Law School Admission Test

Section 4

Time—35 minutes

27 Questions


Each set of questions in this section is based on a single passage or a pair of passages. The questions are to be answered on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage or pair of passages. For some of the questions, more than one of the choices could conceivably answer the question. However, you are to choose the best answer; that is, the response that most accurately and completely answers the question, and blacken the corresponding space on your answer sheet.

Passage for questions 1 through 8

For decades, there has been a deep rift between poetry and fiction in the United States, especially in academic settings; graduate writing programs in universities, for example, train students as poets or as writers of fiction, but almost never as both. Both poets and writers of fiction have tended to support this separation, in large part because the current conventional wisdom holds that poetry should be elliptical and lyrical, reflecting inner states and processes of thought or feeling, whereas character and narrative events are the stock-in-trade of fiction.

Certainly it is true that poetry and fiction are distinct genres, but why have specialized education and literary territoriality resulted from this distinction? The answer lies perhaps in a widespread attitude in U.S. culture, which often casts a suspicious eye on the generalist. Those with knowledge and expertise in multiple areas risk charges of dilettantism, as if ability in one field is diluted or compromised by accomplishment in another.

Fortunately, there are signs that the bias against writers who cross generic boundaries is diminishing; several recent writers are known and respected for their work in both genres. One important example of this trend is Rita Dove, an African American writer highly acclaimed for both her poetry and her fiction. A few years ago, speaking at a conference entitled "Poets Who Write Fiction," Dove expressed gentle incredulity about the habit of segregating the genres. She had grown up reading and loving both fiction and poetry, she said, unaware of any purported danger lurking in attempts to mix the two. She also studied for some time in Germany, where, she observes, "Poets write plays, novelists compose libretti, playwrights write novels—they would not understand our restrictiveness."

It makes little sense, Dove believes, to persist in the restrictive approach to poetry and fiction prevalent in the U.S., because each genre shares in the nature of the other. Indeed, her poetry offers example after example of what can only be properly regarded as lyric narrative. Her use of language in these poems is undeniably lyrical—that is, it evokes emotion and inner states without requiring the reader to organize ideas or events in a particular linear structure. Yet this lyric expression simultaneously presents the elements of a plot in such a way that the reader is led repeatedly to take account of clusters of narrative details within the lyric flow. Thus while the language is lyrical, it often comes to constitute, cumulatively, a work of narrative fiction. Similarly, many passages in her fiction, though undeniably prose, achieve the status of lyric narrative through the use of poetic rhythms and elliptical expression. In short, Dove bridges the gap between poetry and fiction not only by writing in both genres, but also by fusing the two genres within individual works.

