GACE Paraprofessional Ultimate Guide2019-12-09T19:35:19+00:00

GACE Paraprofessional

Preparing to take the GACE Paraprofessional?


You’ve found the right page. We will answer every question you have and tell you exactly what you need to study to pass the GACE Paraprofessional. Check out our GACE paraprofessional practice test below.

GACE Paraprofessional


The GACE Paraprofessional test will assess your knowledge in reading, math, and writing, as well as your ability to use this knowledge in a classroom setting.  This test is for prospective and practicing paraprofessionals.


  • Time limit: 2.5 hours. *Total testing time is 3 hours, allowing for tutorials and practice questions
  • Number of questions: 90  
  • The test is divided into three sub-areas – reading, math, and writing. Each sub-area accounts for about one-third of the test questions.
  • Question type: Test questions include a combination of multiple choice, short answer, and questions where multiple answers may be selected.
  • Approximately two-thirds of the questions relate to content knowledge, and one-third relate to applying this knowledge in the classroom.



*Certain testing sites may charge an additional fee.


The scoring range for this exam is 100 – 300, with a score of 250 needed to pass.

Study time:

Study time will vary from person to person but plan to spend many hours over several days to feel fully prepared. Continue studying until you have covered each topic of the test and feel confident about the practice questions.

What test takers wish they would’ve known:

  • There is no penalty for incorrect answers, so it is better to guess than to leave a question unanswered.  
  • Pace yourself, and make sure you are not spending too much time on difficult questions. You can always come back to a question later.
  • Plan to arrive early. Check the test administration site for the time you should arrive.
  • Calculators are not allowed during the test.

Information and screenshots obtained from the ETS website:



There are about 30 Reading questions.

The Reading sub-area has three types of questions:

  • Reading Skills and Knowledge
  • Reading Application
  • Tools of the Reading Process

So, let’s start with Reading Skills and Knowledge.

Reading Skills and Knowledge

For this section, you will need to know how to understand and interpret a variety of different kinds of texts. You will need to know how to find the main idea, make inferences, decide if something is fact or opinion, and draw other conclusions based on the text.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Main Idea

Main idea is what a book, paragraph, or other text is mostly about. It can be thought of as the “big idea” or the “takeaway message” from the text. On the exam, you may be asked to find the main idea of a paragraph or reading passage. To do this, first read the entire passage and then think about what the most important part is or what it is mostly about. You can also ask yourself what you think the author wants you to remember from the passage.

Drawing Inferences

Drawing inferences means making an educated guess or making a reasonable conclusion about something based on what you know. Students make inferences when they are reading by using clues from the story combined with background knowledge that they already have. You can help students make inferences by asking them about their thought process while they are reading. You can ask questions such as:

“This says the children are swimming and can hear waves. Where do you think they might be? What made you believe they are at the beach?”  

On the exam, you may need to make inferences about a situation based on a reading passage or paragraph.

Fact versus Opinion

A fact is a statement that is always true, regardless of who is saying it or what someone might think. An example of a fact is:

“There are seven days in a week.”   

An opinion is something that a person or group of people believe. An opinion can be different from one person to another. An example of an opinion is:

“Friday is the best day of the week.”  

On the exam, you may be asked to identify an answer choice that is an opinion statement when the other choices are facts (or vice versa). The statements may be pulled from a previous reading passage, which will give the statements more context, but you can still determine a fact versus opinion by asking yourself if the statement is true no matter what (fact) or something that may differ from one person to another or can be debated (opinion).

Reading Application

For this section, you will need to know how to help students with the foundations of reading, such as sounding out a word and breaking a word into syllables.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Long and Short Vowels

Vowels (A, E, I, O, and U) can make short sounds or long sounds, depending on where the vowel is in the word and the letters surrounding that vowel.

A long vowel is when the vowel makes the same sound as the letter name. For example, the “a” in “gate” is a long vowel, because the “a” makes the sound of the letter name for “A”. Other long vowel examples include the “e” in “each,” the “i” in “bite,” the “o” in “tote,” and the “u” in “huge.”

Short vowel sounds are when the vowel makes the other sound that is not the name for that letter. Examples of short vowel sounds include the “a” in “bat,” the “e” in “hen,” the “i” in “big,” the “o” in “frog,” and the “u” in “bug.”


Homonyms are words that are spelled and pronounced the same but have different meanings. The meaning of the word is determined by the context of the rest of the sentence or paragraph. On the exam, you may be asked to identify words that are homonyms. The following are examples of homonyms:

bat (baseball bat OR animal)

right (correct OR the opposite of left)

lie (to lie down OR to say something that is not true)

Alphabetizing Words

Alphabetizing words (sometimes referred to as ABC order) involves putting words into an order based on the letters in the words and the order of those letters. Students need to understand alphabetical order to use dictionaries, glossaries, indexes, etc.

