READINESS TEST FOR TOEFL: READING
This is a diagnostic test with questions and structure as would be in an iBT test. The test was taken from a TOEFL Diagnostic test booklet. This is a true reflection of what you should expect in a real test day. The hours are not realistic since the iBT is a three-hour long test with four sections: reading, listening, speaking and writing.

My advice is to take a deep breath and remember that this is just a test that will allow you to gauge where you are in readiness for the real thing. Be as true to yourself as possible. Even though you should time yourself, doing the test and answering the questions at this point is more essential than rushing to the end.

Allow yourself at least 90 minutes for the entire test.

So, without further ado, I which you good testing!
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READING SECTION
Directions

In this section, you will read three passages and answer reading comprehension questions about each passage. Most questions are worth one point, but the last question in each set is worth more than one point. The directions indicate how many points you may receive.

You have 60 minutes to read all of the passages and answer the questions. Some passages include a word or phrase followed by an asterisk (*). Go to the bottom of the passage to see a definition or an explanation of these words or phrases.  
Questions 1 - 12
                                                      Causes of Ice Ages
1.   Geologists have shown that for about 80 percent of the past 2,5 million years, ice-age conditions have prevailed on the earth's surface. During the past one million years, increased glacial conditions have run in cycles of approximately 100,000 years.

2.  Many different factors may contribute to these increases in glaciation at regular intervals throughout Earth’s more geological recent history. The three most prominent factors probably relate to the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth. This varies over time for three main reasons. First, the planet wobbles* as it spins, due to the pull of the sun and moon. Furthermore, the Earth tilts* on its axis and the degree of tilt changes over time. Finally, the orbit of the Earth around the sun is elliptical and the length of the major axis of the eclipse changes over a period of about 100,000 years. A mathematician named Milutin Milankovitch discovered in the 1930s that the pattern of insolation, or sunlight, predicted by these eccentricities in the Earth’s movement matched the period of the several eras of intense glaciation.

3.  These Milankovitch insolation cycles were the dominant theory in ice-age research for much of the twentieth century despite the fact that the match between periods of peak insolation and most intense glaciation were not exact. For example, a cycle of 400,000 years predicted by the Milankovitch theory has never shown up in the climate records obtained through the study of microfossils deposited on the sea floor. Also, recent analysis has shown that the insolation theory predicts peaks of sunlight at intervals of 95,000 and 125,000 years. Climatological data does not support this predicted sunlight peaking. Other damaging water-filled cave in Nevada, which preceded the increase in solar radiation that was supposed to cause it.

4.  These and other problems with the Milankovitch cycles led some researchers to seek alternative explanations for the cyclic arrival of extended ice ages. In the 1990s, it was discovered that the orbital inclination of the Earth to the sun in the center and the planets revolving around it, the Earth slowly moves in and out of the flat plane by a few degrees, repeating the cycle every 100,000 years. Two scientists, Muller and MacDonald, have proposed that it is this orbital inclination which is ultimately responsible for the periods of glaciation and warming. They argue that because of the oscillation, the Earth periodically travels through clouds of debris, in the form of dust and meteoroids. Such debris could reduce the amount of solar energy reaching the surface of our planet, thus plunging it into regular cold periods.

5.  The advantage of this theory is that it is not confronted with several of the problems associated with the Milankovitch theory. In particular, the new theory fits well with the analysis of ocean sediments taken from eight locations around the world. This analysis yielded data clearly showing the peak of the last several ice ages with a period of 100,000 years and corresponding to the periods when the Earth’s oscillating takes it through clouds of extraterrestrial debris.


6.  However, many researchers in this field are not yet persuaded by the inclination hypothesis. The main problem is that the amount of dust that falls to the ground when the Earth travels through space debris is relatively small – not enough to produce radical climate changes. volcanic, eruptions, for example, release much greater amounts of ash and dust and have relatively little effect on climate. Supporters have countered that the by-products created by the dust as it evaporates on entering the atmosphere cause subtle changes to the energy levels. Nevertheless, the necessary physical proof has yet to be found to convince the skeptics.

