Test TOEFL Reading Comprehension Online Gratis
Time: 55 minutes
This section of the test measures your ability to comprehend written materials.
Directions: This section contains several passages, each followed by a number of questions. Read the passages and, for each question, choose the one best answer-(A), (B), (C), or (D)-based on what is stated in the passage or on what can be inferred from the passage. Then fill in the space on your answer sheet that matches the letter of the answer that you have selected.
Read the following passage:
Like mammals, birds claim their own territories. A
bird’s territory may be small or large. Some birds
claim only their nest and the area right around it,
while others claim far larger territories that include
their feeding areas. Gulls, penguins, and other waterfowl (line) (5)
nest in huge colonies, but even in the biggest colonies,
each male and his mate have small territories of their
own immediately around their nests.
Male birds defend their territory chiefly against other
males of the same species. In some cases, a warning call (line 10)
or threatening pose may be all the defense needed, but in
other cases, intruders may refuse to leave peacefully.
What is the main topic of this passage?
(A) Birds that live in colonies
(B) Birds’ mating habits
(C) The behavior of birds
(D) Territoriality in birds
The passage mainly concerns the territories of birds. You should fill in (D) on your answer sheet.
According to the passage, male birds defend their territory primarily against
(A) female birds
(B) birds of other species
(C) males of their own species
The passage states that “Male birds defend their territory chiefly against other males of the same species.” You should fill in (C) on your answer sheet. As soon as you understand the directions, begin work on this section.
The Sun today is a yellow dwarf star. It is fueled by
thermonuclear reactions near its center that convert hydrogen to
helium. The Sun has existed in its present state for about 4
billion, 600 million years and is thousands of times larger than
the Earth. (Line 5)
By studying other stars, astronomers can predict what the rest
of the Sun’s life will be like. About 5 billion years from now,
the core of the Sun will shrink and become hotter. The surface
temperature will fall. The higher temperature of the center will
increase the rate of thermonuclear reactions. The outer regions of (line 10)
the Sun will expand approximately 35 million miles, about the
distance to Mercury, which is the closest planet to the Sun. The
Sun will then be a red giant star. Temperatures on the Earth will
become too hot for life to exist.
Once the Sun has used up its thermonuclear energy as a red giant, (line 15)
it will begin to shrink. After it shrinks to the size of the Earth,
it will become a white dwarf star. The Sun may throw off huge
amounts of gases in violent eruptions called nova explosions as it
changes from a red giant to a white dwarf.
After billions of years as a white dwarf, the Sun will have used (line 20)
up all its fuel and will have lost its heat. Such a star is called
a black dwarf. After the Sun has become a black dwarf, the Earth
will be dark and cold. If any atmosphere remains there, it will
have frozen onto the Earth’s surface.
1. What is the primary purpose of this passage?
(A) To alert people to the dangers posed by the Sun
(B) To discuss conditions on Earth in the far future
(C) To present a theory about red giant stars
(D) To describe changes that the Sun will go through
2. The word “fueled” in line 1 is closest in meaning to ___
3. The word “state” in line 3 is closest in meaning to ___
The time when humans crossed the Arctic land bridge from
Siberia to Alaska seems remote to us today, but actually
represents a late stage in the prehistory of humans, an era when
polished stone implements and bows and arrows were already being
used, and dogs had already been domesticated. (line 5)
When these early migrants arrived in North America, they found
the woods and plains dominated by three types of American
mammoths. These elephants were distinguished from today’s
elephants mainly by their thick, shaggy coats and their huge,
upward-curving tusks. They had arrived on the continent hundreds (line 10)
of thousands of years before their human followers. The
wooly mammoth in the North, the Columbian mammoth in middle North
America. and the imperial mammoth of the South, together with
their distant cousins the mastodons, dominated the land. Here, as
in the Old World, there is evidence that humans hunted these (line 15)
elephants, as shown by the numerous spear points found with
Then, at the end of the Ice Age, when the last glaciers had
retreated, there was a relatively sudden and widespread
extinction of elephants. In the New World, both mammoths and (line 20)
mastodons disappeared. In the Old World, only Indian and African
Why did the huge, seemingly successful mammoths disappear?
