English Language Proficiency Test : Details

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Details

1 All her life Miss Elizabeth Dwarris had been a sore trial to her relations. 2 A woman of means, she ruled tyrannously over a large number of impecunious cousins, using her bank-balance like the scorpions of Rehoboam to chastise them, and, like many another pious creature, for their soul’s good making all and sundry excessively miserable. 3 Nurtured in the evangelical ways current in her youth, she insisted that her connections should seek salvation according to her own lights; and, with harsh tongue and with bitter gibe, made it her constant business to persuade them of their extreme unworthiness. 4 She arranged lives as she thought fit, and ventured not only to order the costume and habits, but even the inner thought of those about her: the Last Judgment could have no terrors for any that had faced her searching examination. 5 She invited to stay with her in succession various poor ladies who presumed on a distant tie to call her Aunt Eliza, and they accepted her summons, more imperious than a royal command, with gratitude by no means unmixed with fear, bearing the servitude meekly as a cross which in the future would meet due testamentary reward.

In Sentence 2, what is the meaning of “a woman of means”?

Possible Answers:

Miss Dwarris is middle-aged

Miss Dwarris is petty

Miss Dwarris is of noble birth

Miss Dwarris is rich

Miss Dwarris is cruel

Correct answer:

Miss Dwarris is rich

Explanation:

While elsewhere in the passage there is evidence of Miss Dwarris’ cruelty, the phrase in question concerns her financial status. Even if you weren’t familiar with the term “person of means” as a euphemism for “wealthy person,” you could note the contrast in Sentence 2 between this euphemism and the “impecunious” or impoverished cousins.

Passage adapted from W. Somerset Maugham’s The Merry-Go-Round (1904)

Example Question #2 : Details

1 With one of her relations only, Miss Dwarris found it needful to observe a certain restraint, for Miss Ley, perhaps the most distant of her cousins, was as plain-spoken as herself, and had, besides, a far keener wit whereby she could turn rash statements to the utter ridicule of the speaker. 2 Nor did Miss Dwarris precisely dislike this independent spirit; she looked upon her in fact with a certain degree of affection and not a little fear. 3 Miss Ley, seldom lacking a repartee, appeared really to enjoy the verbal contests, from which, by her greater urbanity, readiness, and knowledge, she usually emerged victorious: it confounded, but at the same time almost amused, the elder lady that a woman so much poorer than herself, with no smaller claims than others to the coveted inheritance, should venture not only to be facetious at her expense, but even to carry war into her very camp. 4 …No cherished opinion of Miss Dwarris was safe from satire—even her evangelicism was laughed at, and the rich old woman, unused to argument, was easily driven into self-contradiction; and then—for the victor took no pains to conceal her triumph—she grew pale and speechless with rage.

5 … Miss Ley, accustomed, when she went abroad in the winter, to let her little flat in Chelsea, had been obliged by unforeseen circumstances to return to England while her tenants were still in possession; and had asked Miss Dwarris whether she might stay with her in Old Queen Street. 6 The old tyrant, much as she hated her relations, hated still more to live alone; she needed some one on whom to vent her temper, and through the illness of a niece, due to spend March and April with her, had been forced to pass a month of solitude; she wrote back, in the peremptory fashion which, even with Miss Ley, she could not refrain from using, that she expected her on such and such a day by such and such a train. 7 It is not clear whether there was in the letter anything to excite in Miss Ley a contradictory spirit, or whether her engagements really prevented it; but, at all events, she answered that her plans made it more convenient to arrive on the day following and by a different train.

According to the passage, what trait does Miss Dwarris embody?

Possible Answers:

Taciturnity

Candor

Solicitousness

Aloofness

Reticence

Correct answer:

Candor

Explanation:

It’s clear from many places in the passage that Miss Dwarris is rather controlling, unlikable, and frank in her opinions. “Candor” is the only answer here that matches those characteristics. Solicitousness is concern about someone’s wellbeing, taciturnity and reticence both describe shyness, and aloofness describes being distant and reserved.

