English Language Proficiency Test : Cause and Effect

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Cause And Effect

Passage adapted from "The Significance of the Frontier in American History" written and delivered by Frederick Jackson Turner during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

The American frontier is sharply distinguished from the European frontier, a fortified boundary line running through dense populations. The most significant thing about the American frontier is, that it lies at the hither edge of free land. In the census reports it is treated as the margin of that settlement which has a density of two or more to the square mile. The term is an elastic one, and for our purposes does not need sharp definition. We shall consider the whole frontier belt, including the Indian country and the outer margin of the is settled areaî of the census reports. This paper will make no attempt to treat the subject exhaustively; its aim is simply to call attention to the frontier as a fertile field for investigation, and to suggest some of the problems which arise in connection with it.

In the settlement of America we have to observe how European life entered the continent, and how America modified and developed that life and reacted on Europe. Our early history is the study of European germs developing in an American environment. Too exclusive attention has been paid by institutional students to the Germanic origins, too little to the American factors. The frontier is the line of most rapid and effective Americanization. The wilderness masters the colonist. It finds him a European in dress, industries, tools, modes of travel, and thought. It takes him from the railroad car and puts him in the birch canoe. It strips off the garments of civilization and arrays him in the hunting shirt and the moccasin. It puts him in the log cabin of the Cherokee and Iroquois and runs an Indian palisade around him. Before long he has gone to planting Indian corn and plowing with a sharp stick, he shouts the war cry and takes the scalp in orthodox Indian fashion. In short, at the frontier the environment is at first too strong for the man. He must accept the conditions which it furnishes, or perish, and so he fits himself into the Indian clearings and follows the Indian trails. Little by little he transforms the wilderness, but the outcome is not the old Europe, not simply the development of Germanic germs, any more than the first phenomenon was a case of reversion to the Germanic mark. The fact is, that here is a new product that is American. At first, the frontier was the Atlantic coast. It was the frontier of Europe in a very real sense. Moving westward, the frontier became more and more American. As successive terminal moraines result from successive glaciations,3 so each frontier leaves its traces behind it, and when it becomes a settled area the region still partakes of the frontier characteristics. Thus the advance of the frontier has meant a steady movement away from the influence of Europe, a steady growth of independence on American lines. And to study this advance, the men who grew up under these conditions, and the political, economic, and social results of it, is to study the really American part of our history. . .

Why does the Frontier get "more American" the further west it moves?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Because more Native Americans lived further west

Because the west is the "real" America

Because the frontier moved west later in American history, when the American identity was stronger

Correct answer:

None of these

Explanation:

Turner says that, as the frontier moved west, it became more and more American because it had less and less European influence. That answer is not listed above, which is why "none of these answers are right" is the correct answer.

There is no evidence in the text to support any of the other answers.

Example Question #2 : Cause And Effect

Passage adapted from "The Significance of the Frontier in American History" written and delivered by Frederick Jackson Turner during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

The American frontier is sharply distinguished from the European frontier, a fortified boundary line running through dense populations. The most significant thing about the American frontier is, that it lies at the hither edge of free land. In the census reports it is treated as the margin of that settlement which has a density of two or more to the square mile. The term is an elastic one, and for our purposes does not need sharp definition. We shall consider the whole frontier belt, including the Indian country and the outer margin of the is settled areaî of the census reports. This paper will make no attempt to treat the subject exhaustively; its aim is simply to call attention to the frontier as a fertile field for investigation, and to suggest some of the problems which arise in connection with it.

