Grade 10 English Language Arts Practice Questions

1. Which of the following might be an introduction to an essay that provides both a main idea and the importance of the idea?

a. Many colleges today require a minimum of two years of a foreign language. This is a mistake and a waste of time: more science or math courses would be better choices. After all, most students will neither live in a foreign country or need to deal with foreigners. In light of the fact that our students are behind the rest of the world in math and science, we should get rid of this archaic requirement.
b. Why do many colleges today require a minimum of two years of a foreign language? It doesn't seem like it is fair to ask students to study another language for two years. After all, this doesn't really mean that the students have two full years of study, but rather four semesters of study.
c. Many colleges today require a minimum of two years of a foreign language. This is an important requirement. Students definitely need to have at least a year of learning a foreign language. Since college admissions officers think it is important, we should, too.
d. Students don't have the option of studying a foreign language in school: they are forced to take it. They can choose from Spanish and usually one other language, like French or Chinese. Depending on the school district, some students can be involved in college-level language programs to help develop their skills.

2. In a debate, the first speaker claims that "Students should be allowed to graduate from school after completing the 10th grade, instead of making them attend until they are 18. Most students will not go to college, so it doesn't make sense to waste their time preparing for something that won't happen. These students need the extra years to start working regular jobs and supporting their families. " What might be one counterclaim to this? Choose the answer that provides a counterclaim and evaluates the speaker's argument.

a. It's silly to say that students don't need to be in school until 18. A person who makes a claim like that has little understanding of the educational system and very little knowledge of real life. While it might be good to start working earlier than 18, who's to say that a student can get a good job?
b. It is certainly true that most students will never attend college. Statistics show that the majority of high school students fail to show an interest in college. There are also a high number of students who are pushed into going to college that fail the first year because they went for the wrong reasons.
c. What does a 16-year-old know about life? At 16, you live in your parents' home and are considered a child. If a student drops out at 16, there may be regrets later in life. After all, it is a proven fact that college graduates make considerably more money than workers with less education.
d. While it is true that most students do not go to college, and that working is beneficial, attending school until 18 is valuable. At 16, most students do not really know what they want to do: if they drop out of school early, they may regret that they lost the chance to study hard and attend college. Research shows that college grads make more money than those with less education.

3. Which of the following choices best completes the passage? Standardized tests are becoming more important every year, and ________these tests may seem like an easy way for educators to evaluate many students at once, there are considerable drawbacks. ________, teachers frequently teach to the test, which may raise scores but lowers the quality of education. __________: a recent survey showing that students know little information that is not tested on a standardized exam.

a. while, for example, case in point
b. since, while, interestingly
c. although, consequently, moreover
d. because, on the other hand, yet

4. Read the selection below, which is part of an essay given to a scholarship committee. Which of the following choices could come next? Keep in mind the style and audience.

Since before Watson and Crick first uncovered the double helix structure of DNA, companies have been trying to find ways to capitalize on the human genome. There are a number of companies that now claim to be able to trace ancestry or disease based on a small sample of blood. a. There's simply no way to really make a lot of money this way, though. Let's face it: a company that's not profitable is not going to survive.
b. While these companies are doing their best to capitalize on people's curiosity, the high cost of the testing and analysis prevent them from expanding into the broader market.
c. These companies aren't making the grade because they are knocking on only a few doors: most folks can't afford the pricey $200 or more for some stranger to look at their blood.
d. Since these companies are targeting a small enclave, they miss out on the potential end-users who may express an interest in the noncommercial community.

5. Based on the passage in #4, what might be one possible concluding statement that provides a solution to the problem of expensive tests?

a. In summary, the high cost of curiosity is killing the DNA testing market. People simply won't shell out that much money to find out about their ancestors, and the people who are willing to are few and far between.
b. In conclusion, niche markets provide only so much growth potential for products. After that, companies need to diversify their offerings if they want to grow.
c. In summary, DNA testing kits are the wave of the future. Companies looking to capitalize on the promotion of testing kits need to find a way to make the kits affordable to the average consumer.
d. In conclusion, my business plan utilizes the current technology while partnering with local retailers to market the DNA testing kits to a broad audience while keeping the price point affordable.

6. Which of the following choices supplies an effective introduction to an essay on genetic engineering?

a. Genetic engineering refers to the modification of life via artificial methods. Genetic engineering is used in many places and in many ways. Genetic engineering is a frightening thing and this essay is about that.
b. Who hasn't heard of genetic engineering? In some ways, it is a frightful thing. This essay will examine that fear of the unknown. It will also talk about the ways that genetic engineering can be used to further enhance crop yields in Africa.
c. Fifty years ago, the average consumer would not know much about genetic engineering. However, these days, it seems as if it is on everyone's lips. This essay addresses genetic engineering. It will also examine some items created in labs by highly qualified scientists.
d. Genetic engineering: the words strike fear into many hearts. But is genetic engineering really dangerous, or is it a bogeyman created by non-scientists? This essay will describe what genetic engineering is, its applications, and deal with some of the myths about it.

7. Which of the following choices provided belongs in an essay on genetic engineering and gives an extended definition for genetic engineering?

a. It's clear what genetic engineering is: the modification of living things via modern DNA modification techniques. It's also clear what it's not: it's not the same technique farmers and animal breeders have been using for thousands of years.
b. The definition of genetic engineering is a simple one: it is the alteration of living material. While non-scientists argue about terrifying futuristic scenarios, these fears basically come from a lack of understanding.
c. What is genetic engineering? It is an unholy alliance between science, technology, and living things. Not only does genetic engineering place humanity at the top of a dangerous precipice, it does it to enhance a hidden agenda: to change who we are fundamentally.
d. Genetic engineering is a relatively modern technique developed by scientists with the hope of taking the best of the best. By getting rid of "bad" or "hurtful" material, scientists can move us toward a higher quality of life.

