TOEFL : Use of evidence

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Example Question #1 : Use Of Evidence

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.

The citation of the percentage of hemoglobin molecules in bats is best identified as _________________.

Possible Answers:

quantitative evidence

analogy

qualitative evidence

metaphor

Correct answer:

quantitative evidence

Explanation:

When an author supports a point with facts or figures gathered from scientific study, this is referred to as "quantitative evidence." Quantitative evidence is measurable, as with a percentage figure. Qualitative evidence, on the other hand, is evidence gathered from a subjective analysis, one that cannot be measured objectively.

Example Question #2 : Use Of Evidence

Adapted from The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf (1915).

"[... Rachel] had been educated as the majority of well-to-do girls in the last part of the nineteenth century were educated. Kindly doctors and gentle old professors had taught her the rudiments of about ten different branches of knowledge, but they would as soon have forced her to go through one piece of drudgery thoroughly as they would have told her that her hands were dirty. The one hour or the two hours weekly passed very pleasantly, partly owing to the other pupils, partly to the fact that the window looked upon the back of a shop, where figures appeared against the red windows in winter, partly to the accidents that are bound to happen when more than two people are in the same room together. But there was no subject in the world which she knew accurately. Her mind was in the state of an intelligent man's in the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth; she would believe practically anything she was told, invent reasons for anything she said. The shape of the earth, the history of the world, how trains worked, or money was invested, what laws were in force, which people wanted what, and why they wanted it, the most elementary idea of a system in modern life—none of this had been imparted to her by any of her professors or mistresses. But this system of education had one great advantage. It did not teach anything, but it put no obstacle in the way of any real talent that the pupil might chance to have. Rachel, being musical, was allowed to learn nothing but music; she became a fanatic about music. All the energies that might have gone into languages, science, or literature, that might have made her friends, or shown her the world, poured straight into music. Finding her teachers inadequate, she had practically taught herself. At the age of twenty-four she knew as much about music as most people do when they are thirty; and could play as well as nature allowed her to, which, as became daily more obvious, was a really generous allowance. If this one definite gift was surrounded by dreams and ideas of the most extravagant and foolish description, no one was any the wiser."

According to this passage, what is the advantage of Rachel's system of education?

Possible Answers:

It provides the necessary resources for a student to become an expert in any subject

It helps the majority of students achieve academic success

It does not impede a student from learning about a subject he or she is interested in

It is relatively easy, so the students don't have to work very hard

Correct answer:

It does not impede a student from learning about a subject he or she is interested in

Explanation:

Rachel's system of education is described as allowing students to focus on the subject(s) that interests them, even though the professors may not be knowledgeable about that subject. Although this system could be described as "easy," the author does not seem to consider that a positive quality.

Example Question #3 : Use Of Evidence

Adapted from The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf (1915).

"[... Rachel] had been educated as the majority of well-to-do girls in the last part of the nineteenth century were educated. Kindly doctors and gentle old professors had taught her the rudiments of about ten different branches of knowledge, but they would as soon have forced her to go through one piece of drudgery thoroughly as they would have told her that her hands were dirty. The one hour or the two hours weekly passed very pleasantly, partly owing to the other pupils, partly to the fact that the window looked upon the back of a shop, where figures appeared against the red windows in winter, partly to the accidents that are bound to happen when more than two people are in the same room together. But there was no subject in the world which she knew accurately. Her mind was in the state of an intelligent man's in the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth; she would believe practically anything she was told, invent reasons for anything she said. The shape of the earth, the history of the world, how trains worked, or money was invested, what laws were in force, which people wanted what, and why they wanted it, the most elementary idea of a system in modern life—none of this had been imparted to her by any of her professors or mistresses. But this system of education had one great advantage. It did not teach anything, but it put no obstacle in the way of any real talent that the pupil might chance to have. Rachel, being musical, was allowed to learn nothing but music; she became a fanatic about music. All the energies that might have gone into languages, science, or literature, that might have made her friends, or shown her the world, poured straight into music. Finding her teachers inadequate, she had practically taught herself. At the age of twenty-four she knew as much about music as most people do when they are thirty; and could play as well as nature allowed her to, which, as became daily more obvious, was a really generous allowance. If this one definite gift was surrounded by dreams and ideas of the most extravagant and foolish description, no one was any the wiser."

According to the passage, which of the following constitutes evidence for the assertion that Rachel's system of education "did not teach anything"?

