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College Composition

The following sample questions do not appear on an actual CLEP examination. They are intended to give potential test-takers an indication of the format and difficulty level of the examination and provide content for practice and review. For more sample questions and information about the test, see the CLEP Official Study Guide.

Question 2 of 10

(1) In observing a live performance such as a play or a stand-up routine, each individual member of the audience is affected by the group’s emotional response to the show. (2) Some research shows that audience members are likely to laugh along with the laughter of others in the audience much more frequently than they would laugh at the same performance if viewing it alone.

(3) As performances moved to radio and television in the first half of the twentieth century, producers were well aware of the important role of this social laughter. (4) Early radio and television comedies were broadcast live with a real audience in the studio to provide the reactions that helped at-home audiences feel connected to the performance.  (5) As advances in technology allowed performances to be prerecorded, edited, and enhanced for later broadcast, recorded laughter gained wider use. (6) It can be called “canned laughter” or a “laugh track.”

(7) The laugh track gives producers the ability to create an audience response that aligns with the finished, edited performance. (8) In live broadcasts, the show is performed from beginning to end without stopping, and live studio audiences have an authentic, if unpredictable, response to the performance, just like that of audiences listening or watching at home. (9) In a recorded performance, though, directors are free to stop the scene, ask performers to redo a particular segment or have the crew switch equipment, and start again. (10) This interrupted, disjointed style of performance makes it difficult for them to hold a live studio audience’s interest. (11) Therefore, editors often add recorded laughter into the final edited version of the program. (12) Highlighting each joke with just the right volume, duration, and quality of laughter to prompt audiences at home to laugh at the intended times.  (13) Although some contemporary television comedies do not use a laugh track, many programs for children and adults alike rely on recorded laughter to create a sense of audience participation.

Which of the following, if inserted immediately before sentence 1, would make the best  introduction to the passage?

  • A.

    There are actually scientists who study human laughter.

  • B.

    The laughter you hear on many television comedies was probably prerecorded.

  • C.

    The technology used to produce radio and television programs has advanced rapidly.

  • D.

    Many people believe that comedy is less meaningful than drama, but both can evoke strong emotional responses.

  • E.

    Shared laughter has a powerful influence on an audience’s relationship to a performance.

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