Title III, REA 0002
Preparing for the Reading Exit Exam (Florida College Basic Skills Test)
Welcome to the REA 0002 Exit prep web site. On this page, you will find answers to most of your questions regarding the exit exam as well as resources and sample tests to help you prepare for the test. It is important that you become familiar with the type of questions you will be asked to answer and with the format of the test.
Materials adopted from Langan, Ten Steps to Advancing College Reading Skills, 4th ed., (2004); Henry & Markus, Thinking Through the Test, 3rd ed. (2006); Perillo, Writing and Reading Tests for the FEE, 4th ed. (2006)
The questions on the Reading Exam are straightforward. The answers to all the questions are in the passages. You just need to know how to find them!
Following is a list of the types of questions included on the exit exam.
The number in parentheses indicates the number of questions related to that type of question.
Main Idea Questions (4)
The main idea statement is a general statement that is supported by the other material in the paragraph. It is an 'umbrella' idea: the main idea is the author's general point and under it fits all the other material in the passage. The other material is made up of supporting details - specific evidence such as examples, causes, reasons, or facts. Sometimes the main idea is not stated and the reader must use the details to determine the implied main idea.
Author's Purpose (4) and Tone (3)
Writers work from a personal point of view. This point of view is reflected in the author's purpose and tone.
The reason the author wrote the passage is the author's purpose. These purposes might be to inform, to persuade, or to entertain.
The purpose is often reflected in the tone. Tone reveals the author's attitude toward a subject and is expressed through the words and details the writer chooses. Anger, sympathy, sadness, dislike, and hopefulness are examples of tones. If there does not seem to be an attitude toward the subject, the tone would be neutral or unbiased.
Relationships (8) and Patterns of Organization
( "RELATIONSHIP WORD ESSENTIALS" on grammar site)
As you can see by the number of questions about relationships, this is an important skill to master. The reading exam will include questions about relationships between parts of sentences, between sentences, and between paragraphs.
Relationship words (or transition words) involve addition, time, illustration, comparison, contrast and cause/effect patterns of organization. Examples of these are also, in addition, then, next, for example, to illustrate, similarly, likewise, in contrast, different, result, lead to, and because. Refer to your text for additional help.
Vocabulary in Context (2)
You will be asked to define a targeted word based upon its context. Context clues might be synonyms, antonyms, examples, or a general sense of the sentence or passage.
Punctuation is also used to provide clues to meaning.
Punctuation Example: In all societies there is some vertical mobility - moving up or down the status ladder.
The dash is followed by the definition of vertical mobility.
A bias is an attitude that is for or against the subject. This subjective point of view may have a negative or positive attitude. Recognizing positive or negative language will help you to determine the author's bias for against the topic. If the writer does not seem to have a positive or negative attitude, then the writing is considered unbiased.
In unbiased writing, the writer tries to balance opposing views without appearing to be for or against the topic. Unbiased writing has a neutral, objective, straightforward, or matter-of-fact tone.
Fact and Opinion (3)
A fact is any statement that is verifiable, or provable.
An opinion is not provable. It is personal belief, a judgment, or an attitude. All future events are considered opinions because, since they have not yet occurred, they are not provable, even when they seem certain to happen.
Be careful about opinions within quotation marks:
"This is the best book I've ever read," our instructor said.
The statement contains an opinion (within the quotation marks) but it is provable by verifying that the instructor said it. Therefore, it's a fact.
If a statement appears to be half fact and half opinion, and the choices available are only fact or opinion, choose opinion. If a third option of 'fact and opinion' is offered, choose that one.
Argument or Evidence and Support (2)
These questions will test your ability to recognize the difference between adequate and inadequate support, relevant and irrelevant support, and objective and emotional support for an argument.
Check the details provided against the organizational pattern. Depending upon the organization of the passage, the writer will provide different details about the same event. For example, a narrative passage will include different time order details from a process passage that includes ordered steps in a series.
Check the logic of the inferences; match conclusions to evidence.
Is the author's point or claim logical and based on facts?
What kind of support is offered? Objective (factual) or Emotional (opinions)? Watch for opinions.
Are the supporting details relevant to the issue? All the details offered in support must be directly related to the issue in order to support the argument
Supporting details (4)
Supporting details are sentences that give more specific information about the main idea. Main idea questions will often include two or three supporting details as answer choices, therefore, knowing the difference between main ideas and details helps answer correctly.
Supporting details may be reasons, examples, characteristics, senses, results, people and places, analysis and explanations, or statistics.
Inferences and Conclusions (3)
An inference is sometimes called an "educated guess." Making an educated guess is coming to a logical conclusion based on the facts given. You must look at the facts and details to make a logical inference because it will not be stated directly. Don't assume more than what is stated; do rely upon your background knowledge.
Treat each answer choice as if it is a true/false question. Reread the passage to see if the choices could be true or false based on the information given.
An implication is similar to an inference because it is not directly stated but is hinted at by the author.