8. Which of the following choices best completes the passage? Genetic engineering is not just a new way of approaching the same breeding methods used by farmers for centuries. ___________, it is a completely new way of dealing with living things. ______ some scientists say that we are only working with what nature has given us, this is clearly not the case. We are not working with nature, we are creating it. We are making ourselves gods.

a. However, For example
b. On the contrary, While
c. Notably, Case in point
d. First, Second

9. Which of the following choices could be part of an essay on infectious diseases and genetic disorders? (Make sure it uses language appropriate to a science paper.)

a. What are the differences between infectious diseases and genetic disorders? You can get diseases from just about anything. You can get them from things like shaking hands. Genetic disorders are worse than infectious diseases. These are problems in a person's makeup.
b. Key differences between infectious diseases and genetic disorders are the way they are obtained. Genetic disorders are much like illogical aspects of human nature. Infectious diseases are the terrors that strike when least suspected.
c. There are key differences between infectious diseases and genetic disorders. Infectious diseases are transmitted via carriers, and include both bacterial and viral diseases. Genetic disorders are present in the DNA of the individual.
d. Infectious diseases and genetic disorders have key differences. Infectious disease can be spread from person to person via contact. One example of an infectious disease is the flu. Flu germs can remain viable for a time span that varies between hours and days.

10. Which of the following sentences best completes the selection? The flu is a common disease that plagues millions of Americans every year. Symptoms include a runny nose, fever, coughing, and an overall feeling of achiness. While there is little that can be done once someone catches the flu, there is one important step most people fail to take to prevent themselves from getting it.

a. They don't wash their hands when they go to the bathroom.
b. They fail to do something that is vital to protecting their health.
c. They only wash their hands if someone is watching them.
d. They fail to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently.

Answers and Explanations

1. A: Many colleges today require a minimum of two years of a foreign language. This is a mistake and a waste of time: more science or math courses would be better choices. After all, most students will neither live in a foreign country or need to deal with foreigners. In light of the fact that our students are behind the rest of the world in math and science, we should get rid of this archaic requirement.

This argument introduces the main argument, that colleges should drop the language requirement, and includes support for the author's idea: students should spend more time in math and science courses because US students lag behind all other nations. The other choices either introduce claims that are not supported or details that lack a specific main idea.

2. D: While it is true that most students do not go to college, and that working is beneficial, attending school until 18 is valuable. At 16, most students do not really know what they want to do: if they drop out of school early, they may regret that they lost the chance to study hard and attend college. Research shows that college grads make more money than those with less education.

This choice provides a counterclaim while acknowledging the truth in the speaker's argument. Choice A opens with an ad hominem attack and fails to assert a counterclaim. Choice B lacks a counterclaim. Choice C lacks an acknowledgment of what the speaker claimed.

3. A: while, for example, case in point This is the best choice for this passage because an idea is introduced, and then there is a change in the direction. The change in direction acknowledges another point of view. The next sentence illustrates part of the author's argument with a supporting idea (standardized tests lower the quality of education). The last sentence is talking about a specific example and using the colon to break up the sentence.

4. B: While these companies are doing their best to capitalize on people's curiosity, the high cost of the testing and analysis prevent them from expanding into the broader market.

This is the best choice. It maintains a formal presentation style while utilizing common business terms. The other choices either fail to establish a formal style (Choices A and C), or do not use the correct terminology (Choice D).

5. D: In conclusion, my business plan utilizes the current technology while partnering with local retailers to market the DNA testing kits to a broad audience while keeping the price point affordable.

This conclusion best supports the initial ideas or suggestions laid out in #4. These ideas (DNA testing kits are expensive and appeal to a niche market) are addressed here and explain what the student wanted to state: that he has a business plan to provide inexpensive tests to a broader audience. Choice A is too informal and does not address a solution. Choice B is too vague and does not cover the information in #4. Choice C acknowledges the issues but offers no concluding solution.

6. D: Genetic engineering: the words strike fear into many hearts. But is genetic engineering really dangerous, or is it a bogeyman created by non-scientists? This essay will describe what genetic engineering is, its applications, and deal with some of the myths about it. An effective essay needs to open with the statement of a clear topic and it needs to organize the essay in a coherent manner. This is the only choice that grabs the reader's attention and then mentions the organization of the paper. Choice A gives a definition for genetic engineering but fails to establish a cohesive structure for the essay. Choice B uses specifics in the introduction, and Choice C is not well-organized.

7. A: It's clear what genetic engineering is: the modification of living things via modern DNA modification techniques. It's also clear what it's not: it's not the same technique farmers and animal breeders have been using for thousands of years. This is the best choice because it provides a concise but extended definition of genetic engineering. Choices B and C do not provide an extended definition of genetic engineering and only develop an argument. Choice D contains part of an extended definition but is missing details (like the modification of DNA).

8. B: On the contrary, While The transitions needed here must complete the sentences while preserving the direction of the passage. The first sentence gives us one direction, then the second sentence provides a contradiction. The third sentence is about what scientists are saying, but includes a contrasting comment.

9. C: There are key differences between infectious diseases and genetic disorders. Infectious diseases are transmitted via carriers, and include both bacterial and viral diseases. Genetic disorders are present in the DNA of the individual.

This choice uses science-based language appropriate to a biology paper. Choices A and B do not use domain-appropriate language. Choice D discusses diseases but not genetic disorders.

10. D: They fail to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently. This is the only choice that matches the style and tone of the passage. Choices A and C are too informal. Choice B does not complete the passage.

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Grade 9-10 Common Core English Language Arts Language Overview

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Last Updated: 03/01/2017


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