P1: In the early days of the United States, postal charges were paid by the recipient and charges varied with the distance carried. In 1825, the United States Congress permitted local postmasters to give letters to mail carriers for home delivery, but these carriers received no government salary and their entire compensation depended on what they were paid by the recipients of individual letters.
- Reading Practice Test 69 from The Collection of TOEFL Reading Comprehension
- Reading Practice Test 67 from The Collection of TOEFL Reading Comprehension
- Reading Practice Test 66 from The Collection of TOEFL Reading Comprehension
- TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 55 from The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test
- TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 54 from The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test
P2: In 1847 the United States Post Office Department adopted the idea of a postage stamp, which of course simplified the payment for postal service but caused grumbling by those who did not like to prepay. Besides, the stamp covered only delivery to the post office and did not include carrying it to a private address. In Philadelphia, for example, with a population of 150,000, people still had to go to the post office to get their mail.
The confusion and congestion of individual citizens looking for their letters was itself enough to discourage use of the mail. It is no wonder that, during the years of these cumbersome arrangements, private letter-carrying and express businesses developed. Although their activities were only semilegal, they thrived, and actually advertised that between Boston and Philadelphia they were a half-day speedier than the government mail. The government postal service lost volume to private competition and was not able to handle efficiently even the business it had.
P3: Finally, in 1863, Congress provided that the mail carriers who delivered the mail from the post offices to private addresses should receive a government salary, and that there should be no extra charge for that delivery. But this delivery service was at first confined to cities, and free home delivery became a mark of urbanism. As late as 1887, a town had to have 10,000 people to be eligible for free home delivery. In 1890, of the 75 million people in the United States, fewer than 20 million had mail delivered free to their doors. The rest, nearly three-quarters of the population, still received no mail unless they went to their post office.
12. What does the passage mainly discuss?
(A) The increased use of private mail services
(B) The development of a government postal system
(C) A comparison of urban and rural postal services
(D) The history of postage stamps.
13. The word “varied” in paragraph 1 could best be replaced by
(A) increased (B) differed (C) returned (D) started
14.Which of the following was seen as a disadvantage of the postage stamp?
(A) It had to be purchased by the sender in advance.
(B) It increased the cost of mail delivery.
(C) It was difficult to affix to letters.
(D) It was easy to counterfeit.
15. Why does the author mention the city of Philadelphia in line 9?
(A) It was the site of the first post office in the United States.
(B) Its postal service was inadequate for its population.
(C) It was the largest city in the United States in 1847.
(D) It was commemorated by the first United States postage stamp.
16. The word “cumbersome” in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
(A) burdensome (B) handsome (C) loathsome (D) quarrelsome
17. The word “they” in line 15 refers to
(A) Boston and Philadelphia (B) businesses
(C) arrangements (D) letters
18. The private postal services of the nineteenth century claimed that they could do which of the following better than the government?
(A) Deliver a higher volume of mail. (B) Deliver mail more cheaply.
(C) Deliver mail faster. (D) Deliver mail to rural areas.
19. In 1863 the United States government began providing which of the following to mail carriers?
(A) A salary (B) Housing
(C) Transportation (D) Free postage stamps
20. The word “Confined” in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to
(A) granted (B) scheduled (C) limited (D) recommended