In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.
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"Independent Study" is the second novel in The Testing trilogy by Joelle Charonneau. Here's a brief description of the first book titled "The Testing": It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await (Amazon).
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Give it a try now and look up the definition for the word "preliminary."
Based on the definition of the word preliminary, the first six months at the university are spent taking which types of classes?
Cia greatly values the lessons and morals that she has learned from her family and community. As you read, think about how these values affect her actions.
About how many years has it been since Cia's father has attended the University?
The author uses words to create certain feelings for the reader. The feelings that are conveyed in a text is called the mood. Watch the video to learn more about tone and mood. (This annotation contains a video)
Why do you think Cia is smiling about the first question?
What do you want to do when you grow up? Imagine what it would feel like to not have a choice in your career field. How do you think this influences Cia's ability to answer the question?
Which mood is being conveyed when Will sits down at the table?
This novel is classified as dystopian fiction. In dystopian fiction, the government usually enforces control over citizens through oppression and force. A common theme in this genre is valuing the needs of society over the individual citizens' well-being. (This annotation contains an image)
Seeing the test results, Cia appears to be ____ about her chosen field of study.
Although she is disappointed with the field that she is assigned, Cia is concerned with Obidiah being redirected. Based on her reaction, what are some words that you can use to describe Cia?
Removing the memories of the Testing implies that it is a ______ experience.
Below is an image of where Kansas is located in the United States. Based on its location, why do you think the leaders chose Kansas as a starting point for rebuilding? (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what Cia witnesses, what do you think it means to be "redirected"?
As previously stated, a common theme in dystopian fiction is placing more value on the needs of society without regard to the well-being of the individual. Provide at least two examples from the story that support this theme.
Why do the Testing officials believe that redirection is better for the Commonwealth than sending unsuccessful candidates home?
Do you think Cia will run away? Do you think she will be successful if she does run?
Based on the highlighted text, how are Cia's feelings towards Michal changing?
Why do you think the officials keep such close surveillance over the University students? How does this support their governmental structure? (This annotation contains an image)
In this simile, Michal's fingers are being compared to a ______.
Why do you think Cia decides to record what she experienced during The Testing on the Transit Communicator? Do you think she would have been better off not knowing what happened?
Cia's response implies that she wants to _____.
Do you think that killing the current Testing officials to end the process is justifiable?
Based on the highlighted text, Cia is _____ of what her peers may be capable of doing.
The students from Tosu City are primarily from the families of government officials. They do not face the same fate as the candidates from the colonies. What does this tell you about the social hierarchy in the Commonwealth? (This annotation contains an image)
Although she is scared, Cia knows that she must help bring down the current officials. Cia demonstrates ______ even though she knows that there is danger involved.
Cia wants to tell Tomas, but she says that "trust wars with love." This is an example of personification. Personification is a type of figurative language where the author gives human qualities to a non-human thing. To learn more about personification, watch the video clip below. (This annotation contains a video)
Briefly explain why the students from the colonies are expected to be weaker than their peers who are from Tosu City. Use examples from the text to support your answer.
Why do you think the Government Studies building is further away from the rest of the buildings on campus?
Based on the highlighted statement, what can be inferred about some students who want to be selected for the Governmental Studies program?
Do you think the guides are really there to be a source of support for the students? What other purpose could they serve?
Cia's observation about Himani suggests that she may be a _____ girl.
The color red is associated with power and leadership, but it is also associated with danger. Do you think the author chose the color red for a specific reason? (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted text is an example of which type of figurative language?
Watch the video to review sensory details. Reread the highlighted text. How many examples of sensory details can you find? (This annotation contains a video)
Use the Define feature to find the definition of the word, "disheveled." Based on the definition, which word is an antonym of "disheveled"?
Look at the various descriptions that are associated with the color purple. Do you think the University official wears purple to send a message to the students? (This annotation contains an image)
Cia's thoughts reveal that she does not _______ what Professor Holt is saying.
