Problem with stated detail questions (Skill 2)

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Previous Problem: Problem with main idea 

A stated detail question asks about one piece of information in the passage rather than the passage as a whole. The answers to these questions are generally given in order in the passage, and the correct answer is often a restatement of what is given in the passage. This means that the correct answer often expresses the same idea as what is written in the passage, but the words are not exactly the same.

Example

The passage:

Flutes have been around for quite some time, in all sorts of shapes and sizes and made from a variety of
materials. The oldest known flutes are about 20,000 years old; they were made from hollowed-out bones with holes cut in them In addition to bone, older flutes were often constructed from bamboo or hollowed-out wood. Today’s flutes are generally made of metal, and in addition to the holes they have a complicated system of keys, levers, and pads. The instrument belonging to well known flautist James Galway is not just made of any metal; it is made of gold

The questions:

1. According to the passage, the oldest flutes
(A) had holes cut in them
(B) were made of metal
(C) were made 200,000 years ago
(D) had a complicated set of levers and pads

2. The passage indicates that James Gaiway’s flute is made of
(A) bones
(B) bamboo
(C) wood
(D) gold

Analysis:

The answers to the questions are generally found in order in the passage, so you should look for the answer to the first question near the beginning of the passage. Since the first question asks about the oldest flutes, you should see that this question is answered in the second sentence. The passage states that the oldest flutes were bones with holes cut in them, so the best answer is answer (A). Answers (B) and (D) are true about today’s flutes, but not the oldest flutes, so they are incorrect. Answer (C) is an incorrect number; the oldest flutes are 20,000 years old, not 200,000 years old.

The answer to the second question will probably be located in the passage after the answer to the first question. Since the second question is about James Galway’s flute, you should skim through the passage to find the part of the passage that discusses this topic. The answer to this question is found in the statement that the instrument belonging to well-known flautist James Galway is not just made of any metal; it is made of gold. The best answer to this question is therefore answer (D).

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


TOEFL EXERCISE 2:

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

PASSAGE ONE (Questions 1 - 2)

Many parts of the Southwestern United States would become deserts again without
the waters of the Colorado River. A system of thousands of miles of canals, hundreds of miles of tunnels and aqueducts, and numerous dams and n bring Colorado
River water to the area. The Imperial Valley in Southern California is an example of
such a place; it is a vast and productive agricultural area that was once a desert. Today,
2,000 miles of canals irrigate the fertile land and keep it productive.

1. Which of the following is mentioned in the passage as a way that Colorado River water gets to the Southwest?

(A) By truck
(B) In bottles
(C) In wells
(D) Through canals

2. According to the passage, the Imperial Valley

(A) is a desert today
(B) is located in Colorado
(C) produces a lot of agricultural goods
(D) does not require irrigation

PASSAGE TWO (Questions 3 - 5)

The ancestors of humans had a lot more hair than the humans of today; in fact, they
had thick hair all over their bodies. This thick hair was necessary for protection against
the cold of the Ice Ages.
As the Earth got warmer, the hair began to thin out, except for on the head. The
head hair has remained through the evolutionary process, both as a sort of pillow to
cushion the sensitive head when it gets banged around and as a sort of hat to keep the
head warm and prevent so much heat from escaping through the scalp.

3. Which of the following is true about the hair of the ancestors of humans?
    (A) There was not much of it.
    (B) It covered their entire bodies.
    (C) It was thin,
    (D) It was not useful.

4. According to the passage, what happened as the temperature on the Earth increased?
    (A) The hair on the head began to thin out.
    (B) The hair on the body remained the same.
    (C) The hair on the body got thicker.
    (D) The hair on the body began to thin out.

5. The author indicates that one of the purposes of hair on the head is to
    (A) fill up pillows
    (B) help heat escape through the scalp
    (C) ensure that the head is warm
    (D) make it easier to think

PASSAGE THREE (Questions 6-10)

The plane with the largest wingspan ever built was nicknamed the Spruce Goose.
The wingspan of the Spruce Goose was 320 feet (almost 100 meters), and the plane
weighed 200 tons. It was so big that it needed eight engines to power it.
The plane was designed by Howard Hughes in response to a U.S. government
request for a plane that was able to carry a large cargo for the war effort. It was made of
wood because wood is a less critical material in wartime than metal.
The plane was so difficult to build that it never really got used. It was flown one
time only, by 1-lughes himself, on November 2, 1947; during that flight it traveled a
distance of less than one mile over the Los Angeles Harbor, but it did fly. Today, the
Spruce Goose is on exhibit for the public to see in Long Beach, California.

6. Which of the following is true about the Spruce Goose?
    (A) Each of its wings measures 100 meters.
    (B) It weighs 200 pounds.
    (C) It has eight wings to help it to fly.
    (D) It has a wingspan larger than the wingspan of any other plane.

