Core Academic Skills Assessment (CASA) Ultimate Test Guide 2018-11-09T22:58:15+00:00

Core Academic Skills Assessment (CASA): Ultimate Guide and Practice Test

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Core Academic Skills Assessment (CASA) Quick Facts

The Core Academic Skills Assessment (CASA) measures basic skills and knowledge in the three core areas of reading, math, and writing. You may need to take the CASA if you are seeking admittance to a teacher preparation program in Indiana and do not meet the alternative requirements (which can be viewed here).

Format:

Cost:

$114 (all 3 subtests)

$38 (each individual subtest)

Scoring:

You must score at least a 220 on each subtest to pass (score range: 100-300).

Pass rate:

The July 2013 to March 2014 passing rate for the CASA was 53%.

Study time:

To pass the test, there is no set time to study. It depends on the strengths and weaknesses of the participant in relation to the skills covered on the test. It is recommended to review the assessment blueprint here.

Next, plan a course of study by focusing on your weaknesses. The best way is to review the 240Tutoring materials.

What test-takers wish they would’ve known:

  • Test-takers tend to overestimate their abilities to perform well. Many students regret not putting more time and effort into preparing. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid this mistake by using test preparation materials.
  • When answering the multiple-choice questions, you should read all possible answers before marking the correct one. You don’t want to miss out on the best answer by not reading all of the responses!
  • Always check your answer before moving to the next question. Many test-takers are surprised by how they’re able to find overlooked errors in their work by using this strategy.

Information and screenshots obtained from the Indiana CORE Assessments for Educator Licensure website: https://www.in.nesinc.com/

CASA: Reading

Overview

You will have 75 minutes to answer 40 multiple-choice questions.

The Reading subtest can be neatly divided into four sections:

  • Meaning of Words and Phrases
  • Main Idea, Supporting Details, and Text Structure
  • Purpose and Point of View
  • Critical Reasoning

So, let’s start with Meaning of Words and Phrases.

Meaning of Words and Phrases

This section tests your knowledge on determining the meanings of words and phrases based on your prior knowledge, as well as how they relate to other aspects in the texts. The meanings of these words and phrases will be found using a variety of ways and not just by using context clues.

During the test, a question will ask you to determine the meaning of a word. Before you can define the word, you must decide the best method to use to determine that word’s meaning. Most of the time, people use context clues by looking at the other words in the sentence, but that may not always work. There may not be enough to make an accurate, educated guess. Instead, you may need to use other methods.

Take a look at the other methods for defining an unknown word:

  • Word structure involves breaking down a word and analyzing its parts to determine meaning. When presented with a word to define, look to see if the word has prefixes and suffixes. Use your knowledge of Greek and Latin roots to determine the meanings of these words.
  • Syntax is the order of words in a sentence. Due to the placement of certain words in a sentence, you can figure out the part of speech and then determine how it affects the word in question.
  • Word relationships include antonyms and synonyms. Sometimes an author will include an antonym or synonym in order for an unknown word to be easily understood.
  • Nuances are slight differences in words. For example, look at this sentence:

A livid child walked into the room.

This sentence does not exactly show how the child is walking in. A better word could be used. If the livid child plodded or trudged into the room, the reader may be able to decipher that the word livid means angry.

Finding the underlying meanings of words is expected, but you also may have to differentiate the meanings of words that have more than one definition. These multiple-meaning words can convey several different meanings, and they may be closely related. Using context clues may help identify which meaning is being used.

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

Figurative Language

Figurative language refers to expressions or phrases that usually carry a different meaning than their individual words. Typically, you see figurative language in poems and short stories. These may include similes, metaphors, personification, idioms, and hyperboles.

On the test, the question will most likely not ask you to identify which type of figurative language is included in a text. Rather, you will need to be able to choose its best meaning.

Finding comparisons between two objects must be done first when being asked to explain similes and metaphors. Depending on the depth of meaning in the text, determining the meaning may be easy or difficult.

In addition to similes and metaphors, it is important to know common idiomatic expressions.

Denotative versus Connotative

Similar to idioms, the meaning of connotative words sometimes cannot be figured out by using the words in the text. Instead, these words and phrases must be understood ahead of time.

For example, a frugal man is a positive expression used to call someone who saves their money. However, a cheap man would be an insult. If a connotative word is used near the beginning of the text, it may be difficult to determine the positive or negative connotative meaning behind it without reading the text in full.

Main Idea, Supporting Details, and Text Structure

This section tests your knowledge on how the details of a text relate to the main idea, theme, or text structure. The key details that pertain to these three elements must be analyzed in regard to their importance and relationship.

Comprehension skills are needed for this part of the test. Practicing with a variety of different types of text and genres will help you with identifying the main idea and supporting details.