Why do you think Enzo is isolated from the others? Does he seem to be interested in being friendly with Cia?
Why does Cia tell Enzo about the notes left in everyone's rooms?
Another theme commonly found in dystopian fiction is the survival of the fittest. Think about The Testing selection process and the events at the University. How do these events support this theme? (This annotation contains an image)
Imagine that you are Cia. Describe how you would feel upon learning about your course load and your name being mentioned during the training of the Tosu students. Do you see these events as being positive or negative?
Notice that the students are constantly being subjected to unexpected tests. Do you think the officials use these tests to determine the strengths of the students or simply to weed out those who do not pass?
Based on Enzo's actions, he seems to ______ his peers.
Do you think Cia's thoughts on being penalized for wrong answers differs from her peers? What insight does she have that the others do not?
Why do you think Cia is chosen as a team leader? Do you think she will make a good leader?
The other students seem to be _____ when Cia selects Enzo for her team.
Remember that much of the country has not been revitalized. There is still evidence of warfare in many areas. (This annotation contains an image)
What events led to the need to revitalize the country?
Will decides to move ahead of his team and ends up getting trapped. Think about the lessons the teammates will learn as they progress through the Induction.
What do you think Enzo will do? Would you wait for your teammates?
Based on what you have read, discuss whether you believe Cia would be a good leader.
Why do you think zoos do not exist in the United Commonwealth?
Why does Cia have a hard time trusting Will?
Would you risk your life for your teammates? Do you think Cia is brave or reckless in her actions?
Why does Will make this comment to Damone about Enzo?
Remember Cia's recorded warning to herself? Although her Testing memories were removed, she has the recordings from the Transit Communicator to remind her of the actions of her peers.
What can be inferred about Griffin and his teammates based on their actions?
While the others celebrate their success, what does Damone do? Do you think his reaction is good or bad?
What probably causes the explosion?
What is Will suggesting? Do you think Cia will agree?
Damone believes that the colony students are ______ to the Tosu City students.
Has Damone proven to be a good teammate? Would you want to be on a team with him?
Watch the video that briefly describes the Westward Expansion that occurred during the 1800s. (This annotation contains a video)
Compare the Westward Expansion of the 1800s to the movement of citizens to unrevitalized areas of the Commonwealth? Remember to provide both similarities and differences between these two movements in your response.
Why do you think there would be a task like this included? What would be the benefit of this activity?
Cia is making reference to her recording about the Testing. On the recording, she says that _____ tried to kill her and Tomas.
Do you think the upper level students would let a student die in this way?
Do you think Cia had a reason to not trust her teammates? How do you think she will feel about her teammates as they continue?
Why do you think Cia decides to bring Damone along and not leave him?
Why would Damone be upset with Cia and the others? Based on the competition, has he shown the characteristics necessary to be an effective leader?
Damone's tone tends to be negative and ______ when he speaks to his teammates.
Think about the Founding Fathers of the United States. Do you think they would think our current leaders have done the same thing that the United Commonwealth leaders have done? (This annotation contains an image)
Which word is an antonym for the word, scowls?
If correct, Cia and her team will need to get the next clue from the President. Do you think Cia will approach the President?
The strict procedures regarding the Debate Chamber are meant to ______ the President and government officials.
What are your thoughts about the United Commonwealth only having female presidents? Do you think their reasons may be valid?
What do the reactions of Professor Holt and Dr. Barnes suggest about their relationship with the President?
Remember how Enzo has remained distant from the other Tosu City students? Now we learn that the social class hierarchy exists within the city.
Why does Damone clench his fists in the highlighted text?
Based on what you have read, why do you think the officials would construct this bridge?
Do you believe that leaders should work to always find a solution? Do some problems lack a solution?
