Sample of CBEST Tests for Critical Reading
Here are some free CBEST tests for critical reading.
The answers to these practice exam questions are provided at the bottom of the page.
These questions are from our CBEST Reading Practice Tests Instant Download.
CBEST Tests for Critical Reading – Passage 1
1Socio-economic status, rather than intellectual ability, may be the key to a child’s success later in life. 2Consider two hypothetical elementary school students named John and Paul. 3Both of these children work hard, pay attention in the classroom, and are respectful to their teachers. 4Both boys have the same hobbies and musical tastes. 5Yet, Paul’s father is a prosperous business tycoon, while John’s has a menial job working in a factory.
6Despite the similarities in their academic aptitudes, the disparate economic situations of their parents means that Paul is nearly 30 times more likely than John to land a high-flying job by the time he reaches his fortieth year. 7In fact, John has only a 12% chance of finding and maintaining a job that would earn him even a median-level income. 8This outcome is inherently unfair because economic rewards should be judged by and distributed according to the worthiness of the employment to society as a whole, rather than according to social status or prestige.
1. What is the writer’s primary persuasive technique?
A. using statistical evidence
B. appealing to emotion
C. refuting opposing viewpoints
D. predicting future consequences
E. quoting from authorities
2. Which numbered sentence provides an opinion rather than a fact?
A. Sentence 1
B. Sentence 3
C. Sentence 5
D. Sentence 7
E. Sentence 8
Comments: Identifying an author’s persuasive technique and distinguishing fact from opinion are critical reading skills that are covered on the reading tests.
In order to answer questions on the tests about persuasive techniques, remember that percentages or figures must be cited if the author is relying on statistical evidence.
When trying to identify opinions in reading tests, look for the following words: should, might, could, unjust, unfair, and equal.
CBEST Tests for Critical Reading – Passage 2
Our ability to measure brain activity is owing to the research of two European scientists. It was in 1929 that electrical activity in the human brain was first discovered. Hans Berger, the German psychiatrist who made the discovery, was despondent to find out, however, that many other scientists quickly dismissed his research.
The important work of Berger was confirmed three years later when Edgar Adrian, a Briton, clearly demonstrated that the brain, like the heart, is profuse in its electrical activity. Because of Adrian’s work, we know that the electrical impulses in the brain are a mixture of four different frequencies. These four frequencies are called alpha, beta, delta, and theta.
1. The information the writer conveys in this passage is addressed mainly to:
A. doctors attending a professional seminar
B. practicing brain surgeons
C. college students attending a biology class
D. the general public
E. elementary schoolchildren
2. What is the writer’s opinion regarding the work of Hans Berger?
A. Berger’s work was inferior to that of Adrian.
B. Berger’s work might have paved the way for the research of Adrian.
C. It was proper that his work was dismissed by the scientific community.
D. Berger should have been more self-promoting about his discovery.
E. Berger’s work was one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century.
Comments: Questions asking you to deduce an author’s audience, as well as an author’s attitude toward his or her subject, are common of the Reading Tests.
For questions on the tests regarding the author’s audience, ask yourself: How well have I, as a college graduate, understood the reading test material? Some CBEST Reading Tests might be quite technical, in which case you know that you have to choose an audience that is more highly educated than yourself.
For opinion questions on the tests, you must read between the lines of the passage, paying attention to the author’s tone.
CBEST Tests for Critical Reading – Passage 3
Around the world today, more than a billion people still do not have fresh, clean drinking water available on a daily basis. Hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries die needlessly every year because of the consumption of unclean, disease-ridden water. Yet, creating fresh water supplies can be expensive in terms of labor and infrastructure costs.
However, what has been understood recently is that the provision for fresh water around the globe means that those who manage water supplies must evaluate in more detail how developed countries consume their available drinking water. Without this evaluation, an ever-increasing number of individuals will continue to die from water-related diseases.
1. Which of the following assumptions has influenced the writer?
A. Developing countries are culpable for the pollution of their own drinking water.
B. Ignorance of hygiene causes people living in developing countries to consume polluted water.
C. The consumption of water in developed countries can serve as a model for that in developing countries.
D. The provision of fresh drinking water is one of the most pressing problems in recent current events.
E. The political climate of developing countries impedes their ability to have fresh drinking water.
2. Which statement from the passage least supports the author’s argument?
A. Around the world today, more than a billion people still do not have fresh, clean drinking water available on a daily basis.
B. Hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries die needlessly every year because of the consumption of unclean, disease-ridden water.
C. Yet, creating fresh water supplies can be expensive in terms of labor and infrastructure costs.
D. Those who manage water supplies must evaluate in more detail how developed countries consume their available drinking water.
E. Without this evaluation, an ever-increasing number of individuals will continue to die from water-related diseases.
Comments: You will also see questions about the author’s influences and supporting arguments on the Reading Tests.
For questions on author’s influence on the tests, you must again read between the lines of the passage, trying to assess the author’s point of view.
For least-supporting argument questions, notice that passages on the Reading Tests may state advantages and disadvantages about a particular topic. To answer these types of questions on the Reading Tests, focus on the disadvantages.
CBEST Tests For Critical Reading – Answers to Passage 1
CBEST Tests for Critical Reading – Answers to Passage 2
CBEST Tests for Critical Reading – Answers to Passage 3