English III End-of

English III
End-of-Course Test
Basically it’s a 50-question reading
comprehension test.
Last year there were three reading
1. Fiction
2. Poetry
3. Non-fiction
Of the 50 questions, 48 are multiple
choice. There will be two “short
answer” questions that will require a
few sentences to answer well.
You’ll be asked to write your “short
answer” in a box with nine lines. Be
sure to write your answer inside the
box and use no more than nine
A good short answer begins with a
topic sentence: a claim that
answers the question.
Support your claim with evidence
(examples) from the passage.
You’ll have up to two hours to
complete the test, which includes
two brief essays.
After 40 minutes you’ll have a brief
“stretch break” during which you’ll
be allowed to stand beside your
desk and stretch. Then it’s back to
work for another 40 minutes.
After another two-minute stretch
break, you’ll have the final 40 minute
segment to complete the exam.
Last year the test had three reading
passages: a fiction passage, a poem
and a non-fiction science article.
Each passage had a multiple-choice
questions and a short answer
This year there are only two “short
answer” questions, but it’s not
been revealed whether there will
be two or three reading passages.
2013: selection 1: Fiction
Four long single-spaced pages of
potentially boring writing
- multiple-choice questions
- 1 short essay (paragraph)
Selection 2: A Poem
multiple-choice questions
1 short essay question
Selection 3: Non-fiction
5 long pages of single-spaced prose.
Last year it was an article titled:
“Education fro the Twenty-First
Century Knowledge Society.”
9 multiple-choice questions
1 short essay question
A major challenge is staying
focused on the reading passages,
which are usually boring.
One strategy is to glance over the
questions first, then to keep an eye
out for possible answers as you
Be sure to read with a pencil in your
hand and to underline names. This
will help you to focus and may
prove helpful when answering the
questions about a given passage.
Also underline anything that seems
The questions are intended to
measure your understanding of the
passages. Some will ask about
what effect the author achieves by
choosing a certain word.
An effect is basically how it makes
the audience think or feel about
whatever it is the writer is writing
Other questions will ask you to
make inferences. To infer means to
figure out without being told
Still other questions might ask you
to figure out the meaning of an
unfamiliar word by using context
clues (the words that surround the
unfamiliar word).
Thematic questions will ask you
about the main idea of the passage
or an important message in the
Still other questions may ask about
such literary devices as word choice,
point of view, imagery, detail, tone and
mood, and how the author creates
effects with them.
Some questions may require
interpretation (e.g. “What does the
author mean when she argues…”).
Other questions may ask you to
recognize an accurate summary of
part of the passage (e.g. “What is
the purpose of the author making
reference to Tom Friedman’s
popular book The World Is Flat?).
Multiple-choice strategy
Each of the multiple-choice questions
has four possible answers (a – d).
Eliminate as many wrong answers as
possible and draw a line through them.
Using the process of elimination (POE)
will greatly increase your chance of
getting the question right.
Blind guessing offers only a 25%
chance of guessing correctly. If you
eliminate two choices, your odds of
guessing correctly increase to 50%.
If you’re unsure of the correct
answer, narrow down the choices
as much as possible, then guess.
There are 2 short essays; each one will
be about one of the reading
Last year, this was the question about
the fiction passage: “In paragraphs 9
and 10, what rhetorical device does
the author rely on to convey the
crowing and speed of a cable care.
Include one example from the text to
support your answer.”
Remember that a “rhetorical device” is
any way in which the author uses
language to create a particular effect.
Metaphor, for example, is a rhetorical
device, as are many other things, such
as diction, detail, imagery, tone, mood,
The devices used in this question
include personification and
exaggeration, also known as hyperbole.
This question can be answered
sufficiently with a paragraph that
identifies the device and gives at
least one example from the text to
support that claim.
“The author relies mainly on
personification to convey the
crowding and speed of the cable
car. For example, the author
describes the cable car as “it turns
three hand-springs…” and “bounds
into the air.”
The poetry question last year read:
How does the poet’s use of
figurative language in lines 9-14
impact the meaning of the poem?
Include one example from the text
to support your answer.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once
In clomping off;--and scared the outer
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the
Of trees and crack of branches,
common things
But nothing so like beating on a box
The poem is about an old man by
himself in a house at night and how
lonely that seems. The metaphors and
personification used in lines 9-14
contribute to this lonesome effect. For
example, he couldn’t really “scare” the
outer night; it was he who was the one
being scared, of being an old man
alone in a house on a stormy night.
The essay question for the non-fiction
passage last year read: “Identify the
author’s point of view in the selection
and analyze how the author uses
rhetoric to advance her point of view.
Include two examples from the text to
support your answer.
Rhetoric is persuasive language.
Point of view, in this case, is where
the speaker stands on the subject:
their opinion of the matter.
The author’s point of view is that
broadband access to the internet is
essential to education worldwide. The
author uses rhetoric to persuade the
audience to agree with her. For
example, she argues that “it is
essential for governments to work
with providers to develo mechanisms
to assure afordable access to schools,
colleges, universities, and research
Furthermore, she argues that
“countries need to develop
broadband infrastructure
deployment plans and advance
policies to implement them.” Both
of these claims indicate her support
for broadband access to the
The conclusion of a non-fiction
piece often contains a restatement
of the author’s position (point of
Running out of time won’t be a
problem, but not using your time
wisely can be a problem.
You’ve got two hours with nothing
else to do, so take your time
reading the passages, considering
the questions and answering them.
This test is the only final exam for
this course. It counts 20 percent of
your final grade.
We’ve been doing literary analysis
all year, as well as writing essays
and answers to complex questions
about reading. You have been well
prepared for this test.
Best of luck.

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