Passage adapted from W. Somerset Maugham’s The Merry-Go-Round (1904)

Example Question #3 : Details

1 With one of her relations only, Miss Dwarris found it needful to observe a certain restraint, for Miss Ley, perhaps the most distant of her cousins, was as plain-spoken as herself, and had, besides, a far keener wit whereby she could turn rash statements to the utter ridicule of the speaker. 2 Nor did Miss Dwarris precisely dislike this independent spirit; she looked upon her in fact with a certain degree of affection and not a little fear. 3 Miss Ley, seldom lacking a repartee, appeared really to enjoy the verbal contests, from which, by her greater urbanity, readiness, and knowledge, she usually emerged victorious: it confounded, but at the same time almost amused, the elder lady that a woman so much poorer than herself, with no smaller claims than others to the coveted inheritance, should venture not only to be facetious at her expense, but even to carry war into her very camp. 4 …No cherished opinion of Miss Dwarris was safe from satire—even her evangelicism was laughed at, and the rich old woman, unused to argument, was easily driven into self-contradiction; and then—for the victor took no pains to conceal her triumph—she grew pale and speechless with rage.

5 … Miss Ley, accustomed, when she went abroad in the winter, to let her little flat in Chelsea, had been obliged by unforeseen circumstances to return to England while her tenants were still in possession; and had asked Miss Dwarris whether she might stay with her in Old Queen Street. 6 The old tyrant, much as she hated her relations, hated still more to live alone; she needed some one on whom to vent her temper, and through the illness of a niece, due to spend March and April with her, had been forced to pass a month of solitude; she wrote back, in the peremptory fashion which, even with Miss Ley, she could not refrain from using, that she expected her on such and such a day by such and such a train. 7 It is not clear whether there was in the letter anything to excite in Miss Ley a contradictory spirit, or whether her engagements really prevented it; but, at all events, she answered that her plans made it more convenient to arrive on the day following and by a different train.

According to the passage, how might Miss Ley be described?

Possible Answers:

Solipsistic

Incisive

Cynical

Spastic

Wicked

Correct answer:

Incisive

Explanation:

We see in Sentence 1 that Miss Ley “was as plain-spoken as [Miss Dwarris], and had… a far keener wit whereby she could turn rash statements to the utter ridicule of the speaker.” In Sentence 3, we see that she “appeared really to enjoy the verbal contests, from which… she usually emerged victorious.” And in Sentence 4 we learn that “No cherished opinion of Miss Dwarris was safe from satire—even her evangelicism was laughed at.” All these descriptions point to incisiveness (sharp-wittedness, perspicacity) as the correct choice.

Passage adapted from W. Somerset Maugham’s The Merry-Go-Round (1904)

Example Question #2 : Details

1 Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow, attend to the history of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia.

2 … According to the custom which has descended from age to age among the monarchs of the torrid zone, Rasselas was confined in a private palace, with the other sons and daughters of Abyssinian royalty, till the order of succession should call him to the throne.

3 The place which the wisdom or policy of antiquity had destined for the residence of the Abyssinian princes was a spacious valley in the kingdom of Amhara, surrounded on every side by mountains, of which the summits overhang the middle part. 4 The only passage by which it could be entered was a cavern that passed under a rock, [and the] outlet of the cavern was concealed by a thick wood, and the mouth which opened into the valley was closed with gates of iron, forged by the artificers of ancient days, so massive that no man, without the help of engines, could open or shut them.

5 From the mountains on every side rivulets descended that filled all the valley with verdure and fertility, and formed a lake in the middle, inhabited by fish of every species, and frequented by every fowl whom nature has taught to dip the wing in water. 6 This lake discharged its superfluities by a stream, which entered a dark cleft of the mountain on the northern side, and fell with dreadful noise from precipice to precipice till it was heard no more.

What is the tone of Sentence 1?

Possible Answers:

Ingratiating

Haughty

Adulatory

Cynical

Rustic

Correct answer:

Cynical

Explanation:

In Sentence 1, the speaker calls hope a “phantom” and calls attention to the problems of contemporary life (“the deficiencies of the present day”). We get the sense that the speaker does not approve of “the whispers of fancy” or “the promises of youth.” All in all, this is a cynical, jaded speaker.

