E T S Praxis Series

Pre-Professional Skills Test: Reading (0710)

Skip Navigation

Sample Test Questions

Current section: Multiple Choice > Questions

The sample questions that follow illustrate the kinds of questions in the test. They are not, however, representative of the entire scope of the test in either content or difficulty. Answers with explanations follow the questions.

Directions:  Each statement or passage in this test is followed by a question or questions based on its content. After reading a statement or passage, choose the best answer to each question from among the five choices given. Answer all questions following a statement or passage on the basis of what is stated or implied in that statement or passage; you are not expected to have any previous knowledge of the topics treated in the statements and passages.

Be sure to mark all your answers on your answer sheet and fill in completely the lettered space with a heavy, dark mark so that you cannot see the letter.

Remember, try to answer every question.

  1. Marguerite Duras' achievement as a filmmaker was marked by refusal to become a professional of the cinema, with all that this implies in terms of prestige, influence, financial backing, and even know-how. Although she made many films, she said that she knew very little about the technology of cinema and that she had no reason to learn any more: "I want to remain where I am, on the first grounds of cinema, in the primitive zones."

    The passage is primarily concerned with

    1. condemning critics' failure to appreciate the work of a particular filmmaker
    2. describing the attitude of a particular filmmaker
    3. analyzing the style of a particular filmmaker
    4. criticizing the technical shortcomings of a particular filmmaker
    5. discussing the content of the works of a particular filmmaker

Questions 2–3

One promising energy source is sophisticated
development of the basic windmills that have ground
grain, drained land, and pumped water for centuries.
Coupled with advanced storage batteries, very large
windmills might satisfy total energy needs for rural
areas, towns, and even small cities in locales where
strong and prevalent winds can be counted on.
Wind power has several advantages. First, no new
technology is really required. Second, the energy
source is inexhaustible and one hundred percent
clean. Third, relatively little capital investment is
needed to install or operate windmills.

But wind power has major disadvantages, too. Most
obviously, it will work only in limited geographical
areas. Less obviously, large-scale deployment of huge
windmills might have unforeseen atmospheric and
environmental effects. And forests of giant windmills
might turn into ugly eyesores. Finally, the amount of
electricity that could be generated by wind power
would simply be insufficient to meet major
nationwide energy needs.

However, a network of sea-based windmills, placed on
deep-ocean buoys and driven by the same prevailing
winds that once powered sailing vessels all over the
world, could provide a substantial fraction of the
world's electrical energy—especially if the buoy-based
windmills could be linked to land by loss-free
superconducting power transmission cables.

  1. The passage states that sea-based windmills could provide energy effectively if

    1. they were constructed in shallow water
    2. they were located near major urban ports
    3. they were placed on stationary platforms
    4. the power they generated could be transferred efficiently to shore
    5. the power they generated could be stored in advanced high-capacity batteries
  2. Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?

    1. A series of interrelated events is arranged chronologically.
    2. A controversial theory is proposed and then persuasively defended.
    3. An unforeseen problem is described and several examples are provided.
    4. A criticism is summarized, evaluated, and then dismissed.
    5. A problematical issue is discussed and a partial solution suggested.

Jazz is the most original aesthetic form to emerge
from the United States, but it has not always been
the most popular. After the big-band era of the
1930s, most jazz was played in small rooms that held
about a hundred people. The sound systems were
usually bad, and the players were considered to be
small-time entertainers. If the music was strong
enough, however, the audience would quiet down or
shout approval when something especially swinging
was played. Unlike in the more polished venues found
recently, the participation of listeners was not
forbidden, and people were not expected to keep
absolutely quiet until a song ended.

  1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

    1. describe the critical response to jazz just after the big-band era
    2. discuss how jazz performers have been affected by their audiences
    3. indicate how audience response to jazz has changed over time
    4. recount the author's experiences of listening to jazz as a young person
    5. outline the historical origins of jazz in the early part of the twentieth century

When Michelangelo began painting the ceiling of the
Sistine Chapel, he had five painters assisting him in
the techniques of fresco, in which he was relatively
unskilled. Finding their work inadequate, he dismissed
them and resolved to accomplish the whole task by
himself. Vasari, his friend and biographer, tells us that
Michelangelo worked through four years "with the
utmost solicitude, labor, and study."

Creativity such as Michelangelo's is self-nourishing:
Vasari states that Michelangelo "became more and
more kindled by his fervor in the work." I believe that
this interplay of creativity and effort is what constitutes
genius—and what made Michelangelo a great artist.

  1. In order to evaluate the validity of the author's claim regarding Michelangelo (lines 11–13), it would be most helpful to know which of the following?

