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“TOEFL Exercises And Examples In Reading Practice To Help You Score Higher”

You deserve top-quality TOEFL exercises to make your test practice, test taking and getting the score you as easy as possible. As a non-native speaker of English, you know English language schools, review lessons and test prep in vocabulary, grammar, writing and speaking is hard work.

That is why I have created the following reading quiz for you. This reading passage and its TOEFL practice questions have the exact structure of the reading passages on the exam, and will test you on the grammar and vocabulary you need to know. Use my TOEFL exercises for reading test prep, and you’ll know exactly what to expect on the Test of English as a Foreign Language. If you don’t, you will be taking a step backwards from getting into your dream U.S. college.

On the TOEFL iBT reading section, you will have 3-4 reading passages, each with 12-14 multiple-choice questions. For each passage, you will have exactly 20 minutes to read and answer questions. [1] Get a timer or stopwatch before starting this lesson, and give yourself only 20 minutes. Type your answers in your computer’s text editor.

You can’t afford to procrastinate on TOEFL exercises and practice if you want to get a good score and achieve your goals. I want you to follow these steps right now:
  • Open one window on your computer screen with my TOEFL exercises and open another window with Notepad or Word.
  • Set your timer for 20 minutes.
  • Answer as many questions as possible within the time limit, typing your answers into your text editor.
  • Check your answers against the answer key, below, and read my explanations for any questions you got wrong.
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There may be something funny going on with the stuff covering the Moon, and a new NASA mission launching next month is aiming to solve the mystery.

Gaze up at a brilliant Moon in the night sky and it’s hard to imagine that our companion world, Earth’s last high wilderness, is actually a rather dark and grimy place. The lunar albedo (fractional reflectivity) is only about 0.12 – in other words, over the visible spectrum, it reflects a mere 12% of the light hitting it, absorbing the rest.

By comparison the Earth has an average albedo of about 0.33, Venus – with its high and reflective clouds – is 0.76, and icy smooth Enceladus reflects almost all visible light with an astonishing near 1.0 albedo. In fact, out of all the major bodies in our solar system, only Mercury beats the Moon in terms of darkness, with a 0.11 reflectivity.

Despite its light absorbency the Moon looks so bright to Earthlings because of its proximity to us, and because of our overall proximity to the Sun. But why is it so non-reflective? As with many phenomena, the answer is not entirely straightforward. The low average lunar albedo seems to be due to a variety of things, from the specifics of rock and ‘soil’ chemistry in a fairly intense radiation environment, to the physical texture of the surface.

One of the key characteristics of the Moon is that it’s covered in dust. This isn’t household fluff either, it’s extremely abrasive, smells of gunpowder (probably from being implanted with solar wind ions), and sticks like crazy – as the Apollo astronauts discovered.

Without a thick protective atmosphere, the lunar surface has been pummeled by meteorites and micrometeorites for over 4 billion years, breaking rocks into finer and finer particles. These are raggedy things, with no wet weathering to smooth them, and their abrasive forms stick like crazy to spacesuits, humans, human nasal passages, and can even dig through Kevlar.

But on a global scale lunar dust may exhibit some even more peculiar characteristics.

The Apollo astronauts were the first to witness a strange twilight phenomenon, a mysterious spread of light above and across the horizon. These remarkable displays were in stark contrast to the otherwise black skies, and a subject of considerable speculation.

They weren’t simple in structure […] In the span of a few minutes the glow above the horizon went from a centrally peaked luminosity to a set of ‘linear structures’ radiating outwards.

But what could be reflecting and scattering sunlight in the lunar vacuum? It could be something like the tenuous glow of irradiated sodium ions, but it could also be the glinting of lunar dust – levitated from the surface by powerful electrostatic charges generated by interplanetary radiation swirling across the landscape.

In fact, electrical charges might even produce dust ‘fountains’. As the rising Sun’s light and radiation sweeps across the lunar surface it could generate large positive charges, enough to kick dust particles a mile high, until they drop back, only to get kicked up again like a pulsing fountain.

Except we still don’t know whether this is really what’s happening, and the whole subject of the so-called lunar ‘exosphere’ (an incredibly tenuous atmosphere, a mere 1/100,000th the density of the Earth’s at sea level) is still relatively little understood.

This may all change after September 6th 2013, when NASA launches the Lunar Atmospheric and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE (Scotty would be proud, no doubt).

After a 30 day approach, and 30 days of checkout, LADEE will spend about 100 days orbiting the Moon and examining any dust that makes it to high altitude (it will carry a dust collector and analyzer) and the chemical contents of the atmosphere. It’s a modest enough set of goals, but they could help solve this long-standing mystery and help us better understand our rather filthy, but seemingly brilliant, nearest cosmic neighbor – an object that is very much a part of our own planetary history.

