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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 3 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.


Read the passage and then answer the 4 questions that follow. Some questions refer to particular sentences or parts of sentences and ask you to improve sentence structure or diction (word choice). Other questions refer to the entire essay or parts of the essay and ask you to consider the essay’s organization, development or effectiveness of language. In selecting your answers, follow the conventions of Standard Written English.

(1) Haiku is a form of verse that began in Japan during the seventeenth century, where it is still the country’s most popular form of poetry. (2) However, haiku poetry does not rhyme and has a total of seventeen syllables arranged in three lines. (3) The first line contains five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the third line has five syllables.

(4) The first haiku poems were written about the seasons, the time of day and the landscape. (5) However, the form has become more commonplace and has also become less restricted in topic. (6) Today, haiku poems are often used in elementary school classrooms to introduce various topics.

(7) To analyze a haiku poem we must first decide if it follows the same form. (8) In other words, does it follow the right format? (9) Nevertheless, in analyzing a haiku poem a person must pay attention to the words they use in the poem. (10) The words should convey as much meaning as possible since haiku poems use a limited number of words. (11) The subject of a haiku poem should be serious but it is not necessary to conform to the original idea of writing about the seasons, the time of day or the landscape. (12) The theme of a haiku poem should not be hidden but should be discernable.

(13) Just because haiku poems are short in length does not mean that they need to be short on meaning. (14) By using strong words that will have a great impact and create great images, a haiku can be a beautiful work of art and poetry.

In context, which of the following is the best revision to the underlined portion of sentence 2 (reproduced below)?

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.

  • A.

    However, some

  • B.

    Nonetheless, some

  • C.

    In contrast, some

  • D.

    In fact, some

  • E.

    Conversely, some

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