TOEFL Reading Test 1

TOEFL® Reading Test 1


Чтобы правильно ответить на вопросы в TOEFL Reading, Вам нужно будет прочитать и понять весь заданный отрывок и, самое главное, постараться различать основные и второстепенные идеи, которые в нем приведены.
После того, как Вы прочтете отрывок, Вам будет предложено тематическое предложение, в котором суммируется данный отрывок. Вам будет дано пять вариантов ответа, и Вы должны выбрать три, которые суммируют самые важные идеи этого отрывка. Порядок, в котором вы выбираете идеи, не имеет значения. Частичный кредит возможен по этим вопросам, поэтому, если Вы выберете один неверный ответ, вы все равно можете заработать один балл очко (возможны два).

Существует две ловушки, в которые Вы можете попасть здесь. Первой и наиболее очевидной является выбор варианта ответа, который содержит неверную информацию, или вообще не указанную в этом отрывке. Другой - выбрать второстепенную, а не основную идею. Попробуйте пример ниже, чтобы понять, что я имею в виду.



Directions: Read the passage below and answer the question.

Paleontologists have argued for a long time that the demise of the dinosaurs was caused by climatic alterations associated with slow changes in the positions of continents and seas resulting from plate tectonics. Off and on throughout the Cretaceous (the last period of the Mesozoic era, during which dinosaurs flourished), large shallow seas covered extensive areas of the continents. Data from diverse sources, including geochemical evidence preserved in seafloor sediments, indicate that the Late Cretaceous climate was milder than today’s. The days were not too hot, nor the nights too cold. The summers were not too warm, nor the winters too frigid. The shallow seas on the continents probably buffered the temperature of the nearby air, keeping it relatively constant.

At the end of the Cretaceous, the geological record shows that these seaways retreated from the continents back into the major ocean basins. No one knows why. Over a period of about 100,000 years, while the seas pulled back, climates around the world became dramatically more extreme: warmer days, cooler nights; hotter summers, colder winters. Perhaps dinosaurs could not tolerate these extreme temperature changes and became extinct.

If true, though, why did cold-blooded animals such as snakes, lizards, turtles, and crocodiles survive the freezing winters and torrid summers? These animals are at the mercy of the climate to maintain a livable body temperature. It’s hard to understand why they would not be affected, whereas dinosaurs were left too crippled to cope, especially if, as some scientists believe, dinosaurs were warm-blooded. Critics also point out that the shallow seaways had retreated from and advanced on the continents numerous times during the Mesozoic, so why did the dinosaurs survive the climatic changes associated with the earlier fluctuations but not with this one? Although initially appealing, the hypothesis of a simple climatic change related to sea levels is insufficient to explain all the data.

Dissatisfaction with conventional explanations for dinosaur extinctions led to a surprising observation that, in turn, has suggested a new hypothesis. Many plants and animals disappear abruptly from the fossil record as one moves from layers of rock documenting the end of the Cretaceous up into rocks representing the beginning of the Cenozoic (the era after the Mesozoic). Between the last layer of Cretaceous rock and the first layer of Cenozoic rock, there is often a thin layer of clay. Scientists felt that they could get an idea of how long the extinctions took by determining how long it took to deposit this one centimeter of clay and they thought they could determine the time it took to deposit the clay by determining the amount of the element iridium (Ir) it contained.

Ir has not been common at Earth’s surface since the very beginning of the planet’s history. Because it usually exists in a metallic state, it was preferentially incorporated in Earth’s core as the planet cooled and consolidated. Ir is found in high concentrations in some meteorites, in which the solar system’s original chemical composition is preserved. Even today, microscopic meteorites continually bombard Earth, falling on both land and sea. By measuring how many of these meteorites fall to Earth over a given period of time, scientists can estimate how long it might have taken to deposit the observed amount of Ir in the boundary clay. These calculations suggest that a period of about one million years would have been required. However, other reliable evidence suggests that the deposition of the boundary clay could not have taken one million years. So the unusually high concentration of Ir seems to require a special explanation.

In view of these facts, scientists hypothesized that a single large asteroid, about 10 to 15 kilometers across, collided with Earth, and the resulting fallout created the boundary clay. Their calculations show that the impact kicked up a dust cloud that cut off sunlight for several months, inhibiting photosynthesis in plants; decreased surface temperatures on continents to below freezing; caused extreme episodes of acid rain; and significantly raised long-term global temperatures through the greenhouse effect. This disruption of food chain and climate would have eradicated the dinosaurs and other organisms in less than fifty years.

Summary Question

An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below.

Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences 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.

Write your answer choices in the spaces where they belong. You can either write the letter of your answer choice or you can copy the sentence.

  • The reason for dinosaurs’ extinction is unknown and continues to fuel debate among scientists.
  •  Answer Choices

(A) Extreme changes in daily and seasonal climates preceded the retreat of the seas back into the major ocean basins.

(B) A simple climate change does not explain some important data related to the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous.

(C) The retreat of the seaways at the end of the Cretaceous has not been fully explained.

(D) The abruptness of extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous and the high concentration of Ir found in clay deposited at that time have fueled the development of a new hypothesis.

(E) Some scientists hypothesize that the extinction of the dinosaurs resulted from the effects of an asteroid collision with Earth.

(F) Boundary clay layers like the one between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic are used by scientists to determine the rate at which an extinct species declined.


