TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 19 from Barron’s TOEFL iBT

TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 19 from Barron’s TOEFL iBT

The Reading section tests your ability to understand reading passages like those in college textbooks. The passages are about 700 words in length.

This is the short format for the Reading section. On the short format, you will read three passages. After each passage, you will answer 12-14 questions about it. You may take notes while you read, but notes are not graded. You may use your notes to answer the questions.

Some passages may include a word or phrase that is underlined in blue. Click on the word or phrase to see a glossary definition or explanation.

Choose the best answer for multiple-choice questions. Follow the directions on the page or on the screen for computer-assisted questions. Most questions are worth 1 point, but the last question in each passage is worth more than 1 point.

The Reading section is divided into parts. Click on Next to go to the next question. Click on Back to return to previous questions. You may return to previous questions for all of the passages in the same part, but after you go to the next part, you will not be able to return to passages in the previous part. Be sure that you have answered all of the questions for the passages in each part before you dick on Next at the end of the passage to move to the next part.

You can dick on Review to see a chart of the questions you have answered and the questions you have not answered n each part. From this screen, you can return to the question you want to answer in the part that is open.

You will have 20 minutes to read each passage and answer the questions for that passage. You will have 60 minutes to complete all of the passages and answer all of the questions on the short format. A dock on the screen will show you how much time you have to complete the Reading section.

Reading 1 “Exotic and Endangered Species”

When you hear someone bubbling enthusiastically about an exotic species, you can safely bet the speaker isn’t an ecologist. This is a name for a resident of an established community that was deliberately or accidentally moved from its home range and became established elsewhere. Unlike most imports, which can’t take hold outside their home range, an exotic species permanently insinuates itself into a new community.

Sometimes the additions are harmless and even have beneficial effects. More often, they make native species endangered species, which by definition are extremely vulnerable to extinction. Of all species on the rare or endangered lists or that recently became extinct, close to 70 percent owe their . precarious existence or demise to displacement by exotic species. Two examples are included here to illustrate the problem.

During the 1800s, British settlers in Australia just couldn’t bond with the koalas and kangaroos, so they started to import familiar animals from their homeland. In 1859, in what would be the start of a wholesale disaster, a northern Australian landowner imported and then released two dozen wild European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Good food and good sport hunting—that was the idea. An ideal rabbit habitat with no natural predators was the reality.

Six years later, the landowner had killed 20,000 rabbits and was besieged by 20,000 more. The rabbits displaced livestock, even kangaroos. Now Aus¬tralia has 200 to 300 million hippityhopping through the southern half of the country. They overgraze perennial grasses in good times and strip bark from shrubs and trees during droughts. You know where they’ve been; they trans¬form grasslands and shrublands into eroded deserts. They have been shot and poisoned. Their warrens have been plowed under, fumigated, and dynamited. Even when all-out assaults reduced their population size by 70 percent, the rapidly reproducing imports made a comeback in less than a year. Did the construction of a 2,000-mile-long fence protect western Australia? No. Rabbits made it to the other side before workers finished the fence.

In 1951, government workers introduced a myxoma virus by way of mildly infected South American rabbits, its normal hosts. This virus causes myxomatosis. The disease has mild effects on South American rabbits that coevolved with the virus but nearly always had lethal effects on O. cuniculus. Biting insects, mainly mosquitoes and fleas, quickly transmit the virus from host to host. Having no coevolved defenses against the novel virus, the European rabbits died in droves. But, as you might expect, natural selection has since favored rapid growth of populations of O. cuniculus resistant to the virus.

In 1991, on an uninhabited island in Spencer Gulf, Australian researchers released a population of rabbits that they had injected with a calcivirus. The rabbits died quickly and relatively painlessly from blood clots in their lungs, hearts, and kidneys. In 1995, the test virus escaped from the island, possibly on insect vectors. It has been killing 80 to 95 percent of the adult rabbits in Aus¬tralian regions. At this writing, researchers are now questioning whether the calcivirus should be used on a widespread scale, whether it can jump bound¬aries and infect animals other than rabbits (such as humans), and what the long-term consequences will be.

