Can You Get More Than 11 Right on This Basic Skills Test?


By: Monica Lee

6 Min Quiz

Image: Morsa Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Basic skills tests help teachers, companies and supervisors evaluate students, job candidates and staff by testing their written communication abilities and basic math knowledge. It offers a quick way to assess the job readiness of candidates in a wide range of occupations, as well as finding the areas that need additional work to bring those tested up to speed. 

Due to people's background, socioeconomic level and other factors, their individual strengths, skills and learning abilities may vary. While some are good at reading comprehension and sentence construction, others may be better at the evaluation, simplification and solving of equations. No worries! In this quiz you'll get a wide diversity of questions. Enough so you get at least 11 correct.  For instance, if you were given this sentence: "Scientists have been _________ studies of individual genes for years." You would have to decide which word among the choices fits best.  Easy peasy. 

You'll also find the dreaded word problems, the easy multiplication and division problems, and a few percentage math problems to boot. So get your calculator out, and grab your No. 2 pencil and begin this quiz now. You're sure to do better than you think!

"All of their friends were there, _________ Jane and Daniel." Which verb is correct?

Words ending in -ing can be gerunds, verbal nouns or present participles. Use this form when the event is currently happening.


Jamie had $6.50 and spent $4.25 on a sandwich and $2 on a drink. Later John repaid him $2 that he had borrowed. How much does he have now?

Subtract $4.25 from $6.50 to get $2.25, then subtract another $2 to get 25 cents, then add the $2 that Jamie got from John and you'll have $2.25.


The purpose of a linking verb is to connect the subject with what?

A linking verb connects a subject with a noun or adjective that is the subject. An example of a linking verb is "are" in the following sentence: "The penguins are happy."


"Not one of his movements escaped her _________ observation."

Keen means sharp or penetrating. It also means having or showing eagerness or enthusiasm.


If a plane travels at a speed of 400 miles per hour, how many hours will it take to travel 3000 miles?

Take 3000 miles and divide by 400 miles per hour to get 7.5 hours.


"DIGNITY" What word nearly means the same as the capitalized word?

A dignified person has refined manners and behaviors. Refined is the word that most nearly means the same as dignity.


When should you use a semicolon?

Both "A" and "B" are the correct uses for a semicolon. The correct use for a colon is "C" .


4x - 12 < 4. What is "x" among the choices?

Substitute the numbers to see if the outcome makes the equation true. The only answer that does that is "3".


"Scientists have been _________ studies of individual genes for years." What word best completes this sentence?

Conducting means to organize and carry out. It is the best word to complete the sentence among the other options.


"She tells you to dance like no one is watching." What is the infinitive phase?

An infinitive phrase is the infinitive form of a verb plus any complements (direct object) and modifiers (adverbs) .


A crane raises one end of a 3,300-lb. steel beam. The other end rests upon the ground. If the crane supports 30% of the beam's weight, how many pounds does it support?

Convert 30% to a decimal (.3). Then multiply 3300 by .3 to get 990 lbs.


If 12/x = 30/6, what is x?

Multiply diagonally to get 30x = 6 X 12. Or 30x = 72. Which means x = 72/30 or 2.4.


"Many of the troops ________________ due to starvation." What word best completes this sentence?

Perish means the same as suffer destruction or death, and is the best choice to complete the sentence.


"SKITTISH" What word nearly means the same as the capitalized word?

Fearful, which means feeling afraid or showing anxiety, is most similar to skittish.


Which of these numbers cannot be a probability?

A probability is always greater than or equal to 0 and less than or equal to 1, hence only 1.001 is greater than 1.


"At the moment, physical therapy is _________ the best treatment." What word best completes this sentence?

"Considered" means to think carefully about (something), typically before making a decision. Other ways to convey "consider" includes to contemplate, reflect on, examine, or review.


The baby otter was cute and cuddly. What is the verb in this sentence?

"Was" is the past tense of "be" and it is a verb. "She was great" may be an easier sentence in which to identify the verb.


Two pitchers are the same size and contain the same amount of water which is at room temperature. Pitcher A has 1/2 cup of ice in it, and Pitcher B has 1 cup of ice in it. Which pitcher is colder?

Pitcher B with more ice is colder, as there is more ice to chill the water than in pitcher A.


"The flames grew too large, __________ firefighters to call off the rescue." What word best completes this sentence?

"Compelling" means not able to be resisted or overwhelming and is the best choice among the other answers


Use a __________ before a list of items, and especially after expressions such as "the following" or "as follows."

Use a colon before a list of items, and between independent clauses when the second sentence explains, illustrates, paraphrases or expands on the first sentence.


A card is drawn at random from a deck of cards. Find the probability of getting the 3 of diamonds.

Let E be the event "getting the 3 of diamond". The sample space shows that there is one "3 of diamond" so that n(E) = 1 and n(S) = 52. Hence the probability of event E occurring is given by P(E) = 1 / 52


Words like "the" and "a" are what type of words?

Articles, determiners and quantifiers are those little words that precede and modify nouns.


"I'm so ________________________, I can't breathe out of my nose." What word best completes this sentence?

Congested means blocked up with or too full of something. It is the best word to complete the sentence.


A survey was taken to find out who was most popular. Ann got 36,800 votes, Susie got 32,100 and Mary got 2,100 votes. What percentage of the vote went to Ann?

Add up all the votes to get the total number of votes, or 71,000. Then divide the number of votes for Ann into the total number of votes to get .5183. Which becomes 51.8% when multiplied by 100 to get a percentile.


Which sentence is correct?

In most cases the comma is before the conjunction and not after.


"Despite our reservations, we did go out in the snowstorm." What words represent a verb phrase?

"Did go" is the verb phrase. "Did" is the helping verb, and "go" is the main verb.)


A city has a population of 1300. If the city’s population grows 30%, what is its new population?

Multiply the total population or 1300 by .30 which equals 390, then add 390 to 1300 to get 1690.


What is a noun phrase?

Although there are many examples of noun phrases, here is a noun phrase as subject: "The yellow house" is for sale.


A blouse normally sells for $138, but is on sale for 25% off. What is the cost of the blouse?

Take $138 and multiply by .25 to get $34.5. Then subtract $34.5 from $138 to get $103.5.


"They ____________an ethical foreign policy." What word best completes this sentence?

Advocate means to publicly recommend or support. Similar words include, recommend, prescribe, advise, and urge.


A box of laundry detergent contains 16.5 oz of product. What is the maximum number of loads that can be washed if each load requires a minimum of 3/4 oz of detergent?

Convert 3/4 ounce to a decimal (.75) then divide 16.5 ounces by .75 ounces to get 22 loads.


What must a sentence have in it?

In simple terms, a sentence is a set of words that contain a subject (what the sentence is about, the topic of the sentence), and%0Da predicate (what is said about the subject).


Which of the following can be divided by 3, with no remainder?

We hope you had a calculator. It was 555 that can be divided by 3 to get 185.


"Deafening cheers rose in the air as he landed; hundreds _________ around him to shake his hand." What word best completes this sentence?

Throng means to press tightly together or cram. It works best in the sentence.


We couldn't end without this one. The express train got Jane to work 45 miles away in an hour and 10 minutes. She had to take a local train on the way home which took an hour and a half. What was the average speed in miles per hour for the round trip?

The round trip is 90 miles, the average time is 70 minutes + 90 minutes or 160 minutes. So the speed = 90/160 or 0.5625 miles per minute. To convert minutes to hours, multiply by 60 since there are 60 minutes in an hour. So 60 X .5625 = 33.75 mph or 33-3/4.


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