Question Stems for Higher-Order Thinking on Exams

Types of Questions

Questions on the Main Idea

1.       The theme of the second paragraph is …

2.       The speaker's attitude is best described as …

3.       The tone of the piece (or parts of it) is one of…

4.       In context, the sentence "_____" is best interpreted as which of the following?

5.       Which of the following would the author be LEAST likely to encourage?

6.       Which of the following best summarizes the main topic of the passage …

7.       In the piece, the author makes all of the following assumptions about his/her readers EXCEPT…

 Questions on the Author's Meaning and Purpose

8.       Which of the following best identifies the meaning of "_____"?

9.       Which of the following best describes the author's purpose in the last sentence?

10.   The author’s primary purpose is to…

11.   The primary audience of the piece could be described as…

12.   The authors uses (this certain image) for the purpose of…

13.   The author emphasizes "_____" in order to …

14.   The reason for the shift in tone in paragraph __ is due to …

15.   What is the function of _____ ?

16.   The phrase, “__” functions primarily as …

Questions on Organization and Structure

17.   The quotation "_____" signals a shift from …

18.   The tone of the passage shifts from one of___ to one of ___.

19.   The author uses a pattern of organization best described as …

20.   Which of the following best describes the function of the ____ paragraph in relation to the paragraphs that precede it?

 Questions on Rhetoric

21.   The shift in point of view has the effect of …

22.   The syntax of lines _____ to _____ serves to …

23.   The author’s reference/allusion to “___” serves primarily to …

24.   The ______ sentence is unified by metaphorical references to …

25.   As lines _____ and _____ are constructed, "_____" is parallel to which of the following?

26.   The antecedent for "_____" is …

27.   The diction in the piece is best described as…

28.   The syntax in the piece is best described as …

29.   In paragraph __ the author employs which of the following rhetorical strategies …

30.   One prominent stylistic characteristic of the piece is the use of…

31.   The primary rhetorical function of lines--- “____” is to …

32.   In the sentence “___” the speaker employs all of the following EXCEPT…

 Questions on Modes

33.   The pattern of the text as demonstrated in the passage can best be described as …

34.   The author's use of description is appropriate because …

35.   Which of the following best describes the author's method?

36.   Because the author uses expository/persuasion/narrative, he is able to …

37.   The speaker's rhetorical strategy is to …

38.   The author contrasts ___ and ___ in order to …