Since text structures affect the main idea and details, it’s important to understand different text structures. Some of the informational text structures that you might see on the test include:

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

Central Ideas and Themes

On the test, you will answer the question, “What is the main idea of the text?” Determine what the text is all about and choose the best answer.

Let’s determine the difference between theme, central idea, and main idea. The central idea and the main idea of a text are almost the same. One slight difference would be that the central idea may not be as wordy as the main idea. The central idea may only be a few words while the main idea could be a full sentence. The theme is not necessarily what the text is about, but rather what should be learned from the text. Remember, nonfiction pieces have themes, too.

Supporting Ideas and Details

Questions about supporting details and ideas might include information about events, text structures, or any details in the text. Therefore, the questions could start with why, who, how, where, when, or any other question word.

Examples of supporting details and ideas in a nonfiction piece may include statistics, facts, and explanations about how the facts relate to the main idea.

Purpose and Point of View

This section tests your knowledge on identifying and analyzing the writer’s purpose and point of view.

A writer may state his/her purpose directly in the text, but most of the time, it is implied. This means that you, the reader, have to figure it out. For the author’s purpose, look at the types of sentences that are used. Is dialogue being included in this text? This signals that the text might be a short story which is meant to entertain the reader.

Regarding point of view, the author uses keywords. You can look for these keywords to identify the point of view.

Here are some things you may see on the test.

Author’s Purpose

There are several reasons why an author may write a text. These include:

Usually, a short story is written to entertain the reader whereas an advertisement or speech is written to persuade. A nonfiction piece is written to inform and a poem is written to express a feeling.

There are other words that a test question might use when asking for the purpose. These words may not be entertain, persuade, inform, and express. For instance, an answer choice may state that the author’s purpose is to explain the steps of the scientific method. The word explain is not one of the four main purposes; however, it does relate to inform.

Determining the genre of the text will help identify the author’s purpose. Genres are categories of literary works grouped together based on specific attributes (think historical nonfiction, fantasy, drama, etc.).

Point of View

There are two different types of point of view questions that could be asked on the CASA. The first one is to identify the point of view being used in the text. Below is a list of the different types of point of view.

Second person point of view is rarely used in a short story. If the question is asking for point of view to be identified, the text is most likely a fictional piece; however, both fiction and nonfiction texts could have questions asking about the author’s point of view. For this type of question, the author has expressed his or her feelings in the text (it should be obvious to the reader). He or she may dislike a character or a topic (in a nonfiction piece). The wording used by the author will help determine his or her point of view regarding that topic or character.

Critical Reasoning

This section tests your knowledge on analyzing text and using background knowledge to determine why certain things happen with the characters, events, setting, or facts. Usually, the information is not directly stated in the text; conclusions must be drawn.

Identifying the author’s claim or stance on an argument will allow you to break down the argument in parts. If the author is credible, there will be facts and statistics presented. Pinpointing these facts and statistics can help determine that the claim is credible and valid.

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

Cause and Effect

Cause and effect is the relationship between two events. The cause is an action that makes something else happen (the effect). Let’s say that your brother slammed a door and woke up the baby. The cause is your brother slammed the door. The effect is that the baby woke up because of it.

Cause and effect questions may begin with certain question starters. A cause question would most likely begin with why or for what reason. An effect question would begin with what happened after or what was the result of.

Making Inferences

An inference is figuring out missing information by using clues and hints from the passage. When trying to make an inference, a good question to ask yourself is, “What does the passage suggest?” An inference is a type of conclusion.

Make sure your inferences rely on the author’s words rather than your own feelings or experiences.

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

CASA Reading Practice Questions and Answers

Read the passage below; then answer the questions (1-3) that follow.

Willa Cather’s 1910 novel, O! Pioneers, follows a Swedish family of farmers in Nebraska. In this passage, John Bergson is dying and worries about what will become of his wife and young children. Alexandra is the oldest Bergson child.

Alexandra, her father often said to himself, was like her grandfather; which was his way of saying that she was intelligent. John Bergson’s father had been a shipbuilder, a man of considerable force and of some fortune. Late in life, he married a second time, a Stockholm woman of questionable character, much younger than he, who goaded him into every sort of extravagance. On the shipbuilder’s part, this marriage was an infatuation, the despairing folly of a powerful man who cannot bear to grow old. In a few years, his unprincipled wife warped the probity of a lifetime. He speculated, lost his own fortune and funds entrusted to him by poor seafaring men, and died disgraced, leaving his children nothing. But when all was said, he had come up from the sea himself, had built up a proud little business with no capital but his own skill and foresight, and had proved himself a man. In his daughter, John Bergson recognized the strength of will, and the simple direct way of thinking things out, that had characterized his father in his better days. He would much rather, of course, have seen this likeness in one of his sons, but it was not a question of choice. As he lay there day after day he had to accept the situation as it was and to be thankful that there was one among his children to whom he could entrust the future of his family and the possibilities of his hard-won land.

