Reading Comprehension problem: "Where" Question (Skills 6)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Previous Reading Comprehension: Problem/skill: Problems with vocabulary in context questions (Skill 5)

Sometimes the final question in a reading passage will ask you to determine where in the passage a piece of information is found. The answer choices will list possible locations for that information. The best way to approach this type of question is to study the question to determine the information that you are looking for and then to go to the lines listed in the answers and skim for that information.


The passage:

The words “capital” and “capitol” are confused in spelling
and in meaning by a lot of people who try to use them. Both
their spellings and their meanings are quite closely related. A
“capital “ is the location of the center of government while a
“capitol” is the actual building where the government officials
meet. Thus, in the United States for example, the Capitol
building is located in Washington, D.C. which is the capital
city of the United States.

The questions:

1. Where in the passage does the author define the word “capital”?
    (A) Lines 1 - 2
    (B) Line 3
    (C) Line 4
    (D) Lines 6 – 8

2. Where in the passage does the author mention where the U.S. Capitol can be found?
    (A) Lines 1 - 2
    (B) Line 3
    (C) Lines 4 - 5
    (D) Line 6 - 8

To answer the first question, you should skim for the word capital and then look for its meaning. A capital is the location of the center of government, and this definition is given in the fourth line. The best answer to this question is therefore answer (C).

To answer the second question, you should skim for U.S. Capitol and then look for where the U.S. Capitol is found. The U.S. Capitol is located in Washington, D.C., and ..this information is given in the sixth through eighth lines. The best answer to this question is therefore answer (D).

The following chart outlines the key information that you should remember when you are trying to determine where in the passage something is found.

TOEFL EXERCISE 6: Study each of the passages and choose the best answers to the questions that follow.

PASSAGE ONE (Questions 1 - 3)

A geyser occurs when rainwater seeps into the ground and volcanic magma beneath
the surface heats it. The rainwater then turns into steam. The pressurized steam rises to
the surface and bursts out as a geyser.
Yellowstone National Park has more geysers than all of the rest of the world
together The most famous of these geysers is Old Faithful, which erupts in a high arc of
steam about once an hour.
There have not been any volcanic eruptions in the Yellowstone area for 70,000 years. However, the existence of the geysers is proof that the area is volcanically active.

1. Where in the passage does the author mention what heats the water in a geyser? 
     (A) Lines 1 - 2
     (B) Line 4
     (C) Lines 5 - 6
     (D) Line 7

2. The author indicates how often Old Faithful erupts in
    (A) lines 1 - 2
    (B) line 4
    (C) lines 5 - 6
    (D) line 7

3. Where in the passage does the author state how long it has been since a volcano erupted at Yellowstone?
    (A) Lines 2 - 3
    (B) Lines 5 - 6
    (C) Line 7
    (D) Line 8
PASSAGE TWO (Questions 4-7)

By 1963 the one-man space flights of Project Mercury had successfully taken place,
and NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) was ready for a new
challenge. That new challenge was to send two men into space at the same time, rather
than one, so that it would be possible to conduct a wide variety of new maneuvers and
An appropriate name was found for that new project: the new project was called
Project Gemini. The name “Gemini” might seem appropriate because it is the name of
one of the constellations of stars in the sky, but that is not the real reason for the choice
of the name. “Gemini” comes from the Latin word geminus, which means “twin.” The
constellation Gemini received its name because it consists of two very bright stars with
no other bright stars close by, and those stars seem like twins. The NASA project
received its name because of the number of men who would be together in the space
capsule orbiting the Earth.

4. Where in the passage does the author state what the initials NASA represent?
    (A) Lines 1 - 3
    (B) Lines 6 - 7
    (C) Line 9
    (D) Lines 11 – 13

5. Where in the passage does the author describe NASA’S new challenge after Project Mercury?
    (A) Lines 3—5
    (B) Lines 6—7
    (C) Line 9
    (D) Lines 11—13

6. The author explains the derivation of the word “Gemini” in
    (A) lines 1—3
    (B) lines 6—7
    (C) line 9
    (D) lines 11—13

7. Where in the passage does the author describe the composition of the Gemini constellation?
    (A) Lines 3-5
    (B) Lines 6—7
    (C) Line 9
    (D) Lines 10—11

PASSAGE THREE (Questions 8-12)

One of the best-known stories in American history—that Betsy Ross created the first
flag of the United States - is believed by a number of scholars to be somewhat
The official story goes as follows: In 1776, a group that included George Washington
came to the workshop in Philadelphia where Betsy Ross worked as a seamstress; they
brought a drawing of a flag with stars and stripes on it and asked if Betsy could make it.
The flag with the stars and stripes was definitely adopted by Congress on June 14,
1777. In the minutes on that day there is a resolution accepting a flag with 13 stars and
13 stripes as the official flag of the nation. However, there is no mention of Betsy Ross
as the one who had made the flag.
The first time that there is a documented reference to Betsy Ross as the one who
made the flag came more than a century later, when her grandson gave a speech to the
Philadelphia Historical Society indicating that the family had passed down the story for
a hundred years that grandmother Betsy had made the first flag. Philadelphians
enthusiastically supported the story. Betsy Ross’s house was restored and renamed Flag
House, and it was opened to the public as a memorial to Betsy Ross.
Many historians dispute this story, and certainly no one has been able to come up
with indisputable proof that it was Betsy who made the first flag. This much is known
about Betsy Ross: She did exist, she was a seamstress, and she did sometimes make
f1ag for the ships of the Pennsylvania State Navy. If the story about the first flag is not
completely true—and who is to know at this point—at least it makes a good story.

8. Where in the passage does the author mention a group that came to visit Betsy Ross?
    (A) Lines 1—3
    (B) Lines 4—6
    (C) Lines 7—8
    (D) Lines 9—10

9. Where in the passage does the author state when the flag was adopted by Congress?
    (A) Lines 1—3
    (B) Lines 4—6
    (C) Lines 7—9
    (D) Lines 11—14

10. The author describes the first historical reference to Betsy Ross as the creator of the first U.S. flag in
     (A) lines 4—6
     (B) lines 9—10
     (C) lines 11—14
     (D) lines 17—18

11. The author discusses how Philadelphians responded to the Betsy Ross story in
     (A) lines 9—10
     (B) lines 14—16
     (C) lines 17—18
     (D) lines 20—2 1

12. Where in the passage does the author discuss how historians have reacted to the Betsy Ross story?
      (A) Lines 8—9
      (B) Lines 11—14
      (C) Lines 17—18
      (D) Lines 19—20  

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