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.

YouTube

Go to next page or answers

{Patreon Special} Pronunciation Course | Phase III | Rhythm in Phrases & Sentences

This is a PHENOMENAL one, especially for those of you who have problems with enunciation and the rhythm in your sentences. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been coaching a range of students, and one, in particular, has problems with the rhythm in her sentences. Going back to three years ago, I coached a Thai doctor because her rhythm was the exact opposite of what it was supposed to be, failing the 3rd part of her exam to become a doctor in America because the patients didn’t understand her. You have no idea how important it is to have the CORRECT rhythm. So, this podcast is available on all my Patreon badges (if you’re a current student, message me and you get it for free). And if you want the entire VIDEO course to this phase, let inbox me because I will quickly create the course on podia for you. Now, let’s dive into it!

Patreon

TOEFL iTP | Grammar | Items Involving Misplaced Modifiers

A misplaced modifier is a participial phrase or other modifier that comes before the subject, but does not refer to the subject.

Look at this sentence:

  • Driving down the road, a herd of sheep suddenly crossed the road in front of Liza’s car. (INCORRECT)

This sentence is incorrect because it seems to say that a herd of sheep — rather than Liza — was driving down the road. The participial phrase is misplaced. The sentence could be corrected as shown:

  • As Liza was driving down the road, a herd of sheep suddenly crossed the road in front of her. (CORRECT)

This sentence now correctly has Liza in the driver’s seat instead of the sheep.

So, with that being said, the following sentence structures in the table down below are often misplaced.

Misplaced StructureExampleCorrection
Present ParticipleWalking along the beach, the ship was spotted by the men. Walking along the beach, the men spotted the ship
Past ParticipleBased on this study, the scientist could make several
conclusions.
Based on this study, several conclusions could be made
by the scientist.
AppositiveA resort city in Arkansas, the population of Hot Springs
is about 35,000.
A resort city in Arkansas, Hot Springs has a
population of about 35,000.
Reduced Adjective
Clause
While peeling onions, his eyes began to water.While he was peeling onions, his eyes began to water.
Adjective PhrasesWarm and mild, everyone enjoys the climate of the
Virgin Islands.
Everyone enjoys the warm, mild climate of the Virgin
Islands.
Expressions with like
or unlike
Like most cities, parking is a problem in San Francisco.Like most cities, San Francisco has a parking problem.
COMPLETE TOEFL IBT

If you want the questions, tune into the podcast down below. If you want the additional questions as stated in the podcast, link is down below for my TOEFL iTP Patreon Badge!

Podcast

Patreon

TOEFL iBT | Writing | How to Write a High-Scoring Introductory Paragraph

You guys are going to love me for this. Yes, I know there are a ton of standard templates out there that the majority of planet Earth uses, but what if I told you that you can write a fully functional introductory paragraph and get even more points? In today’s blog/podcast/video, I will discuss just that.

A high-scoring TOEFL introductory paragraph can be split into two parts.

  1. General background information about the essay topic.
  2. A thesis statement


General background information

There are many different ways of writing the general background information about the topic. For example, you could write about a brief history of the topic or an explanation why this topic is controversial or important. Alternatively, you can begin with other people’s opinions on this topic.


Thesis statement

The thesis statement is the single most important sentence in your essay and you must include it in the introductory paragraph. A thesis statement is your main opinion on the essay topic, and it also includes a preview of your key points in which you will be writing about in detail in your body paragraphs.



Developing an industry is more important than saving the environment for endangered animals. Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Use specific details and examples to support your viewpoint. 

Typically, unprepared test takers will write something like this: 

I do not agree with the statement that developing an industry is more important than saving the environment for endangered animals. 

Before we continue, please take a moment and try to figure out what’s wrong with this introductory paragraph. Is there a problem with this intro? Well…yes…there are actually two problems. First, it simply reused the words from the topic question. TOEFL will deduct marks, if you do this. Don’t do it! :), Secondly, the paragraph is too short. 

OK, now that we figured out the issues, let’s see how we can solve this problem. 

OK! First, before you write your thesis statement, give some general background information about it or you can give someone’s opinion on it. Don’t worry, I’ll give examples later.

Now it’s time to write your thesis statement. Remember that simply copying the essay topic will cost you points, so instead you will paraphrase the essay topic. 

Let’s look at the definition for Paraphrasing: to express the same meaning by using different words or different sentence structures. Remember when I paraphrased the word “problems” into “issues”? Well, you will do the same thing for your thesis statement by paraphrasing the essay topic. 

So now that we have added background information before the thesis statement and paraphrased the essay topic into our thesis statement, we have solved the issues from the first example. 

Now let’s look at a high-scoring intro paragraph that uses everything we just learned.

Developing an industry is more important than saving the environment for endangered animals. Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Use specific details and examples to support your viewpoint. 

