Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) Ultimate Guide 2018-11-15T21:44:32+00:00

Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA)

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Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) Test Overview

Quick Facts

Subtest I: Reading Comprehension and Analysis

Subtest II: Writing Knowledge and Proficiency

Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) Quick Facts

Overview:

The Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) evaluates communication and literacy skills required of educators in Virginia.

Format:

The VCLA is comprised of 2 subtests-a reading subtest and a writing subtest. The reading subtest is composed of approximately 40 multiple-choice questions. The writing subtest includes approximately 40 multiple-choice questions, 3 short-answer items, 1 written summary, and 1 written composition. The testing period is 4 hours.

Cost:

A single subtest costs $40. Both subtests cost $80. The registration processing fee is $50.

Scoring:

For both the reading and writing subtests, scores are given in a range from 100 to 300, based on performance of all components of the subtests. The passing score for a single subtest is 235. The passing score for both subtests is 470.

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.

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 Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment website: https://www.va.nesinc.com/

Subtest I: Reading Comprehension and Analysis

Overview

The Reading Comprehension and Analysis Subtest has 40 multiple-choice items.

This subtest has 5 competencies:

  • Meaning of Words and Phrases
  • Main Idea and Supporting Details
  • Relationship Among Ideas
  • Critical-Reasoning Skills
  • Summaries, Outlines, and Visual Representations

       

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

Meaning of Words and Phrases

For this section, you need to be able to use context clues to determine the meaning of unknown words and phrases, as well as identify synonyms and antonyms for given words.

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

Context Clues

Context clues are parts of the passage that can help you figure out what a word or phrase means. You can use what you do know about the passage, specifically the rest of the sentence that the unknown word is part of, to decide what the word means.

For example, a sentence may read:

“His grandfather pushed his spectacles up his nose as he read the article.”

You can determine that spectacles is another word for glasses. The context clues are “pushed up his nose” and “as he read the article.” Glasses are worn on the nose and often used while reading.

Synonyms and Antonyms

A synonym is a word that has the same meaning as another word.

For example, scared and afraid are synonyms because both words mean the same thing.

An antonym is a word that has the opposite meaning of another word.

For example, rough and smooth are antonyms, because the words have opposite meanings.

Main Idea and Supporting Details

For this section, you need to be able to identify and analyze the main idea of a

paragraph or passage.

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

Main Idea

The main idea is what the piece of text is mostly about. It is the big idea of a passage, or the “point” of what you are reading.

To find the main idea, think about what the text is mostly about. Authors often make the main idea clear in the introduction of a passage. A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph that summarizes the main idea. You can also look for keywords or phrases that repeat. Determine what the details (small pieces of information) relate to or support.

It is important to know the main idea of what you are reading to set your purpose. Determining the main idea of a piece of text helps you understand what you can learn or gain from reading it.

Author’s Purpose

The author’s purpose is the reason why he or she writes a piece of text. Authors write to entertain, inform, or persuade an audience.

To determine the author’s purpose, think about what the author is trying to accomplish.

To entertain: The author delivers enjoyment to the reader.

To inform: The author teaches or provides information about a topic.

To persuade: The author tries to convince the reader to feel or think a certain way.

The author’s purpose may be clearly stated in the text, or it may be implied by the reader.

Relationship Among Ideas

For this section, you need to understand cause-and-effect and pro and con relationships. You’ll also need to be able to draw conclusions after reading a passage.

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

Cause-and-Effect

Cause-and-effect is the relationship between what happened (effect) and why it happened (cause) in a specific situation.

Let’s apply this to a scenario. Ella had a cavity, because she didn’t brush her teeth carefully. The poor teeth brushing resulted in the cavity. Therefore, poor teeth brushing is the cause in this situation and the cavity is the effect.

You may be asked to identify or determine the cause and/or effect in different situations that appear in passages you read on your exam.

Drawing Conclusions

Drawing conclusions is making meaning of text based on what is actually written and what must be implied by the reader. Think about what you read in the text and what you already know about the topic to make a decision about the text. You may be asked to interpret the author’s point or message in the text that he or she wrote.

Critical-Reasoning Skills

For this section, you’ll need to think critically about a passage to evaluate the writer’s point of view, validity, and arguments.

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

Fact versus Opinion

A fact is a piece of information about a topic that can be proven.

