Reading Inference Questions for CBEST Exam Study Guide (page 2)
Implication questions can be easily confused with detail questions. However, an implication question asks you to make an inference about the author's intent, rather than simply locating a detail in the passage. Knowing how implication questions are likely to be phrased will help you distinguish between the two question types. Implication question stems usually include words like these:
- The author implies that…
- The author suggests that…
- It can be concluded from this passage that…
- The passage implies that…
- The narrator hints that…
- It can be inferred from the passage that…
- Which of the following is closest to the author's outlook on…?
How to Find Implication Answers
Implications are not directly stated in the passage. If you find an answer choice in the passage, it is not the right answer. Look, however, for items, people, events, or ideas in the passage that might relate to other items, people, events, or ideas in the passage.
Nine Success Steps for Implication Questions
- Skim the passage to discover how the passage is organized and find the sentences that relate to the question's topic.
- Eliminate any answers that are off the topic.
- Eliminate any answers that parrot sentences in the passage, using the same or similar words.
- Look for an answer choice that draws a conclusion from information in the passage. For example, if the passage says that all unripe fruit is green, look for an answer choice that states that no unripe fruit is orange or red. If you find one like that, great! Most implication answers are not that easy to find.
- Eliminate any answers that are unreasonable, that cannot be drawn from facts in the passage.
- Eliminate any answers that can be concluded from the statements in the passage, but do not answer the question.
- Ask yourself these questions:
- If the author were to write another paragraph following this one, what might it be about?
- If the author were to explain the ideas in the paragraph in more detail or more explicitly, what more would be written?
- If the author could draw a conclusion from what has been written so far, what facts could be put together to form that conclusion and what would that conclusion be?
- If you are still left with two answers, choose the answer that is only one step removed from the statements in the passage. Go with the choice that can be most clearly concluded from the statements in the passage.
- If you have no answers left, look in another part of the passage for additional clue facts. Any choice using the same words as the passage is definitely not the correct answer. Check for answer choices that may mean something different from what you read, or that may contain answers to the questions you asked yourself in step 7.
Sample Passage and Question
Many educational reformers have focused their efforts over the last decade on instructional practices such as cooperative learning that emphasize problem solving and decision making over solitary reliance on memorization of facts and theories. Furthermore, programs that emphasize problem solving and decision making directly address the national education goal of helping students prepare "for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment in our modern economy." Several programs described here offer strategies for addressing problem solving and decision making, ranging from in-class discussions and the use of board games to designing and conducting community service activities. For example, tutors at Raising Academic Achievement focus on problem-solving skills and are trained to help students think, explore, solve, and look back when working on mathematics problems.
- Which of the following can be inferred from the information in the passage?
- Tutors at Raising Academic Achievement help ensure that students will be productively employed when they become adults.
- Cooperative learning emphasizes problemsolving techniques.
- Playing board games increases problemsolving skills.
- Responsible citizenship should be taught in school.
- Tutors at Raising Academic Achievement help students solve math problems.
Walk through the steps.
- The passage is short and the question offers no topic or location clues.
- It looks as though choice d is off the topic since the paragraph is not about teaching responsible citizenship; it is only mentioned in passing.
- Choice b is mentioned in the first sentence. Choices c and e are also mentioned. That gives us our answer already. Is choice a the answer? The passage does not explicitly state that the tutors will help future employment, but it does say that tutors help with problem-solving skills and that problem-solving skills will help with future employment. Choice a is one step removed from the facts of the passage, so it is the right answer.
You didn't need to use steps 4–9.
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