Study Guide

Test of Academic Proficiency
Sample Multiple-Choice Questions

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Field 402: Language Arts

Each multiple-choice question has four answer choices. Read each question and its answer choices carefully and choose the ONE best answer.

During the test you should try to answer all questions. Even if you are unsure of an answer, it is better to guess than not to answer a question at all. You will NOT be penalized for choosing an incorrect response.

Read the passage below, written in the style of a college anthropology textbook; then answer the two questions that follow.

1In addition to being one of the world's most vital food crops; rice is used to meet a broad range of needs. 2The Japanese make an alcoholic beverage called sake from it, and brewers sometimes use it to make beer. 3Equally important are the plant's by-products. 4In some regions, farmers use rice bran, the brown skin surrounding a kernel, as a livestock feed. 5Other people extract oil from the bran to make soap and margarine. 6Rice grains also have rough outer shells, its hulls, that serve as an inexpensive fuel in many places. 7Even dried rice stalks have their uses. 8Many Asians use them to make hats and sandals, and to thatch the roofs of their homes. 

Standard 0008
Understand and apply knowledge of mechanical conventions in edited English in the United States.

1. Which one, if any, of the following changes is needed in the above passage?

  1. Part 1: Change the semicolon after "crops" to a comma.
  2. Part 4: Delete the comma after "bran."
  3. Part 8: Change the comma after "sandals" to a colon.
  4. None of these changes is needed.
Answer
Correct Response: A.

Standard 0007
Demonstrate command of standard usage in edited English in the United States.

2. Which of the following parts of the passage displays nonstandard usage?

  1. Part 2
  2. Part 3
  3. Part 6
  4. Part 7
Answer
Correct Response: C.

Read the passage below, written in the style of an education textbook; then answer the three questions that follow.

1Current methods of foreign language teaching often aim for more than mastery of vocabulary and grammar. 2A new topic called "pragmatics" has been added to the curriculum. 3Researchers have observed that every language community has different rules not only about how to construct meaningful sentences, but about when, where, and how to say them—and when to remain silent. 4___________________
___________________________________________. 5And as a result, more students than ever before are learning to look for cues to appropriate behavior when speaking a foreign tongue.

6For example, how do individuals know when it is their turn to speak in a conversation? 7Every language community has specific signals involving body gestures, shifts in tone of voice, and other subtle cues that indicate when a speaker is ready to let someone else have a turn talking. 8What is the proper way to greet people? 9Every culture has it's rules about who should greet whom first and which verbal and physical form of greeting is appropriate for different circumstances. 10The proper greeting usually depends on such factors as the speakers' gender, status, type of relationship between the speakers, and relative age of the speakers.

11Such questions were largely ignored in traditional foreign language teaching. 12This may explain why until recently students could study a language for years and yet have great difficulty using it for real-life communication.

Standard 0010
Understand unity, focus, development, and organization in writing.

3. Which of the following sentences, used in place of the blank line labeled Part 4, would best fit the writer's pattern of development in the first paragraph?

  1. Simply remaining silent is, in fact, often the best way to understand what another person is really trying to say.
  2. Consequently, many teachers now instruct their students in the pragmatics, or practical applications, of correct vocabulary and grammar.
  3. Another topic of great interest to researchers today is the difference between adults' and young children's approaches to language learning.
  4. Of course, pragmatics is of less concern to students whose primary aim is to learn to read, rather than to speak, another language.
Answer
Correct Response: B.

Standard 0012
Recognize sentences and paragraphs that effectively communicate intended messages.

4. Which of the numbered parts should be revised to reduce its unnecessary repetition?

  1. Part 6
  2. Part 7
  3. Part 8
  4. Part 10
Answer
Correct Response: D.

Standard 0007
Demonstrate command of standard usage in edited English in the United States.

5. Which of the following changes is needed in the second paragraph?

  1. Part 6: Change "their" to "they're."
  2. Part 7: Change "specific" to "specifically."
  3. Part 8: Change "proper" to "properly."
  4. Part 9: Change "it's" to "its."
Answer
Correct Response: D.

Read the passage below, written in the style of a college history textbook; then answer the three questions that follow.

1For more than two hundred years, the proper role of government in American society has been a topic of intense political discussion. 2Long, long ago, the main outlines of the debate were shaped by the conflicting views of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. 3As a spokesman for the northeastern banking and commercial interests, Hamilton believed the federal government should make every effort to promote economic growth. 4Accordingly, he proposed the enactment of high tariffs on imports to protect new industries, the creation of a national bank to provide large loans for government and business enterprises, and the construction of roadways and lighthouses to stimulate trade. 5The passage of these and related measures, Hamilton believed would enable the United States to realize its destiny as a great industrial nation.

6But not all Americans shared Hamilton's vision. 7People from the plantations and farms of the South and West hoped to preserve a quiet agricultural world of independent landowners. 8They believed that the creation of an urban, industrial society would diminish their political influence. 9They also believed that a federal government with Hamiltonian powers would threaten their individual liberties. 10It was for these people that Jefferson spoke. 11In doing so, he initiated a debate that in some respects still continues today.

Standard 0009
Understand the role of purpose and audience in written communication.

6. Which of the following sentences, if added between Parts 6 and 7 of the second paragraph, would be most consistent with the writer's purpose and intended audience?