An opinion is a statement that expresses what someone thinks or how someone feels about a topic.

For example, “lions and tigers are mammals” is a fact. “Lions and tigers should not be taken from their natural habitats to live in zoos” is an opinion.

You may be asked to determine if a piece of information in your text is a fact or an opinion.

Author’s Point of View

Point of view is the lens through which the author chooses to write.

First person point of view means the author chooses to write directly as his or herself. The pronouns “I” and “we” are used.

Second person point of view means the author chooses to write directly to an audience. The pronoun “you” is used.

Third person point of view means the author chooses to write from an outside view. The pronouns “he”, “she”, “it”, and “they” are used, along with character names.

It is important to establish the author’s point of view, because it can help you determine the author’s thinking or feeling about a topic.

You may be asked to identify the author’s point of view in a passage and how it relates to his or her purpose.

Summaries, Outlines, and Visual Representations

For this section, you need to be able to pick out a summary or outline of a passage and understand and analyze charts, graphs, and tables.

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

Summary

A summary is a concise statement that establishes the central purpose of a text. A summary includes the main ideas from all parts of a passage, but does not focus on details.

To identify an accurate summary, determine if the statement covers what the entire passage is mostly about. If the statement focuses on details or only covers a portion of the passage, it is not an accurate summary.

Graphic Organizers

A graphic organizer is a visual representation of the relationship between different types of information. Graphic organizers display information in a visual way.

You may be asked to interpret the information provided in a graphic organizer, or determine how to accurately represent information using an appropriate tool.

  

And that’s some basic info about Subtest I: Reading Comprehension and Analysis.

Subtest II: Writing Knowledge and Proficiency

Overview

The Writing Knowledge and Proficiency Subtest has 40 multiple-choice items, 3 short-answer items, and 2 writing assignments.

This subtest has 9 competencies:

  • Purpose and Audience
  • Unity, Focus, and Development
  • Principles of Organization
  • Sentence and Paragraph Construction
  • Usage
  • Mechanical Conventions
  • Sentence Revision
  • Writing a Summary
  • Writing a Composition

       

So, let’s start with Purpose and Audience.

Purpose and Audience

For this section, you need to be able to identify the purpose of a piece of text and revise writing for various audiences.

Let’s discuss a concept that will more than likely appear on the test.

Identifying Audience

To identify the intended audience for a passage, think about for whom the author wrote it. For example, the intended audience of a campaign speech would probably be the voting constituents of that community. Or, a persuasive letter about restoring a historical building would be written for those affiliated with making the decision about the building’s future.

Unity, Focus, and Development

For this section, you need to understand what unity, focus, and development are in writing. You will have to revise sentences or paragraphs to improve the unity, focus, or development of the writing.

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

Unity

Unity in writing means the essay stays focused on the topic. All included details support or relate to the main idea. They do not seem random or off-topic. If a sentence or portion of the writing is not focused on the topic, find a way to make it relate. Remove the off-topic words or ideas and replace them with ones that support the main topic.  

Focus

Focus in writing means the purpose of the writing is clear and remains clear throughout the passage. You can identify an off-topic statement if it does not relate to or support the central idea of the text.

Principles of Organization

For this section, you need to know how to order sentences and paragraphs to create an organized piece of text, as well as effectively use transition words to move from one idea to the next.

Take a look at some things that could come up on the test.

Transitional Words

Transitional words or phrases connect one idea to another in a logical order in writing. They help the reader move smoothly through the writing piece. They keep the ideas in the writing from sounding disjointed or unrelated. Some examples to use or look for are in addition, such as, for example, as stated above, in conclusion, etc.

Sequence of Ideas

Writing should flow in a logical order. You can use transitional words or phrases to help your writing sound fluid and not choppy. You may be asked to identify a transitional word or phrase that would be appropriate to use in a particular place in the text. You may also be asked to rearrange sentences or portions of the passage into an order that makes more sense to a reader.

Sentences and Paragraph Construction

For this section, you need to know what topic sentences are, as well as how to eliminate unnecessary information and correct fragments and run-ons.

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

Topic Sentences

A topic sentence is a sentence that makes the main idea of a paragraph clear. Topic sentences are written at the beginning of each new paragraph. They open a new section of writing and make that section’s purpose apparent.