Source: Scientific American [2]
  1. The word “peculiar” on line 41 is closest in meaning to
    1. Reflective
    2. Unusual
    3. Unexplained
    4. Sticky

  2. In paragraph 4, why does the author include the information that the lunar albedo seems to be due to a variety of things?
    1. To explain the purpose of the upcoming NASA mission
    2. To provide evidence that the moon’s albedo is among the lowest in the solar system
    3. To support his claim that there is no simple explanation
    4. To provide evidence that the moon is covered in dust

  3. Which of the following can be inferred from paragraph 11 about the “dust fountain” theory?
    1. Scientists believe the “dust fountain” theory explains the moon’s low albedo
    2. Electrical charges caused by the sun are the reason for the moon’s dusty surface
    3. The “dust fountain” theory is one possible explanation for strange phenomena seen by Apollo astronauts
    4. “Dust fountains” are the reason why scientists don’t understand the lunar exosphere

  4. According to paragraph 4, why does the moon look bright to Earthlings?
    1. Because of how close it is to Earth
    2. Because it reflects so much light due to its low albedo
    3. Because of the color of lunar dust
    4. Scientists do not know why

  5. The word “levitated” on line 57 is closest in meaning to
    1. Swept
    2. Lifted
    3. Removed
    4. Scattered

  6. The word “tenuous” on line 69 is closest in meaning to
    1. Powerful
    2. Damaged
    3. Poorly understood
    4. Weak

  7. According to paragraph 6, all of the following statements are true of the moon’s environment EXECPT:
    1. The lunar surface has been pummeled by meteorites and micrometeorites
    2. Lunar dust is rough and ragged
    3. The moon used to have a thick protective atmosphere, but it was destroyed by meteorites and micrometeorites
    4. The moon’s surface is dry

  8. The phrase “modest enough set of goals” on line 81 is closest in meaning to
    1. An easy set of goals
    2. A complicated set of goals
    3. A reasonable set of goals
    4. An extreme set of goals

  9. The word “exhibit” on line 41 is closest in meaning to
    1. Hide
    2. Show
    3. Cause
    4. Conceal

  10. Paragraph 4 supports which of the following statements about the moon’s reflectivity?
    1. The moon is brighter to Earthlings than one might expect based on its albedo
    2. The moon is darker to Earthlings than one might expect based on its albedo
    3. Mercury is brighter than the moon to Earthlings
    4. The moon’s albedo is extremely high

  11. The phrase “stark contrast” on line 46 is closest in meaning to
    1. Large difference
    2. Extremely bright
    3. Very confusing
    4. Very colorful

  12. According to the passage, what is the main goal of the upcoming NASA mission?
    1. To study why the moon seems to bright to Earthlings
    2. To better understand the lunar exosphere
    3. To confirm the hypotheses of the Apollo astronauts
    4. To bring lunar dust samples back to Earth

Answer Key:
  1. B – “Peculiar” is a synonym for the adjective “strange” or “unusual.” You can infer this from the text, because the next paragraph discusses a “strange twilight phenomenon” right after the author mentions “peculiar characteristics.”
  2. C – You can tell by the sentence, “As with many phenomena, the answer is not entirely straightforward,” that the author is arguing against a simple explanation. A is wrong, because the author is not discussing the upcoming NASA mission in that paragraph. B is wrong because the number of causes of the lunar albedo is not related to the level of the albedo. D is wrong because the author’s main point is that the moon has strange characteristics, not that it is covered in dust.
  3. C – The sentence, “In fact, electrical charges might even produce dust ‘fountains’” suggests that the dust fountain theory is one possible explanation, but it is uncertain. A is wrong because the author never claims that the “dust fountain” theory is widely accepted. B is wrong because although the author says electrical charges can kick up the moon’s dust, they are not the reason for the dusty surface’s existence. D is wrong because the “dust fountain” theory is an attempt to explain the moon’s characteristics, not a reason why scientists don’t understand it.
  4. A – The author says the moon looks bright to Earthlings because it is close to Earth and close to the Sun. B is wrong because low albedo causes the moon to reflect less light, not more. C is wrong because the author does not mention a relationship between brightness and the color of lunar dust. D is wrong because the author does offer an explanation.
  5. B – “Levitate” is a verb that means “to float,” or in this context, to be lifted up. You can infer this from the text by remembering that the astronauts saw strange lights above the horizon, as well as how the author writes “levitated from the surface,” implying movement away.
  6. D – “Tenuous” is an adjective that means “very weak.” You can infer this from the text because the author says that the lunar atmosphere is only 1/100,000th the density of the Earth’s, thus, it is weak.
  7. C – The author never says that the moon used to have a thick protective atmosphere. Although meteorites and micrometeorites struck the moon, the author suggests this was because there was no atmosphere to prevent it, not that they destroyed the atmosphere.
  8. C – “Modest” is an adjective that means “moderate” or “limited.” You might infer this from the text because the mission is limited to dust collection, which is neither complicated (B) nor extreme (D). A can also be ruled out because the author says nothing about the ease or difficulty of the mission.
  9. B – “Exhibit” is a verb that means “to publicly display,” which is closest in meaning to “show.”
  10. A – The most important clue in this paragraph is the leading word, “despite.” This suggests that reality is different than one might expect, and closely reading the paragraph reveals that the author’s point is that the moon appears brighter than it its low albedo would suggest.
  11. A – When comparing two things, “contrast” means “difference.” “Stark” means “very obvious.” Therefore, “stark contrast” most closely means “large difference.” You can infer this from the text because the author highlights how much the “mysterious spread of light” differed from the typical black horizon.
  12. B – Right before discussing the NASA mission, the author notes that our understanding of the lunar exosphere is poor, but “this may all change” with the mission. Thus, B is the best answer. Although A was discussed earlier in the article, it is not the goal of the mission. C is wrong because the astronauts only noticed a phenomenon, they did not make any hypotheses. D is wrong because although the mission may bring lunar dust samples back to earth, that is not the main goal of the mission.
Sources
[1] http://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/faq/
[2] http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/life-unbounded/2013/08/19/the-dirtiest-lunar-mystery-of-all/

See: How I Went From Failure To An Excellent TOEFL Score