    1. How well Vasari knew Michelangelo
    2. How Vasari characterized other great painters
    3. Whether Vasari's descriptions of Michelangelo are accurate
    4. Whether Michelangelo was skilled at fresco painting when he finished the Sistine ceiling
    5. Whether Michelangelo created all of his major works without assistants

  1. In 1888, just as its hospital was nearing completion, what was to become the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine ran out of funds; the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, on which the parent university had been depending for money, was experiencing financial difficulty. The railroad's financial troubles proved a stroke of luck for the cause of women's rights. When the directors did open the school in 1893, it was because five women had raised more than $500,000 through a multicity campaign. They had insisted, as a condition of this endowment, that Hopkins be the first school of medicine in the nation to admit men and women on equal terms.

    Which of the following is an unstated assumption made by the author of the passage?

    1. Even if it had not experienced financial difficulties, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad would not have furnished Johns Hopkins University with additional funds.
    2. The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine would have excluded women if the fund-raisers had not insisted that the school admit women.
    3. In 1888, Johns Hopkins University was suffering from a shortage of funds in all its schools.
    4. The establishment of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine would spur the development of other schools of medicine.
    5. The women fund-raisers themselves wished to be trained as doctors.

Recently, increasing attention has been called to
the fact that the four freedoms of universities—the
freedom to determine who may teach, what will be
taught, how it will be taught, and who may study
what is taught—are being threatened by the many
regulations imposed on universities by the federal

Surprisingly, much of this criticism of
governmental regulation has come from the
universities themselves. After all, universities eagerly
accepted the money that was made available for
research and scholarships by the National Defense
Education Act, which was a governmental response
to the launching of Sputnik I in 1957 by the Soviet
Union. As its name implies, the National Defense
Education Act was concerned with a governmental
goal, the national defense. Moreover, the federal
government made it clear from the very beginning
that it intended to control how such money was
spent. Similarly, universities actively supported the
Higher Education Act of 1965, which was part of a
governmental attempt to end discrimination—a goal
that can accurately be described as political.

Clearly, any attempt by the federal government to
limit the four freedoms of universities is undesirable.
But it is also important to remember that the federal
government became involved in university education
because it was seeking admirable goals, goals that
were also sought by universities.

  1. The author would be LEAST likely to agree with which of the following statements about governmental regulation and universities?

    1. Universities are better able to define their four freedoms than is the federal government.
    2. Universities are going to continue to criticize governmental regulation in the near future.
    3. The federal government should consult with university personnel before imposing new regulations.
    4. The federal government passed the National Defense Education Act in order to attain a desirable goal.
    5. The federal government should limit the four freedoms of universities if the goal it seeks is a desirable one.

Questions 8-9

Lyndon Johnson's father once told him that he
did not belong in politics unless he could walk
into a roomful of people and tell immediately
who was for him and who was against him.
In fact, even the shrewd Johnson had not quite
such uncanny power, but his liking for this story
tells us something useful about him: he set much
store by instinct. No wonder, then, that it would
be to his instincts—honed in the Texas hill country,
sharpened in a life of politics, confirmed in a long
and respected congressional career—that he would
often turn while in the White House.

This reliance on instinct enabled Johnson to put
on the presidency like a suit of comfortable old
clothes. John Kennedy, on the other hand, came
to it with a historical, nearly theoretical view of
what was required of a strong President—he knew
exactly what Woodrow Wilson had said about the
office and he had read Corwin and Neustadt. With
eager confidence, Kennedy acquired a presidential
suit off the rack and put on a little weight to make
himself fit it.
  1. Which of the following words, if substituted for the word "uncanny" in line 6, would introduce the LEAST change in the meaning of the sentence?

    1. legendary
    2. subtle
    3. invisible
    4. persuasive
    5. supernatural
  2. In the passage, the author is primarily concerned with

    1. explaining an event
    2. making a comparison
    3. listing facts
    4. retelling a story
    5. refuting an argument
  3. Alice Fletcher, the Margaret Mead of her day, assisted several American Indian nations that were threatened with removal from their land to the Indian Territory. She helped them in petitioning Congress for legal titles to their farms. When no response came from Washington, she went there herself to present their case.

    According to the statement above, Alice Fletcher attempted to

    1. imitate the studies of Margaret Mead
    2. obtain property rights for American Indians
    3. protect the integrity of the Indian Territory
    4. become a member of the United States Congress
    5. persuade Washington to expand the Indian Territory

  1. Which conclusion about takeout food ordered in Murrayville in 2005 is best supported by the data presented in the graph above?

    1. Chinese food was the most ordered takeout food for each quarter.
    2. During the second quarter, fewer orders were placed for Chinese food than for rotisserie chicken.
    3. During the fourth quarter, an approximately equal number of orders were placed for pizza and for Chinese food.
    4. During each quarter, more orders were placed for pizza than for either Chinese food or rotisserie chicken.
    5. More orders were placed for pizza during the second half of the year than were placed during the first half of the year.