Cia realizes that this task cannot be solved. She believes that the officials want the students to understand that some problems do not have solutions. Do you think that there are situations when leaders have to know when to give up? Use complete thoughts and complete sentences to explain your response.
Damone has shown throughout the tasks that he is not trustworthy. Do you think Will and Enzo choose Cia because they believe she is correct or because of Damone's actions during the previous tasks?
What is Damone's reaction as the team crosses the bridge?
How does Professor Holt know when the other teams will be arriving? Do you think the teams are being watched? (This annotation contains an image)
What is the warning that Ian has for Cia?
How would you feel if you were told that you were performing "too well"? Would you begin to do things differently?
Why is there a movement to remove Dr. Barnes and Professor Holt from power?
At this point, Cia has to think hard about her choices. She is being watched for her performance being too good, but if her performance level drops then she risks being redirected. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think the upper level students or officials didn't intervene earlier? Do you think this is the first time that an accident like this has occurred?
Which word describes the tone of Professor Holt's comment to the students?
Why does the term "Redirected" not affect the other students in the same way that it affects Cia?
Why does the United Commonwealth place so much value on the knowledge of the past?
Imagine the level of destruction suffered after seven wars. The citizens had to take time, effort, and extreme planning into their rebuilding efforts.
Why would Dr. Barnes have someone following Cia?
Based on his reaction, Tomas does not know of anyone else being assigned with such a large course load. Do you think that Cia is being set up to fail?
What information did Cia hear while listening to the recording on the Transit Communicator?
Remember when they were choosing teams, Cia's first choice was Enzo. She wanted to try to use the opportunity to get close to a Tosu City student.
If Tomas does have his memories from the Testing, how will that affect his relationship with Cia? Would you be able to trust him?
Who informed Cia that Dr. Barnes is watching her?
Zandri grew up with Cia and Tomas in Five Lakes colony. She did not make it through the Testing.
What does Cia mean when she says that she starts "bolting for the exit"?
Cia learns that Zandri is killed when Tomas and ______ get into a fight.
The officials have created a horrible process for selecting leaders. To what extent do you think they should be punished for what they have done?
Do you think changing careers in the future is an option for Cia and the rest of the University students? (This annotation contains an image)
Why might a student be reluctant to accept the symbol and what it represents?
Do you think that the University officials are only tracking students in the government studies program or in all of them? Why do you think the officials are so intent on monitoring the students?
At this point, do you think Cia is focusing on her work because she wants to succeed or to distract her from what she has learned about the University and the Testing?
While some students may perceive the University officials as supportive mentors, Cia's opinion is different. Using complete thoughts and sentences, explain how Cia views the University officials based on what she has witnessed. Include at least one example from the text to support your response.
How would it feel to have your every move watched? Do you think it would be better not to know? (This annotation contains a video)
Who asks Ian to help Cia?
Do you think Raffe is being sincere with Cia, or does he have ulterior motives?
At this point, do you think the primary purpose of the course is to educate the students? Do you think the University officials are using effective strategies to determine who will be good leaders?
Why are Tomas and Cia are making transmitters?
Cia's knowledge affects her perspective. She understands that what may seem to be a reasonable consequence is actually much worse.
Watch the video to learn about foreshadowing. Why do you think Cia was the last student to be called? (This annotation contains a video)
Who is the President referring to as Jedidiah?
Do you think being assigned to intern in the President's office will be a positive thing for Cia, or do you think that she is being placed where she can be carefully watched?
What does Cia realize after observing the interactions between President Collindar and Dr. Barnes?
Like the United States of America, the United Commonwealth has a system of checks and balances in place. One purpose of the system is to prevent any one branch of government from becoming too powerful. Based on the Testing procedures, has this system been effective? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Michal not acknowledge Cia when she sees him?
Why do you think it is not common for the citizens to have a television set? How might this benefit the government officials?
What United Commonwealth project is the focus of Cia's first assignment?
Do you think the President selected Cia so that she could assist her in removing Dr. Barnes?
