00 - Introduction
Now, you can review strategies for each question type in the Reading section of the TOEFL. There are 10 unique question types in the Reading
section. Ali of them require the general reading strategies explained above. However, each type of question is also based on particular
information from the passage, so you need to review ways to find that information accurately and quickly. Finally, each question type also
includes particular incorrect answers, or distracters, which manipulate or alter ideas from the passage. Therefore, the following steps
review the best ways to find the correct answer(s) and avoid the incorrect ones for each question type.
01 - Fact/Details Questions
The strategies for each question type below include a short reading passage and a sample question. The short passage and sample
question are used to illustrate the steps necessary to answer each question type.
Remember to practice the general reading strategies when you read the short passage. Try to answer the sample question before you
read the strategies, and then review the strategies carefully and identify any steps you may have missed in your first attempt.
The correct choice to each sample question is given in the strategies that follow it. These sample questions are not induded in the
Answer Key at the end of the Reading chapter. The Answer Key explains the correct answer(s) and distracters for the questions in
the Practice section for each question type.
02 - NOT/EXPECT Question
Detail questions test your basic comprehension of key facts in the passage. For each passage, you may receive from 3 to 6 questions
about specifie facts, or details. Like ali questions in the reading section, detail questions are multiple-choice questions.
You have four choices and either one or two choices is correct. (The question will specify whether
you should choose one or two correct answers.) The other choices are distracters, or incorrect answer choices.
Detail questions ask about facts related to one of the interrogative pronouns: what, who, whom, whose, which, why, how,
when, or where, even though the questions might not always use these pronouns.
Once you receive a detail question, there areseveral actions you should perform in addition to the general strategies you've already learned.
The strategies below review these recommended actions, but first read the following short excerpt from a passage on
the ancient Greek god Apollo:
One of art's earliest purposes was to serve as a marker of a holy place, either a place of worship or a place of protection. To illustrate
the latter, consider ancient Greece, where statues of gods were placed on city walls to safeguard the people.
These statues were often of the Greek god Apollo, whose importance to the Greeks must be understood before the artwork dedicated to him
can be fully appreciated.
Apollo was an embodiment of ali the virtues that Greek society upheld as worthy.Physical beauty and talent were highly valued,
so every depiction of Apollo is of a physically ideal body. The first statues of Apollo showed him in a very limited pose,
representing little or no activity, thus reminding onlookers that he was an authoritarian deity and not to be crossed.
Some stances show Apollo with a serious, grave expression, extending an arm as a warning to those who have not followed his wishes.
However,the last representations of Apollo in ancient Greece allowed him more freedom of gesture and detailed expressions.
This may be interpreted as a result of weakening culturalmorais,but it was certainly meant as a tribute to the beauty and
strength of Apollo's mind. The graceful poses of his body, whether he is depicted holding a bow and arrow or a musical instrument,
attest to Apollo's intellectual power. His face, portraying pensiveness or determination, permitted the Greek people
to identify themselves with him and celebrate his inner qualities, in addition to his attractive physique.
Unfortunately, the argument that the loosening of Apollo's strict representation corresponded to a breakdown in
public values may also be true. lt's unfortunate that the power wielded by the ancient religion began to decline
precisely as the statues of Apollo became more lifelike.
Identify a key idea or set of ideas inthe question.
Read every question on the exam carefully.Students often hurt their own chances when they
read questions too quickly. Each detail question involves a particular noun, action, or state,
or set of nouns, actions,or states. Identify these and use them to locate the relevant information in the passage.
This is necessary even if the question refers to a specifie paragraph number. Regardless of any directions in the question,
the body paragraphs in the reading passage could be very long.Therefore, even though the question may tell you to look at a
particular pa ragraph, you must stilllocate the necessary information in that paragraph.
You must identify the idea(s), not the specifie words or vocabulary. Often, the question will paraphrase, or restate,
ideas from the passage. Of course, some words are not easily paraphrased, such as technical terms (DNA) and names (Apollo),
and so don't assume every word is restated in the question. Usually, the restatement involves a synonym or different part of
speech. Look at the following detail question about the passage above:
According to the author, the final carved depictions of Apollo
- (A) were superior to the early, serious versions.
- (B) represented a warning to the people.
- (C) possibly led to weakening cultural morais.
- (D)represented more than just his physical beauty.
The key ideas in the question are in the phrase final carved depictions.Of course the noun Apollo is important,
but it is repeated too often in the passage since it is 'the main topic, or subject, of the passage.
The name is less useful, then, for locating the necessary info mation in the passage.
Scan the passage for the key idea(s)
Scanning is useful for locating information quickly to select the correct choice(s) as well as eliminate incorrect ones.
Scanning is the opposite of reading actively or closely. lt means to look over the passage without really reading the words.
When you scan a passage, you don't want to understand the sentences; you want only to fi nd some information.
You are probably looking for a restatement of the key idea(s) in the question, so you must still think about what you are seeing.
However, you don't need to reread the passage; just look it over until you find a word, phrase, or clause that could be a
possible paraphrase of the key idea(s).Since a detail question involves only specifie facts from the passage,
you have to read only a specifie part of the passage closely. Scanning allows you to find that part by locating
the key idea(s) quickly.
If the question directs you to a particular paragraph, then begin there. If the question does not mention a paragraph,
use your outline or map of the passage to guide you. If your map is weil organized, it can save you time by limiting the
amount of scanning you must do. For example, the sample detail question above doesn't refer to a specifie paragraph,
so you should use your outline to give you a clue to the relevant information, or you can simply scan the whole passage.
The following could be an outline for the Apollo passage:
- P1 : early art purpose=holy, protect, Apollo - safeguard
- P2: first: A. perfect body+ talent, authority
- P3: last: A. weak morals?, movement, exercise, music --> intellect
- P4: lifelike = public values
Based on an accurate outline of the passage, the third paragraph contains the necessary information related to the
final depictions of Apollo.
Read the relevant information closely and carefully.
Once you've found the key idea(s), read the sentence and surrounding sentences slowly. Don't skim them. Students often
make avoidable mistakes by reading the passage too quickly and carelessly for detail questions.
As you will learn below, detail questions contain distracters based on rearrangements of the ideas in the passage.
In order to avoid confusion and error, pay close attention to the actors, actions, states, and their relationship.
Identify the correct relationship of cause, effect, reason, intention, and so on. Also, a correct choice
may paraphrase the information in more than one sentence.
Look for accurate paraphrasing inthe correct answer(s)
A correct answer for a detail question is usually paraphrased to some degree. Although certain ideas may not be restated, some
of the information from the passage will certainly be in different words or sentence structure.
As you will learn below, distracters often repeat the exact vocabulary from the passage.
Correct answers restate some or all of the information from the passage. For instance,
(D) is the correct answer to the detail question above, and it paraphrases the key point in
Paragraph 3: the later statues of Apollo showed Apollo's mental superiority as well as his physical perfection.
Choose an answer based on stated information, not inferences or assumptions.
Detail questions ask about stated, or written, information. Therefore, you should be able to find the correct answer choice(s)
restated somewhere in the passage. Don't choose an answer based on an idea that you think is true but can't find in the passage.
Fact/detail questions ask about specifie information related to people, places, things, times, methods, reasons, events, statements,
etc. They may include interrogative pronouns such as who, whom, what, but they may not.
You can recognize detail questions based on the following forms or some variation:
- According to the passage, X was...
- According to paragraph 1, X did Y because...
- According to Paragraph 2, why did X do Y?
- Which of the following statements about...is supported by paragraph XJ
- What does the author say about...?
- The author's description of X mentions which of the following?
Distracters are incorrect answers that look correct, but they are actually incorrect. To distract means to draw someone's attention
away from something; in this case the distracter takes your attention away from the correct answer and encourages you to choose a
wrong one.The multiple-choice questions on the TOEFL are designed to be challenging, not easy or obvious. Detail questions that require
one correct answer have three distracters; detail questions that require two correct choices have two distracters.
Regardless of the type, the distracters for detail questions follow a certain pattern. First, distracters in detail questions
usually repeat vocabulary exactly as it appears in the passage. Since you know that a correct answer choice paraphrases
all or most of the information from the passage, repetition is a strong clue that a choice could be wrong.
Repetition is also common in distracters for most other types of questions as well, so don't be distracted by repetition.
However, some vocabulary is not easily paraphrased, so repetition is a clue, but not proof, of a distracter.
You should always check an answer choice with the passage. Review the following strategies to become more familiar
with the various types of distracter.
Answer choice includes unmentioned information.
This is perhaps the easiest distracter to recognize and avoid, but it usually includes some repeated idea(s)
from the passage with the unmentioned idea(s). If you always check your choice with the information in the passage,
you should be able to avoid this distracter because you won't be able to find all of the idea(s)
from this choice in the passage. Choice (A) is an example of this type. There is no judgment or
measurement of the quality of any of the statues.However,some readers might be distracted by the repetition of
serious, which is used to describe the earlier statues.Also, a reader could incorrectly assume that the representation
of inner and outer features in the later statues indicates better quality, but this assumption is not supported by any
statements in the passage. Often, this distracter is based on incorrect assumptions.
Answer choice refers to ideas mentioned in the passage but related to a different key point.
This type of distracter can trick many students because it uses ideas from the passage, but
the ideas don't relate to the question. This is why it is important to identify key ideas in the question, and then read the passage carefully once you locate the information in the passage. You need to make sure that you find the right information, not just any information.Choice (B) is an example of this type. The warning is mentioned in relation to the earlier statues and in relation to certain of those statues, not ali of them, but the question asks about the later or last statues of Apollo.
Answer choice rearranges stated ideas incorrectly.
A distracter can take ideas written in the passage and change their relationship to each other.
This distracter type can reverse a cause and effect relationship, reorder the sequence, interchange details
(time, place, etc.), among many other possibilities.
For instance, (C) in the detail question above rearranges stated ideas from the passage.
The answer choice states that the statues might have caused, or led to, weakening cultural
morals, but according to the passage, the weakened morality of society was a possible cause of the new statues.
The distracter reverses the correct cause and effect relationship.
Answer choice reverses the positive or negative quality of an action or state.
This kind of distracter states the correct ideas from the passage,
but changes them from positive to negative or from negative to positive.
The incorrect choice could remove or add no or not to the ideas,
or it could use an antonym. As always, you must read the relevant sentence(s) dosely to avoid any distracter
Now, practice the strategies you've just reviewed by answering several detail questions.
Read actively, pay attention to main idea, purpose, and key points, and record the basic
outline of the passage in organized notes.
American parents today faced with a stark choice. The country's public schools are becoming
more crowded, more violent, and less effective in preparing children for employment or
college. Private schools may be too expensive or unavailable. To ensure that their children
receive an adequate education, an increasing number of parents are simply teaching their
children at home.While homeschooling offers many benefits to bath child and parent,
its three most important advantages are its flexibility of curriculum, its adaptability
to different learning styles and speeds,and its more positive, supportive social
If, for example, the child is interested in dinosaurs, that subject could be used to
teach scientific concepts in geology, biology, or even history. Moreover, in the home
environment, there is plenty of room for spontaneous discussion, field trips, and other learning experiences
that classroom logistics make difficult, expensive, or challenging. Homeschooling puts the
child's natural curiosity to use,limited only by the imaginations of the child and parent.
Children can move through the material at a rate that challenges them positively.
In the conventional classroom, most !essons are aimed at the middle level of ability.
Thus, some students are rushed along much faster than is optima,l or faster than necessary
for satisfactory results, while ethers yawn or find distractions because the pace is too
slow.Nor can a teacher pay much attention to any single student in a classroom of 30 or
discover how individual students learn best. But the parent at home, who knows the child
better than any teacher, can readily make adjustments to content, teaching strategy,
or pace, as the child requires.
The final important advantage of homeschooling lies in the socialization children are
able to receive. Homeschooled children are less subject to the stresses and pressures
experienced by conventional students who spend six, seven, or eight hours a day with their
peers. They are less likely to become involved with gangs or drugs. On the other hand,
homeschooled children spend much more time in the company of appropriate role models:
parents, other adults, and older siblings. ln this environment, they are better able
to learn from actual life situations, and how to interact with people of all ages.
In particular, homeschooling fosters healthy family relationships because bath children
and their parents are able to play la rger and more complete roles in one another's lives.
If bath parents work out of the home, care must be fou nd for young child ren while the
parents are away. lndeed, working parents may be unable to find the time to provide
schooling for their children at ail, and hiring a tutor to fili that role is an expensive
proposition. Second, parents may be attacked for choosing what many people feel is an
antisocial or elitist option-for thinking that their children are better than anyone else's,
for refusing to participate in an important social institution, or even for trying to
destroy public schools by depriving them of students and funding. Third, not all parents
will be comfortable in the role of teacher. They may not have the patience required,
the basic knowledge of the material, or the energy to encourage and motivate their children
Homeschooling is not a panacea for the institutional deficiencies found in American
public schools; these ca n only be addressed through a large-scale restructuring of
public education policies nationwide. Nevertheless, homeschooling offers a number of
significant advantages to parents and child ren. And it works. Homeschooled children,
on average, place in the 87th percentile on standardized exams- the national average is
the 50th percentile-and have been admitted to ali major universities and military
academies in the cou ntry. Clea rly, homeschooling is a serious, positive alternative for
motivated parents and their children.
1. According to the passage, one of the benefits of homeschooling is that the environment
- (A) enables children to develop skills that will make them good parents.
- (B) prepares students for being self-directed members of the workforce.
- (C) gives the child ready access to books and ether educational materials.
- (D) provides more flexibility in the choice of learning activities
2. Which of the following is mentioned as a problem with today's public schools?
- (A) They are a frequent recruitment ground for violent gangs.
- (B) They everly emphasize the importance of standardized exams.
- (C) They have too many students and are very distracting.
- (D) They structure their lessons for children at the lowest level of ability.
3. The author's description of a parent's homeschooling role mentions the importance of parents
- (A) being trained to use appropriate teaching methods.
- (B) challenging children to work at increasingly higher levels.
- modifying the instruction to suit the needs of the child
- providing alternative opportunities for children to interact with their peers.
Introduction and example
03 - Referent Question
NOT/EXCEPT questions ask about factual information from the passage; however, you must then
choose the answer that is not true or the answer that is not mentioned in the passage.
In other words, NOT/EXCEPT questions are the inverse, or opposite, of detail questions.
Although both questions discuss detailed information from the passage,
NOT/EXCEPT questions ask you to recognize and choose answers that contradict or contrast with
the passage. Like ali questions in the Reading section of the TOEFL, NOT/EXCEPT questions are
multiple choice. There are four choices, and only one choice is correct. The other three are
distracters, or wrong answers.
Since NOT/EXCEPT questions involve factual information, the strategies are very similar to
those for fact/detail questions. First, read the following short excerpt about the music
form called rock and roll, then review the strategies.
Rock and Roll
Rock and roll is a form of music that was invented in the United States in the 1950s. It
has become popular in the United States, E urope, and many other parts of the world.
AfricanAmerican performers like Little Richard, Fats Domino, Ray Charles,
and Big Joe Turner were among the first people to come out with true rock and roll, a
combination of various elements from country and western, gospel, rhythm and blues, and jazz.
The influences of early performers like bluesman Muddy Waters, gospel Rerformer Ruth Brown, a
nd jazz musician Louis Jordan on rock and roll are still felt today. For example,
the sangs of early country legend Hank Williams affected musicians from early rock star
Buddy Holly to 1980s rocker Bruce Springsteen.
At first, only a small but growing segment of the population had heard the new m usical form.
In the segregated 1950s, African-American musical forms were not initially considered
appropriate for white audiences. Therefore, much of the U.S. population had not been exposed
to them. All that changed, however when, in 1953, Cleveland dise jockey Alan Freed began
to play rhythm and blues to a largely non-African-America n radio audience.
Freed was successful and sold many records. The music spread, and the term that Freed had
adopted for the music-rock and roll-began to spread as weil.
Teenagers, and the money they were willing to spend on records, provided an impetus for rock
and roll. On their way to becoming rock stars, many performers copied sangs from the
original artists. For instance, Pat Boone scored a hit with a toned-down version of
Little Richard's song, "Tutti Frutti," causing Little Richard to comment,
"He goes and outsells me with my song that 1 wrote:' Elvis Presley's first
television appeara nce in January 1956 marks rock and roll's ascension into
the world of pop music.
Identify the question type based on the clue words NOT or EXCEPT.
The words NOT and EXCEPT are always in capital Ietters to emphasize the type of question.
Therefore, if you read the question carefully, you should recognize them easily.
It's important to emphasize the peculiar nature of NOT/EXCEPT questions. The correct
answer is actually not mentioned in the passage, or it is different from what is written
in the passage. As the due words suggest, the correct answer to a NOT/EXCEPT question
is not true in relation to the passage. For example, read the following sample question
based on the passage above:
Which of the following is NOT mentioned in the passage as a factor in the commercial
success of early rock and roll?
- (A) The use of different broadcast media
- (B) The purchasing power of young enthusiasts
- (C) The charismatic personality of dise jockey Alan Freed
- (D) The exposure of a non-African-American audience to African-American musical forms
This question type can be confusing. Thrcc of the four answer choices are accurate
restatements of ideas in the passage.
If you miss or forget the significance of NOT or EXCEPT, you may connect one of these
answer choices with information in the passage and choose that answer,
which would be a mistake. The correct choice is the one that is unmentioned or
Identify a key idea or set of ideas in the question.
The word NOT or EXCEPT identifies the question type, but you must still find dues to the
relevant sentence(s) in the passage.So, as you did for detail questions, you must choose
key ideas (words, a phrase, or a clause) for which you will scan the passage.
For example, the question mentions the key words factor, commercial success,
and early. Rock and roll can't be considered too usefui since it is part of the main topic
of the passage. The term rock and roll is repeated too often,
but the nouns factor and success are far more useful in identifying particular
parts of the passage. However, remember that you must look for the ideas,
not the exact words, since the passage will contain restatements.
Identify a key idea or set of ideas ineach answer choice if the question has none.
As is the case with detail questions, a NOT/EXCEPT question could include no key ideas.
For example, the preceding question could be rewritten as follows:
All of the following are mentioned in the passage EXCEPT
- (A) The use of different broadcast media
- (B) The purchasing power of young enthusiasts
- (C) The charismatic personality of dise jockey Alan Freed
- (D)The exposure of a non-African-American audience to African-American musical forms
As you can see, the question itself gives no clue about what idea(s)
to look for in the passage or where to look. Understandably, this makes the question
more difficult to answer, for you must identify key ideas in each answer choice
and scan for them individually.
Scan the passage for the key idea(s).
First, use your outline or passage map as a guide. Then scan the passage to Iocate the
relevant information based on the key ideas from the question and/or the answer choices.
The following could be a possible outline of the excerpt from the rock and roll passage:
- P1 : rock and roll, popular, combination of styles, influences
- P2: not all, change= Freed R&B to white Americans
- P3: teens, money, stars copied sangs, Elvis on TV = pop music
The necessary information might be located in one paragraph, or it could be located in
several different paragraphs throughout. The outline above indicates that
the information about rock and roll's success is probably in the second and
third paragraphs. If you don't find the information immediately, scan the whole
passage as weil as use your memory of your fust reading to guide you.
Read the relevant sentences dosely
Read the passage dosely, not quickly, when you fmd ideas related to the question.
Don't skim the passage, because you need to pay attention to the particular details
related to identity, place, time, direction, sequence, reason/cause, effect/result,
intention, numher, and so on. Check the information in the passage with each answer choice,
and eliminate any choice that accurately paraphrases the passage.
Choose the answer with missing, altered,or contradictory ideas.
The best choice for NOT/EXCEPT questions is the one that does not support or
reflect information in the passage.The correct choice for this question type resembles
one or severa! of the distracters for fact/detail questions.The correct choice could
rearrange detail (actors, actions, states, abjects, etc) or it could add information
that isn't in the passage or that is the opposite of the information in the passage.
For example, the correct answer to the sample question above is (C). Although Alan Freed
is mentioned, the passage mentions nothing about his personality.
You can recognize NOT/EXCEPT questions based on the clue words and the following forms or
some variation of them:
- Which of the following is NOT mentioned?
- According to paragraph 1, which of the following is NOT true of X1
- All of the following are mentioned in paragraph 1 ...EXCEPT...
- The author makes all of the following statements about... EXCEPT... In Paragraph 2,
- the author mentions all of the following EXCEPT...
Distracters are incorrect answers that appear correct when they are actually incorrect. Each
NOT/EXCEPT question is a multiple-choice question with four choices; only one is correct
and the other three are distracters. Incorrect answer choices for this question accurately
reflect nformation from the passage (remember that the correct choice for this question
does NOT match the information in the passage). Therefore, the only type of distracter
for NOT/EXCEPT questions is a challenging but correct paraphrase of the passage. All good
distracters for this question type try to confuse you by making an answer choice seem like it
doesn"t reflect the passage when it actually does. This is one of the many reasons why careful,
active reading is so vital to the test, especially for NOT/EXCEPT questions.
Answer choice accurately paraphrases the passage, using correct but unmentioned vocabulary.
A paraphrase that uses correct but new vocabulary can be confusing. Choice (B) paraphrases
passage with synonyms that don't resemble the vocabulary in the passage but have the same
meaning. Look at the following restatement of one factor in the success of rock and roll:
||Para phrased Answer Choice
Teenagers, and the money they were
willing to spend on records, provided an impetus for rock and roll.
