Praxis Reading Practice Questions

Now that you’ve started preparing for the Praxis, try your hand at some Praxis reading practice questions.

Question 1
Which of the following could be substituted for the word “assuage” in the following sentence with the least change in meaning?
Stem cell research has the potential to assuage or completely halt the advance of devastating diseases.
A. decrease
B. cure
C. heighten
D. satisfy
E. aggravate

A: Remember to predict a word to substitute for the word in context. The sentence claims “stem cell research has the potential to assuage or completely halt the advance of devastating diseases.” “Assuage” must mean something related to stopping the advance of diseases, but less than “completely halting” them. Predict a word like reduce. This matches choice (A). Choice (B) is incorrect because it is too extreme, being too close in meaning to “completely halt.” Choices (C) and (E) have the opposite of the intended meaning and make no sense in context. Choice (D) also does not work in context; “assuage” can mean “satisfy” in some contexts (as in “assuaging hunger”), but it does not make sense that the “advance of . . . diseases” can be “satisfied.”

Question 2
Which of the following answers, if true, would suggest an alternative to the author’s hypothesis?
Despite their amazing architectural and cultural achievements, including extensive roadway systems, none of the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mesoamerica developed a wheel used for transport. However, archeologists have discovered wheeled toys used by Mesoamerican children. Since they never applied wheel technology to vehicles, the Mesoamericans must not have had the need to carry heavy loads.
A. The wheeled toys used by Mesoamerican children often featured an animal pulling a toy wagon.
B. The Mesoamericans’ environment lacked any native animals capable of pulling heavy loads, so wheeled vehicles, such as carts, were unusable.
C. The Mesoamericans did not engage in long-distance trade.
D. Mesoamerican road systems connected villages only within the same geographic location.
E. The Mesoamericans adopted the wheel for transport when it was later introduced by Europeans.

B: Be sure to identify the components of the author’s argument and make a prediction of what could constitute an alternate hypothesis before looking at the answer choices. The author concludes that the Mesoamericans did not have a need to carry heavy loads based on the evidence that wheels were used for toys but not for transport vehicles. The author makes the assumption that the only reason the Mesoamericans would not have applied wheel technology to transport vehicles is that there was no need to carry heavy loads. Predict that an alternate hypothesis would be a different reason for not applying wheel technology to transport. This matches choice (B), as it provides another reason for not applying the wheel technology: lack of animals capable of pulling a heavy wheeled vehicle. Choice (A) is incorrect because it provides information about the children’s toys but does not give an alternate hypothesis for not applying wheel technology to transport. Choice (C) is incorrect because there could be other possible reasons for using the wheel for transport (such as farming or short-distance trade) besides just long-distance trade. Choice (D) is irrelevant as a reason for not applying the wheel for transport. Choice (E) only serves as a potential weakener to the author’s original hypothesis, rather than providing a potential alternate hypothesis, in its suggestion that the Mesoamericans actually did have a need for carrying heavy loads using the wheel.

Question 3
In the following sentence, what does the word “reduced” most nearly mean?
The colors and shapes in her paintings are often so reduced and simplified that they begin to take on a life of their own, independent of the real-life objects from which they are taken.
A. decreased
B. cheapened
C. streamlined
D. miniaturized
E. humbled

C: Read the surrounding lines for context and then predict a word that could be substituted for the cited word. The relevant sentence begins with the Structural Keyword “rather,” which indicates the contrast between presenting “images in a very detailed or realistic way” and the “reduced and simplified” style of O’Keeffe. Notice that the word in question must therefore contrast with “detailed” and be a synonym for “simplified”; predict a word like minimal. Choice (C) matches this prediction. Choices (A) and (D) are both words that mean “small in size,” which is not suggested by the context. Choice (B) incorrectly refers to either low monetary value or a negative view of O’Keeffe’s art, neither of which is indicated by the author. Choice (E) does not fit in context, as it does not make sense that “colors and shapes” could be “humbled.”

Question 4
Which of the following statements is best supported by the information provided below?
Katie spends some of her leisure time watching television. Last year, Katie decided to track her television viewing. The table below shows the time, in hours, Katie spent watching each of five television genres for each month. Katie watched no other television than what she recorded in the table, and she watched television programs only on her household television.
A. Katie watched a consistent amount of news programming every month last year.
B. Katie watched more hours of documentary than of either comedy or drama last year.
C. Katie watched the most hours of television last year in May.
D. Katie watched a consistent number of reality program hours every month last year.
E. Katie’s favorite television genre is comedy.

A: Although you cannot make a specific prediction, keep in mind the overall trends of the table when evaluating the answer choices. Choice (A) is correct; Katie watched 12 hours of news programming every month of last year. Select choice (A) and move on to the next question. Choice (B) is incorrect because Katie watched more hours of comedy and of drama than she did of documentary. Choice (C) is incorrect because Katie watched the most total hours in September. (D) is incorrect because Katie’s hours spent watching reality programs varied from month to month. Choice (E) is incorrect because even if Katie had watched more hours of comedy than anything else, you could not reach the conclusion that Katie’s favorite genre necessarily corresponds with whichever one she watched the most.

Looking for more prep? Kaplan has the Praxis Test Prep & Practice Resources for you.