Passage adapted from Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas: Prince of Abyssinia (1759)

Example Question #2 : Details

1 Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow, attend to the history of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia.

2 … According to the custom which has descended from age to age among the monarchs of the torrid zone, Rasselas was confined in a private palace, with the other sons and daughters of Abyssinian royalty, till the order of succession should call him to the throne.

3 The place which the wisdom or policy of antiquity had destined for the residence of the Abyssinian princes was a spacious valley in the kingdom of Amhara, surrounded on every side by mountains, of which the summits overhang the middle part. 4 The only passage by which it could be entered was a cavern that passed under a rock, [and the] outlet of the cavern was concealed by a thick wood, and the mouth which opened into the valley was closed with gates of iron, forged by the artificers of ancient days, so massive that no man, without the help of engines, could open or shut them.

5 From the mountains on every side rivulets descended that filled all the valley with verdure and fertility, and formed a lake in the middle, inhabited by fish of every species, and frequented by every fowl whom nature has taught to dip the wing in water. 6 This lake discharged its superfluities by a stream, which entered a dark cleft of the mountain on the northern side, and fell with dreadful noise from precipice to precipice till it was heard no more.

How can the mood of Sentence 1 best be described?

Possible Answers:

Admonitory

Fearful

Manic

Cheerful

Encouraging

Correct answer:

Admonitory

Explanation:

In Sentence 1, the speaker grimly warns the readers that everyone who is optimistic and believes good things will happen should read the following story. In other words, the speaker is broadcasting a warning that he will support with evidence from his story. Such a tactic is admonitory, or admonishing.

Passage adapted from Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas: Prince of Abyssinia (1759)

Example Question #6 : Details

1 Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow, attend to the history of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia.

2 … According to the custom which has descended from age to age among the monarchs of the torrid zone, Rasselas was confined in a private palace, with the other sons and daughters of Abyssinian royalty, till the order of succession should call him to the throne.

3 The place which the wisdom or policy of antiquity had destined for the residence of the Abyssinian princes was a spacious valley in the kingdom of Amhara, surrounded on every side by mountains, of which the summits overhang the middle part. 4 The only passage by which it could be entered was a cavern that passed under a rock, [and the] outlet of the cavern was concealed by a thick wood, and the mouth which opened into the valley was closed with gates of iron, forged by the artificers of ancient days, so massive that no man, without the help of engines, could open or shut them.

5 From the mountains on every side rivulets descended that filled all the valley with verdure and fertility, and formed a lake in the middle, inhabited by fish of every species, and frequented by every fowl whom nature has taught to dip the wing in water. 6 This lake discharged its superfluities by a stream, which entered a dark cleft of the mountain on the northern side, and fell with dreadful noise from precipice to precipice till it was heard no more.

Where is Rasselas’ palace located?

Possible Answers:

The home of an Abyssinian noble

A rival kingdom

A cave at the top of the mountains

A hidden valley

The country’s capital city

Correct answer:

A hidden valley

Explanation:

The third paragraph of this passage describes the princes’ palace as located in “a spacious valley in the kingdom of Amhara, surrounded on every side by mountains (Sentence 3). The cavern described in the next paragraph is only a passage to gain access to the valley, not the location of the palace itself. All of the other choices lack textual evidence.

Passage adapted from Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas: Prince of Abyssinia (1759)

Example Question #7 : Details

1 Of the monstrous neglect of education in England, and the disregard of it by the State as a means of forming good or bad citizens, and miserable or happy men, private schools long afforded a notable example. 2 Although any man who had proved his unfitness for any other occupation in life, was free, without examination or qualification, to open a school anywhere; although preparation for the functions he undertook, was required in the surgeon who assisted to bring a boy into the world, or might one day assist, perhaps, to send him out of it; in the chemist, the attorney, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker; the whole round of crafts and trades, the schoolmaster excepted; and although schoolmasters, as a race, were the blockheads and impostors who might naturally be expected to spring from such a state of things, and to flourish in it; these Yorkshire schoolmasters were the lowest and most rotten round in the whole ladder. 3 Traders in the avarice, indifference, or imbecility of parents, and the helplessness of children; ignorant, sordid, brutal men, to whom few considerate persons would have entrusted the board and lodging of a horse or a dog; they formed the worthy cornerstone of a structure, which, for absurdity and a magnificent high-minded Laissez-Aller neglect, has rarely been exceeded in the world.

