Words in Context, Fill-in-the-Blanks, and More Reading Questions for CBEST Exam Study Guide (page 4)
This section will review most of the rest of the kinds of reading questions you will be likely to encounter on the CBEST: words in context, fill-in-the-blanks, extra evidence, order, and opinion vs. fact. Most test takers do not find these questions to be among the most difficult on CBEST, so knowing what to expect will help you to work through them easily. This lesson is a little longer than the rest, but you can easily accomplish it in half an hour by skimming over the passages, working on the sample questions, and then concentrating on any of the question types that give you trouble.
Words in Context
Questions on words in context have stems like these:
- What is the best synonym for _____ as it is used in the passage?
- Which of the following is the best meaning of _____ as it is used in the second sentence?
How to Find Word-in-Context Answers
Answers to word-in-context questions are found in the sentences immediately preceding, including, and following the word. Usually, there is some explanation nearby—some synonym for the word or paraphrase of its meaning.
Three Success Steps for Fact vs. Opinion Questions
- Read through the sentences looking for opinion words.
- If a sentence sounds as though it could be a news item, found in a textbook, or otherwise verified, it is probably a fact. If it sounds like a judgment that can't be proven, then it is probably an opinion.
- If you are left with two answers, choose the one that is most strongly a value judgment.
Sample Passage and Question
There is no universally agreed upon definition of intelligence. However, a commonly used one is "the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience."
The most common method used to measure intelligence is the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) Test, which measures mental ability. The scientific community, however, is divided on whether or not the IQ Test can actually measure intelligence. This is because many researchers believe that there are several kinds of intelligence—such as logical, spatial, verbal, emotional, and kinesthetic—and that they cannot all be measured simply by taking an IQ Test.
Out of all of the types of intelligence that are thought to exist, it is emotional intelligence (EI) that is a relatively nascent concept. This is quite unlike IQ, which has almost 100 years of research to support it. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand your emotions and those of people around you. This high level of self-awareness, then, allows a person to keep anxiety from hampering his or her ability to think clearly. It provides one with the ability to self-motivate and persevere in the face of setbacks. In short, a high EI helps one succeed in life, and this has been proven in various research studies.
IQ, in turn, has offered little explanation for the discrepancies between the destinies of people who have been afforded equal opportunities and schooling, for example. In fact, research has shown that people with high IQs or high test scores in college are not necessarily more successful in terms of salary, status in their fields, or productivity in middle age than their lower scoring counterparts are. Recent data shows that the ability to handle frustrations, control emotions, and get along with other people makes the most difference in the quality of one's life. In essence, people who score well on tests are good at achievement as measured by grades or scores, but this skill says nothing about how they will react to the ups and downs that life will surely bring.
Culturally, we are entirely focused on academic success, and do little in the way of emotional education, yet it is precisely this that accounts for an immense part of our future success and happiness. Continuing to expand research in the field of EI will surely benefit future generations.
- The word nascent, as it is used in the passage, most nearly means
The overall content of the passage is about the recent and, up until now, largely ignored research in the field of EI. For a more detailed clue, the answer can be deciphered by reading the sentence that follows the one with the word nascent in it. It reads: "This is quite unlike IQ, which has almost one hundred years of research to support it." Then, if EI is unlike, or opposite, IQ in the sense that the latter has "almost one hundred years of research to support it," it can be inferred that EI does not have as many years of research to support it. Therefore, it must be a new or emerging concept.
Two Success Steps for Order Questions
- Skim the passage for key words found in the question.
- Read the section mentioned and then read the sentences immediately after or before the section depending on the question. If the question asks what happened last, look toward the end of the passage and look for key words such as finally or in conclusion.
Opinion versus Fact
A statement is considered a fact if every person shares the experience that the statement is true, or if it is scientifically proven by repeated experimentation and research. An opinion is any statement that may be disputed by others. "Earth revolves around the sun" is a fact. Everyone knows this has been proven by scientific research. "What a beautiful, sunny day it is" is an opinion. Someone might not want to be in the sun or feel that it is too hot to be considered a beautiful day. Two people cannot disagree that Earth revolves around the sun, but they might disagree on what constitutes a beautiful day. Beautiful is a judgment or opinion.
