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  [. . .] The coming decades will likely see more intense clustering of jobs, innovation, and productivity in a smaller number of bigger cities and city-regions. Some regions could end up bloated beyond the capacity of their infrastructure, while others struggle, their promise stymied by inadequate human or other resources.

  As used in line 55, “intense” most nearly means







  the context makes clear that the clustering of jobs, innovation, and productivity is expected to be denser, or more concentrated in a smaller number of bigger cities and city- regions, over the coming decades. The best answer can be determined from context clues, and none of the other answer choices makes sense in context although each is a legitimate synonym of the tested word; the tested word is also a high-utility word likely to appear in many types of reading. In these ways, the question draws students back to the text rather than rewarding only isolated vocabulary knowledge.


  Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

  But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

  It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.



  [. . .] As Kingman developed as a painter, his works were often compared to paintings by Chinese landscape artists dating back to CE 960, a time when a strong tradition of landscape painting emerged in Chinese art. Kingman, however, vacated from that tradition in a number of ways, most notably in that he chose to focus not on natural landscapes, such as mountains and rivers, but on cities. [. . .]

  The following question relates to the underlined portion in the excerpt above.






  This question asks students to determine which word makes the most sense in the context of a sentence from a passage about painter Dong Kingman. The best answer here is choice C because “departed” is the most contextually appropriate way to indicate that Kingman had deviated from the tradition of Chinese landscape painting in a number of ways. Each of the other choices also conveys a sense of “leaving,” but none is as effective in the sentence, as it would be both awkward and unconventional to describe a person as vacating, evacuating, or retiring from a tradition in a number of ways. In this sort of question, students must demonstrate not only facility with language in general but also skill in using language in particular contexts to convey meaning clearly and precisely.


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