*wobble_ to shake or move from side to side
*tilt: to be in a sloping position

The word 'prevailed' in the passage is closest in meaning to
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What can be inferred from the paragraph 2 about the factors that contribute to glaciation?
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The phrase 'these eccentricities' in the passage refers to all of the following EXCEPT
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Scientists accepted the Milankovitch theory even though                [Refer to the full passage]
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In paragraph 4, why does the author suggest the image of a flat plane?
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The word 'it' in the passage refers to
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In paragraph 4, the author explains that
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What problem in the Milankovitch theory was mentioned as being explained by the Muller and MacDonald theory?                          [Refer to the full passage]
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The word 'persuaded' in the passage is closest in meaning to
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What problem is associated with the Muller and MacDonald theory?                                                                                                 [Refer to the full passage]
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Look at the four squares ⬛that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.                                                  
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Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 4 points.                                                                            Choose the letters of the answer choices in no particular order. [Refer to the full passage]                                                                        
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Flaws in the Milankovitch Cycles Theory
Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 4 points.                                                                            Choose the letters of the answer choices in no particular order. [Refer to the full passage]                                                                        
2 points
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Flaws in the Muller and MacDonald Theory
Questions 13 - 26
                                                                  Bird Migration
                                                                                                       

1.     The phenomenon of seasonal bird migration has been known about for thousands of years, but it is still not fully understood by scientists. Not all birds migrate, but generally speaking the more northerly the breeding ground, the more likely is it that a species will migrate south for the winter. The main reason for this annual shifting of residence is that during the northern winters food becomes scarce and the cold temperatures make survival difficult. Some species are well adapted to these harsh conditions, but for those that aren’t, moving south to warmer conditions is advantageous.                                            

 2.     Changes in the weather can trigger the start of the journey south, although birds in the Northern Hemisphere seem to know when it is time to migrate south before the winter. In some species at least, the changes in the length of the day cause glands in the birds’ bodies to secrete hormones that produce other changes, which ready the birds for the long flight south. At this time fat starts to accumulate under the skin, and this provides a store of energy for the flight when they will be expending more calories flying than they can obtain during their brief rest stops.

3.      In fact, bird-migration patterns are more complex than the simple pattern implied above. Birds that breed in the Southern Hemisphere migrate north to wintering grounds. Other birds travel on an approximately east-west path since milder climates can often be found in coastal areas of continental regions. Some birds find conditions more suitable at lower altitudes in a mountainous region and so migrate to lower levels in winter.                                                      

4.       Perhaps  the most mysterious and as yet not totally understood aspect of bird migration is how birds can navigate such long distances and arrive so precisely at their destination. Various possibilities exist. The most obvious explanation is that they learn the topographic* features of their route. However, it is not feasible that this method could be used for crossing larger stretches of water or very long trips across whole continents. Another possible explanation is that some birds may use magnetic fields. Scientists have actually detected tiny crystals of magnetite in the olfactory* tract of some species, and homing pigeons have been shown to follow magnetic field lines of the earth.                                                                                  

5.      A further possibility is that birds can detect the polarization patterns in sunlight. Some light waves from the sun are absorbed in the atmosphere, and some pass through. The resulting pattern of light waves forms a large bowtie-shaped image in the sky. The image has fuzzy ends and is sometimes known as Haidinger’s brush after the discoverer of the effect. The image is oriented in a north and south direction and is visible at sunset. Although birds may not see this shape, they can discern gradations of polarization, which give them a kind of compass for determining directions.
                 
6.       Scientists believe that some birds navigate by use of star positions; this has been established with at least one species. In a series of studies, caged birds were subjected to the projection of the nightlife Northern Hemisphere inside a planetarium. All stars rotate around Polaris, the pole star, and this movement seemed to give the birds the information they need to orientate themselves in the correct direction. However, some recent research contradicts this. Perhaps it is not the lack of movement of the pole star but rather the constellation patterns that guide them. It has also been found that when fewer stars were visible in the planetarium ceiling, the birds’ sense of direction became poorer. And this, too, implies that the general star pattern does have some bearing on orientation.  
                                                     
7. The current state of research suggests that all of the above-mentioned methods probably have an influence on bird migration. Different species use one, some, or even all methods at different times and in various situations.  

