Free STAAR English I Practice Test Questions

Questions 1 - 3 pertain to the following passage:

Mammie

(1) Characters:
ANTHONY - The young husband
MANDIE - The young wife
MAMMIE - Anthony's mother

(2) Setting:
Mammie's kitchen; the appliances are old, and a farmhouse table dominates the small room.
(3) The scene opens with Mandie clinging to Anthony. They are alone in the kitchen.
(4) MANDIE: Please don't leave me here with... her. She doesn't like me.
(5) ANTHONY: Of course she likes you. Don't be silly. Why wouldn't she like you?
(6) MANDIE: Oh, I don't know. She just doesn't. You don't know how she can be.
(7) ANTHONY: Don't I? I only lived with her for the first twenty years of my life.
(8) MANDIE: (pleading) Anthony, you can't go. Just take me with you. We can come back for dinner, just like you promised Mammie.
(9) ANTHONY: (taking Mandie firmly by the shoulders) No, Mandie. You're here, and you're staying. I'll only be gone for an hour or two. I promise to be back for dinner.
(10) MANDIE: But, Anthony-
(11) ANTHONY: Shush! She'll hear you-Mammie!
(12) Mammie enters, straightening her apron. She looks Mandie up and down. Anthony moves to kiss Mammie's cheek and Mandie reluctantly does the same.
(13) MAMMIE: Hello, Anthony. Hello, Amanda.
(14) ANTHONY: Well, Mammie, I'm afraid it's hello and goodbye for me. I'm off to my meeting. (He kisses Mandie.) You two girls have fun. I'll be back for dinner.
(15) Anthony exits. Mandie and Mammie look at each other for several seconds. The silence becomes uncomfortable. Finally, Mammie turns her back on Mandie and begins preparing dinner. She takes pots, pans, and ingredients out of the cupboards.
(16) MANDIE: (clearing her throat) So, um, what are you making for dinner?
(17) MAMMIE: (without turning around) Baked chicken. Rice. Asparagus.
(18) MANDIE: Oh. (Pauses) Could I help with something?
(19) Mammie wordlessly takes out a large pot and a bag of rice. She hands the items to Mandie and turns back to her work.
(20) MAMMIE: You can make the rice.
(21) Mandie stands very still, holding the rice and the pot. She bites her lip. She looks very frightened. Finally, Mammie turns around to face Mandie.
(22) MAMMIE: Well, child? What is it?
(23) MANDIE: (looking at the floor) I-I don't know how to make rice.
(24) MAMMIE: Don't know how to make rice? Don't be silly. Everyone knows how to make rice.
(25) MANDIE: (starting to cry) Everyone... except... me!
(26) Mammie sighs and wipes her hands on her apron. She comes over and takes the pot and the rice away from Mandie. She sets them on the table and gently chucks Mandie under the chin.
(27) MAMMIE: Come, child. It's nothing to cry over. Hush now. What can you cook?
(28) MANDIE: (sniffling) I can make brownies, I guess.
(29) MAMMIE: Good. (Patting Mandie awkwardly on the shoulder) Get to work, then.
(30) Mandie starts opening cupboard doors and pulling out ingredients. Mammie hands her a mixing bowl and measuring cups.
(31) MANDIE: Thank you.
(32) They work in silence for a while. After Mammie puts the chicken in the oven and puts the rice on to cook, she turns and watches Mandie work. Her face softens.
(33) MAMMIE: I suppose it's just as well, you know. Anthony always did like brownies better than rice. (She smiles and sits at the table.) I remember that when he was little, he always used to stick his finger into the middle brownie as soon as I took the pan from the oven. He always burned himself something terrible, but he couldn't let anyone else have that soft, gooey center brownie.
(34) MANDIE: (giggling) He still does that.
(35) MAMMIE: (shocked) No! A big, grown man like Anthony?
(36) MANDIE: Every time I make a batch of brownies.
(37) Mandie pours the batter into a brownie pan. Mammie watches her intently.
(38) MAMMIE: (motioning to the chair beside her) Come, child. Have a seat. Tell me more about my Anthony.
(39) Mandie sits and they chat for a while. Anthony reenters and looks surprised to see them sitting together.
(40) ANTHONY: (kissing Mandie) Hello, ladies. Something smells good. (He looks around.) And is that a pan of brownies waiting to go into the oven?
(41) MANDIE: Yes, Anthony. Now, go make yourself comfortable in the living room. We'll call you for dinner.
(42) ANTHONY: (bewildered) Well, okay... I guess. Are you sure you don't want me to stay in here?
(43) MANDIE: I'm sure. We have work to do. Now, go on.
(44) Anthony leaves, shaking his head and muttering to himself.
(45) MAMMIE: Besides, we can't talk about him when he's here!
(46) They both laugh and move to finish the dinner preparations, chatting amiably.