A vine called kudzu (Pueraria lobata) was deliberately imported from Japan to the United States, where it faces no serious threats from herbivores, pathogens, or competitor plants. In temperate parts of Asia, it is a well-behaved legume with a well-developed root system. It seemed like a good idea to use it to control erosion on hills and highway embankments in the southeastern United States. [A] With nothing to stop it, though, kudzu’s shoots grew a third of a meter per day. Vines now blanket streambanks, trees, telephone poles, houses, and almost everything else in their path. Attempts to dig up or bum kudzu are futile. Grazing goats and herbicides help, but goats eat other plants, too, and herbicides contaminate water supplies. [B] Kudzu could reach the Great Lakes by the year 2040.

On the bright side, a Japanese firm is constructing a kudzu farm and processing plant in Alabama. The idea is to export the starch to Asia, where the demand currently exceeds the supply. [C] Also, kudzu may eventually help reduce logging operations. [D] At the Georgia Institute of Technology, researchers report that kudzu might become an alternative source for paper.

1. Based on the information in paragraph 1, which of the following best explains the term “exotic species”?

A. Animals or plants on the rare species list

B. A permanent resident in an established community

C. A species that has been moved to a different community

D. An import that fails to thrive outside of its home range

2. The word itself in the passage refers to

A. most imports

B. new community

C. home range

D. exotic species

3. The word bond in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. move

B. connect

C. live

D. fight

4. According to the author, why did the plan to introduce rabbits in Australia fail?

A. The rabbits were infected with a contagious virus.
B. Most Australians did not like the rabbits.
C. No natural predators controlled the rabbit population.

D. Hunters killed the rabbits for sport and for food.

5. All of the following methods were used to control the rabbit population in Australia

A. They were poisoned.
B. Their habitats were buried.
C. They were moved to deserts.
D. They were surrounded by fences.

6. Why does the author mention “mosquitoes and fleas” in paragraph 5?

A. Because they are the origin of the myxoma virus

B. Because they carry the myxoma vims to other animals

C. Because they die when they are infected by myxoma

D. Because they have an immunity to the myxoma virus

7. According to paragraph 6, the Spencer Gulf experiment was dangerous because

A. insect populations were exposed to a virus

B. rabbits on the island died from a virus

C. the virus may be a threat to humans

D. some animals are immune to the virus

8. The word consequences in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. stages

B. advantages

C. resuits

D. increases

9. Why does the author give details about the “kudzu farm” and “processing plant” in paragraph 8?

A. To explain why kudzu was imported from abroad

B. To argue that the decision to plant kudzu was a good one

C. To give a reason for kudzu to be planted in Asia

D. To offer partial solutions to the kudzu problem

10. The word exceeds in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. surpasses

B. destroys ,
C. estimates

D. causes

11. Which of the following statements most accurately reflects the author’s opinion about exotic species?

A. Exotic species should be protected by ecologists.
B. Importing an exotic species can solve many problems.
C. Ecologists should make the decision to import an exotic species.
D. Exotic species are often disruptive to the ecology.

12. Look at the four squares [ A] , [B], [C] [D] that show where the following sentence could be inserted in the passage.

Asians use a starch extract from kudzu in drinks, herbal medicines, and candy.

Where could the sentence best be added?

Click on a square [■] to insert the sentence in the passage.

13. Directions: An introduction for a short summary of the passage appears below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that mention the most important points in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not included in the passage or are minor points from the passage. This question is worth 2 points-

Exotic species often require containment because they displace other species when they become established in a new environment.

Answer Choices

A. Rabbits were able to cross a fence 2,000 miles long that was constructed to keep them out of western Australia.
B. Methods to control exotic species include fences, viruses, burning, herbicides, natural predators, and harvesting.
C. Rabbits that were introduced in Australia and kudzu which was introduced in the United States, are examples of species that caused problems.

D. Researchers may be able to develop material from the kudzu vine that will be an alternative to wood pulp paper.
E. The problem is that exotic species make native species vulnerable to extinction.
F. A virus that is deadly to rabbits may have serious effects for other animals.

