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College Board Practice Tests – W&L Sample

Answer Explanations
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Exam Links:    Practice Test 1    Practice Test 8

Wrong Answers

Below are your wrong answers (filtered by default for all the exams on this page). You can filter further by individual exams, difficulty, question category, date, etc. at the bottom of each column.

Additional Tips & Hints in This Exam:
This list is by no means complete, but we hope it helps.

  1. Define the Goal- Q#2 Best Accomplishes Goal question prompts typically provide an abstract goal statement. It is your job to define that goal more precisely. Sometimes it isn’t obvious at first, but the correct answer will achieve the goal even if the answer sounds a little weird.
  2. “Serves” What? – Q#7 Serves “to” or “for” indicates purpose, often denoted by a verb. e.g., The policeman serves to protect us. Serves “as” indicates a designated use denoted by a noun. e.g., The policeman serves as a bodyguard.
  3. Parallel Lists – Q#8 All else equal, find the answer that denotes a parallel structure. In lists, the word structure should match from item to item. In this case, the subject pronoun appears only at the start, not for every item in the list: the parallel is a lack of pronoun.
  4. Independent clauses must precede colons – Q#11 A dependent clause before a colon indicates a wrong answer.
  5. Sentence Combinations – Q#13 Always check 1) for the correct relationship and transition word 2) punctuation rules used to combine clauses 3) redundancy or concision. All three issues are important, but if there is a written question, then it is usually a relationship(writing style) issue and if there is no question, it usually boils down to a punctuation(language) issue.
  6. Shorter=Better EXCEPT – Q#17 The well-known rule of thumb fails when the shortest answer creates an improper compound (or possibly complex) sentence. If the short answer yields two independent clauses separated by a comma, then you have a comma splice—a wrong answer.
  7. Redundancy and Synonyms – Q#23 Redundancy doesn’t always equate to repeat words. Synonyms of “quickly” like “soon” or “promptly” can also lead to redundant, wrong answers. The exam likes to sneak in redundancy in places that might surprise you.
  8. Can you find the modifier? – Q#24 Modifiers frequently come in the form of present participle (verb + -ing) or past participle (verb + -ed,-n) phrases that act as adjectives. e.g., Having thought long and hard, Jim decided to take the chance. The participle phrase modifies Jim, and it is next to the modified noun.
  9. Do you know your prepositional idioms? Q#25. Correct idioms do follow some rules, but not always definite rules, so it is worth taking some time to learn the correct idioms for various situations.
  10. Don’t Mix Examples – Q#26 Colons and phrases like “such as, for example, for instance” serve similar purposes: they are all followed by examples. Choose one approach or the other, but do not mix the options together.
  11. “Likewise” denotes comparisons– Q#27 You must learn the different relationships and the major transition words associated with each to do well on the W & L exam. If you want an elite score, you would do well to learn some of the less obvious transitions too. If you thought “likewise” denoted addition, not comparison, you probably answered Q#27 incorrectly.
  12. Where is the paragraph main idea? – Q#28 The first sentence of the paragraph denotes the main idea, which can help you quickly assess whether a new sentence will be relevant or irrelevant in the paragraph.
  13. Graph Tips – Q#29 Always read the figure title, legend, and axes to make sure you understand what the graph says and what it does not say. In this case, the student might not be clear what the % change refers to.
  14. Who vs. Whom – Q#30 Who is a subject relative pronoun. Whom is the object relative pronoun. Substitute other subject/object pronouns, he/she or they/them, to clarify if you are ever uncertain. e.g., Whom did you call? English syntax may suggest the first word (Whom) is the subject noun, but “Him did you call” or “Did you call him?” makes better sense than either “He did you call” or “Did you call he?”
  15. Shorter is Better (all else equal) – Q#35 Despite the exceptions shown above, it is worth stating a well-known rule that shorter is usually better. All else equal (i.e. if everything else is correct), choose the answer that is more concise and demonstrates a parallel structure.
  16. -ING verb conjugations – Q#36, Q#40 A verb + -ing either denotes a present participle, which usually forms a modifying dependent phrase, or a gerund, which is a noun, not a verb. e.g., Walking is fun. Verb + -ing is never the correct conjugation of the main verb in a clause unless a helping verb is present. e.g., He is walking.

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Exam Categories/Difficulty:

Click on a category link below to see related lessons. One category only provided for sample.

Category Question #
Expression of Ideas (Writing): 18 (Easy-Medium-Hard)
Best Accomplishes Goal/Add-Replace 3 (#2 20 37)
Include-Exclude (Yes-Yes-No-No) 3 (#6 28 42)
Sentence Combinations/Transitions 7 (#9 13 14 27 34 38 39)
Graph Analysis 2 (#12 29)
Order Sentences 3 (#5 22 31)
Category Question #
Standard English Conventions (Language): 26 (Easy-Medium-Hard)
Comma Rules/Run-Ons/Fragments 6 (#4 11 15 16 26 32)
Concision/Syntax/Active Voice 3 (#21 33 35)
Pronouns Use/Case/Ambiguity 3 (#17 30 43)
Verb Tense/Mood/Agreement 6 (#3 8 18 23 36 40
Possessives 3 (#19 41 44)
Diction/Precise Language/Homophones 2 (#1 10)
Misplaced Modifiers/Prepositions 2 (#24 25)
Comparisons 1 (#7)
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