TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 34 from The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test

TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 34 from The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test

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: BASEBALL

P1: Baseball evolved from a number of different ball-and-stick games (paddle ball, trap ball, one-old-cat, rounders, and town ball) originating in England. As early as the American Revolution, it was noted that troops played “base ball” in their free time. In 1845 Alexander Cartwright formalized the New York Knickerbockers’ version of the game: a diamond shaped infield, with bases ninety feet apart, three strikes-you’re-out, batter out on a caught ball, three outs per inning, a nine man team. The “New York Game” spread rapidly, replacing earlier localized forms. From its beginnings, baseball was seen as a way of satisfying the recreational needs of an increasingly urban-industrial society. At its inception it was played by and for wealthy gentlemen. A club might consist of 40 members. The president would appoint two captains who would choose teams from among the members. Games were played on Monday and Thursday afternoons, with the losers often providing a lavish evening’s entertainment for the winners.

P2: During the 1850-70 period the game was changing, however, with increasing commercialism (charging admission), under-the-table payments to exceptional players, and gambling on the outcome of games. By 1868 it was said that a club would have their regular professional ten, an amateur first-nine, and their “muffins” (the gentlemanly duffers who once ran the game) Beginning with the first openly all-salaried team (Cincinnati’s Red Stocking Club) in 1869, the 1870-1890 period saw the complete professionalization of baseball, including formation of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players in 1871. The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs was formed in 1876, run by business-minded investors in joint-stock company clubs. The 1880s has been called Major League Baseball’s “Golden Age”. Profits soared, player’s salaries rose somewhat, a season of 84 games became one of 132, a weekly periodical “The Sporting News” came into being, wooden stadiums with double-deck stands replaced open fields, and the standard refreshment became hot dogs, soda pop and peanuts. In 1900 the Western League based in the growing cities of the Midwest proclaimed itself the American League.

1. What is the passage mainly about?
(A) the origins of baseball
(B) the commercialization of baseball
(C) the influence of the “New York Game” on baseball
(D) the development of baseball in the nineteenth century

2. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?
(A) the wealthy gentlemen who first played baseball, later needed to find another recreational opportunity if they did not want to mix with others or become a “muffin”
(B) hot dogs would not have become as popular as they did, without the professionalism and commercialism that developed in baseball
(C) the “New York Game” spread rapidly because it was better formalized
(D) business-minded investors were only interested in profits

3. The word “inception” in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to
(A) requirements
(B) beginning
(C) insistence
(D) rules

4. The word “lavish” in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to
(A) prolonged
(B) very generous
(C) grand
(D) extensive

5. Which of the following is true of the way the game was played by wealthy gentlemen at its inception
(A) a team might consist of 40 members
(B) the president would choose teams from among the members
(C) they didn’t play on weekends
(D) they might be called “duffers” if they didn’t make the first nine

6. According to the second paragraph, all of the following are true except
(A) commercialism became more prosperous
(B) the clubs are smaller
(C) outstanding players got extra income
(D) people gamed on the outcome of games

7. Which of the following is NOT mentioned as a feature of the 1880s “Golden Age”?
(A) wooden stadiums replaced open fields
(B) a weekly periodical commenced
(C) the National Association of Professional Baseball Players was formed
(D) profits soared

8. The word “somewhat” in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
(A) to a significant extent
(B) to a minor extent
(C) to not the same extent
(D) to some extent

9. The word “itself” in paragraph 2 refers to
(A) the Western League
(B) growing cities
(C) the Midwest
(D) the American League

10. Where in the passage does the author first mention payments to players
(A) […shaped infield, with bases ninety feet apart, three strikes-you’re-out, batter out on a caught ball, three outs per inning, a nine man team. The “New York Game” spread rapidly, replacing earlier localized forms. From its beginnings, baseball was seen as a way of satisfying the recreational needs of an increasingly urban-industrial society. At its inception it was played by and for wealthy gentlemen. A club might consist of 40 members. The …]
(B) [...president would appoint two captains who would choose teams from among the members. Games were played on Monday and Thursday afternoons, with the losers often providing a lavish evening’s entertainment for the winners. During the 1850-70 period the game was changing, however, with increasing commercialism (charging admission), under-the-table payments to exceptional players,…]
(C) […and gambling on the outcome of games. By 1868 it was said that a club would have their regular professional ten, an amateur first-nine, and their “muffins” (the gentlemanly duffers who once ran the game) Beginning with the first openly all-salaried team (Cincinnati’s Red Stocking Club) in 1869, the 1870-1890 period saw the complete professionalization of baseball, including formation of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players …]
(D) […in 1871. The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs was formed in 1876, run by business-minded investors in joint-stock company clubs. The 1880s has been called Major League Baseball’s “Golden Age”. Profits soared, player’s salaries rose somewhat, a season of 84 games became one of 132, a weekly periodical “The Sporting News” came into being, wooden stadiums with double-deck stands replaced open fields, and the standard refreshment became hot dogs, soda pop and peanuts. In 1900 the Western …]

