Praxis Core Reading Sample Questions - dummies

By Carla Kirkland, Chan Cleveland

One great way to prepare for the Praxis Core exam is to take practice exams and try sample questions. If you have a tough time, you may want to take extra time to prepare before test day.

Sample Questions

Try the following sample Praxis reading questions.

Passage A

The ABC hit drama Lost speaks to our deepest fear: the fear of being cut off from everything we know and love, left to fend for ourselves in a strange land. This fear is a philosophical fear, because it speaks to the human condition.

It forces us to confront profound questions about ourselves and the world: Why am I here? Does my life matter? Do I have a special purpose? Can I make a difference?

  1. In this passage, the author implies that a “philosophical fear” is one that

    • (A) concerns how we affect other people, instead of only ourselves.

    • (B) is inspired by interpretations of art, as opposed to direct experiences.

    • (C) frightens us more than do non-philosophical fears.

    • (D) has at its roots uncertainty about the meaning of life.

    • (E) is centered on what happens after death, instead of with daily life.

Passage B

X-Men comics were one of the first Marvel series to feature female characters as the leads in multiple story lines. X-Women are shown as strong and powerful, equal to the men around them. X-Men comics also developed a diverse population of mutant superheroes that included African characters such as Storm, Native Americans like Dani Moonstar and Thunderbird, and Asian characters such as Jubilee and Lady Deathstrike.

Originally, Stan Lee named the comic “The Mutants,” a less gender-specific title, but his editor thought the audience wouldn’t understand what or who a mutant was, so Lee suggested X-Men because the main characters had “extra” powers and were led by a man named Professor X.

That was also a rather new concept: having a handicapped leader in Professor X, who, despite being wheelchair-bound, is still one of the most powerful, influential heroes in the X-Men series. Here, too, we can see the underlying philosophical spirit of the X-Verse: All of our traditional hierarchies are scrutinized, questioned, and reimagined.

  1. In analyzing comic books about the X-Men, the author’s main concern is

    • (A) the ways in which the series’ origins are at odds with its current manifestation.

    • (B) the unique place of women characters in this particular comic-book universe.

    • (C) ascertaining what X-Men writer Stan Lee was or was not directly responsible for creating.

    • (D) the extent to which X-Men has influenced other popular comic-book series.

    • (E) how the comics encourage readers to question traditional notions about power.

Passage C

There are serious problems with the idea that God dictates the meaning of our lives. Think of great scientists, who better our lives with their discoveries. Or humanitarians, who tirelessly work to improve the world. Or entertainers even, who make our lives more enjoyable. Do we really want to say that if there’s no God, then these accomplishments and goods don’t count?

  1. The author of this passage is primarily concerned with

    • (A) arguing that God does not actually exist.

    • (B) challenging religious people who disrespect the accomplishments of science.

    • (C) pointing out that people can do good even when not motivated by religious faith.

    • (D) questioning the viewpoint that all meaning must derive from a God.

    • (E) encouraging people who do not believe in God to examine the implications of their arguments.

Passage D

Myths abound about Shakespeare in part because of half-remembered or out-of-date scholarship from schooldays; because Shakespeare the man is such an elusive and charismatic cultural property; and because interventions in Shakespeare studies, particularly biographical and theatrical ones, make headline news: Witness the “authorship question” or speculation about Shakespeare’s sexuality.

Put simply, myths are told and retold about Shakespeare because no other writer matters as much to the world: Nineteenth-century Germany had a flourishing academic Shakespeare criticism before England did; India had a Shakespeare Society before England; Shakespeare is regularly performed at amateur and professional levels, in translation, worldwide. Shakespeare is not just English. Thus myths about Shakespeare go some way toward telling us stories about ourselves.

  1. This passage is primarily concerned with

    • (A) determining precisely what it is that Shakespeare’s works tell us about ourselves.

    • (B) correcting out-of-date scholarship.

    • (C) examining the reasons why arguments about Shakespeare fascinate us.

    • (D) satirizing some of the more outlandish recent suppositions about Shakespeare.

    • (E) analyzing the theory that Shakespeare may not have been who he claimed to be.

  2. 2.The author most probably uses the phrase “interventions in” in Line 5 to mean

    • (A) interference with

    • (B) appraisals of

    • (C) obstacles to

    • (D) unexpected collaborations regarding

    • (E) new approaches to

  3. By using the phrase “Shakespeare the man is such an elusive and charismatic cultural property,” the author means to say that

    • (A) Shakespeare’s works have been co-opted by those in power to such an extent that we have lost sight of his original intentions.

    • (B) there is more controversy over which culture interprets the plays of Shakespeare correctly than there is about the works of other artists.

    • (C) scholars and journalists deliberately spread misinformation about Shakespeare because there is so much money to be made from arguing about him.

    • (D) largely because he is so shrouded in mystery as a human being, the prospect of claiming symbolic kinship with Shakespeare is both daunting and enticing.

    • (E) the perceived “greatness” of Shakespeare’s writing does not originate from a property of the works themselves, but is instead the result of society turning Shakespeare himself into a symbol of something.


Check your answers to see how you did.

Passage A

  1. D.

Passage B

  1. E.

Passage C

  1. D.

Passage D

  1. C.

  2. E.

  3. D.