TOEFL iTP | Reading | Answering Main Idea/Main Topic Topic Questions

We’ve got a super special for you today! I know a lot of my Indonesians LOVEEE my blogs on TOEFL iTP, so now we’re getting into the techniques on how to answer main idea/main topic/main purpose questions. Remember, there are questions available on my TOEFL iTP Badge! Make sure you get all the exclusive material, podcasts, training for $50 a month!

Directions: I would like you to read the following passages and then mark each answer choice according to the following system:

  • s – too specific
  • g – too general
  • x – incorrect
  • i – irrelevant
  • c – correct

Let me walk you through the first passage down below.

{example} There are two main types of cell division. Most cells are produced by a process called mitosis. {example} In mitosis, a cell divides and forms two identical daughter cells, each with an identical number of chromosomes. Most one-celled creatures reproduce by this method, as do most of the cells in multi-celled plants and animals. Sex cells, however, are formed in a special type of cell division called meiosis. {example} This process reduces the number of chromosomes in a sex cell to half the number found in other kinds of cells. Then, when sex cells unite, they produce a single cell with the original number of chromosomes.

  1. What is the main topic of this passage?
  • The method by which one-celled organisms reproduce
  • A comparison between mitosis and meiosis
  • Meiosis, the process by which identical cells are produced.

“The method by which one-celled organisms reproduce” is a specific detail.

“A comparison between mitosis and meiosis” is the correct answer. The first sentence states “there are two main types” before mentioning mitosis and giving a definition and example of it. After that, it mentions sex cells and how they’re from a different cell division called Meiosis, then follows the definition and example. This would be the main topic because it covers the entire paragraph.

“Meiosis, the process by which identical cells are produced” is incorrect. It says nothing about meiosis producing “identical” cells. The produce single cells.

Your Turn

The last gold rush belongs as much to Canadian history as it does to American. The discovery of gold along the Klondike River, which flows from Canada’s Yukon Territory into Alaska, drew some 30,000 fortune hunters to the north. The Yukon became a territory, and its capital of the time. Dawson, would not have existed without the gold rush. The gold strike furnished material for a dozen of Jack London’s novels. It inspired Robert Service to write “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and other poems, and it provided the background for the wonderful Charlie Chaplin movie, The Gold Rush. It also marked the beginnings of modern Alaska.

This author’s main purpose in writing is to….

  • discuss the significance of mining in Canada and the United States
  • show the influence of the Klondike gold strike on the creative arts
  • point out the impact of the Klondike gold strike

The keystone arch was used by almost every early civilization. to build a keystone arch, stones are cut so that the opposite sides taper toward each other slightly. The upper and lower surfaces are carved so that when several stones are placed side by side, the upper and lower surfaces meet in smooth, continuous curves. Some form of scaffolding is built under the arch and shaped to accept the curved underside of the stones. Then the stones are fitted in place one by one. They keystone is the top center stone, the last to be dropped into position. Afterwards, the scaffolding is removed and the arch is self-supporting.

The passage mainly concerns the….

  • basic principles of building keystone arches
  • uses of arches in modern architecture
  • role of scaffolding in building keystone arches

Circumstantial evidence is evidence not drawn from the direct observation of a fact. If, for example, there is evidence that a piece of rock embedded in a wrapped chocolate bar is the same type of rock found in the vicinity of the candy factory, and that rock of this type is found in new other places, then there is circumstantial evidence that the stone found its way into the candy during manufacture and suggests that the candy-maker was negligent. Despite a popular notion to look down on the quality of circumstantial evidence, it is of great usefulness if there is enough of it and if it is properly interpreted. Each circumstance, taken singly, may mean little, but a whole chain of circumstances can be as conclusive as direct evidence.

What is the author’s main purpose in this passage?

  • to show that a manufacturer’s negligence can be shown by direct evidence only
  • to define circumstantial evidence and show its usefulness
  • to demonstrate that circumstantial evidence can be very useful in science

The Northwest Ordinance was passed by Congress in 1787. It set up the government structure of the region north of the Ohio River and west of Pennsylvanian, then called the Northwest Territory. It set the conditions under which parts of the territory could become states having equality with the older states. But the ordinance was more than just a plan for government. The law also guaranteed freedom of religion and trial by jury in the territory. It organized the territory into townships of 36 square miles and ordered a school to be built for each township. It also abolished slavery in the territory. The terms were so attractive that thousands of pioneers poured into the territory. Eventually, the territory became the states of Ohio, Indian, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

What is the main topic of this passage?

  • the structure of government
  • the provisions of an important law
  • the establishment of schools in the northwest territory

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