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Reading Comprehension Sample Questions

Level 1, Section 3

This section of the TOEFL ITP Level 1 test is designed to measure the ability to read and understand short passages similar in topic and style to those read in courses taught at North American universities and colleges. You will read a variety of short passages on academic subjects. Each passage is followed by a number of questions about the material. To avoid giving an advantage to individuals in any one field of study, sufficient context is provided so that no subject-specific familiarity with the topic is required to answer the questions.


In this section you will read several passages. Each one is followed by a number of questions about it. Choose the one best answer — A, B, C or D — to each question. As you're going through the questions, select the appropriate answer for each by clicking on it. When you have answered all the questions, click "Show all answers" at the end of the page to highlight the correct answer for each question.

Answer all questions about the information in a passage on the basis of what is stated or implied in that passage.

Look at the following examples before going on to the practice passage and questions.

Examples 1–2

  1. The railroad was not the first institution to impose
  2. regularity on society, or to draw attention to the
  3. importance of precise timekeeping. For as long as
  4. merchants have set out their wares at daybreak and
  5. communal festivities have been celebrated, people have
  6. been in rough agreement with their neighbors as to the
  7. time of day. The value of this tradition is today more
  8. apparent than ever. Were it not for public acceptance of
  9. a single yardstick of time, social life would be unbearably
  10. chaotic: the massive daily transfers of goods, services,
  11. and information would proceed in fits and starts; the
  12. very fabric of modern society would begin to unravel.
  1. What is the main idea of the passage?
    1. In modern society we must make more time for our neighbors.
    2. The traditions of society are timeless.
    3. An accepted way of measuring time is essential for the smooth functioning of society.
    4. Society judges people by the times at which they conduct certain activities.

The main idea of the passage is that societies need to agree about how time is measured in order to function smoothly. Therefore, you should choose answer C.

  1. In line 7, the phrase "this tradition" refers to
    1. the practice of starting the business day at dawn
    2. friendly relations between neighbors
    3. the railroad's reliance on time schedules
    4. people's agreement on the measurement of time

The phrase "this tradition" refers to the preceding clause, "people have been in rough agreement with their neighbors as to the time of day." Therefore, you should choose answer D.

Practice Questions 1–10

  1. The Alaska pipeline starts at the frozen edge of the
  2. Arctic Ocean. It stretches southward across the largest
  3. and northernmost state in the United States, ending at
  4. a remote ice-free seaport village nearly 800 miles from
  5. where it begins. It is massive in size and extremely
  6. complicated to operate.
  7. The steel pipe crosses windswept
  8. plains and endless miles of delicate tundra that tops
  9. the frozen ground. It weaves through crooked canyons,
  10. climbs sheer mountains, plunges over rocky crags,
  11. makes its way through thick forests, and passes over or
  12. under hundreds of rivers and streams. The pipe is 4 feet in
  13. diameter, and up to 2 million barrels (or 84 million
  14. gallons) of crude oil can be pumped through it daily.
  15. Resting on H-shaped steel racks called "bents," long
  16. sections of the pipeline follow a zigzag course high
  17. above the frozen earth. Other long sections drop out of
  18. sight beneath spongy or rocky ground and return to the
  19. surface later on. The pattern of the pipeline's up-and-
  20. down route is determined by the often harsh demands
  21. of the arctic and subarctic climate, the tortuous lay of
  22. the land, and the varied compositions of soil, rock, or
  23. permafrost (permanently frozen ground). A little more
  24. than half of the pipeline is elevated above the ground.
  25. The remainder is buried anywhere from 3 to 12 feet,
  26. depending largely upon the type of terrain and the
  27. properties of the soil.
  28. One of the largest in the world, the pipeline cost
  29. approximately $8 billion and is by far the biggest
  30. and most expensive construction project ever
  31. undertaken by private industry. In fact, no single
  32. business could raise that much money, so eight major oil
  33. companies formed a consortium in order to share
  34. the costs. Each company controlled oil rights to
  35. particular shares of land in the oil fields and paid
  36. into the pipeline-construction fund according to the
  37. size of its holdings. Today, despite enormous
  38. problems of climate, supply shortages, equipment
  39. breakdowns, labor disagreements, treacherous
  40. terrain, a certain amount of mismanagement, and
  41. even theft, the Alaska pipeline has been completed
  42. and is operating.
  1. The passage primarily discusses the pipeline's
    1. operating costs
    2. employees
    3. consumers
    4. construction
  2. The word "it" in line 5 refers to the
    1. pipeline
    2. ocean
    3. state
    4. village
  3. According to the second paragraph, 84 million gallons of oil can travel through the pipeline each
    1. day
    2. week
    3. month
    4. year
  4. The phrase "Resting on" in line 15 is closest in meaning to
    1. Consisting of
    2. Supported by
    3. Passing under
    4. Protected with
  5. The author mentions all of the following in the third paragraph as important in determining the pipeline's route EXCEPT the
    1. climate
    2. lay of the land itself
    3. local vegetation
    4. kind of soil and rock
  6. The word "undertaken" in line 31 is closest in meaning to
    1. removed
    2. selected
    3. transported
    4. attempted
  7. According to the last paragraph, how many companies shared the costs of constructing the pipeline?
    1. three
    2. four
    3. eight
    4. twelve
  8. The word "particular" in line 35 is closest in meaning to
    1. peculiar
    2. specific
    3. exceptional
    4. equal
  9. According to the last paragraph, which of the following determined what percentage of the construction costs each member of the consortium would pay?
    1. How much oil field land each company owned
    2. How long each company had owned land in the oil fields
    3. How many people worked for each company
    4. How many oil wells were located on the company's land
  10. Where in the passage does the author provide a term for a layer of soil that always remains frozen?
    1. Line 4
    2. Line 15
    3. Line 23
    4. Line 37


  1. D
  2. A
  3. A
  4. B
  5. C
  6. D
  7. C
  8. B
  9. A
  10. C

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