Question 1

Drawing upon John Bergson’s reflections of his father, one can infer that:

  1. John’s bitterness about his father’s financial losses still haunts him.
  2. John worries for the future of his family if his situation is left up to his sons, who lack the character of his father.
  3. John finds peace in remembering his father’s more enduring qualities as he sees them in Alexandra.
  4. John’s own disappointment in himself is evident, as he lacks the character of his own father.

Correct answer: 3. The tone of the passage is one of acceptance. John Bergson reflects on his father’s better qualities as he sees them displayed in his own daughter, and knowing that, he can “accept the situation” and “entrust the future” to her.

Question 2

All of the following details correctly support John Bergson’s sense of “acceptance” of his situation EXCEPT:

  1. John recalls the folly of his father’s second marriage.
  2. John remembers that his father had built his own business.
  3. John recognizes that Alexandra is like her grandfather.
  4. Alexandra has a simple, direct way of thinking things out.

Correct answer: 1. All other answer options correctly support Bergson’s positive feelings of acceptance. He finds peace in seeing the good qualities of his father being lived out in his daughter Alexandra.

Question 3

Which of the following words best defines the word “probity” as it is used in the passage?

  1. Corruption
  2. Integrity
  3. Fame
  4. Problems

Correct answer: 2“Integrity” is the best definition for probity in the passage. Looking closer at the sentence, Bergson’s father’s second wife was “unprincipled”, so she was a wife without character. And her unprincipled nature “warped”, or twisted the good character that his father had held onto for a “lifetime”.

Read the passage below; then answer the questions (4-5) that follow.

The following is an excerpt from a speech delivered by Frederick Douglass to the International Council of Women in Washington, D.C., April 1888 on the topic of Women’s Suffrage.

All good causes are mutually helpful. The benefits accruing from this movement for the equal rights of woman are not confined or limited to woman only. They will be shared by every effort to promote the progress and welfare of mankind everywhere and in all ages. It was an example and a prophecy of what can be accomplished against strongly opposing forces, against time-hallowed abuses, against deeply entrenched error, against worldwide usage, and against the settled judgment of mankind, by a few earnest women, clad only in the panoply of truth, and determined to live and die in what they considered a righteous cause.

Question 4

In the above passage, Douglass arrives at the logical conclusion that if women are given equal rights, then:

  1. women won’t have to die for the cause anymore.
  2. these few earnest women can have the satisfaction of knowing their effort was not in vain.
  3. many other good causes will benefit from this gain as well.
  4. a prophecy can come true.

Correct answer: 3. Douglass claims that “all good causes are mutually helpful”; in other words, by winning the cause of women’s rights, many other good causes will be won as well. Therefore, this is the best answer.

Question 5

The speaker would MOST likely agree with which of the following statements:

  1. the government should focus its efforts solely on Women’s Rights.
  2. we must work diligently to correct one need at a time.
  3. making a gain for one cause in human rights furthers the rights of all mankind.
  4. many abuses are solved simply by a few good people

Correct answer: 3. Douglass makes it clear that one advancement for society is an advancement for us all; human rights violations are all connected. Therefore, this is the best choice.

Read the passage below; then answer the questions (6-7) that follow.

Shipping containers are used to haul cargo on ships, trains, and trucks. Because these trips can be rough, the containers are used for only about five to 10 years. Then they usually end up in a junkyard or landfill. However, these containers are durable, lightweight, and of relatively low cost, so entrepreneurs and artists are finding ways to repurpose them.

Question 6

After reading this selection, what information will most likely come next?

  1. Detailed information on the structural components of shipping containers
  2. Other durable, cost-effective ways to store and transport materials
  3. The numerous ways shipping containers can be reused
  4. The various methods we use to transport material and products around the globe

Correct answer: 3. The above paragraph discusses shipping containers, and narrows in on how, because of their short life-span on the shipping yards, they quickly accumulate in landfills. Now, however, people are finding some interesting and creative ways to reuse these containers for purposes beyond what they were initially intended for. Thus, this is correct.

Question 7

It can be inferred from the paragraph that “entrepreneurs and artists are finding ways to repurpose [shipping containers]” because:

  1. companies are no longer using these kinds of containers to ship their products.
  2. it is an environmentally friendly way to keep them from piling up in landfills.
  3. these containers are part of our cultural heritage and are interesting to study.
  4. it is a lucrative way to start a business or receive notoriety as an artist.

Correct answer: 2. This is the best answer because the paragraph connects the idea of the junkyards and landfills piled high with old containers with the idea of artists and entrepreneurs taking the old containers and reusing them. This connection infers that it was a choice inspired by their desire to be eco-friendly and spare the junkyards and landfills from being overloaded with used containers that take up space and could easily be used for something else.

Read the passage below; then answer the questions (8-10) that follow.

