Problem about unstated detail questions (skill 3)

Friday, 20 May 2011

Previous Article: Problem with Stated Detail Questions (Skill 2)

You will sometimes be asked in the Reading Comprehension section of the TOEFL test to find an answer that is not stated or not mentioned or not true in the passage. This type of question really means that three of the answers are stated, mentioned, or true in the passage, while one answer is not. Your actual job is to find the three correct answers and then choose the letter of the one remaining answer.

You should note that there are two kinds of answers to this type of question: (1) there are three true answers and one answer that is not discussed in the passage, or (2) there are three true answers and one that is false according to the passage.


The passage:

The Florida Keys are a beautiful chain of almost 1,000 coral and limestone islands These islands form an arc that heads first southwest and then west from the mainland. U.S. Highway 1, called the Overseas Highway connects the main islands in the chain. On this highway, it is necessary to cross 42 bridges over the ocean to cover the 159 miles from Miami on the mainland, to Key West the farthest island on the highway and the southernmost city in the United States.

The questions:

1. Which of the following is NOT mentioned about the Florida Keys?

(A) The Florida Keys are a chain of islands.
(B) The Florida Keys contain coral and limestone
(C) The Florida Keys are in the shape of an arc.
(D) The Florida Keys are not all inhabited.

2. Which of the following is NOT true about U.S. Highway 1?

(A) It is also known as the Overseas Highway
(B) It joins all of the islands in the Florida Keys.
(C) It has more than 40 bridges
(D) It connects Miami and Key West


The first question asks for the one answer that is not mentioned about the Florida Keys. The passage states that the Florida Keys are a chain (answer A) with coral and limestone (answer B) in the shape of an arc (answer C), so these answers are not correct. The best answer is therefore answer (D). The passage does not discuss whether or not the keys are all inhabited.

The second question asks for the answer that is not true about U.S. Highway 1. The passage states that it is called the Overseas Highway (answer A), that it has 42 bridges (answer C), and that it cover(s) the 159 miles from Miami. . . to Key West (answer D), so these answers are not correct. The best answer is answer (B). The passage states that the Overseas Highway connects the main islands in the chain, so it does not connect all of the islands.

The following chart outlines the key information that you should remember about unstated detail questions.


Study each of the passages, and choose the best answers to the questions that follow.

PASSAGE ONE (Questions 1-2)

Blood pressure measurement has two components: systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure is taken when the heart is contracting to pump blood; diastolic pressure is taken when the heart is resting between beats. In the usual blood pressure reading, the systolic measurement is given first and is the higher of the two. Normal blood pressure is a systolic measurement of 120—140, and when the systolic pressure is 160 or higher, then hypertension exists. Systolic pressure between 140 and 160 indicates borderline hypertension.

1. Which of the following is NOT true about systolic blood pressure?

(A) It is taken during the contraction of the heart.
(B) It is usually given first in a blood pressure reading.
(C) A normal systolic measurement is 120 – 140.
(D) Hypertension exists when the systolic pressure is below 140.

2. Which of the following is NOT stated about diastolic pressure?

(A) It is one of the two components of blood pressure measurement.
(B) It is taken when the heart is resting.
(C) It is lower than systolic pressure.
(D) A diastolic measurement of 140 is normal.

PASSAGE TWO (Questions 3 - 4)

In the 1960s, as space travel was becoming a subject of much discussion, Pan
American Airlines began receiving some fairly unusual requests for flight information.
People began making requests to be on the first flight that Pan Am made to the Moon.
On a whim, Pan Am started a waiting list for the first flight to the Moon. Similar
requests have come to Pan Am over the years, and Pan Am has responded by adding the
names of the requesters to the list.
Unfortunately for Pan Am, the original company is no longer in business, and it
never got to the Moon. However, when it went out of business, it had a waiting list of
more than 90,000 names for its first lunar flight.

3. All of the following are mentioned about Pan American Airlines, EXCEPT that
(A) it started business in the 1960s
(B) it received requests for its first flight to the Moon
(C) it kept some people on a long waiting list
(D) it went out of business

4. Which of the following is NOT true about Pan Am’s Moon flights?
(A) People asked Pan Am about its flights to the Moon.
(B) Pan Am kept a waiting list for its Moon flights.
(C) Pan Am never really made any Moon flights.
(D) Pan Am’s waiting list had only a few names on it.

PASSAGE THREE (Questions 5-8)
The tunnel trees in Yosemite Valley are an amazing attraction to people who visit
there. The tunnel trees are huge trees, giant redwoods, which have had tunnels carved
in them, and cars can actually drive through some of the trees. The fact that the trees
are large enough to have cars drive through them should give you some indication of
just how big the trees are.
There are currently two existing tunnel trees in Yosemite Valley. One of them is
called the “Dead Giant.” This is just the stump, or bottom part, of a much larger tree.
The hole was cut through the base of the tree in 1878, and stagecoaches used to drive
through it. Today the Dead Giant still exists, but the stagecoaches do not. Passenger cars
can and do drive through the 10-foot-wide opening in the tree stump.
The other existing tunnel tree is the 230-foot high California Tree, which had a hole
carved through it in 1895. This tree is no longer open to the public, so it is not possible
to take a car through it.
Unfortunately, a third tunnel tree no longer exists. The Wawona Tunnel Tree was a
2,100-year-old tree which was carved in 1881. A terrible snowstorm in 1969 caused this
ancient giant of a tree to fall.