  1. Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main point of the passage?
    1. Rita Dove's work has been widely acclaimed primarily because of the lyrical elements she has introduced into her fiction.
    2. Rita Dove's lyric narratives present clusters of narrative detail in order to create a cumulative narrative without requiring the reader to interpret it in a linear manner.
    3. Working against a bias that has long been dominant in the U.S., recent writers like Rita Dove have shown that the lyrical use of language can effectively enhance narrative fiction.
    4. Unlike many of her U.S. contemporaries, Rita Dove writes without relying on the traditional techniques associated with poetry and fiction.
    5. Rita Dove's successful blending of poetry and fiction exemplifies the recent trend away from the rigid separation of the two genres that has long been prevalent in the U.S.
  2. Which one of the following is most analogous to the literary achievements that the author attributes to Dove?
    1. A chef combines nontraditional cooking methods and traditional ingredients from disparate world cuisines to devise new recipes.
    2. A professor of film studies becomes a film director and succeeds, partly due to a wealth of theoretical knowledge of filmmaking.
    3. An actor who is also a theatrical director teams up with a public health agency to use street theater to inform the public about health matters.
    4. A choreographer defies convention and choreographs dances that combine elements of both ballet and jazz dance.
    5. A rock musician records several songs from previous decades but introduces extended guitar solos into each one.
  3. According to the passage, in the U.S. there is a widely held view that
    1. poetry should not involve characters or narratives
    2. unlike the writing of poetry, the writing of fiction is rarely an academically serious endeavor
    3. graduate writing programs focus on poetry to the exclusion of fiction
    4. fiction is most aesthetically effective when it incorporates lyrical elements
    5. European literary cultures are suspicious of generalists
  4. The author's attitude toward the deep rift between poetry and fiction in the U.S. can be most accurately described as one of
    1. perplexity as to what could have led to the development of such a rift
    2. astonishment that academics have overlooked the existence of the rift
    3. ambivalence toward the effect the rift has had on U.S. literature
    4. pessimism regarding the possibility that the rift can be overcome
    5. disapproval of attitudes and presuppositions underlying the rift
  5. In the passage the author conjectures that a cause of the deep rift between fiction and poetry in the United States may be that
    1. poets and fiction writers each tend to see their craft as superior to the others' craft
    2. the methods used in training graduate students in poetry are different from those used in training graduate students in other literary fields
    3. publishers often pressure writers to concentrate on what they do best
    4. a suspicion of generalism deters writers from dividing their energies between the two genres
    5. fiction is more widely read and respected than poetry
  6. In the context of the passage, the author's primary purpose in mentioning Dove's experience in Germany (last sentence of the third paragraph) is to
    1. suggest that the habit of treating poetry and fiction as nonoverlapping domains is characteristic of English-speaking societies but not others
    2. point to an experience that reinforced Dove's conviction that poetry and fiction should not be rigidly separated
    3. indicate that Dove's strengths as a writer derive in large part from the international character of her academic background
    4. present an illuminating biographical detail about Dove in an effort to enhance the human interest appeal of the passage
    5. indicate what Dove believes to be the origin of her opposition to the separation of fiction and poetry in the U.S.
  7. It can be inferred from the passage that the author would be most likely to believe which one of the following?
    1. Each of Dove's works can be classified as either primarily poetry or primarily fiction, even though it may contain elements of both.
    2. The aesthetic value of lyric narrative resides in its representation of a sequence of events, rather than in its ability to evoke inner states.
    3. The way in which Dove blends genres in her writing is without precedent in U.S. writing.
    4. Narrative that uses lyrical language is generally aesthetically superior to pure lyric poetry.
    5. Writers who successfully cross the generic boundary between poetry and fiction often try their hand at genres such as drama as well.
  8. If this passage had been excerpted from a longer text, which one of the following predictions about the near future of U.S. literature would be most likely to appear in that text?
    1. The number of writers who write both poetry and fiction will probably continue to grow.
    2. Because of the increased interest in mixed genres, the small market for pure lyric poetry will likely shrink even further.
    3. Narrative poetry will probably come to be regarded as a sub-genre of fiction.
    4. There will probably be a rise in specialization among writers in university writing programs.
    5. Writers who continue to work exclusively in poetry or fiction will likely lose their audiences.

Passage pair for questions 9 through 14

The two passages discuss recent scientific research on music. They are adapted from two different papers presented at a scholarly conference.

Passage A

Did music and human language originate separately or together? Both systems use intonation and rhythm to communicate emotions. Both can be produced vocally or with tools, and people can produce both music and language silently to themselves.

Brain imaging studies suggest that music and language are part of one large, vastly complicated, neurological system for processing sound. In fact, fewer differences than similarities exist between the neurological processing of the two. One could think of the two activities as different radio programs that can be broadcast over the same hardware. One noteworthy difference, though, is that, generally speaking, people are better at language than music. In music, anyone can listen easily enough, but most people do not perform well, and in many cultures composition is left to specialists. In language, by contrast, nearly everyone actively performs and composes.

Given their shared neurological basis, it appears that music and language evolved together as brain size increased over the course of hominid evolution. But the primacy of language over music that we can observe today suggests that language, not music, was the primary function natural selection operated on. Music, it would seem, had little adaptive value of its own, and most likely developed on the coattails of language.

Passage B

Darwin claimed that since "neither the enjoyment nor the capacity of producing musical notes are faculties of the least [practical] use to man...they must be ranked amongst the most mysterious with which he is endowed." I suggest that the enjoyment of and the capacity to produce musical notes are faculties of indispensable use to mothers and their infants and that it is in the emotional bonds created by the interaction of mother and child that we can discover the evolutionary origins of human music.

Even excluding lullabies, which parents sing to infants, human mothers and infants under six months of age engage in ritualized, sequential behaviors, involving vocal, facial, and bodily interactions. Using face-to-face mother-infant interactions filmed at 24 frames per second, researchers have shown that mothers and infants jointly construct mutually improvised interactions in which each partner tracks the actions of the other. Such episodes last from one-half second to three seconds and are composed of musical elements—variations in pitch, rhythm, timbre, volume, and tempo.