The purchasing power of young enthusiasts
In this context, the teenagers are not only young but also enthusiasts, or fans,
of rock and roll. Moreover, money is the same as purchasing power since the teenagers
used their money ro purchase records.This example demonstrates the importance of
context to vocabulary and paraphrasing.
Answer choice accurately paraphrases two or more separate ideas together
A NOT/EXCEPT question can involve ideas from throughout a passage, not just from one
sentence or paragraph. This type of distracter can paraphrase these distinct ideas
in one answer choice. The answer choice uses a more general term for these distinct
ideas, which could confuse you since this one general idea is not discussed on its own.
Look at the following paraphrase of two ideas from the rock and roll passage.
Radio and television are mentioned in different parts of the passage, but both are
examples of broadcast media:
||Para phrased Answer Choice
1. Ali that changed, however when, in
1953, Cleveland dise jockey Alan Freed began to play rhythm and blues ta
a largely non-African-American radio audience.
2. Elvis Presley's first television appearance in January 1956 marks rock and
roll's ascension into the world of pop music.
The use of different broadcast media
Now, practice the strategies you've just learned. Read the following passage and answer the
NOT/EXCEPT questions that follow.They are followed by detail questions for you to review
The Electoral College
Among the democracies of the world, the United States is distinguished by the manner
in which its people select the country's head of state. Neither a parliamentary system like
that of the United Kingdom or Japan, nor a system of direct popular vote as in France or
South Korea, the Electoral College used in the United States is complex, anachronistic,
and a handicap to the democratie process. Some people argue that the elimination of
the College is necessary to bring the United States into the world of modern democracy, with
an energetic,involved electorate and presidents who are in touch with the needs and wants
of the citizens who vote for them.
The great complexity of the current system has the unfortunate consequence of blinding most
citizens to its workings.ln effect,the Electoral College makes the presidentialelection into a
two-stage process. Each of the 50 states is allotted a number of electoral votes, which are
used only to elect the president. These votes correspond to the number of that state's
Congressional members: two for each state's two senators,and a variable number for each
state's representatives,for a total of 538. As a result, states with small populations,
like Alaska and Vermont, may have only three or four electors, while large states like
California, Texas, or New York may have dozens. On Election Day, each state holds its own
presidential vote,making the race into 50 little mini-elections. First, within each state,
one presidential candidate wins the popular vote,which is the vote by the citizens.The winner
chosen by the people is usually awarded ali of that state's electors. The ultimate victor is
the candidate who wins the largest number of electoral votes nationwide. Therefore, it's
important for a candidate to win the popular vote in states with the most electoral votes.
Why was such a complex and problematic system ever imposed in the first place? The answer
lies in the origins of the American federalsystem.When the country was established, there
was relatively little sense of national identity. People identified themselves as citizens of
their states first, as Americans second. Each state functioned a lot like an independent
country,and so it made sense to make decisions that affected the entire nation at the state
level . Furthermore, even in its earliest days, the United States was a very large country,
stretching over 1,600 kilometers of coastline. Communication and transportation systems
between disparate parts of the country were extremely poor, and so running campaigns
nationally, rather than on a state-by-state basis, would have been quite difficult. So the
Electoral College was provided as a solution.
But either of these factors is any longer the case. Americans have developed a very
strong sense of national identity and demand to play a direct role in the selection of their
leaders. Mass media and powerful party organizations make national political campaigns
easy to conduct.But there are further problems with the ElectoralCollege system.Because
Presidential candidates know that they only need electoral votes, not popular votes, they
avoid campaigning in small states or states where they know their opponents are lileky to win,
creating a gulf between themselves and a significant fraction of the electorate. Furthermore,
many members of political minorities don't bother to vote at ali, because they know that the
candidate they support won't win in their state anyway.Bath situations have the effect of
reducing citizen representation and form obstacles to a healthy democracy. The final problem
with the electoralsystem is by far the largest one. Because of its "winnertake-all" nature,
the Electoral College can actually elect a candidate who received fewer popular votes than
the opposition, altogether thwarting the purpose of holding an election in the first place.
This unfortunate circumstance has in fact come about severa! times in the nation's history,
most recently in the 2000 election of George W. Bush.
Its original justifications outmoded, its operations inscrutable, and its effects at odds with
the goals of a democracy,the ElectoralCollege is an institution that some wouid like to
abandon. ln its place, the United States should adopt a modern system of electing the president,
one that will promote, not discourage, the full participation of ali citizens.
Such a method will remind our presidential candidates that it is the peoples' voices that matter
(4) Which of the following is NOT mentioned in the passage as being a problem with the
Electoral College system?
- (A) There is a lack of connection between candidates and citizens.
- (B) Many members of political minorities do not vote.
- (C) Presidential candidates don't campaign in small states.
- (D) Larger states have more influence over national policy smaller states.
(5). In Paragraph 3, the author's description of the United States at the time of the nation's founding mentions ali of the following, EXCEPT
- (A)The independence of each state
- (B) The size of the nation's population
- (C) The country's transportation network
- (D) The nation's communication system
(6). The authors makes all the following statements about modern American, EXCEPT
- (A) They ate loyal to their political parties.
- (B) They have a strong sense of national identity.
- (C) They want to be directly involved in choosing their leaders.
- (D) They do not understand how electoral system functions
(7). Which of the following details supports the main ideas
- (A) Each of the 50 states is alloted a number of electoral votes corresponding to the size of
that state's congressional delegation.
- (B) Even in its earliest days, the United States was a very large country, stretching
over 1,600 kilimeters of coastline.
- (C) Because of its "win-take-all" nature, the Electoral College can actually
elect a candidate who received fewer popular votes than the opposition.
- (D) Those who would cling to the Electoral College are motivated by self-interest or by
a misguided sense of tradition.
(8). What does the author state about the Electoral College?
- (A) It retains the support of the major political parties.
- (B) It has been a source of political controversy ince its creation.
- (C) It has been adopted as a baisis for electoral systems in other countries.
- (D) It was created to overcome the difficulties of running a national campaign.
Introduction and example
04 - Vocabulary Questions
Referent questions ask you to identify the correct antecedent of a referent. A referent
is a pronoun, which replaces another word, a phrase, or a clause. A pronoun replaces,
or represents, an antecedent. In the following sentencen the pronoun it
the noun The sun
The sun changes color as itsets
|he, she, we, it, they
his,her, our, its,
his, hers, ours, its,
when, where, that
plural: these, those
few, some,any, ali, most, many, much,
another, the other,
others, few ethers,
others, one, ones,
may also function
On the test, there are at most two referent questions for each passage. It's possible that one passage may
not have one at all, but other passages will. In these questions, the referent is always highlighted
in the passage, and the paragraph is also sometimes identified in the question by a number, so you don't need
toscan the passage.Referent questions are multiplechoice questions. There are four choices,
and you must choose one.
The strategies below explain the structure, information, and steps necessary to answer these questions
correctly. Read the following excerpt on road rage. The excerpt contains a sample referent question
used to explain the strategies for this question type:
According to some accounts, the term rood rage was initially used in London around 1994. The word officially
entered the English vocabulary in 1997,when the Oxford Engilsh Dictionary defined road rage as
"a violent anger caused by the stress and frustration of driving in heavy traffic:
However,according to psychologists,this is not completely accurate. Road rage is certainly an expression of
anger,but it is not caused by stressful traffic alone. When drivers are frustrated in traffic, they can
still decide how they will respond. Road rage comes from a choice to retaliate, and certainly some
drivers in this situation need to learn how to make a more peaceful one.
First, it is clear that road rage has become a serious problem. The American Automobile
Association's Foundation for Traffic Safety reported in 1996 that the average number of violent
incidents had increased 51 percent since 1990. ln 1996, police natlonw\àe reported about 2,000 accidents
in which road rage was cited as a factor. However, many people believe that more incidents of road rage
occur than ever get reported. The problem is being studied by government agencies at many levels,
and a number of states have already considered legislation to help correct it. Many experts feel that,
while some of these remedies may help, reeducation and a change in attitude are also really needed. It
is clear that steps should be taken to find a solution to this escalating problem.
Be familiar with the grammar for pronouns and adjective clauses.
Be aware of how pronouns can and can't be used grammatically in order to guide your
choice of antecedent. Referents follow specifie grammar rules, which can help you choose
the correct antecedent. However, you must always check the meaning as weil as the
grammar since the grammar alone cannot indicate the correct choice.
The chart below includes some, but not all, of the relevant rules:
(referent and antecedent in italics)
1. The form of the personal pronoun
matches the function
|Subject: he,she, it, we, they
Object:him,her,it, us, them Possessive: his, her, its, our, their
Reflexive: himself, herselt, itself, ourselves, themselves
2. It and related forms must refer to a
singular animal, thing, or place,
not a persan.
The bear was shot with a tranquilizer to
remove it safely from the area.
The brochure recommends Vancouver for
The sun can damage the skin most when
it is directly overhead.
3. They and related forms can refer to all
plural nouns (people, things,
The rangers captured the bears to protect
Visitors to Vancouver have many choices
as long as they enjoy the outdoors.
The sun's rays are brightest when they are
|4. A self-reflexive (himself, itself, etc.)
is used when the abject of a verb or
phrase is the same as the subject.
A bear looking for food in the garbage
might attack someone to protect itself
The ranger killed the bear to protect
Due to the harmful UV rays, people
protect themselves in the sun.
Thanks to Vancouver's many attractions,
visitors enjoy themselves immensely
(referent and antecedent in italics)
A relative pronoun has two functions: it
replaces a noun, phrase, or clause, and it is the
The state of Nevada passed an antismoking
last year thot took effect in December 2006.
Studies have shown that secondhand smoke
harms children, whom lawmakers want to proted the most.
Smoking inside public buildings is banned
due to secondhond smoke,
which can harm nonsmokers.
The government argues that public smoking
which many studies
|Who and whom must modify a person
Some people believe that U.S. voters may not
approve of candidates who smoke
Several previous presidents of the U.S., who
were photographed and filmed less
frequently in the past, smoked openly.
Bill Clinton, whom voters elected twice,
smoking cigars occasionally.
3A. When which modifies a noun,
it cannot be a person.
3B. Which can also modify a whole clause
(a subjed and verb)
Many U.S. states have passed lows that ban
smoking in public buildings.
The federal government
refuses to pass national legislation,
which angers some antismoking activists.
That can modify a person, animal, or thing.
U.S. states have passed a law that bans
smoking in public buildings.
Beors that attack are often defending their young.
Some people believe that U.S. voters may not
elect a Presidential candidate that
*A relative pronoun cannot replace/modify a noun on the opposite or far side of a verb.
Some people believe that U.S. voters may not
approve of candidates who
Explanation:Who cannot replace/modify voters
or people because both
words are on the
wrong side of the verb approve. Who can
only replace a noun on the right side of the
This and that alone usually don't replace
a person,only an idea/opinion or entire
These and those can replace any plural
nouns,ideas, opinions, etc.
*All four demonstrative pronouns always
refer backwards;they always
replace preceding words, phrases, or clauses
Governments at many levels have passed
antismoking laws, but this hasn't stopped
some smokers from fighting.
Many famous U.S politicians, such as
Roosevelt, smoked cigarettes, and that
never hurt their careers in the past.
In the 1950s, a majority of American
adults smoked cigarettes, but those were
1. Each, every, few, any, and many must
modify/replace a countable noun:
Each/every + singular noun
Few/many + plural noun
Most members of Congress belong to one
of the two major parties, but eoch can vote
Although members of Congress can cast
votes according to their own beliefs,few
actually oppose the consensus of their
Little and much must modify an
The sun produces huge amounts of
radiation, but little actually reaches the
surface thanks to the ozone layer.
Some, all, and most can replace
countable or uncountable nouns
|Although new legislation affects the lives
of all citizens, only some actually read
4A. Another replaces a singular
, countable noun.
4B. Others/the others, etc replace a plural,
4C. The other replaces a singular,
When your car is stopped by the police,
one officer will approach your car while
another stays farther behind.
22 U.S. states have antismoking legislation
while many others are considering it
The president and vice-president always
fly on separate planes; one carries the
president and the other is reserved for the
Carefully read the sentence with the referent as weil as the surrounding sentences.
Th question specifies a particular referent, which is highlighted in the passage,
and possibly a paragraph as weil. Look at the following sample question related
to the passage on road rage:
Look at the word this in paragraph 1. The word this in the passage refers to
- (A) An expression of anger
- (B) The Oxford English Dictionary
- (C) The first appearance of road rage in London
- (D) The definition of the term road rage
Once you locate the highlighted referent in the passage, read more than just one sentence.
Read also the sentence before and after the sentence containing the highlighted ward. Although
the four choices might not be in all surrounding sentences, you should make sure you understand
the full context, not just one part.
There could be clues to meaning in lht: surrow1ding sentences even if some
choices aren't there, so don't skim the sentences. Students often read too quickly
and carelessly due to nervousness and pressure. Referent questions require careful
attention and analysis. In the excerpt above about road rage, the highlighted pronoun
this is the referent, and you should read at least from the beginning of the previous
sentence (the word officially entered...) J.ntil the end of the next one(...by stressful
Pay attention to the pronoun's number,gender, and type (person or thing).
Since referent questions are multiple-choice, you need to eliminate obviously wrong answers.
The specific qualities of the pronoun are clear indications of which antecedents might be
incorrect. Therefore, identify whether the pronoun is singular or plural, male or female,
and so forth. For example, the pronoun this is singular and probably refers to a noun
thing or idea, not a person, based on the known rules outlined above.
Identify the function of the referent and its immediate context.
You need to know how the pronoun relates toits own sentence.The immediate context
is the tion(s), state(s), and related detail (place, time, reason, contrast, etc.)
within the sentence.
Determine the pronoun's relationship to those ideas. Is the pronoun a subject or abject?
If it is a subject, what is the action or state and what or whom is it affecting?
If it is an object, hat action is it experiencing or receiving? Is the sentence a
continuation of previous ideas (moreover, furthermore) oris it a contradiction
of them (however, although, etc.).
The pronoun this is a subject that is described as inaccurate, so the correct antecedent
must be something that can be inaccurate. Moreover, the inaccuracy is the judgment
or pinion of a specifie group, psychologists. Therefore, the antecedent must be something
that psychologists could discuss or refer to. Finally, the sentence begins with but,
which expresses contrast. The contrasting word fits the negative tone of the adjective
inaccurate and suggests disagreement or debate. All of these details
(inaccurate, psychologists, but) are part of the pronoun's immediate context
and they are important elues to the proper antecedent.
Relate the referent to the broader context.
The broader context refers to the actions, states, actors, abjects, and details
(places, times, reasons, etc.) in the surrounding sentences. Ask yourself,
"What is happening in the sentence before and after the pronoun?" and
"Who or what is causing it?" Determine how the referent affects or is
affected by these ideas around it. For instance, the pronoun this in
the sample question comes after a description of the first use of the term
road rage and a quoted definition from the Oxford English dictionary.
The pronoun comes before a more specifie explanation of what road rage involves.
Therefore, the pronoun this, which is described as inaccurate, comes in between
two sentences that try to define and then redefine road rage.
Use cohesive devices to understand the context accurately.
Cohesion means union or connection, and cohesive deviees are words or phrases that bind,
or connect, ideas together. They help the writer (and reader) move from one set of
ideas to the next. Cohesive deviees include pronouns as weil as other parts of speech,
and they are important for many question types: referent, inference, rhetorical struct ure,
coherence, and paraphrasing questions. The following chart reviews the basic cohesive
deviecs in a reading passage (and a lecture).
The sample referent question above involves a transitional adverb however,
which indicates contrast or opposition.Therefore, the referent is involved in a
contradiction or refutation of an earlier statement.
Example (cohesive device in italics)
, relative, etc.
*See above for a full discussion
of pronouns*Pronouns:persona!, demonstrative, relative, etc.
*See above for a full discussion
Today's teachers are faced with a stark
choice. They must decide whether to
teach in a way that helps students pass
standardized exams or teach in way that
actually helps students learn.
Speaking a foreign language is an
enormous asset in the modern world. This
is why so many junior high and elementary
schools are now offering language classes
Articles: a, an, the, some.
Commonly, a noun is general when it
is first mentioned, and then it becomes
specifie every time it is repeated after.
The use of general and specifie articles is
also combined with repetition or synonyms
Distractions in the typical classroom make
it difficult for many students to focus on
their studies. The distractions that tend to
be universal are desire to socialize with
classmates or to play with toys they have
brought from home.
Transitional phrases/transitional adverbs
Time: then, next, later, finally, etc
Cause: therefore, as a result
Contrast: however, on the ether hand
Definition: that is, in other words
Example: for instance, for example
Peers and older siblings have a major
influence on how schoolchildren behave.
For instance, young children often repeat
bad words they hear from their friends or
brothers and sisters.
Repetition, synonym,or slight variation of
To foster healthy relationships between
children in a classroom, teachers should
provide time for games and fun activities.
Having healthy relationships with their
peers helps children gain confidence
useful in ether parts of their lives.
Before choosing a public or a private
school for their children, parents should
take into account the cast. The priee of a
private school is usunlly much higher than
that of a public school.
Many people feel that money is a
panacea for our educational problems.
Unfortunately,the problems in education
we now face are tao extensive to be
solved by money alone.
Look for an antecedent before the referent inthe same sentence or inthe preceding one.
As the chart above outlines, most antecedents come before the pronoun, so you should
focus your attention on the choices that precede, or come before, the pronoun.
The correct antecedent could be in the same sentence as the pronoun or in the preceding
sentence, but it can't be two or more sentences away. In the excerpt above,
(C) is in the fust sentence, which is two sentences away from the pronoun this.
That means you can eliminate (C), which is too far away.
Look for an antecedent after the pronoun inspecifie cases.
A pronoun may precede the antecedent (a ward, phrase, or clause) when both are in the same
sentence and when the sentence has very specifie structure.
When the sentence begins with an adverb clause, a pronoun
in the adverb clause cru1come before the antecedent in the second, independent clause:
Although it can be hard to explain, raod rage is not hard to recognize.
Since they began keeping records on raod rage, government agencies have seen a
continual rise in the number of cases.
Almost as soon as it was defined, experts began to debate the root causes of road rage.
When he arrived on the scene, the police officer separated the two drivers who were fighting.
Note that the pronoun and antecedent are still in the same sentence in all four examples above.
Antecedents do not normally come in a separate sentence after the pronoun because this
would confuse the reader or listener. In the sample question above, the pronoun this
does not fit the pattern above, so (C) cannot be chosen based on this specific rule.
Use sentence structure to eliminate some choices.
As you can see in the table above, many pronouns can replace only words with specifie types,
gender, number, and so on. For example, this bas two key patterns: First, it can only replace
a preceding noun, phrase, or clause. In other words, this must refer back to something that
comes in an earlier sentence. Therefore, you can eliminate any choices that come after
the pronoun, such as (A) in the sample question. The expression of anger is mentioned in
the following sentence and can't be replaced by this. Moreover, as you learned in
Strategy 6, pronouns very rarely refer back more than one independent sentence,
so any choices such as (C) in the first sentence of the excerpt can be omitted as well,
based on grammar
Replace the referent with each remaining choice and check the meaning.
After you have eliminated as many choices as possible based on number,
gender, and structure, you should place each remaining choice in the same
place as the pronoun and see if the sentence makes sense based on the function of
the pronoun and the surrounding ideas. For example, the only choice that can
correctly be described as inaccurate by psychologists is the definition of
the term road rage, so (D) is correct.Although (A) can be eliminated based on
grammar, it can also be rejected based on meaning.An expression of anger is emotional,
and subjective expressions of emotions cannot be described as inaccurate.
Furthermore, (B) refers to an entire reference book (the Oxford English Dictionary)
that is weil respected and unlikely to be entirely inaccurate. Also, psychologists
can debate the definition of one term that refers to psychological issues,
but they can't have a professional opinion about an entire dictionary. Finally,
(C) can be eliminated based on its distance from the pronoun and also because
there is nothing to suggest that the incident is inaccurately described.
Only the place and time are given, which are not very exact anyways.
A referent question mentions a specifie pronoun in the question and possibly
a particular paragraph as well.
You can recognize a referent question based on the following forms or some variation:
Look at the word X in paragraph...The word X in the passage refers to..
Look at the word X. The word X in the passage refers to which of the following?
A distracter is an incorrect answer that appears correct but is really incorrect.
Each referent question is a multiple-choice question with four choices.
Only one choice is correct, and the other three are distracters. By definition,
a distracter confuses the reader by seeming correct; it is not an answer choice
that is easily avoided or eliminated, so the following strategies don't review
incorrect answers that confuse things and people or that have the wrong gender or number.
For example, the pronoun he cannot replace the noun book, and the pronoun
this cannot replace the noun problems. These errors are clear and don't distract,
Therefore, they need little explanation. Review the following explanations of
the more challenging distracters for referent questions.
Answer choice fits ali the characteristics except the context.
This is certainly the most common type of distracter. All the traits of the choice
are correct: the pronoun and choice match in number, gender, and grammar,
and as noun things or people. Only the meaning of the sentence can tell you
that this choice is incorrect. Of course, this kind of analysis requires a good
vocabulary, which is one of the many reasons tl1at you should read and study a
wide range of topics. For example, the following sentence from the chart above
contains several possible antecedents for the pronoun somee:
Although new legislation affects the lives of all citizens, only some actually
read new laws.
The nouns legislation, lives, and citizens are all possible antecedents for the pronoun
some, which can replace countable nouns (lives and citizens) and uncountable nouns
(legislation ). Since all iliree choices are nouns, they can all be subjects like some.
