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Reading Answers and Explanations

1. Choice A is the best title for this selection. A good title suggests both the
topic and the purpose of a selection. In this case the topic is the ballpoint pen
and the purpose is to provide a brief history of its development from the marking
pen invented by John Loud in 1888 to the Brio pen patented in 1938 to the
Reynolds pen sold at Gimbel’s in 1945.
Choice B is wrong because it concerns only the Biro brothers, and the one who
seemed to make millions of pens was Milton Reynolds.
Choice C is wrong because the article never explains how ballpoint pens
changed writing habits around the world.
Choice D is wrong because the passage does not focus on how a miraculous
writing tool swept the nation.
Choice E is wrong because Gimbel’s is the focus of only the first and last
paragraphs, not of the passage as a whole.
2. Choice C is the correct answer. This inference question asks you to draw a
conclusion based on the information that is given in the passage. According to
the passage, before 1945 “most people wrote with fountain pens.” Now, however,
the ballpoint pen has become “the most used pen in the world.” From this
information, you can reasonably conclude that with the growing popularity of the
ballpoint pen, fewer and fewer fountain pens were used in the years after 1945.

Choices A, B, and E are not supported by information in the passage.

Choice D is mentioned as one of the problems of ballpoint pens that was

resolved by the Biro brothers.

3. Choice D is the best answer. This detail question asks you to locate a particular
piece of information in the passage. Newspaper ink is mentioned in the fifth
paragraph. “Working as a journalist, Georg Biro noticed that newspaper ink dried
quickly, leaving the paper smudge-free.”

Choice A is incorrect because the passage never mentions the cost of the ink.

Choice B is incorrect because the passage mentions that the “syrupy” newspaper
ink was thicker than fountain pen ink.

Choice C is incorrect because the passage mentions that one of the problems
Biro solved by using newspaper ink was the problem of the ink hardening inside
the pen.

Choice E is incorrect because the passage states that the newspaper ink “dried
quickly, leaving the paper smudge-free.”
4. Choice B is correct. This is a tone question. It asks you to determine the
author’s attitude or point of view toward the topic. Tone is revealed by the
author’s choice of words and details. In this passage, phrases such as “Gimbel’s
sold out its entire stock of 10,000 pens on the very first day,” “it took nearly 60
years for inventors to get it to work properly,” “five thousand people crowded the
sidewalk,” and “within a few years, the pen that took over 50 years to reach the
market would become the most used pen in the world” suggest that the author
thought the invention of the ballpoint pen was a notable or impressive

Choices A, C, and E are incorrect because they are negative words, and the
author obviously has a positive attitude toward the invention of the ballpoint pen.

Choice D reflects a positive attitude, but it is too extreme to describe this account
of the history of the ballpoint pen.

5. Choice D is correct. The word “patent” appears several times in this passage:
John Loud “patented a marking pen,” the Biro brothers “filed a patent for their
ballpoint pen,” Milton Reynolds ignored “patent rights.” From these uses you
should be able to conclude that a patent is a license or an exclusive right for a
new product or process.

6. Choice A is correct. This organization question tests your ability to recognize

how the author has organized a passage. In this case, the first paragraph tells
what happened when ballpoint pens were first offered for sale in the United
States. This anecdote is intended to catch the reader’s interest, which it does by
creating the image of thousands of people waiting in line to buy ballpoint pens,
and to introduce the topic of the selection, which is the development of these

Choice B is wrong because the passage begins with the successful introduction
of the ballpoint pen and then goes back in time to show how the pen was

Choices C and D are wrong because the paragraph is not a presentation of key
developments or of a theory.

Choice E is wrong because the paragraph is not critical of early attempts to

develop the ballpoint pen.
Vocabulary in Context Answers and Explanations

1. A is correct. “Critical” is a multiple-meaning word that can have any of the

meanings offered. To determine which meaning is correct, locate the
sentence in which critical is used: “Participation in regular physical activity . . .
is critical to sustaining good health.” Try substituting each answer choice in
the original sentence and you will see that in this context only decisive makes

2. D is correct. “Stress” can mean any of the words offered as answer choices,
depending upon the context in which it is used. In this case, the word stress
occurs in the following sentence: “Studies have found participation in physical
activity increases adolescents’ self-esteem and reduces anxiety and stress.” If
you substitute each answer choice in the sentence, you will see that the only
one that makes sense is “tension.”

3. C is correct. The word “capacity” is used in this sentence: “Through its

effects on mental health, physical activity may help increase students’
capacity for learning.” The only answer choice that makes sense in this
context is “aptitude.”