Have you ever seen a homeless person? Chances are, you have. Homelessness is an issue that has become an epidemic, affecting people of every age and in every country. This issue is especially evident in societies where people live a hand-to-mouth existence, living from paycheck to paycheck. If you walk down the street in many big cities in the United States, you might notice people sleeping on the sidewalk or begging for food or money. These individuals are very visible to passersby, and it is difficult to ignore them.

However, there are also homeless people who do not sleep on the streets. They are not as visible to the public eye, but they are also homeless. These people often spend their nights sleeping in shelters, which provide food, rooms, and often a variety of social services (like daycare). We might not see these people on the streets, but it does not mean that they aren’t suffering.

Question 8

Which of the following statements best expresses the main idea of paragraph 1 of the selection?

  1. Homelessness is a serious issue
  2. People should take action to solve the problem of homelessness
  3. Homelessness happens only in the United States
  4. The problem of homelessness can be solved

Correct answer: 1. This is correct because the author makes it clear that “homelessness is a serious issue” by calling it an epidemic, and by mentioning how widespread it is.

Question 9

Which of the following is the best definition of the expression hand-to-mouth as it is used in line 3 of the selection?

  1. Spending too much money on food
  2. Having nothing to spare
  3. Eating more than they should
  4. Having more than necessary

Correct answer: 2“Having nothing to spare” is correct. The author uses the phrase “living from paycheck to paycheck” as a context clue to help the reader understand the colloquial expression.



Question 10

The author uses the question “Have you ever seen a homeless person?” to begin the selection in order to:

  1. connect with the reader on a topic he assumes they are familiar with.
  2. establish the author’s position on homelessness.
  3. challenge preconceived ideas about homelessness.
  4. prompt readers to take a specific action.

Correct answer: 1. This is correct. By opening with a rhetorical question, the author directly addresses the reader, simultaneously engaging the reader and introducing the topic of the selection. The next line of the passage, “chances are, you have,” provides a response to his question.

Getting the Help You Need

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CASA: Mathematics

Overview

You will have 75 minutes to answer 40 multiple-choice questions.

The Mathematics subtest can be neatly divided into four sections:

  • Number and Quantity
  • Algebra and Functions
  • Measurement and Geometry
  • Statistics and Probability

So, let’s start with Number and Quantity.

Number and Quantity

This section tests your knowledge on knowing values of integers, fractions, decimals, and powers and comparing them to each other. Also, these questions will require you to do the following:

  • place numbers on number lines
  • solve word problems
  • find a common factor for a set of numbers

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

Rational and Irrational Numbers

Rational numbers are numbers that can be made by dividing two integers.

Irrational numbers are numbers that cannot be written as a fraction. Below are examples of both rational and irrational numbers.

You will be required to determine where a certain number should be placed on a number line (like the one below). Both rational and irrational numbers will be included in the question.

Order of Operations

The order of operations, or PEMDAS, P-E-MD-AS, is simply the process you follow to simplify and work an equation.

Let me give you an example. If you have an equation like this:

2(7 – 3) + 3(9 + 4)2

You have to work the problem according to a specific order, the order of operations.

In this particular example, you would first solve for the parentheses, then you would solve for the exponents. Then going left to right, you do either multiplication or division, then you would add or subtract in the same order (from left to right).

So that’s why we group the M and the D and the A and the S together.

Factors

Sets of numbers that can be multiplied together to get another number are called factors. For example, the factors of 25 are 1, 5, and 25:

1 x 25 = 25

5 x 5 = 25

Make sure you brush up on your multiplication facts!

You may be asked to find the “common factors” of two numbers. Find the factors of each number, then see what numbers they have in common.

Algebra and Functions

This section tests your knowledge on solving algebraic expressions, equations, and inequalities, using a variety of techniques and problem-solving approaches.

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

Solving for x

Solving for x is pretty straightforward. The test will give you an equation and then you have to solve for x. So, the test will give you an equation like:

4×2 – 4(3 + 2) = 16

And in this equation, we would just need to balance the equation for x, so you would simplify it as much as you can, balance the equation, and you’d find that x equals three.

4×2 – 4(5) = 16

4×2 – 20 = 16

4×2 = 36

x2 = 9

x = 3

Now, take note. You are more than likely going to be presented with a real-world word problem. Be able to take what you need from the problem, build the equation, and solve for x.

You are also going to have to solve inequalities. Solving inequality statements in one variable, such as 3/4x – 9 > 21, is much the same as solving equations like those addressed above.

The only major differences are that:

  1. the direction of the inequality sign will change after some operations are performed
  2. a finished final answer generally requires the variable to be written on the left
  3. the solution set is often presented on a number line.

Equivalent Expressions

Some expressions may look different but are actually the same. Take a look at this:

These expressions certainly look different, but they are actually the same.

On the test, you may be asked to find an equivalent expression for a given expression.