What evolutionary advantage would such behavior have? In the course of hominid evolution, brain size increased rapidly. Contemporaneously, the increase in bipedality caused the birth canal to narrow. This resulted in hominid infants being born ever-more prematurely, leaving them much more helpless at birth. This helplessness necessitated longer, better maternal care. Under such conditions, the emotional bonds created in the premusical mother-infant interactions we observe in Homo sapiens today—behavior whose neurological basis essentially constitutes the capacity to make and enjoy music—would have conferred considerable evolutionary advantage.

  1. Both passages were written primarily in order to answer which one of the following questions?
    1. What evolutionary advantage did larger brain size confer on early hominids?
    2. Why do human mothers and infants engage in bonding behavior that is composed of musical elements?
    3. What are the evolutionary origins of the human ability to make music?
    4. Do the human abilities to make music and to use language depend on the same neurological systems?
    5. Why are most people more adept at using language than they are at making music?
  2. Each of the two passages mentions the relation of music to
    1. bonding between humans
    2. human emotion
    3. neurological research
    4. the increasing helplessness of hominid infants
    5. the use of tools to produce sounds
  3. It can be inferred that the authors of the two passages would be most likely to disagree over whether
    1. the increase in hominid brain size necessitated earlier births
    2. fewer differences than similarities exist between the neurological processing of music and human language
    3. brain size increased rapidly over the course of human evolution
    4. the capacity to produce music has great adaptive value to humans
    5. mother-infant bonding involves temporally patterned vocal interactions
  4. The authors would be most likely to agree on the answer to which one of the following questions regarding musical capacity in humans?
    1. Does it manifest itself in some form in early infancy?
    2. Does it affect the strength of mother-infant bonds?
    3. Is it at least partly a result of evolutionary increases in brain size?
    4. Did its evolution spur the development of new neurological systems?
    5. Why does it vary so greatly among different individuals?
  5. Which one of the following principles underlies the arguments in both passages?
    1. Investigations of the evolutionary origins of human behaviors must take into account the behavior of nonhuman animals.
    2. All human capacities can be explained in terms of the evolutionary advantages they offer.
    3. The fact that a single neurological system underlies two different capacities is evidence that those capacities evolved concurrently.
    4. The discovery of the neurological basis of a human behavior constitutes the discovery of the essence of that behavior.
    5. The behavior of modern-day humans can provide legitimate evidence concerning the evolutionary origins of human abilities.
  6. Which one of the following most accurately characterizes a relationship between the two passages?
    1. Passage A and passage B use different evidence to draw divergent conclusions.
    2. Passage A poses the question that passage B attempts to answer.
    3. Passage A proposes a hypothesis that passage B attempts to substantiate with new evidence.
    4. Passage A expresses a stronger commitment to its hypothesis than does passage B.
    5. Passage A and passage B use different evidence to support the same conclusion.

Passage for questions 15 through 22

The World Wide Web, a network of electronically produced and interconnected (or "linked") sites, called pages, that are accessible via personal computer, raises legal issues about the rights of owners of intellectual property, notably those who create documents for inclusion on Web pages. Some of these owners of intellectual property claim that unless copyright law is strengthened, intellectual property on the Web will not be protected from copyright infringement. Web users, however, claim that if their ability to access information on Web pages is reduced, the Web cannot live up to its potential as an open, interactive medium of communication.

The debate arises from the Web's ability to link one document to another. Links between sites are analogous to the inclusion in a printed text of references to other works, but with one difference: the cited document is instantly retrievable by a user who activates the link. This immediate accessibility creates a problem, since current copyright laws give owners of intellectual property the right to sue a distributor of unauthorized copies of their material even if that distributor did not personally make the copies. If person A, the author of a document, puts the document on a Web page, and person B, the creator of another Web page, creates a link to A's document, is B committing copyright infringement?

To answer this question, it must first be determined who controls distribution of a document on the Web. When A places a document on a Web page, this is comparable to recording an outgoing message on one's telephone answering machine for others to hear. When B creates a link to A's document, this is akin to B's giving out A's telephone number, thereby allowing third parties to hear the outgoing message for themselves. Anyone who calls can listen to the message; that is its purpose. While B's link may indeed facilitate access to A's document, the crucial point is that A, simply by placing that document on the Web, is thereby offering it for distribution. Therefore, even if B leads others to the document, it is A who actually controls access to it. Hence creating a link to a document is not the same as making or distributing a copy of that document. Moreover, techniques are already available by which A can restrict access to a document. For example, A may require a password to gain entry to A's Web page, just as a telephone owner can request an unlisted number and disclose it only to selected parties. Such a solution would compromise the openness of the Web somewhat, but not as much as the threat of copyright infringement litigation. Changing copyright law to benefit owners of intellectual property is thus ill-advised because it would impede the development of the Web as a public forum dedicated to the free exchange of ideas.

