The English Language Arts section consists of 57 multiple-choice questions that assess revising/editing skills and reading comprehension. These questions are aligned to the New York State Learning Standards. The pages that follow provide tips for answering the revising/editing and the reading comprehension questions.
Note: the sample test questions on this page have not been translated by the NYCDOE, and the website-provided translations of the sample test items below may not reflect the actual sample items.
Overview of the Revising/Editing Part A
The language skills assessed in this section are based on the Language section of the New York State Learning Standards for Grade 7, as well as skills or standards that may have been introduced in earlier grades, such as the Language Progressive Skills. Each question directs you to read a sentence, a list of sentences, or a paragraph with numbered sentences. Then you are asked to address issues related to conventions of language or punctuation. Examples include:
- selecting the best correction for an error
- identifying a sentence with an error
- improving the writing by combining sentences or revising part of a sentence
Tips for Revising/Editing Part A
First, read the question: For most items, read the question first rather than reading the text first so that you know what type of issue to look for while reading the text.
Next, read the text in the box and take notes on the issues you observe, while being mindful of time. Ask yourself questions such as:
- Are there words, phrases, or sentences that are difficult to read due to an error in language usage or punctuation?
- Is there any part of the text that could be written more clearly, concisely, or precisely?
Consider these tips:
- Quickly mark up the text when you notice an issue. This may help you to select an answer option.
- Keep in mind that your notes should focus on the specific topic of the question
- Before test day, plan how much time you will spend on Part A; this will help you to be efficient when answering each question on test day
Sample Questions for Revising/Editing Part A
Sample 1: Select the sentence that needs a revision.
(1) For 14 years, James and his dad have had a tradition of attending Yankees games together, but James is leaving for college next week, and he is agonizing over the fact that attending school in Pennsylvania and working there over the summer meant no more games with his dad. (2) One night, as James is packing his clothes into boxes, he hears a soft knock on his bedroom door. (3) As soon as he opens the door, James sees what is in his dad’s hands and feels a rush of joy. (4) His dad is holding a bus ticket for a trip home on a weekend in the spring so that father and son can attend a Yankees game together!
Which sentence in the paragraph should be revised to correct an inappropriate shift in verb tense?
- Sentence 1
- Sentence 2
- Sentence 3
- Sentence 4
Tip: To determine the best revision, read sentence 1 in the paragraph. If a revision does not need to be made, continue reading each sentence and answer option until you find the correct answer.
Sample 2: Identify a sentence with an error.
(1) In 2007, visitors to San Francisco, many of whom were attending an international design conference, had booked almost all the city’s hotel rooms. (2) Looking for a way to earn some extra money, three air mattresses were rented out by roommates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky. (3) The 27-year-olds put the mattresses in the loft of their apartment and charged $80 a night, for which guests received a bed, breakfast, and Internet access. (4) Soon the entrepreneurs realized that they could capitalize on their idea in a much bigger way, and they established Airbnb, a company that offers around 6 million rental listings in more than 100,000 cities worldwide.
Which sentence in the paragraph contains an error in its construction and should be revised?
- Sentence 1
- Sentence 2
- Sentence 3
- Sentence 4
Tip 1: To identify the sentence, read carefully while being mindful of time; don't just skim. The error could be anywhere in the paragraph.
Tip 2: Note that the error is specific to construction, which means it relates to how the words and phrases are placed in a sentence to convey (represent) the relationship between ideas.
Sample 3: Improve the writing by combining sentences or revising part of a sentence.
- In 2019, 15-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff defeated Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon.
- Wimbledon is the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament.
- Gauff made history as the youngest player in almost 30 years to win a women’s singles match at Wimbledon.
What is the best way to combine the sentences to clarify the relationship between the ideas?
- Making history at the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament in 2019, 15-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff defeated Venus Williams, in the first round, making Gauff the youngest player in almost 30 years to win a women’s singles match at Wimbledon.
