TABE 11&12 Level D

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Quick Facts

Get the “need to know” information at a quick glance.

Overview

TABE stands for “Test for Adult Basic Education.” It is used to assess your skill level and abilities in certain academic areas. This test is used for various purposes and by different agencies. Companies may use it for hiring or promotions. It is also frequently used by agencies that help direct adults into adult education programs, such as getting a GED or attending a trade school.

Format

The test is split into three sections: math, reading, and language. Each section is separately timed, and there are approximately 40 questions per section. For the math section, you will have 75 minutes. The time limit for the reading section is 120 minutes. The time limit for the language section is 60 minutes. You are allowed to skip over questions and come back to them if you have time.

Cost

The cost for this test will vary based on where you are taking the test and why you are taking it. Many employers or agencies will pay for you to take the test. If not, the test typically costs between $15 and $25.

Scoring

The TABE is not a test that you pass or fail. Instead, it is used to determine your strengths, as well as skills you need to learn. Although you cannot pass or fail the test, your score may determine if you are eligible for a certain job or program. Depending on your testing format and location, scores may be available immediately. If you are taking the test in paper format, your score will not be available until a later date.

Study Time

Your own personal study time will vary, based on which concepts you already know before you begin studying. Start studying several weeks ahead of the test and begin by checking to see which concepts you already know. Focus on the concepts that you don’t fully understand, and use these to create a study plan or study schedule.

What test takers wish they would’ve known:

  • There are no “trick questions,” so do not try to overthink a question.
  • Each section of the test is timed, so do not spend too much time on a question if you get stuck. You can always go back to it later.
  • Pay close attention to questions that include the words not or except, indicating that you need to choose the answer choice that does not fit.
  • If you do not understand the instructions for a particular part of the test, ask for clarification.

Information and screenshots obtained from the Data Recognition Corporation website: https://tabetest.com/students-2/tabe-1112/

Mathematics

The Mathematics section has about 40 questions.

There are six broad categories:

  • Geometry (18%)

  • Expressions and Equations (18%)

  • Ratios and Proportional Relationships (10%)

  • Statistics and Probability (22%)

  • The Number System (21%)

  • Functions (11%)

So, let’s talk about Geometry first.

Geometry

This category tests your knowledge of various geometric concepts including congruence, reflections, rotations, translations, formulas for area and volume, as well as your understanding of angles, vertices, sides, and edges.  

Let’s take a look at a concept that will more than likely appear on the test.

Area and Circumference of a Circle

The area of a circle is the space inside of the circle. The circumference is the distance around the circle. To find the area and circumference of a circle, use the following formulas:

Area = Π

Circumference = 2Πr

In these two formulas, r is the radius, and Π is pi, or 3.14.  

Let’s look at an example for each of these:

In this circle, the radius is 5. The radius is the distance that goes from the center of the circle to the edge. In other words, it is the distance that goes halfway across the circle. If we had been given the diameter instead of the radius, we would just divide it by 2 to get the radius. Diameter is the distance going from one side of the circle, through the center, and to the other side of the circle.

Since we know that the radius is 5 and that Π is approximately 3.14, we can put these values into each formula and solve for the area and the circumference:

A = Πr²

A = 3.14 • 5²

A = 3.14 • 25

A = 78.5cm²

*An answer for area should always be written in square units, such as cm².

= 2Πr

= 2(3.14)(5)

= 31.4cm

Expressions and Equations

This category tests your understanding of expressions and equations, when they are used, and your ability to solve real-word problems with multiple steps involved.

Here is a concept you may see on the test.

Constructing Equations and Inequalities

To construct an equation from a real-world situation, you will need to think about how the different values you are given are related to each other. It may help to think about the process you would go through to find these values in real life. Let’s try an example of constructing an equation from a real-world problem:

A wedding photographer charges $200 per hour, plus a travel fee of $50. Construct an equation that represents the total cost of the photographer, based on the number of hours she will work.

To do this, we first need to think about what is actually happening in this situation, or how we can calculate the cost. For example, to find the cost for 6 hours of photography, you need to multiply the hourly rate ($200) by 6 to get $1200. Then you need to add the $50 travel fee to get $1250. To find the cost for 7 hours of photography, we multiply $200 by 7 to get $1400, then again add the $50 travel fee to get $1450.   

