You are on page 1of 2



EXERCISE 1: Study each of the passages, and choose the best answers to the questions that follow. In this exercise, each
paragraph is followed by two main idea, topic, or title questions so that you can practice this type of question. On the TOEFL test,
one passage would probably not have two such questions because they are so similar.

PASSAGE ONE (Questions 1 - 2)

Most of the ice on the Earth, close to 90 percent of it, is covering the surface of the continent Antarctica. It does not snow very
much in Antarctica, but whatever snow does fall remains and grows deeper and deeper. In some areas of Antarctica, the ice has
perhaps been around for as much as a million years and now is more than two miles deep.

1. The main idea of the passage is that

(A) the Earth is a cold planet
(B) most of the Earths ice is found in Antarctica CORRECT
(C) it snows more in Antarctica than in any other place on Earth
(D) Antarctica is only two miles wide but is 90 percent ice

2. The best title for the passage is

(A) Snowfall in Antarctica
(B) The Icy Earth CORRECT
(C) The Cold, Cold Snow
(D) The Causes of Antarcticas Ice

PASSAGE TWO (Questions 3 - 4)

The extremely hot and humid weather that occurs in the United States in July and August is commonly called the dog days of
summer. This name comes from the star Sirius, which is known as the Dog Star. Sirius is the brightest visible star, and in the hot
summer months it rises in the east at approximately the same time as the Sun. As ancient people saw this star rising with the Sun
when the weather was at its hottest, they believed that Sirius was the cause of the additional heat; they believed that this
bright star added its heat to the heat of the Sun, and these two together made summer weather so unbearably hot.

3. The topic of this passage is

(A) how dogs like to play during the summer
(B) the causes of hot and humid weather
(C) why the hot summer days are known as the dog days CORRECT
(D) the days that dogs prefer

4. The main idea of this passage is that

(A) the name for the summer days came from Sirius, the Dog Star CORRECT
(B) dogs generally prefer hot summer days
(C) the hottest days occur in the summer because of the movements of the Sun and stars
(D) Sirius rises at almost the same time as the Sun during the summer months

PASSAGE THREE (Questions 5 - 6)

The term primitive art has been used in a variety of ways to describe works and styles of art. One way that this term has been
used is to describe the early period within the development of a certain style of art. Another way that this term has been used is to
describe artists who have received little professional training and who demonstrate a nontraditional naivet in their work.

A wonderful example of this second type of primitive artist is Grandma Moses, who spent all her life living on a farm and working
at tasks normally associated with farm life. She did not begin painting until she reached the age of seventy-six, when she
switched to painting from embroidery because the arthritis in her hands made embroidery too difficult. Totally without formal
education in art, she began creating panoramic images of everyday life on the farm that have achieved international fame.

5. The subject of this passage is

(A) an example of one of the types of primitive art
(B) Grandma Mosess life on the farm
(C) how primitive art differs from formal art CORRECT
(D) Grandma Mosess primitive lifestyle
6. Which of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?
(A) Grandma Moses spent her life on a farm.
(B) Art critics cannot come to any agreement on a definition of primitive art. CORRECT
(C) Grandma Moses is one type of primitive artist because of her lack of formal training.
(D) Many artists receive little professional training.

PASSAGE FOUR (Questions 7 - 8)

In the first half of the nineteenth century, a New York newspaper, the New York Sun, successfully carried out a hoax on the
American public. Because of this trick, readership of the paper rose substantially. On August 25, 1835, the Sun published reports
that some wonderful new discoveries had been made on the moon. The article described strange, never-before-seen animals and
temples covered in shining jewels. Many members of the American public were fooled by the story, even some prominent
members of the scientific community. The effect of the false story on sales of the paper was dramatic. Paper sales increased
considerably as people eagerly searched out details of the new discoveries. Later, the newspaper company announced that it had
not been trying to trick the public; instead, the company explained the moon stories as a type of literary satire.

7. Which of the following best states the topic of the passage?

(A) A nineteenth-century discovery on the moon
(B) The New York Sun
(C) A hoax and its effect
(D) The success of a newspaper CORRECT

8. The main point of the passage is that

(A) the New York Sun was one of the earliest American newspapers
(B) the Sun increased sales when it tricked the public with a false story CORRECT
(C) a newspaper achieved success by writing about the moon
(D) in 1835 some amazing new discoveries were made about the moon