- At the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, Wimbledon, 15-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff made history in 2019 by defeating Venus Williams in the first round, making the teenager the youngest player in almost 30 years to win a women’s singles match.
- In 2019, 15-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff made history when she defeated Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon, becoming the youngest player in almost 30 years to win a women’s singles match at the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament.
- In 2019, history was made at the first round of Wimbledon, the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, when 15-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff defeated Venus Williams to become the youngest player in almost 30 years to win a women’s singles match.
Tip: Note that the question asks you to combine the two sentences. To combine sentences, ask yourself
- Are there any repeated words/ideas that can instead be used just once?
- How are the different ideas connected? Do they represent a cause and effect, opposing ideas, a sequence, etc.?
Sample Explanations for Part A
Sample 1 Explanation
Correct Answer: (A) The sentence is written in the present tense; the verb “meant” shifts incorrectly into past tense. This verb should instead appear in the future tense, “will mean,” since the verb refers to how things will be in the future. The corrected sentence will then read, “For 14 years, James and his dad have had a tradition of attending Yankees games together, but James is leaving for college next week, and he is agonizing over the fact that attending school in Pennsylvania and working there over the summer will mean no more games with his dad.” The present tense, “means,” could also be used, as James appears to be coming to this realization in present time. The use of “means” would make the corrected sentence read as follows: “For 14 years, James and his dad have had a tradition of attending Yankees games together, but James is leaving for college next week, and he is agonizing over the fact that attending school in Pennsylvania and working there over the summer means no more games with his dad.”
Sample 2 Explanation
Correct Answer: (E) In sentence 2, the modifier “Looking for a way to earn some extra money” incorrectly modifies “three air mattresses,” when it should modify “roommates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky.” This error in construction can be corrected by making “roommates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky” the subject of the main clause and using the active voice. The corrected sentence will read, “Looking for a way to earn some extra money, roommates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky rented out three air mattresses.”
Sample 3 Explanation
Correct Answer: (C) This revision clarifies the idea that Gauff made history by becoming the youngest player in decades to win a women’s singles match at Wimbledon and that she did so when she beat Venus Williams. The revision also explains that Wimbledon is the “world’s most prestigious tennis tournament” in a way that is clear and logical.
Overview of Revising/Editing Part B
Questions in Revising/Editing Part B assess your ability to read a text and then make decisions that improve the overall quality of the writing. The subjects presented in these texts will include historical and current events; people, places, and technology; and phenomena in the biological sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences. Each sentence is numbered so that you can quickly locate and refer to specific parts of the passage.
The text may contain errors such as
- language misuse
- missing or unnecessary supporting details
- missing or inappropriate transitional words, phrases, or sentences
- a missing or an unclear introductory statement or concluding statement
- confusing or illogical organization
- other errors related to language and writing standards
Tips for Revising/Editing Part B
First, read the text carefully while being mindful of time; don’t skim.
- You need to understand the author’s purpose, main idea, and supporting details of the text in order to answer questions about how the text could be better developed and organized, which requires careful reading.
- You may notice sentences and paragraphs that seem confusing, illogical, unnecessary, disorganized, or generally difficult to read.
- Note that the order in which you should read the text and question(s) for Revising/Editing Part B is different from Part A. In Part A, you should read the question first. In Part B, you should read the text first
Next, read each question carefully, while being mindful of time.
- Refer back to the text and reread the relevant sentences or paragraphs that are mentioned in the question.
- You will also likely need to skim the sentence before and after the sentence that is referenced in a question.
- Consider each answer option, rereading the text as necessary (and as time permits). Determine whether the option represents the best revision.
Sample Questions for Revising/Editing Part B
Learning to Embrace the Gap Year
- The traditional academic plan for college-bound students in the United States is to complete high school in June and begin college courses in August or September, but some experts wonder whether this plan is appropriate for all students.
- Young adults are still exhausted from attending secondary school.
- They are sent to college with little to no transition time.