When we think about what we are actually doing here, the number of hours the photographer works is a variable. It will change based on how many hours you need the photographer for. So we can use the variable x to represent the number of hours. $200 is a constant. It will not change based on the number of hours. $200 is what we multiply the hours by, so we can write this as:

200x

This shows we are multiplying 200 by x (the number of hours). Then, we add the $50 travel fee. $50 is also a constant, because it does not change. Since $50 is a one time travel fee, it is not multiplied by x. Instead, it is added to the end of the expression:

200x + 50

Since we are finding the total cost of the photographer, and this amount will vary, we will also use a variable for this. We can use y to represent the total cost. Our final equation will be written as:

y = 200x + 50

Creating an inequality uses a similar process. However, instead of using an equal sign we will be using one of the following signs:

  • greater than: >
  • less than: <
  • greater than or equal to:
  • less than or equal to:

Let’s try the following example:

Amy wants to spend less than $75 on cupcakes and a cupcake stand for a baby shower. The cupcake stand she plans to buy costs $25. Each cupcake costs $1.50. Create an inequality to show how many cupcakes Amy can buy within her budget.

We know that the total cost has to be less than $75. This cost will also include the $25 cupcake stand. To find the total cost of the cupcakes plus the stand, we multiply the number of cupcakes by $1.50 then add $25. Since the number of cupcakes she orders can vary, we will use the variable x to represent the amount of cupcakes. So the total cost can be written as:

1.50x + 25

Since we know that the total amount needs to be less than $75, we will use the less than sign to complete the inequality:

1.50x + 25 < 75

This means that the total cost of the cupcakes plus the stand will be less than $75. She can buy any amount of cupcakes as long as the total cost remains under $75. This inequality can also be written as:

75 > 1.50x + 25

to show that $75 is greater than the total cost.

Ratios and Proportional Relationships

This category tests your knowledge of ratios, proportions, and rates, as well as your ability to apply this knowledge to real-world problems, such as percentages, taxes, and interest.

Take a look at this concept.

Finding a Ratio

Ratios are used to compare two amounts and show the relationship between two numbers. Ratios are used often in real world situations. For example, you might read that the ratio of female to male surgeons is about 1 to 6 or that you need to use a 1 to 2 ratio of rice and water when cooking rice. In these examples, this means that for every 1 female surgeon, there are 6 male surgeons and that for every 1 cup of rice you are using, you will need to use 2 cups of water.

Ratios can be written in three different ways: by using a fraction ( ⅙ ), using words (1 to 6), or using a colon (1:6). Ratios, like fractions, can be simplified.

Let’s say that you need to find the ratio of teachers to students in a school. If you know that there are 50 teachers and approximately 1200 students, we can start by putting these two amounts in a fraction:

50/1200

While it is technically okay to present the ratio like this, it is much more common to simplify it as much as possible. To do this, we can divide both numbers by 50 to get a ratio of:

1/24 or 1:24

This means that for every 1 teacher, there are 24 students.

It is very important that the numbers are in the correct order when writing a ratio. For example, in the example above, the teacher to student ratio is 1:24, not 24:1.  If we wrote 24:1, this would be the student to teacher ratio, not teacher to student.

Statistics and Probability

This category tests your knowledge of various concepts related to statistics and probability. This includes measures of center, scatter plots, outliers, and additional concepts.

Take a look at this concept.

Measures of Center

Measures of center, also referred to as “measures of central tendency,” is a way to identify a typical value for a set of data. Different measures of center include mean, median, and mode:

Mean is another word for average. In order to find the mean for a set of numbers, you need to find the sum (or total) of all of the numbers, then divide that sum by the amount of numbers or values in the data set.

For example, to find the mean of 98, 95, and 83, you add 98 + 95 + 83 to get 276. You then divide 276 by 3, because there are 3 different numbers (98, 95, and 83). 276 divided by 3 equals 92, so the mean of this set of data is 92.

Median is the middle value when a set of numbers is put in order from least to greatest. If there is an even amount of numbers and two numbers are in the middle, you find the average of those two numbers.

For example, to find the median of 34, 33, 38, 37, and 29, you need to arrange the numbers in order from least to greatest:

29, 33, 34, 37, 38

Since 34 is in the middle, 34 is the median.

The following data set has two numbers that are in the middle:

12, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21

So, you find the average of 15 and 17 to get a median of 16.