To put words into alphabetical order, start by looking at the first letter of each word. Any words that begin with an “A” will go first, followed by words that begin with a “B”, then “C”, and so on. If two or more words in a set start with the same letter, you will then look at the second letter and put those in order. If words begin with the same first and second letter, look to the third letter and continue until the letters are different.  

The following words are in alphabetical order:






The word “march” goes before the word “math,” because “march” begins with m-a-r, while “math” begins with m-a-t.


Syllables are a way to separate words into single units of pronunciation. A syllable contains a vowel or vowel sound, as well as one or more consonants. A syllable can be thought of as a “beat” of a word, and students are often taught to clap out the syllables in a word to count how many syllables it has. Syllables are best learned through examples and practice. Here are some examples of words with different numbers of syllables:

1 syllable: reach, sky, his, cat

2 syllables: water (wa / ter), myself (my / self), teacher (teach / er)

3 syllables: dinosaur (di / no / saur), computer (com / pu / ter)

4 syllables: watermelon (wa / ter / mel / on), television (tel / e / vi / sion)

Syllables can help students read a word by decoding the word one syllable at a time.

Tools of the Reading Process

For this section, you will need to know how to help students with the reading process, including making predictions and helping students with comprehension.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Making Predictions

Making predictions is a strategy that students can use before reading a book that will help with their comprehension or understanding of the book. A prediction is what you think will happen next in a book or other text. It can be thought of as a “smart guess” based on things that you already know. Students can use pictures, titles, headings, and other tools to make predictions when they read. Even students in lower grades can make predictions during a read aloud or guided reading lesson.  

You can help students make predictions by asking them questions such as:

“What do you think this book might be about, based on the title?”

“Look at the pictures in this book and tell me what you think might happen.”

“Using the headings of these paragraphs, what do you think you will learn from this passage?”

Using a Dictionary

Students are taught to use a dictionary by using their knowledge of alphabetical order and by using guide words in the dictionary to locate the word. Guide words are the two words located at the top of each dictionary page that show the first and last words listed on that page.

Once students are able to locate the word in the dictionary, they can use the dictionary to find the meaning of the word, the part of speech for that word, pronunciation of the word, and an example of how the word can be used.

You can help younger students use a dictionary by having them use the guide words at the top of the page and their knowledge of ABC order to find a word and read the definition. Once students know how to do this, you can help them use a dictionary by showing them the different parts of a dictionary entry: the part of speech, the pronunciation of the word, the definition, and the example of how the word can be used.

And that’s some basic info about the Reading sub-area.



There are about 30 Mathematics questions.

The Mathematics sub-area has two types of questions:

  • Mathematics Skills and Knowledge
  • Math Application

Mathematics Skills and Knowledge questions include three categories:

  • Number Sense and Basic Algebra
  • Geometry and Measurement
  • Data Analysis

So, let’s start with Number Sense and Basic Algebra.

Number Sense and Basic Algebra

For this section, you will need to understand foundational math skills, as well as some basic algebra.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Place Value

Place value is the value of a digit based on where that digit is in the number. A digit is just a single whole number (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) in a number. For example, the number 29 has two digits (2 and 9). The number 138 has 3 digits (1, 3, and 8).

The place where a digit is located in a number determines its value. A place value chart, such as the one below, can help students understand how many ones, tens, hundreds, etc. are in a number.

For example, the number 4,712 has a 4 in the thousands place, a 7 in the hundreds place, a 1 in the tens place, and a 2 in the ones place. This means there are 4 thousands, 7 hundreds, 1 ten, and 4 ones in this number. The value of the 4 in the thousands place is 4,000 because the digit 4 is actually worth 4,000, not just 4 ones. Models and place value blocks can be helpful when teaching students about place value.

Here is an example of a place value chart for the number 2,356,703:


Exponents show how many times to multiply a number by itself. An exponent is a small number located to the right and above a number. An example of a number with an exponent is 34. This means that you would multiply 3 by itself four times:  3 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 81. A more detailed explanation is shown below:

3 x 3 x 3 x 3

9 x 3 x 3

27 x 3


On the exam, you may be asked to calculate the value of a number with an exponent, identify exponents, or use exponents as a step in the order of operations (explained in the following section).