Possible Answers:

Rachel's inability to concentrate during class

The fact that Rachel did not know how trains work

The fact that Rachel knew as much about music as a thirty year-old

Rachel's ignorance of the ten branches of knowledge

Correct answer:

The fact that Rachel did not know how trains work

Explanation:

The author characterizes Rachel's system of education as lacking in depth and details; she is knowledgeable about music, but does not know simple facts about the world such as how trains work and how to invest money. We are not told how well she knows the ten branches of knowledge she was taught, or whether she concentrates in class.

Example Question #4 : Use Of Evidence

Passage adapted from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass (1845).

        The slaves selected to go to the Great House Farm, for the monthly allowance for themselves and their fellow-slaves, were peculiarly enthusiastic. While on their way, they would make the dense old woods, for miles around, reverberate with their wild songs, revealing at once the highest joy and the deepest sadness. [...]

     I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meaning of those rude and apparently incoherent songs. I was myself within the circle; so that I neither saw nor heard as those without might see and hear. They told a tale of woe which was then altogether beyond my feeble comprehension; they were tones loud, long, and deep; they breathed the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish. Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains. The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sadness. I have frequently found myself in tears while hearing them. The mere recurrence to those songs, even now, afflicts me; and while I am writing these lines, an expression of feeling has already found its way down my cheek. To those songs I trace my first glimmering conception of the dehumanizing character of slavery. I can never get rid of that conception. Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for my brethren in bonds. If any one wishes to be impressed with the soul-killing effects of slavery, let him go to Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on allowance-day, place himself in the deep pine woods, and there let him, in silence, analyze the sounds that shall pass through the chambers of his soul,--and if he is not thus impressed, it will only be because "there is no flesh in his obdurate heart."

        I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the north, to find persons who could speak of the singing, among slaves, as evidence of their contentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive of a greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears. At least, such is my experience. I have often sung to drown my sorrow, but seldom to express my happiness. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery. The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.

The author argues that slaves sing to express sadness rather than happiness. One form of evidence he uses to support his argument is _____________________.

Possible Answers:

his personal experience

anecdotal evidence from other people

statistics about slavery

a widely-known fact

Correct answer:

his personal experience

Explanation:

In the sentence "At least, such is my experience," the author makes it clear that he is using personal experience to support his argument that slaves' songs are sad rather than happy. He does not use statistics, universally accepted facts, or anecdotes from others.

Example Question #5 : Use Of Evidence

Passage adapted from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass (1845).

        The slaves selected to go to the Great House Farm, for the monthly allowance for themselves and their fellow-slaves, were peculiarly enthusiastic. While on their way, they would make the dense old woods, for miles around, reverberate with their wild songs, revealing at once the highest joy and the deepest sadness. [...]

     I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meaning of those rude and apparently incoherent songs. I was myself within the circle; so that I neither saw nor heard as those without might see and hear. They told a tale of woe which was then altogether beyond my feeble comprehension; they were tones loud, long, and deep; they breathed the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish. Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains. The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sadness. I have frequently found myself in tears while hearing them. The mere recurrence to those songs, even now, afflicts me; and while I am writing these lines, an expression of feeling has already found its way down my cheek. To those songs I trace my first glimmering conception of the dehumanizing character of slavery. I can never get rid of that conception. Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for my brethren in bonds. If any one wishes to be impressed with the soul-killing effects of slavery, let him go to Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on allowance-day, place himself in the deep pine woods, and there let him, in silence, analyze the sounds that shall pass through the chambers of his soul,--and if he is not thus impressed, it will only be because "there is no flesh in his obdurate heart."

        I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the north, to find persons who could speak of the singing, among slaves, as evidence of their contentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive of a greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears. At least, such is my experience. I have often sung to drown my sorrow, but seldom to express my happiness. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery. The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.

The author's reference to "the singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island" is an example of _________________.

Possible Answers:

a comparison to the anguish of the slaves' songs

a euphemism for slavery

a personal anecdote about isolation

foreshadowing an impending disaster

Correct answer:

a comparison to the anguish of the slaves' songs

Explanation:

The author uses this reference to a man singing on a deserted island to support his argument that the slaves sing out of anguish rather than happiness. It is thus a comparison rather than a euphemism, an anecdote, or foreshadowing.

Example Question #6 : Use Of Evidence

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

"It is your best work, Basil, the best thing you have ever done," said Lord Henry, languidly. "You must certainly send it next year to the Grosvenor. The Academy is too large and too vulgar. The Grosvenor is the only place." 

