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TOEFL reading: Synonym

 Try to locate where the relevant information is hidden in the passage and identify how the information is used in a paraphrased way.   Answer: C

Elimination method

  Sometimes, the only way to be certain of your choice is to eliminate definitely wrong options. Consider this rather easy question. Sometimes the only way to be certain of your choice is to eliminate definitely wrong options. Consider rather this easy question. The passage provides three benefits that trees have:  1, provide material for humus 2. bring nutrients from far below the surface using their root systems. 3.prevent erosion with their root system. Benefits 2 and 3 are specific only to trees while benefit 1 is shared with other plants. With this, let's consider each option: A: From 2, we know that trees bring nutrients to the surface. Since benefit 2 is possible only by trees, we can also infer that other plants do not have the root system to reach the deep soil nutrients. We can also infer that the nutrients are now available for other plants since the nutrients are brought up to the surface by trees. B: The causal relationship is incorrect. When trees decompose, the nutr

TOEFL Listening answering strategies

In this video, I give e a strategy lecture on how to solve TOEFL listening questions.  Highlights of the lecture include how to answer main idea questions and inference questions, how to identify traps, and how to use qualifiers to eliminate wrong choices quickly.   

ETS Sample Academic Responses

  These two are sample essays that received score 5 by the official ETS. As you can see, both essays did an excellent job on the topic development criterion. There are some grammar and other mistakes in the language use criterion, but these mistakes do not hinder the clarity in meaning as all the ideas are logically connected.   

All about comets

Structure and Composition of Comets TOEFL reading: All about comets  Passage Astronomers now have a fairly good idea of what a comet really is. When it is far from the Sun, it is a very small object only a few kilometers across It consists mainly of ices (water, methane, ammonia) with bits of dust embedded in it - a kind of dirty ice ball. As it approaches the Sun, radiation from the Sun vaporizes the icy matter and releases some of the dust. This forms a gigantic halo around the ice ball. This halo - called the coma - extends out tens of thousands of kilometers from the icy core, which is the nucleus of the comet. Sunlight reflected off the dust particles makes the coma visible to observers on Earth. Ultraviolet radiation from the Sun breaks down the vapor molecules into their constituents. These components can be excited by absorbing radiation from the Sun. In returning to lower-energy states, the excited atoms and ions emit light, contributing to the luminosity of the coma.      Whe

TOEFL Listening: Bode's Law

  1 What is Bode's law about?  A different interpretation of Newton’s gravitation Measurement of the distance between  the sun and the earth Distance of planets from the sun Prediction of how many planets there are 2. Why does the professor explain Bode's Law to the class?  To explain some patterns in numbers To explain how the asteroids belt was discovered  To explain how gravitational forces influence the planets To explain how telescope helped finding Uranus 3. How does the professor introduce Bode's Law?  By demonstrating how it is derived mathematically By describing the discovery of Uranus By drawing attention to the inaccuracy of a certain pattern By telling the names of several of the asteroids 4. According to the professor, what two factors contributed to the discovery of the asteroid Ceres? Click on 2 answers  Improved telescopes Advances in mathematics The discovery of a new star based on Bode’s law The discovery of Uranus based on Bode’s law 5. What does the p

TOEFL Listening: Main-idea question

  Hi, guys. I want to talk about how to solve the question #1 of TOEFL listening, i.e., the main idea question. These are the two clues: The main idea can usually be found in the first segment (or paragraph if you take notes the way I explained) of the lecture. The professor will say it explicitly or implicitly. Of course there are exceptions, and the main idea might not start until after the second paragraph. This is usually the case when the professor has to set the stage (has to explain various concepts) before she can talk about the main topic of concern.  The correct choice is normally phrased using a general term  I am going to discuss two hard questions today. The first one is hard since the clue phrase is implicit. The second question is hard since the main point appears much later in the lecture.   Example 1. Bryce Canyon (hard) TPO 63 Lecture content:  The professor begins the lecture with a field trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, adding this phrase, “remarkable geologic ph

Degrees of pitch rise and conveyed meaning

  Degrees of rise Beginning pitch level The normal beginning with a prehead (a sentence that does not begin with a stressed word) is pitch level 2, which indicates no marked attitude. If it starts either higher or lower than level 2, attitudinal meaning is involved. If it begins at level 3, the sentence can show a surprise, excitement or insistence. On the other hand, if a sentence with a prehead begins at a lower pitch, at level 1, it can mean indifference, timidity or boredom. Level 1 pitch can also mean that what is to be said is obvious or redundant. For instance, She is the teach er. (neutrality: information)      2 3 She is the teach er. (excitement)      3 4 She is the teach er. ( indifference)      1 2 This is another example: I think I am right . (neutrality: simply stating) 2   3-1 I think I am right . (attitude of insistence) 3   4-1 I think I am right . (attitude of timidity) 1   2-1 When pitch does not rise in the content words