Reading Practice Test 62 from The Collection of TOEFL Reading Comprehension

TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 62 from The Collection of TOEFL Reading Comprehension

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Reading Directions: This section measures your ability to understand academic passages in English.

The Reading section is divided into separately timed parts.

Most questions are worth 1 point, but the last question for each passage is worth more than 1 point. The directions for the last question indicate how many points you may receive. You will now begin the Reading section. There are three passages in the section. You should allow 20 minutes to read each passage and answer the questions about it. You should allow 60 minutes to complete the entire section.

Passage 1: 

Before the 1850’s the United States had a number of small colleges, most of them dating from colonial days. They were small, church-connected institutions whose primary concern was to shape the moral character of their students.

Throughout Europe, institutions of higher learning had developed, bearing the ancient name of university. In Germany a different kind of university had developed. The German university was concerned primarily with creating and spreading knowledge, not morals. Between midcentury and the end of the 1800’s, more than nine thousand young Americans, dissatisfied with their training at home, went to Germany for advanced study. Some of them returned to become presidents of venerable colleges-Harvard, Yale, Columbia-and transform them into modern universities. The new presidents broke all ties with the churches and brought in a new kind of faculty. Professors were hired for their knowledge of a subject, not because they were of the proper faith and had a strong arm for disciplining students. The new principle was that a university was to create knowledge as well as pass it on, and this called for a faculty composed of teacher – scholars. Drilling and learning by rote were replaced by the German method of lecturing. in which the professor’s own research was presented in class. Graduate training leading to the Ph. D, an ancient German degree signifying the highest eve: of advanced scholarly attainment, was introduced. With the establishment of the seminar system, graduate students learned to question, analyze, and conduct their own research.

At the same time, the new university greatly expanded in size and course offerings, breaking completely out of the old, constricted curriculum of mathematics, classics, rhetoric, and music. The president of Harvard pioneered the elective system, by which students were able to choose their own courses of study. The notion of major fields of study emerged. The new goal was to make the university relevant to the real pursuits of the world. Paying close heed to the practical needs of society, the new universities trained men and women to work at its tasks, with engineering students being the most characteristic of the new regime. Students were also trained as economists, architects, agriculturalists, social welfare workers, and teachers.

1. The word “this” in paragraph 2 refers to which of the following?
(A) Creating and passing on knowledge
(B) Drilling and learning by rote
(C) Disciplining students
(D) Developing moral principles

2. According to the passage, the seminar system encouraged students to
(A) discuss moral issues
(B) study the classics, rhetoric, and music
(C) study overseas
(D) work more independently

3. The word “constricted” in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to which of the following
(A) Mandatory
(B) Limited
(C) Challenging
(D) Competitive

4. It can be inferred from the passage that before 1850, all of the following were characteristic of higher education EXCEPT
(A) the elective system
(B) drilling
(C) strict discipline
(D) rote learning

5. Those who favored the new university would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements?
(A) Learning is best achieved through discipline and drill.
(B) Shaping the moral character of students should be the primary goal
(C) Higher education should prepare students to contribute to society.
(D) Teachers should select their students’ courses.

6. Where does the author mention why many students decided to study abroad?
(A) … Before the 1850’s the United States had a number of small colleges, most of them dating from colonial days. They were small, church-connected institutions whose primary concern was …
(B) …Between midcentury and the end of the 1800’s, more than nine thousand young Americans, dissatisfied with their training at home, went to Germany for advanced study. Some of them …
(C) …music. The president of Harvard pioneered the elective system, by which students were able to choose their own courses of study. The notion of major fields of study emerged. The new goal …
(D) …engineering students being the most characteristic of the new regime. Students were also trained as economists, architects, agriculturalists, social welfare workers, and teachers…

Passage 2: 

Most of our planet is covered by water. There is so much of it that if all the mountains of the world were leveled and their debris dumped into the oceans, the surface of the globe would be entirely submerged beneath water to a depth of several thousand meters. The great basins between the continents, in which all this water lies, are themselves more varied topographically than the surface of the land. The highest terrestrial mountain, Mount Everest, would fit into the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, with its peak a kilometer beneath the surface. On the other hand, the biggest mountains of the sea are so huge that they rise above the surface of the water to form chains of islands. Mauna Kea, the highest of the Hawaiian volcanoes, measured from its base on the ocean floor, is more than 10,000 meters high and so can claim to be highest mountain on the planet.

The seas first formed when the Earth began to cool soon after its birth and hot water vapor condensed on its surface. They wore further fed by water gushing through volcanic vents from the interior of the Earth. The water of these young seas was not pure, like rainwater, but contained significant quantities of chlorine, bromine, iodine, boron, and nitrogen, as well as traces of many rarer substances. Since then other ingredients have been added. As continental rocks weather and erode, they produce salts that are carried in solution down to the sea by rivers. So, over millennia, the sea has been getting saltier and saltier.

Life first appeared in this chemically rich water some 3.5 billion years ago. We know from fossils that the first organisms were simple single-celled bacteria and algae. Organisms very like them still exist in the sea today. They are the basis of all marine life, indeed. Were it not for these algae, the seas would still be completely sterile and the land uninhabited.

