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TOEFL Reading Task Examples

I’ve published several reading exercises on this blog (here and here). In addition to these, check out ETS’s QuickPrep, a free online study resource. Below I’ve included another one based on a passage from an introductory music history text.

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Choosing the right seat is also important. What is best for seeing may not be best for hearing. In some concert halls, the sound sails immediately over the front seats and settles at the back. Often the optimal seat in terms of acoustics is at the back o the hall, in the first balcony. Sitting closer, of course, allows you to watch the performers on stage. If you attend a concert of a symphony orchestra, follow the gestures that the conductor makes to the various soloists and sections of the orchestra; like a circus ringmaster, he or she turns directly to the soloist of a given movement. The conductor conveys to the players the essential lines and themes of the music, and they in turn communicate these to the audience.

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2. According to paragraph 1, what is NOT a major difference between classical concerts and rock/punk concerts?

  1. People dress up for classical concerts.
  2. Classical concert-goers do not dance.
  3. The audience at a classical concert only expresses itself at the end of a piece.
  4. Classical audiences are usually older.

3. Why does the author mention the eighteenth century in Paragraph 2?

  1. To demonstrate similarities between historical performances and modern rock performances
  2. To make a distinction between historical performances and modern classical performances
  3. To provide an example of an encore
  4. To describe a concert the author attended

4. According to Paragraph 3, which of the following is an important part of preparing to go to a classical concert?

  1. Listening to the music that will be performed
  2. Buying expensive clothes
  3. Researching the performers
  4. Go to see the venue where the concert will take place

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6. According to Paragraph 4, the best place to sit in order to hear a classical concert

  1. is in the front row
  2. is on the side
  3. depends on the kind of music being played
  4. is usually in the front of the balcony

7. According to Paragraph 4, how do the performers know the essential lines and themes of the music?

  1. They are trained to recognize them themselves
  2. They do not know
  3. The conductor shows them with his or her movements
  4. The performers demonstrate them to the audience

 

 

 

ANSWERS:

Question 1: C; Question 2: D; Question 3: B; Question 4: A; Question 5: B; Question 6: D; Question 7: C.

6 Responses to TOEFL Reading Task Examples

  1. lakshmi May 29, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    hi where can i find answers to this questions

    • Kate Hardin
      Kate Hardin June 4, 2014 at 10:01 am #

      Hi, Lakshmi– Thanks for the question. I’ve edited the post, so you should be able to see the answers at the bottom now. Thanks for writing!

  2. Tej July 10, 2014 at 12:59 am #

    Hi Kate,

    I feel the answer to the 2nd questiond should be option d. how did you get the answer as option b.

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas July 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

      You were right! Sorry about that—I just changed the answer key. 🙂 It is correct, now.

  3. Progyatez Chakma October 11, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    Hi kate!
    arigato for this really enlightening post. I have got some questions regarding reading passages in TOEFL. What is the difficulty level of TOEFL passages compare to GRE passages? As english isn’t my native language, i faced taxing obstacle in RC of GRE and have to confess, still, bit of out of confidence regarding this. I’v got 21 days till my TOEFL exam. Do you really think i can do well in reading section of TOEFL and can improve my aptness in RC?

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas October 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

      That’s a good question. GRE passsages tend to be a bit more more difficult than TOEFL material, but largely because their more focused on the author’s attitude and very subtle implications of the text. The passages on the TOEFL, meanwhile, are very long (longer than anything you would see on the GRE) and include some language that’s near the same level of difficulty as what’s on the GRE. But the information is more straightforward—they are generally factually based, not about subtle opinions. And yes, you can improve your TOEFL reading in 21 days. The most important thing is to learn how the test is written, especially what makes wrong answers wrong. It’s a bit different from the GRE, more focused on language tricks than logic tricks, so it will take some time to adapt to the different style of questions.


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