  1. Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main point of the passage?
    1. Since distribution of a document placed on a Web page is controlled by the author of that page rather than by the person who creates a link to the page, creating such a link should not be considered copyright infringement.
    2. Changes in copyright law in response to the development of Web pages and links are ill-advised unless such changes amplify rather than restrict the free exchange of ideas necessary in a democracy.
    3. People who are concerned about the access others may have to the Web documents they create can easily prevent such access without inhibiting the rights of others to exchange ideas freely.
    4. Problems concerning intellectual property rights created by new forms of electronic media are not insuperably difficult to resolve if one applies basic commonsense principles to these problems.
    5. Maintaining a free exchange of ideas on the Web offers benefits that far outweigh those that might be gained by a small number of individuals if a radical alteration of copyright laws aimed at restricting the Web's growth were allowed.
  2. Which one of the following is closest in meaning to the term "strengthened" as that term is used in the second sentence of the passage?
    1. made more restrictive
    2. made uniform worldwide
    3. made to impose harsher penalties
    4. dutifully enforced
    5. more fully recognized as legitimate
  3. With which one of the following claims about documents placed on Web pages would the author be most likely to agree?
    1. Such documents cannot receive adequate protection unless current copyright laws are strengthened.
    2. Such documents cannot be protected from unauthorized distribution without significantly diminishing the potential of the Web to be a widely used form of communication.
    3. The nearly instantaneous access afforded by the Web makes it impossible in practice to limit access to such documents.
    4. Such documents can be protected from copyright infringement with the least damage to the public interest only by altering existing legal codes.
    5. Such documents cannot fully contribute to the Web's free exchange of ideas unless their authors allow them to be freely accessed by those who wish to do so.
  4. Based on the passage, the relationship between strengthening current copyright laws and relying on passwords to restrict access to a Web document is most analogous to the relationship between
    1. allowing everyone use of a public facility and restricting its use to members of the community
    2. outlawing the use of a drug and outlawing its sale
    3. prohibiting a sport and relying on participants to employ proper safety gear
    4. passing a new law and enforcing that law
    5. allowing unrestricted entry to a building and restricting entry to those who have been issued a badge
  5. The passage most strongly implies which one of the following?
    1. There are no creators of links to Web pages who are also owners of intellectual property on Web pages.
    2. The person who controls access to a Web page document should be considered the distributor of that document.
    3. Rights of privacy should not be extended to owners of intellectual property placed on the Web.
    4. Those who create links to Web pages have primary control over who reads the documents on those pages.
    5. A document on a Web page must be converted to a physical document via printing before copyright infringement takes place.
  6. According to the passage, which one of the following features of outgoing messages left on telephone answering machines is most relevant to the debate concerning copyright infringement?
    1. Such messages are carried by an electronic medium of communication.
    2. Such messages are not legally protected against unauthorized distribution.
    3. Transmission of such messages is virtually instantaneous.
    4. People do not usually care whether or not others might record such messages.
    5. Such messages have purposely been made available to anyone who calls that telephone number.
  7. The author's discussion of telephone answering machines serves primarily to
    1. compare and contrast the legal problems created by two different sorts of electronic media
    2. provide an analogy to illustrate the positions taken by each of the two sides in the copyright debate
    3. show that the legal problems produced by new communication technology are not themselves new
    4. illustrate the basic principle the author believes should help determine the outcome of the copyright debate
    5. show that telephone use also raises concerns about copyright infringement
  8. According to the passage, present copyright laws
    1. allow completely unrestricted use of any document placed by its author on a Web page
    2. allow those who establish links to a document on a Web page to control its distribution to others
    3. prohibit anyone but the author of a document from making a profit from the document's distribution
    4. allow the author of a document to sue anyone who distributes the document without permission
    5. should be altered to allow more complete freedom in the exchange of ideas

Passage for questions 23 through 27

In tracing the changing face of the Irish landscape, scholars have traditionally relied primarily on evidence from historical documents. However, such documentary sources provide a fragmentary record at best. Reliable accounts are very scarce for many parts of Ireland prior to the seventeenth century, and many of the relevant documents from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries focus selectively on matters relating to military or commercial interests.