Independent and Dependent Variables

Variables are identified as either independent or dependent depending on how they are used in an equation. An independent variable is a variable whose value does not depend on anything else. It’s value is set.

A dependent variable’s value depends on the values chosen for the other variables in the equation.

Look at the following equation:

The independent variables are x and y (set values). The dependent variable is z (the values of x and y must be determined in order to solve for z).

Measurement and Geometry

This section tests your knowledge on using formulas to calculate the area, surface area, and volume of different shapes. You will also solve problems involving the coordinate plane, angles, congruence, and the Pythagorean Theorem.

Here are some specific things you may see on the test.

Circumference and Area of a Circle

Circumference is the distance around a circle. The formula for circumference is:

C= 2πr

Remember, r stands for radius. If you are given the diameter of the circle, just divide it in half to find the radius.

Area is the size of a surface. The formula for the area of a circle is:

A = πr2

Be ready. A test question may ask you to determine the circumference or area of a circle within a multi-step word problem.

Angles

Here are some words you need to know about angles:

Remember, the interior (inside) angles of a triangle will always add up to 180 degrees.

Pythagorean Theorem

The Pythagorean Theorem is used to find any length of a side of a right triangle (if you know the other two sides).

The equation of the Pythagorean Theorem is:

a2 + b2= c2

Where A and B are the two sides of the right triangle and C is the hypotenuse of the triangle.

Here is an example of a question you may see on the test:

In this example, dividing the square in half diagonally creates two triangles. We know the length of two sides of the triangle (6 feet). Now we can use the Pythagorean Theorem to calculate the hypotenuse of the triangle:

62 + 62 = c2

So, the length of the divider needs to be about 8.49 feet long.

Statistics and Probability

This section tests your knowledge on interpreting and analyzing data and determining the likelihood of an event happening.

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

Measures of Center

The measures of center include mean, median, and mode. Let’s define each:

  • mean- the average value
  • median- the middle value
  • mode- the value that appears most often

So, on the test, you will be given a set of numbers and asked to find either the

mean, median, or mode. When finding the median or mode, you will need to order the numbers from least to greatest.

 Probability

Probability is defined as the likelihood of an event occurring. Probability is the number of successful outcomes possible to the total number of outcomes possible.

Look at these examples.

If a six-sided dice is rolled, what is the probability of landing on any one of the sides? The answer, of course, is one in six.

The next question you might get is: Billy flipped a coin 10 times. The coin landed on heads seven times, and the coin landed on tails three times. What is the probability of the coin landing on tails on the next flip?

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

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

Remember, the interior (inside) angles of a triangle will always add up to 180 degrees.

Pythagorean Theorem

The Pythagorean Theorem is used to find any length of a side of a right triangle (if you know the other two sides).

The equation of the Pythagorean Theorem is:

a2 + b2= c2

Where A and B are the two sides of the right triangle and C is the hypotenuse of the triangle.

Here is an example of a question you may see on the test:

In this example, dividing the square in half diagonally creates two triangles. We know the length of two sides of the triangle (6 feet). Now we can use the Pythagorean Theorem to calculate the hypotenuse of the triangle:

62 + 62 = c2

So, the length of the divider needs to be about 8.49 feet long.

CASA Mathematics Practice Questions and Answers

Question 1

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

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

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 2

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 3

Solve the following equation and present your answer in fully-reduced fraction form:

3(4x – 5) + 8 = 9(2x – 1)

  1. 1/3
  2. -23/6
  3. -8/3
  4. -1/15

Correct answer: 1. The first step in solving this equation is to simplify each side completely. The first step of simplification requires distributing into each set of parentheses to get 12x – 15 + 8 = 18x – 9. Next, like terms on each side are combined to the extent possible to get 12x – 7 = 18x – 9. Finally, solving can begin. While several steps would be valid at this point, the smaller variable part is often moved to join the larger and so 12x can be subtracted from each side to get -7 = 6x – 9. Now, the variable can be isolated by adding 9 to each side (2 = 6x) and dividing by the coefficient of x, 6, on each side. The resulting solution, 2/6 = x should be reduced completely by the common factor of 2 in the numerator and denominator of the fraction, yielding the best answer: 1/3.

Question 4

Marty gets an allowance of $5 each week from his parents. He also can earn extra money by doing additional chores outside of his usual household responsibilities for $1.50 per chore. He has been working on saving his money to buy a new game and thinks he will be close this week. If he would like to get at least $20 from his parents at the end of the week, what is the minimum number of additional chores Marty needs to complete?