Passage 2: Philosophy
P1: Philosophy in the second half of the 19th century was based more on biology and history than on mathematics and physics. Revolutionary thought drifted away from metaphysics and epistemology and shifted more towards ideologies in science, politics, and sociology. Pragmatism became the most vigorous school of thought in American philosophy during this time, and it continued the empiricist tradition of grounding knowledge on experience and stressing the inductive procedures of experimental science. The three most important pragmatists of this period were the American philosophers Charles Peirce (1839-1914), considered to be the first of the American pragmatists, William James (1842-1910), the first great American psychologist, and John Dewey (1859-1952), who further developed the pragmatic principles of Peirce and James into a comprehensive system of thought that he called “experimental naturalism”, or “instrumentalism”.

P2: Pragmatism was generally critical of traditional western philosophy, especially the notion that there are absolute truths and absolute values. In contrast, Josiah Royce (1855-1916), was a leading American exponent of idealism at this time, who believed in an absolute truth and held that human thought and the external world were unified. Pragmatism called for ideas and theories to be tested in practice, assessing whether they produced desirable or undesirable results. Although pragmatism was popular for a time in Europe, most agree that it epitomized the American faith in know-how and practicality, and the equally American distrust of abstract theories and ideologies. Pragmatism is best understood in its historical and cultural context. It arose during a period of rapid scientific advancement, industrialization, and material progress; a time when the theory of evolution suggested to many thinkers that humanity and society are in a perpetual state of progress. This period also saw a decline in traditional religious beliefs and values. As a result, it became necessary to rethink fundamental ideas about values, religion, science, community, and individuality. Pragmatists regarded all theories and institutions as tentative hypotheses and solutions. According to their critics, the pragmatist’s refusal to affirm any absolutes carried negative implications for society, challenging the foundations of society’s institutions.

11. What is this passage primarily about?
(A) the evolution of philosophy in the second half of the 19th century
(B) the three most important American pragmatists of the late 19th century
(C) the differences between pragmatism and traditional western philosophy
(D) American pragmatism

12. Which of the following is true
(A) idealism was an important part of the pragmatic approach
(B) “pragmatism” was also known as “traditional western philosophy”
(C) pragmatism continued the empiricist tradition
(D) pragmatism is best understood independently of its historical and cultural context

13. Which of the following is true, according to the passage
(A) absolute truths and values are notions in western traditional philosophy
(B) John Dewey was the first great American psychologist
(C) the empiricist tradition is part of traditional western philosophy
(D) revolutionary thought was not pragmatic

14. The phrase “at this time” in paragraph 2 refers to
(A) at the time traditional western philosophy was dominant in America
(B) at the time pragmatism was popular in Europe
(C) 1855-1916
(D) the second half of the 19th century

15. According to the passage, pragmatism was more popular in America than Europe because
(A) Americans had greater acceptance of the theory of evolution
(B) it epitomized the American faith in know-how and practicality
(C) Europe had a more traditional society based on a much longer history
(D) industrialization and material progress was occurring at a faster pace in America at that time

16. The word “ abstract” in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
(A) unclear
(B) not concrete
(C) new
(D) old

17. The word “perpetual” in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
(A) challenging
(B) continuous
(C) declining
(D) secular

18. The word “fundamental” in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
(A) new
(B) personal
(C) essential
(D) threatening

19. All of the following are true EXCEPT
(A) revolutionary thought shifted more towards ideologies in science, politics and sociology
(B) pragmatists regarded all theories and institutions as tentative hypotheses and solutions
(C) Josiah Royce was not a pragmatist
(D) pragmatism was based on the theory of evolution

20. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?
(A) Josiah Royce considered Charles Peirce to be challenging the foundations of society’s institutions
(B) Charles Peirce considered Josiah Royce to be too influenced by the theory of evolution
(C) John Dewey would not have developed his system of thought called “experimental naturalism” or “instrumentalism” without the pioneering work of Charles Peirce and William James
(D) Josiah Royce was a revolutionary thinker