Were humans connected with their extinction? Perhaps, but at
that time, although they were cunning hunters, humans were still (line 25)
widely scattered and not very numerous. It is difficult to see
how they could have prevailed over the mammoth to such an extent.
4. Where were the imperial mammoths the dominant type of mammoth?
(A) In Alaska
(B) In the central portion of North America
(C) In the southern part of North America
(D) In South America
5. It can be inferred that when humans crossed into the New World, they___
(A) had previously hunted mammoths in Siberia
(B) had never seen mammoths before
(C) brought mammoths with them from the Old World
(D) soon learned to use dogs to hunt mammoths
6. Which of the following could best substitute for the word “remains” in line 17?
(D) Spear points
7. The word “seemingly” in line 23 is closest in meaning to___
8. The passage supports which of the following conclusions about mammoths?
(A) Humans hunted them to extinction.
(B) The freezing temperatures of the Ice Age destroyed their food supply.
(C) The cause of their extinction is not definitely known.
(D) Competition with mastodons caused them to become extinct.
9. The word “cunning” in line 25 is closest in meaning to ___
10. Which of the following is NOT true about prehistoric humans at the time of the mammoths’ extinction?
(A) They were relatively few in number.
(B) They knew how to use bows and arrows.
(C) They were concentrated in a small area.
(D) They were skilled hunters.
11. Which of the following types of elephants does the author discuss in the most detail in the passage?
(A) The mastodon
(B) The mammoth
(C) The Indian elephant
(D) The African elephant
Just before and during World War I, a
number of white musicians came to Chicago from New Orleans playing in an idiom they had learned from blacks in that city. Five of them formed what eventually became known as the Original Dixieland Band. Theymoved to New York in 1917 and won fame there. That year they (line 5)
recorded the first phonograph record identified as jazz.
The first important recording by black
musicians was made in
Chicago in 1923 by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, a group that featured some of the foremost jazz musicians of the time, ncluding trumpet player Louis Armstrong. Armstrong’s dynamic (line 10) trumpet style became famous worldwide. Other band members had
played in Fate Marable’s band, which traveled up and down the
Mississippi River entertaining passengers on riverboats.
The characteristics of this early type of
jazz, known as
Dixieland jazz, included a complex interweaving of melodic lines (line 15)among the cornet or trumpet, clarinet, and trombone, and a
steady chomp-chomp beat provided by the rhythm section, which
included the piano, bass, and drums. Most bands used no written
notations, preferring arrangements agreed on verbally.
Improvisation was an indispensable element. Even bandleaders such (line 20)as Duke Ellington, who provided his musicians with written
arrangements, permitted them plenty to freedom to improvise when
In the late 1920’s, the most influential
jazz artists in
Chicago were members of small bands such as the Wolverines. In (line 25) New York, the trend was toward larger groups. These groups
played in revues, large dance halls, and theaters. Bands would
become larger still during the next age of jazz, the Swing era.
12. What is the main topic of this passage?
(A) The early history of jazz
(B) The music of World War I
(C) The relationship of melody and rhythm in jazz
(D) The New York recording industry in the 1920’s
13. The word “idiom” in line 2 is
closest in meaning to ___
14. The musicians who made the earliest
jazz recordings were originally from ___
(A) New Orleans
(C) New York
15. When was the first important recording
by black jazz musicians made?
(A) In 1917
(B) In 1923
(C) In the late 1920’s
(D) In the early 1930’s
16. According to the passage, Louis
Armstrong was a member of which of the following?
(A) The Original Dixieland Band
(B) Fate Marable’s riverboat band
(C) King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band
(D) The Wolverines
17. The word “steady” in line 17
is closest in meaning to …
18. According to the passage, which of the
following instruments helped provide the beat for Dixieland jazz?
(A) The cornet
(B) The piano
(C) The trombone
(D) The clarinet
19. Duke Ellington is given as an example
of a bandleader who ___
(A) could not read music
(B) did not value improvisation
(C) discouraged solo performances
(D) used written arrangements
20. Which of the following phrases would be
LEAST likely to be applied to Dixieland jazz?