Solution for Reading Practice Test 19


Reading 2 “Paleolithic Art”

From the moment in 1879 that cave paintings were discovered at Altamira, scholars have wondered why the hunter-artists of the Old Stone Age decided to cover the walls of dark caverns with animal images. Various answers have been given, including that they were mere decoration, but this theory cannot explain the narrow range of subjects or the inaccessibility of many of the paintings. In fact, the remoteness and difficulty of access of many of the cave paintings and the fact they appear to have been used for centuries are precisely what have led many scholars to suggest that the prehistoric hunters attributed magical proper¬ties to the images they painted. According to this argument, by confining animals to the surfaces of their cave walls, the artists believed they were bringing the beasts under their control. Some have even hypothesized that rituals or dances were performed in front of the images and that these rites served to improve the hunters’ luck. Still others have stated that the painted animals may have served as teaching tools to instruct new hunters about the character of the various species they would encounter or even to serve as targets for spears.

In contrast, some scholars have argued that the magical purpose of the paint¬ings and reliefs was not to facilitate the destruction of bison and other species. Instead, they believe prehistoric painters created animal images to assure the survival of the herds Paleolithic peoples depended on for their food supply and for their clothing. [A] A central problem for both the hunting-magic and food-creation theories is that the animals that seem to have been diet staples of Old Stone Age peoples are not tho^e most frequently portrayed. [B]

Other scholars have sought to reconstruct an elaborate mythology based on the cave paintings, suggesting that Paleolithic humans believed they had animal ancestors. Still others have equated certain species with men and others with women and also found sexual symbolism in the abstract signs that sometimes accompany the images. [C] Almost all of these theories have been discredited over time, and art historians must admit that no one knows the intent of these paintings. [D] In fact, a single explanation for ail Paleolithic murals, even paintings similar in subject, style, and composition (how the motifs are arranged on the surface), is unlikely to apply universally. The works remain an enigma—and always will—because before the invention of writing, no contemporaneous explanations could be recorded.

That me paintings did have meaning to the Paleolithic peoples who made and observed them cannot, however, be doubted. In fact, signs consisting of checks, dots, squares, or other arrangements of lines often accompany the pictures of animals.

Representations of human hands are also common. At Pech-Merle in France, painted hands accompany representations of spotted horses. These and the majority of painted hands at other sites are “negative,” that is, the painter placed one hand against the wall and then brushed or blew or spat pigment around it. Occasionally, the painter dipped a hand in the pigment and then pressed it against the wall, leaving a “positive” imprint. These handprints, too, must have had a purpose. Some researchers have considered them “signatures” of cult or community members or, less likely, of individual artists. But like everything else in Paleolithic art, their meaning is unknown.

The mural (wall) paintings at Pech-Merle also allow some insight into the reason certain subjects may have been chosen for a specific location. One of the horses may have been inspired by the rock formation in the wall surface resembling a horse’s head and neck. Old Stone Age painters and sculptors fre¬quently and skillfully used the caves’ naturally irregular surfaces to help give the illusion of real presence to their forms. Altamira bison, for example, were
painted over bulging rock surfaces. In fact, prehistorians have observed that bison and cattle appear almost exclusively on convex surfaces, whereas nearly all horses and hands are painted on concave surfaces. What this signifies has yet to be determined.

14. According to paragraph 1, the cave art was difficult to find because the artists

A. were probably trying to keep their work a secret from their tribe

B. could have begun their painting while they were confined in the caves

C. may have chosen a location deep in the caves to hold ceremonies

D. had to practice before they made images that more people could see

15. According to paragraph 1, Paleolithic people may have used cave art for all of the follow¬ing purposes EXCEPT

A. People may have danced in front of the images.
B. Hunters could have used the figures for target practice.
C. Leaders might have performed magical rituals in the caves.
D. Animals may have been kept in the caves near the drawings.

16. The word access in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. admission

B. meaning

C. site

D. research

17. The word facilitate in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. specify

B. permit

C. assist

D. discover

18. The word those in the passage refers to

A. peoples

B. staples

C. animals

D. theories

19. The word discredited in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. not attentive

B. not believed

C. not hopeful

D. not organized

20. Which of the sentences below best expresses the information in the highlighted statement in the passage? The other choices change the meaning or leave out important information.

A. It is true that the paintings were meaningful to the Paleolithic peoples.
B. Doubtless, the Paleolithic peoples were the ones who made the paintings.
C. There is no doubt about the meaning of the Paleolithic paintings.
D. Paintings that had meaning for the Paleolithic peoples are doubtful.

21. The author explains the term “composition” by

A. giving an example

B. providing a definition

C. contrasting it with motifs

D. referring to art historians

22. According to paragraph 5, why did artists leave a positive imprint of their hands on cave paintings?

A. It represents human beings in the cave paintings.

B. It could have been a way for them to sign their work.
C. It was a hunter’s handprint among the herd of animals.
D. it might have been a pleasing image without much meaning.