Mode is the number that appears most frequently in a set of numbers. For example, the mode of the following set of numbers is 18, because it appears 4 times in the set while other numbers only appear one, two, or three times:

13, 10, 13, 18, 12, 12, 18, 18, 12, 18

If no number is repeated in a set, then that set of data has no mode.

A set of data can also have more than one mode if more than one number appears most frequently.

The Number System

This category tests your knowledge of positive and negative numbers, your ability to order numbers from least to greatest on a number line, and your ability to apply multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction to problems with fractions or decimals.

Let’s take a look at this concept together.

Ordering Rational Numbers

A rational number is any number that can be written as a fraction, where the denominator is not zero. Rational numbers are typically what we think of when we are talking about numbers. They can include fractions, whole numbers, positive numbers, negative numbers, and decimals.

To order rational numbers or place them on a number line, you first need to look to see if there are any negative numbers. If there are, you will focus on the negative numbers first. When we look at negative numbers, the “bigger” number (without the negative sign) is actually a smaller value. For example, -50 is actually less than -1 and would fall farther to the left on the number line. So when you start with the negative numbers, look for the numbers with the “bigger” value if the negative sign were not there. These will go first and you will work your way to the “smaller” numbers if the negative sign were not there. Once you order the negative numbers, move to the positive numbers. Place these numbers in order from least to greatest. Let’s look at an example of ordering rational numbers:

Order the following numbers from least to greatest:

3.452, -0.0001, -1.8, 0, 3.45, 2.4

Since there are two negative numbers in this set, we will focus on these first. Out of -0.0001 and -1.8, -1.8 is actually the smaller value (even though 1.8 is larger than 0.0001). So -1.8 will go first, then -0.0001:

-1.8, -0.0001

Next, we have 0 and three positive numbers. Zero will go first, since it is the smallest value out of 3.452, 0, 3.45, and 2.4.

Out of the remaining three numbers, 2.4 is the smallest and will come next in order. Our order of numbers is now:

-1.8, -0.0001, 0, 2.4

Out of 3.452 and 3.45, 3.45 is the smallest and will come next in order. When comparing numbers that are this similar, it may help to add a zero as a placeholder after the 5 in 3.45. When you do this, you will be comparing 3.452 and 3.450, making it more evident that 3.452 is larger. Note that you can only do this with numbers after decimals. You cannot add a zero to the end of a whole number, because it will completely change the value (for example, 20 vs 200).

The final order of all the original numbers is:

-1.8, -0.0001, 0, 2.4, 3.45, 3.452

Functions

This category tests your knowledge of linear functions, graphs of linear functions, and your ability to generate a function based on a relationship between numbers in a set of data.

Here is a concept you should know.

Graphs of Functions

When shown on a graph, a function will be either a straight or curved line that has only one y-value for each x-value.  

While the part about “only one y-value for each x-value” may sound confusing, an easy way to see if this is true is to use the vertical line test. This means that if you were to place a vertical line anywhere on the graph, it would only pass through one point of the line at at time. In the three graphs shown below, the red line demonstrates the vertical line test. The first two graphs show functions, because the vertical line does not pass through the graphed line more than once. The last graph is not a function, because the vertical line passes through the graph three different times.

Functions can be linear or nonlinear. A linear function will be a straight line on a graph. A nonlinear function will be a curved line on a graph. Take a look at the two graphs shown below. The graph on the left is linear, while the graph on the right is nonlinear.

Linear functions can be increasing or decreasing. As you move across the graph from left to right, an increasing linear function will show a line going upward. A decreasing linear function will show a line slanting downward as you move from left to right across the graph. An increasing linear function occurs when both the x-value and y-value are increasing. With a decreasing linear function, the y-value decreases as the x-value increases. The graphs below show examples of an increasing linear function and a decreasing linear function.

And that’s some basic info about the Mathematics section.

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test

 

Mathematics Practice Questions

Question 1

Which of the following expressions (in square units) is the most reasonable estimate for the area of the circle in the graph shown above?