1. Which of the following is the best definition of the word "dominates" as it is used in paragraph 2?

a. Diminishes
b. Takes over
c. Destroys
d. Bosses around

2. Which paragraph best depicts Anthony's dismissive attitude toward Mandie's concerns?

a. Paragraph 2
b. Paragraph 3
c. Paragraph 5
d. Paragraph 7

3. Based on the information presented in the play, who is Mammie to Anthony?

a. His aunt
b. His grandmother
c. His cousin
d. His mother

Questions 4-6 pertain to the following passage:

Caged

(1) I am caged.
(2) Dim, dark, dank,
(3) Depressing metal bars
(4) Are my home,
(5) My window on the world.
(6) But for one hour each day-
(7) Sixty precious, priceless minutes-
(8) I am led from the dungeon
(9) Into the bright, blinding light.
(10) That is my sanctuary,
(11) Wrapped in chain link
(12) And barbed wire.
(13) The air is sweeter,
(14) Tinged with freedom
(15) And fragranced with memories
(16) Of a lifetime so long ago
(17) It has almost been forgotten.
(18) I bathe in the welcome warmth,
(19) Cleanse my soul in the newborn breeze.
(20) I confess my sins
(21) In the brazen light of day,
(22) And hope springs eternal once again.
(23) But then they come.
(24) My time is up.
(25) Another hour of life has expired.
(26) And I return to the depths
(27) Of despair, discouragement, defeat.
(28) Freedom, forgiveness, and faith are forgotten.
(29) I am caged.

4. What is the connotation of the word "dungeon" in line 8?

a. The narrator lives in the basement of a castle
b. This poem is set in medieval times
c. The narrator's life is dark and unrelenting
d. The narrator is uncomfortable with life

5. Which literary device is used throughout this poem to underscore the repetitive nature of the narrator's life?

a. Simile
b. Paradox
c. Onomatopoeia
d. Alliteration

6. What do lines 18-22 reference?

a. The narrator's love of sunny days
b. The narrator's desire for a fresh start
c. The narrator's anger at the circumstances
d. The narrator's memories of a normal life

Questions 7 - 10 pertain to the following story:

The Top Five Reasons Video Games Are Good for Your Health

(1) Too many people think video games are just time-wasters. They say video games are for weak-minded imbeciles. They insist that no good can come from this electronic entertainment. In contrast to these common theories, I believe video games offer numerous benefits. Let me share with you the top five reasons that video games are good for your health.
(2) First, video games improve overall coordination. Response times are quicker, attention is more focused, and awareness is heightened. When I play video games, I find myself focused and intent on my mission. Since I began playing video games, my coordination-particularly my hand-eye coordination-has improved immensely. The results are obvious in many areas of my life, from cooking to driving to sports. Even my handwriting has improved! The advent of motion sensor systems (such as Nintendo's Wii, Microsoft's Xbox 360 Kinect, and Sony's PlayStation 3 Move) has further enhanced users' coordination and reaction times.
(3) In addition to improving coordination and reaction times, many games also enhance logic and reasoning abilities. Most games employ some sort of strategy, whether in sporting competitions, driving pursuits, fantasy quests, or military battles. Winning a game-even just playing a game-requires a plan and the ability to adjust that plan and adapt to changing conditions. The ability to use logic and reason to solve problems leads to the ability to think on your feet. These are all important life skills, making video games beneficial for personal development.
(4) Sometimes, however, you are not concerned about developing new skills-you just want to have fun. Video games are a great way to fill empty hours productively. They focus mental energies and allow unbridled relaxation. They entertain small children and keep older ones out of trouble. Finally, video games allow safe and fun experimentation in a variety of environments, with a plethora of tools, at a relatively low cost.
(5) Beyond creating skills and filling the hours with fun, video games also create a sense of passion and excitement. They encourage goal setting and persistence. They develop a healthy spirit of competition. When you play a game often, you develop a deep desire to accomplish a little more or go a little further each time you play. This breeds excitement, anticipation, and a constant hope for success. Setting incremental goals and working passionately toward those goals leads to achievement in video games and in life.
(6) Finally, the skills and attitudes gained playing video games often open the door for development of deep social bonds. There is a unique camaraderie among those who play games together, almost as if they were teammates. These bonds tend to be strongest when a common game is played or when individuals are members of an online community. Even without these commonalities, however, the shared universe of video games provides the foundation for social interaction, conversation, and friendship.
(7) Are video games without pitfalls? Certainly not. But many games offer life-improving benefits that are often overlooked. They improve coordination and response time. They enhance logic and reasoning. They fill empty hours productively and create a sense of passion and excitement. Lastly, video games foster a variety of social bonds among players of all types, skill levels, and backgrounds. With so many positive aspects, video games are worth checking out. Try them-you might find you like them!

