E T S Praxis Series

English Language, Literature, and Composition: Content Knowledge (0041)

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Sample Test Questions

Current section: Multiple Choice > Answers


  1. The correct answer is A. In Margaret Walker's poem, the octave recalls the poet's awareness of the discontent of the miners; she caught the "grumbling undermining all their words."

  2. The correct answer is A. This is no sentimental picture of a rural idyll. The poet knows that life is hard for those who must wrest a living from the earth. Miners and farmers share this bitter truth and learn to live with it. They live in a world where "famine . . . and plague" are ever near.

  3. Choice A is the best expression of the author's argument. The author maintains that "plentiful discursive experience" is the most effective teacher of grammar. In this context, "discursive" experience means experience with discourse — that is, speech or texts that communicate ideas for some purpose and not merely as an exercise. The author argues that students learn the rules of grammar as part of the process of learning to understand the meaning of diverse texts.

  4. The correct answer is C. The passage describes the themes and key phrases of Orwell's 1984.

  5. The correct response is B. The ballad stanza is a quatrain of alternating tetrameter and trimeter lines rhyming abcb.

  6. The correct answer is C. The lines are from Browning's dramatic monologue "My Last Duchess." One distinguishing characteristic of such a poem is that it consists of the words of a single character who reveals in his speech his own nature as well as the dramatic situation. Here, the Duke is displeased by his wife's failure to value his "gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name." He reads her graciousness in accepting gifts from others as a devaluing of his gift.

  7. The correct answer is C. The speaker indicates that Mrs. Fairfax is one of those people who has "no notion of sketching a character, or observing and describing salient points, either in persons or things." Thus it can be inferred that Mrs. Fairfax's description of Mr. Rochester seemed deficient to the speaker. Option A does not key because Mrs. Fairfax's description left the speaker with a desire to "gain a more definite notion of his identity." Options B and D do not key because the passage does not indicate that Mrs. Fairfax gave puzzling or inaccurate information about Mr. Rochester.

  8. The correct answer is C. Mrs. Fairfax sees that Mr. Rochester is "a gentleman, a landed proprietor" and she is content knowing only these external facts about Mr. Rochester. The speaker suggests that she, in contrast, would like to know more about Mr. Rochester's identity. Option A does not key because it is true of the speaker rather than of Mrs. Fairfax. Options B and D do not key because no indication is given of either character's judgment or opinion of Mr. Rochester.

  9. The correct answer is B, which is a typical definition of traditional phonics instruction. Choice C is a very general description of whole-language instruction, and A and D represent potential strategies for increasing reading comprehension.

  10. The correct answer is A. The excerpt describes important plot events and refers to a major character in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

  11. The correct answer is D. Personification involves endowing abstractions, ideas, and inanimate objects with human characteristics or sensibilities. In the second sentence, the sun is described as having the human ability to leave footprints.

  12. The correct answer is C. The sentences describe the way the sitters feel during the evening. After a long day of work and being "tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long,"the sitters have reclaimed their autonomy. The words and phrases "lords," "nations," and "sat in judgment" are vivid ways of describing the sitters' sense of power during the evening.

  13. The correct answer is D. Zora Neale Hurston is one of the authors associated with the Harlem Renaissance, an African American cultural movement that took place in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s.

  14. The correct answer is C. The words in each pair sound alike despite their differences in spelling and meaning. They are homophones.

  15. Choice B is the best answer. Because the adjective clause "who do not speak French" is not set off by commas in sentence I, it is restrictive and therefore essential to the meaning of the sentence. In this case, the subject of the sentence — "Americans who do not speak French" — would be simply "Americans" if the adjective clause were deleted. Since "Americans who do not speak French" is clearly a subset of all Americans, choice A cannot be correct. The statement includes nothing to support choice C and contradicts choice D.

  16. Choice A is the best answer. In sentence II, the adjective clause "who do not speak French" is set off by commas, and it is therefore nonrestrictive. Grammatically, it provides additional information about the subject, "Americans," but its omission would not essentially change the meaning of the sentence. The sentence makes the statement that, as a total group, Americans do not speak French and are at a disadvantage in Paris, untrue though that statement may be. Choices B, C, and D either state or imply that some Americans speak French; therefore, these statements cannot be correct.

  17. The sentences illustrate how drastically meaning can be changed by the presence or absence of commas. In this case, the meaning of the sentences changes dramatically depending on whether the adjective clauses are nonrestrictive (not essential to the meaning of the sentence) or restrictive (essential to the meaning of the sentence). Since these semantic differences are indicated by commas, the correct choice is A.

  18. The correct answer is D. Holistic evaluation is based on the premise that the overall impact of an essay depends on the integration of different elements of writing, such as organization, development, sentence structure, word choice, and mechanics. Holistic evaluators assign a single score to a student essay based on the total effect to which these elements contribute. Holistic evaluation does not rely on a count of errors, as described by choice A, nor does it focus exclusively on one or two specific writing skills, as do the methods of evaluation suggested by choices B and C.

  19. The correct answer is A. The terms mentioned are processes and devices associated with generating new ideas and organizing them. These processes and devices would not be associated with proofreading (D). While they might be part of drafting (B) or revising (C), they are most important during the prewriting stage of the writing process.

  20. The correct answer is B. The author makes a comparison between science fiction readers and people who love chocolate so much they could be called addicts in order to stress that those who like science fiction cannot get enough of it.

  21. Choice B is the best answer. Paragraph I describes three houses standing in a row and relates them to one another according to where in that row each is situated. The words "next to" and "adjacent" are typical of the kinds of words used in descriptions of spatial relationships.

  22. Choice A is the best answer. Paragraph II describes a series of events that take place over the course of several months. Words and phrases such as "Weeks before," "When," "Then," and "In the months that followed" relate events sequentially.

  23. Choice D is the best answer. The organization of paragraph III refl ects an order of increasing importance. The features of the car are arranged from the one that should least affect the prospective buyer's decision (appearance) to the one that should most influence the buyer's decision (price). Words such as "more" and "Most" help establish the comparative importance of each feature.

  24. The correct answer is B. In the excerpt, Conroy discusses his experience as a writer. He compares it both to being a trapeze artist in a high wire act and to a lepidopterist collecting bugs. Thus he uses analogies to explain his experience. A is incorrect because the author provides only one explanation for why he writes: to explain his life to himself. C and D are incorrect because the author neither discusses other writers nor various phases of his life as a writer.