In the settlement of America we have to observe how European life entered the continent, and how America modified and developed that life and reacted on Europe. Our early history is the study of European germs developing in an American environment. Too exclusive attention has been paid by institutional students to the Germanic origins, too little to the American factors. The frontier is the line of most rapid and effective Americanization. The wilderness masters the colonist. It finds him a European in dress, industries, tools, modes of travel, and thought. It takes him from the railroad car and puts him in the birch canoe. It strips off the garments of civilization and arrays him in the hunting shirt and the moccasin. It puts him in the log cabin of the Cherokee and Iroquois and runs an Indian palisade around him. Before long he has gone to planting Indian corn and plowing with a sharp stick, he shouts the war cry and takes the scalp in orthodox Indian fashion. In short, at the frontier the environment is at first too strong for the man. He must accept the conditions which it furnishes, or perish, and so he fits himself into the Indian clearings and follows the Indian trails. Little by little he transforms the wilderness, but the outcome is not the old Europe, not simply the development of Germanic germs, any more than the first phenomenon was a case of reversion to the Germanic mark. The fact is, that here is a new product that is American. At first, the frontier was the Atlantic coast. It was the frontier of Europe in a very real sense. Moving westward, the frontier became more and more American. As successive terminal moraines result from successive glaciations,3 so each frontier leaves its traces behind it, and when it becomes a settled area the region still partakes of the frontier characteristics. Thus the advance of the frontier has meant a steady movement away from the influence of Europe, a steady growth of independence on American lines. And to study this advance, the men who grew up under these conditions, and the political, economic, and social results of it, is to study the really American part of our history. . .

According to Turner, how did colonists change the frontier?

Possible Answers:

By adapting to it first, and then slowly working to change it after that

By relying on the Native Americans for help

By relying on their Germanic roots

They didn't; it changed them

Correct answer:

By adapting to it first, and then slowly working to change it after that

Explanation:

Turner says, "He must accept the conditions which it furnishes, or perish, and so he fits himself into the Indian clearings and follows the Indian trails. Little by little he transforms the wilderness." These sentences say that the colonists, once they adapted to the wilderness well enough to survive, are able to change the wilderness slowly.

Example Question #3 : Cause And Effect

Passage adapted from Political Ideals by Bertrand Russell (1918)

...Security and liberty are only the negative conditions for good political institutions. When they have been won, we need also the positive condition: encouragement of creative energy. Security alone might produce a smug and stagnant society; it demands creativeness as its counterpart, in order to keep alive the adventure and interest of life, and the movement toward perpetually new and better things. There can be no final goal for human institutions; the best are those that most encourage progress toward others still better. Without effort and change, human life cannot remain good. It is not a finished Utopia that we ought to desire, but a world where imagination and hope are alive and active.

According to the author, which of creativity or security causes a society to progress? For what reason?

Possible Answers:

Creativity, since creative societies are more likely to turn into finished Utopias

Security, since secure societies necessarily attain the negative conditions for good political institutions

Creativity, since creative societies will never cease to improve themselves

Security, since secure societies necessarily protect the rights of political and creative institutions

Creativity, since creative societies will produce great works of art

Correct answer:

Creativity, since creative societies will never cease to improve themselves

Explanation:

The author claims that security "demands creativeness as its counterpart, in order to keep alive the adventure and interest of life, and the movement toward perpetually new and better things." Security permits creativity, but creativity is what allows a society to develop.

Example Question #4 : Cause And Effect

Passage adapted from Political Ideals by Bertrand Russell (1918)

...Security and liberty are only the negative conditions for good political institutions. When they have been won, we need also the positive condition: encouragement of creative energy. Security alone might produce a smug and stagnant society; it demands creativeness as its counterpart, in order to keep alive the adventure and interest of life, and the movement toward perpetually new and better things. There can be no final goal for human institutions; the best are those that most encourage progress toward others still better. Without effort and change, human life cannot remain good. It is not a finished Utopia that we ought to desire, but a world where imagination and hope are alive and active.

According to the author, what feature is common to the best societies? Why?

Possible Answers:

Security, since secure societies are guaranteed to be creative

Creativity, since societies with creative energies are necessarily secure

Creativity, since artists need to be well-respected in order to be prolific

Constant reform, since old political institutions must be constantly changed so that no political leader becomes a dictator

Constant reform, since reform allows a society to constantly implement positive changes

Correct answer:

Constant reform, since reform allows a society to constantly implement positive changes

Explanation:

The author claims that "without effort and change, human life cannot remain good." Furthermore, the author claims that the best societies "are those that most encourage progress." As a result, the author is committed to the claim that the best societies constantly exert effort to implement positive changes.