23. According to paragraph 6, why do scholars believe that the artists selected certain surfaces for their work?

A. The stone was easy to carve because it was very soft.
B. The animals in hunting grounds nearby provided inspiration.
C. The artists used the natural formations to create realistic shapes.
D. The location of the caves had a magical significance to them.

24. Which of the following statements most accurately reflects the author’s opinion about the purpose of cave paintings?

A. The cave paintings were part of a hunting ritual.
B. Artists were honoring their animal ancestors in cave paintings.
C. The exact purpose of cave paintings is not known.
D. Decoration was probably the main reason for painting in caves.

25. Look at the four squares [■ ] that show where the following sentence could be inserted in the passage.

At Altamira, for example, fauna) remains show that red deer, not bison, were eaten.

Where could the sentence best be added?
Click on a square [■] to insert the sentence in the passage.

26. Directions: An introduction for a short summary of the passage appears below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that mention the most important points in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not included in the passage or are minor points from the passage. This question is worth 2 points.

The purpose of the art discovered on cave walls is a topic of discussion among scholars.




Answer Choices

A. The surface of the walls in the caves may have inspired some of the subjects, and handprints may have been signatures.
B. It is possible that the paintings were created as part of a magical ritual either to guarantee a good hunt or an abundance of animals.
C. At Altamira, excavations indicate that the protein diet of the inhabitants was probably deer rather than bison.
D. Perhaps the artists were paying homage to their animal ancestors by recreating their mythology in the pictures.
E. The art may be more recent than first assumed when the caves were originally discovered in the late 1800s.
F. It has been documented that almost all of the horses and hands were painted on concave surfaces at Pech-Merie.

Solution for Reading Practice Test 19

Reading 3 “Group Decision Making”

Advantages of Group Decision Making

Committees, task forces, and ad hoc groups are frequently assigned to identify and recommend decision alternatives or, in some cases, to actually make important decisions. In essence, a group is a tool that can focus the experience and expertise of several people on a particular problem or situation. Thus, a group offers the advantage of greater total knowledge. Groups accumulate more information, knowledge, and facts than individuals and often consider more alternatives. Each person in the group is able to draw on his or her unique education, experience, insights, and other resources and contribute those to the group. The varied backgrounds, training levels, and expertise of group members also help overcome tunnel vision by enabling the group to view the problem in more than one way.

Participation in group decision making usually leads to higher member satisfaction. People tend to accept a decision more readily and to be better satisfied with it when they have participated in making that decision. In addition, people will better understand and be more committed to a decision in which they have had a say than to a decision made for them. As a result, such a decision is more likely to be implemented successfully.

Disadvantages of Group Decision Making

While groups have-many potential benefits, we all know that they can also be frustrating. [A] One obvious disadvantage of group decision making is the time required to make a decision. [B] The time needed for group discussion and the associated compromising and selecting of a decision alternative can be considerable. [C] Time costs money, so a waste of time becomes a disadvantage if a decision made by a group could have been made just as effectively by an individual working alone. [D] Consequently, group decisions should be avoided when speed and efficiency are the primary considerations.

A second disadvantage is that the group discussion may be dominated by an individual or subgroup. Effectiveness can be reduced if one individual, such as the group leader, dominates the discussion by talking too much or being closed to other points of view. Some group leaders try to control the group and provide the major input. Such dominance can stifle other group members’ willingness to participate and could cause decision alternatives to be ignored or overlooked- All group members need to be encouraged and permitted to con¬tribute.

Another disadvantage of group decision making is that members may be less concerned with the group’s goals than with their own personal goals. They may become so sidetracked in trying to win an argument that they forget about group performance. On the other hand, a group may try too hard to compromise and consequently may not make optimal decisions. Sometimes this stems from the desire to maintain friendships and avoid disagreements. Often groups exert tremendous social pressure on individuals to conform to established or expected patterns of behavior. Especially when they are dealing with important and controversial issues, interacting groups may be prone to a phenomenon called groupthink.