7. Which of the following is a critique rather than a summary of this article?

a. This article takes a look at the benefits of video games
b. This piece identifies five positive effects of video games
c. With a sarcastic tone, this article ineffectively champions video games
d. Through opinion and experience, the author discusses video games

8. What is the overall theme of this article?

a. Video games offer their users a number of benefits
b. Video games are powerful social tools
c. Many people think video games are time-wasters
d. Video games are not without pitfalls

9. What is the most likely reason the author chose to list coordination development as the first benefit in this article?

a. It was the first benefit the author thought of
b. The author felt it would be the most persuasive thought
c. The benefits are listed in alphabetical order
d. There is no reason the author put that benefit first

10. Which of the following is not listed in this article as a primary benefit of video games?

a. They develop coordination
b. They enhance literacy
c. They create a sense of passion
d. They build social connections

Questions 11-22 refer to the following passage:

Hurricane

(1) The gentle winds that had toyed with the summer leaves were angrier by afternoon, going from playful to punishing. The cotton-ball clouds gathered into a slate-colored blanket, giving the world a dim, bluish cast. Hot, humid air hung heavily on branches and rooftops and hillsides. Breathing was a task; walking was a chore.

(2) Despite the impending storm, the little city center was alive with frantic bustle. Store shelves were cleared. Propane tanks were emptied in an army of cylinders. Cars were top-heavy with plywood and corrugated zinc. Restaurants and shops boarded their windows and locked their doors. The hurricane would roll in by nightfall, and no one wanted to be caught unprepared.

(3) Overlooking a deep gully two miles out of town, a little blue concrete house perched on a hilltop. Activity swirled around the house with the strengthening wind and gathering dusk. The house had seen many hurricanes in its long years on the hill, but none as broad and strong as this one was forecast to be.

(4) "Careful nuh, Adrian," Mimi called to her older brother. "Mi nah want yu fi fall."

(5) Adrian grinned down at her. He swung his lithe, lanky body across the rooftop, pausing to add another nail to the rickety zinc.

(6) "Mi nah gwine fall, Mimi," he promised. "Mi holding to dis yah roof like a likkle lizard."

(7) Mimi laughed and hurried back inside. Mama had dinner on the stove and she was busy stuffing the cracks around the kitchen window with old towels and scraps of cloth. The wooden slat windows around the house were all cranked shut, making the rooms dark and stale. In the front room and bedroom, Fitzroy moved beds and chairs away from the closed windows. The little boys had gone for water from the spring. Each member of the family knew exactly what to do.

(8) Mimi stirred the stewed beef and red peas bubbling on the old gas stove. Then she went to help Fitzroy. When the boys came back with the water and Adrian came down from the roof, they gathered for dinner. Plates of steaming beans and rice nearly covered the small, splintered tabletop. In the center, the flame of the kerosene lamp flickered and danced, casting unstable shadows around the room. From the shelf in the corner, a battery-powered radio squawked the latest news: the leading edge of the storm had already hit the southeastern tip of the island.

(9) An hour later, when the dishes were done and the zinc began to lift and shudder, the radio station was knocked off the air. A steady rain was falling, drumming evenly on the roof. Curious, Fitzroy opened the front door a crack and peered out. In the moonless night, the coconut palms were barely visible, bobbing and weaving like ghostly shadows in the brutal winds.

(10) "Fitzroy, shut di door, mon! Yu crazy?" Adrian pulled Fitzroy away from the door and shut it securely.

(11) They lounged on the beds and in chairs around the big room, reading or drawing or daydreaming in the dim light. The little boys played dominoes on the floor. The drumming of rain became a steady thunder and then a deafening roar. Wind slammed into the house, tearing at the straining roof panels and driving rain through the nail holes and window cracks. Each time a new leak appeared, they rearranged the furniture in a feeble attempt to keep things dry.

(12) Late in the night, Mama herded them to their beds and blew out the lamp. The boys piled noisily into the beds in their room. Mimi and Mama settled into the big bed in the front room. Inside, the house was silent, restful; but outside, the storm howled and raged like a petulant child, furiously flinging debris at the little blue house. Mimi was sure she could not and would not sleep. But she must have fallen asleep in spite of her fears, because she was awakened in the wee morning hours by the startling splash of water pelting her cheeks.