- They struggle with a lack of direction, have minimal life experience, and are not adequately prepared to succeed.
- Many students are simply starting college before they are ready.
- A gap year is when a student takes a one-year hiatus from schooling for nonacademic activities.
- This break in the academic track gives young adults a chance to explore possible program options, gain volunteer experience, and achieve personal growth.
- Through a variety of opportunities, gap year participants can develop new skills and interests.
- The break can also help prepare students for the challenges of college coursework by giving them additional time to mature.
- Succeeding at the college level can be challenging at first, but when determined students adjust and employ good study habits, they will thrive.
- Earning money can be a tempting choice, and some young adults may find that they no longer desire a college degree after entering the workforce.
- While gap year critics do have a valid concern, a 2010 Wall Street Journal article cited research that found that “90% of students who took a gap year had returned to college within a year.”
- And the Gap Year Association, a worldwide accredited nonprofit that promotes the benefits of a gap year, maintains that “taking a structured gap year invariably serves to develop the individual into a more focused student with a better sense of purpose and engagement in the world.”
- The choice to take a gap year may not be for all students, but it could be the best path for some.
- Students need to know that this is a good choice that will be supported if it is what they want.
- Taking a gap year could help students become more successful as adults in their community.
- Which sentence should follow sentence 5 to introduce the main claim of the passage?
- Taking a gap year away from formal education to determine their personal aspirations is the answer for these students.
- For some students, the benefits of taking a gap year after high school could significantly increase their chances of achieving collegiate success.
- When students are academically and emotionally prepared, they are guaranteed to experience greater success in their higher education endeavors.
- Students who take the time to mature and gain knowledge outside of the classroom will experience more satisfaction, purpose, and accomplishment in their life.
- Which revision of sentence 8 uses the most precise language?
- Through different experiences and discoveries, gap year participants can develop new skills and interests.
- Through a range of opportunities and training, gap year participants can develop new skills and interests.
- Through internships, work, travel, or volunteerism, gap year participants can develop new skills and interests.
- Through a variety of jobs, programs, and charities, gap year participants can develop new skills and interests.
- Which sentence should be added before sentence 11 to introduce the ideas in the third paragraph (sentences 11–13)?
- Some gap year opponents worry that young adults who take a break from academia for activities such as a job may never return.
- In addition to helping students become better prepared for college, a gap year could be useful to those with financial constraints.
- Students complain that there is not enough time between high school and college to earn money for college.
- There is growing concern among some experts that a gap year may be too expensive for many students to even consider.
Sample Explanation for Part B
Sample 1 Explanation
Correct Answer: (B) This sentence clearly states the main claim — that the gap year can lead to success in college for some, but not all, students (as revealed in sentence 14). This idea is developed throughout the passage by explaining what a gap year is and how it benefits students.
Sample 2 Explanation
Correct Answer: (G) The imprecise reference in sentence 8 to “a variety of opportunities” is replaced with the more specific and precise reference to what these opportunities entail. They may be “internships, work, travel, or volunteerism.”
Sample 3 Explanation
Correct Answer: (A) The third paragraph introduces, and then refutes, a counterclaim about gap years — that they may encourage young people to forgo college entirely. This sentence clearly introduces this counterclaim, which the paragraph elaborates on and then refutes with evidence.
Overview of Reading Comprehension
This section assesses your ability to read and comprehend up to six texts of both literary and informational genres, which may include any of the text types listed below.
Informational genre may include: Expository or explanatory texts, argumentative texts, or functional texts in the form of:
- personal essays
- opinion pieces
- essays about art or literature
- historical, scientific, technical, or economic
- accounts written for a broad audience
Literary genre may include: poetry, adventure stories, historical fiction, mysteries, myths, science fiction, realistic fiction, allegories, parodies, or satire.
Tips for Reading Comprehension
Read the text carefully while being mindful of time; don’t skim.
- Read the text carefully to ensure you have an accurate and text-based understanding of both the big ideas and important details.
