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Language Assessments

ALTA’s Reading Practice Test (English)

You have been registered to take ALTA’s Online Reading Test. This test is designed to assess your ability to understand what you read in a given language. The evaluation is done online with pre-selected passages and questions.

Here are some important things to remember when taking the test:

  • ALTA’s Reading Comprehension Tests consist of several reading selections with a series of multiple-choice questions for each passage. The number of passages and questions depends on the test that has been assigned to you.
  • The time limit varies from 30 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the test that has been assigned to you. A timer in the corner of the screen will inform you how much time you have remaining, and you will be given a warning five minutes before the end of your test.
  • It is important to take the test in a quiet area where you can concentrate fully on what you are reading.
  • The questions target different areas of reading comprehension, and while you may be able to answer some questions by skimming the passage, other questions require reading for a high level of detail. In most cases, the answer to the question does not use wording directly from the passage. Many questions require you to look for an implied detail, or to draw a conclusion based on the ideas presented in the text.
  • Each question has only one correct response. The correct answer to each question is contained in the text only. Do not refer to other knowledge that you may have about the subject.
  • You are able to move backward and forward through the test, if you choose. That is, if you skip a question, you will be able to come back to it later.
  • You may not use reference materials of any kind on this test (dictionaries, electronic devices, external websites, etc.)
  • Once you have started your test, you may not stop it, start over, or take the test again. It is important that you complete your scheduled test in one sitting. If you close your browser window or otherwise log out of a test before you have completed the test, you will not be able to log back in to finish.
  • You must click “Submit Test” when you have finished answering the questions on the final passage – otherwise, your test will not be scored.

Computer Requirements

  • PC Users: Windows 10
  • Mac Users: OSX 10.5 and higher
  • Java Script (turned on)
  • Flash (downloaded for free)
  • Broadband connection
  • Supported Browsers (latest version – Chrome (recommended), Safari and Firefox)
Also, for languages with non-roman characters, character encoding needs to be set up at Unicode. It’s usually done per default. In case it’s not: in the Firefox task bar, go to “View”, to “Character Encoding” and make sure that “Unicode (UTF-8)” is selected. (If “View” does not appear, go to “Web Developer”.)

Tips for multiple choice tests

  • Read the passage quickly.
  • Look at the questions.
  • Answer the easy questions.
  • Read the passage again.
  • For difficult questions, eliminate options that are not correct.
  • If 2 alternatives seem correct, compare them for differences, and then refer to the question to find your best answer.

Practice Test

A practice passage and five sample questions are below. Take the test and look at the correct answers at the bottom.

If you have additional questions, please call us at 1-888-624-6165 or emails us at [email protected]


This passage is written at the ILR 3 / ALTA 9 level. It is an informational article from a news website. While the information is factual, several opinions are expressed in quotes in the text.

About half of Californians working in the gig economy are struggling with poverty and a majority of the residents say the American Dream is harder to achieve in their state than elsewhere in the United States, according to a survey.

Nearly one in 10 adult residents of California currently work in the gig economy, according to the survey, released by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). But despite the state’s reputation as being a tech innovator and economic engine for the nation, nearly half of those working in the gig economy are barely making ends meet, it said.

The survey found nearly one-third of all Californians and 47 percent of workers in the state are struggling with poverty, while 53 percent are not. California ranks as the fifth-largest economy in the world, but its high cost of housing in many parts of the state mean more than one in five children live in poverty.

“It is striking that nearly one-third of Californians are finding that the promise of the American Dream — that if you work hard, you’ll get ahead — is not coming true for them,” Robert Jones, CEO of PRRI, said.

“Grasping the magnitude of this problem and understanding the real-life struggles and hardships that impact these more vulnerable workers is critical for California policymakers, businesses, and non-profits who want to work to create a healthier, more robust employment environment in the state,” Jones said.

Roughly two-thirds of Californians say they would advise young people in their area to relocate to find more opportunities in a different community. The survey also found young Californians are less likely to believe a college education is a good investment for the future when compared with seniors.


  1. What is mainly discussed in the article?
    1. Ways for achieving the American dream.
    2. Economic boom in the state of California.
    3. Upcoming job fairs in the state of California.
    4. Hardships of the temporary employed.
  2. What does Robert Jones say about the American dream?
    1. It has been achieved by a third of the population in California.
    2. A third of California’s population has no understanding of it.
    3. A third of Americans living in California are not motivated to achieve it.
    4. It is unattainable for nearly a third of Americans living in California.
  3. According to the article, what is one factor contributing to poverty in California?
    1. Full-time job scarcity.
    2. The high income taxes.
    3. Unqualified employees.
    4. The high cost of living.
  4. The phrase “making ends meet” in the second paragraph most nearly means:
    1. Having money to cover expenses.
    2. Having time to balance several jobs.
    3. Having technical equipment to work.
    4. Having access to supporting resources.
  5. What can be understood about college education based on the article?
    1. It is much more difficult to get a college degree nowadays than it used to be.
    2. College education today is too expensive for a lot of young people to afford it.
    3. A college degree is less likely to guarantee a stable financial future nowadays.
    4. Today’s young people are more interested in pursuing higher education than before.

Correct Answers

  1. The correct answer is D. This question is designed to demonstrate that the reader understands the topic of the passage. “D” is the best answer because it is the concept of temporary employment that comes up in each part of the article. While “the American dream” is mentioned in the article, “ways for achieving” it is not a major focus of the piece
  2. The correct answer is D. This question is designed to demonstrate that the reader can understand an important detail in the passage. The correct answer is stated in a generally direct way in the 4th paragraph of the article.
  3. The correct answer is D. This question is also designed to demonstrate that a reader can understand an important detail in the passage. Selecting the correct answer for this passage depends upon the reader’s correct understanding of the 3rd paragraph.
  4. The correct answer is A. This question is designed to test the candidate’s close reading of a phrase in context. Some readers may know this phrase right away and be able to select “A” as the correct response based on the phrase’s common usage. It is advised that the candidate check the use of the phrase in the context of the article to ensure that the context does not make another answer the best response. This question is designed to allow readers who are not familiar with the phrase to be able to discern a general meaning of it from context.
  5. The correct answer is C. College is directly mentioned in the last paragraph of the article. This question tests the candidate’s understanding of the ideas in the last paragraph; the ability to understand implied details and abstract ideas is necessary to answer this item correctly.

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