* topographic: relating to the natural features of land                                                                                                                
*olfactory: connected with the sense of smell
In paragraph 1, it is understood that some birds don’t migrate south in the winter because they
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The word ‘those’ in the passage refers to
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According to paragraph 2, what are the results of changes in the weather?
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The word ‘accumulate’ in the passage is closest in meaning to
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All the bird migration patterns are mentioned in the passage EXCEPT                                                                                        [Refer to the full passage]
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The word ‘precisely’ in the passage is closest in meaning to
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It can be inferred that polarization patterns                                        [Refer to the full passage]
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Why does the author mention Haidinger’s brush?                              [Refer to the full passage]
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The word ‘subjected’ in the passage is closest in meaning to
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According to paragraph 6, how do some birds navigate during the night?
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Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage?
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The word ‘this’ in the passage refers to
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Look at the four squares ⬛that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.                                             Over short distances, the birds could recognize particular landscapes such as river valleys and shapes of hills.            Where would the sentence best fit? Choose the letter of the square that shows where the sentence should be added.
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Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.                                                                            Choose the letters of the answer choices in no particular order. [Refer to the full passage]  
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Questions 27 - 39
                                                                     Radon
1.  Radon is a radioactive gas that is invisible and odorless. It forms during the decay of uranium-238, and in decaying, itself produces solid heavy metal radioactive particles of polonium, lead, and bismuth. The parent element, uranium, is distributed in rocks and soils in many regions of the world, although usually in negligible* amounts. However, concentrations of this element occur in certain rocks, and under certain conditions it is dissolved by underground water and carried over great distances before seeping into other rocks and soils.

2.   Since radon is a gas, it can move from the ground into the air, where it is dispersed by the winds. If it infiltrates buildings, however, it can build up over time and lead to serious health problems. In fact, the radon itself is chemically inert and so does not enter into chemical reactions with other substances. It is readily dissolved in the blood and circulates through the body until it is expelled, usually it has had time to decay. The health problems associated with radon activity arise from the radioactive products of its disintegration mentioned above.

3.   The products of the decay process, especially polonium-218 and polonium-214, emit radiation, which kills or damages living cells, causing genetic mutations and cancer. These radon progeny are not dispersed harmlessly like radon itself but accumulate as the radon decays. Outside the body, these solid materials can attach themselves to the dust particles and surfaces throughout a building and then enter the body when the tobacco is smoked. Inside the body these dangerous by-products of radon become lodged in lung tissue and the bronchial tubes. As these decay, they emit alpha and beta particles and gamma rays. Of these, the alpha particles can do the most damage since they are the bulkiest of the three and therefore cannot penetrate very far into the living tissue. Because of this relative immobility, concentrations of the particle form and damage cells in the immediate area. Beta particles and gamma rays are less dangerous since they travel further and are less concentrated in the tissues.

4.   The primary way that radon penetrates buildings is through foundations. It enters through cracks in basement floors, drains, loose-fitting pipes, and exposed soil areas. Radon also finds its way into water, although of the water is exposed to the atmosphere or agitated, the radon disperses into the air. Because of this, concentrations of this uranium daughter are not high in rivers, but water drawn from underground sources into homes can have elevated levels.

5.   The chief health risk from inhaling radon or its daughter products is lung cancer. Scientists have concluded that exposure to this carcinogen is the second leading cause of this disease in the United States. Major scientific organizations believe it contributes to approximately 12 percent of the incidence in the United States alone. It is true that some research has cast doubt on the likelihood of residential radon accumulations contributing to cancer rates. Other larger scale studies contradict the neutral findings. For example, a recent study of 68,000 underground miners who were exposed to high levels of radon shows that they are five times more likely to die of lung cancer than the general population. Smokers, whose incidence of lung cancer is significantly higher than the nonsmoking population, are even more at risk if they are exposed to high levels of radon.

6.   It is now possible to have buildings tested for radon accumulation. In an average home, this is about 1.3 picocuries* per liter, which is considered an acceptable although not totally safe level. If these levels are above 4 picocuries per liter of air, then homeowners are advised to reduce the amount seeping into the living space. This can be achieved through various means including concrete sealing and the installation of active ventilation systems. It is not possible to completely eradicate traces of radon since the natural outdoors level average 0.4 picocuries per liter, but minimizing the amount is a prudent preventive measure.

*negligible_ too small to be important
*picocurie: a level of radiation activity
The phrase 'this element' in the passage refers to
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The word 'seeping' in the passage is closest in meaning to
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In paragraph 2, what can be inferred about the relationship of radon and health problems?
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The word 'disintegration' in the passage is closest in meaning to
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Health problems associated with radon are caused by                                [Refer to the full passage]
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Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
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According to paragraph 3, some products of decay cause damage because they
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The phrase 'uranium daughter' in the passage refers to
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According to the passage, all the following are true about radon EXCEPT                                                                                      [Refer to the full passage]
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It can be understood from the paragraph that
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The word 'prudent' in the passage is closest in meaning to
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Look at the four squares ⬛that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.                                             But this research has been criticized for being based on too few subjects.                                                                                               Where would the sentence best fit? Choose the letter of the square that shows where the sentence should be added.
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Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.                                                                            Choose the letters of the answer choices in no particular order. [Refer to the full passage]  
2 points
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