Example Question #5 : Cause And Effect

Passage adapted from Principia Ethica by G.E. Moore (1903)

It is very easy to point out some among our every-day judgments, with the truth of which Ethics is undoubtedly concerned. Whenever we say, So and so is a good man, or That fellow is a villain; whenever we ask What ought I to do? or Is it wrong for me to do like this?; whenever we hazard such remarks as Temperance is a virtue and drunkenness a vice—it is undoubtedly the business of Ethics to discuss such questions and such statements; to argue what is the true answer when we ask what it is right to do, and to give reasons for thinking that our statements about the character of persons or the morality of actions are true or false. In the vast majority of cases, where we make statements involving any of the terms virtue, vice, duty, right, ought, good, bad, we are making ethical judgments; and if we wish to discuss their truth, we shall be discussing a point of Ethics.

So much as this is not disputed; but it falls very far short of defining the province of Ethics. That province may indeed be defined as the whole truth about that which is at the same time common to all such judgments and peculiar to them. But we have still to ask the question: What is it that is thus common and peculiar? And this is a question to which very different answers have been given by ethical philosophers of acknowledged reputation, and none of them, perhaps, completely satisfactory.

Why does the author believe that the first paragraph "falls very short of defining the province of Ethics"?

Possible Answers:

The first paragraph tells us what is common to all ethical judgments

Ethics concerns the discernment right and wrong action

Ethics cannot be defined at all

The first paragraph only considers a few examples of ethical questions and judgments

Many famous philosophers have given different definitions of Ethics in the past

Correct answer:

The first paragraph only considers a few examples of ethical questions and judgments

Explanation:

The author claims that Ethics "may indeed be defined as the whole truth about that which is at the same time common to all such judgments and peculiar to them." The judgments in question are ones like the ones mentioned in the first paragraph. The first paragraph gives many examples of ethical judgments, but does not give any definition of what it is to be an ethical judgment. Similarly, to be told that 2+2=4 is a mathematical statement is not to be given a definition of mathematics.

Example Question #6 : Cause And Effect

Passage adapted from Principia Ethica by G.E. Moore (1903)

It is very easy to point out some among our every-day judgments, with the truth of which Ethics is undoubtedly concerned. Whenever we say, So and so is a good man, or That fellow is a villain; whenever we ask What ought I to do? or Is it wrong for me to do like this?; whenever we hazard such remarks as Temperance is a virtue and drunkenness a vice—it is undoubtedly the business of Ethics to discuss such questions and such statements; to argue what is the true answer when we ask what it is right to do, and to give reasons for thinking that our statements about the character of persons or the morality of actions are true or false. In the vast majority of cases, where we make statements involving any of the terms virtue, vice, duty, right, ought, good, bad, we are making ethical judgments; and if we wish to discuss their truth, we shall be discussing a point of Ethics.

So much as this is not disputed; but it falls very far short of defining the province of Ethics. That province may indeed be defined as the whole truth about that which is at the same time common to all such judgments and peculiar to them. But we have still to ask the question: What is it that is thus common and peculiar? And this is a question to which very different answers have been given by ethical philosophers of acknowledged reputation, and none of them, perhaps, completely satisfactory.

Which of the following statements is the author most likely to agree with?

Possible Answers:

Drunkenness is a virtue and temperance is a vice

There is, in principle, no good definition of Ethics

In regards to the question of what the definition of Ethics is, no philosopher has yet given a completely satisfying answer

There are many equally correct ways of defining Ethics

Since Ethics is an objective discipline, any argument over an ethical issue is a sign of the irrationality of one the parties involved

Correct answer:

In regards to the question of what the definition of Ethics is, no philosopher has yet given a completely satisfying answer

Explanation:

While the author does not explicitly endorse the view that no definitions of Ethics given in the past are correct, he does implicate this view when he says that "none of them, perhaps, completely satisfactory." In any case, the author does not say anything that implicates that he agrees with any of the views expressed by the other answers.

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