The Reading section measures your ability to understand academic passages in English. You will read passages and answer questions about them. Answer all questions based on what is stated or implied in the passages.

You will read three passages. You have 60 minutes to read the passages and answer the questions.

Most questions are worth one point, but the last question in each set is worth more than one point. The directions indicate how many points you may receive.

Some passages include a word or phrase in bold type. For these words and phrases, you will see a definition in a glossary at the end of the passage.

Reading 2

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1. The ancient Greeks and the Chinese believed that we first clothed our bodies for some physical reason, such as protecting ourselves from the elements. Ethnologists and psychologists have invoked psychological reasons: modesty, taboo, magical influence, or the desire to please. Anthropological research indicates that the function of the earliest clothing was to carry objects. Our hunting–gathering ancestors had to travel great distances to obtain food. For the male hunters, carrying was much easier if they were wearing simple belts or animal skins from which they could hang weapons and tools. For the female gatherers, more elaborate carrying devices were necessary. Women had to transport food back to the settlement and also had to carry babies, so they required bags or slings.

2. Another function of early clothing—providing comfort and protection—probably developed at the same time as utility. As human beings multiplied and spread out from the warm lands in which they evolved, they covered their bodies more and more to maintain body warmth. Today, we still dress to maintain warmth and to carry objects in our clothes. And like our hunting–gathering ancestors, most men still carry things on their person, as if they still needed to keep their arms free for hunting, while women tend to have a separate bag for carrying, as if they were still food–gatherers. But these two functions of clothing are only two of many uses to which we put the garments that we wear today.

3. There is a clear distinction between attire that constitutes “clothing” and attire that is more aptly termed “costume.” We might say that clothing has to do with covering the body, and costume concerns the choice of a particular form of garment for a particular purpose. Clothing depends primarily on such physical conditions as climate, health, and textile, while costume reflects social factors such as personal status, religious beliefs, aesthetics, and the wish to be distinguished from or to emulate others.

4. Even in early human history, costume fulfilled a function beyond that of simple utility. Costume helped to impose authority or inspire fear. A chieftain’s costume embodied attributes expressing his power, while a warrior’s costume enhanced his physical superiority and suggested he was superhuman. Costume often had a magical significance such as investing humans with the attributes of other creatures through the addition of ornaments to identify the wearer with animals, gods, or heroes. In more recent times, professional or administrative costume is designed to distinguish the wearer and to express personal or delegated authority. Costume communicates the status of the wearer, and with very few exceptions, the aim is to display as high a status as possible. Costume denotes power, and since power is often equated with wealth, costume has come to be an expression of social class and material prosperity.

5. A uniform is a type of costume that serves the important function of displaying membership in a group: school, sports team, occupation, or armed force. Military uniform denotes rank and is intended not only to express group membership but also to protect the body and to intimidate. A soldier’s uniform says, “I am part of a powerful machine, and when you deal with me, you deal with my whole organization.” Uniforms are immediate beacons of power and authority. If a person needs to display power—a police officer, for example—then the body can be virtually transformed. Height can be exaggerated with protective headgear, thick clothing can make the body look broader and stronger, and boots can enhance the power of the legs. Uniforms also convey low social status; at the bottom of the scale, the uniform of the prisoner denotes membership in the society of convicted criminals.

6. Religious costume signifies spiritual or superhuman authority and possesses a significance that identifies the wearer with a belief or god. A successful clergy has always displayed impressive vestments of one kind or another that clearly demonstrate the religious leader’s dominant status.

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