Reading Practice Test

Use this 10-item pretest to test your knowledge in Reading. Record your pretest score and then study the tutorials that are provided on this site. When you feel that you are ready to take your TSI Assessment, you should schedule your test at the Testing Center.

The results of this Pretest may give you a general idea of your actual placement results. This test is for practice only and the results are not used for actual placement.

Select an answer for each item. If you do not know the answer, you should make an educated guess. At the bottom of the test, you will be given your results.

Questions 1-4

Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to each question. Answer the questions on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage. In this passage taken from a short story, the narrator describes the cabin where her father worked.

I wasn't sure what this work involved, but it must have been exciting because the Lab itself was exciting. Anywhere we didn't go often was exciting.

We would get there in a heavy wooden rowboat, built in the five-house village half a mile away—our mother would row, she was quite good at it—or by following a twisty, winding footpath, over fallen trees and stumps and around boulders and across wet patches where a few slippery planks were laid across the sphagnum moss, breathing in the mildew smell of damp wood and slowly decaying leaves. It was too far for us to walk, our legs were too short, so mostly we went in the rowboat.

The Lab was made of logs; it seemed enormous, though in the two photographs of it that survive it looks like a shack. It did however have a screened porch, with log railings. Inside it there were things we weren't allowed to touch—bottles containing a dangerous liquid in which white grubs floated, their six tiny front legs clasped together like praying fingers, and corks that smelled like poison and were poison, and trays with dried insects pinned to them with long, thin pins, each with a tiny, alluring black knob for a head. All of this was so forbidden it made us dizzy.

At the Lab we could hide in the ice house, a dim and mysterious place that was always bigger on the inside than it was on the outside, and where there was a hush, and a lot of sawdust to keep the blocks of ice cool. Sometimes there would be a tin of evaporated milk with holes punched in the top and wax paper stuck over them; sometimes there would be a carefully hoarded stub of butter or an end of bacon; sometimes there would be a fish or two, pickerel or lake trout, already filleted, laid out on a chipped enamel pie plate.

What did we do in there? There was nothing to actually do. We'd pretend we had vanished—that nobody knew where we were. This in itself was strangely energizing. Then we'd come out, away from the silence, back into the pine-needle scent and the sound of waves plocking against the shore, and our mother's voice calling us, because it was time to get back into the rowboat and row home.*

Margaret Atwood, excerpt from "The Boys at the Lab" from Moral Disorder: Stories. Copyright © 2006 by O. W. Toad, Ltd. Used by permission of Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. Any third party use of this material, outside of this publication, is prohibited. Interested parties must apply directly to Random House, Inc. for permission.

Details in the passage suggest that the narrator is:

This question requires you to explore the author's use of language to identify ideas. To answer this question you will need to review the details in the story one by one to determine the author's suggestion.

The descriptions of the Lab and of the ice house are similar in that both descriptions

To answer this question, reread the text and take note of the similarities and differences between the descriptions.

In the second paragraph, "this work" clearly refers to

To answer this question refer back to the passage and identify the author's exact words. Reread and figure out the message the author is sending with the words used. Which of the words below most closely matches the author's idea?

When the narrator repeatedly uses the pronouns "we" and "us," she is most likely speaking of herself and:

To answer this question, reread the text and analyze the characters by name within the story.

Question 5

In 2010, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and novelist Jonathan Franzen kissed and made up after a nine-year feud. In 2001, Franzen was disinvited from appearing on Winfrey's TV show to pitch his novel The Corrections after he made it clear that he was unhappy about the book's being chosen for the Oprah Book Club. Describing his work as "in the high-art literary tradition," Franzen said he didn't want to be associated with the Club, which he accused of occasionally choosing "schmaltzy, one-dimensional" novels. But Winfrey is apparently able to forgive and forget: she chose Franzen's next novel, Freedom, for her book club and said of it, "Now you haven't heard me say this word often, but this book is a masterpiece."

The passage implies that Franzen's criticism of the Oprah Book Club was motivated primarily by:

This question requires you to explore the author's use of language to identify ideas. To answer this question you will need to review the details in the story one by one to extract the author's idea and reasoning.