Order of Operations

The order of operations is the order in which computations must be completed in a math problem. The order of operations is as follows:

  1. Parenthesis
  2. Exponents
  3. Multiplication & Division
  4. Addition & Subtraction

This means that in a given math expression, anything that is contained within parenthesis must be completed first. After solving the expressions in the parenthesis, you would solve any part of the expression with an exponent. After the exponents, you would solve any multiplication or division portion of the problem, in the order they appear in the problem moving left to right. The last step is to solve any addition or subtraction parts of the problem, again moving left to right.  

A common misconception about the order of operations is that multiplication comes before division and addition comes before subtraction. This is not the case. When you are at the multiplication and division step, you will solve whichever one comes first when you read the problem from left to right. The same thing applies to the addition and subtraction step. The order of operations can be remembered by the acronym PEMDAS.

Let’s work an example together:

30 –  (7 – 3)  x 5 + 4

  1. (7 – 3) would be solved first, because it is contained within parenthesis. The expression would now be: 30 – 4 x 5 + 4
  2. There are no exponents in this expression, so you would move on to multiplication and division and solve 4 x 5. The expression would now be:  30 – 20 + 4.
  3. The next step is addition and subtraction. Since the subtraction occurs first in this problem when reading from left to right, you would do that first. The expression would now be 10 + 4.
  4. To complete the problem, you would solve 10 + 4 to get an answer of 14.

Geometry and Measurement

For this section, you will need to understand how to measure objects in different ways, recognize various shapes, and graph coordinates onto a coordinate plane.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Basic Geometrical Shapes

Geometric shapes include shapes such as squares, triangles, rectangles, circles, etc. It also includes additional shapes that are explained below. On the exam, you may be asked to identify certain shapes based on their qualities. Here is some more information on some of the basic geometrical shapes:

Polygon: A shape with at least 3 straight sides and 3 angles. All of the shapes described below are polygons, along with squares, rectangles, and triangles. A circle is not a polygon, because it does not have 3 straight sides.

Right triangle: A triangle with a right angle.

Equilateral triangle: A triangle where all 3 sides are of equal length.

Isosceles triangle: A triangle with 2 equal sides.

Trapezoid: A 4-sided shape with only one set of parallel lines. A trapezoid can look like a triangle with the top cut off.

Rhombus: A shape with 4 straight sides that are all equal length. A rhombus is different from a square because a square has to have 4 right angles, while a rhombus does not.

Pentagon: Any closed shape with 5 straight sides.

Hexagon: Any closed shape with 6 straight sides.

Octagon: Any closed shape with 8 straight sides.


Area is the number of square units inside a 2D shape. In other words, it is the amount of space within a 2D shape. The area of a square or rectangle is found by multiplying the length by the width. For example, the rectangle below would have an area of 12 square inches, because the length is 4 inches and the width is 3 inches: 3 in. x 4 in. = 12 square inches.

To find the area of a triangle, use the following formula:

Area = ½bh


b = base

h = height

This means you would multiply the base of the triangle by the height of the triangle, then take half of that number.  

To find the area of a circle, use the formula:

Area = πr²

This means you would first find the square of the radius (by multiplying the radius by itself), then multiply this answer by π, which is about 3.14.

Graphing Data on an XY-Coordinate Plane

A coordinate plane consists of two axes: the x-axis and the y-axis. The x-axis runs horizontally (side to side), while the y-axis runs vertically (up and down). In order to graph a data point on a coordinate plane, you will need to know which axis is which, and which number to use for which axis.

A coordinate is shown as two numbers in parenthesis, divided by a comma. The first number is the x-value and the second number is the y-value. The x-value shows how far over to go on the x-axis. The y-value shows how high up to go on the y-axis. The data point on the graph will be where these two lines meet. The coordinate plane below shows the data point (4, 3). The 4 shows how far over to go on the x-axis, and the 3 shows how far up to go on the y-axis.

Data Analysis

For this section, you will need to know how to read and interpret various types of graphs or tables.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.


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 that are in the data set.

For example, to find the mean of 98, 95, and 83 you would add 98 + 95 + 83 to get 276. You would then divide 276 by 3 because there are 3 different amounts (98, 95, and 93). 276 divided by 3 = 92, so the mean of this set of data is 92.


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

For example, to find the mean of 34, 33, 38, 37, and 29, you would 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 set of numbers has two numbers that are in the middle:

12, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21

So, you would 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 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.

Math Application

For this section, you will need to utilize your knowledge of the other math sections to determine how to best help a student or classroom teacher.

And that’s some basic info about the Mathematics sub-area.



There are about 30 Writing questions.

The Writing sub-area has two types of questions:

  • Writing Skills and Knowledge
  • Writing Application

So, let’s start with Writing Skills and Knowledge.