7. The passage indicates that the plane was designed
    (A) as a cargo plane
    (B) as a racing plane
    (C) to carry wood
    (D) for exhibition

8. According to the passage, the Spruce Goose is constructed from
    (A) wood
    (B) lightweight metal
    (C) plastic
     (D) steel

9. According to the passage, when the Spruce Goose flew,
    (A) it went only a short distance
    (B) it fell into the Los Angeles Harbor
    (C) it flew 100 miles
    (D) it carried a large cargo

10. The passage indicates that the Spruce Goose today
     (A) flies regularly for the U.S. government
     (B) is in the Los Angeles Harbor
     (C) is in storage
      (D) can be seen by the public

TOEFL REVIEW EXERCISE (Skills 1 - 2): Study each of the passages, and choose the best answers to the questions that follow.

PASSAGE ONE (Questions 1-3)

The center part of a hurricane is called the eye of the storm. In the eye of
a hurricane, winds are calm and no rain falls. There can even be blue sky and sunshine in
the eye of the storm.
This dry and calm spot is caused as the air spins around the center of the hurricane.
The spinning air rises and pulls moisture with it. What remains in the center is dry,
clear air.

1. The topic of the passage is
    (A) the destruction of hurricanes
    (B) the harsh weather during a hurricane
   (C) the calm in the center of a hurricane
   (D) the beautiful weather that follows a hurricane

2. The passage indicates that in the eye of a hurricane
    (A) it is windy
    (B) there is a lot of rain
    (C) there is cloudy, gray sky
    (D) it can be sunny

3. According to the passage, what causes the calm spot?
    (A) The air circling around the center
    (B) The blue sky and sunshine
    (C) The high temperatures
    (D) The heavy rainfall

PASSAGE TWO (Questions 4-8)

The invention of the phonograph happened quite by accident. Thomas Edison
moved to Menlo Park, New Jersey, in 1876, where he established an industrial research
laboratory There, Edison was working on a carbon telephone transmitter to improve
the existing Bell telephone system.
In that laboratory a year later, Edison invented the phonograph while he was trying
to improve a telegraph repeater. He attached a telephone diaphragm to the needle in the
telegraph repeater; in this way, he was able to reproduce a recording that could be
played back. After he made some improvements to the machine, he tested it. He recited
“Mary Had a Little Lamb” into the machine and played his voice back to a very
surprised audience.

4. What is the best title for the passage?
     (A) Thomas Edison’s Many Inventions
    (B) Improvements in the Telephone and Telegraph
    (C) The History of Menlo Park
    (D) An Accidental Invention

5. According to the passage, the invention of the phonograph
    (A) was quite unplanned
    (B) was Edison’s principal project
    (C) was surprising to no one
    (D) took many years

6. In what year did the invention of the phonograph occur?
    (A) 1876
    (B) 1877
    (C) 1878
    (D) The article does not say.

7. According to the passage, how was the phonograph made?
   (A) With a telephone needle and a recorder
   (B) From a recording of a telegraph
   (C) With only a telegraph repeater
    (D) From a combination of telephone and telegraph parts

8. According to the passage, how did Edison test his new invention?
    (A) He made improvements to the machine.
    (B) He used a carbon transmitter.
    (C) He read a children’s rhyme.
    (D) He reproduced the audience’s voice.

PASSAGE THREE (Questions 9 - 14)

The Sears and Roebuck catalogue was a fixture in American society for many
decades. Practically anything needed in the American home could be ordered through
this comprehensive catalogue and delivered by mail. The catalogue made it easier for
homeowners in urban areas to track down items they were trying to find; the catalogue
was an absolute necessity for residents in out-of-the-way areas where many types of
home supplies were not available for hundreds of miles.

In the early twentieth century, it was not possible to buy just home supplies from
the Sears and Roebuck catalogue. It was actually possible to buy a mail-order house. If you
ordered a house through the mail, you would receive all the necessary building
materials as well as plans for constructing the house; all of this could be had for prices
starting around $600.

9. This passage mainly discusses
    (A) products sold in the Sears and Roebuck stores
    (B) the design of the Sears and Roebuck catalogue
    (C) how to shop using catalogues
    (D) shopping through the Sears and Roebuck catalogue in the past

10. The passage indicates that items ordered through the Sears and Roebuck catalogue
      (A) had to be picked up at a Sears and Roebuck store
      (B) were delivered by mail
      (C) arrived in Sears and Roebuck trucks
      (D) had to be small

11. According to the passage, why was the Sears and Roebuck catalogue important to people in remote areas?
     (A) It contained the only products they could afford.
     (B) They did not like the products in local stores.
     (C) It had a lot of products they could not get in their local areas.
     (D) It was the only way to get a new home.

12. The passage mentions that which of the following large items could be purchased through the Sears and Roebuck catalogue?
      (A) A home
      (B) A car
     (C) A boat
     (D) A train

13. The mail-order house in the Sears and Roebuck catalogue
      (A) was for urban areas only
      (B) was set up by Sears and Roebuck workers
      (C) needed to be put together
      (D) arrived in one piece

14. The price of $600 mentioned in the passage was
      (A) the lowest price for the item
      (B) the average price for the item
      (C) the only price for the item
      (D) the highest price for the item

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