Directions Read the passage. Then read each question about the passage. Decide which is the best answer to each question. Mark the space on your answer document for the answer you have chosen.


1 It was late, very late, but Johanna was still awake. The ceaseless dripping of the bathroom faucet was definitely getting on her nerves as she lay on her bed, thinking about her choices. What should she do next? Johanna didn’t know what to say to her friends about the upcoming talent show. The irritating “drip-drip-drip” of the faucet kept breaking her concentration. The faucet would stop dripping for a moment and then start dripping again. The dripping was as irritating and disruptive as the recent events at school that were also ruining her sleep.

2 “What possessed me to organize the annual talent show?” Johanna asked herself. She had thought it would be exciting, but she had not been prepared for the problems that had developed. She had not realized what a scheduling nightmare the tryouts would become, nor did she anticipate the conflicts that would develop with her friends. And, lately, it seemed that everyone considered her a friend.

3 Every day for the past week, people had been approaching Johanna, trying to convince her of their talents and hoping to influence her decisions about who should be in the show. It was difficult to remain neutral. After all, she had attended school with many of these people since kindergarten. She was not sure how she could avoid the pressure, but she had to. She couldn’t resign; too many people were depending on her.

4 Johanna thought she knew who really had talent, but some of them were her friends. What if she were accused of favoritism? “Drip-drip-drip-drip” came the sound from the faucet. Annoyed, Johanna rose from her bed, walked into the bathroom, and again turned the knob on the faucet as tightly as she could. “Maybe this will take care of it,” she thought as she returned to her bed to further contemplate what seemed like a nightmare.

5 “Okay,” she thought, “I’ll just tell everyone I’m unavailable until after the talent show. I’ll explain that I have to remain neutral and make sure the best acts are chosen.”

6 “I can do that,” she encouraged herself, “and everyone will understand my position. Won’t they?”

7 With that thought she drifted into a fitful sleep. She was awakened at five o’clock the next morning by a renewed “drip-drip-drip.” “Well,” Johanna concluded as she wearily got ready for the day ahead, “at least I won’t have to listen to dripping water at school.” 8 Once she arrived at school, Josh rushed up to her.

9 “I’ve been practicing on the guitar,” he told her. “You’ll love my new song!”

10 Johanna smiled weakly. “Thanks, Josh,” she murmured and quickly turned away.

11 Just then Patti came up and tapped her on the shoulder. “I’m working on a new monologue for the talent show. You’ll love it!”

12 Johanna sighed. She had known Patti since kindergarten. How could she decide to put someone else in the talent show and leave Patti out? But if she included everyone, the whole school would be in the show. Nobody would be in the audience!

13 Johanna went in search of her closest friend, Margaret. “Listen, Margaret,” she said, “I know you want to be in the talent show more than anything. Do you think you have an inside track because of our friendship? Do you think that would be fair?”

14 Margaret brushed a stray hair from her forehead, and answered hesitantly, “Well, uh, Jo, don’t treat me differently from anyone else. But you know I’ll practice and practice and practice if I’m chosen. I promise.”

15 Johanna crossed her arms. “See, that’s what I mean, Margaret. How am I supposed to be neutral when I know how much my closest friends want to participate? And I know how good they’ll be.”

16 Margaret thought for a few moments. “You do have a problem,” she finally said. “And I don’t know how you can avoid it. Your friends will be upset if they’re not chosen, and you might decide not to choose them just to make sure you’re not accused of playing favorites. That wouldn’t be fair either.”

17 “So, how do I resolve it?” Johanna asked with a frown.

18 “I have an idea,” Margaret said, breaking into a smile. “Who says you have to judge? Find neutral judges to make the decisions about the performances. Maybe some of the teachers would help out. That way no one can accuse you of favoritism. Just remember to keep their identities secret so that people are not bothering them too.”

19 “You’ve saved the day, Margaret. Thanks!” Johanna smiled too. “That’s the perfect solution.”

20 Johanna took a deep breath. “Finally I can work on the scheduling for the talent show tryouts,” she thought to herself. Early the next day, before classes began, Johanna visited several teachers. They were all happy to help with the auditions. Johanna then spread the news that the tryouts would be videotaped and that anonymous judges would make the talent show selections. Following Margaret’s advice, she refused to reveal the names of the judges. Her worries gone, Johanna felt excited again—thanks to Margaret’s suggestion.

21 When Johanna arrived home after school, she didn’t even realize that the faucet was still dripping. Her excitement about the talent show overshadowed everything else.