Writing Skills and Knowledge

For this section, you will need to have an understanding of basic grammar and be able to identify grammatical or spelling errors in sentences.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Parts of a Sentence

Every sentence contains a subject and a predicate. The subject of the sentence is the noun or pronoun (who or what the sentence is about). The predicate of the sentence is the verb or what the subject is doing.

In the following sentence, “The boy” is the subject and “ran toward the swings” is the predicate:

The boy ran toward the swings.

The subject will usually come before the predicate, but there are sometimes exceptions.


Adverbs are words that modify or describe a verb or adjective. Adverbs help to answer the questions: When? How? In what way? To what extent?

Adverbs often have an -ly at the end, but not always. Here are some sentences that contain adverbs, with the adverb underlined:

She runs quickly. (“Quickly” tells us more about how she ran)

He is very tall. (“Very” tells us more about how tall he is)

She sings happily. (“Happily” tells us more about the manner she is singing in)

You may be asked to identify an adverb in a sentence by choosing from a list of words in the sentence. A good clue that a word is an adverb is if it ends in -ly.  You can also rule out other words by finding the nouns and verbs in the sentence.

Commonly Misused Words

On the exam, you may be asked to identify which part of a sentence contains an error. Some of these questions may include commonly misused words. These are words that are frequently used incorrectly. The following words are often used incorrectly. A correct explanation and example are given for each word:

  • their:  This means something belongs to a them. Example: This is their house.
  • they’re: This is the contraction of “they are.” Example: They’re almost here.
  • there: This means a location or destination. Example: The book is over there.
  • then: This means something happens after or as a result of something. Example: We will go to the store, then we will go to the park.
  • than: This is used as a comparison. Example:  That dog is smaller than this one.
  • affect: Affect is a verb and means to change or influence. Example: The weather is going to affect our trip.
  • effect: Effect is a noun and is the result of something happening. Example:  The tutoring has had a good effect on his grades.
  • lose: This is a verb and means to misplace something or have something taken away. Example: He is going to lose his keys.
  • loose: This is an adjective and means the opposite of tight. Example: This belt is too loose.
  • advice: Advice is a noun and is something you give to someone. Example:  She is going to ask her mom for advice.
  • advise: Advise is a verb and is the act of giving someone advice or help. Example: I would advise you to turn in your work on time.
  • accept: Accept means you are receiving something or that you are realizing something is true. Example: I will accept this gift.
  • except: Except means “not including.” Example: I want everything on my burger except tomatoes.

Writing Application

For this section, you will need to know about the different steps of the writing process and how to help students with these steps, as well as the different purposes and forms of writing.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Editing a Composition

Editing means to go back over your writing to find and correct mistakes. Editing is one of the final steps of the writing process before writing a final draft. You can help students edit their writing by encouraging them to read their writing out loud, look for spelling and punctuation mistakes, and by having a peer look over their paper for any additional mistakes or to make suggestions. On the exam, you may be asked to edit certain sentences or paragraphs by locating and correcting grammar mistakes or other writing mistakes.

Different Modes and Forms of Writing

Students are taught in many different grade levels about the different forms of writing, including: descriptive writing, persuasive writing, narratives, and letters. On the exam, you may be asked to identify different forms of writing or how to best help a student with a certain type of paper.

Descriptive writing is used to provide detail about an event or a thing. You can help students with descriptive writing by encouraging them to think about how something would feel, look, sound, etc. You can also help them include more adjectives and replace overused words with more detailed and descriptive ones, such as replacing “The cake was good,” with “The sugary, chocolate cake was delicious.”

Persuasive writing is used to try to convince the reader to do something or believe something. You can help students with persuasive writing by asking them to think of reasons why someone should do the thing they are trying to convince them to do. You can then help them organize their thoughts into a logical order and into logical sections by using a prewriting outline.

Narrative writing is writing that tells a story or sequence of events. Narrative writing can be a personal narrative where students tell about something that has happened to them, a narrative about something that happened to someone else, or a fictional narrative that they make up. You can help students with narrative writing by having them first come up with the events that happened (in any order). Students can then put these events into order using an outline during the prewriting process, and add detail as they create their first draft.

Students are taught about the different types and purpose of letter writing, such as formal letters, friendly letters, persuasive letters, thank you letters, etc. They also need to know the different parts of a letter including the heading, the greeting, the body, the closing, and the signature. A good way to help students with letter writing is to encourage them to write letters to people that they know, such as their friends, their grandparents, or their principal.

Reference Materials

Reference materials include resources such as dictionaries, thesauruses, websites, writing checklists, and books about a certain topic. Many of these reference materials can be in a book format or online. You will need to know what type of reference materials are most appropriate for different grade levels and different types of writing, and how to use these reference materials. Many students need help knowing where to start when looking for something to use for their writing. Being able to guide them to the right resource will help them improve their writing.