Opinion-versus-fact questions have stems like these:
- Which of the following is a statement of fact?
- Which of the numbered sentences constitutes an opinion, not a fact?
How to Find Opinion-vs.-Fact Answers
You don't have to read the passage to find the answer if the statements and opinions are listed in the answers. If you are referred to numbered sentences, look there.
This question is based on the passage about intelligence on pages 86–87.
- Which of the following statements is NOT a fact?
- People with high IQs are not necessarily more successful in life than people who have lower test scores.
- The most common method used to measure intelligence is the IQ Test.
- The IQ Test has been around for almost 100 years.
- There are several kinds of intelligence that cannot be measured by taking an IQ Test.
- Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand your emotions and those of people around you.
Choice d is the answer. All of the other answer choices are supported by research or statistical data, or are simply undisputable common knowledge. Choice d, however, is not a fact. The passage clearly states that many scientists believe that there are several kinds of intelligence, but this has not been proven as a fact according to the information in the passage. Therefore, it must be considered an opinion.
Seven Success Steps for Fill-in-the-Blank Questions
- Read the entire sentence, or pair of sentences, that contains the blanks.
- The sentences should give you all the clues you need. Each sentence is likely to be made up of two statements that are compatible or contradictory. If they are compatible, words like also or because should be used. If they are contradictory, you will need words such as while, even if, or although.
- Decide whether the first or last blank has the most clues and work with that one first.
- If one sentence gives you all the clues you need, look at the answer choices to see which one contains a word in the right location that will fit. For example, if the first sentence contains two statements that contradict each other, cover the second set of words in each choice and look only at the first words. Eliminate any choices such as because or since that do not suggest there will be a contradiction or turn in the sentence. Eliminate the whole answer. Do not even consider the second part of the answer.
- Next, turn to the other blank. If it is a structure blank, the word might indicate its placement in the sentence. For example, finally or as a result would probably be answers for an end of a passage, not a beginning. However cannot begin a passage.
- Note the type of passage. A story might use the word meanwhile, directions would use next or finally, and consequently or as a result might be used in a persuasive or scientific passage.
- Substitute the remaining words in the remaining blank and choose the one that fits the best.
Order questions are easy to spot; they ask you what comes before or after some other incident or event.
Question stems look like these:
- In the paragraph, what event immediately follows…?
- What incident precedes…?
- In what order should you…?
- According to the passage, what should you do after…?
How to Find Order Answers
Usually, a part of the passage is mentioned in order questions. The question will let you know whether to look after or before the section you found. The question could also point you directly to a specific part of the passage such as the beginning or the end.
Sample Passage and Question
So, how can people who do not intrinsically have high EIs help themselves deal with frustration and setbacks? One of the increasingly popular ways is through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Proponents of CBT believe that it is not the ups and downs of life that cause you anxiety, but rather, how you interpret them. Here's how it works: First, there is a precipitating event. Next—usually immediately— you interpret the event by thinking about it. After you analyze the situation with your thoughts, or cognitions, you develop your feelings about it. In other words, you cannot derive an emotion, positive or negative, without first having a thought. Therefore, increasing EI involves helping people recognize their thought patterns and modifying them when necessary.
Four Success Steps for Additional Information Questions
- If there is a blank to fill, read the passage up to the blank line and then the sentence following it. Notice the relationship between the sentence before and after it. If there is no blank, skim the passage for a main idea or hypothesis.
- Choose the sentence to fit in the blank that best continues the flow of the paragraph. If the sentence after the blank shows there was a turn in thought, choose the answer that turns the thought.
- If there is no blank, choose the answer that might complete the thought of the author.
- If the question calls for the least likely statement, use a sentence that breaks the flow or contradicts the author. The same is true for a question that calls for a statement that would weaken the stand of the author.
- According to the passage, proponents of CBT believe that which of the following events occurs last?
- a precipitating event
- developing your feelings
- interpreting an event
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- Problems With Standardized Testing