5. Which of the following is NOT true about the tunnel trees in Yosemite Valley?
(A) They are trees with holes cut in them.
(B) They are giant redwoods.
(C) Three tunnel trees currently exist.
(D) Cars have driven through some of

6. All of the following are stated about the Dead Giant, EXCEPT that
(A) it is still a tunnel tree today
(B) it is just the stump of a tree
(C) it was cut less than a century ago
(D) it has a 10-foot opening

7. Which of the following is NOT true about the California Tree?
(A) Its tunnel still exists.
(B) Its tunnel is 230 feet high.
(C) Its tunnel was cut in 1895.
(D) Cars are not allowed to go through it.

8. All of the following are true about the Wawona Tunnel Tree, EXCEPT that
(A) it does not exist anymore
(B) the tree lived for more than 2,000 years
(C) the tunnel tree was destroyed in a snowstorm
(D) the tunnel was destroyed in 1881

TOEFL REVIEW EXERCISE (Skills 1—3): Study each of the passages, and choose the best answers to the questions that follow.

PASSAGE ONE (Questions 1-4)

When the typewriter was first invented, its keys were arranged alphabetically. This
made the keys easy to find. However, this arrangement also caused the bars of the
machine to jam, or get stuck.
To solve this problem, a new letter arrangement was introduced by Christopher
Latham Scholes in 1872. His system, the standard keyboard system, is still used on
typewriters today. He arranged the letters in such a way that the bars hit the inked
ribbon from opposite directions as much as possible. This resulted in far less jamming
than had occurred with the alphabetical models.

1. The main topic of this passage is
(A) the invention of the typewriter
(B) a problem and solution concerning the early typewriter
(C) how to write a letter on the typewriter
(D) why the keys stick on today’s typewriter

2. According to the passage, on the first typewriters
(A) the keys were in alphabetical order
(B) the keys were hard to find
(C) the bars on the machine never jammed
(D) Scholes’s system worked quite well

3. Which of the following is NOT true about the system invented by Scholes?
(A) It was introduced in 1872.
(B) It is still used today.
(C) It became the standard system.
(D) It was alphabetical.

4. The passage indicates that under Scholes’s system, the bars hit the ribbon
(A) in alphabetical order
(B) from opposite directions
(C) and caused the keys to jam
(D) in the same way as they had on the
original typewriter

PASSAGE TWO (Questions 5-9)

Desert tundra, or cold desert, occurs on the Arctic edges of North America, Europe,
and Asia. In these areas the temperatures are almost always freezing, and they cause an
environment in which plant life is virtually impossible. The existence of ice rather than
water for the majority of the year means that vegetation does not have enough moisture
for growth to take place. During the short period of time when the temperature
increases enough for the ice to melt, there is generally a large volume of water. Too
much water and not enough drainage through the frozen subsoil make it difficult for
plants to grow.

5. Which of the following is the best title for the passage?
(A) Where Desert Tundra Is Found
(B) The Weather in the Arctic
(C) The Effect of Desert Tundra on PlantLife
(D) The Variety of Plant Life in Desert

6. According to the passage, desert tundra is found
(A) throughout North America, Europe,and Asia
(B) in Antarctica
(C) on the Arctic borders of the northerncontinents
(D) at the North Pole

7. According to the passage, what makes plant life almost impossible in areas of desert tundra during most of the year?
(A) Excessive water on the plants
(B) The frozen state of the water
(C) The increase in temperature
(D) The lack of ice

8. According to the passage, which of the following does NOT happen when the weather heats up?
(A) Plants grow well.
(B) The ice melts.
(C) There is not enough drainage.
(D) There is too much water.

9. According to the passage, why is it impossible for the water to drain after it melts?
(A) The land beneath the surface is stillfrozen.
(B) The temperature is too high.
(C) The period of time is too short.
(D) The vegetation is flourishing.

PASSAGE THREE (Questions 10—14)

Whales are mammals rather than fish, yet they live in the world’s oceans rather than
on land. Because of the fact that they are mammals, scientists have believed for quite
some time that whales are descendants of land mammals.
Some interesting evidence to support this theory has recently been found. In Egypt,
fossils have been found of a forty-million-year-old whale leg, kneecap, ankle, footbones,
and toes. It appears from the fossil evidence that the bones were not very strong and not
very large in comparison to the size of the whale.
Based on this fossil evidence, the following evolutionary path has been
hypothesized. As the whale began its evolution toward the water, its legs weakened and
decreased in size. Then, during its millions of years in the water, the legs slowly
disappeared, leaving only the front flippers today.

10. The main idea of this passage is that
     (A) numerous whale fossils have been found in the world’s oceans
     (B) there is evidence that whales may have descended from land mammals
     (C) whales are mammals and not fish
     (D) whales have not evolved very much over the last millions of years

11. All of the following are true about whales, EXCEPT that
      (A) they are mammals
      (B) they live in the ocean
     (C) they are fish
     (D) they may have come from the land

12. Which of the following is NOT mentioned about the whale fossils in the passage?
      (A) They were found in Egypt.
      (B) They support the theory that whales came from land.
      (C) They are forty million years old.
      (D) They showed that ancient whales had flippers.

13. Which of the following was NOT mentioned in the list of whale fossils found in Egypt?
      (A) A whale’s kneecap
     (B) A whale’s ankle
    (C) A whale’s footbones
     D) A whale’s fingers

14. According to the hypothesis in the passage, what happened to whales’ legs?
      (A) They got stronger over time.
      (B) They got larger over time.
      (C) They disappeared quickly.
      (D) They became front flippers.

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