University Entrance Exams - Tips / Vestibulares
Basically the UFRJ entrance exam is an examination that aims to check the student's ability to understand the reading material, translating it. Its questions are 80 to 90% about comprehension and vocabulary.
It's always a good ideia to read the questions first; they prompt the student to the topic of the text.
In questions concerning vocabulary when a synonymous word or enpression is asked and the student cant's find the answer, the candidate may have to make a guess among the words he(she) doesn't know in the article. ( It's alwas a difficult decision - to choose something you don't know what it means )
Another common question is finding the referent of a pronoun. In cases like that the student must be patient enough to go back to the text as many times as necessary. Read the line carefully, mentally substituting it for what you imagine and check if it's possible. This type is an easy question to get right.
In the last 10 years, however there have always been questions ( about 10% ) focused on grammar issues, especially asking students to recognize the idea conveyed by a conjunction , for instance.
Let's check possible ideas shown by these linking words:
1 ) Addition - In addition (to)
Also / too
As well as
Not only......but also.....
2 ) Condition - If / Unless
As long as
In case (of)
Provided / Providing
3 ) Enumeration / Listing - First
After (that) / Afterwards
4 ) Comparison - as
5 ) Contrast - Although / Though / Even though
In spite of / Despite of
On the other hand
Nevertheless / Nonetheless
Yet (in the beginning of the sentence)
6 ) Reason - Since
Because ( of )
7 ) Result - so / such....that....
8 ) Purpose - So that
in order to
so as to .....
9 ) Time - As
While = Whereas
After ( that ) = Afterward
By then ; By the time
Also, don't be afraid of cognates. It's been proved that 70% of them are real cognates, i.e, they are what they seem. Usually in an article the average student will know 70 to 80% of all the words used. Be positive ! You can understand it !
To check for false cognates see student's corner - false cognates - here on this site.
Good Luck !!!
In the last 10 years, as well as in other university entrance exams, Puc/Rio exams have been mostly based on text comprehension of the ideas conveyed in the article and vocabulary.
Some recurrent questions covering vocabulary:
1 ) Find synonymous expressions or synonyms
2 ) Find pairs of antonyms ( opposites )
3 ) Recognize the structure of the article / cartoon; how it is organized in terms of ideas; for instance.
To define the structure of the paragraphs or article as a whole, the student must take into account the vocabulary and ideas used. Was it describing a process ? Comparing one thing to another ? Giving examples ? Does it have arguments ( pro and against ) ? etc....
4 ) Choose where the text comes from.
Is it ......
..... a website page ? ( página da internet )
..... a guide ? ( guia de algum tipo )
..... a review ? ( crítica )
..... a newspaper article ? ( artigo de jornal )
..... a magazine article ? ( artigo de revista )
..... an essay ? ( uma dissertação )
..... a short story ? ( um conto )
..... a chronicle ? ( uma crônica )
..... an account ? ( um relato pessoal )
In a question like this it's necessary to check the style it was written and the possible bottom-of-the page information ( the name of the site / the name of the newspaper or book etc... ), it's a literaty evaluation as you do in your own language.
5) Another typical comprehension question in PUC exams is to find the main idea of a paragraph or the whole article. To get it right the applicant must disregard examples - sentences that are correct, appear among the options but don't show the general idea but examples for this idea.
6) Find the referent - See what the pronoun / verb / expression is substituting.
Nowadays the aim of entrance exams is to evaluate the applicant's ability to read English academic material, therefore focusing on understanding and vocabulary. However, PUC covers a bit more of grammar than other universities in Rio ( UFRJ / UERJ ). Let's see some grammar topics which have appeared in exams since 1997.
A) Modal verbs: checking functions - ability, obligation, etc..( check here on Student's Corner - Modal Verbs ) .
B) Conjunctions / expressions / linking words that show how ideas work; ex: due to ( reason )
( check University Entrance Exams - UFRJ - linking words - Student's Corner )
C) Classes of words: noun; verb; adjective; adverb; pronoun; preposition; conjunction; article . The student must identify the word correctly.
D) Indefinite pronouns / indefinite compounds:
. some - affirmatives : I need some help
- interrogatives :(to invite; offer or expect positive answer)
- Do you need some help ?
- Do you want to go to some new restaurant ?
- Do you have some money to lend me ?
. any - negatives ( with don't / didn't / isn't / wouldn't / etc.. - negative auxiliaries or negative - words - never - hardly ) - I didn't have any problems.
- interrogatives - Do you have any idea ?
- affirmatives - Any person can have this problem
. no - negative idea but affirmative sentence : I have no
money to eat out
. some + any + no + - body / one - for people
- where / place - for places
- thing - things
E) Superlatives / Comparatives
Comparatives ( short adjectives ) Superlatives
adjective + er the + adjective + EST
smaller (than) the smallest
larger the largest
bigger the biggest
prettier the prettiest
better (good) the best
worse (bad) the worst
farther (far) the farthest
Comparatives ( long adjectives ) Superlatives
more + adjective (than) the most adjective
more important (than) the most important
more efficient (than) the most efficient
more beautiful the most beautiful
F) Cognates ( check Student's Corner / False Cognates )
Ex: The meaning of actually is ......
G) Present Perfect - Have / Has + Verb (past participle)
- for actions that started in the past and still happen ( the
present is influenced by this action )
- actions in an unspecific past ( we don't know when )
H) Negative Prefixes:
Mis - misunderstand; misspell
Un - Unreliable; unsafe; undo
In - Incovenient; Infinite
Im - Immoral ; impatient; impolite
Ir - Irregular; Irresponsible; irresistable
Il - Illegal; Illiterate
Non - non-smoking; non-profitable; non-governmental
Dis - dissatisfaction; dishonest; dishonor
I) Compound adjectives + nouns:
- A house of 8 sides : A 8 - sided house
- A man with bad temper : A bad - tempered man
- A girl with blond hair : A blond - haired girl
- A boy who is 10 years old : A 10 - year old boy
J) Uncountable nouns :
Some uncountable nouns are : news : equipment : information : jewelry : furniture ; etc...
Uncontable nouns take the verb in the singular form:
- The news is good .
- The informartion was in the guide book .
- The equipment has failed many times .
K)The future with will.
Will is used in the following situations:
Prediction: The weather will change during the weekend.
Decision at the moment of speaking: - Let's go dancing.
- OK ! I'll go with you.
Offers : I'll get you something to eat.
Request : Will you give me a hand with the machine ?
Refusals : Don't insist, Jack. I won't do it.
Conditionals : If I have time, I'll pay you a visit.
Time - Clauses : When I see her; I'll give her the message.
After words such us : Think; imagine; bet; guess; expect; sure; maybe; perhaps;...
L) Suffix LY - Adverbs of manner
continuous -- continuously
dangerous -- dangerously
high -- highly
wide -- widely
large -- largely
quick -- quickly
M) Prepositions : AT / IN / ON / FROM
from - origin
They drove from Rio to São Paulo.
This present is from Lucas to Barbara.
Where do you come from ?
I'm from Italy.
at / it / on -- ( time )
at 5 o'clock.
on the weekend.
on March 17th.
on New Year's Day.
in the 20s.
in the past.
in the winter.
in the morning.
in the afternoon.
in the evening.