Reading Practice Questions and Answers

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

Questions 1-3 are based on the following passage.

1 President Kennedy was not the first to imagine sending a man to the moon. A little more than 100 years earlier, in 1865, science fiction writer Jules Verne also imagined space travel. He put his innovative thoughts in a book called From the Earth to the Moon. In it he described a lunar expedition that is so eerily close to the Apollo 11 mission that a reader would think he was predicting the future. He called his spaceship with a crew of three the Columbiad. In his book the spacecraft launches from Florida, and the United States Navy recovers it from the Pacific Ocean. In 1969, Florida was the launch site of Apollo 11. The command module was named Columbia. When the spacecraft returned to Earth, it splashed down in the Pacific, where the Navy recovered it along with its three-astronaut crew. Verne accurately delineated the future when the technology of his own time made his predictions seem highly unlikely to occur. How could he have known that his far-fetched idea was not so far-fetched after all?

2 Like Verne, other science fiction writers have accurately described inventions that are commonplace today. Many of H. G. Wells’s ideas, for example, have become a reality. Considered by many to be one of the best science fiction writers of all time, Wells wrote about lasers, wireless communication, automatic doors, and other gadgets that did not exist at the time of his writings. But today these gadgets are such an integral part of our society that we probably cannot imagine living without them. Wells also describes a journey to the moon on a spaceship made from anti gravity material. We can only speculate that these writers might have inspired those who later turned their fiction into reality.

3 In 2012, a Mars rover, developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), landed on the planet Mars. No one would have been more excited to hear the news than Ray Bradbury, one of America’s greatest science fiction writers. In 1950 he wrote about travel to Mars in his book The Martian Chronicles. The book describes an expedition that lands humans on Mars. The story then tells how the people inhabit the planet and bring their families to live there. Since NASA has successfully landed a rover on Mars, Bradbury’s fantasy may yet become reality. The Mars rover, appropriately called Curiosity, is gathering information that will help NASA plan a manned mission to Mars sometime in the 2030s. Will future families travel to Mars to live there, as Bradbury imagined? If so, the world as we know it today will certainly be different.

Question 1

A good title for this reading passage would be:

  1. “Jules Verne Predicts the Future”
  2. “Mars, Our Future Home”
  3. “Fiction Can Predict the Future”
  4. “Space Travel as a Part of Life”

Correct answer: 3. The passage focuses on demonstrating how different writers from the past seemed to imagine a future that has actually come true. Thus, this is the best answer.

Question 2

What is one detail that illustrates how Jules Verne’s book connects with the real Apollo 11 mission?

  1. When the spacecraft returned to earth, it landed in the Pacific Ocean
  2. When they landed on Mars, it looked eerily similar to the way Verne had described it
  3. The mission’s name, Apollo 11, was taken from Verne’s book
  4. President Kennedy was in charge of the space launch

Correct answer: 1. This question asks you to recall simple details, so the answer will be right in the passage. This is the only answer that correctly states what is implicitly written.

Question 3

What method of organization does the author of this passage employ?

  1. Problem/Solution
  2. Compare/Contrast
  3. Cause/Effect
  4. Spatial

Correct answer: 2. The paragraph does not discuss how fiction writing necessarily caused these modern inventions to take place; it simply focuses on describing their similarities. Likewise, the passage doesn’t describe any effects of the writings on reality; it’s simply showing us how they’re oddly similar. Therefore, “Cause/Effect” is incorrect. Also, “Problem/Solution” is incorrect since there is no problem stated to be solved. “Spatial” is incorrect because the passage does not focus on the geography or locations. These facts are mentioned, but they’re mentioned as part of the main idea that they’re the same as in the past writings that predict their realities.

Questions 4-5 are based on the following passage.

Landscapes, images of natural scenery, remained a popular subject in early modern art. Driven in part by their dissatisfaction with the modern city, many artists sought out places resembling untouched earthly paradises. In these areas, away from the bustle of the modern city, artists were able to focus on their work and observe nature firsthand. Because of this, many radical artistic experiments occurred in the most rural and least “modern” of settings. These ranged from the use of unexpected, non-naturalistic colors, to the unusual application of paint.

Question 4

Which of the following best states the main idea of this passage?

  1. Early modern artists used new techniques in color choice and application
  2. Similar to previous artists, modern artists enjoyed painting landscapes
  3. Inspired by the modern city, artists experimented with new techniques
  4. Early modern artists avoided the modern world and embraced nature, causing new techniques to be developed in old settings

Correct answer: 4. This is correct. The passage discusses artists’ desire to leave the modern city and focus on nature to create art, which caused new “modern” techniques to be created in settings that weren’t modern at all.