  1. 27
  2. 128
  3. 23
  4. 41

Correct answer: D. The area, A, of a circle with radius r is found using the formula A = πr². The radius of the circle in the diagram must be estimated as slightly larger than halfway between 3 and 4 units. Radius equals 3.6 is a reasonable approximation. Using 3.6 for r and using 3.14 as a decimal approximation for the irrational number π in the area formula leads to the calculation of A = 3.14(3.6)². Following the order of operations leads to a simplified equation of A = 3.14(12.96) and then A = 40.6944. The value 40.6944 becomes 41 when rounded to the nearest whole number, because the tenths place digit is 6 (which is at least 5, and so requires rounding up).

Question 2

Petra’s employer is thrilled with Petra’s performance at work this year and so she offered Petra a bonus of x dollars. The majority of Petra’s bonus, y, will be given to her in a one-time sum at an award ceremony this Friday, and the remainder will be awarded on a monthly basis for m months until the total amount, x, is paid out by the end of the year. Which of the following algebraic expressions best represents the amount of money Petra can expect to see added to her monthly paychecks in the coming months?

  1. y/m – x
  2. x/m – y
  3. (y-x)/m
  4. (x-y)/m

Correct answer: D. The total amount of Petra’s bonus is x dollars. Of that total, Petra will receive y dollars at the award ceremony. The difference between the total bonus and the amount received at the ceremony, x – y, will be given in equal increments over the coming m months. Therefore, the difference, x – y, will be divided by m so that each installment of the remainder of the bonus will be an equal amount. Therefore, the correct answer divides x – y by m: (x-y)/m, in order to express the amount of money that Petra will see added to her monthly paychecks until the end of the year.

Question 3

What is the median of the data?

1.5, 1.8, 1.9, 5.4, 7.4, 9.4, 6.7, 8.2, 4.8, 3.1, 1.5

  1. 4.4
  2. 9.4
  3. 4.8
  4. 4.7

Correct answer: C. The median is the middle value of an ordered data set. That is, once the data set is arranged from the lowest to the highest value, the middle can be found. To find the median, simply arrange the data from least to greatest and find the middle value: 1.5, 1.5, 1.8, 1.9, 3.1, 4.8, 5.4, 6.7, 7.4, 8.2, 9.4. Because there are 11 values, the 6th (middle) value is the median. The median of the data set is 4.8, as there are 5 data values in this list below 4.8 and 5 data values above 4.8.

Question 4

A grocery store has 24 cans of chicken noodle soup on display and 84 cans of other soups on display. What is the ratio of the chicken noodle soup cans to the other cans?

  1. 1:8
  2. 8:1
  3. 1:7
  4. 7:1

Correct answer: C. Simplify the numbers as much as possible. The number 12 goes into 24 twice, and 84 is also divisible by 12. The number 84 divided by 12 is 7. Keep in mind that choice D shows the reverse ratio; it shows the ratio of other cans to chicken noodle soup cans.

Question 5

If the cube root of x is -2, what is the cube root of x²?

  1. -4
  2. -8
  3. 8
  4. 4

Correct answer: D. -4 is incorrect because the cube of (-4) = -64 and -64 does not have a square root of -8. If 8 is a cube root, then it is the cube root of 512. The square root of 512 is about 22.6. 22.6 is not the cube of (-2). If -8 is a cube root, then it is the cube root of -512. -512 does not have a square root in the set of real numbers.

Reading

The Reading section has about 40 questions.

There are three broad categories:

  • Key Ideas and Details (47%)
  • Craft and Structure (38%)
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (15%)

So, let’s talk about Key Ideas and Details first.

Key Ideas and Details

This category tests your ability to analyze key elements of a reading passage. This includes finding the main idea, supporting details, and summary of a text.

Here is a concept you should know.

Summaries

A summary tells the most important parts of a reading passage. A summary should not include details or your personal opinions about the passage. On the test, you may be asked to read a passage and then identify a summary of that passage out of multiple choice answers. To do this, start by eliminating any answer choices that include too many details or any personal opinions. Next, look for an answer choice that includes all important aspects of the passage. A good tip is to look at what each paragraph or section is mainly about. Try to put each section of the passage into one sentence or a short phrase, then look for a summary that includes most of these important ideas without including too much detail.

Craft and Structure

This category tests your ability to understand and analyze text structure and author’s purpose and how the two relate, as well as your ability to determine the meaning of words or phrases by using context clues within the text.

Let’s look at a concept that may appear on the real test.

