TOEFL iTP | Reading | North American Colonies | YouTube + Podcast

Welcome back, everyone! In this episode, I’m going to do a thorough break down of this TOEFL iTP reading passage — North American Colonies. I’ve been doing a lot of coaching as of late, so I decided to make my first YouTube video + podcast that pertains to the passage down below. I will give you techniques, how to answer questions, doing the these questions first, and much more. Hope you enjoy this!

The technology of the North American colonies did not defer strikingly from that of Europe, but in one respect, the colonists enjoyed a great advantage.  Especially by comparison with Britain, Americans had a wonderfully plentiful supply of wood.


            The first colonists did not, as many people imagine, find an entire continent covered by a climax forest.  Even along the Atlantic seaboard, the forest was broken at many points.  Nevertheless, all sorts of fine trees abounded, and through the early colonial period, those who pushed westward encountered new forests.  By the end of the colonial era, the price of wood had risen slightly in eastern cities, but wood was still extremely abundant.


            The availability of wood brought advantages that have seldom been appreciated. Wood was a foundation of the economy.  Houses and all manner of buildings were made of wood to a degree unknown in Britain. Secondly, wood was used as a fuel for heating and cooking. Thirdly, it was used as the source of important industrial compounds, such as potash, an industrial alkali; charcoal, a component of gunpowder; and tannic acid, used for tanning leather.


            The supply of wood conferred advantages but had some negative aspects as well. Iron at that time was produced by heating iron ore with charcoal. Because Britain was so stripped of trees, she was unable to exploit her rich iron mines. But the American colonies had both iron ore and wood; iron production was encouraged and became successful.  However, when Britain developed coke smelting, the colonies did not follow suit because they had plenty of wood and besides, charcoal iron was strong than coke iron.  Coke smelting led to technological innovations and was linked to the emergence of the Industrial Revolution.  In the early 19th nineteenth century, the former colonies lagged behind Britain in industrial development because their supply of wood led them to cling to charcoal iron.

  1. What does the passage mainly discuss?
  2. The advantages of using wood in colonies
  3. The effects of an abundance of wood on the colonies
  4. The roots of the Industrial Revolution
  5. The difference between charcoal iron and coke iron
  • The word “strikingly” in line 2 is closest in meaning to
  • Realistically
  • Dramatically
  • Completely
  • Immediately
  • Which of the following is a common assumption about the forests of North America during the colonial period?
  • They contained only a few types of trees
  • They existed only along the Atlantic seaboard.
  • They had little or no economic value.
  • They covered te entire continent.
  • The use of the word “abounded” in line 8 Indicates that the trees were
  • Present in large numbers
  • Restricted to certain areas
  • Cut down
  • Cultivated
  • According to the passage, by the end of the colonial period, the price of wood in eastern cities
  • Rose quickly because wood was becoming so scarce
  • Was much higher than it was in Britain
  • Was slightly higher than in previous years
  • Decreased rapidly because of lower demand for wood
  • What can be inferred about houses in Britain during the period written about it in the passage?
  • They were more expensive than American houses.
  • They were generally built with imported materials.
  • They were typically smaller than homes in North America.
  • They were usually built from materials other than wood.
  • Why does the author mention gunpowder in line 19?
  • To illustrate the negative aspects of some industrial processes
  • To give an example of a product made with wood
  • To remind readers that the Colonial era ended in warfare
  • To suggest that wood was not the only important product of the colonies
  • The word “conferred” in line 21 is cloest in meaning to
  • Consulted
  • Gathered
  • Provided
  • Restricted
  • The phrase “follow suit” in line 27 means
  • Do the same thing
  • Make an attempt
  • Have the opportunity
  • Take a risk
  1. According to the passage, why was the use of coke smelting advantageous?
  2. It led to advances in technology
  3. It was less expensive than wood smelting
  4. It produced a strong type of iron than wood smelting
  5. It stimulated the demand for wood
  1. The phrase “cling to” in line 33 is closest in meaning to
  2. Try to develop
  3. Avoid
  4. Continue to use
  5. Reconsider
  1. Where in the passage does the author begin to discuss in detail the advantages that an abundant supply of wood brought to the colonies?
  2. Lines 1-3
  3. Lines 5-7
  4. Lines 13-14
  5. Lines 21-22



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