Example: The right to vote is a cornerstone of American citizenship.

Every sentence of the paragraph that follows this topic sentence should support this idea.

Sentence Fragments

A sentence fragment is a group of words that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. A complete sentence must include a subject (naming part) and predicate (telling part).

Incorrect example: Some of the students at school.

This only includes a subject.

Incorrect example: Enjoyed the Veteran’s Day assembly.

This only includes a predicate.

Correct example: Some of the students at school enjoyed the Veteran’s Day assembly.

This includes both a subject and a predicate.

You may be asked to identify a sentence fragment that is missing either a subject or predicate.

Usage

For this section, you need to understand the relationships between parts of speech, as well as be able to recognize commonly misused words.

Take a look at some things that could come up on the test.

Subject-Verb Agreement

The subject of a sentence is who or what the sentence is about. The verb is the action, or what happens, in the sentence. Subject-verb agreement means if the subject is singular (one) the verb is also singular, and if the subject is plural (more than one) the verb is also plural.

Incorrect Subject-Verb Agreement: The pig walk.

Correct Subject-Verb Agreement: The pig walks.

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. For example, I, we, he, she, it, they, and you are all examples of pronouns. An antecedent is a word that comes before a pronoun in a piece of writing. For pronouns and antecedents to agree, they must match in number.

Incorrect Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement: The team worked hard at practice. He won the championship game.

Correct Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement: The team worked hard at practice. They won the championship game.

Modifiers

Adverbs describe verbs. They tell when, where, how, or how often an action happens.

Example: The girl slowly placed her crayons in the box.

Slowly is an adverb because it describes the action of how the crayons were placed in the box.

Adjectives describe nouns. They tell color, size, shape, smell, feeling, number, etc. of a person, place, thing, animal, or idea.

Example: The smooth rock skipped across the pond.

Smooth is an adjective, because it describes how the rock feels.

Comparatives show differences between nouns.

Example: The racer from North High School ran faster than the racer from East High School.

Faster is a comparative, because it shows the difference in the racers’ speeds.

Superlatives are used to describe a noun with the highest or lowest quality in a group of three or more.

Example: Her house is the largest on the block.

Largest is a superlative, because the woman’s house is the highest in the quality of size in a group of three or more houses.

Mechanical Conventions

For this section, you need to understand and apply correct punctuation and

capitalization in sentences, as well as find and correct misspelled words.

Take a look at some things that could come up on the test.

Standard Capitalization

In a properly written sentence, certain words start with a capital letter. The first letter of a sentence should always be capitalized. Proper nouns (specific names of people, places, and things) should be capitalized no matter where they appear in the sentence.

Example: My golf instructor took Jeff and Debbie to play a round at Iron Forks Country Club last Saturday.

My– first word of the sentence

Jeff/Debbie– specific names of people

Iron Forks Country Club– specific name of place

Saturday– specific day of the week

Commonly Misspelled Words

You may be asked to identify a commonly misspelled word in a sentence.

For example, vacuum, success, and tomorrow are all commonly misspelled words because of the double letters they contain. Achieve and believe are commonly misspelled because of the double vowels.

Sentence Revision

For this section, you need to understand how to revise sentences and paragraphs to improve grammar and usage, construction, and mechanics.

Here’s exactly what you need to know for this competency.

Revising a Sentence

This section of the test will be completed in short answer form. You will see 3 sentences that each contain 2 errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics. You will rewrite each sentence, correcting the errors while maintaining meaning.

Example: Aiden and Sienna ate there dinner at the club after they run the 5K last Saturday.

Corrected: Aiden and Sienna ate their dinner at the club after they ran the 5K last Saturday.

Writing a Summary

To be successful at writing a summary, begin by reading the given passage critically. In your summary, identify the central idea and supporting details in your own words. Before submitting, review it and correct any mechanical errors (spelling, capitalization, punctuation, grammar, etc.) that may be included in your composition.

Writing a Composition

To be successful at writing a composition, start by thoroughly examining the prompt. Determine who you are writing for and the reason why you are writing. Plan out your paragraphs. Start with an introduction that makes it clear to readers what your composition is about. Move into paragraphs that cite specific examples and details that support the main idea of your composition. End with a conclusion that provides a clear sense of closure to your composition. Make the focus of each paragraph clear by starting with a topic sentence. Before submitting, review it and correct any mechanical errors (spelling, capitalization, punctuation, grammar, etc.) that may be included in your composition.