Groupthink is an agreement-at-any-cost mentality that results in ineffective group decision making. It occurs when groups are highly cohesive, have highly directive leaders, are insulated so they have no clear ways to get objective information, and—because they lack outside information—have little hope that a better solution might be found than the one proposed by the leader or other influential group members. These conditions foster the illusion that the group is invulnerable, right, and more moral than outsiders. They also encourage the development of self-appointed “mind guards” who bring pressure on dissenters. In such situations, decisions—often important decisions—are made without consideration of alternative frames or alternative options. It is difficult to imagine conditions more conducive to poor decision making and wrong decisions.

Recent research indicates that groupthink may also result when group members have preconceived ideas about how a problem should be solved. Under these conditions, the team may not examine a full range of decision alternatives, or it may discount or avoid information that threatens its preconceived choice.

27. In paragraph 1, the author states that groups frequently

A. generate more options than individuals *
B. agree on the way that the problem should be approached
C. make recommendations instead of decisions
D. are chosen to participate because of their experience

28. According to paragraph 2, why do group decisions tend to be more successful?

A. When more people are involved, there are more ideas from which to choose.
B. People are more accepting of decisions when they have been involved in them.

C. Implementing ideas is easier with a large number of people to help.

D. people like to be participants in decisions that are successful-.

29. The word considerable in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. valuable

B. significant

C. predictable

D. unusual

30. The word Consequently in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. About now
B. Without doubt
C. Before long
D. As a result

31. According to paragraph 3, group discussion can be problematic because

A. individual decisions are always more effective

B. it takes more time for a group to arrive at a decision

C. it costs more to pay all of the group members

D. interaction among group members can be a problem

32. What can be inferred about a group leader?

A. A good leader will provide goals for the group to consider and vote on.

B. The purpose of the leader is to facilitate the participation of all of the members.

C. A group leader should be the dominant member of the group.

D. Expectations for group behavior must be presented by the group leader.

33. The word controversial in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. accepted

B. debatable

C. recent

D. complicated

34. According to paragraph 5, how does the author explain compromise in a group?

A. The group may try to make a better decision by compromising.
B. A compromise may be the best way to encourage groupthink.
C. Compromising may allow the group members to remain friends.
D. To compromise can help one member to reach a personal goal.

35. The phrase the one in the passage refers to

A. solution

B. information

C. hope

D. leader

36. What does the term “mind guards” refer to?

A. People who conform to the group opinion without thinking

B. Group members who try to force others to agree with the group

C. Members of the group who are the most ethical and influential

D. Those people who disagree without offering an alternative view

37. According to paragraph 6, why are alternative solutions often rejected in groupthink?

A. Dissenters exert pressure on the group.
B. Group leaders are not very creative.
C. Information is not made available.
D. The group is usually right.

38. Look at the four squares [■ ] that show where the following sentence could be inserted in the passage.

In fact, the traditional group is prone to a variety of difficulties.

Where could the sentence best be added?
Click on a square [■] to insert the sentence in the passage.

39. Directions: Complete the table by matching the phrases on the left with the headings on the right. Select the appropriate answer choices and drag them to the advantages or dis-advantages of group decision making. TWO of the answer choices will NOT be used. This question is worth 4 points.

To delete an answer choice, click on it. To see the passage, click on View Text.

Answer Choices

A. Sometimes a strong leader will dominate the group.
B. Sometimes personal objectives dictate the outcome.
C. Most of the time people are happier with the decision.
D. It is usually possible to gather more data.
E. It will probably take much longer to arrive at a decision.
F. The group may tend to make decisions based on friendship.
G. Discussion is required before a decision is made.
H. Implementation is often much easier after the decision.
I. A group member may disagree with the majority opinion.



Solution for Reading Practice Test 19

Reading 4 “Four Stages of Planetary Development”

Planetary Development

The planet Earth has passed through four-stages of planetary development. All terrestrial planets pass through these same stages to some degree, but some planets evolved further or were affected in different ways.

The Four Stages

The first stage of planetary evolution is differentiation, the separation of material according to density. Earth now has a dense core and a lower-density crust, and that structure must have originated very early in its history. Differentiation would have occurred easily if Earth were molten when it was young. Two sources of energy could have heated Earth. First, heat of formation was released by in-falling material. A meteorite hitting Earth at high velocity converts most of its energy of motion into heat, and the impacts of a large number of meteorites would have released tremendous heat. If Earth formed rapidly, this heat would have accumulated much more rapidly than it could leak away, and Earth was probably molten when it formed. A second source of heat requires more time to develop. The decay of radioactive elements trapped in the Earth releases heat gradually; but, as soon as Earth formed, that heat began to accumulate and helped melt Earth. That would have helped the planet differentiate.

