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Punctuation Test Online Preparation & Free Practice Questions

Job Aptitude Tests Preparation

What Is a Punctuation Test?

A punctuation test is used by employers to measure your aptitude towards punctuation use in varying contexts. Punctuation itself is the use of symbols such as commas, apostrophes, hyphens, quotation marks, and periods. Many employers and educational institutions use these verbal reasoning psychometric exams as an objective way to measure your abilities. No need to worry though–a little bit of practice goes a long way when preparing to take these assessments! While there are plenty of online resources, in this article, you will find free tips to aid in your preparation to succeed at taking the punctuation test.


How Should I Prepare for the Punctuation Test?

When it comes to any type of aptitude test, practice is key. In the case of the punctuation test, bolstering your knowledge of the basics of punctuation is important to success. We will now dive into the main rules of punctuation and look at some sample questions and answers.


Top Tips for Tackling Punctuation

Familiarize Yourself with Apostrophes

Apostrophes are used for two main things: forming possessives and contractions. Within specific occasions, apostrophes can also be used to form plurals.


Possessive use of apostrophes: An apostrophe is used to make a noun possessive, or show its ownership of an object. An example is the sentence, “the company’s improvement plan was approved by the board.” The use of the apostrophe shows that the improvement plan belongs to the company.


Contractions: Apostrophes in contractions can be remembered as resembling a math problem. (Example: have + not = haven’t.) When it comes to remembering how to format contractions, the typical formal is to drop the vowel of the second word and place the apostrophe either in the beginning (if contracting the word “is” or “are”) or in the middle (if contracting the word “not”) of the remaining consonants.

Is + not = isn’t

Can + not = can’t

It + is + it’s

Take a look at the below table of the most common contractions in the English language:

Can + not Can’t
We + are We’re
Was + not Wasn’t
Does + not Doesn’t
They + are They’re
(S)he + is (S)he’s
What + is What’s
You + are You’re
Is + not Isn’t
It + is It’s


Plurals: Apostrophes are rarely used to form plurals. The only times you need an apostrophe to form a plural are: pluralizing an abbreviation, pluralizing a letter being used as a noun, or pluralizing certain words used as nouns (such as “yes” and “no”).

  • “She received two A’s and two B’s last semester.”
  • “I have three M.A.’s and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.”
  • “When we surveyed the board, we got mostly yes’s in favor of the rule change.”


Correctly use quotation marks: No matter what, commas and periods go inside of quotation marks, even if the comma/period are not part of the quote.


Correct: According to the novel, the character states, “I believe in peace.”

Incorrect: According to the novel, the character states, “I believe in peace”.


Correct: “Interesting,” she mused.

Incorrect: “Interesting”, she mused.


Know where to put punctuation when you use parentheses: A parenthetical statement is essentially the addition of information to a sentence, or a relevant note to the reader outside of the sentence. The basic rule is: if the parenthetical statement exists within a sentence, punctuate outside of the parenthese. If the parenthetical statement exists outside of a sentence, punctuate inside the parentheses.


Correct: When preparing for a psychometric exam (and you should practice), take advantage of any free resources the website offers.

Incorrect: When preparing for a psychometric exam (and you should practice,) take advantage of any free resources the website offers.


Correct: (Best of luck on the assessment!)

Incorrect: (Best of luck on the assessment)!


Hyphenate compound adjectives: A compound adjective is when two or more words are being used as one description (see sample below). If you’re using a compound adjective, you need to have hyphens between the words being used as the adjective. The major exception to this rule is when the first word ends in -ly.


Correct: Misusing hyphens is all-too-common.

Incorrect: Misusing hyphens is all too common.


Correct: The room was brightly lit.

Incorrect: The room was brightly-lit.


Know the difference between a colon and a semicolon: While they both have similar uses (connecting two independent clauses), the distinction is that a colon is used when the second independent clause expands on the first while a semicolon is used when the two clauses are related but do not depend on one another.


Correct use of colon: A majority of the population possesses a cell phone: for those who don’t, the reasoning is often tied to the cost of data plans.

Correct use of semicolon: A majority of the population possesses a cell phone; the minority relies on landlines.


Colons can also be used to introduce a list, but the above rule still applies in that there must be a complete clause prior to the colon.


Correct: It’s helpful to take care of yourself prior to taking an exam: get a good night’s rest, eat a healthy breakfast, and complete plenty of sample problems.

Incorrect: You should: get a good night’s rest, eat a healthy breakfast, and complete plenty of sample problems.


Familiarize yourself with commas and how to properly use them: Commas can be intimidating due to there being quite a few rules that come along with their use.

  1. Use commas when separating items in a series.
  2. Use a comma before use of one of the following conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
  3. Use a comma to separate a dependent clause from an independent one when beginning a sentence with a dependent clause.
  4. Use commas to distinguish nonessential information or interjections in a sentence.
  5. Use a comma to introduce a quote and, when appropriate, inside of a quote (see above).
  6. Use a comma when beginning a sentence with an introductory word or phrase.
  7. Use a comma to separate a city and state in an address.
  8. Use a comma when writing a date (after weekday names and numerical dates).


The linked video below provides an excellent online resource to learn more about these rules in-depth!


What Else Should I Know When It Comes to Preparation for the Punctuation Test?

Simple! Make sure to review and practice punctuation rules. Constant exposure to punctuation will result in innate knowledge of correct punctuation. Alongside these tips, habitual reading also leads to recognizing the patterns of punctuation. The more you read, the better your overall understanding of the structure of the English language becomes. Just make sure your reading material of choice has been edited! Some examples of helpful reading materials are published novels, online articles from reputable magazines/newspapers/websites, cookbooks, and reputable blogs.


Punctuation Test Sample Questions with Answers

Below you will find eight free example questions with an answer key at the bottom. The typical format for these tests is to correct a given passage’s punctuation. In these samples, you’re expected to correct the underlined text. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to practice!

  1. This weeks weather is proving to be rather stormy.
    1. This’s
    2. This, weeks
    3. This weeks:
    4. This week’s
  2. The company recently surveyed a selection of twenty employees. Of the twenty employees surveyed, ten did not report that they are punctual over 90 % of the time.
    1. Didn’t
    2. Will not
    3. Shouldn’t
    4. Did’nt
  3. Reptiles are known to be cold-blooded creatures, hence their reliance on sun baths to maintain their body heat.
    1. Cold blooded
    2. Of cold blood
    3. Cold blood’d
    4. No change
  4. The novel study proved to be successful amongst students: they retained more information from completing the guides than they would have on their own.
    1. Students; they
    2. Students–they
    3. Students, they
    4. No change
  5. You are expected to bring: snacks, water, and appropriate shoes.
    1. Bring snacks
    2. Bring; snacks
    3. Bring-snacks
    4. No change
  6. The company provides the option of designating a portion of one’s salary to stocks; those who choose not to do so have the option of donating the same portion to charity.
    1. Stocks, those
    2. Stocks–those
    3. Stocks: those
    4. No change
  7. The envelope was addressed to an individual who lives in Sydney, Australia.
    1. Sydney: Australia
    2. Sydney; Australia
    3. Sydney Australia
    4. No change
  8. Many domesticated animals have no problems moving households with their owners. However cats are known to react poorly to major sudden changes.
    1. However; cats
    2. However, cats
    3. However: cats
    4. No change



  1. D
  2. A
  3. D
  4. A
  5. A
  6. C
  7. D
  8. B