However, some is the subject of the verb read,so the correct antecedent must
also be able to read. Therefore, only citizens can be the antecedent.
The relationship between the pronoun and the verb is par t of the immediate context,
to which you should always pay close attention.
Answer choice is right next to the pronoun but doesn't fit ilie context and or grammar.
Practice (The Text)
Students often assume incorrectly that the closest possible choice is often the best one.
Although the closest pronounis the correct antecedent in the example for Dist racter 1 above,
this is not always true. Don't assume that proximity matters very rouch. While a pronoun
cannot replace a noun, phrase, or clause that is more than one independent sentence away,
it does not have to be directly next to the antecedent. The antecedent and referent can
be separated by one or more phrases and clauses, depending on the structure and meaning.
Look at the following sentence from the chart above:
The problem is being looked at by government agencies at many levels, and a number
of states have already considered legislation to help correct it.
The nouns problem, number, and legislation are ali singular noun things and
possible wtecedents for the pronoun it. The noun legislation is closest to the pronoun,
but it doesn't B.t the context of the sentence. Based on the infinitive to correct,
the pronoun it must require correction. All three nouns could be corrected in different
circumstances, but there is nothing to indicate that something is wrong with the number
or the legislation.Since the noun problem is a synonym for road rage in this context,
that noun is the best choice.
Now, practice the strategies you've just learned. Read the sample passage below and
then answer the referent questions that follow. Read actively and outline the passage
in brief but organized notes.
Practice (The test)
The earliest bridges were simple bridges-something like a log or plank of wood laid
across a stream-a basic and simple design that has existed since prehistory.What we call
modern bridge technology began with the Romans.
The Romans perfected the art of building arch bridges and built them throughout the Roman
Empire. An arch is the top half of a circle, and the Romans built an arch by piling stones
on top of each other. ln their design, large stone blacks were wedged against each
other in two separate piles. As the two piles got higher, the stones got doser together
until they met to form an arch. The final stone at the highest point of the arch was calied
the keystone, and it locked ali the others in place. lt was a fantastic design, capable
of heavy weights and a great deal of wear and tear.
The Romans built many simple single arch bridges,but they also built bridges that used
an array of arches,and even multitiered arches,which made for much sturdier bridges;
in fact, many Roman bridges still stand today.
In the 12th century, the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire took over the construction and
maintenance of bridges throughout Europe,for they wanted to help Catholic priests move
easily throughout the countryside. ln France, there was even an arder of priests,
the Freres du Pont, devoted entirely to the design and building of bridges.
The French priests adorned their bridges with statues of saints and chapels
that travelers could rest and worship. And these bridge chapels were the precursors of the
tollbooths that collect money on toll bridges even today.
In terms of materials, both the Romans and the 12th century Catholic priests built bridges
out of concrete in addition to using stones. After the 12th century, the technology for
making concrete was gradually lost and most bridges were built with bricks and mortar.
Historians emphasize, however, that many wooden bridges were also built during those years,
as they have been throughout ali periods of bridge construction. The next big revolution
in bridge technology came in the lBth and 19th centuries,with the introduction of iron
and the expansion of the railroads. During the first decades of the 19th century, iron was the bridge
building material of choice; however, these early railroad bridges experienced a number
of spectacular failures, which led to efforts to strengthen them. Complicated
trusses-systems of beams and bars-were used along with iron to provide the additional
strength required for the heavier loads of trains.
By far the biggest revolution in bridge design came in the mid-19th century with the
introduction of steel. By the end of the century, it had pretty much replaced all
other materials as the prime material for bridge building. ln addition,
many bridges were built using complex truss systems, many of them based on the ideas of
Gustav Eiffel-the designer of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. lt is interesting
to note that two of the engineering marvels of the 19th century,
the Eiffel Tower and the Ferris Wheel, were both elaborations orthe truss systems
used in contemporary bridge design. Bridge technology has been instrumental
in pushing engineering as a field.
The last major technological revolution in bridge design was John Roebling's suspension
bridge. On a suspension bridge, the roadway is suspended by cables that are anchored by
towers at either end of the bridge, and with supporting structures for the cables
placed at regular intervals. Roebling pioneered the use of steel in suspension
bridges and developed the technology to make wire cables.
He designed the Brooklyn Bridge, which is a masterpiece of 19th century
suspension bridge design. Truly, there was more development in the technology
and materials of bridge building in the 19th century, than in the previous
two or three thousand years combined.
9. Look at the word others in paragraph 1. The word others in the passage refers to
- (A) heavy weights
- (B) stones
- (C) piles
- (D) Romans
10. Look at the word they in Paragraph 3. The word they in the passage refers to
- (A) wooden bridges
- (B) periods of bridge construction
- (C) years
- (D) historians
11. Look at the word them in Paragraph 3. The word them in the passage refers to
- (A) the first decades
- (B) railroad bridges
- (C) failures
- (D) efforts
12. Look at the word it in Paragraph 4. The word itin the passage refers to
- (A) bridge design
- (B) revolution
- (C) the century
- (D) steel
Introduction et example
05 - Inference Questions
There are three to five vocabulary questions for each reading passage. A vocabulary question tests your
understanding of a particular word. The word could be a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb, and it is
highlighted in the passage, so you don't have to scan or search for it. Vocabulary questions are
multiple-choice, and you must choose the best synonym from a list of four choices.
Vocabulary questions do not test your knowledge of advanced terms or concepts from a specifie field.
Although the word is part of an academie passage, it won't be technical or specialized. Any advanced
term will be referenced in the glossary function, and you can click on it to read the definition.
Of course, the glossary function explains only the specialized terminology, not the highlighted words
in vocabulary questions, so don't rely on the glossary function to answer any question.
The glossary function only provides background for the main idea of the passage. The highlighted
words for vocabulary questions are applicable to a wide range of fields, so they can be familiar to
a general audience at the college or university level.
This question type tests your vocabulary, not your ability to analyze the passage.
Therefore, the passage contains few elues to guide your answer. In fact, the passage may contain more
distracters than accurate clues to the correct choice. The best situation for students is when
they understand the vocabulary word right away, and they can choose the correct synonym without too much
effort. When you are certain of the correct choice, answer the vocabulary question quickly.
This saves time for the more difficult questions, which require you to scan the passage and reread
When you don't recognize the correct synonym immediately, you must analyze the parts of the vocabulary word,
the choices, and the passage. The following strategies explain the kind of information to look for and
analyze when you don't immediately know the correct answer based on your own knowledge. All the strategies
have been explained in a logical order. However, depending on the word, passage, and your own knowledge,
you may need to follow all or on!y some of the following steps. First read theshort excerpt below that
includesa sample vocabulary word; then review the strategies, which refer to the highlighted word in
Walt Disney-Turning Fantasy into Reality
Walt Disney, the man behind one of the most recognized names in the world, was an enterprising dreamer who
visualized whirpsical characters and fanciful worlds, and made them materialize. The creations of the Disney
studios team of artists-particularly Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck-are watched corner of the globe,
delighting children whose parents and grandparents also grew up laughing at their antics. Disney
dreamed of a magical park-a dean, safe, inviting place where children and their parents could enjoy
spending a day together. This dream became a reality with Disneyland.
On July 21, 1954, Disney started building his dream park on 160 acres in Anaheim, California,
not too far from Los Angeles. Disneyland was a new type of amusement park, and because nothing like
it existed anywhere, everything had to be created from scratch. At a cast of $17 million, Disney gave his
park rivers, waterfalls, mountains, a fairy-tale castle, flying elephants,giant tea cups, moon rockets,
and a Mississippi river boat.
The park included five distinct areas. The first was called Main Street, U.S.A., a replica of a small
American town as it would have looked at the beginning of the 20th century. Adventureland,
on the other hand, was meant to conjure up an exotic place far from civilization, while Frontierland
recreated the pioneer days the American West. Fantasyland depicted the world in children's
storybooks-that of Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland.morrowland, as its name
suggests,represented the world of the future, and the scientific and technological wonders to come.
Locate the highlighted word and read itssentence carefully.
Students sometimes don't read the passage carefully because the four choices are not in the passage.
This is a mistake because the passage may contain context elues that can help you eliminate some choices.
Therefore, always find the highlighted word in the passage and read the passage.
Relate the vocabulary word to the surrounding actions, states, and so on. For example,
look at the following sample vocabulary question:
Look at the word antics in paragraph 1. The word antics in the passage is closest in meaning to
- (A) dreams
- (B) toys
- (C) traditions
- (D) behaviors
Identify the part of speech, function, and immediate context of the highlighted word.
All four choices will be the same part of speech as the highlighted word, so the part of speech
alone will not help you eliminate any choices. It will, however, help you better understand how
the word relates to the immediate context, which ineludes the actions,states, and details
(descriptions, explanations,places) in thesentence.If the word is an adjective,
then determine what it is describing.If the word is an adverb, then determine what action, adjective,
or other adverb is being modified. For example, the highlighted word antics is a noun and it
is the abject of the preposition at in the participle phrase laughing at their antics.
The possessive adjective their is an important clue; it connects the noun to people or things
that can explain the meaning of the noun. The possibilities are creations, children, parents,
and grandparents. As you've already learned, determining the correct antecedent is a combination of
meaning and logic. That phrase follows the verb grew up, and the phrase indicates the action
(laughing) that occurred at the same time as the verb (grew up).
Therefore, the subjects of the verb grew up (parents and grandparents) were engaged in an action
(laughing) at or during the same time as the verb grew up. Based on the structure and meaning
of the sentence, the highlighted word antics was the abject, and cause, of this laughter.
Also indicates that the parents and grandparents did the same thing as the children (laughing) and
the similarity between delighting and laughing is another clue that all enjoyed the antics.
Delighting is a participle that refers to an action simultaneous to that of the previous sentence,
whose subject is creations. Moreover, logically parents and grandparents can't grow up while laughing at
the antics of their own children,so the antics must belong to the crea tions.Therefore, the antecedent of
their is the noun creations.
Tone or attitude is an important part of both the immediate and broader context of a word. Try to
determine if the vocabulary word is positive, negative, or neutra} based on the related vocabulary in
the sentence. Based on the vocabulary discussed in the paragraphs above (delighting, laughing, etc.),
antics relates to positive, entertaining, and enjoyable activities.
Look at the broader context.
The broader context includes the surrounding sentences, and their actions, states, and details.
Ask yourself questions such as the following: What is happening in the sentences around the vocabulary
word? Who or what is causing the actions or states? Who or what is affected? How are they affected?
Why? Is the highlighted word affected/modified? For example, the first sentence of the excerpt
contains elues about the creations whose antics are the focus of the vocabulary question.
The first sentence refers to Disney's whimsical characters and fanciful worlds. You can assume that the
noun characters in the first sentence is the same as creations; making something materialize
is similar to creating it. Moreover, the sentence after the highlighted word mentions the safe, dean,
inviting place where Disney's characters materialized. The tonc of the surrounding vocabulary
(safe, dean, enjoy) is positive, which could help you eliminate any answer choices that contradict
this positive tone.
Look for examples and/or definitions.
In your careful reading of the surrounding sentences, look for transitions or clue words of examples
(for example, for instance, such as, particularly, especially). You may be able to use some known
qualities of the examples as dues to the meaning of the vocabulary ward. The excerpt includes two
examples: Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Since the examples are the creations directly related to the
antics in the vocabulary question, they are excellent dues to the meaning of antics if you are familiar
with those two characters. Finally, the vocabulary ward itself will not be defined in the passage,
but other related vocabulary might be defined or explained. Look for verbs of definition
(be, mean, include, involve, refer to, be called, be defined as,
Look for key words of contrast and comparison.
When you relate the vocabulary word to the immediate and broader context of the passage, be careful that you
understand whether the word is similar or different to that context. Pay attention to transitions and any
words that indicate similarity ( match, mirror, reflect, like, similar to, alike, equal to, etc.)
or difference (unlike, different, dissimilar, not alike, oppose/ opposite/opposition, etc.). Moreover,
identify how the vocabulary word is affected by these comparative or contrasting words. You might be able to
better understand the vocabulary word by identifying what it is like or not like, but you must be clear what
the case is. For instance, the excerpt includes the adverb also, which tells you that the action of the
parents and grandparents (grew up) is similar to that of the children.
Use your knowledge of prefixes,suffixes, and roots.
Prefixes, suffiXes, and roots are specifie parts of words, and they can help you understand not only
the vocabulary word and the answer choices, but they could also be usef ul to üllderstanding
the context. The vocabulary word and choices may not be the only unfamiliar words in the passage;
you may have to guess the meaning of a word in the sur roundin g sentences, so it is useful if
you are familiar with all three parts of a word. However, don't look for a synonym with the same prefix,
suffix, or root. Most likely, this is a distracter since most synonyms do not resemble each other.
For example, the verbs destroy a nd ruin a re synonymous, yet neither word resembles the other.
Also, the verbs mislead and misplace both begin with the same prefix (mis), but they have different
meanings: to mislead means to confuse or trick, and to misplace means to lose. Therefore,
you have to use the elues within each word to understand its meaning, but you can't use a similarity
between nvo words to make the right choice (see also Distracters below for more detail on incorrect answers).
A prefix is an addition to the beginning of a word. Most prefixes in English, especially those in scientific
terms, come from Latin a nd ancient Greek. Some common prefixes for verbs include be-(belong), in-(involve),
pro-(promote), and ob-(observe). Unfortunately, not all prefixes clearly indicate the meaning of the word:
Believe and behave both begin with the prefix be-, but the prefix gives little clue to the meaning of either
word. More impo rtant, each word has a different meaning despite the fact that they both have the same
prefix: to believe means to think in a certain way or to accept certain ideas, and to behave means to act
a certain way.
However, some prefixes add a specifie meaning to the word, altering its definition slightly.
These prefixes are more interchangeable, meaning they can be attached to different words, and they carry
their specifie meaning to the new word. The following list ineludes some, but not ali, of these moveable
The chart below lists some of the more common negative prefixes.When added to an action or state, these
prefixes indicate that the opposite or reverse is true.
|Prefixes and meaning
de-: remove,lower, take away
dis-: stop/end, remove
anti-: against, opposed to
mis-: not correct, wrong
untie, undo, unfurl, unwind, etc.
immobile,immature, impatient, etc.
demote, deregulate, defuse, debase, etc.
disuse, discharge, dislodge, disjointed, etc.
antivirus, antidote, etc.
mislead, misinform, miscue, misshapen, etc.
The following prefixes indicate the starting point, direction, or destination of an action or state.
medi-: middle, between
submerge, substrata, subterranean, etc.
The following prefixes indicate when an action or state occurs.
|Prefixes and meaning
medi-: middle, between
predate, prehistoric, prenatal, etc.
reelect, reform, renew, reclaim, etc.
These prefixes indicate the relationship of an action or state with other verbs, or actors, places, etc.
|Prefixes and meaning
among intra-: within, i
nside extra-: outside
interpersonal, intercollegiate, etc.
extracurricular, extraordinary, etc.
These prefixes indicate the severity or degree of an action or state,
or the fact that the action or state is too extreme
|Prefixes and meaning
|out-: perform/be better than others
mega-, super-: be extreme/a
outlast, outperform, outlive, etc.
superheat, ultraviolet, megalomaniac, etc.
A suffix is an addition to the end of a word; the suffix changes a word's part of speech
(noun, verb, adjective, adverb). Like many prefixes, suffixes are found on many different
words. However, unlike some prefiXes, most suffiXes don't indicate very much about the neaning of a word;
suffixes usually indicate word form only. The adjectives courteous and
spontaneous both end in the same suffix (-eous), yet the suffix indicates only the form of
the words (adjective) and nothing about their meaning: courteous means polite and
wellmannered, and spontaneous means unplanned and immediate. The following is a partial
list of the suffixes that suggest some of a word's meaning:
|Suffixes and meaning
-ism: an ideology, a system of beliefs/ideas
-ic,-eur, -er, -or, -eer, -ee, -ist: a person, a
-ology: an academie field of study,the
study of a topic
-graphy: the use of maps, pictures, or
images in the study of something
capitalism, socialism, Taoism, etc.
a mechanic, an entrepreneur, a welder, an editor, an
engineer, an etymologist, etc.
biology, archeology, paleontology,
anthropology, etymology, etc.
oceanography, topography, geography, etc
The root of a word is the part of the word that doesn't change or changes very little when the word
changes form (noun to verb, verb to adverb, etc.), and the root is the most useful part of the word for
guessing its meaning. As you've seen, many words can share a prefiX or suffix, but two unrelated words
rarely share the same root. The root of a word is unique to that word and its related forms.
Because roots change little, they are the most powerful elues to meaning. For example, the verbs edit
and editorialize and nouns edition, editorial, and editor ali have the same root (edit).Of course,
all have slightly different meanings since some refer to actions (edit) while others refer to a person
(editor) or thing (edition). However, as long as you know the meaning of one of the forms, such as the
verb edit (collect, correct, and prepare printed or recorded work for publication), you can make an educated
guess about the meaning of its related forms.
Etymology is the academie study of the origins and evolution of different languages, and etymologists can
trace the roots of English words back in time through European languages (mostly French and German
as well as Spanish and Italian), Latin, aocient Greek, and even further back to the early Indo-European
languages. Because English has absorbed so much from other languages-half of all words in English either
come from French or share a root with a French equivalent-people who speak a language related to English
can guess the meaniog of English words far more easily than people who don't speak one of those languages.
Of course, you cannot and should not try to become an etymologist to prepare for the TOEFL. However,
you should always pay special attention to roots, especially if your native language does not share an
etymological history with English. When you learn a new word, record some of its related word forms, and
identify the root. When you see another word with the same root, use your knowledge of the original word to
guess the meaning of the new one. The Latin word for land or ground is terra.This Latin root eventually
became part of the English words territory, territorial, and terrain. Notice that the root of those
related words is terr, which comes from the Latin.You canuse your knowledge of this root and the prefix sub
(under) to guess the meaning of the adjective subterranean in the following excerpt:
For much of human history, a weil has simply been a deep hole in the ground. The hole must be deep enough
to reach a subterroneon source of fresh water. Often the water was discovered by accident, perhaps while
digging the foundation of a building.
Based on the context (deep hole, digging), the root (terr-) and prefix (sub-), you can make an educated
guess that subterranean means"underground." These strategies are useful even if subterranean is not
the vocabulary word. Correctly understanding that adjective could be necessary for fully understanding
the context and relating it to another word.
Use your imagination when making connections between words with similar parts.
You often need to think creatively to use word elues, such as prefixes, suffixes, and roots. Essentially,
you must recognize a part of the word in the passage ù1at you'vc seen elsewhere in another word in another
context. Theo you have to remember what that previous word means and try to associate part of the other
word's meaning to the new word in the passage. Usually, word elues, such as prefixes, can suggest a similarity
between words, but the similarity is based on an association of ideas in different contexts. For example,
the root audi- is a part of many words related to the production and reception of sound:audio, audit,
auditor, auditory, audition, audience, audible, and auditorium. Like many words in English, these words
have multiple meanings as well (an audit can be a passive observation of a class or an active investigation
of a person or company), but most of their meanings involve sound. If you know that audience refers to a
group of people who listen to a speech or watch a performance, you can use that understanding when you
recognize the same root in one of the other words. However, if you try to guess the meaning of another word,
such as auditorium, based on audience, you can't assume that auditorium refers to people or listening.
You must pay attention to differences of word form (adjective, noun, etc) and use context to determine
related ideas,such as people, places, things, actions, and so on. Moreover, you can always think about other
words that contain similar parts. Auditorium has the same suffix as stadium, which is a very large theater
with spectators on ali sides of a field. The similar suffix is a good clue that auditorium is also a place.
The key difference is that a stadium is a larger theater used for sports events and concerts while an
auditorium is a smaller one used for lectures and plays, and an auditorium hasan audience on only three
sides.of the stage. Of course, students with a broad vocabulary can make more of these connections,
so you should always improve your vocabulary.
Use word dues and context clues to eliminate answer choices.
When you decide which answer choice to select, you must combine your understanding of the context
(actions, states, actors, details, tone, etc.) and the word elues (prefixes, suffixes, roots) with your
knowledge of each answer choice.Ask yourself which answer choice best fits the surrounding context.
Think about the differences between the following qualities: states and actions, visible and invisible
actions, desirable and undesirable events, instantaneous and prolonged actions, spontaneous and
nonspontaneous events, noun things and noun people, abstract and concrete nouns, human traits and animal
traits, adult behavior and childish behavior, and so forth.
For example, (A) in the sample question refers to mental processes, and dreams are not normally shared
by different generations of people. Moreover, since the possessive pronoun their refers to creations, it is
unlikely that children and their parents could laugh at the dreams of other people, especially the dreams
of fictionalized characters. (B) might at first seem correct since children play with toys, but the pronoun
their means that the toys would belong to the creations, not the children. Also, some students might
incorrectly assume that the toys are the creations, but the examples (Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck)
indicate that the characters are the creations, not the toys. Finally, according to the context,
the creations are watched by people all over the world, and the use of toys alone to entertain children
seems very limited and specific, so the choice is unlikely and should be compared carefully against
the others. (C) might seem correct based on the implied history and past time in the surrounding sentences.
According to the sentence, people have been enjoying the antics for generations, and traditions are practices
that have a long history. However, based on the verb laughing, this choice contradiets the overall positive
tone of the passage. Laughing at people's traditions seems cruel and negative. Also, based on the pronoun
their, the traditions would belong to the fictional characters, yet real people normally have traditions.
