Why is this an effective test?

Click the link and look at this test: Design test

Then come back to this page.

The test is effective because it shows language in context. It does not take words out of context. It gives examples of words in context. When we learn vocabulary we should try to learn phrases rather than individual words.

The test is also positive. It shows various examples of correct usage. It does not show incorrect usage. Look at this other test. It is bad:

An Ineffective Test

He is a ….. friend.

(a) close
(b) warm
(c) comfortable

Of course the correct answer is “a close friend“. When we do this test, we wonder if the phrase “a warm friend” is possible. We also wonder if “a comfortable friend” is possible. This creates doubt in our minds. Doubt is not useful when learning a language. Certainty is better.

An Effective Test

The test below shows only correct examples of collocation. You do not have to work with incorrect phrases or wonder if incorrect phrases are correct. You just manipulate the correct phrases. You will not be exposed to incorrect phrases. Doubt will not be created in your mind.

Try the test now or read on and do it later.

Link to Design test

Reading Strategies for the Vocabulary Test

At first sight, perhaps the test looks difficult because it contains long sentences and complex vocabulary. Do not be intimidated. Do not be intimidated by words that you do not know. You can still do the test. You can do the test and be exposed to new vocabulary in context.

Here is an example of a reading strategy: Scan the test to find words that refer to “fire” or “emergency“.

Link to the test

Did you notice that in question 6 there is a phrase about “fire or other emergency“?

6. Each …….. and it is the responsibility of each employee to make that person known to him or her, and report to him or her in the event of a fire or other emergency such as a lock-down.

From this context clue we can narrow down the possible answers.

Scan the phrases. Did you notice the phrase: “floor has a designated fire warden“.

The topic of “fire” occurs in the question and also in the answer phrase.

Grammar Clues

Now check the grammar. Does the phrase “Each floor..” make sense? Does it fit?

We know that “each” is followed by a noun and the sentence makes sense, so we have a correct answer.

Now use the reading strategies you have learned to do the test. Look for context clues. Pick an easy phrase and look where it fits.

Or pick an easy question and look for which phrase fits.

Link to Design test

Vocabulary Tests





Bicycles and Cars

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