Reading Tests common questions

Reading Tests: Common Test Question Framework
‘Giving examples’ questions
 These are a very common type of SATs question.
 For example:
o How does the snail behave when it is afraid?
Give two ways.
 When asked to give several examples of/reasons
for something, try to use quite different ones.
In the example below, the reasons are too similar
to get two marks:
o How do the texts suggest Charlie has met
gorillas in his past adventures? Give two
 1. They know his name.
 2. They say “Wake up Charlie.”
 Instead, try to think of two quite different
 1. The Gorilla seems to know who Charlie
is and wakes him by name.
 2. Charlie knows how to speak Gorilla.
Find and copy questions
 These questions ask you to select a word or group
of words that show something particular. These
are very common SATs questions. For example:
o Look at the paragraph beginning: I had the
same feeling of mystery and danger around us.
Find and copy four different words from the
rest of the paragraph that suggest danger.
o Find and copy the group of words on page 9
where Lord John’s mood changes.
 It important to notice whether the question asks
for individual words or a group of words. If you
are asked for a word and you write a sentence or
phrase you may not get the marks. For example:
o Find and copy two words that show you how
much Charlie admires Jakeman.
 1. marvellous
 2. incredible
 NOT: He’s an incredible inventor
Word meaning questions
 These questions require you to show you
understanding of what a word means. Regular
reading and discussion will help you to build
your vocabulary.
o Into your pitiful shell, so brittle and thin
In this line, the word brittle is closest in
meaning to… shiny/soft/delicate/rough (tick
o Look at the paragraph beginning: I do not
know how long… The word unwieldy in this
paragraph is closest in meaning to…
fast/violent/clumsy/gentle (tick box).
Author intent questions
 Questions that ask why the author made particular
choices. For example:
o Why do you think the author does not reveal
what was making the noise until the end?
o Why do you think the author chose to use the
word ‘and’ several times in this sentence? He
ran out of the room and tumbled down the
stairs and threw the front door open and
raved down the path and slid under the shed
and shut his eyes tightly.
 These questions are asking about what effect the
author wanted to have on the reader. Generally,
start answers here with:
o It makes the reader think…
o It shows that…
o It makes it seem…
o The author wanted to show…
The ‘effect of’ questions
 These questions are similar to author intent
questions, but ask about the effect of particular
decisions the writer has made or they might ask
how the writer has achieved a particular effect.
o Read the final paragraph of [study text].
Explain how this ending creates suspense.
o How does the first paragraph suggest that the
characters are in a ‘lost world’?
o How does the writer emphasise the success of
the ladybirds?
o In the paragraph beginning, There were, as I
say… Malone compares the iguanodons to
different animals. How do these comparisons
help the reader understand what the
iguanodons look like?
 Be specific. You will not get marks for the
answer ‘It’s a cliff hanger’ or ‘We want to know
what’s going to happen’. Instead explain how the
cliff-hanger is created:
o By leaving us wondering why the Gorilla has
rescued Charlie.
Powerful word and phrase questions
 These are questions that ask about the effect or
meaning of particular words like fluttering,
grim, disconcerted etc. in their writing.
 It is not enough to say that the author chose
them because they are powerful words. You must
describe the image the words create and be
precise. For example:
o …in a flash... What does this tell you about
the burning of rocks in space?
o The word flash suggests that the rock burned
very quickly.
o Explain two things that the words emerald
scrap suggest about the frog.
o Emerald tells us the frog is like a precious
stone, yet scrap tells us it is also tiny and
 Pay attention to the wording of questions. Note
in the question below you are being asked about
how particular words would make the reader feel.
o Gentle, and small, and frail. How do these
words make the reader feel about the snail?
o They make the reader feel sorry for the snail
and want to protect it.
 You would not get a mark if you talked about the
snail itself and not the reader’s feelings. e.g.:
o It’s got a thin shell and is really delicate.
Comparing ideas questions
 These questions ask you to discuss changes,
differences, contrasts and your preferences. For
o The mood of the characters changes throughout
the extract. How does Lord John’s mood
o Explain how the descriptions of the
iguanodons in this paragraph support the idea
that they were both inoffensive and brutes.
o Puppy-walkers have mixed feelings when they
give the puppy back for the next stage of its
training. Explain why.
 The key for these is to mention BOTH things being
compared. However and But are useful for this
type of question.
o At the start of the extract, Lord John is
enthusiastic and full of adventure. At the
end of the extract, he has begun to feel
anxious and uneasy.
o They were inoffensive as they let the men
stare at them for ages and didn’t attack
them, however, they were also like brutes as
they were strong and pulled trees up with
o Puppies walkers feel sad to say goodbye to
the puppies they have loved and cared for,
but they also experience pride and
satisfaction as they have helped a puppy on
its way to becoming a guide dog.
Layout and organisation questions
 You may be asked to identify these features,
o How are some of Charlie’s words emphasised in
this section?
 Be careful that you read the question carefully
and only look at how Charlie’s words are
emphasised. There may be other text features
nearby designed to trip you up!
 You may also be asked about why these layout
features are used, e.g.:
o Why is the word ‘cub’ written in inverted
o Because Mowgli is not really a cub, but a
human boy being brought up by wolves.
 Here are some possible uses of different layout
features that you may be asked about:
Possible purpose
 Creates suspense
 Could show you some is stopping
speaking suddenly
 Could show someone daydreaming.
o Could show the speaker or author is
commas ‘’
being sarcastic:
o Dad called this ‘family fun
o Your so called ‘amusement’ park
was awful.
o To highlight an unusual word the
reader might not know, or a word in a
different language.
o Example:
Brackets ()
o To give extra information.
o Can emphasise a word or separate
different types of text – may be for
several reasons, for example:
Different font
o To separate questions and
answers in an interview.
o To separate words in a glossary
from their definition.
o To highlight unusual words the
reader may not know.
 You may also be asked about how the text has been
o How has this text about ladybirds been
organised? Tick one.
 The text gives facts about ladybirds,
organised in different sections for each
 The information about ladybirds is
organised like a story, with additional
information at the end.
 It starts with facts about scale insects
and then explains the life cycle of the
 The text gives information about
ladybirds and ends with a story about
scale insets.
 To answer these questions successfully, you need
to be familiar with a wide range of books types
and regularly discussing layout and organisation.
Genre and text type
 You may be asked where you might expect to read
a particular text, e.g. on the front of a
newspaper; in a magazine; in a children’s fable
or in a travel brochure. To answer these
questions correctly, you need to be reading a
wide range of text types and discussing your