In today’s post, we’ll look at a very challenging aspect of Praxis Core Reading: the integration of knowledge and ideas. This class of Core Reading question is described on page 7 of ETS’s official Core Reading Study Companion. “Integration” questions ask test-takers to read a passage very deeply, recognizing complex aspects of writing such as author intent and argument validity.
The two most common types of Core Reading questions in this category are strengthen/weaken questions and function-of-information questions.
In strengthen/weaken questions, you’ll be given new pieces of information that could be added to the passage. From there, you’ll need to select the piece of information that either most weakens or most strengthens a claim or argument made in the reading.
The other “integration” question type focuses on the smaller details with the passage’s written structure. Function-of-information questions ask about what a passage accomplishes. They are similar to the primary purpose type of key idea question in Praxis Core Reading. The major difference is that function-of-information questions ask you to identify the specific purpose of one detail in relation to other parts of the passage, while primary purpose questions simply ask for the general reason that a passage was written.
Below, we’ll look at a typical Praxis Core Reading passage, used previously in other reading practice posts on this blog. From there, I’ll give you three Praxis Core Reading practice questions based on the passage. This short question set will allow you to practice the main types of “integration” questions I described above.
Daylight Saving’s Time (DST), was originally introduced in the nineteenth century. The goal of DST was to save money on lighting costs by changing the clocks so that workers always labored during daylight hours. At its inception, DST was an answer to the world’s newfound need for punctuality and efficiency. Today, however, many problems arise from this practice of moving timetables an hour forward in the spring and an hour back in the fall.
In twenty-first century commuting situations, this policy can cause traffic accidents. The University of Colorado-Boulder found that car accidents spike in late March, after clocks are set one hour forward for spring Daylight Savings Time. The reason appears to be poor sleep. Hard working commuters have trouble recovering from the lost hour of sleep that comes with the time change, and they are less alert as they drive to work.
DST practices can also lead to scheduling problems for multinational companies. Not all countries observe Daylight Savings Time. As a result, the time differences between international business offices is not consistent over the course of a year. For example, Lima has the same clock time as Chicago from March to November. But from December through February, it is one hour later in Peru than it is in Illinois. These differences create a lot of confusion. Missed phone appointments and hastily rescheduled conference calls are very common when some parts of the world make a DST clock change while other parts do not.
Praxis Core Reading practice: strengthen question
- Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the argument presented in the passage?
- A) There are a number of causes for springtime car accidents.
- B) Peru is considering adopting Daylight Savings Time.
- C) Lack of sleep among workers is especially common in certain industries.
- D) International calling services offer discounts between March and November.
- E) Most workers in the 1800s took public transportation to work or walked.
Praxis Core Reading practice: weaken question
- Which of the following, if true, would suggest an alternative to the author’s argument in paragraph 2?
- A) In late March, the United States experiences hazardous weather conditions which cause an increase in car accidents.
- B) Commuters who feel overly tired sometimes drink coffee once they arrive at work.
- C) After Daylight Savings Time, workers from Illinois are more likely to miss appointments than workers from Peru.
- D) Britain, the United States, and New Zealand were the first countries to observe Daylight Savings Time in the nineteenth century.
- E) Because it is in the southern hemisphere, Australia makes its spring DST time change at the same time that America changes its clocks for fall.
Praxis Core Reading practice: function-of-information question
- The author mentions teleconference calling primarily to:
- A) suggest its superiority over other forms of business communication
- B) highlight a common modern business practice that is affected by Daylight Savings Time
- C) compare and contrast different cultural preferences for conducting meetings
- D) draw attention to a largely discredited belief about multinational companies
- E) point out that phone appointments and teleconferences work differently
Integrating visual information
As I mentioned, the strengthen/weaken questions and function-of-information questions are the two most common question types in the “integration of knowledge and ideas” category.
There is also one less common question type in core reading that is related to the integration of knowledge and ideas. On Praxis Core Reading, you will sometimes be asked to integrate visual information with written information. In my next post on the integration of knowledge and ideas in Core Reading, we’ll look at exam questions based on infographics.