TOEFL : Details

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for TOEFL

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Details

Adapted from "Taking a Second Look: An Analysis of Genetic Markers in Species Relatedness" by Joseph Ritchie (2014)

Phylogenetics is the study of genetic composition in various species and is used by evolutionary biologists to investigate similarities in the molecular sequences of proteins in varying organisms. The amino acid sequences that build proteins are used to construct mathematical matrices that aid in determining evolutionary ties through the investigation of percentage similarities. The study of these matrices helps to expose evolutionary relationships between species that may not have the same overt characteristics.

Species adapt and evolve based on the pressures that exist in their environment. Climate, food source, and habitat availability are only a few factors that act on species adaptation. These stressors can alter the physical characteristics of organisms. This divergence in evolution has made it difficult to determine the interrelatedness of organisms by analyzing their physical characteristics alone.

For instance, looking only at physical characteristics, the ghost bat resembles a pigeon more than a spider monkey; however, phylogenetics has found that the amino acid sequences that construct the beta hemoglobin molecules of bats are twenty percent more similar to those of mammalian primates than those of birds. This helps reject the assumption that common physical characteristics between species are all that is needed to determine relatedness. 

The differences produced by divergent evolution observed in the forest-dwelling, arboreal spider monkey and the nocturnal, airborne ghost bat can be reconciled through homology. Homologous characteristics are anatomical traits that are similar in two or more different species. For instance, the bone structure of a spider monkey’s wrist and fingers greatly resembles that of a bat’s wing or even a whale’s fin. These similarities are reinforced by phylogenetic evidence that supports the idea that physically dissimilar species can be evolutionarily related through anatomical and genetic similarities.

According to the passage, which of the following does a bat most physically resemble?

Possible Answers:

A spider monkey

A pigeon

A whale

An ape

Correct answer:

A pigeon

Explanation:

According to paragraph three, the ghost bat most physically resembles a pigeon. This content of the passage seeks to disprove this observation, as a bat is genetically more closely related to a monkey or whale than a winged bird.

Example Question #2 : Details

Adapted from "Taking a Second Look: An Analysis of Genetic Markers in Species Relatedness" by Joseph Ritchie (2014)

Phylogenetics is the study of genetic composition in various species and is used by evolutionary biologists to investigate similarities in the molecular sequences of proteins in varying organisms. The amino acid sequences that build proteins are used to construct mathematical matrices that aid in determining evolutionary ties through the investigation of percentage similarities. The study of these matrices helps to expose evolutionary relationships between species that may not have the same overt characteristics.

Species adapt and evolve based on the pressures that exist in their environment. Climate, food source, and habitat availability are only a few factors that act on species adaptation. These stressors can alter the physical characteristics of organisms. This divergence in evolution has made it difficult to determine the interrelatedness of organisms by analyzing their physical characteristics alone.

For instance, looking only at physical characteristics, the ghost bat resembles a pigeon more than a spider monkey; however, phylogenetics has found that the amino acid sequences that construct the beta hemoglobin molecules of bats are twenty percent more similar to those of mammalian primates than those of birds. This helps reject the assumption that common physical characteristics between species are all that is needed to determine relatedness. 

The differences produced by divergent evolution observed in the forest-dwelling, arboreal spider monkey and the nocturnal, airborne ghost bat can be reconciled through homology. Homologous characteristics are anatomical traits that are similar in two or more different species. For instance, the bone structure of a spider monkey’s wrist and fingers greatly resembles that of a bat’s wing or even a whale’s fin. These similarities are reinforced by phylogenetic evidence that supports the idea that physically dissimilar species can be evolutionarily related through anatomical and genetic similarities.

According to the passage, the hemoglobin structure of a bat is most similar to which of the following animals?

Possible Answers:

Spider monkey

Pigeon

Hummingbird

Eagle

Correct answer:

Spider monkey

Explanation:

The spider monkey is the only mammalian species listed in the choices. The other choices are birds, which the passage states are less similar to bats than mammals.

Example Question #3 : Details

Passage adapted from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

"'If you will thank me,' he replied, 'let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you.'"

Elizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a word. After a short pause, her companion added, 'you are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.'

Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common awkwardness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change since the period to which he alluded, as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his present assurances. The happiness which this reply produced was such as he had probably never felt before, and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do. Had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eyes, she might have seen how well the expression of heartfelt delight diffused over his face became him; but, though she could not look, she could listen, and he told her of feelings which, in proving of what importance she was to him, made his affection every moment more valuable.

They walked on, without knowing in what direction. There was too much to be thought, and felt, and said, for attention to any other objects. ..."

How does the first speaker feel about Elizabeth's family?

Possible Answers:

He despises them

He disregards them completely

He esteems them

He prefers his own family

Correct answer:

He esteems them

Explanation:

The passage clearly states, "But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you." The "them" in this second sentence refers to Elizabeth's family, thus "esteems" is the correct answer here.

Example Question #4 : Details

The following is an excerpt from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813):

Occupied in observing Mr. Bingley's attentions to her sister, Elizabeth was far from suspecting that she was herself becoming an object of some interest in the eyes of his friend. Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticize. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly unaware; to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.

He began to wish to know more of her, and as a step towards conversing with her himself, attended to her conversation with others. His doing so drew her notice.

Based on the above passage, how does Elizabeth feel about Mr. Darcy?

Possible Answers:

She finds him good-looking and friendly.

She ignores him completely.

She pines for him.

She admires him.

She finds him disagreeable and proud.

Correct answer:

She finds him disagreeable and proud.

Explanation:

We get our window into Elizabeth's head in the final sentence of the first paragraph: "to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with." The phrasing is strange, but we can see that Mr. Darcy has not made himself agreeable. Thus, Elizabeth finds him disagreeable.

Example Question #5 : Details

The following is an excerpt from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813):

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” 

Based on the passage above, "pride" may most closely be understood to mean __________.

Possible Answers:

a high opinion of oneself

a low opinion of oneself

the same thing that "vanity" means

a high opinion of of others

a low opinion of others

Correct answer:

a high opinion of oneself

Explanation:

The passage states that, "Vanity and pride are different things." It says that pride has to do with an opinion one has of oneself, and, since pride generally means taking pleasure in yourself or something you've done, "a high opinion of oneself" is the correct answer.

Example Question #6 : Details

The following is an excerpt from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813):

“From the very beginning — from the first moment, I may almost say — of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.” 

Which of the following is not an example of the fault that the speaker attributes to their listener?

Possible Answers:

pretension

haughtiness

apathy

insensitivity

empathy

Correct answer:

empathy

Explanation:

The speaker refers to the listener as 'arrogant,' 'conceited,' and 'selfish.' The speaker also refers to the listener's 'disdain of the feelings of others.' Thus, the speaker believes the listener to be apathetic, and decidedly not empathetic.

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