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TOEFL Reading Practice

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  • 0:01 TOEFL Reading
  • 1:23 The Passage
  • 2:29 The Questions
  • 5:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

Need a little practice for the TOEFL Reading test? You're in the right place! In this lesson, you'll get a sample passage with some questions to try on your own.

TOEFL Reading

The TOEFL Reading Test is exactly what it sounds like. You'll have to answer questions about passages designed to mimic college-level reading material. You don't have to know anything about the subjects beforehand. All the information you need will be right there on the test.

There are three kinds of questions on the TOEFL. Some will be typical multiple-choice questions. Others will ask you to insert a sentence into the passage. Each passage will also have exactly one of the third type, the 'Reading to Learn' questions. 'Reading to Learn' questions are so weird and special that they're covered in detail in another lesson. That lesson is called About the TOEFL Reading to Learn Questions, if you want to look it up.

For this lesson, we'll just be working on the multiple-choice and sentence insertion types. In this lesson, you'll read a sample passage and then answer some questions about it, just like you will on the TOEFL. Grab some paper and a pen to take notes on the passage while you read. You'll be able to do that on the real test, so it's good practice. Once you've got those, come back and get ready to read!

The Passage

First, you'll read the passage. Remember that you can take any notes you want while you're doing this. The passage will be displayed on the screen, and you can pause the video for as long as you need to read it. Try to read quickly since on the test you'll only have a few minutes per reading passage. You'll be able to look back at the text again as soon as you answer the question.

Antibiotic Resistance

Developed in the 1940s, antibiotic drugs kill bacteria that cause many common infectious diseases, like tonsillitis, strep throat, and E. Coli. (1) Before the discovery of antibiotics, these diseases killed many people, especially people with weakened immune systems. Antibiotics were embraced as 'miracle drugs,' the medicines that would relieve enormous amounts of human suffering.

Antibiotics are so common today that we take them for granted. But unfortunately, widespread use of antibiotics comes at a high price: antibiotic resistance. (2) When a doctor uses an antibiotic drug to kill bacteria, some of the bacteria will naturally have genetic abnormalities that make them resistant to the antibiotic. If the antibiotic isn't used at a high enough dose or for a long enough time, then it doesn't kill all the bacteria, only the weak ones. The strong, resistant bacteria reproduce and pass on their drug-resistant genes. This creates a new strain of drug-resistant bacteria that don't respond to the antibiotic.

Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria can develop if a patient gets an antibiotic prescription but doesn't take all the pills. (3) They're also caused by industrial farming, where farmers feed animals very low doses of antibiotics to make them grow faster.

If a person is infected with an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria, a different antibiotic will sometimes work. (4) Increasingly, doctors are seeing infections that are resistant to every known drug, for example MRSA, Multidrug Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

The Questions

That was the passage. Now, it's time for the questions. On the TOEFL, you'll have the reading passage handy while you work on the questions. If you want to go back and check the passage, just go back to the beginning of the section titled 'The Passage.' You'll also be able to use your notes on the questions, so if you took good notes, you're about to see your reward. Ready for the questions?

1. In the second paragraph, the word 'high' most nearly means…

a.Expensive
b.Pointing upward
c.Vertical
d.Elevated

Pause the video if you want to go back to the passage or if you just need some time to think about it.

The correct answer is a. The passage states that, 'Widespread use of antibiotics comes at a high price.' The word 'high' here doesn't refer to a literal hill or an area that's far off the ground. Instead, it's describing the cost of using antibiotics, so 'Expensive' is the best answer.

2. Which of the following does the author NOT identify as a cause of antibiotic resistance?

a. People who stop taking their antibiotics too soon.
b. Farmers who give low-dose antibiotics to animals to make them grow faster.
c.Patients who demand antibiotics for viral infections.
d.The author identifies all of these as causes of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Pause the video if you want to go back to the passage or if you just need some time to think about it.

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