  1. Some folks knew better than to jump on Hamilton's bandwagon, which was sure to face a bumpy road once the country really got going.
  2. On the contrary, many people living in the United States, including Thomas Jefferson, did not want their new nation to become heavily industrialized.
  3. How anybody could fail to see the fact that Hamilton clearly had the best plan for the future of this country is totally beyond me.
  4. Rather, there were those who viewed the Federalist geopolitical and economic strategy as a movement toward tyrannical despotism and away from democratic ideology.
Answer
Correct Response: B.

Standard 0008
Understand and apply knowledge of mechanical conventions in edited English in the United States.

7. Which of the underlined words in the first paragraph should be replaced by more precise or appropriate words?

  1. proper role
  2. Long, long ago
  3. economic growth
  4. high tariffs
Answer
Correct Response: B.

Standard 0008
Understand and apply knowledge of mechanical conventions in edited English in the United States.

8. Which of the following changes is needed in the first paragraph?

  1. Part 2: Place a colon after the word "by."
  2. Part 3: Change "As" to "Like."
  3. Part 4: Move "Accordingly" after the word "enactment."
  4. Part 5: Place a comma after the phrase "Hamilton believed."
Answer
Correct Response: D.

Read the passage below, written in the style of a sociology textbook; then answer the two questions that follow.

1Population growth trends in developed countries have passed through several phases. 2Before about 1850, birthrates and death rates were both high. 3The large number of births and deaths that occurred each year tended more or less to cancel each other out, so populations remained fairly constant or exhibited relatively low growth rates.

4This began to change after 1850, when industrialization led to a substantial rise in living standards for the general population and advances in medical science markedly reduced the number of deaths caused by infectious diseases. 5The rapid decline in death rates that resulted was accompanied by a much slower decline in birthrates, and as a result, developed countries grew increasingly populous.

6By 1950, ________, population growth rates in the developed countries again dropped off substantially. 7The main reason was the continuing decline in birthrates, which occurred gradually as the role of children in the family changed and parents began deciding to have fewer offspring. 8________, in the decades since 1950, birthrates and death rates have both been low. 9This has resulted once again in populations that are growing only slowly or not at all.

Standard 0011
Understand and apply editing and revision strategies.

9. Which words or phrases would, if inserted in order into the blanks in the third paragraph, help the reader understand the logical sequence of the writer's ideas?

  1. as a result; Furthermore
  2. for example; On the other hand
  3. however; Consequently
  4. in conclusion; Yet
Answer
Correct Response: C.

Standard 0010
Understand unity, focus, development, and organization in writing.

10. Which of the following best describes the method of organization used by the author of the passage?

  1. problem and solution
  2. chronological order
  3. comparison and contrast
  4. order of importance
Answer
Correct Response: B.

Read the passage below, written in the style of a college writing textbook; then answer the three questions that follow.

1Beginning writers often have a hard time setting an appropriate length for their paragraphs. 2And they generally have an even harder time locating a reference source that offers reasonable advice about how to deal with this problem. 3Composition textbooks are often distressingly vague when they discuss this topic. 4One might learn, for example, that paragraphs should not be too short because one- or two-sentence paragraphs make a composition disjointed and difficult to follow. 5At the same time, they should not be too long: lengthy paragraphs can be implausible and confusing to the reader.

6The truth is that there are no hard-and-fast rules for determining how long paragraphs should be. 7There are, however, two general principles that writers should keep in mind. 8The first is that the main purpose of a paragraph is to develop an idea. 9The second is that writing is broke into units such as paragraphs to help readers understand the writer's message. 10All decisions about paragraph length should reflect both of these concerns.

Standard 0009
Understand the role of purpose and audience in written communication.

11. Which of the following sentences, if added between Parts 3 and 4 of the first paragraph, would be most consistent with the writer's purpose and intended audience?

  1. If you ask me, those books aren't even worth the trouble it takes to read them.
  2. These books can be very useful, however, when a writer is looking for information on subjects other than paragraph length.
  3. In these texts, sections on paragraph structure tend to concentrate on what to avoid rather than what to do.
  4. These tomes are rife with rambling, ambiguous theoretical discourse that fails to provide any constructive counsel.
Answer
Correct Response: C.

Standard 0007
Demonstrate command of standard usage in edited English in the United States.

12. Which of the following parts of the passage displays nonstandard use of a verb form?

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 4
  3. Part 6
  4. Part 9
Answer
Correct Response: D.

Standard 0011
Understand and apply editing and revision strategies.

13. Which underlined word in the passage should be replaced by a more appropriate word?

  1. reasonable
  2. distressingly
  3. disjointed
  4. implausible
Answer
Correct Response: D.

Read the passage below, written in the style of a college history textbook; then answer the two questions that follow.

1The Franco-Prussian War had far-reaching affects on France and her people. 2The French had to pay the German Empire a sum of approximately one billion dollars, an amount that had a significant impact on the French economy. 3In addition, the French lost all of Alsace and part of Lorraine, areas that have changed hands often in the history of these two powers. 4A victory march through Paris caused further suffering for the French people. 5The terms of settlement were extremely harsh, the only reason they were accepted was that the French were weary of war and eager for peace.

Standard 0008
Understand and apply knowledge of mechanical conventions in edited English in the United States.

14. Which of the underlined words in the passage above should be replaced by a more precise or appropriate word?

  1. affects
  2. approximately
  3. further
  4. accepted
Answer
Correct Response: A.

Standard 0012
Recognize sentences and paragraphs that effectively communicate intended messages.

15. Which of the following parts of the paragraph is not a standard sentence?

  1. Part 2
  2. Part 3
  3. Part 4
  4. Part 5
Answer
Correct Response: D.