(D) is the best choice. The creations have entertained people with their funny behavior, and it is acceptable
for people to laugh at this behavior.
Check your final answer by putting it in the original sentence.
Besides your own vocabulary, the sentence in the passage is the best guide to the correct choice. Therefore,
always read the sentence again with your best choice in the place of the highlighted word. Sometimes, you can
only tell if something sounds right by reading it to yourself.
You can identify a vocabulary question based on the identification of a particular word from the passage.
Review the following forms:
- The word X in the passage is closest in meaning to...
- In stating X, the author means that...
Distracters are incorrect answers. There is only one correct choice for a vocabulary question,
so the other three choices are incorrect. However, the three distracters may seem correct
for various reasons. The test writers hope to draw your attention away from the correct choice
through several methods. Review the following explanations of the types of distracters for
Answer choice is a synonym or related word form for a word in the surrounding sentences.
This distracter is basically a restatement of a word or phrase from another part of the sentence.
lt's a difficult distracter for many students because sentences often include paraphrases.
It is commmon for a writer to use a variety of vocabulary in a passage. Therefore, this distracter seems
familiar to many students. Choice (A) from the sample question above is an ex:ample of this type
of distracter. The noun dreams is directly related to the noun persan dreamer from the
first sentence, the verb dreamed from the third sentence, and the noun thing dream in the fourth.
Although passages often inelude this kind of variety in word form, don't assume that the correct
choice should resemble or match any of the restatements.In fact, as you've already seen in detail
questions, incorrect answers often repeat vocabulary from the passage.
Answer choice only appears to fit the context, or the choice fits part of the context.
Practice (The Text)
This incorrect answer choice has some connection to one or more words in the passage, but the connection
doesn't fit ali the vocabulary. (B) is an example of this type. The noun toys seems to fit the context;
children use them, and toys are positive, playful things. However, children play with toys at home
or in kindergarten, but not at a theme park. Also, the possessive their relates toys to the creations,
and it seems unlikeJy that Disney's characters would entertain children with toys in movies or in films.
This type of distracter is one reason why you must think about the context carefully and test each
vocabulary word based on as many associations as possible.
Now, practice the strategies you've just learned along with the general reading strategies.
Read the passage below, and answer the vocabulary questions that follow. Also, you can review pronoun
questions for the same passage.
Practice (The test)
The Processes of Diffusion and Osmosis
Diffusion is defined as a type of transport phenomenon, that is, a means by which matter maves from one
place to another. Diffusion results from the kinetic enerzy of random motion that ali matter possesses.
To visualize how diffusion occurs, consider an dropoer full of red food coloring Squeezed into a large glass
of water. Over time, the food coloring begins to disperse throughthe water, until both liquids are uniformly
mixed and the water becomes slightly tinted. This is because the molecules of the food coloring are in constant
motion, as are the water molecules. Technically, diffusion is the movement from areas of high concentration
to areas of low concentration. ln our example, the food coloring moves from an area of higher concentration
(the food dye in the dropper) to an area of lower concentration (the dye-free glass of water). In this case,
one would say the food coloring has diffused into the water.
For diffusion to occur there needs to be a gradient between two different material fields. ln the example
above, the two fields are the eye dropper and the glass of water. The rate of diffusion from one field to
another is proportional to the difference in concentration of molecules in those fields. So while molecules
move continuously in bath directions, their tendency is to move from the more concentrated to the less
concentrated molecular fields-which explains why the food coloring diffuses into the water, and not the
other way around. ln general, the greater the difference in concentrations between two molecular fields,
the faster the rate of diffusion.
Osmosis is a particular type of diffusion that refers specifically to the movement of water across a
semipermeable membrane. Generally defined, osmosis is simply an operation in which water diffuses through a
membrane to an area with a larger quantity of dissolved substances, or solutes. ln other words, if two solutions
of different concentrations of dissolved materialare separated by a wall that permits the smaller water
molecules to pass through, but keeps out the larger molecules of the dissolved solids,then the water
diffuses across the membrane from the less concentrated to the more concentrated solution. The solution
containmg more solutes has less waler in it, and conversely, the solution with fewer solutes has more water
in it. The water therefore will flow from high concentration to low concentration.
Given two solutions, the one with fewer solutes is said to be "hypotonie," while the one with more
solutes is called "hypertoniv' If an equal quantity of solutes exists on both sides of a membrane,
an isotonic environment results, and no osmosis will occur.
Osmosis is tremendously important in biology,where water is the primary solvent, carrying many kinds of nutrients,
and helping to regulate cells. Plants, for example, absorb water through osmos use most plants are hypertonic
in relation to the sail where they live, water moves automatically from the soi!,through plant cell membranes,
and into the roots. Without this process, plants would be unable to survive. Osmosis is an important process
in humans and animais as well. Small blood vessels calledapillaries wind through our bodies, coming in close
contact with many cells.The exchange of important fluids between the capillaries and cells requires osmosis.
Plasma, which is an important component of blood,is hypertonie compared to the surrounding cells. Therefore,
liquids naturally move towards the capillaries, nourishing the blood in the process.
A process called reverse osmosis is employed by industrial chemists to achieve the purification of water.
Because seawater has a high concentration of salt, it is hypertonie when separated from fresh water by a
thin, semipermeable membrane. The fresh water crosses the membrane to unite with the seawater and become
salt water. Chemists who need to distill seawater into fresh water for drinking or other purposes have
found that by exerting pressure on the seawater, the natural procedure of osmosis is reversed and the
pure water component passes from the salt water into the fresh water, leaving salt behind.
One question regarding osmosis is how cells can withstand the invasion of new water without bursting.
Cells have a built-in security measure called turgor pressure. As new pressure moves into a cell,
turgor pressure increases until it reaches a point whereby it is able to block incoming water and
force it back out. The concept of turgor pressure is what allows industrial chemists to
conduct reverse osmosis.
13. Look at the word kinetic in paragraph l.The word kinetic in the passage is closest in meaning to
- (A) heavy
- (B) inactive
- (C) dynamic
- (D) unpredictable
14. Look at the word specifically in paragraph 3.The word specifically in the passage is closest in meaning to
- (A) usually
- (B) certainly
- (C) accurately
- (D) exclusively
15. Look at the word withstand in paragraph 7. The word withstand in the passage is closest in meaning to
- (A) endure
- (B) oppose
- (C) protect
- (D) compete
16. Look at the word this in paragraph 1. The word this in the passage refers to
- (A) the color of the food coloring
- (B) the constant motion of molecules
- (C) the mixture of the food coloring and water
- (D) the kinetic energy of random motion
17. Look at the word which in paragraph 2. The word which in the passage refers to
- (A) the rate of diffusion
- (B) the tendency of molecules
- (C) the movement in both directions
- (D) the less concentrated molecular field
18. Look at the word where in paragraph 5. The word where in the passage refers to
- (A) water
- (B) biology
- (C) Osmosis
- (D) solvent
Introduction and example
06 - Rhetorical Questions
Inference is a crucial skill for not only reading but also listening, speaking, and writing.
To infer means to understand unwritten or unstated ideas based on logic and detail.
Although an inference is based on written detail, the inference itself is not written or stated in
the passage. Moreover, the key detail could be a number (a date, time, statistic, etc.), any part of
speech (a noun, verb, etc.), a phrase, or a combination of ideas in one or more sentences.
Inference is directly related to implication. To imply means to communicate or suggest unstated
or unwritten information based on logic and stated detail. A writer implies and a reader infers.
Read the following sentence:
Jack Kerouac went to Columbia University on a football scholarship.
In order to recognize the implications of this sentence, you need to understand the noun
scholarship. Along with your reasoning abilities, inference questions require you to apply your
vocabulary skills in context. A scholarship is financial support provided to a gifted student by a school
that hopes the student's performance in sports, the arts, or sciences will benefit
the school. Based on the fact that scholarships are only given to skilled students, you can
infer from the above sentence that Jack Kerouac was both athletic and a good football player.
Otherwise, he could never have gotten a scholarship to play football for a major American school.
At the same time, the writer implies the same facts (athletic, good football player) about
Jack Kerouac by mentioning his football scholarship. Using your logical reasoning
and some detail or combination of details, you can understand something that is unstated,
out implied, in the sentence. Moreover, you can often combine ideas from more than one sentence
in a passage for more complex inferences. However, on the actual test, you don't need to make an
inference on your own since you have four choices.
Inference questions are multiple-choice, and you must choose the correct inference from
a list of four choices. You can identify the correct inference by finding some detail(s)
in the passage that can be used to infer one of the choices. Therefore, in order to answer inference
questions, you must logically connect information in the passage to the correct choice.
The following strategies review the clues to the right information and the kind of analysis
necessary. First, read the excerpt below from a longer passage on a famous American writer.
The passage is referred to in a sample inference question discussed in the strategies:
San Francisco, America's romantic city by the bay, has always been a haven for artists.
One of the great American romantwho wrote in San Francisco was Jack Kerouac.
His autobiographical novels and wayward travels made him the most celebrated member of
Beat Generation. The Beats, or beatniks, were a group of writers and poets from cities across the U.S.,
who shared a love of jau, experimentation, and adventure.
Born on March 12, 1922, in Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouac came from a working-class
family Like many families of that era, his family struggled financially during the Great
Depression of the 1930s. Fortunately, Kerouac attended Columbia University in New York
on a football scholarship, but a leg injury kept him off the field. Intellectually gifted but
undisciplined, Kerouac eventually dropped out of Columbia twice but continued to pursue a career
in writing. Writing in the bars of New York's Lower East and Lower West sides, Kerouac met and worked
with William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, before they ali traveled west and started a literary
and cultural revolution.
Kerouac first landed in San Francisco in 1947. There he joined his soul brother, Neal Cassady, whose
frenetic letters and cross-country travels spurred Jack to write On the Raad, perhaps his preeminent work,
during the month of April 1951. Since the book was written as a simple personal testament
"in search of his writing soul", Kerouac had no idea that it would, a decade later, encourage a generation
onto the highways and into the social activism of the Vietnam era.
Almost overnight Kerouac became a national-even mythical-figure. But in the end he could nôtllve with
the myth he had created.His later years were spent drinking and living with his mother-an ironie tum on the
life of freedom he had written about. When he died in 1969 from complications related to alcoholism, Kerouac
had little money, but his estate is now valued at over $20 million.
Think about possible inferences as you read actively.
Inference is an important part of active reading. When you read actively, you are trying to understand not
only the meaning of the words but also the connections and relationships among t he ideas.
These relationships can imply certain facts, and you can improve your understanding and your score by
inferring those facts. Therefore, inference is a skill that you can exercise, or use, even when you are
reading the passage for the first time. You don't want to read the passage too slowly at first since a close,
careful reading is necessary only once you are answering a specifie question. However, you still want to
think about possible implications or connections among the various ideas as you read.
The sample excerpt above offers many opportunities to infer connections and facts based on the ideas in the
text. For example, look again at the first paragraph. The fust sentence describes San Francisco as a haven,
or safe place, for artists, and then the second sentence mentions that Jack Kerouac wrote there. However,
since artist is a more general noun than writer, you can infer that other artists, such as musicians and
painters, must have been in San Francisco as weil, not just writers. In the third sentence,
Kerouac's writing is described as autobiographical, meaning that it included elements of Kerouac's
life even though the stories were not always about only him. Therefore, when the same sentence also refers
to Kerouac's wayward travels, you can infer that he included at least some traveling in his writing.
If Kerouac included elements of his own life in his work, and he traveled a lot, then logically his work
must discuss traveling to some degree. You can infer this even though it isn't written explicitly in the
sentence. Finally, the last sentence of the introduction describes the common interests of beatniks
(jazz, experimentation, and adventure). Since Kerouac is referred to as a popular member of this group in
the previous sentence, then you can infer that Kerouac also enjoyed jazz, e:x."Perimentation, and adventure.
The use of the verb shared in the last sentence of the introduction clearly supports that fact, and the verb
is a good example of the importance of key words to correct inferences.
You don't need to record all possible inferences in note form. The paragraph above describes the kind of
active thinking you should try to do while you read; it doesn't indicate how ??wh you should write clown.
Remember that your initial notes from your first reading should be a basic outline of the passage:
the main idea (the writer's thesis in the introduction), the key supporting points
(the topic of each body paragraph),and the most important details (dates, names, etc.).
The inferences that you make during your first reading can simply augment, or improve,
your understanding of the passage, and they may eventually help you to answer some questions
quickly or to avoid some distracters. Basically, the more you understand from your reading,
the higher your score.
Identify a key idea or ideas in the question.
Like detail questions, an inference question can include key ideas that you can use to locate the
relevant information in the passage. Some questions might identify a particular paragraph, but not all
questions. Moreover, even if the question specifies a paragraph by n umber with a phrase like in paragraph 2,
the paragraph could be long enough that you must still use the key idea(s) to locate the relevant
information within the paragraph.
It's important to identify key ideas, not specifie words, in the question siuce the question restates
information from the passage. Although some words such as names aren't easily paraphrased, any important
concept from the passage will be restated. Look at the following sam ple Inference question for
the excerpt above:
Which of the following can be inferred about Kerouac's time as a student in New-York?
- (A) He took some of the same classes as William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.
- (B) He probably failed because he spent all his time playing football.
- (C) He could afford university thanks to his athletic abilities.
- (D) He decided to become a writer only after he dropped out of school for the second time.
The key ideas in the question are time, student, and New York. Notice how the nouns time student are not
used in the passage.You have to scan for related ideas, not the exact mrds.New York is repeated from the
passage since place names are not easily paraphrased. should useallkey words together to identify the
necessary information in the passage since New-York is mentioned twice and you must make sure that you focus on the correct time in New York.
Identify a common idea or theme in the answer choices if the question has no clues.
Sometimes, the question does not include any key words. For example, the sample question could be rewritten
as follows: Which of the following can be inferred about Kerouac? the name (Kerouac) is repeated too
often throughout the passage, you can't use it to locate any information. In this case, you have to look
for a set of related ideas, or theme, in the answer choices. The answer choices for the sample question
above all relate to Kerouac's time at university (classes, failed, university, school),
so this should be the idea you scan for.
It is possible that there is little or no common theme in the answer choices. Each answer choice could
relate to a different paragraph in the passage. In this case, you must choose a key idea from each answer
choice, and scan for each one separately.However, most inference questions will specify a paragraph by number,
or contain some key idea(s) in the question or some common theme in the choices.
Scan the passage for the relevant information.
To scan a passage means to look superficially through the passage without reading too closely for
meaning; when you scan, you are trying to recognize related information, and then yo u will stop to read
a particular part more dosely.Scan the passage for words, phrases, or expressions that have a
connection to the key words from the question or theme from the choices.If you made an outline
of the passage during your initial reading of the passage, use it to help you identify a paragraph.
Don't reread the passage while you scan since this could take too much time.Remember that you only
have less than two minutes for each question. Based on the key words in the sample question on
Jack Kerouac, you should focus on the second paragraph of the passage.
Read the relevant sentences carefully; don't skim.
Once you locate the correct part of the passage and/or paragraph, you need to read
the information carefull y. ll's im por tant that you not skim the sentences.
Many distracters, or incorrect answers, are based on one or more repeated words from the passage,
so you may carelessly choose a distracter if you read the passage too
quickly and superficially at this point. Also read more thann just one sentence. Usually, an accurate
inference requires a combination of of ideas, but it's possible that one key word could indicate
the correct answer.
For example, the second paragraph in the sample excerpt begins with a description of Kerouac's
working-class upbringing, which means that his family members worked in trades (plumbing, mechanics. etc.)
or other manual jobs. Although this doesn't imply extreme roverty, it means that his parents
were not office workers or business owner and his family was not wealthy. These facts are emphasized
by the second sentence, which mentions the family's financial trouble, or lack of money and work, during
the Depression.. This inform3tion is important background for the third sentence, which rcfcrs to Kerouac's
scholarshin to Columbia University.
Use cohesive devices to connect ideas.
Cohesive devices are methods of showing meaningful connections between words, clauses, sentences,
or paragraphs. These deviecs include pronouns (he,she, this, that, etc.), adjectives, adverbs, articles,
transitions (however, therefore, etc.), repetition and varied word forms. In
excerpt on Kerouac , there were many useful Cohesive devices, and the adverb (fortunalely) is
durectly related to inference question. In the context of the passage, the adverb suggests not only
a positive outcome, or result, but also a luckv result. The difficulties mentioned in the previous sentence
imply that the scholarship helped him avoid a negative or worse outcome (not going to university).
Check each answer choice against the passage, and choose the most logical answer.
Once you have a clear understanding of the ideas in the relevant sentences and their relationship
to each other, check to see which answer choice is the most logical. Think about facts that are associated,
or related, to the words in the passage but are unmentioned, such as the facts related to working class
(physicallabor, not wealthy), struggled financially (little money or savings), and fortunately
(avoided a negative future). Based on these elues, (C) is the most logical answer to the sample question.
Inference questions can be stated in a variety of forms. An inference question can be active or passive,
and it may or may not specify a paragraph by number. Review the following forms for inference questions:
- The author implies that...
- What can be inferred about X ?
- What does the author suggest about X?
- Which of the following can be i nferred a bout X?
- According to paragraph #, which of the following can be inferred about X?
- Based on the information in paragraph #, the author implies that...
Each inference question has four answer choices.Only one choice is correct,so the other three choices are distracters, or incorrect choices. A distracter is an incorrect answer that appears, or looks, correct. In order to make the question more difficult, many incorrect answers on the TOEFL seem connected to the passage through a variety of tricks, or distractions. Like the distracters for many other question types, the distracters for inference questions often repeat vocabulary from the passage, and distort it. The following explanations review these distractions.
Answer choice repeats vocabulary, but alters it or adds incorrect information.
Don't choose an answer simply because it indudes vocabulary from the passage. Always check the ideas in the
choice (actors, actions, states, reasons, etc.) with t hose in the passage. Often, an incorrect choice adds
illogical or impossible ideas to familia r ones, or the choice d istorts, or alters, the repeated ideas
incorrectly. The distortion might involve an incorrect sequence, cause, effect, time, place, and so on. I
f you read the passage too quickly and carelessly, you might be fooled by the repetition. (A) and (D) are
examples of this type of distracter.
In ( A) the names William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg are repeated from the passage, but it is
unlikely that either man attended classes with Jack Kerouac. In the passage, the two names don't
appear in connection with Kerouac's time at university. Instead, they are connected to the bars in New York.
Based on the participle phrase writing in the bars, the passage clearly states that Kerouac met Burroughs
and Ginsberg in or a round the bars, not in class at Colun1bia.
In (D), the answer choice repeats the verb phrase dropped out of school, but it rearranges the arder of
the ideas. The answer choice states that Kerouac's decision to be a writer came after he left school, but
the passage implies that Kerouac's choice predated, or came before, his decision to leave school based
on the verb continued.Also, (D) uses the adverb only, and you should be careful about choices that
use overly certain or definitive language (see Distracter 2 below).
Answer choice alters the scope, degree,or certainty of the ideasin the passage.
This type of distracter is related to Distracter 1above since the distracter alters the ideas.
However, it alters the details by making them too specifie, tao general, less certain, too certain,
too weak, or too extreme. The specificity of an idea is the degree that it is specifie to a particular type,
group, persan, time, place, etc. For example, the sample excerpt states that Kerouac was a celebrated,
or praised, person, but the passage specifies that he was the most highly regarded member of the Beat
Generation of writers, who worked during a particular period of time ( middle of the 20th century).
This kind of distracter might incorreclyy state that KerorJ< was the most celebrated American artist
of the 20th century. This broadens the score of the original statement in the passage by comparing
Kerouac to too many other artists (all other americans in his century), and the writer never makes
or implies that kind of comparison.
This type of distracter might also distort the details of Kerouac's sports injury. According to the passage.
Kerouac was injured in the leg and couldn't continue playing football. This type of distracter could state
inaccurately that Kerouac was almost killed on the football field. Altough the injury was serious
(it ended his football career), it was not life threatening (one cannot be killed hy a leg injury
that is uninfected and properly treated).
Answer choice is plausible inference in another context.
This is a difficult distracter because it seems logical or likely, but it still doesn't match the
details in the . (B) is a good example of this kind of distracter. It seems possible that a football piayer
could focus too much on his sport and neglect his studies. In fact, this is a cmnmon problem
among good and even below average athletes. Howewcr, nothing in the passage supports this ideas . In fact,
the passage contradicts that choice based on the fact on the fact Kerouac had to stop playing football due
to an injury.
Now, practice the strategies you've just learned. Read actively, think about the main idea and purpose,
record the key points in an outline ol the passage, and dont read too slowly right away.
Practice (The test)
The olympic Effect.
Since their beginning in 1896, the modern Olympic Games have been the gold standard of athletic prowess. Olympic
competitors are the best in the world, and no trophy compares with an Olympic gold medal. Increasingly, however,
the athletic competitions have been matched, if not overshadowed by the fierce compitetions between cities and nations
wing to host the Olympics. The amount of money and prestige at stake is so great that the phenomenon has been given a
name : the Olympic effect. Although it is primarily an economic force capable of affecting the business climate of the host community for years before, during and after the games, the Olympic effect can also exert a powerful influence on the environment and society of the host community.