… 4 I cannot call to mind, now, how I came to hear about Yorkshire schools when I was a not very robust child, sitting in bye-places near Rochester Castle, with a head full of Partridge, Strap, Tom Pipes, and Sancho Panza; but I know that my first impressions of them were picked up at that time, and that they were somehow or other connected with a suppurated abscess that some boy had come home with, in consequence of his Yorkshire guide, philosopher, and friend, having ripped it open with an inky pen-knife.

What trait does the speaker not ascribe to parents?

Possible Answers:

Cupidity

Apathy

Consideration

Stupidity

Greed

Correct answer:

Consideration

Explanation:

In Sentence 3, the speaker notes that schoolteachers are traders in (in other words, they take advantage of) the “avarice, indifference, or imbecility of parents.” It goes on to note that “few considerate persons” would entrust even an animal to schoolteachers, let alone a child. Thus, consideration is an attribute with which the speaker does not endow parents.

Passage adapted from Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby (1838).

Example Question #4 : Details

1 Of the monstrous neglect of education in England, and the disregard of it by the State as a means of forming good or bad citizens, and miserable or happy men, private schools long afforded a notable example. 2 Although any man who had proved his unfitness for any other occupation in life, was free, without examination or qualification, to open a school anywhere; although preparation for the functions he undertook, was required in the surgeon who assisted to bring a boy into the world, or might one day assist, perhaps, to send him out of it; in the chemist, the attorney, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker; the whole round of crafts and trades, the schoolmaster excepted; and although schoolmasters, as a race, were the blockheads and impostors who might naturally be expected to spring from such a state of things, and to flourish in it; these Yorkshire schoolmasters were the lowest and most rotten round in the whole ladder. 3 Traders in the avarice, indifference, or imbecility of parents, and the helplessness of children; ignorant, sordid, brutal men, to whom few considerate persons would have entrusted the board and lodging of a horse or a dog; they formed the worthy cornerstone of a structure, which, for absurdity and a magnificent high-minded Laissez-Aller neglect, has rarely been exceeded in the world.

… 4 I cannot call to mind, now, how I came to hear about Yorkshire schools when I was a not very robust child, sitting in bye-places near Rochester Castle, with a head full of Partridge, Strap, Tom Pipes, and Sancho Panza; but I know that my first impressions of them were picked up at that time, and that they were somehow or other connected with a suppurated abscess that some boy had come home with, in consequence of his Yorkshire guide, philosopher, and friend, having ripped it open with an inky pen-knife.

According to the speaker, English education is a pinnacle of what specific characteristic?

Possible Answers:

Avarice

Brutality

Overattention

Preposterousness

Scrupulousness

Correct answer:

Preposterousness

Explanation:

In Sentence 3, we get the following description of education: “which, for absurdity and a magnificent high-minded Laissez-Aller neglect, has rarely been exceeded in the world.” Thus English education is unsurpassed in its preposterousness (“absurdity”) and neglect.

Passage adapted from Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby (1838).

Example Question #5 : Details

"A group of the townspeople stood on the station siding of a little Kansas town, awaiting the coming of the night train, which was already twenty minutes overdue. The snow had fallen thick over everything; in the pale starlight the line of bluffs across the wide, white meadows south of the town made soft, smoke-colored curves against the clear sky. The men on the siding stood first on one foot and then on the other, their hands thrust deep into their trousers pockets ... "

Adapted from "The Sculptor's Funeral" Willa Cather (1905)

Which of the following statements is supported by information in the passage? 

Possible Answers:

The train is early

It is not snowing anymore

The meadows in the south are growing cotton

It is snowing

Correct answer:

It is not snowing anymore

Explanation:

The only statement supported by information in the text is that it is not snowing anymore. The text states, "the snow had fallen," which indicates that the snowing has stopped. Also, "against the clear sky." If the sky is clear, then it cannot be snowing. 

All English Language Proficiency Test Resources

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