Reading Comprehension: Problem with implied detail questions (Skill 4)

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Previous Reading Comprehension problem/skill: Problem with unstated detail question (Skill 3)

Some questions in the Reading Comprehension section of the TOEFL test will require answers that are not directly stated in the passage. To answer these questions correctly, you will have to draw conclusions from information that is given in the passage. Questions of this type contain the words implied, inferred, likely, or probably to let you know that the answer to the question is not directly stated


The passage:

The number of rings in a tree can be used to determine how old a tree really is. Each year a tree produces a ring that is composed of one light-colored wide band and one dark-colored narrow band.The wider band is produced during the spring and early summer, when tree stem cells grow rapidly and become larger. The narrower band is produced in fall and early winter, when cell growth is much slower and cells do not get
very large. No cells are produced during the harsh winter and summer months.

The questions:

1. It is implied in the passage that if a tree has 100 wide bands and 100 narrow bands then it is
    (A) a century old
    (B) two centuries old
    (C) fifty years old
    (D) two hundred years old

2. It can be inferred from the passage that cells do not grow
   (A) when the tree is ill
   (B) during extreme heat or cold
   (C) when it rains too much
   (D) if there are more light-colored bands than dark-colored bands

  • The first question asks about the age of a tree with 100 wide bands and 100 narrow bands. The passage does not tell the age of a tree with 100 wide and narrow bands, but it does indicate that one.. . wide band and one. . . narrow band are produced each year. From this you can draw the conclusion that a tree with 100 wide and narrow bands is 100 years, or a century, old. The best answer to this question is therefore answer (A). 
  • The second question asks when cells do not grow. The pas sage indicates that no cells are produced during the harsh winter and summer months. From this you can draw the conclusion that cells do not grow during the extreme heat of summer or the extreme cold of winter. The best answer to this question is therefore answer (B).
The following chart outlines the key information that you should remember about implied detail questions.


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

PASSAGE ONE (Questions 1-3)

Until 1996 the Sears Tower was the tallest building in the world, with more than a hundred stories. It is located in Chicago, whose nickname is the Windy City. The combination of a very tall building in a city with such weather conditions leads to a lot of swaying in the breeze.

On a windy day, the top of the building can move back and forth as much as three feet every few seconds. The inside doors at the top of the building open and close, andwater in sinks sloshes back and forth.

1. The Sears Tower is probably
    (A) as tall as the Empire State Building
    (B) no longer the tallest building in the world
   (C) taller than any other building
   (D) still the highest building in the world

2. It can be inferred from the passage that Chicago
    (A) has moderate weather
    (B) is generally warm
   (C) has humid weather
   (D) usually has a lot of wind

3. It is implied in the passage that the upper-level doors in the Sears Tower open and close because
   (A) the building was poorly constructed
   (B) people go in and out so often
  (C) the building moves in the wind
  (D) there is water in the sinks

PASSAGE TWO (Questions 4 - 6)

The most common last name in the English-speaking world is Smith, which was taken from the job of working with metals. A silversmith, for example, is someone who works with the metal silver. Historical records indicate that the use of this last name is at least 700 years old. Today, there are more than 3.3 million Smiths living in the United States and perhaps another million Smiths living in other English-speaking countries worldwide.

4. It can be inferred from the passage that family names
   (A) were always taken from the area where a family lived
  (B) were short names
  (C) had little or no meaning
  (D) could be taken from jobs

5. Which of the following is implied about the Smith family name?
   (A) it is definitely not more than 700 years old.
   (B) it existed 600 years ago.
   (C) It did not exist 500 years ago.
   (D) it definitely was not in use 1,000 years ago.

6. In England there are probably
   (A) more Smiths than there are in the United States
   (B) more than a million Smiths
   (C) fewer than a million Smiths
   (D) no families with the name of Smith

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