this academic vocabulary test to see how well you have learned the vocabulary
from the Academic Word List that has been practiced the most in English Detective.
This test will check
your ability to use over 1/3 of the Academic Word List (AWL.) You can also download and print a pdf copy of this test, if you prefer, by right-clicking the link.
Most of the vocabulary in the AWL will appear on this (or a
subsequent) test, but questions and blanks will only test words that have
appeared in English Detective readings
or practice at least four times (usually 5 or more.)
(The test will also omit a few of the most
common AWL words of all, words like ‘adult’ and ‘percent.’) Please note that
the quotes and “research” reported below are not real, but are invented for
this test, for the purpose of demonstrating the use of these words.
This test has two sections: 18 multiple-choice questions and
a 20-blank gap-fill exercise on another page (link below.)
If you only look at the multiple choice questions one at a time, each will say "1", but you can tell the actual number of the question by the "2/18," "3/18," etc. Click the arrow to the right to move to the next question.
If you prefer, you can see the whole list of questions at once (with their correct numbering.)
Section 1: Multiple Choice
Which of these words means 'enough'?
Which of these words does NOT mean a ‘change’?
If someone offers to ‘compensate you for your labor,’ they mean they will
A. reward you for praising them.
B. grade your work.
C. pay you for your work.
D. make you happy that you studied hard.
Which of these words means ‘to get larger’?
“After consulting the judge about the legal meaning of several terms, the jury returned a verdict of ‘not guilty’ despite physical evidence that the defendant had been at the victim’s home at the time the murder occurred.” Which of the following is most likely based on that quotation?
A. The jury did not believe the defendant was at the location of the crime.
B. The jury did not believe the defendant met the legal definition of guilt.
C. The defendant had committed murder.
D. The defendant had not committed murder.
Use the information in the following paragraph to answer questions 6-8. “The university administration’s commitment to pursue a major construction policy despite the unfavorable economy will affect its ability to meet its other objectives. One consequence is that financial aid will be reduced. Class sizes will also be impacted. This decision demonstrates the importance of considering all the potential implications before implementing a new policy.”
6. Which policy did the university choose to emphasize?
A. financial aid
B. class size reduction
C. consideration of an economics major
D. construction of new buildings
Which of these pairs are synonyms (words with very similar meanings)?
A. affect & impact
B. reduction & increases
C. potential & policy
D. objectives & implications
Here are other possible synonyms of the words in the paragraph. Which pair are NOT synonyms?
A. objectives & goals
B. affect & effective
C. potential & possible
D. pursue & follow
Space scientists are developing a formula for another chemical compound that will withstand the stresses of extreme heat, cold, and exposure to the elements. To test their new product, they will assess its performance under extreme conditions: very high pressures, high and low temperatures, and high humidity.
A synonym for assess is
The criteria for success of the scientists in question 9 is that the compound
A. will endure environmental stresses
B. is easy to assess
C. is high in humidity
D. is an element
At a scientific conference, several researchers presented updates on the status of their projects. One group of scientists exhibited a model of the interactions between various gas molecules at different temperatures. They explained the logic behind their revised concept of temperature effects on molecule movement, and how they had had to alter their assumptions as they collected more data using extremely precise new technical procedures. Choose the answer best supported by the paragraph above. New data caused the scientists to:
A. change their understanding of how temperature affects molecules.
B. decide they needed more accurate measurements.
C. design new experiments using gas molecules.
D. update their status report more frequently.
Several other researchers interpreted their results using a complex equation that showed the differences in the output as they substituted one variable for another. They demonstrated a way to confirm the validity of their data and its accuracy to 99.98%. The equation showed changes in output as researchers changed the variables used.
Another group at the conference summarized their experience in submitting a grant proposal to a major foundation. They explained why the foundation had rejected their proposal the first time and accepted a revised version. They contrasted the details that differed in each version. The conclusions that emerged from their presentation, and the distinctions between the two apparently similar proposals, will be valuable to other scientists seeking to obtain funding from similar institutions. According to the scientists’ report at the conference, how did the foundation treat the two grant proposals?