Question 5

The author uses the word “dissatisfaction” in line 2 to mean:

  1. unhappiness
  2. contentment
  3. misery
  4. unkempt

Correct answer: 1. This is correct. Artists expressed their “dissatisfaction” or unhappiness, with the city, so they went to the country to create.

Question 6

During a decoding exercise of rhyming words, a paraprofessional in a first-grade classroom noticed Billy could not decode new words when particular suffixes were added to the word. Billy would most benefit from which of the following instruction?

  1. Isolating the initial sounds of the words
  2. Increasing understanding of vowel digraphs
  3. Sounding out the words
  4. Counting the syllables in the words

Correct answer: 3. Sounding out the word, otherwise known as blending phonemes, will help Billy sound out the root word and then identify the suffix. This will help Billy separate the root word and the suffix to help Billy decode the word.

Question 7

How many phonemes are in the word “hat”?

  1. 1
  2. 3
  3. 4
  4. 2

Correct answer: 2. A phoneme is the smallest unit of speech that can be used to make one word different from another word. In the word “hat” the sounds /h/, /a/, and /t/ are all distinct phonemes.

Question 8

Today, the Vikings are mostly known as violent pirates and raiders. It is true that Vikings did raid and destroy many towns and villages along coastlines, all the way from what is now northern Russia to Morocco. However, the Vikings were also traders and merchants and didn’t simply destroy things. They built towns and markets of their own, including Hedeby, which in the 10th century had a population of 1,500, making it the largest trading town in northern Europe. At their height, the Vikings attacked, settled, or traded on four continents. They were active all the way from Canada (they became the first Europeans to travel to the Americas) to present day Istanbul.

Which of the following statements best expresses the main idea of the selection?

  1. The reputation Vikings have as destroyers is completely accurate
  2. Vikings destroyed towns, but they also created towns and markets
  3. Vikings contributed positively to society and never harmed it
  4. Vikings attacked, settled, or traded on four continents

Correct answer: 2. This is correct. By including both positive and negative facts about Vikings, the author makes it clear that he wants to show both sides of the story of Vikings: they destroyed, but they also created.

Question 9

Billy is having a difficult time reading a multisyllabic word. He asks the paraprofessional in his classroom for help. Which of the following strategies would best support Billy’s learning to decode multisyllabic words independently?

  1. Pronouncing each letter independently and then combining the sounds into one word
  2. Having the paraprofessional demonstrate how to sound out the word and then find it in the dictionary
  3. Using the dictionary to learn how to pronounce the word
  4. Highlighting the different syllables of the word and then sounding out the word by syllables

Correct answer: 4. Identifying each individual syllable and then sounding out the word by syllables promotes Billy’s understanding of what a syllable is and how to identify syllables in a word.

Question 10

A paraprofessional asks a student an open-ended question about the literary piece the class just finished. The students are always required to give their answer with support directly from the text. This is to assess and improve which of the following?

  1. Comprehension
  2. Sequencing
  3. Fluency Vocabulary
  4. Vocabulary

Correct answer: 1. This is the correct answer. Students need to be able to explain and show how they came up with their answer.

Mathematics Practice Questions and Answers

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

Question 1

Simplify: 30 – 2 × 50 + 70

  1.   570
  2.   -70
  3.   0
  4.   -210

Correct answer: 3. To simplify the given expression, follow the order of operations. The order of operations is often expressed by the acronym PEMDAS: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication/Division, Addition/Subtraction. Within the equally ranked operations (the pair including Multiplication and Division, and also the pair including Addition and Subtraction), work left to right. Of the operations present in the problem (subtraction, multiplication, and addition), the first to be completed must be multiplication because “M” precedes “A/S” in the order of operations. Therefore, the expression 30 – 2 × 50 + 70 will be simplified to 30 – 100 + 70. The remaining operations (subtraction and addition) are equally ranked and so must be performed in the order in which they appear when reading the problem from the left to the right. First 30 – 100 + 70 becomes -70 + 70, and then finally -70 + 70 = 0.

Question 2

Adam earns $48,000 per year. Marco earns 25% more than Adam does. How much does Marco earn per year?

  1. $60,000
  2. $38,400
  3. $36,000
  4. $12,000

Correct answer: 1. This question requires use of percentages and can be approached in more than one way. One option is to take 25% of $48,000 to determine the extra earnings that Marco makes past Adam’s salary: 0.25 × 48,000 = 12,000. That additional amount can be added to Adam’s earnings to find Marco’s total earnings: $48,000 + $12,000 = $60,000. Alternatively, if Marco earns 25% more than Adam does, then Marco earns 100% of what Adam earns, plus an additional 25%. In total, then, Marco earns 125% of what Adam earns, and so 125% can be converted into decimal form (1.25) and multiplied on Adam’s annual earnings of $48,000 to get 1.25 × 48,000 = 60,000. Through either approach, it can be found that Marco earns $60,000 per year.