- Monitor your comprehension while you read; if a sentence or paragraph is confusing, try quickly rereading it.
- Jot brief notes to identify important details, summarize ideas, etc., while reading the text in its entirety.
Read the question carefully.
- Read the question carefully so that you clearly understand what the question is asking. For example, do you need to focus on details in just one paragraph or multiple paragraphs?
- If time permits, reread the relevant part or parts of the text.
Try to determine the answer before reading the answer options.
- Think of the answer before reading each option. Then read each answer option, eliminating ones that definitely seem incorrect, and choose the one that best matches your thinking.
- Base your answers only on the content of the text (and associated images or graphics where relevant). Do not depend on your prior knowledge of the topic.
Sample Questions for Reading Comprehension
Snoozing While Soaring
- Certain types of birds soar for hundreds of miles, over land, over sea—and never stop to rest. That kind of endurance seems impossible to us, since we as people need time to rest and sleep. Researchers set out to learn how birds could fly for such long distances without restorative rest. They found that for some birds, settling in for a good night’s rest is not always a necessity
- In 2013 Felix Liechti and his research colleagues at the Swiss Ornithological Institute published results of a study about the flight habits of Alpine swifts, small birds that migrate annually between Europe and Africa. Liechti and his team fitted the birds with small electronic tags that recorded the birds’ acceleration and their pitch, or angle relative to the ground. The data revealed that the birds remained completely airborne during their time in Africa, a period of over 200 days. Since all animals require sleep, the researchers inferred that the birds slept from time to time on their long journey. However, since the electronic tags recorded only movement such as gliding or flying, and not brain waves, the question of whether birds sleep during flight remained unanswered.
- Researcher Niels Rattenborg from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology also delved into this question. In a 2006 article Rattenborg explained that it was theoretically possible that birds could undergo a certain type of sleep while flying. Like mammals, Rattenborg explained, birds experience different types of sleep, including slow-wave sleep (SWS). Rattenborg argued that SWS during flight is plausible because SWS can happen in one hemisphere of the brain at a time, leaving half of the brain essentially awake while the other half sleeps. The eye associated with the “awake” hemisphere can still function, allowing a bird to see where it is going. Rattenborg decided that electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings of birds’ brain waves would ultimately be necessary to determine whether a bird can actually sleep in flight.
- Eventually, Rattenborg and his team were able to create an experiment to prove this theory by studying frigatebirds from the Galápagos Islands. These enormous birds are good subjects for avian-sleep research because they fly far out to sea to hunt fish. However, unlike many seabirds, they cannot land on the water to rest because the physical build of their body—long wings, poorly webbed feet, and minimal feather waterproofing—makes them unable to take off again from the surface of the water. Rattenborg concluded that they must remain in flight for up to two months at a time.
- In an article from 2016, Rattenborg outlined the team’s research methods and conclusions. The team humanely implanted EEGs on the skulls of several frigatebirds. After analyzing the EEG readings of the birds while in flight, the team determined that the frigatebirds slow-wave slept for about ten seconds at a time at points when the birds were gliding upward via warm air currents, typically the safest part of the flight. While in flight the birds slept for only 45 minutes a day, which is just enough rest for the birds to function during these long flights. They later recovered from the stress of going with very little sleep when they rested for approximately twelve hours each day back on land.
- Using EEG recordings, Niels Rattenborg solved the puzzle of when birds sleep while traveling long distances. His evidence proved that his theory was correct, and the birds proved themselves to be the ultimate multitaskers as they manage sleep and flight at the same time.
- Read this sentence from paragraph 1. " That kind of endurance seems impossible to us, since we as people need time to rest and sleep." The words “endurance” and “impossible” in the sentence convey
- amazement about the physical capability of birds to remain in flight for extended periods of time over long distances.
- uncertainty about the conditions that allow birds to stay in flight for extended periods of time without rest.
- excitement about the opportunity to share research into how birds fly for extended periods of time.
- skepticism about discovering how birds can fly for extended periods of time with little or no rest.
