University Entrance Exams - Tips  /  Vestibulares



UFRJ            PUC/RIO




    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


                            as if

                            as though



5 ) Contrast   -   Although / Though / Even though



                        In spite of / Despite of

                        Instead of

                        On the other hand


                        Nevertheless / Nonetheless

                        Yet (in the beginning of the sentence)

                        Even if


6 ) Reason  -  Since


                    Because ( of )


                    Due to

                    Owing to


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.

        at night.

        at Christmas.

        on Sunday.

        on the weekend.

        on March 17th.

        on New Year's Day.

        in October.

        in 1967.

        in the 20s.

        in the past.

        in the winter.

        in the morning.

        in the afternoon.

        in the evening.