The State of Illinois Basic Skills Exam for Illinois Educators

The State of Illinois TAP Exam
for Illinois Educators
Reading Comprehension and
Vocabulary Development
Preparation is the Key to Success
• “What I do is prepare myself until I know I
can do what I have to do.”- Joe Namath
• “If you’re not prepared, it’s not pressure
you feel, it’s fear.” – Bruce Bochy
• “Before everything else, getting ready is
the secret of success.” – Henry Ford
Table of Contents
Strategic Preparation
Physical Preparation
Emotional Preparation
The Difference Between the
Basic Skills Test and TAP
Inference: “Given the following information, 10
what can you conclude, infer, deduce…”
Organization : Major Topics of the
Vocabulary Words and Expressions
Logic: Fallacies, bias, warrants, author
credibility, cause/effect, similarities
Organization :Main idea of the selection or
Organization :Supporting details
Organization: Sequencing of ideas
Author’s purpose
Opinion vs Fact
Word Choice
Capitalization, introduction techniques
1 each
Preparing Yourself Strategically
• Most readers are not flexible; they read
everything the same way. The reading
comprehension portion of TAP requires
the ability to comprehend challenging
material and ,therefore, can not be read in
the same way you would read a novel or a
magazine article.
How to Use the Laminate
•As you preview the questions, on your laminated sheet, write the number of the question and a brief description
of the task. Failure to do this will often result in an inability to remember the questions as you read.
•Previewing the questions may be done by clicking the “next” command in the lower right-hand corner of your
computer screen. To return to the first question, click the “previous” command in the lower left-hand corner of
your computer screen.
•After previewing the text by reading the title, introduction, conclusion, and topic sentences, you are ready to
read the entire selection. Using your laminated sheet, take notes by graphically organizing the content of
selection. Failure to take notes will often result in an inability to comprehend what you have read. The ability to
see the connections between ideas is imperative; simply reading the words is inadequate.
•Alternate between the laminated sheet, the actual text, and the questions to determine the most appropriate
•Fortunately, the selection will always remain to the left of your screen; no more flipping through pages!
Preparation Strategically:Using the
Author’s Signs and Symbols
• Be aware of the author’s use of numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.), letters (a,b,c,
etc.), or words and phrases indicating sequence, enumeration, or
relative importance (first,next, finally, before).
• Be aware of the author’s use of typographic abnormalities such as
bold face, italic, or any other unusual font; boxes; small or large
print; indentations; or color changes. All of these are requests to the
reader to take special note of the content.
• Be aware of transition words of all sorts: forward signals
(furthermore, in the same way, additionally), counter signals
(contrastingly, nevertheless, on the contrary), summary signals
(therefore, consequently, thus) and terminal signals (as a result,
finally, in conclusion).
• Be aware of words that are repeated or their synonyms – particularly
in the introduction and the conclusion.
Just a Word about Building
• The use of contextual aids and familiarity
with affixes and roots are two aids for
promoting word growth. Many times when
reading the selection, you may be tempted
to skip unfamiliar words. If done too often,
this may affect your comprehension.
Vocabulary: Contextual Aids
Determining Word
Meaning through
Vocabulary:Context Clues
– Definition:Formal definition: Horology is the science of
measuring time.
– Definition:Indirect definition: Hypochondria, excessive worry
over one’s health, afflicts many Americans over the age of forty.
– Example: Toxic materials, such as, arsenic, asbestos,
pesticides, and lead can cause permanent bodily damage.
– Contrast: During the concert the audience was quiet, but
afterward the crowd became boisterous.
– Inference: My father is a versatile man: he is a successful
business man, sportsman, author, and sports car mechanic.
Vocabulary :Affixes and Roots
• By utilizing your knowledge of common
prefixes, roots, and suffixes sometimes
you are able to determine the meaning of
an unfamiliar word. For example, look at
the word “ biography”. “bio” = “life”
“graph” = write
Biography means, literally, to write about
Get plenty of sleep.
Practice relaxation. Breathe
Dress in layers.
Eat well: Fresh fruit and vegetables help reduce stress;
caffeine, sugar, and junk food aggravate the situation.
• Have your picture-ID with your signature.
• Relieve the monotony of the reading comprehension test
and improve your concentration by interspersing it with
other portions of the exam. If the reading exam is the
only one you are taking, take a break after every third
Preparation: Emotional
• Maintain a positive attitude.
• Get acquainted with the test by visiting the state of
Illinois website for sample reading passages, questions,
and answers.
• Simulate the testing environment.
• Ask questions of others who have taken the exam or
faculty members, but try to avoid excessive negative,
counter-productive chatter.
• Utilize good luck charms or any other token that helps
you to be confident.
• Remember some anxiety is helpful- a little bit of
nervousness will keep you alert. Accept this as natural
and helpful.
Thank You for Coming