Passage 3: EYES

P1: The human criterion for perfect vision is 20/20 for reading the standard lines on a Snellen eye chart without a hitch. The score is determined by how well you read lines of letters of different sizes from 20 feet away. But being able to read the bottom line on the eye chart does not approximate perfection as far as other species are concerned. Most birds would consider us very visually handicapped. The hawk, for instance, has such sharp eyes that it can spot a dime on the sidewalk while perched on top of the Empire State Building. It can make fine visual distinctions because it is blessed with one million cones per square millimeter in its retina. And in water, humans are farsighted, while the kingfisher, swooping down to spear fish, can see well in both the air and water because it is endowed with two foveae – areas of the eye, consisting mostly of cones, that provide visual distinctions. One foveae permits the bird, while in the air, to scan the water below with one eye at a time. This is called monocular vision. Once it hits the water, the other fovea joins in, allowing the kingfisher to focus both eyes, like binoculars, on its prey at the same time. A frog’s vision is distinguished by its ability to perceive things as a constant motion picture. Known as “bug detectors”, a highly developed set of cells in a frog’s eyes responds mainly to moving objects. So, it is said that a frog sitting in a field of dead bugs wouldn’t see them as food and would starve.

P2: The bee has a “compound” eye, which is used for navigation. It has 15,000 facets that divide what it sees into a pattern of dots, or mosaic. With this kind of vision, the bee sees the sun only as a single dot, a constant point of reference. Thus, the eye is a superb navigational instrument that constantly measures the angle of its line of flight in relation to the sun. A bee’s eye also gauges flight speed. And if that is not enough to leave our 20/20 “perfect vision” paling into insignificance, the bee is capable of seeing something we can’t – ultraviolet light. Thus, what humans consider to be “perfect vision” is in fact rather limited when we look at other species. However, there is still much to be said for the human eye. Of all the mammals, only humans and some primates can enjoy the pleasures of color vision.

21. What does the passage mainly discuss?
(A) limits of the human eye
(B) perfect vision
(C) different eyes for different uses
(D) eye variation among different species

22. The word “criterion” in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to
(A) standard
(B) need
(C) expectation
(D) rule

23. The phrase “without a hitch” in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to
(A) unaided
(B) without glasses
(C) with little hesitation
(D) easily

24. According to the passage, why might birds and animals consider humans very visually handicapped?
(A) humans can’t see very well in either air or water
(B) human eyes are not as well suited to our needs
(C) the main outstanding feature of human eyes is color vision
(D) human eyes can’t do what their eyes can do

25. The word “that” in paragraph 1 refers to
(A) foveae
(B) areas of the eye
(C) cones
(D) visual distinctions

26. According to the passage, “bug detectors” are useful for
(A) navigation
(B) seeing moving objects
(C) avoiding bugs when getting food
(D) avoiding starvation

27. According to the passage, which of the following is NOT true
(A) kingfishers have monocular vision
(B) bees see patterns of dots
(C) hawks eyes consist mostly of cones that can allow it to scan with one eye at a time
(D) humans are farsighted in water

28. Where in the passage does the author discuss that eyes are useful for avoiding starvation?
(A) […birds would consider us very visually handicapped. The hawk, for instance, has such sharp eyes that it can spot a dime on the sidewalk while perched on top of the Empire State Building. It can make fine visual distinctions because it is blessed with one million cones per square millimeter in its retina. And in water, humans are farsighted, while the kingfisher, swooping down to spear fish, can see well in both the air and water because it…]
(B) […is endowed with two foveae – areas of the eye, consisting mostly of cones, that provide visual distinctions. One foveae permits the bird, while in the air, to scan the water below with one eye at a time. This is called monocular vision. Once it hits the water, the other fovea joins in, allowing the kingfisher to focus both eyes, like binoculars, on its prey at the same time. A frog’s vision is distinguished by its ability to perceive things as a constant…]
(C) […motion picture. Known as “bug detectors”, a highly developed set of cells in a frog’s eyes responds mainly to moving objects. So, it is said that a frog sitting in a field of dead bugs wouldn’t see them as food and would starve. The bee has a “compound” eye, which is used for navigation. It has 15,000 facets that divide what it sees into a pattern of dots, or mosaic. With this kind of vision, the bee…]
(D) […sees the sun only as a single dot, a constant point of reference. Thus, the eye is a superb navigational instrument that constantly measures the angle of its line of flight in relation to the sun. A bee’s eye also gauges flight speed. And if that is not enough to leave our 20/20 “perfect vision” paling into insignificance, the bee is capable of seeing something we can’t – ultraviolet light. Thus, what humans consider to be “perfect vision” is in fact rather limited when we look at other species. However, there is still much to be said for the human eye…]

29. The phrase “paling into insignificance” in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
(A) fading away
(B) of less importance
(C) without colored light
(D) being reduced to little importance

30. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?
(A) eyes have developed differently in each species
(B) bees have the most complex eye
(C) humans should not envy what they don’t need
(D) perfect vision is not perfect

TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 34 from The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test
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