Text Structure

Text structure is the way in which information is presented and organized in a book or reading passage. Information can be organized in various ways including:

  • chronological order
  • cause and effect
  • problem and solution
  • compare and contrast

Text that is organized in chronological order will present information in a sequence. It will have a beginning, middle, and end to the story. Narratives and fiction stories are generally organized in this way. Look for transition words such as “first, next, and last” as a clue that a text is organized this way, but note that these transition words will not always be included.

Text that is organized by cause and effect will discuss something that happened and an event or consequence that happened because of it. An example of this would be a passage that talks about how animals are losing their habitats due to forests being cut down.

Text that is organized by problem and solution will have a problem that needs to be fixed and a solution, or way that the problem gets resolved. This can be easily confused with cause and effect. To use a similar example as the one above, text that is organized by problem and solution might discuss forests being cut down and then present possible solutions to this, such as designating land that cannot be disturbed.

Text that is organized by comparing and contrasting will explain the similarities and differences between two or more topics. For example, a paper that discusses how two different government systems are alike and how they are different would be organized by comparing and contrasting.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

This category tests your ability to evaluate arguments and claims made in a text, and your understanding of certain text features, such as diagrams, graphs, or flowcharts.

Here is a concept you should know.

Determining Validity

To determine the validity of an author’s claims in a passage, you will need to look for strong, factual evidence. This might include statistical data, research, citations, and other evidence. When determining validity of an author’s claim, look for facts rather than opinions. On the test, you may be asked how an author is supporting his or her claim or what details from the passage help support the argument.

And that’s some basic info about the Reading section.

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Reading Practice Questions

Read the passage. Then answer questions 1 through 5.

Harold Washington’s acceptance speech. In 1983, Harold Washington was the first African American elected mayor of Chicago. 

1 Tonight we are here. Tonight we are here to celebrate a resounding victory. We, we have fought a good fight. We have finished our course. And we have kept the faith. We fought the good fight. We fought it, with unseasoned weapons and with a phalanx of people who mostly have never been involved in a political campaign before. This has truly been a pilgrimage. Our government will be moving forward as well, including more people. And more kinds of people, than any government in the history of Chicago. Today… today… today, Chicago has seen the bright daybreak for this city and for perhaps this entire country. The whole nation is watching as Chicago is so powerful in this! Oh yes, they’re watching.  

2 Out of the crucible… Out of the crucible of this city’s most trying election, carried on the tide of the most massive voter turnout in Chicago’s history. Blacks. Whites. Hispanics. Jews. Gentiles. Protestant and Catholics of all stripes. Have joined hands to form a new democratic coalition. And… and to begin in this place a new democratic movement. 

3 The talents and dreams of our citizens and neighborhoods will nourish our government the way it should be cherished and feed into the moving river of mankind. And we have kept the faith in ourselves as decent, caring people who gather together as a part of something greater than themselves. We never stopped believing that we were a part of something good and something that had never happened before. 

4 We intend to revitalize and rebuild this city. To open its doors and be certain that its babies are healthy! And its old people are fed and well-housed. We intend, we intend that our city will grow again and bring prosperity to ALL of its citizens.

Question 1

In paragraph 1 of the selection, the repetition of the word “we” has the effect of:

  1. uniting the people and reminding them of their collective efforts in a singular cause.
  2. singling out the ones who did not join in the movement.
  3. addressing the governing body correctly in the plural tense.
  4. reminding the people of all the work that they still need to do.

Correct answer: A. In this historic speech, Washington is repeating the word “we” to honor the collective efforts of the people in working together on this cause.

Question 2

Which sentence from the passage is the best example of the author expressing a personal opinion about an outcome that has already occurred?

  1. “We intend to revitalize and rebuild this city.” 
  2. “ The talents and dreams of our citizens and neighborhoods will nourish our government the way it should be cherished and feed into the moving river of mankind.”
  3. “Our government will be moving forward as well, including more people.”
  4. “Tonight we are here to celebrate a resounding victory.”

Correct answer: D. The author’s personal opinion is that an outcome resulted in “a resounding victory.” Choice A describes future plans. Choices B and C express hopes regarding the future.

Question 3

In this passage, the speaker is primarily concerned with:

  1. celebrating their victory and now resting from their efforts.
  2. laying out the specifics of his detailed plan for the future so the people can be on board.
  3. encouraging the people to continue working together to create positive changes.
  4. drawing on the hardships of the past to reconcile himself with the current situation.