(13) Mimi sat up, groggy and disoriented. Mama was gone. Mimi could hear her in the bedroom, rousing the older boys to help move the big bed away from a gaping hole in the roof. Mimi slipped from bed and began pulling off the soggy blankets. The rain was lighter now, and the wind was just a whisper. A few beams of wayward moonlight drifted through the open roof. Mama came back with the big boys and lit the lamp.

(14) Adrian was dressed. He helped move the bed, then opened the front door. The air was thick and nearly still. Adrian disappeared into the darkness. Minutes later, he reappeared in the empty space above them. When he grinned, his teeth gleamed in the lamplight.

(15) "Be careful nuh, Adrian," Mama warned. "It mus' be slick up der. Hurry with di work before di storm starts up again."

(16) Adrian nodded and disappeared again. A new piece of zinc crashed down over the hole, and Adrian pounded a handful of nails into the crosspieces.

(17) "Di storm not over, Mama?" Mimi asked. "It seems so nice an' calm."

(18) "Only di first half over," Mama explained. "Di second half will start soon. An' dat one der is mos' times di stronger part."

(19) Mimi shuddered and swallowed hard as her heart sank. She wished for daylight, for sunshine, for real calm. She wished the second half of the storm could pass them by. She hated the darkness, the wind, the rain, the fear. She hated the uncertainty and the waiting. She hated the hurricane.

(20) Mimi sat stiffly in a cane-back chair as Adrian finished the roof. When he was done, he came back in, wet and weary. The boys went back to bed and Mama stood beside Mimi.

(21) "Yu best come back to bed," Mama said gently, placing her hand on Mimi's shoulder. "Di eye of di storm won't last long. We mus' rest while we can."

(22) Mama blew out the lamp and plunged the room back into darkness. She led Mimi reluctantly back to the big bed. They settled into the fresh, dry blankets. Moments later, Mama was sleeping, her light, wheezing snore coming regularly through the ebony silence. Mimi resisted sleep. Her eyelids were heavy, but her mind was buzzing with fear. What if the whole roof came off? What if the hillside beneath them slid into the gully, carrying the little blue house with it? What if the royal palms behind the house fell on them? What if . . .?

(23) The fear remained unfinished as sleep claimed her. And as her psyche submitted to slumber, the winds began to whip around the little house once more.

11. What is the connotation of the metaphor "cotton-ball clouds" in paragraph 1?

  1. Small and round
  2. Thin and stringy
  3. White and fluffy
  4. Fuzzy around the edges

12. Which paragraph indicates that this story is set on an island?

  1. Paragraph 2
  2. Paragraph 8
  3. Paragraph 9
  4. Paragraph 11

13. What is the implication in paragraph 9 when the author writes "the zinc began to lift and shudder"?

  1. Someone was on the roof
  2. The zinc was too loose
  3. Zinc is a poor roofing material
  4. The winds were picking up

14. Why does the author use dialect in this piece?

  1. It enhances the cultural setting of the story
  2. The author doesn't know how to spell properly
  3. It is a requirement for strong literary pieces
  4. It enhances the historical setting of the story

15. What point of view is used in this story?

  1. First person
  2. Second person
  3. Third person
  4. A and C

16. In paragraph 11, what literary devices are used?

  1. Personification
  2. Simile and paradox
  3. Personification and irony
  4. Simile

17. What word best describes the setting depicted in paragraph 2?

  1. Relaxed
  2. Excited
  3. Angry
  4. Busy

18. Why does the author use personification and metaphor in paragraph 1?

  1. These devices add literary flair
  2. These devices energize the setting descriptions
  3. There is no particular reason
  4. There is no other way to describe things

19. What is Mimi's attitude toward the second half of the hurricane?

  1. Excitement
  2. Indifference
  3. Anxiety
  4. Fatigue

20. Based on the information presented in this story, what is the eye of a hurricane?

  1. The center
  2. The leading edge
  3. The back edge
  4. Any lull

21. Based on the story, how would you describe Adrian's role in the family?

  1. He shies away from work
  2. He cares for the family
  3. He is the youngest brother
  4. He is a prankster

22. Considering the dialect, setting descriptions, and other clues in the text, where does this story most likely take place?

