Let’s Learn Reading Comprehension on TOEFL

Let’s Learn Reading Comprehension on TOEFL

Questions 1-12

he first two decades of this century were dominated by the microbe hunters. These hunters had tracked down one after another of the microbes responsible for the most dreaded scourges of many centuries: tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria. But there, remained some terrible diseases for which no microbe could be incriminated: scurvy, pellagra, rickets, beriberi. Then it was discovered that these diseases were caused by the lack of vitamins, a trace substance in the diet. The diseases could be prevented or cured by consuming foods that contained the vitamins. And so in the decades of the 1920’s and 1930’s, nutrition became a science and the vitamin hunters replaced the microbe hunters.
In the 1940’s and 1950’s, biochemists strived to learn why each of the vitamins was essential for health. They discovered that key enzymes in metabolism depend on one or another of the vitamins as coenzymes to perform the chemistry that provides cells with energy for growth and function. Now, these enzyme hunters occupied center stage.
You are aware that the enzyme hunters have been replaced by a new breed of hunters who are tracking genes-the blueprints for each of the enzymes-and are discovering the defective genes that cause inherited diseases-diabetes, cystic fibrosis. These gene hunters, or genetic engineers, use recombinant DNA technology to identify and clone genes and introduce them into bacterial cells and plants to create factories for the massive production of hormones and vaccines for medicine and for better crops for agriculture. Biotechnology has become a multibillion-dollar industry.
In view of the inexorable progress in science, we can expect that the gene hunters will be replaced in the spotlight. When and by whom? Which kind of hunter will dominate the scene in the last decade of our waning century and in the early decades of the next? I wonder whether the hunters who will occupy the spotlight will be neurobiologists who apply the techniques of the enzyme and gene hunters to the functions of the brain: What to call them? The head hunters. I will return to them later.

1. What is the main topic of the passage?
(A)  The microbe hunters
(B)  The potential of genetic engineering
(C)  The progress of modem medical research
(D)  The discovery of enzymes

2. The word “which” in line 4 refers to
(A)  diseases
(B)  microbe
(C)  cholera
(D)  diphtheria

3. The word “incriminated” in line 4 is closest in meaning to
(A)  investigated
(B)  blamed
(C)  eliminated
(D)  produced

4. Which of the following can be cured by a change in diet?
(A)  Tuberculosis
(B)  Cholera
(C)  Cystic fibrosis
(D)  Pellagra

5. The word “strived” in line 9 is closest in meaning to
(A)  failed
(B)  tried
(C)  experimented
(D)  studied

6. How do vitamins influence health?
(A)  They are necessary for some enzymes to function.
(B)  They protect the body from microbes.
(C)  They keep food from spoiling.
(D)  They are broken down by cells to produce energy.

7. In the third paragraph, the author compares cells that have been genetically altered by biotechnicians to
(A)  gardens
(B)  factories
(C)  hunters
(D)  spotlights

8. The word “them” in line 16 refers to
(A)  cells and plants
(B)  hormones
(C)  genes
(D)  gene hunters or genetic engineers

9. The phrase “occupy the spotlight” in line 22 is closest in meaning to
(A)  receive the most attention
(B)  go the furthest
(C)  conquer territory
(D)  lighten the load

10. The author implies that the most important medical research topic of the future will be
(A)  the functions of the brain
(B)  inherited diseases
(C)  the operation of vitamins
(D)  the structure of genes

11. Which of the following best describes the author’stone in the last paragraph of the passage?
(A)  Critical
(B)  Speculative
(C)  Appreciative
(D)  Emotional

12. With which of the following statements would the author be most likely to agree?
(A)  The focus of medical research will change in the next two decades.
(B)  Medical breakthroughs often depend on luck.
(C)  Medical research throughout the twentieth century has been dominated by microbe hunters.
(D)  Most diseases are caused by defective genes.

