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Praxis Core Reading: Practice Content Questions

Learn more about the Praxis Core Reading Test and then try your hand at the practice questions below.
 

Detail question:

“Visual language” includes any use of visual images in human communication. This includes ancient cave paintings meant to signify religious and cultural ideas. More contemporary examples include written language and graphic organizers of information, such as charts and diagrams. With the advent of high speed Internet and graphic-heavy web-pages, researchers are beginning to take interest in visual language as a science.

The author suggests which of the following about visual language? Select all that apply.

(A) It includes both writing and illustration.

(B) Visual language is a modern innovation.

(C) Visual language on the Internet interests academic professionals.
Note: while this detail question has multiple correct answers, not all detail questions are like this. Most questions on the exam have only one correct answer choice, but a few are formatted like the question above.

 

Main idea question:

Four-leaf clovers are said to be lucky. However, there is also a science to finding and growing four-leaf clovers. This variation of clover represents a genetic strain that recurs on the same network of plants. Clover hunters who find one four-leaf clover can find more by following the path of the vine, and it is also possible to deliberately cultivate this special variety.

The primary purpose of this passage is to

(A) contrast superstitious beliefs and scientific ones with regards to the four leaf clover

(B) explain the scientific cause for a specific genetic trait found in some clover plants

(C) demonstrate how networks of clover plants communicate with each other

(D) imply that four leaf clovers are primarily cultivated deliberately by farmers

(E) suggest that the most successful clover hunters study plant genetics

 

Definition and reference question:

Economists who follow the laissez-faire theory of economics believe that economic recession and growth are cyclical and inevitable. Under this theory, heavy-handed government intervention in a depressed economy is unnecessary and may have unintended or undesirable results. Laissez-faire economists argue that in the long run, damaged economies recover with or without intervention. Noted economist John Manard Keynes disputes this laissez-faire assertion, without denying the underlying assumption beneath it, declaring “In the long run, we are all dead.”

In the context in which it appears in the passage, disputes most nearly means:

(A) questions

(B) argues with

(C) disagrees with

(D) contradicts

(E) appeals to a higher authority

 

Organization question:

Note: The passage for this question is taken from pages 20-21 of the free Praxis Study Companion for Core Reading. The original source shows the passage it would appears on the test screen, and offers an additional related question.

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.

Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?

(A) A historically important artistic decision is presented and described, and an opinion about the artist and his decision is given.

(B) An artistic technique is described, and the importance of the artistic technique is analyzed.

(C) A famous artist’s treatment of his assistants is recounted, and the ethics of the artist’s behavior are debated.

(D) An aspect of the creation of an artistic masterpiece is introduced, and the end results of the creative decision are recorded.

(E) An unanswered question about Michelangelo’s art is raised, and a possible answer is proposed.

 
 
 

Explanations for practice questions

Detail question: (A) correctly summarizes the information in the second and third sentences of the reading. (B) is tempting, but incorrect. While the final sentence in the passage emphasizes modern forms of visual language, ancient forms are also mentioned earlier in the passage. (C) is correct, and summarizes information from the end of the passage.

Main idea question: (B) is correct because the reading really does focus on the science behind finding and growing clovers with four leaves. (A) has the wrong; superstition about four-leaf clovers is only mentioned briefly, and not contrasted with scientific beliefs. (C) contains an idea about plant communication that is not found in the reading. (D) and (F) are both too extreme. Genetic knowledge and clover cultivation are mentioned in the passage, but not given the importance suggested in (D) and (F).

Definition and reference question: Every answer is a possible synonym for the verb disputes, as it might appear in different contexts. But only (C) matches the meaning of disputes as it’s used in the reading. Keynes’ declaration that “in the long run, we are all dead” shows sarcastic disagreement with a core assertion of laissez-faire economics.

Organization question: The passage is two paragraphs, so the trick here is to find the exact relationship between the two paragraphs. In Praxis questions based on two paragraph passages, it’s common for the all the answers to be formatted as X occurs, and then Y occurs, as seen in this set of answers. (A) correctly describes the function and sequence of the two paragraphs. In the first paragraph, Michelangelo’s decision to fire his assistants and teach himself to fresco paint is described. In the second paragraph, the author gives an opinion about this decision, saying “I believe….” In every other choice, either the first paragraph, the second paragraph, or both paragraphs are mischaracterized by the information in the X, then Y statements.

 

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