The economic impact of the Olympic Games is complex. Preparation for the games usually, generates vast investments, not
only in the stadiums, tracks and other sports venues, but also in local highways, hotels and airports. Thousand of
jobs are created and billions of dollars are spent : Australia spent $2.1 billion dollars for the Sydney Games in 2000,
and Greece spent at least $11 billion dollars only four years later. Long-term effects are generally positive,
as the Games tend to improve the international image of the host city while tourism is generally thought to
increase during the events, the region hosting the Games may actually experience a drop in tourism and retail
income, as people avoid the crowd, traffic, and price hikes, they expect to find. Some Utah ski resort
operators experienced a twenty-thirty percent drop in visitors during the Salt Lake city Games.
The environmental repercussions of the olypmpic effect are also mixed. On the one hand, in the years
follow1ng the Sydney Games, also known as the Green Games, participating communities developed
recycling programs, emphasized renewabte energy sources, and built or extended mass transit systems.
Salt Lake City, for instance, built a 21-kilometer TRAX light rail system. Some, like Sydney and
Beijing (2008), have also made notable efforts to clean up municipal environment. Sydney actually built
most of its olympic venue over reclaimed toxic waste dump that had once blighted the city.
To clear its polluted air, Beijing has converted much of its energy production from coal to natural gas, and
implemented new smokestack and vehicle emissions guidelines. Medical researchers estimate that the benefit
to Beijing residents' health will amount to many billions of dollars over the coming decades. On the other hand,
the Games creates consumption of fossil fuels and strain the waste disposal systems.
The Winter Games in particular often result in accelerate devolopment of important wildlife habitats.
Social aspects of the Olympic effect are varied and include a growth in civic pride. But the biggest social
impact of the Olympie effect is a predictable one: a sharp growth in public interest in those sports highlighted
during recent Games. ln the United States,this can best be seen in the ice sports. The figure skating drama
between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding in 1994 played a part in piquing interest, as did the gold medal of
Tara Lipinski in 1998. American successes in speed skating and hockey have also inspired interest.
The result has been a 50 percent increase in the number of ice arenas in the United States in the last 15 years.
Dallas, Texas, built eight between 2000 and 2002 alone. Related sports such as speed skating, hockey, and even
curling have seen a tremendous growth in interest. Even southern cities like Tampa Bay, Florida, and Atlanta,
Georgia, now have hockey teams.
When the modern Olympic Games were first held in 1896, they were conceived as a celebration of the human body
and the human spirit. This has not changed. But now the Games are something more. They profoundly shape the
lives of people who never set foot inside the arenas. They are the paramount international pageant,
turning the spotlight on cities, nations, and people, prompting them to find the best in themselves and hold
it up for all to see.
19. The author implies that the Sydney Games
- (A) Led to the discovery of a toxic waste dump
- (B) Caused a great deal of environmental damage
- (C) Led to an increase in environmental programs
- (D) Cost less to host than most other Olympie Games
20. Based on the information in paragraph 4, what can be inferred about ice sports?
- (A) Americans have greater success in playing ice hockey than they did 15 years ago.
- (B) Figure skating has always been a very dramatic sport.
- (C) It is surprising that the southern states are now interested in ice sports.
- (D) Tampa Bay, Fiorida, and Atlanta, Georgia, have grown because of ice hockey.
21. Based on the information in paragraph 2, what can be inferred about the Olympie Games?
- (A) The economie effects of the Olympie Games are unpredictable.
- (B) The costs of hosting the Olympie Games increase every four years.
- (C) The Olympic Games always have a long-term positive effect on tourism.
- (D) Most cities find their investment in the Olympie Games to be worthwhile.
Introduction and example
07 - Coherence Questions
Rhetorical structure refers to the ways that a writer supports the key points in a passage.
A writer supports the key points in a passage with detail:examples, description, definition,and
explanation. Rhetorical structure questions ask about the ki.nd of detail in a passage and its purpose
or function. In order to answer this type of question,you must recognize what kind of detail
is used in the passage (description, explanation, etc.) and how the detail is used
(to describe X, to define Y, to emphasize Z, etc.). Moreover, you must identify the point(s)
supported by the detail (X, Y, Z in the previous sentence).
Rhetorical structure questions are multiple-choice questions. Only one answer choice is correct,
and the other three choices are incorrect answers, or distracters.Moreover, there are two for
ms of rhetorical structure question. Both types discuss the same concept (rhetorical srructure),
but each one asks about it in a different way.
|Rhetorical Structure Question: Types
The first type of rhetorical structure
question identifies a particular idea or set
ideas, and asks about its purpose
Why does the writer mention Y:?
to define A
to give an example of B
to emphasize C
to illustrate D
| Type 2 :
The second type of rhetorical structure
question mentions a rhetorical structure,
and asks how the writer achieves or
|How does the writer explain A?
by mentioning X
by comparing X and Y
by referring to Z
Although there are two types of rhetorical structure question, both involve the same kind of
information in the passage. Therefore, both types are discussed together. The strategies for
type and type 2 are very similar, so the following strategies discuss an example of each type.
First, read the following excerpt that is used in the explanation of the strategies for rhetorical
Orangutans, found in the rain forests of Sumatra and Borneo, differ from other specei s of great apes in
several important ways. Though their intelligence and relatively long lifespan are traits shared by the
other great primates, the social behavior and general lifestyle of orangutans are quite different.
The other two groups of great apes, chimpanzees and gorillas, live in mixed social groups consisting of
one alpha male, a group of females, and children of varying levels of maturity. Orangutans, on the other
hand, live semisolitary existences. That is to say,male orangutans live alone most of the time,
occupying and defending their territory and the females who live there. Though females residing within
the boundaries of one male orangutan's domain belong to him, they do not live with him. Their only
intimate contact occurs during weeklong periods of fertility every few years, between pregnancies.
Once a female is pregnant, she takes care of herselt and eventually raises her baby completely alone.
Even when severa! adult females and their babies group around the same fruit tree-a rare but possible
event- they do not fight or share as other primate groups would, but instead, ignore each other entirely.
Like most primates, orangutans are comfortable in the trees. However, only orangutans live there
almost constantly since they are physically more adapted to a life of swinging and hanging from
trees than chimpanzees or gorillas. For instance, their arms are extremely long and muscular compared
to their legs. Furthermore,their joints,especially the joints of their knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders,
are incredibly mobile. Finally, when orangutans walk on their hands and feet, they use the outside
edges, rather than their palms or soles. Thus, they can eat, sleep, and play in the trees,
only climbing down to find sticks and branches to build their nighttime nests.
Be familiar with the types of detail and rhetorical structure.
Rhetorical structure questions ask about the various ways that detail can be used to support
key points in a passage. Therefore, you should be aware of the various types of detail,
and how that detail can be used. Although each type of detail is discussed separately below,
many details are mixed in a reading passage (and a lecture).In other words, one type of detail,
such as explanation, can also involve any other type, such as examples or comparison.
|Type of Detail
||Examples from the Sample Passage
A description is a very broad category of
detail that gives the characteristics of
the topic. Descriptive detail can be any part of
speech, and it helps the reader imagine the
topic by referring to appearance, smell,touch,
taste, emotions, personality, attitude, manner,
speed, quality, condition, degree, frequency,
cost, origin, material, time, place, sequence,
Orangutans, found in the rain forests of
Sumatra and Bornee... (location)
The other two groups of great apes,
chimpanzees and gorillas,...(name)
Their only intimate contact occurs during
weeklong periods of fertility every few
...a rare but possible event...(frequency)
...their arms are extremely long and muscular
compared to their legs. (appearance)
...when they walk on their hands and feet,
they use the outside edges...(manner)
A definition is a specifie type of description.
A definition gives the meaning of a term or
the characteristics that make the term unique.
Definitions give essential or distinguishing
That is to say, male orangutans live alone
most of the time...
(a definition of semi-solitary)
Both comparison and contrast are also types
of description. A comparison is a description
of similarities, and a contrast is a description
Orangutans... differ from ether species
of great apes in severa! import-ant ways.
Like most primates, orangutans are
comfortable in the trees. However, only
orangutans live there almost constantly...
(comparison followed by contrast)
An example is a specific term from a more
general category or type. Possible examples
incclude various nouns, statistics,anecdotes,
or imaginary situations. If the topic is disease,
AIDS and tuberculosis are examples of
a communicable desease while cancer
and Alzheimer s are examples of a non
For instance, their arms are extremely
long and muscular compared to their legs.
Furthermore, their joints, especially the joints
of their knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders,
are incredibly mobile. (examples of physical
...several adult females and their babies
group around the same fruit tree-a rare but
possible event... (a hypothetical, or imaginary,
example of a meeting of orangutans)
An Explanation gives the reason(s) for the
ideas in the passage. An explanation may
involve cause and effect logic,intentions,
purposess, goals, desires, or any ether type of
detail (sequence,time, examples, etc.).
Finally, when orangutans walk on their hands
and feet, they use the outside edges, rather
than their palms or soles. Thus, they can eat,
sleep, and play in the trees...(description of
manner + thus + result)
Rhetorical structure is the use of detail to support the key points in the passage.
However, th ere are specifie types, or methods, of support, and you need to be
familiar with them. Since rhetorical structure expresses a writer's purpose
in using detail, the various types are usually expressed as infinitives. Some
rhetorical structures are simply the infinitive form of the nouns above since each
type of detaü has a related purpose in the passage (a description
= to describe, a definition = to define, an explanation = to explain, etc.),
but there are other types since there is more than one use for some detail.
|To illustrate/to demonstrate
An illustration is literally a pidure or drawing, but a writer uses words
instead of images; a writer illustrates an idea by using concrete
examples that help the reader imagine, or pidure, it. Likewise, a
demonstration is a performance, but a writer can demonstrate an idea
by using concrete details that show how the topic operates or is used
in a pradical situation. Detailed descriptions, anecdotes, and imaginary
scenarios are commonly used in bath illustrations and demonstrations.
A clarification is an attempt to avoid confusion. A writer clarifies
an idea by explaining a point that could be misunderstood or
misinterpreted. Definitions, detailed descriptions, and comparisons
are often used to clarify ideas.
To distinguish/to differentiate
This is very similar to a clarification because a difference is made
clearer. However, a clarification doesn't have to contrast two topics, but
a writer contrasts two tapies when distinguishing them in a passage.
Contrast, definitions, and explanations are often used by writers to
To expand/to elaborate
A writer elaborates by adding more details.
Description and examples
are most often used to expand a topic.
A writer emphasizes an idea by elaborating and adding detail related
to a specifie asped or quality of the topic. Usually, one or more details
are repeated in the elaboration of the idea. Detailed description,
definition, and examples are commonly used to emphasize an idea as
well as key words, such as just, even, so, and only.
Proof is conclusive or convincing support for an argument Usually,the
topic is debatable or controversial, and the writer wants to convince
the reader with details that are difficult or impossible to reject.
Accepted facts and data,usually from real experiments or scientific
studies, are the most common ways to prove something.
A refutation is an argument against an opposing plan,opinion or point
of view. A writer can mention an opponent's argument and then explain
a flaw or weakness in that position. Logical explanation is essential for a
refutation as weil as concrete examples and possibly definitions.
Identify a key idea in the question.
For both types 1 and 2, you can use a key idea from the question to help you locate
the relevant information in the passage. Sometimes, the question specifie
a particular paragraph by number, but not always. Also, even if a particular paragraph is identifi.ed, the paragraph
could be so long that you will still need the key idea to focus on the right part of the paragraph. As always, your
outline of the passage can also help you find the right information.
You need to identify key ideas, not words, since they could be paraphrased from the passage
rather than copied or quoted. Of course, some words could be repeated, such as the specics
name orangutans, but not all the words will be copied.
Look at the sample questions below about the rhetorical structure in the excerpt about orangutans:
Why does the writer mention an infrequent gathering of orangutans at a food source?
- (A) To emphasize their lack of social interaction
- (B) To define the meaning of semi-solitary
- (C) To emphasize that they eat only fruit
- (D) To describe the difficulty of finding food in the jungle
How does the writer explain why orangutans can live mostly above the ground?
- (A) By pointing out that orangutans can't walk on their hands and feet properly
- (B) By mentioning their fear of predators
- (C) By referring to their search for sticks and branches
- (D) By giving examples of their physical adaptations
The key ideas in type 1 are infrequent,gathering, and food source.The key ideas in type 2 are the words explain,
why, can live,and above the ground. The key ideas for both question types may provide elues to the type of detail
(explain and why = explanation/reason) and clues to the specifie supporting points (infrequent gathering,
live mostly above ground). Also, notice mat the noun orangutans is not a useful word since it is repeated
too often throughout the passage.
Scan the passage for the key ideas.
Use the key ideas from the question to locate the relevant information in the passage.
This is very similar to the procedure for Detail questions, NOT/EXCEPT questions, and inference
questions. Remember to look for restatements as weil as repetition. The key words from
the fust question (type 1) above should lead you to the discussion of the fruit tree at
the end of the second paragraph based on the words group, rare, and fruit tree in the passage.
The key words from the second question (type 2) should take you to the third paragraph
based on the vocabulary in the first two sentences (in the trees and only orangutans
live there almost constantly).
Read the surrounding sentences carefully,and analyze the rhetorical structure.
Don't skim the passage since you need to think about how the detail supports the point(s)
in the passage. Read the sentences closely and use the cohesive deviees to understand
the sequence of ideas. Cohesive deviees are ways to relate and connect ideas within the same
sentence, in different sentences, or in different paragraphs. They include pronouns, articles,
adjectives, conjunctions, and transitions. For example, paragraph 3 includes the transitions
for instance (examples) ,furthermore (continuation/similarity), and thus (effect/result).
These can help you identify how the detail is used and what the detail supports. The correct answer
for the second question above (type 2) is (D).
Be prepared to infer rhetorical structure based on sequence and meaning.
You can't always rely on cohesive devices to indicate how ideas relate to each other.
Writers often imply the connection between ideas based on their sequence and the vocabulary.
In order to make the necessary inferences, you need to think about paragraph organization and
the sequence of ideas. A paragraph is organized around a unique supporting point, mentioned
in the topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph. Ali the detail in the paragraph
supports that unique topic. Moreover, the details usually follow a logical sequence in most paragraphs:
general to specific, problem to solution, cause to effect.
For instance, at the end of the second paragraph, the reference to a group of orangutans a round a fruit tree is not
preceded or followed by any useful cohesive deviees. However, all the detail supports the semisolitary lifestyle of
orangutans: the brief meeting during fertility, the unsupported pregnancy and the raising of babies alone,
and the meeting at the fruit tree. Therefore, there is a continuation and repetition of a theme: orangutans live
in social isolation. This repetition and its relationship to the topic of the paragraph should tell you that
choice (A) is the correct answer to the first question (type 1).
You can recognize both types of rhetorical structure questions based on the following forms or some variation:
How does the author illustrate/explain/define...
Why does the author mention/refer to X
The author uses X as an example of...
The author discusses X in paragraph 1 in order to...
ln Paragraph 2, the author discusses X in arder to...
In Paragraph 3, why does the author state that X...
Rhetorical structure questions are multiple-choice questions. Only one answer is correct,
and the other three choices are distracters, or incorrect answers. You should review
the types of distracters for rhetorical structure questions (and ali question types)
because distracters are wrong answers that can seem correct. The correct answer is never obvious
due to the kind of distractions that are included in the choices. Therefore, review the different types
of distracters for rhetorical structure questions.
Answer choice refers to a rhetorical structure from another part of the passage.
Always make sure that a rhetorical structure (definition, explanation, examples, etc.) relates to the
key ideas in the question. It's possible that an incorrect choice could refer to a something from the
passage but unrelated to the question. (B) in the first sample question (type 1) is an example of this type.
The definition of the adjective semisolitary occurs at Lhe beginning of the paragraph. Although the definition
relates to the same paragraph topic as the description of the tree, the meeting at the tree emphasizes the
idea of a solitary lifestyle by showing how little the orangutans interact when they eat together. This doesn't
define the meaning of isolation.
Answer choice is the correct rhetorical function but refers to unmentioned or unrelated ideas.
This type of distracter includes the correct rhetorical structure (to define, to explain, etc.),
but the object of the infinitive is not in the passage or it's from another part of the passage.
(C) and (D) from the fust sampie question (type l) are examples of this type of distracter.
Answer choice distorts,or alters,information from the passage.
You must be careful about relying on key words alone because these words can be changed
or altered slightly. Always read entire sentences carefully and make sure you understand
the meaning of the whole sentence, not just one or two words. For instance, (A) from the second sample
question (type 2) is an example of this type of distracter. The writer mentions the bands and feet of
orangutans, but the writer does mention or imply that orangutans use them incorrectly. Orangutans use their
bands and feet differently, but nothing is said about the right or best method. This choice adds unmentioned
ideas and manipulates the information from the passage incorrectly. (C) from the same question is also
an example of a distortion of the ideas in the passage.
Answer choice refers to a plausible but unmentioned idea.
Practice (The text)
You should always check your answer with the passage because some answers might seem possible,
but they are based on assomptionsor inferences that are unsupported by the passage. For example,
(B) in the second sample question refers to a possible reason that animais might live in the trees (the avoidance of predators), but this reason is never
mentioned or suggested by any details in the passage. Therefore, never assume
that something is true without checking the passage.
Now, practice the strategies you've just learned along with the general reading strategies. Read the passage below,
and answer the vocabulary questions that follow. Also, you can review inference questions for the same passage.
Practice (The test)
Trains and Automobiles
Though trains saw widespread use over the course of the 19th century, the last hundred years have
seen nothing but a decline in the use of railroads in the United States and a rapid growth in American
car culture. While trains have begun recently to attract a little more interest from urban planners,
there is no sign at ali that the general public shares that interest. What accOunts for this progressive
loss of interest in train travel? What could have made Americans become so enamored of their cars?
Efficiency alone cannot be the answer we are looking for. Both automobiles and trains consume similar
amounts of energy. The average car gets about 13 passenger-kilometers per liter of fuel, no improvement
at all over trains, though if trains are forced to run with few passengers, they can actually be much
less efficient than cars. Consequently, if one's objective is to conserve energy, neither mode of transportation
offers any advantage, with one exception : interurban light rail an subways are about 25 percent more
fuel efficient than cars.
Both rail and automobile transportation depend on expensive infrastructure; highway construction in the United
States averages severa! million dollars per kilometer,and can easily go much higher. Railroads are almost
as expensive to build and railroad operators must also pay to maintain their locomotives and rolling stock.
Therefore, there does not seem to be a particular advantage in either fuel efficiency or cost of construction
and maintenance associated with either automobiles or trains.
On the other hand, trains hold very real advantages in safety. In the United States alone, more than 40,000
people die every year in car accidents, and hundreds of thousands more suffer personal and financial injury.
By contrast, rail fatalities seldom number more than a few hundred per year worldwide. On a train, one need never
worry whether the approaching driver is intoxicated or distracted by his cellular phone, nor does one need
to worry about falling asleep at the wheel, striking a crossing the road, or any of the other
myriad hazards that face automobile drivers on a daily basis. One would think such a safety record would attract more
enthusiasm from potential passengers.
In addition to safety, with the exception of scheduling, riding a train generally offers far more peace
of mind than relying on a car. Once on board the train, the passenger can read a newspaper,
prepare for work, or simply relax and admire the scenery passing by. Driving, on the other hand,
requires the patience to endure traffic jams and the rude person behind who drives with his horn.
Then there is the maintenance, insurance, and perhaps a monthly bill the car owner has to pay.
Nevertheless, cars do offer a real advantage in versatility. ft is never necessary to wait for
the car-it's ready when its driver is, and is never behind schedule. Plus, there's plenty of
room in the trunk for carrying groceries or skis. And a car can go ali those places where no
rail lines have been built. Additionally, cars can be customized and infinitely varied to
suit any kind of need or taste.
However, even versatility is probably not the best answer. The truth lies in the way Americans the car.
For every teenager, getting his or her drivers license is a rite of passage. Teenagers often consider
themselves to be adults once they can drive. ln tact, Americans have a whole body of popular culture,
from dating to work to weekend vacations, built around the car-and nowhere does the train put in an
appearance. Americans find the tangible, versatile car to be a marker of self-identity in a way that
trains could never be.
No matter how efficient they are, how safe, or how inexpensive, trains cannot offer the thrill and
empowerment provided by the automobile. No teenager dreams about cruising to pick up his or her
date on the train. No businessperson wants to spend money on train tickets-he or she wants the prestige
of a showy new sports car. The parent with children doesn't want to take the train either.
He or she must make frequent trips to soccer practice, ballet lessons, and scout meetings and
a car is the most efficient way to do so. Until cars become so expensive to purchase and operate that they
are out of reach of most people, trains and other forms of transportation will always take
a back seat to the automobile.
22. Why does the author mention interurban light rail in paragraph 2?
- (A) To argue that trains are superior to cars
- (B) To highlight an exception to his main point
- (C) To urge action on the part of urban planners
- (D) To highlight a modern advance in train technology
23. How does the author describe the public's declining interest in trains?
- (A) By making an analogy
- (B) By citing the results of a study
- (C) By investigating possible causes
- (D) By providing a historical narrative
24. In paragraph 4, the author describes the relative safety of trains by
- (A) Comparing riding on trains to operating a cellular phone
- (B) Describing common argunents used by train passengers
- (C) Listing automobile hazards that are not experienced on trains
- (D) Arguing that train operators are more responsible than car drivers
25. What does the author suggest about the public's declining interest in trains?
- (A) It was never shared by urban planners.
- (B) It occurred quickly after the car was invented.
- (C) It happened slow!y over the course of the century.
- (D) lt was due to the inefficiencies of rail transportation.
