TOEFL Reading Comprehension

Questions 1-10 refer to the following passage.
Juan Ponce de Leon was the first Spaniard to touch the shores of the present United States. As Columbus had not remotely realized the extent of his momentous discovery, so de Leon never dreamed that his “island” of Florida was a peninsular extension of the vast North American continent. After coming to the New World with Columbus in 1493, he had led the occupation of Puerto Rico in 1508 and governed it from 1509 to 1512. In 1509, de Leon started a colony at Caparra, later abandoned in favor of San Juan. He was one of the first adelantados—men who “advanced” the Spanish Empire by conquest, subjugation of the Indians, and establishment of a semi-military government.
In Puerto Rico he heard a legend about an island called Bimini, where there was said to be a spring that restored youth to all who bathed in it. It is said he was seeking this spring when he discovered Florida.
He sailed from Puerto Rico in March 1513. On Easter Sunday he sighted the coast. A few days later he landed on Florida’s east coast, near what is now St. Augustine. He named the place La Florida after the Spanish term for Easter Sunday—Pascua florida, or “flowery feast.” He then sailed around the peninsula and up the west coast. He returned to Florida in 1521.

1. In what year did de Leon discover Florida?
(A) 1508
(B) 1513
(C) 1521
(D) 1492
2. What was the title of the first colony started by Ponce de Leon in Puerto Rico?
(A) San Juan
(B) La Florida
(C) Caparra
(D) St. Augustine
3. What was the name of the legendary island where the fabled Fountain of Youth was said to be?
(A) Cuba
(B) Bimini
(C) Atlantis
(D) Bermuda
4. Which of the following is implied by the passage?
(A) Ponce de Leon was the true discoverer of the North American continent.
(B) Ponce de Leon rejected the philosophy of the adelantados.
(C) Ponce de Leon may have discovered Florida “by accident.”
(D) Ponce de Leon’s greatest contribution was his discovery of the Fountain of Youth.
5. Pascua florida is the Spanish term for which holiday?
(A) Easter Sunday
(B) Christmas
(C) Thanksgiving
(D) Palm Sunday
6. According to the passage, which of the following was NOT a means of advancement of the Spanish Empire in the New World?
(A) Conquest
(B) Subjugation of Indians
(C) Establishment of semi-military governments
(D) Treaties and negotiation
7. From the passage, it can be assumed that a “peninsula” is
(A) a volcanic island.
(B) an island completely surrounded by water.
(C) an extension of land surrounded almost completely bywater.
(D) an island inhabited by Indians.
8. The tone of the word “advanced” in line 7 suggests that
(A) adelantados favor progress.
(B) progress could not have occurred without subjugation.
(C) progress is related to conquest and subjugation.
(D) conquest, subjugation, and semi-military government are not progress.
9. According to the passage. Ponce de Leon believed the land he discovered was
(A) part of the .Bahamas.
(B) the new “island” of Florida.
(C) the mainland of the United States.
(D) Puerto Rico.
10. Ponce de Leon was classified as an adelantado because he
(A) was a great explorer.
(B) was the first Spaniard to see the shores of the United States.
(C) conquered and ruled by military force.
(D) claimed Florida for the King of Spain.

Questions 11-20 refer to the following passage.
The most familiar speleothems (from the Greek word spelaion for cave and thema for deposit), the decorative dripstone features found in caves, are stalactites and stalagmites. Stalactites hang downward from the ceiling of the cave and are formed as drop after drop of water slowly trickles through cracks in the cave roof. Stalagmites grow upward from the floor of the cave, generally as a result of water dripping from an overhead stalactite. A column forms when a stalactite and a stalagmite grow until they join. A “curtain” or “drapery” begins to form on an inclined ceiling when drops of water trickle along a slope. Natural openings on the surface that lead to caves are called sinkholes, or swallow holes. Streams sometimes disappear down these holes and flow through the cavern. Rivers may flow from one mountain to another through a series of caves. Some caverns have sinkholes in their floors. Water often builds up a rim of dripstone around the edge of the hole. Dripping water often contains dissolved minerals as well as acid. These minerals too will be deposited; and they may give rich coloring to the deposits. If minerals in the water change, layers of different colors may be formed.1947