  1. 10
  2. 14
  3. 13
  4. 17

Correct answer: 1. Let c = number of additional chores Marty must complete. Because Marty will earn $1.50 for each chore, the expression 1.5c represents the money Marty will earn from doing c additional chores. Marty gets $5 each week automatically from his parents, so the expression 5 + 1.5c represents the total amount of money that Marty can get from his parents at the end of the week. Marty wants to have at least $20, and so 5 + 1.5c ≥ 20 expresses Marty’s goal of attaining at least $20. To solve this inequality statement, subtract 5 on each side to get 1.5c ≥ 15. Then, divide both sides of the inequality statement by 1.5 in order to isolate c. Neither of these steps require a change in direction of the inequality symbol because neither one is multiplication or division by a negative number. The final result, therefore, is c ≥ 10, indicating that Marty must complete at least 10 additional chores over the course of the week in order to get at least $20 from his parents at week’s end.

Question 5

The inequality statement, 9x – 8 > 24 – 7x, can be fully simplified to which expression?

  1. x > 2
  2. x < 2
  3. x < 16
  4. x > 16

Correct answer: 1. Simplification of the expression 9x – 8 > 24 – 7x can begin in multiple ways, but the simplest is to add 7x to each side. Adding a quantity never causes a change in direction of the inequality sign, so the resulting statement is 16x – 8 > 24. Next, 8 can be added to each side of the problem, resulting in 16x > 32. Finally, x will be isolated when 16 is divided from each side. Division by a positive number does not result in a change in the direction of the inequality sign, and so the final answer is x > 2.

Question 6

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. 23
  3. 41
  4. 128

Correct answer: 3. 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 7

A pole broke 15 feet from its base. The base remains perpendicular to the ground. The break was not complete, however, so the top portion of the pole extends to the ground while still remaining attached to its base, as shown in the diagram above. The top portion of the pole hits the ground 8 feet from the place where the base of the pole enters the ground. How tall, in feet, was the pole before it broke?

  1. 25
  2. 17
  3. 32
  4. 23

Correct answer: 3. Because the pole is perpendicular to the ground, the pieces of the pole form one leg and the hypotenuse of a right triangle. The space on the ground between the base of the pole and the (former) top of the pole is the other leg of the right triangle. The two legs of the right triangle, then, are 15 feet and 8 feet. Therefore, the length of the top portion of the pole is the length of the hypotenuse of the right triangle and can be found using the Pythagorean Theorem. The Pythagorean Theorem states that the sum of the squares of the legs of a right triangle will equal the square of the hypotenuse of that triangle. The formula for the Pythagorean Theorem is written a² + b² = c², where a and b are the leg lengths and c is the length of the hypotenuse. In this case, then, the equation to solve is 8² + 15² = c². Following the order of operations correctly makes the equation 64 + 225 = c², and then 289 = c². The equation is solved for c by taking the square root of each side and using only the positive version of the square root of 289, which is 17. [Also note that “8, 15, 17” is a Pythagorean Triple, and so the missing side could have been found without actually making the calculations for the Pythagorean Theorem.] Because the top portion of the pole has a length of 17 feet, the total height of the pole before it broke would have been the 15-foot portion still in the ground, plus the additional 17 feet, or 15 + 17 = 32 feet.

Question 8

A change purse contains 4 pennies, 3 nickels, 2 dimes, and the rest of the coins are quarters. If a person has a 1/3 probability of selecting a penny when randomly selecting a coin from the change purse, how many quarters are there?

  1. 3
  2. 12
  3. 2
  4. 4

Correct answer: 1. Because drawing a penny when randomly selecting a coin from the change purse has a probability of 1/3, the 4 pennies known to be in the change purse must represent one-third of the total number of coins in the change purse. Because 1/3 = 4/x is solved by cross-multiplication to get 1x = 12, there must be 12 coins in the change purse. The change purse contains 4 + 3 + 2 = 9 coins that are not quarters. The difference between the total number of coins and the number of coins that are not quarters, 12 – 9, must be equal to the number of quarters in the change purse. Therefore, there are 3 quarters in the change purse.

Question 9

The dot plot above shows the shoe size of the 25 students in Ms. Redmond’s kindergarten class. What is the median of these shoe sizes? (View attachment for larger image)

  1. 11
  2. 13
  3. 10.5
  4. 9

Correct answer: 3. The median of a set of data is the middle value (in a data set that contains an odd number of pieces of data) when the data is ordered. The dot plot given in the prompt shows the data of the students’ shoe sizes organized from least (size 9) to greatest (size 13). Each dot represents a single student with that size shoe. With 25 pieces of data, the 13th piece of data is the median (with 12 values that are smaller than or equal to it, and 12 values that are greater than or equal to it). In this case, the 13th piece of data is in the column for size 10.5, and so the median of the set is 10.5.



Question 10

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

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

Correct answer: 3. 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.

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CASA: Writing

Overview

You will have 105 minutes to answer 42 multiple-choice questions and 1 constructed-response question.

The Writing subtest can be neatly divided into four sections:

  • Clear and Coherent Writing
  • Strong and Developed Writing
  • Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics
  • Writing Assignment

So, let’s start with Clear and Coherent Writing.