26. It can be inferred from the information in paragraph 3 that railroads
- (A) Are slightly Jess expensive to build than highways
- (B) Were most popular in the U.S.in the past 100 years
- (C) Never bad the same level of public interest as cars
- (D) Are more Iikely to be fuel-efficient than automobiles
Introduction and example
08 - Paraphrasing Questions
A coherence question asks you to insert a new sentence into the passage. You have a choice of four
possible locations indicated in the passage by four symbols:[carré noirl. When you click on one of the
symbols with your mouse, the computer inserts the new sentence at that location. You don't need to drag
and drop the sentence with your mouse, and you can only click on one symbol at a time.
Clicking on a new symbol moves the sentence to the corresponding location.
The strategies for this question type involve many of the strategies from earlier questions
in this section; referents, vocabulary, inference, and rhetorical structure areallinvolved in this question type.
As you review the strategies for coherence questions, you may find it necessary to review the
strategies for some of the related questions. First, read the following short excerpt from a passage on
Esperanto. The excerpt is used in the explanation of a sample coherence question.
The Universal Language of Esperanto
An artificial language, sometimes calied a universal language,is an invented symbolic system intended to
transcend foreign-language barriers so that people from diverse linguistic backgrounds can communicate
easily among themselves. [Il] An example of such a language is Esperanto, invented by a Polish
ophthalmologist named Ludwig L. Zamenhof. . Now the best known of all artificial languages, Esperanto was
first published in Russian in 1887 under the title Mezhdunarodny yazyk, which means "an international
language:  Dr. Zamenhof used the pseudonym "Doktoro Esperanto" in order to disguise his identity as
the author and originally calied his invented language "Lingvo lnternacia:' ?? However, the name "Esperanto,"
which translates as "hopeful," quickly caught on and eventually became the official name instead.
Esperanto was constructed rationaliy, with one main principle in mind that it should above all else be
easy to learn. As a result,the vocabulary, structure, spelling, and pronunciation of the language are much
simpler than in most languages that have developed naturaliy. For example, there are only about 15,000
roots in Esperanto, derived mainly from Latin, Greek, Romance languages,and Germanie languages but these
can be arranged in various combinations to produce a much larger vocabulary.
Esperanto also makes extensive use of prefixes, suffixes, and interchangeable endings to form more
complex words in order to reduce the total number of words necessary to learn. The grammar of
Esperanto is derived from European languages, but it has been greatly simplified and standardized
with just sixteen basic rules governing the syntax and usage. La is the only article, all nouns
end in -o, and there are no irregular verbs and no exceptions to the grammatical rules. Esperanto
employs the familiar symbols of the Roman alphabet with each one standing for just one sound,
greatly facilitating both spelling and pronunciation.
Be familiarwith basic paragraph organization and function.
Each paragraph is organized around a unique supporting point and function. The introduction may include
a hook, background, and thesis statement. Each body paragraph begins with a tepic sentence, which cliscusses
one key part of the thesis, and the tepic sentence is followed by detail (examples, description, explanation,
etc.) that supports the topic of that paragraph.Finally, the conclusion summarizes the main idea with
some general comment, recommendation, or prediction.
Depending on the paragraph where the new sentence must be inserted, pay attention to how that paragraph
is organized and used in the overall passage. The following sample question indudes a new sentence that
must be inserted in the introduction of the excerpt above:
Look at the four squares  that indicate where the following sentence would be added to the passage.
Not usually meant to replace existing mother tongues,the language is instead designed to play an
auxiliary role, furthering international communication.
Where would the sentence best fit?
Think about the overall sequence of ideasinthe paragraph.
Most paragraphs begin with a general statement and the become progressively more specific, or
focused. For instance, if an introduction begins with a book, the book is not a supporting detail for the
essay; the hook introduces some idea(s) related to the main tapie, but the writer theo focuses the paragraph
by giving background and theo identifying the specifie main tepic in the thesis statement at the end of the
introduction. Likewise, a body paragraph begins with a tapie sentence, which is the most general sentence in
the paragraph. After the topic sentence, the detail focuses on increasingly specifie related aspects of
Since the basic progression of ideas in a paragraph is from general to specifie, you must
insert the new sentence in a location where it can best fit this flow of ideas. Except for the firstt choice
above, which comes at the beginning of the introduction, each choice comes between two sentences, and you need to ensure that the new sentence can follow the sentence before and precede the
sentence after. The introduction above has the following sequence of ideas : A definition of artificial
languages, the current name of a specifie language (Esperanto), the plcae and time of publication, the
original name, detail related to the creator, and an English translation of the name Esperanto.
Examine the vocabulary in the new sentence.
When you read the new sentence that you have to insert into the passage, you need to identify general
or specifie the new sentence is based on the vocabulary. For instance, the new mee from the sample question
above contains the words mother tongues, the language, auxiliary role, and international communication.
This vocabulary is very general since the words are not names and they are not connected to a particular
time, place, or context. However, the noun the language includes the specifie pronoun the, which
indicates the noun is not the fust mention of the idea. (The first mention of a noun usually requires a
general article: a, an, some). Vocabulary and articles are cohesive deviees, which are vital when you
compare the new sentence to those in the passage.
Compare the cohesive devices in the new sentence to be inserted and in the paragraph.
Cohesive devices are words, phrases, or expressions that a writer uses to connect ideas within a sentence,
between sentences, or between paragraphs. Cohesive deviees include pronouns (he, it, which, etc.),
adjectives (ail, this, the other, etc.), articles, conjunctions (because, if, etc.), vocabulary
(repetition, synonyms, varied word form), and transitions (therefore, however, etc.).
The correct location for the new sentence depends on the connections between the cohesive
devices in the new sentence and those in the sentences before and after the chosen location
(see also Referent Questions:Strategies 1 and 6 for more about referents and cohesive deviees).
Therefore, first you must identify any useful cohesive devices in the new sentence. For example,
the sentence in the sample Coherence question above indudes the verb phrase meant to replace,
the adjective/noun phrase existing mother tangues, and the noun the language. These words suggest
a connection to the fust sentence of the paragraph, which contains the related noun an
artificial language and the phrases intended to transcend and diverse linguistic backgrounds.
Also, the second sentence of the paragraph mentions a specifie artificial language (Esperanto),
so the new sentence cannot be inserted after the second sentence sinee the new sentence contains
general, unidentified vocabulary.
Identify sentences in the paragraph that cannot be separated in order to eliminate answer choices.
The cohesive deviees in the passage also indicate those sentences that cannot be interrupted, or separated,
by a new sentence. For example, the use of the name Esperanto in both the second and third sentences means
that the new sentence cannot be inserted between those sentences. The new sentence doesn't discuss a
specifie artificiallanguage, so the repetition of the name indicates that the third choice is incorrect.
Moreover, some cohesive deviees, such as transitions, indicate rhetorical structure,
which cannot be interrupted.
Check the rhetorical structure of the new sentence and those in the paragraph.
Rhetorical structure, such as description, definition, and explanation, refers to the use of ideas
for a particular purpose.This use is an important part of the sequence of ideas. First,
certain ideas logically follow others: an idea is introduced or described generally fust and
then it is followed by examples; a topic is identified/named before any other detail
(times, location, function, origin, etc.) is mentioned; a problem is normally discussed before
any solutions; instructions or the steps in a process are organized chronologically; etc. Therefore,
you need to identify the rhetorical structure of the new sentence as weil as the rhetorical
structure of the sentences surrounding the possible choices.
Also, some of the rhetorical structures could be extended over more than one sentence. A paragraph
could provide examples of a topic, and these examples are given in two or three sentences.
This similarity in rhetorical structure would connect those sentences together into a series of
related examples. Likewise, a problem and solution probably would not be in the same sentence.
The new sentence to be inserted in the excerpt above clarifies the purpose of an artificial language.
It gives more specifie detail about how ali artificiallanguages are used. Like the general
vocabulary (generic reference to ali artificiallanguages) and cohesive deviees
(related vocabulary), the rhetorical structure relates the new sentence to the first sentence of
the paragraph. The second sentence in the introduction names a specifie language, and the subsequent
sentences all discuss details related to Esperanto. A clarification about the uses of artificial
languages would not fit between any of the later sentences. Therefore, you must decide between the
first or second location at the beginning of the paragraph.
Insert the sentence into the paragraph and check for logic and clarity.
Once you have analyzed and compared the new sentence and those in the paragraph, you can click on the ones
you haven't eliminated to check each one.This gives you a chance to read the paragraph again with the new
sentence inserted at a given square. You can recheck the sequence of ideas, vocabulary, cohesive devices,
and rhetorical structure. For instance, the best choice for the question above is (B), the second square.
The first square is wrong because it comes before the noun language has been mentioned, which doesn't
fit the noun the language in the new sentence. By choosing the second square, the new sentence can
follow the reference to an artificial language in the first sentence. Also, the new sentence continues
the general discussion by giving a specifie function for the language type. This fits the sequence of
ideas since the next sentence begins the discussion of Esperanto.
You can identify a Coherence question based on the squares indicating places in the passage,
and the instruction to insert, or add, a sentence to the passage. A Coherence question resembles
the following form or some variation:
Look at the four squares  that indicate where the following sentence would be added to the passage.
[Sentence] Where would the sentence fit best? Where do you think the sentence would fit best?
Like all reading questions, coherence questions are multiple-choice. Only one choice is correct,
and the other three are incorrect answers. Distracters are incorrect answers that seem correct
even though they aren't. Basically, incorrect answers for this question type break some
of the recommendations in the strategies above. Certain choices might match one or more of the criteria
above (sequence, vocabulary, cohesive devices, etc.) but Jack others. Therefore, you shouldn't
rely on just one factor when you answer Coherence questions. Coherence questions require a
combination of criteria. Choosing an answer based on just one factor can lead to incorrect
answers and a lower score.
Answer choice follows or precedes some repeated vocabulary only.
Many students rely on key words to answer coherence questions. Although vocabulary is important for many
strategies, such as cohesive deviees, it can also distract you. For example, the noun language and the
adjective international are key words in the new sentence that you have to insert in the paragraph.
Several choices in the question might seem correct based on those key words. For example, the new
sentence includes the noun the language, and every sentence in the introduction includes either the
singular noun language or the plural form languages. This repetition should be a strong clue that
you can't rely on that word alone to choose a location for the new sentence.
Moreover, the third sentence in the introduction ends with the words international language. Some
students might incorrect!y assume that this use relates to the use of the same adjective in the new
sentence, which ends with the words furthering international communication. However, you need to
pay attention to the other vo.cabulary of each sentence and the rhetorical structure of each one.
The new sentence uses international communication in a discussion of the uses for aU artificial
languages (the noun language is generic in the new sentence), but the third sentence uses international
language to translate the original Russian name for Esperanto. This translation relates to a discussion
of a specifie artificial language, not artificial languages overall.
Answer choice is next to the right sentence but on the wrong side.
Pratice (The text)
One of the many confusing aspects of coherence questions is that often there is a square before and
after several sentences. For exam ple, the introduction above has four consecutive possibilities.
A careless or rushed student might identify the correct part of the paragraph, but choose the square on
the wrong side : either before a sentence instead of after it, or after a sentence instead ofbefore it.
For example, the first square-choice (A)-comes before the right sentence. However, the new sentence
should be inserted after the first sentence, not before it, due to the use of the articles
(fust mention= an, second mention= the).
Now, practice the strategies you've just Jearned ?? along with the general reading strategies.
Practice (The test)
Read the passage below, and answer the coherence questions that follow.
The Sense of Balance
One of the most important physiological senses in humans and other animals is equilibrioception,
better known as the sense of balance.This is the sense that allows us to do such things as walk upright
or turn in either direction without falling, and keep objects in visual focus as the body moves.
In humans, the sense of balance is maintained by a complicated set of relationships between the eyes,
ears, skeletal and central nervous systems, and the brain, which processes information from ali these senses.
Balance problems can occur when the brain receives conflicting information from the different sense organs,
or when disease affects one or more of these organs.
Of all the organs that help maintain equilibrioception, perhaps the most important is the ear.
To understand how the ear helps us maintain our sense of balance, it is useful to examine the ear's anatomy.
 The outer ear-consisting of the outside, visible part of the ear (pinna),and the ear canal-primarily
assists the hearing, or auditory, system. It acts as a type of preamplifier by collecting sounds from
the environment and funneling them to the eardrum. The eardrum, or tympanic membrane,is a thin, flexible
membrane that separates the outer from the middle ear. lts primary function is to transmit sound to the
ossicles, the three small bones in the middle ear.  These three bones-known as the hammer (malleus),
anvil (incus) and stirrup (stapes)-further transmit sound to the cochlea, which is located in the inner ear.
The cochlea is a coiled, snail-shaped organ filled with a watery liquid and thousands of sensitive
"hair cells", that detect different sound frequencies and transmit them to the brain,
where they are interpreted.[ X] Together,the outer ear, middle ear, and the cochlea, comprise the
ear's hearing, or auditory, system.
 Within the inner ear are the sensory organs that detect orientation and movement.
 The ear's vestibular, or balance system, includes three semicircular canals-the posterior canal,
the superior canal, and the horizontal canal-and the otolith organs, which have two fluid-filled
cavities called the utricle and the saccule. Movement of fluids within the semicircular canals
trigger hair cells that signal the brain about the direction and speed of rotation of the head,
for example wether we are nodding, or looking left or right.  The otolith organs detect our linear
orientation, for example, our speed and relationship to gravity when we are walking in a straight line.
The brain interprets the information it receives from the ear's vestibular system, and combines it with
the information it receives from other sense organs. For example, the eyes send visual orientation about
the body's position in relation to its surroundings.  The brain compares this information with
information from the vestibular and skeletal systems (joints, skin, muscles),to maintain its
overall orientation and balance.
When balance is impaired, an individual has trouble maintaining his or her orientation to the environment.
 Balance impairment may occur temporarily when the brain tries to process conflicting information
from the various sense organs-for example the motion sickness an individual experiences from trying
to read while riding in a car- or it may become chronic as a result of diseases that affect
the organs of the vestibular system, or in jury to the part of the brain that processes balance-related information.
A certain a mount of deterioration in equilibrioception is also natural, due to aging. 
As people age, the hair cells in the cochlea begin to die, resulting in hearing loss.  Likewise,
the hair cells in the vestibular organs also die off with time. It is thought that one of the reasons
many elderly people fall a nd break their hips and other bones, is due to the impairment to
the balance system caused by the deterioration of these hair cells.  Regardless, many
chronic balance disorders may be treated with medication, physical therapy, or surgery.
A persan experiencing ongoing dizziness or loss of balance should always be evaluated by a physician.
27. In paragraph 3, look at the four squares  that indicate where the following sentence
would be added to the passage.
The ear is generally divided into three main sections: the outer ear, the middle ear,
and the inner ear.
Where would the sentence best fit?
28. In paragraph 4, look at the four squares  that indicate where the following
sentence would be added to the passage.
These organs are entirely separate from the hearing organs.
Where would the sentence best fit?
29. In paragraph 5, look at the four squares  that indicate where the following sentence would
be added to the passage.
Symptoms of balance impairment may include dizziness, nausea, a sense of falling,
visual blurring, or a number of other indicators.
Where would the sentence best fit?
Introduction and example
09 - Drag-n-Drop Table Completion Questions
A paraphrase is a restatement of ideas in new words and new sentence structure with the same meaning.
You've alreadyseen paraphrasing in many question types alreadysince correct answers often paraphrase
some or all of t he releva nt information from the passage. This is particularly im portant in detail
questions and NOT/EXCEPT questions as weil as inference and rhetorical structure questions.
However, paraphrasing is also tested in its own question type. A paraphrasing question refers to a
highlighted sentence in the passage, and usually the question also specifies the paragraph by number.
Like all reading questions, paraphrasing q uestions are multiple-choice questions, a nd only one choice
To answer paraphrasi ng questions correctly, you need to be aware of the related methods of
paraphrasing and the kind of language variations to look for. First, read the excerpt below,
which includes a sample paraphrasing question used in t he explanation of the strategies. Then,
review the strategies for identifying the correct paraphrase and eliminating distracters.
The Eye of the Storm
Did you know that both hurricanes and tomadoes have eyes? As a meteorological term, eye describes
a circular region at the center of a severe wind storm.The eye of a hurricane and the eye of a tornade
have one thingin common:the air circulating around them moves in a counterclockwise direction in the
northern hemisphere; in the southern hemisphere, both storms spin clockwise.However, the eye of a
hurricane and the eye of a tornade differ in various ways based on size and speed.
The eye of a hurricane is calm, compared with the rest of the storm. ln the eye of a hurricane,
you may experience light, variable winds. This calmness contrasts with the surrounding destructive
winds that create a swirling spiral with speeds up to 200 miles per hour. These violent winds are
actually thunderstorms that form a ring around the eye.Also, hurricanes are much bigger than tom
miles in diameter.
The eye of a tomado, on the their hand, is far from calm. A tornado's eye is composed of strong ascending
and descending air currents that can lift up and destroy almost everything in their paths. Smaller than
the hurricane's eye, the eye of a tornade may be only a few feet or yards in diameter. Because this area
is so small and irregular, it is difficult to observe. The only real accounts we have of what the eye of
a tornade is like come from people who found themselves in a tornado's path. Survivors who have
experienced the center of a tornade report a brief silence in the eye, and a strange,blue glow.
Looking up in the eye of a tornade,one might see a hollow column with a slick. opaque surface,
resembling the inside of a pipe.
Be familiar with the methods of paraphrasing.
The following chart reviews the various ways of paraphrasing a sentence. Although each method is discussed
individ ually below, most paraphrases involve a combination of the following methods:
||Examples from the Excerpt
(paraphrasing in italics)
A synonym is a ward, phrase, or expression
with the same meaning as another ward,
phrase, or expression.
As a meteorological term, "eye" describes
a circular region at the center of a severe
As a meteorological concept "eye" refers to a round area in the middle of
an extreme wind disturbance.
Voice refers to the use of active verbs
(active voice) or passive verbs
In the eye of a hurricane, you may
experience light, variable winds.
In the eye of a hurricane, light, variable
winds may be experienced.
|Variation of Ward Form and Structure
Ward form refers to a word's part of
speech, or type: noun, adjective, adverb, verb,
infinitive, etc. Usually, when the ward
form is changed, the sentence structure
must also be changed accordingly
Because this area is so small and irregular,
it is difficult to observe.
People have difficulty observing this small
and irregular area
This is a specific variation of ward form
and structure. A clause requires at least
one subject and one verb; a phrase
does not contain either a subject or verb.wbr> Paraphrases often alternate between them
However, the eye of a hurricane and the
eye of a tornado differ in various ways
based on size and speed.
However, the eye of a hurricane and the
eye of a tornado differ in various ways
based on how big they are and how fast
Focus on the words that add the most meaning and purpose in the original sentence.
A paraphrasing question does not repeat the original sentence. For example, look at the following
sample question about the highlighted sentence in the excerpt above:
Which of the following best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence?
Incorrect answer choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
- (A) The ascending air currents in the tornado's eye cause more damage than the descending currents.
- (B) Wind is dangerous and can destroy almost anything.
- (C) The tornado's eye can be destroyed by violent air currents that move up and down.
- (D) The eye of a tornado has powerful rising and falling winds that are capable of causing a great
deal of damage.
Once you identify the question type based on the key words
(essential information, highlighted sentence) and form, return to the passage
and find the highlighted sentence. Reread the sentence closely and carefully. Pay attention
to the key words, or content words, in the sentence; the content words are those words
that give the essential meaning in the sentence: nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs,
infinitives, gerunds, adverb conjunctions (because, since, after, etc.), and transitions.
Also, eliminate the less essential function words; these words perform a grammatical
function in the sentence, but they add little or no meaning to the sentence.
Function words inelude articles, many prepositions, relative pronouns, auxiliary verbs
(be in the passive, have m the perfect tense), and coordinating conjunctions in parallel structure
(and, but, yet).You could return to some of these words later when you finalize
your choice, but you want to focus on the most meaningful words first. ln the highlighted
sentence above (It is composed of strong ascending and descending air currents that
vacuum up and destroy everything m their paths), the essential words are composed, strong,
ascending, descending, air currents, acuttm up,destroy, everything.
Identify the relationships among the ideas and the rhetorical structure of the sentence.
Ir's important that you identify clearly any actors, objects, actions, or states.You need to be
certain about what or who is causing any action or state in the sentence (actors) as weil as
what or who is receiving any action (objects).Since voice can vary without affecting meaning,
the active or passive voice of the verbs is an important part of this. Finally, note any specifie
details, such as descriptions, comparisons, reasons, places, times, and sequences. These Ldeas are often rearranged and distorted in distracters, or incorrect answers, so you need
to identify them correctly when you analyze the original. For example, in the highlighted
sentence above, air is moving up and down and its movement is both forming the eye and causing
a lot of destruction. Moreover, the rhetorical structure of the sentence involves the description
of the eye of the tornado and its effects.The correct paraphrase can use different words and structure,
but it must still have the same rhetorical structure, the same details, and the same relationship among them.
Create a simplified sentence in your own words on scrap paper.
Since the original sentence is not repeated in the question, you want to avoid going
back and forth between the answer choices and the passage.Although this is possible
since the reading passage is visible with every question, you will waste time if you do
it repeatedly. Later, once you've made a choice, you can jump back to the passage to make a final check,
but right away you should avoid going back and forth and rereading the original and the choices too often.
Therefore, record the essential words from the highlighted sentence on a scrap piece of note paper
that is provided to you at the beginning of the test. Depending on the length of the original
sentence and the difficulty of the vocabulary, you could start by copying just the key words
in fragmented note form. However, it's best if you can briefly paraphrase the sentence in your
own words right away.