While Earth was still in a molten state, meteorites could leave no trace, but in the second stage in planetary evolution, cratering, the young Earth was battered by meteorites that pulverized the newly forming crust. The largest meteorites blasted out crater basins hundreds of kilometers in diameter. As the solar nebula cleared, the amount of debris decreased, and after the late heavy bombardment, the level of cratering fell to its present low level. Although meteorites still occasionally strike Earth and dig craters, cratering is no longer the dominant influence on Earth’s geology. As you compare other worlds with Earth, you will discover traces of this intense period of cratering, on every old surface in the solar system.

The third stage, flooding, no doubt began while cratering was still intense. The fracturing of the crust and the heating produced by radioactive decay allowed molten rock just below the crust to well up through fissures and flood the deeper basins. You will find such flooded basins with solidified lava flows on other worlds, such as the moon, but all traces of this early lava flooding have been destroyed by later geological activity in Earth’s crust. On Earth, flooding continued as the atmosphere cooled and water fell as rain, filling the deepest basins to produce the first oceans. [A] Notice that on Earth flooding involves both lava and water, a circumstance that we will not find on most worlds. [B]

The fourth stage, slow surface evolution, has continued for the iast 3.5 billion years or more. [C] Earth’s surface is constantly changing as sections of crust slide over each other, push up mountains, and shift continents. [D] Almost all traces of the first billion years of Earth’s geology have been destroyed by the active crust and erosion.

Earth as a Planet

All terrestrial planets pass through these four stages, but some have emphasized one stage over another, and some planets have failed to progress fully through the four stages. Earth is a good standard for comparative planetology because every major process on any rocky world in our solar system is represented in some form on Earth.

Nevertheless, Earth is peculiar in two ways. First, it has large amounts of liquid water on its surface. Fully 75 percent of its surface is covered by this liquid; no other planet in our solar system is known to have such extensive liquid water on its surface. Water not only fills the oceans but also evaporates into the atmosphere, forms clouds, and then falls as rain. Water falling on the continents flows downhill to form rivers that flow back to the sea, and in so doing, the water produces intense erosion. You will not see such intense erosion on most worlds. Liquid water is, in fact, a rare material on most planets. Your home planet is special in a second way. Some of the matter on the surface of this world is alive, and a small part of that living matter is aware. No one is sure how the presence of living matter has affected the evolution of Earth, but this process seems to be totally missing from other worlds in our solar system. Furthermore, the thinking part of life on Earth, humankind, is actively altering our planet.

meteorite: a mass that falls to the surface of a planet from space planetology: the study of planets

40. Why does the author mention the “Earth” in paragraph 1?

A. To explain the stages in planetary development for the Earth in detail

B. To contrast the evolution of the Earth with that of other planets

C. To demonstrate that the Earth passed through similar stages to those of most planets

D. To give an example of exploration of the terrestrial planets

41. The word its in the passage refers to

A. meteorite

B. Earth

C. velocity

D. motion

42. Which of the sentences below best expresses the information in the highlighted statement in the passage? The other choices change the meaning or leave out important information.

A. The Earth may have been liquid because the heat collected faster than it dissipated if the formation took place quickly.
B. Because of the rapid formation of the Earth, the crust took a long time to cool before it became a solid.
C. The liquid core of the Earth was created when the planet first formed because the heat was so high and there was little cooling. .
D. The cooling caused the Earth to form much more quickly as it met with the intense heat of the new planet.

43. The word pulverized in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. melted into liquid

B. broken into small parts

C. frozen very hard

D. washed very clean

44. The word dominant in the passage is closest in meaning to –

A. most limited

B. most likely

C. most rapid

D. most important

45. What can be inferred about radioactive matter?

A. It is revealed by later activity. .
B. It generates intense heat.
C. It is an important stage.
D. It floods the planet’s crust.

46. According to paragraph 4, how were the oceans formed?

A. Ice gouged out depressions in the Earth.
B. Rain filled the craters made by meteorites.
C. Earthquakes shifted the continents.
D. Molten rock and lava flooded the basins.