The correct answers are B, D, and E. A is not true: the extreme changes in climate occurred at the same time as the retreat of the seas. C is true, but the retreat of the seaways is not as important in the passage as the ideas directly related to the dinosaurs’ demise. F is probably true, but the passage doesn’t deal with the Mesozoic period: it deals with the Cenozoic and Cretaceous periods.



toefl reading test 1


The Creators of Grammar

No student of a foreign language needs to be told that grammar is complex.  By changing word sequences and by adding a range of auxiliary verbs and suffixes, we are able to communicate tiny variations in meaning.  We can turn a statement into a question, state whether an action has taken place or is soon to take place, and perform many other word tricks to convey subtle differences in meaning.  Nor is this complexity inherent to the English language.  All languages, even those of so-called 'primitive' tribes have clever grammatical components.  The Cherokee pronoun system, for example, can distinguish between 'you and I', 'several other people and I' and 'you, another person and I'.  In English, all these meanings are summed up in the one, crude pronoun 'we'.  Grammar is universal and plays a part in every language, no matter how widespread it is.  So the question which has baffled many linguists is - who created grammar?

At first, it would appear that this question is impossible to answer.  To find out how grammar is created, someone needs to be present at the time of a language's creation, documenting its emergence.  Many historical linguists are able to trace modern complex languages back to earlier languages, but in order to answer the question of how complex languages are actually formed, the researcher needs to observe how languages are started from scratch.  Amazingly, however, this is possible.

Some of the most recent languages evolved due to the Atlantic slave trade.  At that time, slaves from a number of different ethnicities were forced to work together under colonizer's rule.  Since they had no opportunity to learn each other's languages, they developed a make-shift language called a pidgin.  Pidgins are strings of words copied from the language of the landowner.  They have little in the way of grammar, and in many cases it is difficult for a listener to deduce when an event happened, and who did what to whom.  [A] Speakers need to use circumlocution in order to make their meaning understood.  [B] Interestingly, however, all it takes for a pidgin to become a complex language is for a group of children to be exposed to it at the time when they learn their mother tongue.  [C] Slave children did not simply copy the strings of words uttered by their elders, they adapted their words to create a new, expressive language.  [D] Complex grammar systems which emerge from pidgins are termed creoles, and they are invented by children.

Further evidence of this can be seen in studying sign languages for the deaf.  Sign languages are not simply a series of gestures; they utilise the same grammatical machinery that is found in spoken languages.  Moreover, there are many different languages used worldwide. The creation of one such language was documented quite recently in Nicaragua. Previously, all deaf people were isolated from each other, but in 1979 a new government introduced schools for the deaf.  Although children were taught speech and lip reading in the classroom, in the playgrounds they began to invent their own sign system, using the gestures that they used at home.  It was basically a pidgin.  Each child used the signs differently, and there was no consistent grammar.  However, children who joined the school later, when this inventive sign system was already around, developed a quite different sign language.  Although it was based on the signs of the older children, the younger children's language was more fluid and compact, and it utilised a large range of grammatical devices to clarify meaning.  What is more, all the children used the signs in the same way.  A new creole was born.

Some linguists believe that many of the world's most established languages were creoles at first.  The English past tense –ed ending may have evolved from the verb 'do'.  'It ended' may once have been 'It end-did'.  Therefore it would appear that even the most widespread languages were partly created by children.  Children appear to have innate grammatical machinery in their brains, which springs to life when they are first trying to make sense of the world around them.  Their minds can serve to create logical, complex structures, even when there is no grammar present for them to copy.

[start-answers-block type=2]

In paragraph 1, why does the writer include information about the Cherokee language?

[answer="To show how simple, traditional cultures can have complicated grammar structures#To show how English grammar differs from Cherokee grammar#To prove that complex grammar structures were invented by the Cherokees#To demonstrate how difficult it is to learn the Cherokee language"]

What can be inferred about the slaves' pidgin language?

[answer="It was difficult to understand, even among slaves.#It contained complex grammar.#It was based on many different languages.#It was created by the land-owners."]

All the following sentences about Nicaraguan sign language are true EXCEPT:

[answer="The language is based on speech and lip reading.#The language has been created since 1979.#The language incorporates signs which children used at home.#The language was perfected by younger children."]

In paragraph 3, where can the following sentence be placed?
It included standardised word orders and grammatical markers that existed in neither the pidgin language, nor the language of the colonizers.


'From scratch' in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to:

[answer="from the very beginning#in simple cultures#by copying something else#by using written information"]

Which sentence is closest in meaning to the highlighted sentence?
Grammar is universal and plays a part in every language, no matter how widespread it is.

[answer="All languages, whether they are spoken by a few people or a lot of people, contain grammar.#Some languages include a lot of grammar, whereas other languages contain a little.#Languages which contain a lot of grammar are more common that languages that contain a little.#The grammar of all languages is the same, no matter where the languages evolved."]

All of the following are features of the new Nicaraguan sign language EXCEPT:

[answer="New gestures were created for everyday objects and activities.#All children used the same gestures to show meaning.#The meaning was clearer than the previous sign language.#The hand movements were smoother and smaller."]

Which idea is presented in the final paragraph?

[answer="English was probably once a creole.#The English past tense system is inaccurate.#Linguists have proven that English was created by children.#Children say English past tenses differently from adults."]

Look at the word 'consistent' in paragraph 4. This word could best be replaced by which of the following?