(A) Relatively complex
(B) Highly improvisational
(C) Rhythmic and melodic
(D) Carefully planned
21. According to the passage, who were the
(A) A band that played in large dance halls
(B) A New York group
(C) A Swing band
(D) A small group
22. The author provides the most detailed
description of early jazz music in the ___
(A) first paragraph
(B) second paragraph
(C) third paragraph
(D) fourth paragraph
23. The paragraph following this one most
likely deals with ___
(A) the music of small bands
(B) the Swing era
(C) music that influenced Dixieland Jazz
(D) other forms of music popular in the 1920’s
A pioneering study by Donald Appleyard made the astounding discovery that a sudden increase in the volume of traffic throughan area affects people in the way that a sudden increase in crimedoes. Appleyard observed this by finding three blocks of housesin San Francisco that looked much alike and had the same kind of (line 5)
middle-class and working-class residents, with approximately the
same ethnic mix. The difference was that only 2,000 cars a day
ran down Octavia Street (LIGHT street, in Appleyard’s
terminology) while Gough Street (MEDIUM street) was used by 8,000
cars daily, and Franklin Street (HEAVY street) had around 16,000 (line 10)cars a day. Franklin Street often had as many cars in an hour as
Octavia Street had in a day.
Heavy traffic brought with it danger,
noise, fumes, and soot,
directly, and trash secondarily. That is, the cars didn’t bring
in much trash, but when trash accumulated, residents seldom (line 15)picked it up. The cars, Appleyard determined, reduced the amount
of territory residents felt responsible for. Noise was a constant
intrusion into their homes. Many Franklin Street residents
covered their doors and windows and spent most of their
time in the rear of their houses. Most families with children had (line 20)already left.
Conditions on Octavia Street were much
picked up trash. They sat on their front steps and chatted with
neighbors. They had three times as many friends and twice
as many acquaintances as the people on Franklin. (line 25)On Gough Street, residents said that the old feeling of
community was disappearing as traffic increased. People were
becoming more and more preoccupied with their own lives. A
number of families had recently moved, and more were considering
it. Those who were staying expressed deep regret at the (line 30)destruction of their community.
24. The word “astounding” in line
1 is closest in meaning to
25. The three streets mentioned in this passage
are different in that ___
(A) they are in different cities
(B) the residents are of different ethnic backgrounds
(C) they have varying amounts of traffic
(D) the income levels of the residents vary considerably
26. Approximately how many cars use Franklin
27. All of the following are direct results
of heavy traffic EXCEPT
(A) increased amounts of trash
(B) greater danger to residents
(C) more pollution
(D) more vibrations
28. The author’s main purpose in the second
paragraph is to ___
(A) discuss the problems of trash disposal
(B) point out the disadvantages of heavy traffic
(C) propose an alternate system of transportation
(D) suggest ways to cope with trafflc problems
29. On which street is there the most
(A) Octavia Street
(B) Gough Street
(C) Franklin Street
(D) There is no significant social interaction on any of the three streets.
30. The word “chatted” in line 23
is closest in meaning to
31. Which of the following is NOT a
statement you would expect from a resident of Gough Street?
(A) People on this street are unhappy because the neighborhood is deteriorating.
(B) People on this street think mostly of themselves.
(C) People on this street have more and more space for which they feel responsible.
(D) A number of people are preparing to leave this street.
32. In what order does the author present
detailed discussions of the three streets?
(A) LIGHT, MEDIUM, HEAVY
(B) HEAVY, MEDIUM, LIGHT
(C) HEAVY, LIGHT, MEDIUM
(D) LIGHT, HEAVY, MEDIUM
Rachel Carson was born in 1907 in
She studied biology at college, and zoology at Johns Hopkins
University, where she received her master’s degree in 1933. In
1936, she was hired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where
she worked most of her life. (line 5)
Carson’s first book, Under the Sea Wind, was
1941. It received excellent reviews, but sales were poor until
it was reissued in 1952. In that year she published The Sea
Around Us, which provided a fascinating look beneath the ocean’s
surface, emphasizing human history as well as geology and marine (line 10)biology. Her imagery and language had a poetic quality. Carson
consulted no fewer than 1,000 printed sources. She had voluminous
correspondence and frequent discussions with experts in the
field. However, she always realized the limitations of her
non-technical readers. (Line 15)
In 1962 Carson published Silent Spring, a
book that sparked
considerable controversy. It proved how much harm was done by
the uncontrolled, reckless use of insecticides. She detailed how
they poison the food supply of animals, kill birds and fish, and
contaminate human food. At the time, spokesmen for the chemical (Line 20)
industry mounted personal attacks against Carson and issued
propaganda to indicate that her findings were flawed. However,
her work was vindicated by a 1963 report of the President’s
Science Advisory Committee.
