb, “were,” but the word “since” at the beginning of the sentence means the verb needs to be present perfect progressive. This means that the drug related events started in 1971, but are continuing to this day. Answer choice (D) also reflects the present perfect progressive, but “has” would only work if the subject, “arrests,” were singular.
Question 4

 4  To make this passage more logical, sentence 6 should be placed

A
where it is now
B
after sentence 11
C
after sentence 3
D
before sentence 1
Question 4 Explanation: 
Answer choice (C) correct because sentence 6 works best as a transition between the two paragraphs. It summarizes the point made in the first paragraph and introduces the topic that will be discussed in the second paragraph.
Question 5

 5  

A
NO CHANGE
B
later; when
C
later and when
D
later, when
Question 5 Explanation: 
Answer choice (D) is correct because the comma in the sentence functions as a signal to pause, but does not require a conjunction. Inserting a semicolon in the sentence (B) would overcomplicate the sentence.
Question 6

 6  At this point, the writer is considering adding the following sentence.

There is no definitive proof that marijuana is addictive and marijuana has been proven to have some significant health benefits.

Should the writer make this addition here?

A
Yes, because it helps the writer show why marijuana should be legalized.
B
Yes, because the writer needs to inform readers about the dangers of cocaine.
C
No, because it is a diversion from the real point of the paragraph and the passage as a whole.
D
No, because it directly refutes an idea the writer expresses in a different part of the passage.
Question 6 Explanation: 
Answer choice (C) is correct because there is nothing wrong with the new sentence, but it’s unnecessary in the passage. Answer choice (A) may be tempting, but the purpose of the passage is not to convince readers that marijuana should be legalized.
Question 7

 7  Which choice provides a supporting example that reinforces the main point of the sentence?

A
NO CHANGE
B
including the NAACP, which is fighting for marijuana legislation to include language that benefits African American communities.
C
in addition to why it is happening.
D
including conservative politicians who oppose the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Question 7 Explanation: 
Answer choice (B) is correct because it provides a specific group that is concerned, which is the point of the sentence. Answer choice (D) provides a specific group, also, but contradicts the point of the sentence.
Question 8

 8  

A
NO CHANGE
B
people being targeted
C
targets people
D
targets who are people
Question 8 Explanation: 
Answer choice (A) is correct because “targeting” is the present participle, showing that the action is still occurring. The other answer choices provide incorrect verb tenses.
Question 9

 9  

A
NO CHANGE
B
when
C
even though
D
until
Question 9 Explanation: 
Answer choice (D) is correct because it fits within the logic of the sentence: people didn’t care, then they realized there was money to be a made, and now they care. None of the other answer choices support this meaning.
Question 10

 10  

A
NO CHANGE
B
industry, and would wipe
C
industry, wiping
D
industry, and therefore would wipe
Question 10 Explanation: 
Answer choice (B) is correct because it uses the correct conjunction. The idea in the second half of the sentence is a separate idea from the one ion the first part of the sentence. Each of the other answer choices creates a causal link between the two ideas what when does not exist.
Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 10 questions to complete.
List
Return
Shaded items are complete.
12345
678910
End
Return

 

More PSAT Practice:
PSAT Writing & Language 2 >>
PSAT Main Menu >>