TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 17 from Barron’s TOEFL iBT
The Reading section tests your ability to understand reading passages like those in college textbooks. The passages are about 700 words in length.
This is the short format for the Reading section. On the short format, you will read three passages. After each passage, you will answer 12-14 questions about it. You may take notes while you read, but notes are not graded. You may use your notes to answer the questions.
Some passages may include a word or phrase that is underlined in blue. Click on the word or phrase to see a glossary definition or explanation.
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Choose the best answer for multiple-choice questions. Follow the directions on the page or on the screen for computer-assisted questions. Most questions are worth 1 point, but the last question in each passage is worth more than 1 point.
The Reading section is divided into parts. Click on Next to go to the next question. Click on Back to return to previous questions. You may return to previous questions for all of the passages in the same part, but after you go to the next part, you will not be able to return to passages in the previous part. Be sure that you have answered all of the questions for the passages in each part before you dick on Next at the end of the passage to move to the next part.
You can dick on Review to see a chart of the questions you have answered and the questions you have not answered n each part. From this screen, you can return to the question you want to answer in the part that is open.
You will have 20 minutes to read each passage and answer the questions for that passage. You will have 60 minutes to complete all of the passages and answer all of the questions on the short format. A dock on the screen will show you how much time you have to complete the Reading section.
Reading 1 “Layers of Social Class”
Taken together, income, occupation, and education are good measures of people’s social standing. Using a layered model of stratification, most sociologists describe the class system in the United States as divided into several classes: upper, upper middle, middle, lower middle, and lower class. The different classes are arrayed along a continuum with those with the most money, education, and prestige at the top and those with the least at the bottom.
In the United States, the upper class owns the major share of corporate and personal wealth; it includes those who have held wealth for generations as well as those who have recently become rich. Only a very small proportion of people actually constitute the upper class, but they control vast amounts of wealth and power in the United States. Those in this class exercise enormous control throughout society. Some wealthy individuals can wield as much power as entire nations.
Despite social myths to the contrary, the best predictor of future wealth is the family into which you are born. Each year, the business magazine Forbes publishes a list of the 400 wealthiest families and individuals in the country. Of all the wealth represented on the Forbes 400 list, most is inherited, although since the 1990s, there has been some increase in the number of people on the list with self-created wealth. Those in the upper class with newly acquired wealth are known as the nouveau riche. Luxury vehicles, high-priced real estate, and exclusive vacations may mark the lifestyle of the newly rich. However, although they may have vast amounts of money, they are often not accepted into “old rich” circles.
-> The upper middle class includes those with high incomes and high social prestige. They tend to be well-educated professionals or-business executives. Their earnings can be quite high indeed—successful business executives can earn millions of dollars a year. It is difficult to estimate exactly how many people fall into this group because of the difficulty of drawing lines between the upper, upper middle, and middle classes. Indeed, the upper middle class is often thought of as “middle class” because their lifestyle sets the standard to which many aspire, but this lifestyle is actually unattainable by most.
The middle class is hard to define, in part because being “middle class” is more than just economic position. A very large portion of Americans identify themselves as middle class even though they vary widely in lifestyle and in resources at their disposal. But the idea that the United States is an open-class system leads many to think that the majority have a middle-class lifestyle; thus, the middle class becomes the ubiquitous norm even though many who call themselves middle class have a tenuous hold on this class position.
The lower middle class includes workers in the skilled trades and low- income bureaucratic workers, many of whom may actually define themselves as middle class. Also known as the working class, this class includes blue- collar workers (those in skilled trades who do manual labor) and many service workers, such as secretaries, hair stylists, food servers, police, and firefighters. Medium to low income, education, and occupational prestige define the lower middle class relative to the class groups above it. The term lower in this class designation refers to the relative position of the group in the stratification system, but it has a pejorative sound to many people, especially to people who are members of this class, many of whom think of themselves as middle class.