"I don't think I will send it anywhere," he answered, tossing his head back in that odd way that used to make his friends laugh at him at Oxford. "No: I won't send it anywhere." 

Lord Henry elevated his eyebrows, and looked at him in amazement through the thin blue wreaths of smoke that curled up in such fanciful whorls from his heavy opium-tainted cigarette. "Not send it anywhere? My dear fellow, why? Have you any reason? What odd chaps you painters are! You do anything in the world to gain a reputation. As soon as you have one, you seem to want to throw it away. It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. A portrait like this would set you far above all the young men in England, and make the old men quite jealous, if old men are ever capable of any emotion." 

"I know you will laugh at me," he replied, "but I really can't exhibit it. I have put too much of myself into it." 

Lord Henry stretched his long legs out on the divan and shook with laughter. 

"Yes, I knew you would laugh; but it is quite true, all the same." 

"Too much of yourself in it! Upon my word, Basil, I didn't know you were so vain; and I really can't see any resemblance between you, with your rugged strong face and your coal-black hair, and this young Adonis, who looks as if he was made of ivory and rose-leaves. Why, my dear Basil, he is a Narcissus, and you--well, of course you have an intellectual expression, and all that. But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself an exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face. The moment one sits down to think, one becomes all nose, or all forehead, or something horrid. Look at the successful men in any of the learned professions. How perfectly hideous they are! Except, of course, in the Church. But then in the Church they don't think.

Did Basil and Lord Henry understand the same thing when Basil said, "I have put too much of myself into it."

Possible Answers:

None of these

Yes, they both believe that Basil did an adequate job representing himself

No, Basil meant that paintings are always self portraits, but Lord Henry believes that the picture is a painting of someone they both know

No, Basil meant that he put forth is best effort whereas Lord Henry believes that Basil painted the picture as a resemblance of Basil's likeness

Yes, they both believe that this is Basil's most effacing work

Correct answer:

No, Basil meant that he put forth is best effort whereas Lord Henry believes that Basil painted the picture as a resemblance of Basil's likeness

Explanation:

It is clear that Lord Henry and Basil did not mean the same thing. Basil is pensive and is most likely scared that the object of his devotion will not be duly appreciated as such. Lord Henry, however, jokes that Basil thinks vainly of himself since the painting is a representation of a Adonis.

Example Question #7 : Use Of Evidence

Passage adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, 1883.

1 "Well, then," said he, "this is the berth for me. 2 Here you, matey," he cried to the man who trundled the barrow; "bring up alongside and help up my chest. 3 I'll stay here a bit," he continued. 4 "I'm a plain man; rum and bacon and eggs is what I want, and that head up there for to watch ships off. 5 What you mought call me? 6 You mought call me captain. 7 Oh, I see what you're at—there"; and he threw down three or four gold pieces on the threshold. 8 "You can tell me when I've worked through that," says he, looking as fierce as a commander.

9 And indeed bad as his clothes were and coarsely as he spoke, he had none of the appearance of a man who sailed before the mast, but seemed like a mate or skipper accustomed to be obeyed or to strike. 10 The man who came with the barrow told us the mail had set him down the morning before at the Royal George, that he had inquired what inns there were along the coast, and hearing ours well spoken of, I suppose, and described as lonely, had chosen it from the others for his place of residence. 11 And that was all we could learn of our guest.

In Sentence 9, what does the author mean by “a man who sailed before the mast”?

Possible Answers:

A condemned criminal

A common sailor

A shipyard owner

An experienced old captain

An indentured servant or slave

Correct answer:

A common sailor

Explanation:

In the paragraph in question, we see that “a man who sailed before the mast” is contrasted with “a mate or skipper accustomed to be obeyed or to strike.” Based on this comparison, we can surmise that “a man who sailed before the mast” is the opposite of a skipper or captain and is therefore a common sailor.

Example Question #8 : Use Of Evidence

Passage adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, 1883.

1 "Well, then," said he, "this is the berth for me. 2 Here you, matey," he cried to the man who trundled the barrow; "bring up alongside and help up my chest. 3 I'll stay here a bit," he continued. 4 "I'm a plain man; rum and bacon and eggs is what I want, and that head up there for to watch ships off. 5 What you mought call me? 6 You mought call me captain. 7 Oh, I see what you're at—there"; and he threw down three or four gold pieces on the threshold. 8 "You can tell me when I've worked through that," says he, looking as fierce as a commander.