Question 6

If you are committed to healthy, green living and want to reduce your environmental footprint, you might consider expanding your daily diet to include bugs. Supporters of the edible insect initiative rightfully argue that farming insects has a much lower environmental impact than does raising livestock since bugs are easier to harvest and require a fraction of the water and land space that cattle need. Indeed, the high-protein, low-fat health benefits of bug-eating have long been known. For hundreds of years, crickets, silkworms and even tarantulas have been served roasted, stewed and fried at the dinner tables of many cultures.

Which words best describe the author's attitude toward the "edible insect initiative"?

This question requires you to explore the author's use of language to identify ideas. To answer this question you will need to review the language the author uses to determine how the author feels towards the topic being discussed in the passage.

Question 7

When we think of volcanoes, eruptions, lava, and smoke-filled air come to mind—all occurring on land. Most people are surprised to learn about the prevalence of underwater volcanoes on our planet. Because the lava and smoke spilling out of an active, underwater volcano is contained by the ocean, people generally do not take note of these eruptions. However, the largest underwater volcanoes are capable of creating huge tidal waves, threatening coastal communities.

The main idea of the passage is that:

To answer this question, identify the topic of the passage. Then, consider what the author wants to emphasize about the topic.

Question 8

The main authors of The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are usually thought of as America's "Founding Fathers." Other less known personages also deserve the title, and Noah Webster was one of these. Through his writings, which include the still influential dictionary that bears his name, Webster sought to legitimize an "American English" that was independent of British spelling and pronunciation. For instance, Webster removed the "u" from "colour," creating the distinct American version of the word.

What is the main purpose of this passage?

To answer this question, consider why the author wrote this text. Is the author trying to inform you about something, entertain you with a story that evokes emotion, or is the author attempting to incite action or persuade you to do something?

Questions 9-10

Passage 1

I recently met a fifth-grade teacher who had asked her students what they did after school. Most said they stayed inside and watched TV or spent time on the computer. Some went to a recreation center for an afterschool program—where they played computer games. A handful of students played outside, but most of those were doing organized sports. It turned out that fewer than 10% of the children were enjoying unstructured time outside rather than concentrating on electronic devices. This is a tragedy! Now more than ever, kids need opportunities to learn and develop through outdoor activities—and not just on organized teams. Parents, limit computer use and encourage your kids to get outside and play every day!

Passage 2

There is almost no reliable data about the level of technological literacy among children in the United States. Our students perform relatively poorly on international tests in science and math, however, and many other Western countries teach more about technology than we do. It seems that American students are not as technologically literate as their international counterparts. This could put them at a disadvantage when it comes to their careers, because technology is everywhere, from medical facilities to farms. Obviously, it is imperative that teachers and parents make the use of technology, including computers, a more central part of children's lives.

The author of Passage 1 would most likely criticize the author of Passage 2 for:

To answer this question you will need to identify what the author has stated in the text and then think beyond the printed words. Incorporate what you know about the world to find the most logical answer based upon the text and what makes sense to you.

The author of Passage 2 probably would respond to the last sentence of Passage 1 ("Parents . . . every day!") by:

To answer this question you will need to identify what the author has stated in the text and then think beyond the printed words. Incorporate what you know about the world to find the most logical answer based upon the text and what makes sense to you.


Use the scale below to see where you might be placed when you take the actual TSI Assessment for Reading. This is not your actual TSI Assessment placement score. To get that, you must complete the TSI Assessment itself at your nearest ACC testing center.

If you got the following number of questions correct, your placement level may be:

  • 0-4: Adult Basic Education Courses
  • 5-7: Developmental Courses
  • 8-10: College Level

If you feel you need more preparation prior to taking the actual TSI Assessment, you should go to the Reading Review section of the website for additional information and practice.

If not, return to the TSI Practice Tests section to complete your other required practice tests (if necessary) and complete your TSI Pre-Assessment Activity (PAA) Verification Form. You will need this completed form or email confirmation to sign up for the TSI Assessment.