Saddleback Valley Unified School District

Saddleback Mountains overlooking RSM Lake

Sample Tests

Proficiency Test Topics


  • Reading Comprehension
  • Language Expression
  • Choose the sentence that is complete and that is written correctly
  • Simple subject of the sentence
  • Simple predicate of the sentence
  • Combine three sentences into one
  • Choose the topic sentence that best fits the paragraph
  • Choose the answer that best develops the topic sentence
  • Choose the sentence that does not belong in the paragraph
  • Choose the sentence that best fills the blank in the paragraph


  • Word problems
  • Calculating interest
  • Percentages (increase/decrease)
  • Probability
  • LCD
  • Inequalities
  • Adding/Multiplying fractions
  • Adding positive and negative numbers
  • Finding Slope
  • Reading Graphs/Venn diagrams
  • Order of Operations (with and w/o parenthesis)
  • Perimeter
  • Area
  • Prime factors
  • Write % as a fraction
  • Multiplying exponents
  • Simplifying algebraic expressions
  • Quadratic equations
  • Calculating Means
  • Ratio (lengths of sides of triangle)
  • Square Root
  • Vertex

Writing Sample

  • Specifics of the topic
  • Organization
  • Detail and support
  • Mechanics

Sample Test Questions

Language Expression

Choose the sentence that is complete and written correctly.

1. A – She enjoyed itself on the carousel in the amusement park.
B – The little girl helped themselves onto the carousel horse.
C - The carousel is himself the most popular ride in the park.
D - I enjoyed the carousel so much, I bought myself another ticket.

2. A – Ann taught her brother multiplication last year.
B – Has he teached you how to organize a research paper?
C – Did you and Sara learn yourselves the trigonometry tables?
D – Our chemistry teacher is learning us the Periodic Table of the


3. A - Nobody wanted no trouble at the game.
B – The crowd wouldn’t let no one cut in line.
C – The coach doesn’t want any bad behavior at the game.
D – The coach isn’t allowing none of the team to leave yet.

4. A – Isabel are planning to walk at least seven miles every week.
B – I am walking on the sidewalk when I have heard someone say my name.
C – As soon as we see Brian walking around the corner, we were yelling.
D – As I walked to the store, I was counting the cracks in the sidewalk.

5. A – Several of my cousins likes to climb trees.
B – Our maple tree sways whenever a strong wind blows.
C – They is going to carve their initials into that oak tree.
D – The lumberjacks and their equipment was moving into the meadow.

6. A - The anthropologist has studied the origins of these people.
B – These people was only recently discovered by anthropologists.
C – These cultures has provided many insights into human behavior.
D – One of the anthropologists have never studied that culture before.

7. A - I wonder which new fad will affect us next.
B – My uncle saved them baseball cards for forty years.
C – Danielle and me found an old miniskirt in the attic.
D – We found an award given to Al and I for the best yo-yo performance.

Choose the underlined part that is the simple subject of the sentence.

8. Famous (A) for its spring waters (B), Arkansas (C) attracts many visitors (D).

9. Under the searing (A) heat (B) of the noonday (C) sun, the leaves (D) hung listlessly on the branches.

Choose the underlined part that is the simple predicate (verb) of the sentence.

10. Allison (A) kicked (B) the ball (C) to Harris (D).

11. The old (A) mansion (B) stands (C) on a hill (D).

Read the underlined sentences. Choose the sentence that best combines those sentences into one.

12. The cat ran across the lawn. The cat ran up a tree.

A – The cat ran across the lawn and up a tree.
B – The cat ran across and up the lawn and a tree.
C – The cat ran across the lawn, and it ran up a tree, too.
D – The cat that ran across the lawn was the cat that ran up a tree.

13. Some people excel working in groups. Others do their best working alone.

A – Some people excel working in other groups that do their best working alone.
B – Some people who excel working in groups do their best working alone.
C – Some people excel working in groups, for others do their best working alone.
D – Some people excel working in groups, and others do their best working alone.

14. The shoppers arrived at the store early. The shoppers bought the sale items.

A – Arriving at the store early, the shoppers bought the sale items.
B – The shoppers bought the sale items that arrived at the store early.
C – The shoppers arrived at the store early, and the shoppers bought the sale items.
D – Arriving at the store early, the shoppers arrived and bought the sale items.

Choose the topic sentence that best fits the paragraph.

15. __________________________. However, local and state contests have very often been decided by a slim margin. Frequently only a few percentage points separate the winners from the losers, even in presidential elections.

A – To raise the level of voter participation, voter registration is being made more convenient.
B – Polls are often conducted to determine in advance of the election how people intend to vote.
C – A common misconception concerning elections is that a single vote does not really affect the outcome.
D – One of the leading causes of voter indifference can be lack of interest in the candidates or the i issues.

16. __________________________. Sassafras tree roots, for example, have been made into a tea used to reduce fever. Indigestion has sometimes been treated with a “coffee” made from oak acorns. Similarly, because it contains vitamin C, the sap of the northern white cedar tree has been made into a beverage and consumed as a cure for scurvy.

