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Inference Questions for the Reading Portion of the TOEFL iBT

I would like to begin by explaining the word "inference".  Inference is a noun which means a conclusion or opinion that is formed because of known facts or evidence.


This type of question measures your ability to comprehend an argument or an idea that is strongly implied but NOT actually stated.  If an effect is talked about in the passage, an Inference question might ask about its cause. If a comparison is made, then the Inference question might ask for the basis of the comparison.


How to Recognize Inference Questions

These questions will usually include the word infer, suggest, or imply

Which of the following can be infered about X?

The author of the passage implies that X

Which of the following can be inferred fro paragraph 1 about X?


Tips for Inference Questons:

Make sure your answer does not contradict the main idea of the passage.

Don't choose an answer just because it seems important or true. The correct answer be inferable from the passage.

You should be able to defend your choice by pointing to explicity stated information in the passge that leads to the inference you have selected.


Here is an Example Passage:

The nineteenth century brought with it a burst of new discoveries and inventions that revolutionized the candle industry and made lighting available to all.  IN the early-to-mid-ninnneteenth century, a process was developed to refine tallow (fat from animals) with alkali and sulfuric acid.  The result was a product called stearin.  Stearin is harder and burns longer than unrefined tallow.  This breakthrough meant that it was possible to make tallow candles that would not produce the usual smoke and rancid odor.  Stearins were also derived from palm oils, so vegetable waxes as well as animal fats could be used to make candles


And now the question and possible answers:

Which of  the following can be inferred from paragraph 1 about candles before the nineteeth century?

A) They did not smoke when they were burned

B) They produced a pleasant odor as they burned.

C) They were not available to all.

D) They contained sulfuric acid.


What is your choice and how did you arrive at your answer?

Which of the fo

Jan 10, 2013 3:15 AM
Comments · 1

This one is a little harder than the provious questions. My answer is "C) They were not available to all" because it states in the first sentence that the candle industry had revolutionized in 19th century. Smile

January 10, 2013
Language Skills
English, Italian
Learning Language