Question 3

What is the digit in the hundreds place in the product of 63 × 31?

  1. 1
  2. 9
  3. 3
  4. 5

Correct answer: 2. The paragraph does not discuss how fiction writing necessarily caused these modern inventions to take place; it simply focuses on describing their similarities. Likewise, the passage doesn’t describe any effects of the writings on reality; it’s simply showing us how they’re oddly similar. Therefore, “Cause/Effect” is incorrect. Also, “Problem/Solution” is incorrect since there is no problem stated to be solved. “Spatial” is incorrect because the passage does not focus on the geography or locations. These facts are mentioned, but they’re mentioned as part of the main idea that they’re the same as in the past writings that predict their realities.

Question 4

The west wall of a square room has a length of 13 feet. What is the perimeter of the room, expressed in feet?

  1. There is not enough information
  2. 169
  3. 52
  4. 48

Correct answer: 3. A square has four sides of equal length. Perimeter is the total distance around an object. To find the perimeter of a square, follow the formula P = 4s, where P = perimeter and s = the length of a side of the square. In this case, P = 4 × 13 = 52 feet.

Question 5

What is the approximate length, in centimeters, of segment AB shown above?

  1.   9.5
  2.   8.5
  3.   2.5
  4.   11

Correct answer: 2. Segment AB begins approximately at the marking for 2.5 cm, and ends at approximately the marking for 11 cm. The difference between the ending and starting points yields the length of the segment: 11 – 2.5 = 8.5. Therefore, the approximate length, in centimeters, of segment AB is 8.5.

Question 6

What is the mean of the data: 15, 18, 19, 54, 74, 94, 67, 82, 48, 31, 15? 

  1. 52
  2. 47
  3. 40
  4. 42

Correct answer: 2. To calculate the arithmetic mean (or average) of a set of data, a total sum must be found for all of the data in the set and then that sum must be divided by the number of values in the set of data. In this set of data, the total is 517 and there are 11 values. The mean, therefore, is 517/11 = 47.

Question 7

What is the median of the data?

15, 18, 19, 54, 74, 94, 67, 82, 48, 31, 15

  1. 48
  2. 44
  3. 47
  4. 54

Correct answer: 1. The median of a set of data (with an odd number of values) is the middle value when data is ordered numerically. When the given data is reorganized from least to greatest, it is: 15, 15, 18, 19, 31, 48, 54, 67, 74, 82, 94. There are 11 values in this set of data. Therefore, the 6th value (with 5 values below it and 5 values above it) is the median. In this case, the 6th value is 48.

Question 8

A field trip to the planetarium is being planned. If each bus will hold 48 people, at least how many buses will be needed to transport 350 children and teachers?

  1. 8
  2. 7
  3. 7.29
  4. Not enough information given

Correct answer: 1. A bus can carry 48 people, and there are 350 people needing transportation. Therefore, 350 must be divided by 48 to see how many buses are needed. 350 ÷ 48 = 7.291666… However, 0.291666… buses is not possible and 7 buses would not be sufficient to transport all 350 people. Therefore, 7.291666… must be rounded up to 8, and 8 buses must be taken.

Question 9

When asked to solve ½ ÷ 2, Jon answered 1. How could a Paraprofessional present this problem to Jon so that he would better understand the problem and how to answer it?

  1. Tell Jon to think about having ½ a pizza. Ask him, “if he were to share the pizza equally with a friend, how much of the pizza would each of you get?”
  2. Have Jon draw a picture to represent ½ a pizza, then divide it into two equal parts. Ask him how much of the whole pizza each part represents.
  3. Have Jon draw a picture to illustrate his thought process to you.
  4. Tell Jon that he has answered the question, “What is ½ of 2?” Then have him rework the correct problem.

Correct answer: 2. This choice allows Jon to go to a pictorial representation of the problem; this will aid him in understanding what the problem is asking, as well as reinforce the strategy of drawing a picture or diagram as a valid problem-solving strategy.

Question 10

A Paraprofessional in a fifth-grade classroom is helping a student better understand equivalent fractions after an introductory lesson. Which of the following activities would be the most effective in helping the student understand the concept of equivalent fractions?