A- Folk medicine is helpful but cannot substitute for a modern pharmacy.
B- Many varieties of trees have been valued for their medicinal properties.
C- Medicines can be taken in a variety of ways, depending on the type of medicine.
D- Some think that the beneficial effects of folk medicines are only a matter of luck.

Choose the answer that best develops the topic sentence.

17. Symbolism is not meant to be taken literally.

A – Many symbols, such as the flag or a heart, are common in everyday use. Colors also can have symbolic associations.
B – Even common gestures can be symbolic. When you nod your head, you are using a gesture to symbolize agreement or understanding.
C – Many writers use symbolism in their work. Some writers even create stories in which all the characters and their actions are symbolic.
D – When people compare love to a rose, they don’t mean that love is a plant. Similarly, when people pledge allegiance to a flag, they’re really pledging allegiance to a country.

Choose the sentence that does not belong in the paragraph.

18. 1. Valerie called loudly to her dog. 2. Suddenly it came running from around the side of the house. 3. Then the dog began to eat from the bowl Valerie had set on the ground. 4. Valerie gave her sister a dog for her birthday.

A – Sentence 1
B – Sentence 2
C – Sentence 3
D – Sentence 4

19. 1. Once thought to be related to anteaters and armadillos, pangolins are now thought to make up their own group of mammals. 2. The armadillo received its name from the Spanish word meaning “little armored one.” 3. Covered with large, overlapping scales, pangolins look like strange reptiles. 4. They eat ants and termites, using their long, sticky tongues to capture their prey.

A – Sentence 1
B – Sentence 2
C – Sentence 3
D – Sentence 4

Choose the sentence that best fills the blank in the paragraph.

20. Making an electrical circuit is not difficult to do. Attach one end of a wire to the positive pole of a battery. ______________________. Then run a wire from the bulb or buzzer back to the negative pole of the battery.

A – If the bulb lights or the buzzer rings, then the circuit is complete.
B – First you will need to have a battery, two wires, and a bulb or buzzer.
C – Clean both the positive and negative poles for the battery for best results.
D – Next attach the other end of the wire to a bulb or buzzer that uses electrical power.

21. England and the United States have different automobile vocabularies. Here, an American lifts the hood to check the engine, and a spare tire is usually kept in the trunk. ___________________________.

A – As a result, in England the engine is under the bonnet, and the spare tire is kept in the boot.
B – Furthermore, in England the engine is under the bonnet, and the spare tire is kept in the boot.
C – In England, consequently, the engine is under the bonnet, and the spare tire is kept in the boot.
D – In England, on the other hand, the engine is under the bonnet, and the spare tire is kept in the boot.

Answers: 1 - D; 2 - A; 3 - C; 4 - D; 5 - B; 6 - A; 7 - A; 8 - C; 9 - D; 10 - B; 11 - C; 12 - A; 13 - D; 14 - A; 15 - C; 16 - B; 17 - D; 18 - D; 19 - B; 20 - D; 21 - D


Reading Comprehension

The pioneers of the teaching of science imagined that its introduction into education would remove the conventionality, artificiality, and backward-lookingness which were characteristic of classical studies, but they were gravely disappointed. So, too, in their time had the humanists thought that the study of the classical authors in the original would banish at once the dull pedantry and superstition of mediaeval scholasticism. The professional schoolmaster was a match for both of them, and has almost managed to make the understanding of chemical reactions as dull and as dogmatic an affair as the reading of Virgil's Aeneid.

The chief claim for the use of science in education is that it teaches a child something about the actual universe in which he is living, in making him acquainted with the results of scientific discovery, and at the same time teaches him how to think logically and inductively by studying scientific method. A certain limited success has been reached in the first of these aims, but practically none at all in the second. Those privileged members of the community who have been through a secondary or public school education may be expected to know something about the elementary physics and chemistry of a hundred years ago, but they probably know hardly more than any bright boy can pick up from an interest in wireless or scientific hobbies out of school hours.

As to the learning of scientific method, the whole thing is palpably a farce. Actually, for the convenience of teachers and the requirements of the examination system, it is necessary that the pupils not only do not learn scientific method but learn precisely the reverse, that is, to believe exactly what they are told and to reproduce it when asked, whether it seems nonsense to them or not. The way in which educated people respond to such quackeries as spiritualism or astrology, not to say more dangerous ones such as racial theories or currency myths, shows that fifty years of education in the method of science in Britain or Germany has produced no visible effect whatever. The only way of learning the method of science is the long and bitter way of personal experience, and, until the educational or social systems are altered to make this possible, the best we can expect is the production of a minority of people who are able to acquire some of the techniques of science and a still smaller minority who are able to use and develop them.

1. The author implies that the 'professional schoolmaster' has

A. no interest in teaching science
B. thwarted attempts to enliven education
C. aided true learning
D. supported the humanists
E. been a pioneer in both science and humanities.