Clear and Coherent Writing

This section tests your ability to recognize well-crafted sentences that are clear, focused, and in logical order.

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

Topic Sentences

The topic sentence in a body paragraph of an essay describes the main idea of that paragraph. This is usually the first sentence of a paragraph. Topic sentences should be written so that they transition smoothly from the last paragraph to the current paragraph. The supporting details should remain supportive of the topic sentence.

On the test, you will be asked to choose a topic sentence after reading a list of supporting details. The best way to practice this is to read paragraphs that have a strong topic sentence; then determine how the supporting details support the main idea in the topic sentence.

Text Organization

Text organization, or text structure, is how the information in a piece of text is organized or put together. Knowing how a text is organized can help you understand its purpose and main idea better. Here are the most common ways a piece of text can be organized or structured:

Strong and Developed Writing

This section tests your ability to edit and revise sentences through strengthening ideas, improving parallel structure, cutting out extra information, adding precise language, and eliminating wordiness, redundancy, shifts in point of view, and misplaced modifiers.

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

Misplaced or Dangling Modifiers

A misplaced modifier is usually an adjective, adverb, or phrase that is in the wrong place in the sentence. When read aloud, the sentence may sound funny, because the modifier is not near the word it modifies. Here is an example:

In this sentence, the phrase with the pink purse is misplaced. The young girl is the owner of the pink purse, but the arrangement of this sentence leads you to believe it is the brother who has the pink purse. Let’s fix this sentence:

The young girl, with the pink purse, met her brother.

Now it is clear who the pink purse belongs to.

A dangling modifier is a phrase or word that has been added to a sentence, but it stands out because it either doesn’t belong there or there is not enough information to understand why that information is there. Unlike a misplaced modifier, a dangling modifier cannot simply be moved to correct the problem. It usually has to be reworded or eliminated.

Parallel Structure

Very simply, parallel structure means that you use the same grammatical form within a sentence.

Let’s look at an example of a sentence without parallel structure:

Caroline enjoys dancing, the playground, and to take long walks.

Now, look at the same sentence but with parallel structure:

Caroline enjoys dancing, going to the playground, and taking long walks.

See how all the verbs end in –ing? That’s parallelism!

Again, these are simple sentences. Expect to see more detailed, complex sentences on the exam.

Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics

This section tests your knowledge about the use of parts of speech including verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions. You also need to know basic capitalization, punctuation, and spelling rules.      

Here are some specific things you may see on the test.

Parts of Speech

You need to know how to correctly use each part of speech. Below is a list of the parts of speech that will be on the test:

On the test, you may have to correct a word that is being misused. A word may be used as a verb when it should be used as a different part of speech. You will have to identify the error, then fix it.

Subject-Verb Agreement

In sentences, subjects and verbs must agree in number. This means that if a subject is singular, its verb also needs to be singular. If the subject is plural, then its verb must also be plural. Let’s look at a sentence with incorrect subject-verb agreement:

Emily are at the pool.

The subject, Emily, is singular. Emily is one girl. The verb, are, is plural. Let’s fix this sentence:

Emily is at the pool.

Now, the subject and verb are both in singular form. They agree.

The trick to making sure your subjects and verbs agree is knowing the singular and plural forms of subjects and verbs. There are some rules that are helpful to know.

Commonly Misspelled Words

Here is a list of some commonly misspelled words:

  • referred
  • believe
  • height
  • parallel
  • preferable
  • vacuum
  • separate
  • definitely
  • fourth
  • embarrass
  • maneuver
  • maintenance

You should memorize the most commonly misspelled words. All spelling rules have exceptions, and these words usually fall under that category (hence why they are commonly misspelled).

Writing Assignment

This section tests your ability to write an argumentative essay. While following the guidelines, you will need to clearly present your claim based on a given prompt. You will need to include supporting reasons and evidence from the two given pieces of text. Both texts should be used.

Your essay should contain an introduction, body, and conclusion. Make sure to follow standard conventions of English. More information about the written assignment can be found here.

Here is some key information about the written assignment:

The constructed-response will be graded based on the following criteria:

Some prompts may involve current educational issues like school reform, healthy lunches, school shootings, and lack of school resources. You will be provided two passages with opposing viewpoints about the topic. It is recommended that you use information from both passages as support for your response.

Below are key ways to prepare for the constructed-response portion:

And that’s some basic info about the Writing subtest.

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

CASA Writing Practice Questions and Answers

Read the passage below; then answer the questions (1-5) that follow.

Sports are a wonderful means for mankind to exercise one of it’s most basic principles: competition with our fellow man. Surrounding all types of sports is the concept of sportsmanship – the respect and ethical behavior shown to all participants of a contest. The spirit of the game, in many cases, is more important than the outcome of the match; a true competitor understands₃ this. This is why many of our most beloved athletes are not always the most talented performers—it is the players who play with the purest motive, for the sake of the team, and with respect for all opponents, who gain the respect and admiration of the fans.