The debate on the competition between economic development and the protection of endangered species has been going on for decades. I disagree with the statement that developing industry should take precedence over saving the environment for endangered species because I firmly believe that destroying the environment will eventually take its toll on humans in the long run.

Notice the word “debate”? This word is very useful when it comes to TOEFL writing. Any time the essay prompt asks you to agree or disagree with a statement, you can use the word “debate” to point out that the statement has both sides of opinion. Here we write “The debate on the competition between industrial development and the protection of endangered species has been going on for decades”. So what did this sentence give to the intro paragraph? 

It gave general background information about this topic. 

Now, let’s look at the thesis statement “I disagree with the statement that developing industry should take precedence over saving the environment for endangered species because I firmly believe that destroying the environment will eventually take its toll on humans in the long run.” 

The writer used paraphrasing!. “Take precedence over” means the same thing as “is more important than”. He also uses “species” instead of “animals”. 

There are multiple ways to paraphrase sentences and words. For example: “take precedence over”can be written as “take priority over”. Here is the full sentence: “Developing industry should take priority over saving the environment for endangered species”. You can practice paraphrasing by thinking of different ways you can paraphrase essay topics and vocabulary. 

Let’s look at another example that starts off with other people’s opinions.

When people succeed, it is because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with success. Do you agree or disagree with the statement above? Use examples and details to support your position. 

It is generally believed that success comes through hard work and luck does not play a part. However, in my opinion, hard work can certainly improve a person’s situation, but luck will to a large extent influence the course of a person’s life because the social circumstances that people are born into play an amazingly large role in the potential they have throughout their lives.

As you can see, it begins with other people’s opinions by using the common pattern “It is generally believed that”. Then, it uses “however” to introduce the thesis statement which is “ in my opinion, hard work can certainly improve a person’s situation, but luck will to a large extent influence the course of a person’s life because the social circumstances that people are born into play an amazingly large role in the potential they have throughout their lives.”

{Patreon Special} Pronunciation Course | Phase III | Stress in -graphy/-logy

We’re back with another pronunciation course upload! We’re working our way up phrase III, and if this is the first-time you’re tuning in, know that the pronunciation course is available on ALL BADGES on my Patreon. So if you’re a supporter of my podcast, $5 a month not only gets your the course, but also 45 other podcasts that have been uploaded already. Tune in to the link down below!

Patreon

Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6 | Sales | In-Company Interviews Part II

We’re back with some more interviews! The returnees, A.K.A. Three Accents, are here again to discuss salespeople’s roles in product development, email templates, how you can devalue your product, and reflection after crucial meetings.

Podcast

Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6: Episode 16 | In-Company Interview: Owen Purcell

Welcome back to another in-company interview! In this episode, Owen Purcell talks about conferences, entrepreneurs, the internet and important skills.  The PDF, which has the write up and questions you need to answer, is available only on my Business English Podcast Badge. On there you can download, make corrections, and submit it to me, as well as write down your opinions for some of the discussion questions (on my membership site). So, make sure you tune into that!

Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6: Episode 15 | 5 Skills Entrepreneurs Need

Welcome to another Business English Podcast! This blog is a full write-up in regards to what skills entrepreneurs need. I decided to write the blog out because I know a lot of people will be interested. So let’s dive into the five skills!

Communication

The Art of Communication is absolutely essential. I’m not talking about insincere flattery, a very bad approach to doing business, but I’m talking about hearing someone while asking the right follow-up questions. There have been a number of times that I’ve failed in regards to communication and communicating with the other party, but I’ve gotten better at it. In the business world, you need to be top-notch and reply promptly. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and other titans have failed MISERABLY at communicating with people. I’ve sent emails to ZOOM and they had stunk up the show in replying to me. However, great communication, such as calendly and my podcast hosting site, Buzzsprout, is superior. And that’s why they’ll always be the top of the game.

Sales

I want to be clear, no one likes to be sold to. Stop doing that. Also, pitching is not good, either. If you have to pitch to someone, that means they’re unaware of who you are and they’ll judge you predicated on your presentation.

My podcast sells. My words sell. My power of influence sells. These are two things that I developed by creating a podcast 5 years ago. People follow my podcast and they’re willing to pay anything at all costs because they know how great I am. However, some people ask a number of questions through Facebook, completely unaware of the number 1 podcast that I have. I don’t need to sell to anyone, and if you try haggling me, that’s when I’d cut you off.

Build your product and influence in a way that people are willing to pay and that you don’t have to try to convince anyone that your product is #1.

The other three skills in the podcast down below!

Podcast

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?

Podcast

{Patreon Special} Infinitive & Gerund Phrases | Extra Practice

For those of you who are interested from my most recent post, there are 15 added questions exclusive on my Patreon Badge with an audio cast breaking each one down. If you’re interested, $50 gets you in, along with 3 free hours of coaching for the month in an area of your choice. Interested? Tune in!

Patreon