  1. Use pattern blocks to model fractions equivalent to ½ of the hexagon
  2. Compare pictures showing ½ of a variety of different objects
  3. Begin with the concept that 50¢ is ½ of $1; 25¢ is ½ of 50¢; 5¢ is ½ of 10¢
  4. Find as many fractions as possible equivalent to ½ in one minute

Correct answer: 1. Since this is an introductory activity, concrete, proportional manipulative materials like this should be used for concept development. It is important not to rush past this step and to use a variety of different materials to develop and reinforce understanding of this concept.

Writing Practice Questions and Answers

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

Question 1

Ronald’s lawyer was able to advice him₁ that she would not lose₂ the case and that she could prove whose fault₃ the car accident really was.  

Which part of the sentence above contains an error?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. No error

Correct answer: 1. The lawyer would “advise” Ronald, not “advice” him. Advise here is used as a verb, whereas “advice” is a noun.

Question 2

Which dessert should I choose₁? Last time I choose₂ chocolate cake and I was disappointed. This time I think I’ll choose₃ lemon pie.

Which part of the sentence contains a grammatical error?

  1. 2
  2. 3
  3. No error
  4. 1

Correct answer: 1. People commonly confuse the words choose and chose because they don’t follow the typical rule of using “-ed” for past tense. The present tense of choice is choose. It is a verb, an action word. The past tense is chose. “2” should be “chose” because the author has indicated past tense with the phrase last time.

Question 3

Caroline or her parents wants₁ to go to the film festival₂ in San Diego₃.

Which part of the sentence contains a grammatical error?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. No error
  4. 3

Correct answer: 1. This sentence has a compound subject with one singular noun (Caroline), and one plural noun (parents) joined by the word or. In this situation, the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is nearer to the verb. Therefore, the singular verb “wants” should be changed to “want” to agree with the plural subject “parents.”

Question 4

Allie’s science project₁ focused on how music would effect₂ plant growth; she found that classical music had the most positive effect₃.

Which part of the sentence contains an error?

  1. No error
  2. 3
  3. 1
  4. 2

Correct answer: 4. Affect and effect are commonly confused words. It helps to remember that affect is a verb and effect is a noun. Therefore, Allie studies how music will affect plant growth. What she discovers when her experiment is finished is the result, or the noun effect.

Question 5

The Browns₁ run a dairy farm and produced₂ milk, cheese, and yogurt to sell at the market₃.

Which part of the sentence contains a grammatical error?

  1. 2
  2. 1
  3. 3
  4. No error

Correct answer: 1. Tenses should not change, or shift, within a sentence unless a time change needs to be shown. In this sentence, the first verb “run” is in present tense, so the present tense verb “produce” should be used instead of the past tense verb “produced.”

Question 6

There₁ thinking about selling their₂ house; it’s the one with the red door over there₃.

Which part of the sentence contains an error?

  1. 2
  2. No error
  3. 1
  4. 3

Correct answer: 3. There, their, and there are commonly confused words. The sentence should begin with “they’re,” which is a contraction for they are.

Question 7

The playful₁ dog wagged its tail, ran hilarious₂ around the living room, and quickly lapped₃ up the cold water.

Which part of the sentence contains an error?

  1. 3
  2. 1
  3. No error
  4. 2

Correct answer: 4. “Hilarious” should be changed to “hilariously,” since the word is an adverb describing how the dog ran.

Question 8

My band has been rehearsing daily₁. Because we have a concert in two weeks₂. It is our first paid gig, so we are all looking forward to it₃.

Which part of the passage is a fragment?

  1. 2
  2. No error
  3. 3
  4. 1

Correct answer: 1. A sentence is a group of words that has a subject, a verb, and expresses a complete thought; a sentence fragment is a group of words that does not express a complete thought. The word “because” makes “2” a fragment. The corrected sentence would read, “My band has been rehearsing daily because we have a concert in two weeks.”

Question 9

During the writing process, fifth-grade students need to be enabled to organize information and build on ideas by choosing an appropriate organizational strategy which might include sequence of events, cause and effect, or compare and contrast. Which of the following best describes this practice?

  1. Publishing
  2. Editing
  3. Drafting
  4. Planning

Correct answer: 3. This is the correct answer. This is when students organize information and build on their ideas.

Question 10

After we witnessed₁ the crime, we were interesting₂ to know the outcome of the trial, so we read₃ the verdict in the newspaper. Which part of the sentence contains an error?


  1. 3
  2. 2
  3. No error
  4. 1

Correct answer: 2. This sentence is built upon past tense verbs. So, “we were interesting” should be changed to “we were interested.” Additionally, the adjective form of “interested” refers to the “we” speaking in this sentence—we were interested. “Interesting” would be referring to the thing that “we” are responding to, namely, an “interesting” trial. However, this is not the intended use of this adjective; here, “interested” is being used to describe “we.”

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