In Test 10, Section 6 of The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd Ed., there is a fiction passage: "Trabb's Boy," as test takers and tutors alike have dubbed it. It's an excerpt from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (not that the test taker is told this tidbit). Here are some references to this passage across the great wide internet:
As you can see, the passage can evoke some strong emotions, typically negative. Where I used to work, the majority of the tutors couldn't stand to work "Trabb's Boy" with their students.
But I love it. It's a challenge. Its structure is so lovely. As the answer to the first question states, the passage is "a remembrance of three encounters that lead to an ignominious flight," each encounter given its own paragraph. Words like "ignominious," "miscreant," "smote," "quell," and "feigned" are standard vocabulary in the passage and questions. It offers a variety of opportunities to discuss how an author establishes tone. It is a wonderful teaching tool for what to do when a passage is getting the best of you: don't ever let an SAT passage unnerve you! Only practicing the easier passages does a disservice to students. By tackling harder practice passages like "Trabb's Boy," students learn how to make even the most difficult passages at least somewhat comprehensible.
And, of course, I love me some British lit!
When we did a curriculum update at my former office, I lobbied hard to keep "Trabb's Boy" in, but I was in a serious minority. It was cut. Never fear! Since I struck out on my own, I've worked "Trabb's Boy" back into my work with a handful of lucky students. But with the dawning of the Redesigned SAT and its focus on relevance, I think "Trabb's Boy" must, itself, take an "ignominious flight" from my test prep repertoire.