Don't worry about grammar or style since this sentence is not marked and won't count
for or against your final score. Al1 you need is an accurate record of the basic main
idea of the sentence, so you can reference it once you return to the question. For example,
a paraphrase of the highlighted sentence above could look like the any of the following:
Composition, eye, tornado, wind, up, down, destruction (key words in fragments only)
The composition of the eye is violent wind going up and down, and many things are destroyed.
Great gusts of wind move up and down and form the eye of the tomado, destroying a lot. Very strong wind forms the tomado's eye and causes great destruction.
Select the answer choice that best matches your paraphrased record of the original.
The correct choice doesn't have to match your paraphrase exactly since there are always several
ways of restating something. Instead, look for similarities based on the methods outlined in Strategy 1:
repetition, synonyms, variations of word form, and phrases and clauses with the same meaning.
Also, it is very important that the actors, objects, actions, and states are the same.
As you will learn below, the distracters for this question type rearrange and add to the details
in the sentence. Based on the sample paraphrases in Strategy 5, the best choice is (D).
Quickly verify your answer choice with original in the passage.
Your own paraphrase is useful for identifying the best choice(s) efficiently,
but it shouldn't be the final guide to the best answer. Once yon have eliminated as
many choices as possible (based on actors, objects, rhetorical structure, etc.),
you can compare your final choice with the passage. You should verify that you haven't
omitted or misunderstood anything from the original. For example, (D) remains the best choice for
the sample question above.
A paraphrasing question can be recognized based on the reference to a highlighted sentence
in the passage, and the use of key words, such as essential information.
You can identify this question type based on the following forms, or some variation:
Which of the following best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence?
Incorrect answer choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
A paraphrasing question is a multiple-choice question with only one correct answer. The other three
choices are incorrect answers, or distracters. A distracter is an incorrect answer that
is not obviously incorrect; it may seem correct due to various factors, but it is still incorrect.
You need to be aware of the types of distracters for Paraphrasing questions in order to avoid them.
Like the distracters for many question types, one of the common patterns in distracters for
paraphrasing questions is the repetition of one or more ideas from the original.
All correct answers for multiple-choice questions restate some or all of the
information from the passage, but this repetition is more obviously wrong in this question
type because it involves paraphrasing. At the same time, some ideas are not easily
paraphrased, such as dates and names, so repetition alone is not proof that a choice
is incorrect but it is a strong clue.Therefore, you should always be wary or suspicious of
answer choices that repeat too many ideas from the passage. The following strategies explain the
various distracters and how to avoid them. Although each distracter is discussed separately,
many distracters use a combination of methods.
Answer choice rearranges ideas from the original
You need to pay careful attention to the specifie relationship among the ideas
(actor and object, cause and effect, etc.) in any answer choice because this distracter
uses the same basic ideas but puts them in an incorrect order or relationship.
This distortion of the original sentence could involve switching the acter and object,
or changing a cause into an effect, a mong many other modifications. Like so many distracters,
this distracter often repeats ideas from the passage.Choice (C) is an example of this type
of distracter. The answer choice uses a correct idea from the original (the air currents
destroy things) and correctly paraphrases the movement of the air currents
(ascending and descending = that move up and down ), but the sentence uses a passive
verb and incorrectly states that the currents destroy the eye. In the original,
the air currents both form the eye and cause destruction.
Answer choice adds unmentioned ideas.
You must identify the key content words in the original sentence, and make sure that you
don't choose an answer that includes ideas that are not in the original. This type of distracter
can also involve the kind of rearrangement described in Distracter 1. (A) is an exan1ple of this kind of distracter; it repeats some words from the original (ascending, descending, air currents), and the choice incorrectly adds the comparative adjective more, which is not in the original. Also, the incorrect comparison of the air currents represents a rearrangement of the ideas similar to that in Distracter 1 above.
Answer choice omits key information.
Practice (the text)
Some distracters can correctly paraphrase part of the original but leave out important meaning.
This is another reason that you need to be certain about the key ideas in the original sentence.
Because this distracter leaves out key information, the vocabulary in the answer choice might
seem too general, too uncertain, or too unclear.Answer choice (C) is an example of this type of distracter.
The choice refers to the unspecified noun wind, which is far too general. The wind in the original
is identified as part of a tornado and described as moving in two different directions
(up and down). None of that information is included in (C).
Now, practice the strategies you've just learned along with the general reading strategies.
Read the passage below, and answer the paraphrasing questions that follow.
Also, you can review coherence questions for the same passage.
Practice (the test)
Semiotics in American Pop Culture
The visual images, signs, and symbols,of pop culture are important for you to understand if you want
to understand Americans. It is not enough to be able to speak and understand the language when you come
to the U.S.A; you also need to be able to interpret the messages contained within the signs and symbols.
These signs and symbols are shorthand representations of the culture's abstract ideas and concepts.
But how does one interpret these signs and symbols of a culture? ls there a road map?
The study and interpretation of signs and symbols is the province of a field known as semiotics.
Semiotics is a special branch of communication studies, which specifically combines the techniques
of sociolinguistic analysis with anthropologicalanalysis. When a person interprets a sign or symbol,
that person engages in an act known as semiotic decoding.  An example of semiotic decoding is reading.
The words and letters are symbols that must be interpreted. To a semiologist,
anything can be taken as a sign to be decoded and analyzed for meaning.
Semiotics, as a field of study, was formally established in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries mainly through the writings and teachings of two men:Charles Sanders Pierce,
an American philosopher and physicist,and Ferdinand de Sausurre, a Swiss linguist.
Roland Barthes, a Frenchman, furthered the semiotic field in the 1950s by using semiotic
techniques to analyze pop culture. To apply the theories of semiotics to pop culture
is actually a lot of fun for anyone to do.
One area of interest in semiotics involves decoding the signs of cultural identity.
A typical American university dormitory room or an American college student's bedroom
at home provides a good picture of the identity or profile of that person. What decorates
the walls? ls it a picture of James Dean? Che Guevara? Madonna? lt is a shot of Michael Jordan?
What is on the shelves? A teddy bear collection? Or football paraphemalia? Is there a CD system
in the room? What music titles are there?  Is there a predominance of sixties retrograde
collections like the Beatles, Simon and Garfunke,I Motown and the Doors? Or seventies disco music
or crossover country rock?  Or eighties rap and new wave?  Is it easy listening music,salsa, blues,
jazz or soul? ls there a computer in the room? What type is it? A Macintosh®
or a Dell ® of these commercial symbols carry with them
images and styles that suggest you are one type of person or another.
It is possible to conduct your own semiotic analysis. Every decoration choice a person makes in a room
tells us something about that person's identity. Remember, a cultural sign gets its meaning from the system
in which it appears. Its significance does not lie in its usefulness but rather in its
symbolism-in the image that it projects,and that image always has a social significance.
To decode what is in a person's room,you have to ask what that person is trying to say with these objects-and
what that persan wants other people to think about him or her.Try doing this with one of your friends.
Americans often refer to different decades in our history when certain fads or fashions were in vogue.
The decade or time frame in which a given style was popular provides the key to the system for explaining
it. Evian ® water for instance, only came into fashion in the health-conscious, body-building eighties.
American cultural trends change with every decade.  Americans speak of the sixties,the seventies,
the eighties. R Vou will find classic rock stations on the radio that only play music from
a certain decade They carry a certain image by doing so. Fashions and styles are dated by
the decade in which they gained prominence. Sometimes we look at someone and say "he's so seventies!" or
"she's so eighties!" Decade to decade shifts in styles in America have been occurring for much
of American history, but clearly reached a crescendo in the twentieth century-the age of mass marketing...
30. Which of the following best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence
in paragraph 1? Incorrect answer choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential
- (A) Interpreting the meaning of American signs and symbols is a process similar to learning
to speak a language.
- (B) It is as important for visitors to understand American signs and symbols as it is for them
to speak and understand the language.
- (C) People visiting the United States may not be able to interpret the signs and symbols
as easily as they speak and understand the language.
- (D) A persan arriving in the United States must not confuse the culture's signs
and symbols with the meanings these symbols have in his or her own culture.
31. Which of the following best expresses the essential information in the highlighted
sentence in paragraph 3? Incorrect answer choices change the meaning in
important ways or leave out essential information.
- (A) People are primarily attracted to a product's symbolic meaning.
- (B) Commercial symbols are interpreted differently by different people.
- (C) Some types of commercial symbols convey more meaning than others.
- (D)The commercial products a persan buys provide information about that persan.
32. Which of the following best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence
in paragraph 5? Incorrect answer choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out
- (A) Styles are easiest to decode in the decade during which they are popular.
- (B) The system that surrounds popular styles changes at !east once every decade.
- (C) The popular styles of a decade provide a key for understanding that period of time.
- (D) To understand a given style, one must understand the period of time when it was popular.
33. In paragraph 1, look at the four squares  that indicate where the following sentence
would be added to the passage.
When you read, you look at graphic symbols and place meanings on them. Where would the sentence best fit?
34. In paragraph 3, look at the four squares  that indicate where the following sentence
would be added to the passage.
An American's music collection can tell more about that persan than anything else.
Where would the sentence best fit?
35. In paragraph 5, look at the four squares  that indicate where the following
sentence would be added to the passage.
Another French bottled water, Perrier ®
, is more associated with the preppie cocktail
parties and mixers of the seventies. Where would the sentence best fit?
Introduction and example
10 - Drag-n-Drop Summary Question
A table completion question asks you to categorize the details from the passage.
It provides a mixed list of choices on the left side of the table and two distinct categories
on the right side. The list of choices contains the key details from the passage as weil as
two distracters, or incorrect choices. Each category is based on a type, or kind, from the passage,
and the name of one type appears at the top of each category. You must use the drag-n-drop function
of the mouse to move the correct choices into the appropriate category.
The mouse's drag-n-drop function allows you to move an item on the computer screen.
With your mouse, you must first place the arrow over a key point from the list on the left
side of the table. You can move the item by clicking once with the left tab of the mouse and holding
the tab down while the arrow is directly over the item. Then while pressing clown on the mouse,
you can move, or drag, the key point to the appropriate category on the right side of the table. Once you
have chosen a category, you can place, or drop, the idea in the category by releasing the left
tab of the mouse.
Table completion questions have an uneven number of choices, usually seven or nine; two of those choices
are distracters, or incorrect answers, which should not be placed in either catetegory. The remaining
choices (usually five or seven) must be correctly placed in the appropriate category. Moreover,
each category contains a specifie number of empty spaces, so you can easily recognize the number
of correct choices for each category. Depending on the number of choices, this question is worth
3 or 4 points, and the question indicates the value in the instructions.
In order to receive full points for this question, you must identify the correct details from a
list of paraphrases, and connect the details to one of two supporting points from the passage.
The strategies for this question involve a good initial reading of the passage, an outline
of Le passage, and scanning for details. First, read the following excerpt of a passage,
which is used for a sample table completion question.Then review the strategies that explain how
to answer the sample question.
Jazz and Bebop
For a jazz musician living in New York City in the early 1940s, the most interesting place to
spend the hours between midnight and dawn was a Harlem nightclub calied Minton's. After finishing
their jobs at other clubs,young musicians like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious
Monk would gather at Minton's and play jam sessions-informai performances featuring lengthy
group and solo improvisations.The all-night sessions resulted in the birth of modern jazz.Working
together, these African-American artists forged a new sound, known as bebop.
Before bebop, swing had been America's popular form of jazz. Led by such virtuoso
instrumentalists as Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and the Dorsey Brothers,
swing bands were primarily dance bands. They were large, with 12 to 16 musicians on average,
and arrangers were usually key ta their success.Swing bands concentrated on tight and precise ensemble
playing. As the swing style developed, musicians began to incorporate more technically and harmonically
advanced approaches ta the music, which influenced the younger musicians that came ta form the bebop sound.
Unlike swing, bebop was not dance music. lt was often blindingly quick, incorporating cifficult,
irregular rhythms and discordant sounds that jazz audiences had never heard t>efore.
Bebop was based on a 12-note scale, opening up new harmonie opportunities.
The musicians who pioneered bebop shared two common elements-a vision of the new
music's possibilities and astonishing improvisational skill,the ability ta play or compose a
musical line on the spur of the moment.
Like many revolutions, unfortunately, the bebop movement encountered heavy resistance.
Opposition came from older jazz musicians, and from a general public alienated by the
music's complexity. Furthermore, due to the government ban on recording that was in
effect during the early years of World War II, the creative ferment that produced
bebop remains largely undocumented today.
Anticipate this question type based on the organization of details in the passage.
A table completion question is based on the fact that multiple details can be related to
different people, places, times, types, and so on.Therefore, you should recognize whenever a passage
contains two broad ideas that each involve distinct details, for example: the reading passage is organized
according separate types; the passage mentions two people who do severa! different things;
and multiple events occur in two places. For example, the excerpt above refers to two types of jazz,
swing, and bebop.This should be a clue that you may have to categorize details according to these types
Of course, you can never be certain which questions will come with the passage, but the characteristics
mentioned above are good elues that a Table Completion question could come. Look at the following sample
Table Completion question:
Directions: Select the appropriate phrases from the answer choices and match them to the style of
music to which they relate. TWO of the answer choices will NOT be used. This question is worth 4 points.
Grew out of classical music traditions
Much of the music was not recorded
Primarily a form of dance music
Concentrated on tight ensemble playing
Innovative harmonies, based on a
Opposed by the U.S. government
New, fast, challenging rhythms
Not well received by the general public
Usually consisted of more than a
Record any organization of detail in your outline.
An outline is very useful for many question types, but especially the table completion
questions (and summary questions discussed later).Since you have to locate and verify more choices
in this question than you do in most multiple-choice questions, an outline cao help you find
information more quickly. Your outline cao function like a map, guiding you to the
right locations in the passage. For example, look at the following outline for the excerpt above.
The outline clearly shows how the passage is organized by musical style: swing and bebop.
#1 -jazz, NYC, Minton's, jam, informal
#2 - swing = dance, 12-16 players, arrangers, precise, (fleche haut) technical
#3- bebop =not dance, irregular, discordant, 12 note, more improve,
#4 - bop not popular, too complex, gov ban WWII = no records
Identify keywords in the categories.
The name or title of each category is an important clue to the location of the relevant
detail in the passage. Each category in the question could be just a word or a longer expression
of several words. Identify the key idea in each category. For example, each category in the sample
table above is just one word (Swing and Bebop), but other categories could be longer.
Based on the categories and the outline, you should look primarily in the second and third categories
for the relevant information, but some ideas could be found elsewhere.
Be prepared to recognize restatements, not quotes.
As in all question types, the correct answers are paraphrased from the passage.
Of course, not all ideas are easily restated, but paraphrasing is the common pattern
in most Reading and Listening) question types. Moreover, as you can review below, many distracters repeat,
or copy, information directly from the passage.
Use your memory and outline to place as many details as possible.
Tr to categorize a few details right away based on your first reading and your outline. If
you read the passage thoroughly the first time, instead of skimming it too quickly, you may remember enough
to place a few choices correctly right away. You can always verify your
categorization later, but you should try to limit the amount of scanning and rereading you
have to do. For example, the sample outline above contains a few elues that identify
the proper place for several details:
Primarily a form of dance music = Swing
Innovative harmonies, based on a twelve-note scale = Bebop
Usually consisted of more than a dozen musicians = Swing
Not well received the general public = Bebop
Identify key ideas in the remaining choices,and scan for them in the passage.
Choose a unique or identifying idea from each answer choice that you can't categorize
right away. Using your outline as a guide, scan the passage to find the relevant information.
Read the passage carefully; don't skim it. The reading passages often contain complex information that
is very mixed.You may need to read one or more sentences a few times to ensure that you understand
the information clearly. For example, the outline did not immediately identify the location for the
Grew out of classical music traditions
Much of the music was not recorded
Concentrated on tight ensemble playing
Opposed by the U.S. government
New, fast, challenging rhythms
The key ideas in the choices are classical, much not recorded, tight ensemble, opposed/U.S.
government, and new,fast,challenging.
Don't place all choices; skip the right number of incorrect answers based on the instructions.
The instructions at the top of the table always indicate the number of choices that you should
not choose. This information is emphasized with capital letters
(TWO of the answer choices will NOT be used). You can eliminate the choices that are not mentioned
in the passage or the choices that distort stated information from the passage
(see also Distracters below). The correct answers for the sample table are as follows:
. Primarily a form of dance music
. Concentrated on tight ensemble playing
. Usually consisted of more than a
. Much of the music was not recorded
. Innovative harmonies, based on a
. New, fast, challenging rhythms
. Not well received by the general public
You can recognize a table completion question based on the organization of the table
(list of choices on the left and two or more categories on the right)
and based on the need to categorize details.Review the following form for table completion questions:
Select the appropriate phrases from the answer choices and match them to
the persan/type/ purpose. TWO of the answer choices will NOT be used.
Drag your answer choices to the spaces where they belong. To review the passage, click on
Out of the total number of choices, a table completion question has two distracters, or
incorrect answers, which should not be placed in either category. Since table completion
questions involve details, the distracters resemble those for Detail questions, among other
Question types. Review the following explanations of the distracters for this question type.
Answer choice includes unmentioned ideas.
It's important to make sure that all ideas in an answer choice relate to some information
in the passage. You shouldn't rely on just one ward when choosing your answers. Some of
an answer choice could be mentioned in the passage, but if certain ideas have no relation, then the
answer choice is a distracter. The first choice in the list (Grew out of classical music traditions) refers to classical music, which is unmentioned.
Answer choice rearranges,or distorts,ideas from the passage.
Practice (The text)
Some answer choices can contain ideas from the passage, but they are in an incorrect order or relationship.
Often, the answer choice changes the relationship of actor and abject, or the choice uses a detail,
such as time or location, from another unrelated idea. Also, the choice may contain
vocabulary that is repeated throughout the passage, so students might incorrectly
assume that it must be true if it is mentioned so often. The sixth choice in the list for
the sample table above is an example of this type of distracter
(Opposed by the U.S. government). According to the passage, the public opposed bebop due toits complexity,
and the government banned new recording to save material during World War IL The distracter rearranges
these details and incorrectly states that the government opposed the new music.
Now, read the passage below and practice your reading strategies.The passage is followed by a
table completion question as well as coherence and paraphrasing questions.
Practice (the test)
Two Economie Giants
The last two decades have witnessed an important shift in the global distribution of economie power.
 Since the middle of the 20th century, the United States has been the paramount economie force in
the Western Hemisphere, with a peerless industrial base and strong technology and service sectors.
 In the last 20 years, and especially in the last 10, China has emerged as a powerhouse, eclipsing Japan
in the Pacifie as Asia's largest economy and rapidly overtaking the global lead of the United States.
 As a consequence, many economie parallels can now be added to existing geographie similarities between
China and the United States.  Despite these similarities, there remain a number of significant economic and
demographic disparities between these two economie giants.
Both China and the United States are very large nations. At 9.5 million square kilometers, China is
only slightly smaller than the United States, which occupies 9.6 million km sq. Both countries occupy a
similar range of latitude, with an attendant diversity of climatic conditions, and both have long
coastlines and good ports. Like the United States, China is gifted with diverse natural resources, including
metals and tiniber,and significant domestic energy sources, especially fossil fuels and hydropower.
Physical similarities are now joined by economie congruities. China's economic base is coming to rely on
manufacturing and other industry. The country is quickly catchingup with the United States in this area,
with approximately US$2.7 trillion gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006, as campared to the American $13
trillion GDP. Like the U.S. govemment, China's govemment depends heavily on deficit spending: the U.S.
public debt is currently about 60 percent of the American GDP, and China's has reached just over 20 percent
of the Chinese GDP. However, annual inflation of consumer priees is below 3 percent in bath countries.
 China's economy, though rapidly industrializing, cannot be considered a free market economy
based on the U.S. madel, since major segments of the Chinese economy are government-run enterprises
sheltered from competition. Iii Dependent on the mood of foreign consumers and investors, China's
export-driven economy needs to develop a large and stable domestic market before it
can achieve the diversity and resiliency of the U.S. economy. Not ali of the differences between
the two economies place China at a disadvantage, however.
 For example, China's 10.7 percent annual growth in 2006 was triple that of the United
States; the country enjoys a positive balance of payments, at over $200 billion in 2006, in contrast to the
massive $582 billion U.S. trade deficit in the same year;and China's capital investment rate far exceeds that
of the United States. 
The huge and increasingly well-educated Chinese workforce (which at 750 million is five times the
size of America's) can be given much of the credit for China's rapid growth.
Foreign investment finds the abundance of inexpensive labor an important advantage over the expensive U.S.
labor market. Nevertheless, at least 10 percent of the urban Chinese population is unemployed,
probably more in ruralregions,whereas the U.S.unemployment rate hovers around 4.5 percent. A further
consequence of China's large population is that, distributed among so many people, its $2.7 trillion gross
domestic product is only around $2,000 per capita, compared to just over $42,000 per capita in the United
Persistent American fears of being overshadowed economically by China are not entirely unfounded;
the Asian nation is indeed growing very rapidly. However, a developing energy shortage promises to slow
that growth, and as Chinese labor costs rise, as they inevitably must, the country will become less
attractive to foreign investment. By that time, however, China may weil have acquired a healthy component
of domestic capital,and its increasingly affluent population will in tum become a market for American experts.
The next few years are likely to see the economie connection between China and the United States develop
into a prosperous partnership.