47. What is the author’s opinion of life on other planets?

A. She does not know whether life is present on other planets.
B. She is certain that no life exists on any planet except Earth.
C. She does not express an opinion about life on other planets.
D. She thinks that there is probably life on other planets.

48. According to the passage, which stage occurs after cratering?

A. Flooding
B. Slow surface evolution

C. Differentiation

E. Erosion

49. All of the following are reasons why the Earth is a good model of planetary development for purposes of comparison with other planets EXCEPT

A. The Earth has gone through all four stages of planetary evolution.
B. Life on Earth has affected the evolution in a number of important ways.
C. All of the fundamental processes on terrestrial planets have occurred on Earth.
D. There is evidence of extensive cratering both on Earth and on all other planets.

50. The word peculiar in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. different

B. better

C. interesting
D. new

51. Look at the four squares [ ■ ] that show where the following sentence could be inserted in the passage.

At the same time, moving air and water erode the surface and wear away geological features.

Where could the sentence best be added? .
Click on a square [■] to insert the sentence in the passage.

52. Directions: An introduction for a short summary of the passage appears below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that mention the most important points in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not included in the passage or are minor points from the passage. This question is worth 2 points.

There are four stages of development for the terrestrial planets.



Answer Choices

A. All rocky planets go through different stages in their evolution because of variations in composition.
B. In spite of several unique features, the Earth is a good example of how a planet proceeds through the stages.
C. Fewer meteorites fall to Earth now than in the earlier stages of the planet’s evolutionary history.
D. About three quarters of the surface of the Earth is submerged by the water in its oceans.
E. Differentiation and cratering are early stages that are influenced by in-falling meteorites.
F. Flooding includes both lava and water, while slow surface evolution causes shifting in’the crust.

Solution for Reading Practice Test 19

Reading 5 “Speech and Writing ”

One of the basic assumptions of modern linguistics is that speech is primary and writing is secondary. The most immediate manifestation of language is speech and not writing. Writing is simply the representation of speech in another physical medium. Spoken language encodes thought into a physically transmittable form, while writing, in turn, encodes spoken language into a physically preservable form. Writing is a three-stage process: thinking of an idea, expressing it in mental grammar, and then transferring it to written form. All units of writing, whether letters or characters, are based on units of speech, i.e., words, sounds, or syllables. When linguists study language, therefore, they take the spoken language as their best source of data and their object of description except in instances of languages like Latin for which there are no longer any speakers.

You may think that with the advent of so many “instant messaging” pro¬grams, writing can now be as immediate as speech. But it is important to remember that even though the written form can be nearly immediate these days, there is still an extra step between conceptualizing the message you want to communicate and the reception of that idea, if you have to write it— regardless of whether you do so longhand or type it into a computer.

There are several reasons for maintaining that speech is primary and writing is secondary. [A] Writing is a later historical development than spoken language. [B] Archeological evidence indicates that writing was first utilized in Sumer, that is, modern-day Iraq, about 6,000 years ago.[C] As far as physical and cultural anthropologists can tell, spoken language has probably been used by humans for hundreds of thousands of years. [D]

Writing does not exist everywhere that spoken language does. This seems hard to imagine in our highly literate society, but the fact is that there are still many communities in the world where a written form of language is not used. Even in those cultures using a writing system, there are individuals who fail to learn the written form of their language. In fact, the majority of the Earth’s inhabitants are illiterate, though quite capable of spoken communication. However, no society uses only a written language with no spoken form.

Writing must be taught, whereas spoken language is acquired automatically. All children, except children with serious learning disabilities, naturally learn to speak the language of the community in which they are brought up. They acquire the basics of their native language before they enter school, and even if they never attend school, they become fully competent speakers. Writing systems vary in complexity, but regardless of their level of sophistication, they must all be taught.

Neurolinguistic evidence (studies of the brain in action during language use) demonstrates that the processing and production of written language is overlaid on the spoken language centers in the brain. Spoken language involves several distinct areas of the brain; writing uses these areas and others as well.

Despite all this evidence, it is a widely held misconception that writing is more perfect than speech. To many people, writing somehow seems more correct and more stable, whereas speech can be careless, corrupted, and susceptible to change. Some people even go so far as to identify “language” with writing and to regard speech as a secondary form of language used imperfectly to approximate the ideals of the written language.