And that’s some basic info about Subtest II: Writing Knowledge and Proficiency.

Subtest I: Reading Comprehension and Analysis 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.

Use the passage below to answer the five questions that follow.

1 Americans spend about 1.5 billion dollars a day on groceries, but supermarkets and grocery stores want shoppers to spend even more. A typical grocery store has about 50,000 products to sell to customers. Grocery stores have found creative and clever methods to make sure that shoppers buy more of these products.

2 Some stores use heat maps to track which aisles customers linger in, looking at products. This helps supermarket owners and managers figure out where people spend the most time in the store. Many stores provide discount cards that not only offer reduced prices to shoppers but also can electronically track products that customers purchase. At the checkout counter customers will be offered coupons for items similar to their purchases. One supermarket has started giving customers a handheld self-checkout device linked to the store’s discount card. This device alerts customers to sales as they walk by or scan certain products. This may sound convenient, but researchers like Joseph Turow of the University of Pennsylvania worry about customer privacy and the possibility of stores selling the shopping details of their customers to other companies.

3 Store owners know that milk and eggs are common items on many grocery lists, so these items should be at the front of the store, right? Actually, most stores place those items deeper into the store so that shoppers have to pass tantalizing products on their way to get the needed items. Florists, bakeries, and produce sections are usually at the front of the store because the items in them will appeal to shoppers’ senses, enticing customers to make purchases. Managers know that red signs get the attention of shoppers and that yellow and white signs have a calming effect. They also know that the human eye is likely to focus on products that are at eye level, so that is where the most expensive products are placed on the shelves. Less expensive products are placed higher or lower. Some companies negotiate with the supermarket to ensure that their products are in prime locations to make them more appealing than a competing brand’s products.

4 While the customer is trying to spend the shortest amount of time and the least amount of money while shopping, the supermarket is trying to encourage the shopper to do the opposite. A study by a food marketing group showed that about 60% of the items bought at the supermarket were not on the customer’s original list. If it sounds sneaky, it is! But an informed customer can see through these gimmicks and avoid coming home with extra items.

Question 1

Which of the following is the best summary of the above selection?

  1. Technology has become one of the most successful methods that supermarkets employ to study customer buying trends
  2. Supermarkets set up their stores in a very specific way in order for their shoppers to have the best possible experience
  3. Supermarkets use some tricky techniques to get their customers to spend more time and buy more things in their stores
  4. Customers should be informed about supermarket strategies that entice them to buy more items than were originally on their list

Correct answer: 3. This passage focuses on the various methods used by supermarkets to ‘trick’ their customers into spending more and buying more, and thus, staying longer in their stores. This is the best answer.

Question 2

According to paragraph 2, supermarkets give customers a “self-checkout device linked to the store’s discount card.” Why might this device pose a threat to its customers?

  1. Privacy laws will be violated and the customers could be charged
  2. Customers will prefer discount cards instead
  3. If the information they gather is sold, that may be detrimental to the customers
  4. Inexperienced customers may misuse the device

Correct answer: 3. Paragraph 2 mentions a researcher who worries about supermarkets selling the data they’ve collected to other companies. The word “worry” creates a threatening tone—the customers’ information should be kept private. Once that information is out of the control of the supermarkets, then it exposes the customers’ private information to potential violations of that information.

Question 3

In paragraph 3, what are 2 strategies supermarkets use to entice their customers to buy more?

  1. Placing popular products in the front of the store and placing less expensive products in the back
  2. Placing frequently purchased products on higher shelves so customers will have to work harder to get to them and keep coupons to a minimum
  3. Using colored signs to attract a customer’s eyes and placing frequently purchased products in the back of the store
  4. Putting bakeries in the front and avoiding negotiating with companies who want their products placed in a special location

Correct answer: 3. This is correct according to the details of the text, which mention how supermarkets use colored signage and how they place frequently purchased products in the back to make customers pass by other products so they will hopefully buy more.

Question 4

Which of the following is an opinion stated in the passage?