9 And indeed bad as his clothes were and coarsely as he spoke, he had none of the appearance of a man who sailed before the mast, but seemed like a mate or skipper accustomed to be obeyed or to strike. 10 The man who came with the barrow told us the mail had set him down the morning before at the Royal George, that he had inquired what inns there were along the coast, and hearing ours well spoken of, I suppose, and described as lonely, had chosen it from the others for his place of residence. 11 And that was all we could learn of our guest.

Based on the passage, how would the speaker describe himself?

Possible Answers:

Luxurious

Significant

Simple

Impoverished

Apathetic

Correct answer:

Simple

Explanation:

Although the captain unexpectedly pays for his room in gold coins (Sentence 7), the passage doesn’t indicate that he sees himself as rich or poor. What we do learn is that he describes his needs and wants as undemanding (Sentence 5): “I'm a plain man; rum and bacon and eggs is what I want, and that head up there for to watch ships off.”

Example Question #9 : Use Of Evidence

Passage adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, 1883.

1 "Well, then," said he, "this is the berth for me. 2 Here you, matey," he cried to the man who trundled the barrow; "bring up alongside and help up my chest. 3 I'll stay here a bit," he continued. 4 "I'm a plain man; rum and bacon and eggs is what I want, and that head up there for to watch ships off. 5 What you mought call me? 6 You mought call me captain. 7 Oh, I see what you're at—there"; and he threw down three or four gold pieces on the threshold. 8 "You can tell me when I've worked through that," says he, looking as fierce as a commander.

9 And indeed bad as his clothes were and coarsely as he spoke, he had none of the appearance of a man who sailed before the mast, but seemed like a mate or skipper accustomed to be obeyed or to strike. 10 The man who came with the barrow told us the mail had set him down the morning before at the Royal George, that he had inquired what inns there were along the coast, and hearing ours well spoken of, I suppose, and described as lonely, had chosen it from the others for his place of residence. 11 And that was all we could learn of our guest.

In Sentence 4, what does the author mean by “head”?

Possible Answers:

Clifftop

Floodplain

Physiognomy

Skull

Vale

Correct answer:

Clifftop

Explanation:

Based simply on the rest of Sentence 4 (“for to watch ships off”), we can conclude that a “head” is a high vantage point overlooking water. This eliminates “vale” (valley) and “floodplain” as well as the more common associations with “head” (physiognomy and skull). We’re left with bluff, which is a synonym for escarpment or cliff.

Example Question #10 : Use Of Evidence

Passage adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, 1883.

1 "Well, then," said he, "this is the berth for me. 2 Here you, matey," he cried to the man who trundled the barrow; "bring up alongside and help up my chest. 3 I'll stay here a bit," he continued. 4 "I'm a plain man; rum and bacon and eggs is what I want, and that head up there for to watch ships off. 5 What you mought call me? 6 You mought call me captain. 7 Oh, I see what you're at—there"; and he threw down three or four gold pieces on the threshold. 8 "You can tell me when I've worked through that," says he, looking as fierce as a commander.

9 And indeed bad as his clothes were and coarsely as he spoke, he had none of the appearance of a man who sailed before the mast, but seemed like a mate or skipper accustomed to be obeyed or to strike. 10 The man who came with the barrow told us the mail had set him down the morning before at the Royal George, that he had inquired what inns there were along the coast, and hearing ours well spoken of, I suppose, and described as lonely, had chosen it from the others for his place of residence. 11 And that was all we could learn of our guest.

In Sentence 10, what does the author mean by “the mail had set him down the morning before”?

Possible Answers:

The captain had sent a letter informing the inn of his timely arrival the day before

The captain had sent a letter informing the inn of his arrival the day before but was later than expected

The captain’s location was discussed in letters yesterday

The captain traveled in a vehicle carrying mail 

The captain had stowed away in order to reach a vehicle carrying mail

Correct answer:

The captain traveled in a vehicle carrying mail 

Explanation:

The phrase in question is an outdated expression. The “mail” stands in metonymically for a mail coach, a vehicle that dropped off the captain yesterday. Don’t be tempted to interpret this phrase figuratively and assume that the captain’s arrival was talked about in letters. If that was the case, the other characters in the passage would know more about the captain. (“And that was all we could learn of our guest.”)

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