TOEFL® Reading Questions – Prose Summary and Fill in a Table │Inside the TOEFL® Test


MICHAEL: Hi, I’m
Michael from ETS. Today on Inside
the TOEFL Test, we’re going inside the
TOEFL iBT Reading section. Specifically, the Prose
Summary questions. And we’ll also look at a similar
but less common question type, the Fill in a Table questions. The Prose Summary questions
are designed to show that you recognize
the major ideas and the relative
importance of information in a reading passage. In a Prose Summary question,
there are 6 answer choices, and you will need to select
the 3 correct choices that express the most important
ideas in the passage. The incorrect answer choices
will misrepresent information in the passage or will
discuss minor points. In the real test, you will
drag and drop your answers into the box. Prose Summary questions
are worth 2 points toward your raw score. You get 2 points if you
choose all 3 correct answers. You get one point if you
choose 2 correct answers. And you get zero points
for 1 or no correct answers. Note that your answers
don’t have to be in any particular order. And you can change your
answers at any point during the allotted time
for the reading section. The Fill In A Table
questions are similar except that instead of choosing
the three most important ideas, you will need to drag
and drop your answers into two (or three) categories. Each reading passage will have
one Prose Summary question, or one Fill In A Table
Question, but not both. Let’s look at a sample
Prose Summary question. This type of question covers
the whole reading passage, not just a single
sentence or paragraph. Here’s the passage
about meteorites and dinosaur extinction. And here’s the question. Now let’s look at each
of the answer choices to see which three are correct. Answer #1 isn’t supported
by any of the information in the passage, so we know that this
one is not correct. Answer #2 is a factually
correct statement, but identifying the specific
date when something happened generally doesn’t qualify as
one of the most important ideas. So this one is
probably not correct, but let’s look at the
others to make sure. For answer #3, the reference
to the crater Tycho is used to give a sense of
the size of the crater that struck the Yucatán. However, the topic of
meteorite activity on the moon is not a focus
of this passage. Answer #4 combines several facts
that together provide a summary of an important idea
from the passage. This is supported by information
given in paragraphs 2 and 3. Answer #5 is about the
effects of meteorite impacts, which is an important
idea of the passage. We can see this in paragraph 4, where it talks about
the mass destruction from the cold,
darkness and fires. And in paragraph 5
where it talks about the catastrophic results. Answer #6 is another
important idea that is stated in a similar sentence
in paragraph 5: ‘What is a catastrophe for
one group of living things, however, may
create opportunities for another group.” So for this question, answers 4, 5 and 6 are
the correct three choices. You can work to improve your
reading skills by creating your own outlines or charts
when you read a passage. Pick a chart format
that is helpful for you, like one of these… …and as you read,
identify the main ideas and supporting details. As you practice more, you will
be able to take fewer notes to outline the points. There are lots of ways
to improve your English skills. Whatever you do,
keep practicing. And good luck on
your TOEFL test.

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