What gives rise to the misconception that writing is more perfect than speech? There are several reasons. Writing can be edited, and so the product of writing is usually more aptly worded and better organized, containing fewer errors, hesitations, and incomplete sentences than are found in speech. This “perfection of writing” can be explained by the fact that writing is the result of deliberation, correction, and revision, while speech is the spontaneous and simultaneous formulation of ideas; writing is therefore less subject to the constraint of time than speech is. Writing must be taught and is therefore ultimately associated with education and educated speech. Since the speech of the educated is more often than not set up as the “standard language,” writing is associated indirectly with the varieties of language that people tend to view as “correct-” However, the association of writing with the standard variety is not a necessary one, as evidenced by the attempts of writers to transcribe faithfully the speech of their characters. Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and John Stein¬beck’s Of Mice and Men contain examples of this. Writing is more physically stable than spoken language, which consists of nothing more than sound waves traveling through the air, and is therefore ephemeral and transient.

Writing tends to last, because of its physical medium (characters on some surface), and can be preserved for a very long time. Spelling does not seem to vary from individual to individual or from place to place as easily as pronunciation does. Thus, writing has the appearance of being more stable especially in the modem era. Of course, spelling does vary, as exemplified by the differences between the American ways of spelling gray and words with the suffixes -ize and -ization as compared with the British spelling of grey and -ise and -isation. Writing could also change if it were made to follow the changes of speech. The fact that people at various times try to carry out spelling reforms amply illustrates this possibility.

53. According to paragraph 1, what can be inferred about linguistic research?

A. Linguists do not usually study Latin.
B. Research on writing is much easier.
C. Studies always require several sources.
D. Researchers prefer speech samples.

54. According to paragraph 4, what is true about literacy?

A. Only a minority of the world’s population can read and write.
B. Literate populations are more capable than other groups. ‘
C. The modem world has a very highly literate population.
D. Many people fail to become literate because it is difficult.

55. Which of the sentences below best expresses the information in the highlighted statement in the passage? The other choices change the meaning or leave out important information.

A. Writing that has a very complex system must be learned.
B. All writing has to be taught because the systems are variable.
C. In spite of complex features in writing systems, people can learn them.
D. Both simple and complex writing systems require direct instruction.

56. The word approximate in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. make better than

B. come close to

C. take out of

D. get on with

57. “The word deliberation in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. work

B. thought

C. time

D. intelligence

58. Why does the author mention “Mark Twain” and “John Steinbeck” in paragraph 8?

A. To demonstrate that speech cannot be transcribed

B. To provide examples of two good writing styles

C. To prove that a nonstandard variety can be written

D. To contrast varieties of speech for their characters

59. The word transient in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. unimportant
B. temporary

C. interesting

D. clear

60. According to paragraph 8, what is true about spelling?

A. Spelling does not change from one geographical region to another.
B. British and American spellings are more similar than pronunciation.
C. Pronunciation in English is not related to spelling changes.
D. Changes in spelling are occasionally initiated because of speech.

61. The phrase this possibility in the passage refers to

A. writing could also change

B. the changes of speech

C. people try to carry out

D. spelling reforms illustrate

62. Which of the following statements most closely represents the author’s opinion?

A. Speech and writing have historical similarities.
B. Standard speech is the best model for writing.
C. Writing is not more perfect than speech.
D. Writing should not change like speech does.

63. How does the author organize the passage?

A. Cause and effect

B. Chronological narrative

C. Persuasive argument

D. Contrastive analysis

64. Look at the four squares [■ ] that show where the following sentence could be inserted in the passage.

The Sumerians probably devised written characters for the purpose of maintaining inventories of livestock and merchandise.

Where could the sentence best be added?
Click on a square [■] to insert the sentence in the passage.

65. Directions: Complete the table by matching the phrases on the left with the headings on the right. Select the appropriate answer choices and drag them to the type of language to which they relate. TWO of the answer choices will NOT be used. This question is worth 4 points.

To delete an answer choice, click on it. To see the passage, click on View Text.

Answer Choices 

A. Not observable in brain activity

B. a primary form of language

C. Direct representation of thought

D. A two-stage process

E. An earlier development Writing

F. Associated with education

G. Contains fewer errors

H. No regional variations

I. Acquired naturally


Solution for Reading Practice Test 19