In the story The Beagle, Tom and his wife live on a farm with his two teenage boys and his young daughter, Sarah. He has to work very hard as a rancher and cattle driver to provide for his family. Read the following story about Toms day on his farm.



The Beagle





1         Tom does not get rid of the beagle because he —


   A        likes beagles

   B         is about to go on a cattle drive

   C         has plenty of boots

   D        knows how much Sarah cares for the beagle




2         In paragraph 4, the word crucial means —


F   of great importance

G   of little importance

H   very expensive

J   very cheap




3         Tom likes living out west because —


A         it is more affordable and the weather is better

B         he has fond (heartwarming) memories of his children being born there

C         he doesn't see the same injustices (unfair treatment) there as he would back east

D        there are fewer beagles than cattle dogs






4      Based on paragraph 1, the reader can infer that Tom believed most in what principle (belief)?



F        Loyalty (reliable)

G        Patriotism (devoted)

H        Equality (treated the same)

J         Dedication (committed)





5      Read the following sentence from the selection.


Text Box: And the thing was, he wouldn't.


The author uses this sentence to explain that Tom most likely would never get rid of the dog because —


A        he secretly loves him but won't admit it

B         it would take too much work to find the dog a new home

C         he is too kind-hearted to abandon (leave) an animal

D        he cares about his daughter and knows she loves the dog







6       Which of these is the best summary of the story?


F      Sarah gets a beagle without her father knowing. Then the beagle eats her father's spare boot in the loft of the barn. She tries to hide the dog's mischief from her father, but he finds out after he finds the dog sick in the yard. Her father is faced with no other choice, than to get rid of the dog. This makes Sarah very upset.


G     Tom, a former slave and Civil War veteran, lives out West with his family where they can escape the oppression of sharecropping in the East. He works hard as a cowboy, but his family brings him joy. As he is checking the horses in the barn, Tom hears a rustling up in the hay loft, and finds his daughter's beagle chewing on one of his spare boots. He is upset because now he will only have one pair of boots to take with him on the upcoming cattle drive. Tom threatens to get rid of the dog, but ultimately does not.


H    Tom fights in the Civil War to re-unite the country. After the war ends, he moves west with his family and becomes a cowboy. He has to goes on long cattle drives in order to make money for the supplies his family needs. Being away from his family for very long periods of time is difficult for Tom. One day when he is checking the horses in the barn, he finds his daughter's dog chewing on one of his boots. He becomes very upset because he knows that the dog is going to become sick.


J   Tom, a cowboy and Civil War veteran, loves his daughter, but dislikes her beagle. He catches the beagle eating his boot one evening as he is checking the horses in the barn and planning his next trip on the cattle drive. Tom is so upset about losing his spare set of boots that he threatens to get rid of the dog, but ultimately does not because he knows that getting rid of her dog would make her very upset.






7     Read the following sentence from paragraph 6.


Text Box: "Look at what your beast has done to my boot!"


The author uses comparison to help the reader understand —


A         how upset Tom is that the dog chewed up his boot

B         that Sarah's dog was very large

C         the aggressiveness of the dog

D        that Tom was serious about getting rid of the dog




8       Which sentence from the story shows that Sarah's concern about her dog eating the boot is different from Tom's?


     F    The girl could scold her beagle herself, he thought.

     G    The only good kind of dog was a cattle dog.

     H    Daddy, he's going to be sick!

    J    He hated that ridiculous beagle.





Sarah stared up at the dog. Then she sprang up the ladder. "Daddy, he's going to be sick! We have to get him down and outside before he eats any more of that boot."


9       The author's word choice in paragraph 7 creates a feeling of —



A         rage

B         despair

C         calmness

D        urgency

















Read the following speech given by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson at a graduation ceremony for Western New England University in 2012.

Read the selection and choose the best answer to each question. Then fill in the answer on your answer document.



Figure It Out





  1. Which of the following can the reader infer about Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson?


F        Tyson believes that it is important to know what to think.

G        Tyson disagrees with the idea of lifelong learning.

H        Tyson believes in the power of knowing how to think.

J        Tyson disagrees with teaching factual information.




  1. Which of these is the best summary of paragraphs 5-7?


A    According to Tyson, humans have become fuzzy thinkers incapable of making decisions for themselves. It is better to hire someone who knows the right answers, rather than someone who takes a long time to figure them out. Society values knowledge as a process, or knowing how to think.


B   Tyson believes that those who stop learning will have to live in a cave. He believes that learning is just memorizing important information that you might need to know later. Knowing the right answer, no matter the situation, is what gives you the advantage.


C   As a society we do not value knowledge as a process. According to Tyson, it is better to hire a person who has the knowledge to figure out a problem, rather than a person who has memorized a pieces of information. Knowing how to think, versus what to think, gives you the advantage.


D    Tyson says it is better to hire a person who knows the answer, rather than knows how to solve the problem. According to Tyson, it is better to know the right answer, because knowing the right answer allows you to succeed. Knowledge is about knowing the right answer to every problem.






  1. After reading paragraph 10, the reader can infer that the speaker believes that —


F        pain and discomfort is part of every graduate's life

G        feeling pain and discomfort causes humans to think of new ideas

H        pain and discomfort only makes humans rely on old ideas

J        wishing pain and discomfort on graduates will motivate them to create change






  1. Based on the selection, which of the following is a trait (characteristic) the reader can infer is valued by the speaker?


A         being agreeable

B         fuzzy thinking

C         developing ideas

D        high intelligence















  1. The speaker includes the information in paragraph 6 most likely to —


F        illustrate the importance of possessing the knowledge to solve a problem

G        suggest that memorizing pieces of important information might be beneficial

H        emphasize the limited power of the human brain's ability to analyze

J        show students strategies to use to solve challenging math problems













  1. Read this sentence from paragraph 4.


Text Box: When it’s the right answer, it’s the right answer, and when it’s the wrong answer, it’s not the right answer.


The speaker uses this sentence to illustrate —


A         wrong answers are shameful

B         the importance of never being wrong

C         society's sympathy for being wrong

D        the pressure to be always right



  1. Read this sentence from paragraph 8.


Text Box: If that’s how you think and feel you will slide back to the cave because everyone else who keeps learning will pass you by.


In this sentence the speaker —


F        suggests that it is easier to hold onto old ideas

G        compares being in a cave to having old ideas

H        suggests that it is not necessary to learn after college

J         compares being in a cave to thinking new ideas