Which sentence from the passage best supports the idea that birds seem to be capable of making prolonged flights without sleeping?
- “The data revealed that the birds remained completely airborne during their time in Africa, a period of over 200 days.” (paragraph 2)
- “In a 2006 article Rattenborg explained that it was theoretically possible that birds could undergo a certain type of sleep while flying.” (paragraph 3)
- “Rattenborg decided that electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings of birds’ brain waves would ultimately be necessary to determine whether a bird can actually sleep in flight.” (paragraph 3)
- “While in flight the birds slept for only 45 minutes a day, which is just enough rest for the birds to function during these long flights.” (paragraph 5)
Which statement best summarizes the conclusions of the studies presented in the passage?
- Scientists used monitoring devices to determine that the seconds when migratory birds glide upward in warm air currents are safest for slow-wave sleep.
- Using monitoring devices, scientists confirmed that migratory birds sleep for an extremely short amount of time while in flight and recuperate by sleeping for an extended period of time after they land.
- Scientists used monitoring devices to determine that migratory birds require significantly less sleep than many other animals and to show that the birds use only one hemisphere of their brain while flying.
- Using monitoring devices, scientists confirmed that some types of migratory birds rely on slow-wave sleep cycles in order to stay in flight for extended periods of time.
The overall organizational structure of the passage allows the author to
- contrast the significance of research findings related to small migratory birds with those related to large migratory birds.
- compare the in-flight sleep patterns of the various types of birds examined in several studies.
- emphasize the role of technology in studying sleep patterns of birds in flight.
- illustrate how researchers acquired a better understanding of the sleep patterns of birds in flight.
Sample Explanations for Reading Comprehension
Sample 1 Explanation
Correct Answer: (A) Option A, “amazement about the physical capability of birds to remain in flight for extended periods of time over long distances.” is the correct response because it explains that the words “endurance” and “impossible” convey amazement at the birds’ ability to remain in flight for so long without resting—as opposed to human beings, who “need time to rest and sleep” (paragraph 1). Specifically, the word “impossible” implies a sense of wonder or disbelief at the birds’ endurance, which allows them to continue flying for hundreds of miles without stopping. The words “endurance” and “impossible” support the idea expressed later in the passage that these birds are the “ultimate multitaskers” (paragraph 6).
Sample 2 Explanation
Correct Answer: (E) Option E, “‘The data revealed that the birds remained completely airborne during their time in Africa, a period of over 200 days.’ (paragraph 2)” best supports the idea that birds seem to be capable of making prolonged flights without sleeping, because it expresses the idea that the birds “remained completely airborne” during “a period of over 200 days” (paragraph 2). This information is significantly more precise than the information in the other answer options. Therefore, option E provides more compelling evidence to support the idea in the question than the other answer options provide.
Sample 3 Explanation
Correct Answer: (D) Option D, “Using monitoring devices, scientists confirmed that some types of migratory birds rely on slow-wave sleep cycles in order to stay in flight for extended periods of time.” best summarizes the conclusions of the studies presented in the passage. While all the options include some important details about the study of migratory birds, option D accurately states the key conclusion of these studies, which is that these birds “rely on slow-wave sleep cycles in order to stay in flight for extended periods of time” (paragraph 5). Option D’s emphasis on the key conclusion rather than on key details makes it the correct response.
Sample 4 Explanation
Correct Answer: (H) Option H, “illustrate how researchers acquired a better understanding of the sleep patterns of birds in flight.” best explains the effect of the overall structure of the passage. The passage presents an unresolved question in paragraph 2, while paragraph 3 explains one researcher’s attempt at seeking an answer to the question. Paragraph 4 describes the bird the researchers chose due to its physical makeup and feeding habits. Paragraphs 5 and 6 illustrate the details and outcome of the study, revealing the researchers’ conclusion. Therefore, the overall structure of the passage illustrates how researchers improved their understanding of the sleep patterns of birds in flight.