DIRECTIONS: In the passages that follow, some words and phrases are underlined and numbered. In the answer column, you will find alternatives for the words and phrases that are underlined. Choose the alternative that you think is best, and fill in the corresponding bubble on your answer sheet. If you think that the original version is best, choose “NO CHANGE,” which will always be either answer choice A or F. You will also find questions about a particular section of the passage, or about the entire passage. These questions will be identified either by an underlined portion or by a number in a box. Look for the answer that clearly expresses the idea, is consistent with the style and tone of the passage, and makes the correct use of standard written English. Read the passage through once before answering the questions. For some questions, you should read beyond the indicated portion before you answer.
The following paragraphs may or may not be in the most logical order. You may be asked questions about the logical order of the paragraphs, as well as where to place sentences logically within any given paragraph.
Michigan’s Mesmeric Stone
Some residents of Michigan would probably be surprised and shocked Q1 to learn that, during the Devonian Age, 350 million years ago, this northern state was located near the earth’s equator. At that time, Michigan was hidden underneath by Q2 a warm body of water. It was this marine environment that eventually produced Michigan’s unique rock formation known as the Petoskey stone. The light brown Petoskey stone is easily distinguished from other stones having Q3 its pattern of numerous and contiguous six-sided cells. These cells were once the living coral that was present during the Devonian Age, which slow became Q4 petrified into rock that was then gradually carried north by the slow movement of glaciers. Petoskey stones can vary in appearance, largely due to the content of each coral cell. Most Petoskey stones contain high levels of calcite, but some also contain Q5 quartz, pyrite, silica, and other minerals. Because of this variety in makeup, polishing a Petoskey stone can either be a fairly simple task or one that highly requires a high level Q6 of skill and patience.
 Some rock collectors might be fortunate to find a Petoskey stone that has been naturally polished by wind; sand; Q7 and water.  In many cases, though, the stones are not exposed to the elements, so some hard labor might be necessary to produce a smooth, shiny surface that displays the stones’ unique pattern.  Despite this, Q8 the calcite contained in Petoskey stone is highly conducive to hand polishing; it Q9 is soft enough to give way to sandpaper, yet strong enough to accept the polishing compound that is usually applied once all the scratch marks have been carefully sanded away.  It is important to take time to remove all of the scratches, then Q10 they will be present in the finished stone along with the coral fossils. Q11 For the serious rock enthusiast, investing in an electric rock tumbler is a good way to simplify the process of rock-polishing. Simply place the collected rocks into the paint-can sized canister, add polishing compound, and push the button. This begins a long rotation process whereby the stones are Q12 abraded until they have a smooth, glossy finish.
One advantage of using a rock tumbler instead of hand polishing the stones are that Q13 the tumbler can do the work while you scout for more stones to put in it!
Petoskey stones are often difficult to find, depending on the season of the year. Generally, early spring will bring in a new crop of stones after the ice has melted and the stones have been pushed to the shorelines of the northern Great Lakes. Q14 A good rain will highlight the Petoskey stone’s coral pattern, making it easier to spot in the sand. Of course, you can always find Petoskey stones in tourist shops throughout the northern part of the state, but it is much more fun and satisfying to locate one yourself as you walk along the beautiful beaches of Michigan.