  1. “This may sound convenient, but researchers like Joseph Turow of the University of Pennsylvania worry about customer privacy and the possibility of stores selling the shopping details of their customers to other companies.”
  2. “They also know that the human eye is likely to focus on products that are at eye level, so that is where the most expensive products are placed on the shelves.”
  3. “Some stores use heat maps to track which aisles customers linger in, looking at products.”
  4. “A study by a food marketing group showed that about 60% of the items bought at the supermarket were not on the customer’s original list.”

Correct answer: 1. The study done by Turow also involves Turow’s opinion. He “worries,” and his worry is based on his opinion. Although his opinion is based on his research, he still forms an opinion. Thus, this choice is best.

Question 5

How might a reader rightly apply this passage to his or her next shopping experience, if following the writer’s intended purpose?

  1. Being more alert to the tricks supermarkets use and trying to avoid falling for their gimmicks
  2. Contacting the stores that purchased buyers’ purchase history from the supermarket
  3. Avoiding making shopping lists, as this would be a waste of time
  4. Making sure to apply for a store’s discount card

Correct answer: 1. This is the best answer because the author’s intent in this passage is to make the reader aware of the sneaky methods that supermarkets employ to gain information about their consumers and to entire their consumers to buy more from them.

Question 6

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.

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 various methods we use to transport material and products around the globe
  4. The numerous ways shipping containers can be reused

Correct answer: 4. 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.

Use the passage below to answer the two questions that follow.

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 7

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

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

Correct answer: 1. 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 8

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

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

Correct answer: 4. This is correct. Artists expressed their “dissatisfaction” or unhappiness, with the city, so they went to the country to create.

Use the following passage to answer the two questions that follow.

Passage 1 is by Dorothy Sayers; Passage 2 is adapted from a work by Raymond Chandler.

Passage 1

The detective story does not and cannot attain the loftiest level of literary achievement. Though it deals with the most desperate effects of rage, jealousy, and revenge, it rarely touches the heights and depths of human passion. It presents us with an accomplished fact and looks upon death with a dispassionate eye. It does not show us the inner workings of the murderer’s

mind—it must not, for the identity of the criminal is hidden until the end of the book. The most successful writers are those who contrive to keep the story running from beginning to end at the same emotional level, and it is better to err in the direction of too little feeling than too much.

Passage 2

I think what was really gnawing at Dorothy Sayers in her critique of the detective story was the realization that her kind of detective story was an arid formula unable to satisfy its own implications. If the story started to be about real people, they soon had to do unreal things to conform to the artificial pattern required by the plot. When they did unreal things, they ceased to be real themselves. Sayers’ own stories show that she was annoyed by this triteness. Yet she would not give her characters their heads and let them make their own mystery.

Question 9

Which of the following best describes the relationship between the two passages?

  1. Passage 1 focuses on the uniqueness of the genre; Passage 2 focuses on its weaknesses
  2. Passage 1 relates the details the particulars of the genre; Passage 2 generalizes the limitations
  3. Passage 1 discusses the limitations of the genre; Passage 2 discusses the uniqueness of the genre
  4. Passage 1 highlights the merits of the genre; Passage 2 downplays its faults

Correct answer: 3. This is the best answer because the first passage focuses on the limitations of writing in the detective genre, while Passage 2 focuses on how the detective genre is unique and has merit.

Question 10

Which of the following would the author of Passage 1 most likely agree with?

  1. The detective genre involves a creative and unpredictable writing style
  2. The plot of a detective story is formulated
  3. The characters in detective stories are well-developed and have deep inner worlds
  4. Detective story writers will soon be known as world-class writers

Correct answer: 2. This is the correct answer because Dorothy Sayers, author of Passage 1, describes the predictable, strict, and formulaic writing style that characterizes the detective genre, in her opinion.

Subtest II: Writing Knowledge and Proficiency 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

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

Which part of the sentence contains a grammatical error?

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

Correct answer: 2. 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 2

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. 1
  2. 3
  3. No error
  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 3

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

Correct answer: 4. 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 4

Trying to fall asleep in the uncomfortable bunk₁, the sheets felt uncomfortably hot₂ and the breeze refused to blow₃.

Which part of the sentence contains a misplaced modifier?