Remember that just like the USA, the United Commonwealth created checks and balances in an attempt to prevent officials from gaining too much power. Using examples from the text to support your response, explain how Dr. Barnes has manipulated the system to gain power.
Did the current officials go through the same Testing process? They are willing to allow bad things to continue instead of taking responsibility. Do they exhibit the qualities of good leaders? (This annotation contains an image)
Why were Professor Holt and Dr. Barnes reexamining Cia's actions during the Testing?
What happened during Cia's Induction that was impressive to some of the officials?
This is another example of how social class affects how the students are treated. Although they may not be killed, what do you think happens to Tosu City students when they are redirected?
When do University students get to return home to their families?
Do you think that Cia has been asked to complete this task so that she is distracted, or do you think that she will uncover something important?
Why are people staring at Cia as she enters the dining hall?
Do you think Raffe is being honest? At this point, who do you think Cia can trust?
With the exception of a few students, how do most of the Tosu City students view the students from the colonies?
At this point, do you think Cia should trust Raffe? Can she trust Will?
What does the President's assignment have in common with the final task during Induction?
Cia and Tomas created transmitters to counteract the tracking devices in the ID bracelets.
Why do you think the United Commonwealth has restrictions of power usage?
Up until this point, it seems that candidates are selected based on their potential to be great leaders. What happens when those candidates don't agree with those in charge?
Why is Professor Holt concerned about the President?
Cia feels hopeless at this point. Do you think she should give up? What would you do?
What change is the President preparing to propose?
Do you think the officials would not attempt to find missing University students? Does that seem too easy?
Cia's dream reveals that she feels _____.
Cia's father attended the University. She has worked hard and dreamed of being able to follow in his footsteps. Imagine the disappointment she feels at this point.
Based on their previous interactions, should Cia be worried about Damone?
How does Damone feel about the students from the colonies?
What is Raffe suggesting they do with Damone? Do you think this is a good choice? What other choice do they have?
How does Raffe react to what has happened to Damone?
How did Tomas find Cia? The transmitters that the two of them created can be used to send signals to one another.
What happened to Raffe during the Induction?
Why do you think Raffe came to help Cia? Do you think he is there only because of Cia's help during the Induction?
What does Cia mean when she refers to the "calculation in Damone's eyes"?
Now that they have found evidence of others outside of the fence, who do you think they will find? What type of people do you think would be living beyond the city?
Tomas is _____ when he hears Zeen's voice.
Do you think Raffe will betray Cia? Why do you think he wants to stay?
How does Raffe end up getting separated from Cia and Tomas?
How has Cia's childhood helped her throughout her time at the University? Do you think she has an advantage over the Tosu City students?
Who is Cia going to speak to at the President's office?
Do you think Michal knows about Zeen and the others? If so, why would he keep this information from Cia?
Cia finds out that Raffe is helping her because his ____ went missing from the University.
Do you think fighting is ever a justifiable choice? (This annotation contains an image)
What information is on the recordings?
Does Cia have anyone who has proven themselves trustworthy? How would you feel at this point?
Why can't the President remove Dr. Barnes from power without having a vote?
How do you think Cia feels as she listens to the recording? Do you think Raffe listened to what happened to her and Tomas?
What happens when Cia hears the voices on the recording?
Where did Cia hear those words before? Who is Symon actually working for?
Think about Symon's actions and why he believes that killing Michal is justifiable. Discuss how Michal's death supports the theme of a society's needs being valued above the individuals' well-being.
Although the Testing was created to find candidates who would become great leaders, the officials want to make certain that they only have leaders who will have the same beliefs as they do. Do you think this is right?
Cia decides that she must begin a new rebellion to put an end to the Testing. Imagine that you are Cia. Explain how you would move forward with a plan to remove Dr. Barnes? Who would you solicit to help you?
Who is Cia trying to contact? Do you think she will be successful?