33. The passage mainly discusses Rachel
Carson’s work ___
(A) as a researcher
(B) at college
(C) at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(D) as a writer
34. According to the passage, what did
Carson primarily study at Johns Hopkins University?
35. When she published her first book,
Carson was closest to the age of ___
36. It can be inferred from the passage
that in 1952, Carson’s book Under the Sea
(A) was outdated
(B) became more popular than her other books
(C) was praised by critics
(D) sold many copies
37. Which of the following was NOT
mentioned in the passage as a source of information for The Sea Around Us?
(A) Printed matter
(B) Talks with experts
(C) A research expedition
(D) Letters from scientists
38. Which of the following words or phrases
is LEAST accurate in describing The Sea
(A) Highly technical
39. The word “reckless” in line
18 is closest in meaning to ___
40. According to the passage, Silent Spring
is primarily ___
(A) an attack on the use of chemical preservatives in food
(B) a discussion of the hazards insects pose to the food supply
(C) a warning about the dangers of misusing insecticides
(D) an illustration of the benefits of the chemical industry
41. The word “flawed” in line 22
is closest in meaning to ___
42. Why does the author of the passage
mention the report of the President’s Science Advisory Committee (lines 23-24)?
(A) To provide an example of government propaganda
(B) To support Carson’s ideas
(C) To indicate a growing government concern with the environment
(D) To validate the chemical industry’s claims
What is meant by the term economic resources? In general,
these are all the natural, man-made, and human resources that go
into the production of goods and services. This obviously covers
a lot of ground: factories and farms, tools and machines,
transportation and communication facilities, all types of natural (Line 5)
resources, and labor. Economic resources can be broken down into
two general categories: property resources-land and capital
and human resources-labor and entrepreneurial skills.
What do economists mean by land? Much more
than the non
economist. Land refers to all natural resources that are usable (Line 10)
in the production process: arable land, forests, mineral and oil
deposits, and so on. What about capital? Capital goods are all
the man-made aids to producing, storing, transporting, and
distributing goods and services. Capital goods differ from
consumer goods in that the latter satisfy wants directly, while (Line 15)
the former do so indirectly by facilitating the production of
consumer goods. It should be noted that capital as defined here
does not refer to money. Money, as such, produces nothing
The term labor refers to the physical and mental talents of
humans used to produce goods or services with the exception of a (Line 20)
certain set of human talents, entrepreneurial skiIIs, which will
be considered separately because of their special significance).
Thus the services of a factory worker or an office worker, a
ballet dancer or an astronaut all fall under the general heading of labor.
43. What is the author’s main purpose in
writing this passage?
(A) To explain the concept of labor
(B) To criticize certain uses of capital
(C) To contrast capital goods and consumer goods
(D) To define economic resources
44. In lines 3-4, the author uses the
expression “This obviously covers a lot of ground … ” to indicate
(A) the factories and farms discussed in the passage are very large
(B) economic resources will be discussed in great depth
(C) the topic of economic resources is a broad one
(D) land is an important concept in economics
45. When non-economists use the term
“land,” its definition ___
(A) is much more general than when economists use it
(B) is much more restrictive than when economists use it
(C) changes from place to place
(D) includes all types of natural resources
46. The word “arable” in line 11
is closest in meaning to ___
47. The phrase “the latter” in
line 15 refers to ___
(C) capital goods
(D) consumer goods
48. Which of the following could be
considered a capital good as defined in the passage?
(A) A railroad
(C) A coal deposit
(D) Human skills
49. The word “heading” in line 24
is closest in meaning to ___
50. The skills of all the following could
be considered examples of labor, as defined in the passage, EXCEPT ___
(A) artists and scientists
(B) workers who produce services, not goods
(C) office workers
THIS IS THE END OF THE SAMPLE READING COMPREHENSION SECTION.
IF YOU FINISH BEFORE TIME IS CAllED.
GO BACK AND CHECK YOUR WORK IN THIS SECTION ONLY.