A. It agreed to fund the first but not the second.
B. It agreed to fund the second but not the first.
C. The foundation said it is interested in similar proposals.
D. The foundation had not yet considered either proposal.
Which of these statements gives the approximate sequence of events for these grant writers?
A. They wrote an initial grant proposal and submitted it to the foundation for review. Then they changed several components in the grant proposal and submitted it again. The foundation rejected their proposal. After the scientists presented their findings at the conference, the foundation reconsidered and consented to fund their project.
B. They wrote an initial grant proposal and submitted it to the foundation for review. The foundation accepted that proposal, but asked for a few changes. Then it consented to fund their project. The scientists explained their grant experience to the conference.
C. They wrote an initial grant proposal and explained it to the conference. Then they submitted it to the foundation for review. The foundation rejected that proposal but accepted a revised proposal.
D. They wrote an initial grant proposal and submitted it to the foundation for review. The foundation rejected it. They changed several components in the grant proposal and submitted it again. The foundation accepted that proposal and consented to fund their project. The scientists explained their grant experience to the conference.
A large retail company’s annual corporate report discussed both exports and the domestic financial cycle. It indicated that consumer attitudes toward credit have changed considerably in the previous two three-month periods. An internal memo commented on several items the public report excluded. It concluded that the biggest challenge facing their business was finding a better way to market benefits of long-term service contracts. The internal memo suggested that the best response to changes in consumer attitudes would be to
A. change the products they sell so consumers can afford them without using credit.
B. change their marketing approach to emphasize the value of service contracts.
C. get long-term contracts with export marketing firms.
D. find new ways to benefit from changes in consumer attitudes.
The company’s recent acquisition of a chain of discount clothing stores is another instance of corporate expansion. To put this in context, the chain will nearly double the number of stores they own in the Midwest. Their overall approach to sales relies on buyer psychology. Their marketing research has shown that buyers want more options for personalization. It shows, furthermore, that restricting access to products may make them more desirable. (It makes buyers feel special to be part of an exclusive group that is not open to everyone.) Restricting access to products means that:
A. it is easy for buyers to access products
B. exclusive groups have unlimited access to products
C. there are limits to who can get some products
D. some buyers are restricted in the amount of money they can spend
In a parallel development, marketing researchers have been analyzing consumer perceptions toward a range of new jewelry styles. They tested whether external factors like presentation and the number of options affect buying choices more than the colors, materials, size, and proportions of the jewelry itself. ‘External factors’ above refer to:
A. the way the jewelry is presented rather than the nature of the jewelry
B. the size and proportions of the jewelry
C. options like the color and metal of which the jewelry is made
D. the outside surface of the jewelry: is it rough or shiny, bright or dull, etc.
“From a long-term, overall perspective, the (1)___________ aspects of childcare to emphasize for new parents are love, discipline, and consistency. These (2)___________ may seem obvious, even old-fashioned, but they are still as relevant and important as ever.” The blanks in the sentences above can be filled by the words ‘principle(s)’ and/or ‘principal(s).’ Which of these options uses both words correctly?
A. 1. principle; 2. principals
B. 1. principal; 2. principles
C. 1. principle; 2. principles
D. 1. principal; 2. principals
Vocabulary Test 1
Section 2: Gap-fill
The gap-fill, an imaginary newspaper article about a civics class project, is on a separate page. After checking your answers, return to this page.
How well did you do? If you got 16 or more multiple choice questions right, and all but one or two of the gap-fills, congratulations!
If you missed more than 6-9 on the whole test, or if you did not understand several of the questions, try studying the words that confused you.
Start with a good English dictionary. It should explain the possible uses of the word and probably give examples.
If you need more, try the Alphabetical Academic Word List pages. (The link is to A-B; jump from the 2nd paragraph to the bottom of that page for links to the rest of the alphabet.)
Each entry gives you the common forms for each word family (noun, verb, adjective, etc.) and the newsletter that practiced each (with reading material, vocabulary practices, and often a crossword.)
In the readings, you can find uses of the word on a web page
with Control +’F’ (Command +’F’ for a Mac); type the word you want into the box
and it will show you uses on that page (if the word is there.) The practice
pages explain some words and give examples of others.
Most of all, keep reading in English. After you have read a
word a number of times, you will begin to recognize it and understand its