The lower class is composed primarily of the displaced and poor. People in this class have little formal education and are often unemployed or working in minimum-wage jobs. [A] People of color and women make up a disproportionate part of this class. The poor include the working poor—those who work at least 27 hours a week but whose wages fall below the federal poverty level. Six percent of all working people now live below the poverty line. The concept of the underclass has been added to the lower class. [B] The underclass includes those who are likely to be permanently unemployed and without means of eco¬nomic support. [C] Rejected from the economic system, those in the underclass may become dependent on public assistance or illegal activities. [D]
1. The word those in the passage refers to
2. The word enormous in the passage is closest in meaning to
A. very large
B. very new
C. very early
D. very good
3. Which of the sentences below best expresses the information in the highlighted statement in the passage? The other choices change the meaning or leave out important information.
A. Although it is not generally accepted, your family provides the best prediction of your future wealth.
B. You can achieve great future wealth in spite of the family in which you may have been bom.
C. It is not true that your family will restrict the acquisition of your future wealth and level of social status.
D. Social myths are contrary to the facts about the future wealth and social status of your family.
4. Why does the author mention the “Forbes 400” in paragraph 3?
A. To explain the meaning of the listing that appears every year
B. To support the statement that most wealthy people inherit their money
C. To cast doubt on the claim that family income predicts individual wealth
D. To give examples of successful people who have modest family connections
Paragraph 3 is marked with an arrow [->].
5. The word exclusive in the passage is closest in meaning to
D. relaxing .
6. In paragraph 4, the author states that business and professional people with educational advantages are most often members of the
A. lower middle class
B. upper middle class
C. nouveau riche
D. upper class
Paragraph 4 is marked with an arrow [->].
7. According to paragraph 5, why do most people identify themselves as middle class in the United States?
A. They have about the same lifestyle as everyone else in the country.
B. They prefer not to admit that there are class distinctions in the United States.
C. They don’t really know how to define their status because it is unclear.
D. They identify themselves with the majority who have normal lifestyles.
Paragraph 5 is marked with an arrow [->].
8. The word primarily in the passage is closest in meaning to
9. What can be inferred about the working class in the United States?
A. They are often not able to find entry-level jobs.
B. They work in jobs that pay minimum wage,
C. They are service workers and manual laborers.
D. They are considered lower class.
10. According to paragraph 7, why has the underclass emerged?
A. The new term was necessary because the lower class enjoyed a higher lifestyle than it had previously.
B. The increase in crime has supported a new class of people who live by engaging in illegal activities.
C. Changes in the economy have caused an entire class of people to survive by welfare or crime.
D. Minimum-wage jobs no longer support a class of people at a standard level in the eco¬nomic system.
Paragraph 7 is marked with an arrow [->].
11. AH of the following are indicators of prestige in the United States EXCEPT
A. the level of education that a person has achieved
B. the amount of money that an individual has acquired
C. the type of employment that someone pursues
D. the hard work that a person does on a consistent basis
12. Look at the four squares [■] that show where the following sentence could be inserted in the passage.
The working poor constitute a large portion of those who are poor.
Where could the sentence best be added?
Click on a square [■] to insert the sentence in the passage.
13. Directions: An introduction for a short summary of the passage appears below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that mention the most important points in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not included in the passage or are minor points from the passage. This question is worth 2 points.
The levels of education, the acquisition of wealth, and occupational prestige deter¬mine social status in the United States.
A. People who have made their money more recently tend not to be accepted by those who have inherited their wealth from family holdings.
B. The lower class includes working people with low incomes and a new underclass of people who are dependent on welfare or engage in crime.
C. The upper class tends to acquire wealth through inheritance, whereas the upper middle class has a high income that they earn in their professions.
D. Although the lifestyle of the upper middle class is the goal for the majority, it is difficult for many people to maintain this standard of living.
E. Most people identify themselves as middle class, including blue-collar workers and service workers as well as bureaucratic employees.
F. it is still possible to move from one social class to another in the United States by working your way up the ladder in a corporate environment.