Directions: The SAT Reading test consists of five passages on a variety of topics. Each passage is followed by a series of 10 or 11 questions. Carefully read the passage that is provided and answer the multiple choice questions based on what is stated or implied. The answers and explanations will be provided at the end of the test
Most of them are unable to digest cellulose and lignin.
Most have a digestive tract that contains cellulose-decomposing bacteria.
They can encyst themselves to protect against unfavorable weather conditions.
They desiccate leaves, creating mulch.
Paragraph 1, Sentences 1-3 (“Compared to the atmosphere…shade raised beds.”).
Paragraph 2, Sentences 3-5 (“When faced with desiccation…when conditions improve.”).
Paragraph 3, Sentences 4-6 (“Primary decomposers are…by most soil animals.”).
Paragraph 4, Sentences 2-4 (“Many of the bacteria…yet fully decomposed.”).
Primary decomposers are unable to digest the entire leaf. They extract only the easily-assimilated substances from their food: proteins, sugars and other simple carbohydrates and fats. Cellulose and lignin are the two substances that make up the hard, permanent, and woody parts of plants; these materials cannot be digested by most soil animals.
Its inhabitants do not require as much moisture as creatures that live in soil.
Changes in temperature can be abrupt.
It is not a habitat for primary decomposers.
Single-cell organisms cannot encyst in the atmosphere.
Paragraph 1, Sentences 1–2 (“Compared to the atmosphere…a very wide range.”).
Paragraph 1, Sentence 3 (“That’s why leaving…shade raised beds.”).
Paragraph 1, Sentence 4 (“Except for a few…adequate air supply.”).
Paragraph 1, Sentence 5 (“Where soil is…are few in number.”).
To explain how soil animals thrive in certain temperatures and humidity levels.
To validate the importance of both primary and secondary decomposers in composting.
To provide a detailed summary of the composting process.
To explain how both primary and secondary decomposers aid decomposition.
Ask yourself: how does this paragraph function within the larger context of the passage? Often the answer choices for this type of question are presented as verbs, so try to come up with your own answer in verb-form. This paragraph focuses on the primary decomposers’ process, then introduces and discusses secondary decomposers. Finally, it mentions how both are necessary for composting. Choice (D) is the best match for this purpose.
Primary decomposers can digest entire leaves, while secondary decomposers cannot.
Composting requires only secondary decomposers.
Secondary decomposers cannot decompose proteins, sugars, or fats.
Secondary decomposers come from the leaf surfaces.
Paragraph 4, Sentence 1 (“By the time the…active digestive enzymes.”).
Paragraph 4, Sentence 2 (“Many of the bacteria and…and ready to activate.”).
Paragraph 4, Sentences 3-5 (“Digestive wastes of primary…not yet fully decomposed.”).
Paragraph 4, Sentence 6 (Both secondary and…the composting process.”).
comparing the characteristics of two types of soil animals.
describing the habits of a class of soil-dwelling microorganisms.
reviewing the conditions required for an ecological process to occur.
examining the environmental factors necessary for composting.