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Reading Review

Most Important Tip

Are you a reader in your everyday life? If not, START NOW. You need to get into the reading habit. Read whatever you want-magazines, newspapers, young adult novels, online news, etc. but read everyday. Make sure you read some nonfiction text since you will be reading many nonfiction pieces on the Praxis Test.

Why does this matter?
The Praxis reading section is a timed test. One of the most common reasons people do not do well on this section is because they are slow readers and run out of time. You must build your reading muscles. By reading each day, you build stamina and fluency (the rate and smoothness at which you read). This is the easiest and most painless way to prepare for the reading section of the test. You should begin by reading at least 20 minutes a day and building up to 75 minutes. If you can’t read for that long, ask yourself how will you be able to finish the test?

Get a Praxis test book and practice taking the test.
This helps you get into “test taking mode.”  After you have graded your test, examine your mistake patterns. Are you always missing main idea? Vocabulary questions? Make a tally of what kinds of questions you miss. Then you can devote your time and energy to dealing with questions you most frequently miss. Ask others to help you think through those pesky questions that cause you difficulty.

Understanding the Demands of the Actual Test

Before reading the rest of this section, make sure you have read the appropriate description of the reading section test (computerized or paper) to understand what is expected of you in the writing section of the Praxis Core.

What You Need To Know:
For the computer test, you will have 75 minutes for 46 multiple-choice questions: 26 literal comprehension questions, and 20 critical and inferential comprehension questions. 

For the paper-based test, you will have 60 minutes for 40 multiple-choice questions:  23 literal comprehension questions, and 17 critical and inferential comprehension questions.

Passage Length: You will read 100 and 200 word passages and short statements of a few sentences.

The information below provides an overview of the test. Refer to the study sections guide in a test practice book for more in-depth and thorough explanations.

Literal Comprehension

Literacy Comprehension kinds of questions ask you about the literal content of the passage. These questions are straightforward. You will be asked 4 types of questions: main idea, supporting idea, organization, and vocabulary.

For each question, you will need to be able to do the following:

Main Idea
Identify the main idea, define the author’s purpose, decide on best title for piece.

Tip: Don’t confuse the main idea for the main topic.  The main idea is what the author wants to say about a subject while the main topic is what the passage is about.

Supporting Idea
Summarize the supporting idea in the passage, locate specific fact, figure or name in passage, given a list identify what is NOT in the passage.

Tip: Don’t confuse supporting ideas for main ideas.  The supporting ideas give specific information, the main idea gives more general information.

Tip: To help locate specific information worth remembering, look for transitional words or phrases that let you know its coming:  for example, furthermore, in particular, and such as

Identify how ideas within a passage relate to one another, decide what source the passage is most likely from (newspaper article, text book, etc.), explain how a word is used in the passage

Tip: Passages typically follow 1 of 4 patterns: chronological order (how things happen, beginning to end), order of importance (least important ideas to most important, or vice versa), comparison and contrast (showing how two ideas are similar or different), and cause and effect (used to explain why an event took place and what happened because of it)

Determine the meaning of a word used in a passage, given a word identify an accurate substitute, use other words to help define a given word

Tip: Context clues can assist you in defining a word you do not know.  Use the “clues” in the sentence that help you understand how the word is being used, then you can better define it.

Critical and Inferential Comprehension

Critical and inferential comprehension questions will ask you to “read between the lines.” This means that often the answers are not stated directly in the passage but, as a reader, you should determine what also is being said. It is kind of like when your mother or father calls you by your full name. Your parents did not say you are in trouble, but you know that you are simply because they are using your full name and the only time they do that is when you are in trouble. When you hear a parent use your full name, you are inferring that you are in trouble.

You will be asked 3 kinds of questions: evaluation, inferences, and generalizations questions.

Identify fact versus opinion, determine if the given evidence supports the message in the passage, determine what information is lacking in a passage.

Tip: Don’t’ confuse fact for opinion.  Fact is a statement that can be proven, opinion is a statement about the beliefs of a person or group.

Draw a logical conclusion based on the content of the passage, identify unstated assumptions made by the author, given a list of statements decide which the author of the passage would most agree or disagree with

Tip: Recognizing the author’s tone will help you identify what his or her feelings are regarding the passage. Is the tone cheerful?  Sarcastic?  Critical?  Authoritative?

Apply ideas gained in the passage to new situations, identify trends in a passage