Directions: The author of the passage mentions similarities and disparities between the
United States and China. Select the appropriate phrases from the answer choices and match
them to the category to which they relate. TWO of the answer choices will NOT be used.
This question is worth 4 points.
Drag your answer choices to the spaces where they belong. To review the passage, click on
||True for BOTH China and the United States
More than 9 million square kilometers in size
Heavy reliance on deficit spending by the government
Positive balance of payments in trade
Largest amount of trade is with immediate neighbors
Consumption of significant amounts of fossil fuels
Per capita gross domestic product below $10,000
National gross domestic product below $5 trillion
Major segments of the economy face little competition
Low annual consumer inflation figures
TRue for China ONLY
37. Which of the following best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence
in paragraph 3? Incorrect answer choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential
- (A) China's export dependency bas weakened its ability to develop a strong domestic market.
- (B) China needs to attract more foreign investors before it can achieve the U.S:s economie strength.
- (C) Whether China's economy continues to grow will depend a great deal on its ability to increase exports.
- (D) China's economy is too reliant on outside economie forces, and it can't enjoy the strengths
of the U.S. economy until it improves domestically.
38. Which of the following best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence
in paragraph 4? Incorrect answer choices change the meaning in important ways or leave
out essential information.
- (A) China's rapid growth provides a real challenge to the U.S.'s economie supremacy.
- (B) Fear of China bas been growing in the United States, due to China's rapid economie growth.
- (C) While China's economy is growing quickly, it will be a long time before it overshadows the United States.
- (D) U.S. economists fear that China's economy is growing just as the economy of the
United States has begun slowing down.
39. In paragraph 1, look at the four squares  that indicate where the following sentence
would be added to the passage.
Yet the United States is by no means the world's only economic dynamo. Where would the sentence best fit?
40. In paragraph 3, look at the four squares  that indicate where the following sentence would be
added to the passage.
Despite these similarities, a number of important differences must be noted, both in the two countries'
economics and their demographie bases.Where would the sentence best fit?
Introduction and example
11 - Conclusion : Improve your reading Score
A drag-n-drop summary question asks you to choose three statements from a list of six possible choices.
The question provides a restatement of the passage's main idea, or thesis, and the three correct choices are
restatements of the key supporting poin ts from the passage. Together, the correct answers forma summary of
the passage and support the thesis statement provided with the question.A sununary question is worth 2 points,
which is indicated in the instructions of the question.
As the name suggests, this question type requires you to use the drag-n-drop function of your mouse.
Like the table completion question above, a sununary question requires you to use your mouse to choose
a statement and move, or drag, it into an empty space. However, unlike the table completion question,
this question type has only one list of empty spaces, not two categories.
In order to answer a summary question correctly, you need to understand the author's main idea and
recognize the statements that best support it.
Summary questions require three correct choices, and they include three incorrect choices,
or distracters. These distracters can be too specifie or unmentioned in the passage. The following strategies
explain how to identify the correct answers and avoid distracters. First, read the excerpt below,
which is used for a sample Summary question in the strategy explanation.
Fermentation is the key to winemaking, and is a process that occurs naturally within grapes as long as the skin
of the grapes has been broken. This is because a grape's skin is covered by a type of yeast that consumes the
fructose and glucose sugars foUI1d inside the fruit. This reaction creates alcohol, and careful management
of the process can vary its concentration in the wine.
First, a winemaker's job is not as simple as just crushing the grapes because alcohol is not the only
by-product of fermentation. Hydrogen sulfide, a compound known for its rotten-egg like odor, may also be created.
Many other by-products,which may or may not be desirable, can also surface. Therefore, the winemaker has to guide
the fermentation process and control its by-products to achieve the desired taste.
One way a winemaker can help the fermentation process is by regulating temperature. Fermentation creates heat,
but yeast cannot tolerate much heat. When temperatures reach more than 98°F (37°C), the yeast becomes dormant,
and fermentation ceases.This is why wine is usually stored in cool, underground cellars, or in large vats which can
be hosed down with cold water. Therefore, a winemaker's first task is to keep the wine at a low temperature until
it reaches the desired stage.
Adding sugar is another method of changing the outcome of a wine. A winemaker may put sugar or sweet
unfermented grape juice in his wine,not to sweeten it but to raise its alcohol content. The yeast eats the extra
sugar, and converts it into more alcohol. However, if the winemaker wants a stronger and sweeter wine, he may add
even more sugar. If the alcohol level rises past a certain point,the yeast die-essentially poisoned by the very
alcohol they are creating- and will no longer convert sugar to alcohol;the remaining sugar will then add sweetness,
but not alcoholic strength.
Record paragraph topicsinyour outline.
As you know, you should create a general outline of the passage when you fust read it. Since your outline should
only be a broad record, record mostly key supporting points in your outline, not too many details. Most often,
the key supporting points are paragraph topics, so focus on these when you make your outline. Your notes should
serve as a reminder, not a replacement for the original passage, so make sure to read the passage while you make notes.
Organize your outline to ensure that you can recognize the different paragraph tapies when you review it later
(see #in sample below), and group any details under the appropriate paragraph topic. Your notes can guide your
scanning when you return to the passage, and if your memory is good, they may also allowyou to make some choices
Look at the following sample outline for the passage above. Notice how efficient notes rely on good
paraphrasing and summary skills. It isn't always necessary to record exact words, and only key ideas,
not ail, are necessary:
#1 - ferm
key, natural, broken grapes/yeast eat sugar --7 alcohol
#2 - more than crush
control other by-prod/Hydro-sulf
#3 - temp
ferm makes heat,>98F = block yeast/ferm, cool
#4 - add sugar
yeast + sugar = more alc, (flèche vers le haut) kilis yeast
Use the thesis in the question as a guide.
A summary question includes a restatement of the thesis after the instructions. After you read the instructions
carefully, use the thesis as a clue. It may not only remind you of the passage that you just read,
it can also suggest the best choices. Remember that the best choices are key supporting points of the thesis,
not just details from the passage. As the instructions always mention, one or more distracters could be a minor
detail, so one or more answers could be wrong even though they are mentioned in the passage.
Look at the following sample summary question:
An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by
selecting THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage.
Some answer choices do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passages,
or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.
Drag your answer choices to the spaces where they belong. To review the passage, click on View Text.
• Wine is created naturally.
• Not ali the results of fermentation are
• The yeast must be protected throughout
• The enormous variety of wines in the
world results from different fermentation
• Grapes contain the basic ingredients for
• One by-product of fermentation has a bad
The thesis is one clue to the best choices. Therefore, identify any key words in the thesis.
For example, the thesis above restates the main idea of the passage, which is that wine
requires careful management of the fermentation process. This main idea is reflected in the verb supervise,
which is a restatement of the phrase careful management of the process in the original passage above.
This should remind you of the emphasis placed on monitoring, controlling, and limiting various factors.
This was a key theme in each paragraph of the passage, so your key points should reflect this importance of
supervision.Supervision also implies that some things must be avoided, controlled, or stopped. The key word
and its related ideas should help you choose youi ideas.
Be prepared for paraphrased ideas, not quotes.
Each correct answer choice in summary questions is a restatement of information from the passage.
As you check your outline, think about the ideas, not the specifie vocabulary, and try to use your
understanding of the whole passage. As you'll see later, many distracters repeat vocabulary from the passage.
Use your memory, outline,and the thesis to select as many choices as possible.
If you've read the passage well and recorded the key points in a well-organized outline, you should be able to
identify at least one correct choice right away. The sample outline above indicates that fermentation
is a natural process, and that the yeast and sugar in the grapes create alcohol (natural, broken
grapes/yeast eat sugar ---7 alcohol). This is an example of a key point that is paraphrased in the list.
Moreover, a general understanding of the passage should remind you that fermentation is a natural process
used to create wine, but winemaking itself is not natural. You can understand this based on the fact that
wine making requires so much supervision of the fermentation process. Therefore, fermentation is natural,
but wine making is a product of human intervention.
Eliminate overly specifie choices based on vocabulary.
Since you know that one or more choices could be too specific, examine any choices that use specifie
vocabulary, such as names, titles, and dates. For example, the last choice in the right column refers
to the odor of a particular by-product (one by-product of fermentation has a bad odor),
which is a very specifie reference in this context.Of course, your judgment of how specifie the vocabulary
is also depends on the main idea and other choices. You can compare any choice with the others to determine
ts level of specificity.The last choice mentioned earlier seems very specifie when compared with the second
choice on the left side (not all the results of fermentation are beneficiai).Since you must select the best
choices for a summary, the more general choice is probably the best, but you can always check any choice by
scanning the passage.
Identify key ideas in the remaining choices,and scan the passage.
Depending on how many choices you aren't sure about, you can either remember the key ideas,
or note them clown quickly on your scarp paper. As the instructions to the question indicate,
you must press the View Text button to see the passage again. With your outline and key ideas, scan the passage
for the relevant information related to the remaining questions. You might scan for the following
information from the choices in the sample question: results of fermentation, yeast must be protected, and
variety of wines.
Be prepared to combine key points from different paragraphs.
Students sometimes focus too rouch on paragraph topics when they answer this type of question.
As a result, they incorrectly assume that each correct answer must refer to only one paragraph.
This is not true, however. In fact, because the answer choices represent a summary of the passage,
one or more correct answer choices could combine information from more than one part of the passage.
These separate ideas must have some similarity or connection, but you have to recognize that relationship
even though the ideas are mentioned separately. Combining several ideas into one is a large part of summarizing.
For example, the sample notes above indicate that yeast can be harmed by heat and also by alcohol level.
This repetition of the dangers to yeast is a strong clue about one correct answer in the sample Summary question.
The correct choices for the sample question are the Eollowing:
• Grapes contain the basic ingredients for fermentation.
• Not all the results of fermentation are beneficial.
• The yeast must be protected throughout the process.
You can recognize a Summary question based on the table, the instruction to choose three out of six choices,
and the paraphrased thesis statement below the instructions. Identify a Summary question based on the following form:
An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below.
Complete the summary by selecting THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage.
Some answer choices do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage,
or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.
Drag your answer choices to the spaces where they belong. To review the passage, click on View Text.
(A restatement of the passage's main ideas appears here)
• Choice 1.
• Choice 2
• Choice 3
• Choice 4
• Choice 5
• Choice 6
A summary question bas six choices; three are correct, and three are incorrect answers, or distracters.
In all question types, a distracter can seem correct for a variety of reasons. In a summary question, some
distractersare mentioned in the passage while others are not. Review the following strategies for identifying
and avoiding distracters in Summary questions.
Answer choice is a minor detail in the passage.
This is arguably the most difficult distracter for this question type because it can be found in the passage.
It's important to remember that you must choose major supporting points, which are the ideas that provide the
most support for the thesis. The last choice on the right side is an example of this kind of distracter
(One by-product of fermentation bas a bad odor). This choice represents an example of the undesirable results
of fermentation, but it supports the key point that a winemaker must remove certain by-products of fermentation.
This key point is paraphrased in the correct choice Not all the results of fermentation are beneficial.
Answer choice distorts information from the passage.
Summary questions can include answers that manipulate ideas from the passage in a similar way to
the distracters in Detail questions, among others. Be careful not to rely on just one key ward or phrase
when you ehoose your answers. Pay close attention to the specifie relationship of the ideas. The first answer
choice on the left side is an example of this type (Wine is created naturally). The natural quality of fermentation,
not winemaking, is mentioned in the passage.
Answer choice is unmentioned.
Practice (The text)
Although this distracter might seem obvious, it ean sometimes be trieky or eonfusing. Often, this answer seems
plausible, or likely, in a broader context. For example, the fust choice on the right side demonstrates
this quality: The enormous variety of wines in the world results from different fermentation techniques.
In that incorrect ehoice, the ideas seem logieal and possible. Although the truth might be different
(wine variety also involves the type of grapes used and their location), the answer is wrong beeause
the ideas are off-tapie. The different types of wine are never mentioned or explained in the passage.
The Interpretation of Dreams
Practice (The test)
Sigmund Freud published his groundbreaking book, TheInterpretation of Dreams, in 1899, after years of studying the
brain as a neurologist. His book marked the real beginnings of research into the human mind,and led to the development
of modern psychoanalysis.
Freud's basic insight that our minds preserve memories and emotions in ways that are not always consciously
available to us profoundly and permanently transformed how humans viewed themselves. One of Freud's most important
discoveries was that the repressed thoughts and emotions buried below the level of conscious awareness emerged
in dreams, and that dreams could be used to uncover lost feelings.
Before Freud, dreams were dealt with in religious or metaphysical ways. ln the Mesopotamian epic, Gilgamesh,
written in 2700 B.C., dreams heralded the arrivai of gods. ln Babylon, Assyria, and Egypt, dreams were considered
prophetie;rulers were known to heed their dreams before making military and other major decisions.
The transition from a religious conception of dreams to an attempt at scientific explanation began in Ancient Greece.
Pythagoras believed nightmares were caused by spoiled food, and Aristotle considered dreams to be manifestations
of the soul, both internal to the individual, as opposed to supernatural interpretations. The European Renaissance
initiated scientific inquiry into ali manner of things, but it was centuries before scientific principles were
applied to the interpretation of dreams. From the 16th to the 19th centuries,the brain was studied as an anatomical
abject, and by Freud's time neurologists had already begun to discover correlations between areas of the brain and
specific neurological activities. But it remained for Freud to open up the mind, as opposed to the brain, to modern
Freud's revelation that dreams might contain useful information came in 1895, when he dreamed about a patient
of his whose treatment had not yielded its expected results. By carefully making conscious associations with the
imagery in his dream, Freud was able to interpret the dream as representing an attempt by his mind to protect
itself from the disappointment generated by his inabilily lu heal his patient. From this experience, Freud concluded
that parts of the human mind worked outside of our conscious awareness, and that dreams had meaning. Freud believed that,
at the core, dreams represented a disguised fulfillment of suppressed or repressed wishes. This definition
of Freud's emphasizes two key points: first, that dreams are disguised, and second, that the wishes represented in
dreams are repressed. The logical conclusion Freud arrived at was that,by analyzing dreams,the meaning of the dream
could be lifted into conscious awareness, and the dreamer liberated from self-censoring repression. Freud concluded
that dreams were "the royal road to the unconscious," and suggested that they existed to keep our mental troubles
from waking us up at night. Freud further proposed that the interpretation of dreams might be used as a means to
understand, and ultimately treat, mental maladies. ln his effort to understand dreams, Freud developed psychoanalysis,
laying the foundation for ali modern psychotherapies.
A century later, few psychoanalysts believe dreams primarily exist to protect sleep, but the central idea, that
dreams are messages from a part of our mind outside our conscious control, is stronger than ever. And scientists
are finding that dreams provide many insights into the mind's inner workings.ln the last few years, brain-imaging
techniques have shawn what parts of the brain are active during dreaming.
Scientists are discovering that, when people dream, the parts of the brain involved in recognizing abjects and
processing images, and the areas involved in processing emotions and emotionalmemories, are as active as they are
when the mind is awake,which explains why dreams can fee! so realistic and powerful. And both experience and research
show that logical thought is almost completely absent from dreams,which helps to explain their irrational nature.
Freud's book marked the real beginnings of scientific research into the mind, and the development of truer
understanding of mental health problems. Without Freud, neurology might have remained limited to mapping neural
connections, and psychology might never have developed insights that every day save millions of people
from the misery of mental illness.
41. An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below.
Complete the summary by selecting THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some
answer choices do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage,
or are monor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.
Drag your answer choices to the spaces where they belong.To review the passage, click on View Text.
Sigmund Freud's contributions to our understanding of mental processes,especially regarding the role of dreams,
cannot be understated.
• Freud's revelation that dreams were
important began with his conscious
analysis of his own dreams.
• The history of human dream analysis
shows a progression from religious to
• The irrational nature of dreams is due
to the fact that the part of the brain that
contrals logic is inactive during sleep
• Freud's book, The Interpretation of
Dreams, was hotly debated within the
field of neurology.
• Freud's discovery that the mind preserves
memories and emotions outside of
conscious awareness formed the basis
of modern psychoanalysis.
• The scientific investigation of the
mind, as opposed to the brain, begins
42. Look at the ward prophetic in paragraph 2. In stating that dreams were considered prophetie,
the author means that they were considered :
- (A) holy
- (B) intuitive
- (C) predictive
- (D) inspirational
43. Look at the word maladies in paragraph 3. The word maladies in the passage is closest in meaning to
- (A) cures
- (B) illnesses
- (C) behaviors
- (D) explanatins
44. Look at the word itself in paragraph 3. The word itself in the passage refers to Freud's
- (A) mind
- (B) dream
- (C) disappointment
- (D) imagery
45. Look at the word which in paragraph 5.The word which in the passage refers to
- (A) the awake mind
- (B) the fact that parts of the brain remain active during dreams
- (C) the realistic feeling of dreams
- (D) the processing of images and emotions
There are many activities and habits that you can practice in order to improve your reading skills. The following
strategies review some of the most useful things you can do.
This strategy is first because it is the most important. Like many skills, including aU language skills,
reading improves with regular practice. Moreover, you can create a series of related benefits: The more you read,
the more you learn. The more you know, the better you can read.
Read more than just TOEFL practice exercises.
It is common for TOEFL students to do many practice tests and TOEFL exercises. Unfortunately,
this isn't the best way to improve general language ability. Exercises that are similar to those on the TOEFL,
such as multiple-choice questions, are tests. Doing tests or practice tests is necessary to practice certain test-taking
skills and strategies, but tests shouldn't be the only things you read (and listen to). Broaden your exposure to
English by reading magazines (serious magazines), newspapers, and current affairs websites.
Read about similar or related topics.
Learning new ideas is empowering and motivating. However, many TOEFL students study a wide variety of topics,
which limits how much they can eventually learn and remember later. Variety is necessary to keep you interested,
but you should focus your reading on a set of ideas, issues, or developments that you can follow.
Repetition is a powerful tool for learning. If you read many unrelated passages that never review or
expand on previous reading, then you ultimately forget a lot. However, if you read related articles or
passages that discuss ideas you've recently read about, then you can reinforce your earlier reading and
build on it. This helps you learn more
Books are created for just the kind of related, connected reading that can help you build your vocabulary
and expand your knowledge. Read nonfiction if possible since the TOEFL is a non-fiction exam. Although
creative artists can be the topic of a reading passage (and lecture), you are not expected toreador listen
to fiction or poetry on the exam.
Fiction and poetry are excellent ways to entertain yourself while reading, and it's important to have fun and
enjoy your reading practice. However, your main focus should be on non fiction. At the same time, don't attempt
to read too much, which can be discouraging and frustrating.Instead, focus on short discussions of a topic that
Read topics that interest you.
Too many students assume that TOEFL preparation must be boring because it is academic and advanced.
They might not bother to look for articles and books that are personally interesting or relevant. Although
your reading material must be informative a nd factual, it does not have to be boring to you personally.
Read topics that interest you.
Improve your background knowledge.
The TOEFL iBT is not a knowledge-based exam, which means that it isn't designed to test specific knowledge
about any particular field or area.The test is designed to be accessible to as many educated people as possible,
and the test writers try not to give any preference to any one field or area.
This does not change the fact, however, that you must still have an understanding of fundamental concepts
in world history, science, business, and the arts.The TOEFL is written to test your ability to study
in a college or university classroom, so you must possess the background knowledge necessary to study
at that level. For instance, basic atomic structure (an atom with a nucleus containing neutrons and protons,
and electrons circling around it) is a fundamental concept in chemistry, physics, and biology. Moreover,
the Periodic Table (a list of elements ordered by increasing atomic weight) is another basic piece
of background knowledge.
Having some background knowledge in an area simply means having some familiarity with the
terminology and concepts. You'll need to analyze your own abilities in certain academic areas.
There's no need to become an expert, but you should be familiar with the key concepts,
famous people, and major discoveries in a field.
Use an English language dictionary, but don't overuse it.
There is no way to avoid the fact that reading depends on vocabulary. Without a good vocabulary,
reading will always be difficult.As you read,you'll need to build your vocabulary. An English-English
dictionary is a vital part of that learning process.
First, it's important that you not use a dual language dictionary,
or a dictionary in bath English and your native language. Although these certainly have their uses,
they provide translation, not explanation in English.Since the TOEFL iBT is not a translation test,
don't learn the meaning of new words just in your own language. As you've seen in the strategies and
practice earlier, the vocabulary questions and paraphrasing aliinvolve English to English understanding.
Therefore, you need to learn how to explain and discuss ideas in English.
Second, don't overuse the dictionary. Don't go straight to the dictionary immediately every
time you find an unfamiliar ward. Try to learn the word in context of the text around it.
Record new vocabulary in a detailed journal.
Students often record the meaning or definition of new words in a simple list. This is good, but not good enough.
English words often have specifie relationships with other words or expressions. When students record only
a definition, they often can't use the new ward later because they don't know enough about the
right context or necessary structure.
Some words change meaning slightly or greatly depending on the subject, abject, or context.
The verb fight,for instance, could mean a physical confrontation for a boxer or soldier
(He fought hard but his opponent was tao good), or an emotional, psychological effort for a
cancer patient (He fought harfi, but the disease spread tao quickly and he died).You need to
notice the variation in meaning between different contexts.
Moreover, some words are combined with specifie words. The adjective interested is always paired with
the preposition in (I am interested in space travel). This regular pairing is called collocation, and
it's an important feature of many new words. Make sure to record these details by writing dovm a
sample sentence along with your definition. Although this might seem like too much work, you will
benefit immensely when you review your list later.