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DePaul University College of Education > Student Resources > Academic Success Center > Test of Academic Proficiency > Reading

TAP - Reading

The Reading subarea of the TAP is made up of 60 multiple-choice questions. This subarea requires demonstration of literal, inferential and critical reading skills in a variety of written materials covering the areas of physical and life sciences, humanities and fine arts and the social and behavioral sciences.

The key to doing well in the Reading subarea is taking your time. The questions can be confusing, and sometimes it seems that more than one answer could be correct. It is important to look closely at the details of both the reading selection and the questions. Make sure that you can find support for your answer in the reading passage and that you understand what the question is looking for. As you practice, you will become familiar with the style of the test and the types of questions to expect. Reading comprehension questions typically fall into five categories:

Understanding the main idea of the passage. The correct answer to this question tends to be something general that applies to the entire reading selection, rather than a more specific answer that is relevant to just a few sentences of the reading. The main idea can often be found in the introductory paragraphs and the conclusion of the reading.

Determining the author’s purpose. This question is similar to the question about the main idea. Think about what the author wanted to accomplish by writing the passage. Generally, the purpose of the reading is to inform readers about a topic or to argue in favor of a particular point of view. Look for an answer that is not quite as broad as the main idea and seems to summarize what the author wants you to know after reading the passage.

Drawing conclusions or making inferences. These questions are about reading between the lines. The answer will not be directly stated in the reading. You will need to look for details to support your answer. Look at each of the answer choices. Then, look back at the reading and try to find statements that support your answer choice.

Understand the organization or outline of the passage. These questions are difficult for many people because the answers involve great detail. Look closely at each answer choice, then look back at the reading selection to review the order of the selection. Think about what the author writes in the introduction, in the body of the piece, and in the conclusion. The correct answer choice should match the order of the passage.

Looking at the details of the passage. There is usually a question or two about the topic of the passage. To answer these questions, look back at the reading for specific details. Sometimes, the question will direct you to a specific paragraph in the passage. If not, look for key words in the reading that are repeated in the question or in the answer choices.

Online Resources

Do you need more practice? Check out this more extensive list of online study guides and practice tests.

ASC Workshops & Tutoring

Workshops. Multiple workshops are offered for each test area. See our calendar of dates and times or pick one up in person at 2247 N. Halsted, Room 270.
Tutoring. Individual assistance is available and free for students who have attended workshops and/or completed the Longsdale ICTS online course. Current DePaul students can make appointments by calling the ASC at (773) 325-1652 or emailing​