2. The author’s attitude to secondary and public school education in the sciences is

A. ambivalent
B. neutral
C. supportive
D. satirical
E. contemptuous

3. The word ‘palpably’ most nearly means

A. empirically
B. obviously
C. tentatively
D. markedly
E. ridiculously

4. The author blames all of the following for the failure to impart scientific
method through the education system except

A. poor teaching
B. examination methods
C. lack of direct experience
D. the social and education systems
E. lack of interest on the part of students

5. If the author were to study current education in science to see how things
have changed since he wrote the piece, he would probably be most
interested in the answer to which of the following questions?

A. Do students know more about the world about them?
B. Do students spend more time in laboratories?
C. Can students apply their knowledge logically?
D. Have textbooks improved?
E. Do they respect their teachers?

6. Astrology is mentioned as an example of

A. a science that needs to be better understood
B. a belief which no educated people hold
C. something unsupportable to those who have absorbed the methods of
D. the gravest danger to society
E. an acknowledged failure of science

7. All of the following can be inferred from the text except

A. at the time of writing, not all children received a secondary school
B. the author finds chemical reactions interesting
C. science teaching has imparted some knowledge of facts to some children
D. the author believes that many teachers are authoritarian
E. it is relatively easy to learn scientific method.

Answers: 1 - B; 2 - E; 3 - B; 4 - E; 5 -C; 6 - C; 7 - E

I chose to wander by Bethlehem Hospital; partly, because it lay on my road round to Westminster; partly, because I had a fancy in my head which could be best pursued within sight of its walls. And the fancy was: Are not the sane and the insane equal at night as the sane lie a dreaming? Are not all of us outside this hospital, who dream, more or less in the condition of those inside it, every night of our lives? Are we not nightly persuaded, as they daily are, that we associate preposterously with kings and queens, and notabilities of all sorts? Do we not nightly jumble events and personages and times and places, as these do daily? Said an afflicted man to me, when I visited a hospital like this, ‘Sir, I can frequently fly.’ I was half ashamed to reflect that so could I - by night. I wonder that the great master, when he called Sleep the death of each day’s life, did not call Dreams the insanity of each day’s sanity.

1. It can be correctly inferred that Bethlehem hospital

I is very close to Westminster
II has patients who are regarded as insane
III is a place the author has visited before

A. I only
B. II only
C. III only
D. I and II
E. I, II and III

2. The author makes his point with the aid of all of the following except

A. rhetorical questions
B. personal anecdote
C. allusion
D. frequent use of metaphor
E. repetition and parallel construction

Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

3. The example of the man who takes to drink is used to illustrate which of
the following ideas in the paragraph?

A. foolish thoughts
B. the slovenliness of language
C. political and economic causes
D. an effect becoming a cause
E. bad influences

4. The author would most likely agree that

A. individual writers can never have a bad influence on the English language
B. imprecise use of language is likely to make precise thought more difficult
C. the English language is ugly and inaccurate
D. all language declines for political reasons
E. failure generally leads to more failure in a downward spiral

Paragraph one

All the sound reasons ever given for conserving other natural resources apply to the conservation of wildlife – and with three-fold power. When a spendthrift squanders his capital it is lost to him and his heirs; yet it goes somewhere else. When a nation allows any one kind of natural resource to be squandered it must suffer a real, positive loss; yet substitutes of another kind can generally be found. But when wildlife is squandered it does not go elsewhere, like squandered money; it cannot possibly be replaced by any substitute, as some inorganic resources are: it is simply an absolute, dead loss, gone beyond even the hope of recall.

Paragraph two

The public still has a hazy idea that Nature has an overflowing sanctuary of her own, somewhere or other, which will fill up the gaps automatically. The result is that poaching is commonly regarded as a venial offence, poachers taken red-handed are rarely punished, and willing ears are always lent to the cry that rich sportsmen are trying to take the bread out of the poor settler's mouth. The poor settler does not reflect that he himself, and all other classes alike, really have a common interest in the conservation of any wildlife that does not conflict with legitimate human development.

5. The author of paragraph one probably uses the expression ‘three-fold power’

A. because there are three-times as many reasons for conserving wildlife
B. to be more dramatic that saying “double-power”
C. to emphasize the contrast between loss of money, loss of other
resources, and loss of wildlife
D. to stress the need for saving money, resources and time
E. to indicate the magnitude of the problem without intending the
expression to be taken literally

6. From the context, the word ‘venial’ in paragraph two most nearly means

A. major
B. criminal
C. frequent
D. trivial
E. natural

7. Both paragraphs apparently imply that

A. there is no source from which wildlife, once exterminated, can be
B. poachers must be punished
C. wildlife has much in common with other natural resources
D. conservation is in conflict with human development
E. preserving wildlife is expensive

8. It can be inferred that the spendthrift in paragraph one and the poor settler
mentioned in paragraph two are alike in that they are

A. in conflict with the aims of conservation
B. inclined to waste natural resources
C. more concerned with the present than the future
D. unable to control their spending
E. unaware of conservation

Answers: 1 - B; 2 - D; 3 - D; 4 - B; 5 - C; 6 - D; 7 - A; 8 - C