1. The word “debris” in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to
(A) fragments
(B) decay
(C) composition
(D) foundation

2. The writer mentions Mount Everest in line 5 in order to
(A) show how comparatively small underwater mountains are
(B) reveal the proportions of the underwater terrain
(C) explain how volcanoes are formed
(D) identify the largest mountain on the planet

3. The word “they” in paragraph 2 refers to
(A) ingredients
(B) rocks
(C) substances
(D) salts

4. According to the passage, which of the following has contributed to the sea becoming increasingly salty?
(A) Water vapor condensing on the surface of the sea
(B) Single- celled organisms decaying in the sea
(C) Products of erosion being transported to the sea
(D) Sterile rainwater falling into the sea

5. Which of the following is mentioned as part of the foundation of all life in the sea?
(A) Algae
(B) Fossils
(C) Seaweed
(D) Rainwater

6. Where in the passage does the author mention the processes that led to the creation of the seas on Earth?
(A) … Most of our planet is covered by water. There is so much of it that if all the mountains of the world were leveled and their debris dumped into the oceans, the surface of the globe would be entirely submerged beneath water to a depth of several thousand meters. The great basins …
(B)…than the surface of the land. The highest terrestrial mountain, Mount Everest, would fit into the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, with its peak a kilometer beneath the surface. On the other hand, the biggest mountains of the sea are so huge that they rise above the …
(C) …The seas first formed when the Earth began to cool soon after its birth and hot water vapor condensed on its surface. They wore further fed by water gushing through volcanic vents from the interior of the Earth. The water of these young seas was not pure, like rainwater, but …
(D) …traces of many rarer substances. Since then other ingredients have been added. As continental rocks weather and erode, they produce salts that are carried in solution down to the sea by rivers. So, over millennia, the sea has been getting saltier and saltier….

Passage 3: 

The most striking single fact about chimpanzees is the flexibility of their social life, the lack of any rigid form of organization. It represents about as far a departure from the baboon type of organization as one can find among the higher primates, and serves to emphasize the great variety of primate adaptations. Chimpanzees are more human than baboons, or rather they jibe better with the way we like to picture ourselves, as free – wheeling individuals who tend to be unpredictable, do not take readily to any form of regimentation, and are frequently charming. (Charm is relatively rare among baboons.)

Two researchers have described what they found during more than eight months spent among chimpanzees in their natural habitat, the forest: “We were quite surprised to observe that there is no single distinct social unit in chimpanzee society. Not only is there no ‘family’ or ‘harem’ organization; neither is there a ‘troop’ organization-that is to say, no particular chimpanzees keep permanently together. On the contrary, individuals move about at will alone or in small groups best described as bands, which sometimes form into large aggregations. They leave their associates if they want to, and join up with new ones without conflict.

The general practice is best described as “easy come, easy go,” although there are certain group-forming tendencies. As a rule chimpanzees move about in one of four types of band: adult males only; mothers and offspring and occasionally a few other females; adults and adolescents of both sexes, but no mothers with young; and representatives of all categories mixed together. The composition of bands may change a number of times during the course of a day as individuals wander off and groups split or combine with other groups. On the other hand, certain individuals prefer one another’s company. One of the researchers observed that four males often roamed together over a four-month period, and mothers often associated with their older offspring.

1. The author’s main purpose is to explain
(A) how chimpanzees mate
(B) the differences between baboons and chimpanzees
(C) why chimpanzees live in the forest
(D) the relationships among chimpanzees

2. The author implies that the social behavior of baboons is
(A) predictable
(B) practical
(C) political
(D) primitive

3. According to the passage, the researchers were surprised that chimpanzees had such
(A) temporary associations
(B) humanlike families
(C) violent conflicts
(D) large harems

4. In paragraph 3, the phrase “easy come, easy go” could best be replaced by
(A) immobile
(B) nonchalant
(C) functional
(D) aggressive

5. According to the passage, the membership of a chimpanzee band may change several times in a
(A) day
(B) week
(C) month
(D) year

6. Where in the passage does the author concede that individual chimpanzees may have a preference for certain companions?
(A) …lack of any rigid form of organization. It represents about as far a departure from the baboon type of organization as one can find among the higher primates, and serves to emphasize the great variety of primate adaptations. Chimpanzees are more human than baboons, or rather …
(B) …there is no single distinct social unit in chimpanzee society. Not only is there no ‘family’ or ‘harem’ organization; neither is there a ‘troop’ organization-that is to say, no particular chimpanzees keep permanently together. On the contrary, individuals move about at will alone …
(C) …certain group-forming tendencies. As a rule chimpanzees move about in one of four types of band: adult males only; mothers and offspring and occasionally a few other females; adults and …
(D) …hand, certain individuals prefer one another’s company. One of the researchers observed that four males often roamed together over a four-month period, and mothers often associated with …

Reading Practice Test 62 from The Collection of TOEFL Reading Comprehension
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