There are greater lessons to be learned from sports than being well liked by fans. Sports, and by extension, the athletes who play them, extend beyond cultural differences; surely styles of play can vary between countries and regions, but in general, sports are played the same everywhere. Similarly, fans of a sport are able to appreciate incredible athletic feats or displays of true sportsmanship regardless of the player. Simply put, in a day and age when settling cultural differences is of utmost importance, sports are a reasonably viable way to bring the world closer together.

Lastly, international events such as the Olympic Games or World Cup are perfect opportunities to show the world that international cooperation and peace are possible. Sports can and should be used as instruments of change in an uncertain world. They can also be proponents of peace.

The Olympic Creed says it best: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.”

Question 1

Which transition would best connect the mention of sportsmanship in paragraph one to the first sentence of paragraph two?

  1. For example
  2. In other words
  3. However
  4. Therefore

Correct answer: 3. “Therefore” is incorrect because it is used when authors provide a conclusion to an argument. “In other words” is incorrect because it suggests that the author is simply restating details in a different way. “For example” is incorrect because it would be used to provide a piece of evidence that supports previously stated ideas.

Question 2

The passage above discusses the importance of sports. Select the best evidence from the passage to support the author’s belief that sports can connect different cultures.

  1. “There are greater lessons to be learned from sports than being well-liked by fans”
  2. “The spirit of the game, in many cases, is more important than the outcome of the match”
  3. “Sports are a reasonably viable way to bring the world closer together”
  4. “The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well”

Correct answer: 3. “Sports are a reasonably viable way to bring the world closer together” is correct. It best supports the statement because bringing the world closer together would require the connection of cultures.

Question 3

Which of the following sentences would be the most effective thesis statement for the passage?

  1. While many people see sports as merely exercise, sports actually serve many purposes: the creation of competition, the education of sportsmanship, and the connection of cultures
  2. Sports are a valuable activity for many reasons
  3. In this essay, I will show why sports are important to society
  4. Statistics show that countries who compete in the Olympics are 30% more likely to see value in an opposing culture’s viewpoint

Correct answer: 1. “While many people…” is correct because it is an arguable claim that informs the reader about the author’s position on the value of sports.

Question 4

Which of the following is the most effective way to revise and combine the following sentences from paragraph three? “Sports can and should be used as instruments of change in an uncertain world. They can also be proponents of peace.”

  1. Sports can and should be used as instruments of change in an uncertain world, and they can also be proponents of peace
  2. No correction is necessary
  3. Sports can and should be used as instruments of change in an uncertain world; they can also be proponents of peace
  4. Sports can and should be used as instruments of change and proponents of peace in an uncertain world

Correct answer: 4.

Question 5

Which underlined part of the passage contains a grammatical error?

  1. No error
  2. 1 (it’s)
  3. 2 (is)
  4. 3 (understands)

Correct answer: 2.

Read the passage below; then answer the questions (6-9) that follow.

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) The researchers studied 699 drivers. (5) Who were in an automobile accident 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 6

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

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

Correct answer: 3. The majority of the paragraph focuses on research connected with cell phone usage while driving.

Question 7

Which of the following is the best revision for clarifying sentences 4 and 5?

  1. The researchers studied 699 drivers, but they were using their cellular phones.
  2. The researchers studied 699 drivers. Who were in an automobile accident while they were using their cellular phones?
  3. The researchers studied 699 drivers who were in an automobile accident while they were using their cellular phones.
  4. Of the 699 drivers, who were in an automobile accident while using their cellular phone?

Correct answer: 3. “The researchers studied 699 drivers who were in…” is correct because it includes all necessary information and combines the two thoughts together correctly.

Question 8

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

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

Correct answer: 1. 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 9

Which one of the following sentences should be removed in order to have continuity in point of view?

  1. Sentence 7
  2. Sentence 6
  3. Sentence 3
  4. Sentence 1

Correct answer: 3.

Question 10

Last week, Felicity went₁ to the store, but she should have went₂ yesterday since the same store was having₃ a sale on the items she purchased.

Which part of the sentence contains an error?

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

Correct answer: 2. Although “have went” is in the past tense, which correctly reflects the main past tense verb “went,” the past participle should be written “have gone”.

Getting the Help You Need

Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry! We have you covered.

Go to 240tutoring.com and sign up for our CASA study guide.

It comes with a 48 hour no questions asked refund policy, so if you don’t like it, you can request a full refund within 48 hours.

Also, it comes with the 240Tutoring Guarantee. If you score a 90% or higher on our practice test but fail the real exam, you’re entitled to a money-back refund.

Get the Study Guide
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