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

Correct answer: 2. “Trying to fall asleep…” is a dangling modifier, or a modifier that appears to modify the wrong word or phrase because the word or phrase that it should modify is missing from the sentence. A corrected version of the sentence would read, “Trying to fall asleep in the uncomfortable bunk, I felt uncomfortably hot in the sheets and the breeze refused to blow.”

Question 5

When I walk₁ my dog at night, she₂ barks at everyone we pass, she₃ must not like strangers.

Which part of the sentence above contains an error?

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

Correct answer: 2. This sentence is a run-on with a comma splice. The comma between “pass” and “she” should be replaced with either a period to make a new sentence, or a coordinating conjunction such as “so” to connect the two independent clauses.

Question 6

Mark₁ your music is so poignant₂ and original, and I love how it reflects your passion. We will probably hear you on the radio₃ someday!

Where should a comma be inserted to make the sentence grammatically correct?

  1. After “poignant”
  2. No comma is needed
  3. After “Mark”
  4. After “radio”

Correct answer: 3. Use commas to separate the name of a person being spoken to from the rest of the sentence. The name “Mark” at the beginning of the sentence should be followed by a comma.

Question 7

Low₁ introductory credit card rates₂ usually revert back₃ to standard interest rates after the initial period is complete₄.

Select the word or phrase that is redundant and can be removed without changing the meaning of the text.

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

Correct answer: 2. Redundant words and phrases needlessly repeat information that is given elsewhere in the sentence. “Back” and “revert” are redundant. “Back” can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence, so it should be taken out.

Question 8

Plastic bags have come under fire recently, with some cities even banning them altogether. ___________, paper bags are not necessarily more friendly to the environment than plastic bags. _________, a recent study showed that a paper bag has to be used three times before it can be said to have a lower impact on global warming than a plastic bag.

Complete the passage with the transitions that help the reader progress logically from one idea to the next.

  1. Therefore, In fact
  2. However, In fact
  3. However, As a result
  4. For instance, Likewise

Correct answer: 2. “However, In fact” is correct. The first blank requires a transition of opposition (however) to show the contrast between the thoughts about plastic bags being bad for the environment with the fact that paper bags are no better. The second blank requires the transition in fact to introduce an example that substantiates the claim that paper bags are not friendlier to the environment than plastic bags.

Question 9

Sports are a wonderful means for mankind to exercise one of its 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 understands 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.”

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

Correct answer: 3. This is the best answer.

Question 10

If you are reading this right now, you are taking part in the wonder of literacy. Because of printed words, people can relay information across both time and space. Ideas are encoded in writing and transmitted to readers across thousands of miles and years. The words of people distant to us can influence events, impart knowledge, and change the world. Much of the credit for the development of this phenomenon can be attributed to one man: Johannes Gutenberg.

Johannes Gutenberg was born in the German city of Mainz. It’s been argued that Gutenberg’s idea was one of the greatest of all mankind. This one idea led to the spread of countless others. It plays a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution. This idea would bring learning to the masses and form the backbone of the modern knowledge-based economy. Gutenberg created the mechanical printing press with movable type.

Before the spread of Gutenberg’s idea, literature was primarily handwritten. Each copy of the Catholic Bible and all 73 of its books were tediously and painstakingly scribed by hand. Given the amount of detail that went into each text, creating a single copy of the Bible could take years. Because of the effort that went into producing them, books were extremely rare and valuable. There was little reason for common people to learn to read or write since it was unlikely that they would ever handle a book in their lifetime, because of the value and scarcity of books. Gutenberg’s invention would change all of that. His printing press allowed literature to be produced on a mass scale. His movable metal type could be arranged once to form a page, and the press could print a page again and again.

The technologies that he created spread across Europe rapidly. As these printing technologies and techniques spread, news and books began to travel across Europe much faster than previously possible. The world has not been the same since.

Which portion of the passage should be eliminated?

  1. Gutenberg created the mechanical printing press with movable type
  2. His movable metal type could be arranged once to form a page
  3. Before the spread of Gutenberg’s idea, literature was primarily handwritten
  4. Johannes Gutenberg was born in the German city of Mainz

Correct answer: 4. The sentence “Johannes Gutenberg was born in the German city of Mainz” is correct. It should be eliminated because the purpose of the passage is to relay information about Gutenberg’s invention and its effects, not Gutenberg himself.

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