Questions 13-24
In the mid-nineteenth century, the United States had tremendous natural resources that could be exploited in order to develop heavy industry. Most of the raw materials that are valuable in the manufacture of machinery, transportation facilities, and consumer goods lay ready to be worked into wealth. Iron, coal, and oil-the basic ingredients of industrial growth-were plentiful and needed only the application of technical expertise, organizational skill, and labor.
One crucial development in this movement toward industrialization was the growth of the railroads. The railway network expanded rapidly until the railroad map of the United States looked like a spider’s web, with the steel filaments connecting all important sources of raw materials, their places of manufacture, and their centers of distribution. The railroads contributed to the industrial growth not only by connecting these major centers, but also by themselves consuming enormous amounts of fuel, iron, and coal.
Many factors influenced emerging modes of production. For example, machine tools, the tools used to make goods, were steadily improved in the latter part of the nineteenth century-always with an eye to speedier production and lower unit costs. The products of the factories were rapidly absorbed by the growing cities that sheltered the workers and the distributors. The increased urban population was nourished by the increased farm production that, in turn, was made more productive by the use of the new farm machinery. American agricultural production kept up with the urban demand and still had surpluses for sale to the industrial centers of Europe.

The labor that ran the factories and built the railways was recruited in part from American farm areas where people were being displaced by farm machinery, in part from Asia, and in part from Europe. Europe now began to send tides of immigrants from eastern and southern Europe-most of whom were originally poor farmers but who settled in American industrial cities. The money to finance this tremendous expansion of the American economy still came from European financiers for the most part, but the Americans were approaching the day when their expansion could be financed in their own “money market.”

13. What does the passage mainly discuss?
(A)  The history of railroads in the United States
(B)  The major United States industrial centers
(C)  Factors that affected industrialization in the United States
(D)  The role of agriculture in the nineteenth century

14. The word “ingredients” in line 4 is closest in meaning to
(A)  minerals
(B)  products
(C)  methods
(D)  components

15.Why does the author mention “a spider’s web” in line 8?
(A)  To emphasize the railroad’s consumption of oil and coal
(B)  To describe the complex structure of the railway system
(C)  To explain the problems brought on by railway expansion
(D)  To describe the difficulties involved in the distribution of raw materials

16. The word “themselves” in line 10 refers to
(A)  sources
(B)  centers
(C)  railroads
(D)  places

17. According to the passage, all of the following were true of railroads in the United States in the nineteenth century EXCEPT that
(A)  they connected important industrial cities
(B)  they were necessary to the industrialization process
(C)  they were expanded in a short time
(D)  they used relatively small quantities of natural resources

18. According to the passage, what was one effect of the improvement of machine tools?
(A)  Lower manufacturing costs
(B)  Better distribution of goods
(C)  More efficient transportation of natural resources
(D)  A reduction in industrial jobs

19. According to the passage, who were the biggest consumers of manufactured products?
(A)  Railway workers
(B)  Farmers
(C)  City dwellers
(D)  Europeans

20. The word “nourished” in line 16 is closest in meaning to
(A)  protected
(B)  fed
(C)  housed
(D)  paid

21. Which of the following is NOT true of United States farmers in the nineteenth century?
(A)  They lost some jobs because of mechanization.
(B)  They were unable to produce sufficient food for urban areas.
(C)  They raised their productivity by using new machinery.
(D)  They sold food to European countries.

22. According to the passage, what did the United States supply to European cities?
(A)  Machine tools
(B)  Money
(C)  Raw materials
(D)  Agricultural produce

23. The word “ran” in line 19 is closest in meaning to
(A)  operated
(B)  hurried
(C)  constructed
(D)  owned

24. Where in the passage does the author mention the financial aspect of industrial expansion?
(A)  Lines 1-2
(B)  Lines 9-11
(C)  Lines 17-18
(D)  Lines 22-25


Line 1 London grew up beside the Thames, being founded at a point where the river could be forded or crossed. Julius Caesar, hoping to conquer Britain, crossed the Thames in 54 B.C., and Danish pirates often entered the river later.

Line 5 centuries. However, when times grew more peaceful, the Thames became a London thoroughfare. State barges carried kings and queens to and from Greenwich Palace and Westminster Palace. Prisoners were also taken in boats to Traitor’s Gate in the Tower of London.

25. It is implied that if London grew up beside the Thames and the Thames became a London thoroughfare, then the Thames is in … .
a. Ireland
b. America
c. England
d. Germany


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