ACT Reading: Detail

SAT Question of the Day

The SAT question of the day is a Sentence Completion Question that has already been addressed on this blog: click here to see an explanation.

ACT Question of the Day

The ACT question is a reading question today.

On the actual ACT exam, you would read the entire passage focusing on the topic, scope, purpose, topic sentences, and conclusion, if any.  Then you would prioritize the questions and answer them  in order of difficulty (answering all the Easy questions before all the Medium questions before all the Hard questions).  

This particular question is a detail question, which should be classified as Easy.  You should answer this question as soon as you get to it.

Paraphrase the question: When was trial by compurgation selected?  Start by identifying the key word.  Compurgation!  This is where reading the topic sentences will save you a lot of time!  The second paragraph starts with the words "Trial by compurgation consisted of..."  Finish reading this sentence.  It basically says that people could swear oaths about the claims.  Look down at the first Roman numeral.  

The first Roman numeral says "there were no oath-helpers available."  You just saw that trials by compurgation often included oath-helpers.  This choice is out.

Look down at the second Roman numeral.  It says "the crime was not too serious."  Remember reading about something serious?  Look at the next topic sentence, the one for the third paragraph.  It says "Ordeals were usually reserved for more serious crimes."  Well, if ordeals are for serious crimes, then trials by compurgation were probably less serious.  This choice works.

Now look at the third Roman numeral.  It says "the person was a peasant or had a bad reputation."  Continue reading the sentence you were just reading.  It says that ordeals were "for persons of bad reputation" and "for peasants."  If ordeals are for these types of people, then trials by compurgation must be for a different kind of people.  This choice is out.

Only the second Roman numeral was correct.  The correct answer is (B).

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