English III End-of-Course Test Basically it’s a 50-question reading comprehension test. Last year there were three reading selections: 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 lines. 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 question. 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 read. 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 important. 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 about. Other questions will ask you to make inferences. To infer means to figure out without being told directly. 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 selection. 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 selections. 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, etc. 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 again In clomping off;--and scared the outer night, Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar 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 institutes…” 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 internet. The conclusion of a non-fiction piece often contains a restatement of the author’s position (point of view). Timing: 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.