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

Additional questions can be found on my Patreon for $50 a month with examples, audiocasts, templates, exlclusive material and coaching.


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Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6: Episode 14 | Can CEOs Be Trusted?

If you look at Google, 63% of employees are not worried about layoffs. However, if you look at Walt Disney, the CEO slashed 40k jobs at the beginning of COVID and have laid off an additional 28k at the beginning of this month, leaving its workers in “an awful lot of pain.”  Meanwhile, the heir of the company, Abigail Disney, went on a Twitter-tirade over the businesses’ practices and why the upper-echelon had received billions in bonuses and dividends while the hard-working middle-class suffered egregiously during the crisis.

So, can we trust big cats? Can we trust that Jeff Bezos actually gives a damn about his employees (apparently not because tens of thousands had gotten COVID)? It’s tough to call, and that’s today’s focus.  Can we trust the FAT CATS?


{Patreon Special} Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6: Episode 17 | Hotels

From the gorgeous hotels such as Bangkok Marquis Marriott in Bangkok, Sintesa Jimbaran in Bali, Sheraton (minus them double-charging me), in Kuala Lumpur, to terrible hotels in the USA, Thailand (same area as Bangkok Marquis), and Australia. Today is story-telling Thursday! There are plenty of vocabulary terms for you guys on my Business English Podcast Badge! I go over them briefly on here, but if I speak very quickly and you want to practice your writing, verbiage, phrasal verbs, etc….make sure you click my Patreon down below!


Arsenio’s ESL Coaching & Membership Services

Hello, all! Here’s the comprehensive overview of my membership and coaching services! I’ve had a lot of inquiries, so I wanted to make sure that everyone knew exactly, step-by-step, how much it would cost for the different packages involved.

January 2021 New Pricing

As of January 1st, there has been a 33% increase in hourly coaching packages, but it’s still similar to the 5-hours coaching packages.

1 hour = $40 an hour.

5 hours = $200 per package (one hour free) so a total of 6 hours.

Last Year

1 hour was $30 an hour.

5 hours was $150 an hour (no free hour). With the free hour now, last year’s package of 6 would technically be $180 — so there’s not much of a difference.

Group Learning

2-3 students = $30 per student/per hour (25% reduction).

4-5 students = $20 per student/per hour (50% reduction).

So, the more students there are, the cheaper is is for every individual student. The cap is at 5 students…and even so, understand that teaching IELTS Speaking and TOEFL Speaking with 4-5 students may be a bit difficult because the talking time for each student. Other areas, + TOEIC, would be far easier to teach with that amount of students.

Top-up packages will be coming soon!

Keep in mind, this is for all test preparation courses ONLY.

More questions? Book my calendar! Or email me

{Patreon Special} Pronunciation Course | Phase III | Word Stress in Compound Nouns

Boom! Excited to debut this one today, on the cusp of New Years’. In today’s special pronunciation course, we’re going to talk about word stress in compound nouns. Here’s a snippet of what will be discussed.

Listen for the primary stress in the following words:

Password forgot my password

Deadline met the deadline

Post office the nearest post office

· Note: if the second nouns are made out of the material in the first noun, stress both nouns, but put the primary stress on the second noun (wool coat, cream cheese, plastic bags, paper towels, and apple pie).

Available in all Patreon tiers!


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Discussion Topic | How Thai Students Have Failed At Learning English

I was sitting in class, going back and forth in what I thought was an amazing conversation with a new student.  While I was speaking to her, I was figuring out the specific areas of focus she needs: planning, sales, marketing, corporate finance, vocabulary that focuses on that, listening capabilities, developing confidence, personal development. This is why I do….with my online students.  A day later, the complaint had come and I was shocked. “Arsenio, teach 70% in the book.”  What? Are you kidding me? I just customized a perfect course in which I charge big bucks online for and you want to learn page-by-page like how the old foreigners have taught for centuries?

Do people still believe that the book is the key? I mean, if I need to learn Spanish 501 verbs, then the book is important.  Relearning something that you already know is a waste of time.

In the likes of Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and other Asian countries, it’s all about THE BOOK. The book has all the answers. Learning the verb “to be” is going to ultimately take you to the next level, and this is why Asia is lagging behind South/Central American, European, and even sub-Saharan African Nations. 

This brings me to your question: “what and how should I learn then?” In this podcast, I dive into details, systems and learning things in context.


{Patreon Template} Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Can You or Can’t You?

In today’s Patreon upload, I discuss goals for 2021, as well as skills that you may need to develop so you can solidify a position at a potential company. It’s very difficult nowadays to cement a job, but if you go to an interview and you’re unable to check the boxes they need an employee to have, you may be in trouble. The podcast is available on the template, too!


Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6 | Sales | Clarifying Needs

When you go into meetings with potential customers, remember that it’s what the customer needs, not you boasting about your companies accomplishments. The customer really doesn’t care about your accomplishments and they may already know about you since they’re inquiring.

I say this with vigilance because I’ve been in a situation where I had to save a potential client by asking them the correct follow-up questions. So, how do I do it in my ESL business? Thailand? Tune in!

2nd Podcast to Break 3k Plays! | THANK YOU!

2nd podcast to hit 3,000 plays! BIG THANKS to EVERYONE out there! Here are the top 10 countries.

🇲🇽 Mexico – 9 %
🇩🇪 Germany – 8 %
🇺🇸 United States – 7 %
🇮🇳 India- 6 %
🇯🇵 Japan – 5 %
🇧🇷 Brazil – 5 %
🇹🇷 Turkey – 5 %
🇮🇩 Indonesia – 4 %
🇹🇼 Taiwan – 3 %
🇪🇸 Spain – 3 %

It’s absolutely astounding and has been a long time coming. Just amazing to see what has transpired over the year and to see how amazingly successful this podcast has become. Not only that, it has propelled me to building my online business which is going to go 100% next year! THANK you to EVERYONE!


TOEFL iBT | Part 2 Questions | Speaking | 1 on 1 Coaching | My Student’s Before & After Coaching

Great segment here! For anyone who is contemplating needing a mentor/coach, here’s a student of mine who scored a 26 in the TOEFL iBT Speaking back in July.  The first session is the first segment, then the second session, which was on hour #6, is the latter.  You’re going to hear my feedback and how she could’ve gotten a 27/28 if she slowed down her speech and provided linkers. Nonetheless, tune in!