Studies of fossilized pollen grains preserved in peats and lake muds provide an additional means of investigating vegetative landscape change. Details of changes in vegetation resulting from both human activities and natural events are reflected in the kinds and quantities of minute pollen grains that become trapped in sediments. Analysis of samples can identify which kinds of plants produced the preserved pollen grains and when they were deposited, and in many cases the findings can serve to supplement or correct the documentary record.

For example, analyses of samples from Long Lough in County Down have revealed significant patterns of cereal-grain pollen beginning by about 400 A.D. The substantial clay content of the soil in this part of Down makes cultivation by primitive tools difficult. Historians thought that such soils were not tilled to any significant extent until the introduction of the moldboard plough to Ireland in the seventh century A.D. Because cereal cultivation would have required tilling of the soil, the pollen evidence indicates that these soils must indeed have been successfully tilled before the introduction of the new plough.

Another example concerns flax cultivation in County Down, one of the great linen-producing areas of Ireland during the eighteenth century. Some aspects of linen production in Down are well documented, but the documentary record tells little about the cultivation of flax, the plant from which linen is made, in that area. The record of eighteenth-century linen production in Down, together with the knowledge that flax cultivation had been established in Ireland centuries before that time, led some historians to surmise that this plant was being cultivated in Down before the eighteenth century. But pollen analyses indicate that this is not the case; flax pollen was found only in deposits laid down since the eighteenth century.

It must be stressed, though, that there are limits to the ability of the pollen record to reflect the vegetative history of the landscape. For example, pollen analyses cannot identify the species, but only the genus or family, of some plants. Among these is madder, a cultivated dye plant of historical importance in Ireland. Madder belongs to a plant family that also comprises various native weeds, including goosegrass. If madder pollen were present in a deposit it would be indistinguishable from that of uncultivated native species.

  1. Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main point of the passage?
    1. Analysis of fossilized pollen is a useful means of supplementing and in some cases correcting other sources of information regarding changes in the Irish landscape.
    2. Analyses of historical documents, together with pollen evidence, have led to the revision of some previously accepted hypotheses regarding changes in the Irish landscape.
    3. Analysis of fossilized pollen has proven to be a valuable tool in the identification of ancient plant species.
    4. Analysis of fossilized pollen has provided new evidence that the cultivation of such crops as cereal grains, flax, and madder had a significant impact on the landscape of Ireland.
    5. While pollen evidence can sometimes supplement other sources of historical information, its applicability is severely limited, since it cannot be used to identify plant species.
  2. The passage indicates that pollen analyses have provided evidence against which one of the following views?
    1. The moldboard plough was introduced into Ireland in the seventh century.
    2. In certain parts of County Down, cereal grains were not cultivated to any significant extent before the seventh century.
    3. In certain parts of Ireland, cereal grains have been cultivated continuously since the introduction of the moldboard plough.
    4. Cereal grain cultivation requires successful tilling of the soil.
    5. Cereal grain cultivation began in County Down around 400 A.D.
  3. The phrase "documentary record" (last sentence of the second paragraph and second sentence of the fourth paragraph) primarily refers to
    1. documented results of analyses of fossilized pollen
    2. the kinds and quantities of fossilized pollen grains preserved in peats and lake muds
    3. written and pictorial descriptions by current historians of the events and landscapes of past centuries
    4. government and commercial records, maps, and similar documents produced in the past that recorded conditions and events of that time
    5. articles, books, and other documents by current historians listing and analyzing all the available evidence regarding a particular historical period
  4. The passage indicates that prior to the use of pollen analysis in the study of the history of the Irish landscape, at least some historians believed which one of the following?
    1. The Irish landscape had experienced significant flooding during the seventeenth century.
    2. Cereal grain was not cultivated anywhere in Ireland until at least the seventh century.
    3. The history of the Irish landscape during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was well documented.
    4. Madder was not used as a dye plant in Ireland until after the eighteenth century.
    5. The beginning of flax cultivation in County Down may well have occurred before the eighteenth century.
  5. Which one of the following most accurately describes the relationship between the second paragraph and the final paragraph?
    1. The second paragraph proposes a hypothesis for which the final paragraph offers a supporting example.
    2. The final paragraph describes a problem that must be solved before the method advocated in the second paragraph can be considered viable.
    3. The final paragraph qualifies the claim made in the second paragraph.
    4. The second paragraph describes a view against which the author intends to argue, and the final paragraph states the author's argument against that view.
    5. The final paragraph offers procedures to supplement the method described in the second paragraph.


If you finish before time is called, you may check your work on this section only. Do not work on any other section in the test.