Correct answer: C. Mainly, Washington is seeking to inspire his people to see the victory as a collective effort, and to see what they can still accomplish if they continue working together. This is the best answer option here.

Question 4

In paragraph 1, the word “resounding” is best defined as:

  1. bittersweet.
  2. shocking.
  3. questionable.
  4. decisive.

Correct answer: D. If you don’t know the definition of the word, look at the context. The speaker here won a “resounding” victory, he says, and as he says this, he employs lots of inclusive language (“we”), indicating that the collective majority all worked together. Therefore, it seems like they won by a large margin.

Question 5

Part A

Which statement expresses an intention of the speaker?

  1. The speaker intends to take care of both the young and the old.
  2. The speaker intends to unite people of all religions.
  3. The speaker intends to fight for the right to have weapons.
  4. The speaker intends to step down from his position.

Part B

Which sentence from the passage best supports the answer to Part A?

  1. The talents and dreams of our citizens and neighborhoods will nourish our government the way it should be cherished and feed into the moving river of mankind.
  2. We never stopped believing that we were a part of something good and something that had never happened before.
  3. We intend to revitalize and rebuild this city.
  4. And we have kept the faith in ourselves as decent, caring people who gather together as a part of something greater than themselves.

Correct answers: A, C. The speaker intends to revitalize and rebuild the city by taking care of babies and the elderly and bringing prosperity to all.

Language

The Language section has about 40 questions.

There are four broad categories:

  • Conventions of Standard English (44%)
  • Knowledge of Language (10%)
  • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use (23%)
  • Text Types and Purposes (23%)

So, let’s talk about Conventions of Standard English first.

Conventions of Standard English

This category tests your ability to use correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization when speaking and/or writing.

Here is a concept you should definitely know.

Semicolons

A semicolon is a type of punctuation that is used to connect two or more independent clauses, or ideas, in a sentence. A semicolon is shown below.

;

Semicolons are sometimes used instead of a period when a writer wants less of a pause between two thoughts. They are often used to join two independent clauses without the use of a conjunction. Instead of saying: “She got a brand new bike for Christmas, and she rode it everyday,” we can use a semicolon to say: “She got a brand new bike for Christmas; she rode it everyday.” Note that either way is correct, and that we can also write it as two separate sentences.

Semicolons are also useful when you are listing things that already contain commas, such as names of cities and states. For example, the following sentence is confusing without the use of semicolons:

Her three favorite cities are Austin, Texas, San Francisco, California, and Boulder, Colorado.  

The sentence is much more clear when semicolons are used:

Her three favorite cities are Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; and Boulder, Colorado.

Knowledge of Language

This category tests your knowledge of general language conventions.

Let’s look at a concept together.

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. An antecedent is the noun that the pronoun is referring to. Pronoun-antecedent agreement means that the pronoun matches the antecedent in number (singular versus plural) and matches in gender, if applicable. For example, in the following sentence, the pronoun and antecedent are not in agreement, because “Jake” is singular and “their” is a plural pronoun:

Jake opened their front door.

We also would not say, “Jake opened her front door,” because “Jake” is male and “her” is a female pronoun.

To correct this, we need to use the pronoun “his,” since Jake is singular and male. So the revised sentence would say:

Jake opened his front door. 

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

This category tests your ability to determine the meaning of unknown words by using context clues or other strategies.

Take a look at this concept.

Using Context Clues

Context clues are words, phrases, or sentences in a passage that help you figure out the meaning of unknown words or words with multiple meanings. By using context clues, you can understand more of what you read. Context clues might include a short explanation after a word, examples, or as details provided after a word or sentence. Here are a few examples of how context clues might appear in a reading passage:

“They had solemn expressions as they walked into the room. Everyone was saddened by the serious news.”

In this sentence, if you did not know the meaning of the word solemn, you could use the details in the second sentence to come to the conclusion that solemn probably means sad or serious.

“Many types of fowl, such as turkey, chicken, and duck, have been used by humans for food.”  

In this sentence, we can use the examples following the word fowl to decide that this probably means a type of animal or bird.

Text Types and Purposes

 

This category tests your ability to write various types of texts.

Let’s look at a concept that may appear on the test.

Types of Texts

The common types of texts include informative/explanatory, persuasive, narrative, and descriptive writing. This specific competency focuses on informative or explanatory texts, so we will focus more on those.