  1. A coastal country in Africa
  2. An island in the South Pacific
  3. A coastal country in South America
  4. An island in the Caribbean

English I Answer Key

1. Answer: B
B is the best choice because, in paragraph 2, "dominates" means "takes over." A, C, and D are not the best choices in paragraph 2, because "dominates" does not mean "diminishes," "destroys," or "bosses around."

2.Answer: C
C is the best choice because paragraph 5 clearly shows Anthony's dismissive attitude when he calls Mandie "silly." A, B, and D are not the best choices because paragraphs 2, 3, and 7 do not clearly show Anthony's dismissive attitude.

3.Answer: D
D is the best choice because the "Characters" section of this play (paragraph 1) describes Mammie as Anthony's mother. A, B, and C are not the best choices because they do not accurately reflect who Mammie is to Anthony.

4.Answer: C
C is the best choice because the connotation of the word "dungeon" is that the narrator's life is dark and unrelenting. A, B, and D are not the best choices because they do not accurately represent the real connotation of the word "dungeon."

5. Answer: D
D is the best choice because alliteration is used throughout the poem to underscore the repetitive nature of the narrator's life. A, B, and C are not the best choices because simile, paradox, and onomatopoeia are not used throughout this poem.

6.Answer: B
B is the best choice because lines 18-22 reference the narrator's desire for a fresh start. A, C, and D are not the best choices because they do not accurately reflect the theme of lines 18-22.

7. Answer: C
C is the best choice because it offers an opinion-based critique of the article rather than a fact-based summary of the article. A, B, and D are not the best choices because they are all fact-based summaries rather than opinion-based critiques of the article.

8.Answer: A
A is the best choice because it best represents the overall theme of the article, which is that video games offer a number of benefits. B, C, and D are not the best choices because they do not represent the overall theme of the article.

9. Answer: B
B is the best choice because it most accurately reflects the reason that coordination development was listed as the first benefit in this article. A, C, and D are not the best choices because they reflect unlikely reasons that coordination development was placed first in this article.

10. Answer: B
B is the best choice because the article does not list enhanced literacy as a benefit of video games. A, C, and D are not the best choices because they are all benefits of video games that are actually discussed in the article.

11. Answer: C
C is the best choice because the "cotton-ball clouds" metaphor in paragraph 1 means the clouds were white and fluffy. A, B, and D are not the best choices because they do not accurately reflect the true meaning of the metaphor in paragraph 1.

12. Answer: B
B is the best choice because paragraph 8 clearly indicates that this story is set on an island. A, C, and D are not the best choices because paragraphs 2, 9, and 11 do not indicate this story is set on an island.

13. Answer: D
D is the best choice because the implication of "the zinc began to lift and shudder" in paragraph 9 is that the winds were picking up. A, B, and C are not the best choices because they do not accurately define the implication of the phrase in paragraph 9.

14. Answer: A
A is the best choice because dialect is used in this story to enhance the cultural setting of the story. B, C, and D are not the best choices because they do not reflect the reason that dialect was used in this story.

15. Answer: C
C is the best choice because this story is written in third-person point of view. A and B are not the best choices because this story is not written in first-person or second-person point of view. D is not the best choice because this story is only written in third-person point of view.

16. Answer: A
A is the best choice because personification is the literary device that is used in paragraph 11. B, C, and D are not the best choices because paragraph 11 does not use simile, paradox, or irony.

17. Answer: D
D is the best choice because the setting depicted in paragraph 2 is best described as "busy." A, B, and C are not the best choices because they do not accurately reflect the setting depicted in paragraph 2.

18. Answer: B
B is the best choice because the personification and metaphor in paragraph 1 serve to energize the setting description. A, C, and D are not the best choices because they do not clearly represent the reasons behind the use of literary devices in paragraph 1.

19. Answer: C
C is the best choice because Mimi's attitude toward the second half of the hurricane is anxiety. A, B, and D are not the best choices because they do not reflect Mimi's attitude toward the second half of the hurricane as reflected in the text.

20. Answer: A
A is the best choice because the text indicates that the eye of the hurricane is the center of the hurricane. B, C, and D are not the best choices because the text does not indicate that the eye of the hurricane is the leading edge, back edge, or any lull.

21. Answer: B
B is the best choice because Adrian's role, as shown in the story, is to care for the family. A, C, and D are not the best choices because they do not accurately reflect Adrian's role in the family.

22. Answer: D
D is the best choice because, based on the dialect, setting, and other clues in the text, this story likely takes place on an island in the Caribbean. A, B, and C are not the best choices because they are not likely locations for this story based on the information presented in the text.

STAAR Test Questions - Main

STAAR High School English 1 Overview

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Last Updated: 07/05/2018