11. Stalagmites are formed by

(A) drops of water which enter through cracks in the ceiling.
(B) underground rivers which flow through the cave.
(C) water dripping from an overhead stalactite.
(D) water which trickles down a slope.
12. Sinkholes are
(A) the decorative dripstone features found in caves.
(B) natural openings on the surface that lead to caves.
(C) colorful layers of mineral deposits.
(D) None of the above
13. Which speleothem grows upward from the floor ?
(A) Stalagmites
(B) Stalactites
(C) Sinkholes
(D) Curtains
14. An “inclined ceiling” is one which
(A) is straight.
(B) is crooked.
(C) is slanted.
(D) is wet.
15. Which of the following are NOT caused by dripping water ?
(A) Stalagmites
(B) Stalactites
(C) Slopes
(D) Curtains
16. The information in the passage is most relevant to which field of study ?
(A) Geography
(B) Archaeology
(C) Physics
(D) Geology
17. “Curtains” can also be called
(A) columns.
(B) draperies.
(C) stalagmites.
(D) rims.
18. The word speeleothem comes frome which language?
(A) Latin
(B) French
(C) Greek
(D) English
19. Stalagmites are formed by
(A) drops of water which enter the cave through cracks in the ceiling.
(B) underground rivers which flow through the cave.
(C) water which seeps through the cave floor.
(D) water which trickles down a slope.
20. Which speleothem hangs from the ceiling of a cave?
(A) Stalagmites
(B) Stalactites
(C) Columns
(D) Rimstones

Questions 21-30 refer to the following passage.
Animals that produce large amounts of offspring depend upon the sheer size of the litter for the perpetuation of their species. The young mature very quickly and are not educated, as the parents are usually involved with obtaining their own food and with reproduction. Should some of the offspring become endangered, the parent will not interfere, because it is not expected that all the young survive, which is the reason for a large litter. One animal that produces large litters is the hamster. A female hamster is able to bear young when she is six weeks to two months old. The gestation period is about 16 days. Although an average litter size is from five to ten, hamsters commonly have as few as three or as many as a dozen offspring at a time. Mothers will sometimes eat their own young, particularly when the number of offspring is large. Females may produce litters up to an age of about 15 months at monthly intervals. The blind, hairless young begin to grow fur in two to three days. Their eyes open after about two weeks. After ten days they begin eating solid food, though the mother will continue to nurse them for about two more weeks. In captivity, a typical hamster may live for two to three years.

21. The gestation period for hamsters is about
(A) nine months.
(B) one month.
(C) 16 days.
(D) six weeks.
22. Female hamsters will sometimes eat their young for what reason?
(A) Hunger
(B) Because of a large number of offspring
(C) Deformed babies
(D) The young mature too quickly
23. Female hamsters may reproduce as young as
(A) six weeks old.
(B) six months old.
(C) 15 months old.
(D) two weeks old.
24. “Perpetuation” in line 2 means
(A) extinction.
(B) annihilation.
(C) variation.
(D) continuation.
25. Hamsters can produce offspring until what age?
(A) two years
(B) six weeks
(C) 15 months
(D) 16 days
26. What is the tone of the passage?
(A) Argumentative
(B) Informative
(C) Biased
(D) Farcical
27. What is the BEST title for this passage ?
(A) “Endangered Animal Litters”
(B) “Reasons for Large Litters”
(C) “Parents of Large Litters”
(D) “Educating Litters”
28. What is a litter?

(A) The amount of parents an animal has
(B) The amount of garbage an animal has
(C) The amount of offspring an animal has
(D) The amount of siblings an animal has
29. Why would an animal parent not be able to care for its litter?
(A) It is busy reproducing and food gathering.
(B) It is busy educating the litter.
(C) It interferes with the litter.
(D) It is busy playing.
30. Which of the following is NOT a reason for a large litter?
(A) The young are not expected to live.
(B) The young are educated.
(C) The parents are too busy to protect them.
(D) The young mature quickly..

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