Explanatory or informative texts are used to inform or teach the reader about a specific topic. These types of texts will include facts, instructions, or research, rather than descriptive detail. Explanatory or informative texts can be written in different formats. This can include a narrative format when telling about a historical event. Other examples of explanatory texts include instructions for an experiment, a research paper presenting evidence, or a step by step process such as a recipe.

Persuasive text is used to convince the reader to believe or do something, or to make an argument for a certain point of view. Persuasive texts include opinions, as well as statements to back up these opinions, such as research or data.

Narrative text is writing that tells a story. Narrative texts are written in sequential order and have a beginning, middle, and end. They also sometimes include a conflict and resolution. As mentioned above, informative texts can sometimes take on a narrative structure when telling facts about an event.

Descriptive text uses figures of speech and sensory language to give detail about an event, person, place, or thing. Poetry is a good example of descriptive text.

And that’s some basic info about the Language section.

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Language Practice Test

Read the passage. Then answer questions 1 through 5.

Cell Phones Endanger Drivers

(1) One of the recent developments of modern technology, cellular phones, can be a threat to safety. (2) In fact, people who talk on the phone while driving are four times more likely to have an automobile accident than those who do not use the phone while driving. (3) I like to use my cell phone when I am driving because it is convenient. (4) During a recent study, researchers reviewed the histories of 699 drivers. (5) Who were in automobile accidents while they were using their cellular phones. (6) The researchers concluded that the main reason for the accidents was not that people used one hand for the telephone and one hand for driving. (7) Instead, the cause of accidents was usually that the drivers became distracted, angry, or upset by the phone call. (8) _________, the drivers lost concentration. (9) Many people find that monthly plans are more economical than pre-paid plans.

Question 1

Which two sentences from the passage should be combined?

  1. Sentences 1 and 2
  2. Sentences 3 and 4
  3. Sentences 4 and 5
  4. Sentences 5 and 6

Correct answer: C. Sentence 5 is a sentence fragment. Sentences 4 and 5 should be combined to make a complete sentence.

Question 2

Which of the following statements from the passage does not directly connect to the main idea?

  1. “Instead, the cause of accidents was usually that the drivers became distracted, angry, or upset by the phone call.”
  2. “In fact, people who talk on the phone while driving are four times more likely to have an automobile accident than those who do not use the phone while driving.”
  3. “The researchers concluded that the main reason for the accidents was not that people used one hand for the telephone and one hand for driving.” 
  4. “I like to use my cell phone when I am driving because it is convenient.”

Correct answer: D. The passage is about the dangers of driving while using a cell phone. This sentence does not help to prove that using a cell phone while driving is dangerous.

Question 3

Which of the following sentences would be helpful for connecting sentences 1 and 2?

  1. A study for Donald Redmond and Robert Lim of the University of Toronto showed that cellular phones pose a risk to drivers.
  2. Police departments around the country have helped with local legislation to bring about new reformations in laws regarding cell phone usage.
  3. The cellular phone industry has grown exponentially in recent years due to the increase in demand.
  4. I personally enjoy talking on my cellular phone even while driving.

Correct answer: A. The majority of the paragraph focuses on research connected with cell phone usage while driving.

Question 4

Which of the following would be the most appropriate transition to use in sentence 8?

  1. As a result
  2. To conclude
  3. Notwithstanding
  4. However

Correct answer: A. Sentence 8 is the result of what happened to drivers on cell phones (getting angry, etc.), and so “As a result” is the best option.

Question 5

Does the information in the final sentence develop the main idea of the passage?

  1. It does not help to develop the passage. The passage is a persuasive passage and this sentence does not give an opinion or fact to help persuade the reader.
  2. It does not help to develop the passage. The passage is not about phone plans or saving money.
  3. It helps to develop the main idea because it shares an opinion about cell phone plans. The main idea of the passage is the author’s opinion of cell phone plans.
  4. It helps to develop the main idea because it shares information which helps other people. The main idea of the passage is that other people should be knowledgeable about phones.

Correct answer: C. This sentence is off-topic and does not help to develop the main idea that it is unsafe to use a phone while driving. Choice D makes some sense, because the author likely wants to help people, but he or she wants to help them avoid accidents. The author’s main point is not related to saving money on phone plans.