English Language Proficiency Test : Use of Evidence

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for English Language Proficiency Test

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

All English Language Proficiency Test Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 29 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept

Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Use Of Evidence

Since its discovery and classification as the ninth planet in our solar system in 1930, Pluto has been the subject of much controversy in the scientific community.  Its small size and extreme distance from Earth have made gathering specific data about its characteristics difficult, and no real consensus exists amongst astronomers about the information that is known about Pluto.  In 2006, the International Astronomical Union created an official definition for the term "planet" which listed three criteria for classification:

  1. The object must be in orbit around the sun.
  2. The object must be massive enough to be rounded into a sphere by its own gravity.
  3. The object must have "cleared the neighborhood" around its orbit.

Because Pluto is much smaller than the other objects in its orbit, it fails to meet the third condition and has since been known as a "dwarf planet".  Some scientists have gone so far as to suggest that Pluto may actually be one of the many moons of its neighboring planet, Neptune.

When Pluto was first discovered in 1930, astronomers estimated that it may be as large as earth and thus were confident that it was, in fact, a planet.  As our ability to gather information about outer space continues to improve through more powerful telescopes and space probes, scientists are now able to use the new, more accurate information they receive to accurately classify objects in space.  While some still argue that Pluto meets the accepted criteria to be known as a planet, for the time being, conventional scientific thinking will hold that our solar system only has eight planets.

The writer provides the criteria established by the International Astronomical Union in order to _____________________.

Possible Answers:

provide a criteria that supports the argument that Pluto is not large enough to be classified as a planet

explain the differences between planets and "dwarf planets"

prove that scientists now have enough data to accurately classify all objects in our solar system

show the mistakes made by astronomers who classified Pluto as a planet in 1930

Correct answer:

provide a criteria that supports the argument that Pluto is not large enough to be classified as a planet

Explanation:

The criteria established by the International Astronomical Union, and the subsequent finding that Pluto does not meet the third condition are the primary reasons for the writer to include this information in the passage.

Example Question #2 : Use Of Evidence

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 settled area 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, 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. . .

Jackson gives examples of similarities between Native Americans and colonists primarily in order to ________________.

Possible Answers:

emphasize that Native Americans and European colonists had a lot in common

emphasize the practicality of many Native American customs

emphasize that the frontier changed European colonists

emphasize that Native Americans and European colonists had very few similarities

Correct answer:

emphasize that the frontier changed European colonists

Explanation:

Just before Jackson lists the similarities between colonists and Native Americans, he says "The frontier is the line of most rapid and effective Americanization. The wilderness masters the colonist." Basically, he means that the frontier changes everyone, and it does it very quickly. The similarities between colonists and Native Americans that he later describes are examples of ways in which colonists were changed by the frontier.

Example Question #3 : Use Of Evidence

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.

In which sentence does the author admit to ambiguity in a character’s motivations?

Possible Answers:

Sentence 6

Sentence 3

Sentence 7

Sentence 5

Sentence 4

Correct answer:

Sentence 7

Explanation:

Don’t confuse ambiguity with ambivalence, which is a trait that Miss Dwarris exemplifies elsewhere in the passage. Sentence 7 acknowledges that the author doesn’t know (“it is not clear”) whether Miss Ley really can’t take the train that Miss Dwarris suggested or is simply being contrary.

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

All English Language Proficiency Test Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 29 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: