Unit 1 |
Topics and main ideas
SPOTLIGHT ON TESTING
A topic tells what a text is about in general. Knowing the topic in a text is the first step in answering reading comprehension questions.
1 Finding a topic
Listen to or read the conversation. What is the topic? Check (✓) the correct answer. 1.
Jenny needs a roommate for her new apartment.
Jenny’s having a problem with her roommate.
Jenny stopped being friends with Shelly.
Hey, Jenny. How’s your new apartment?
Better than living in the dorm, I bet.
Jenny No. That’s the problem. She’s such a
nice roommate and a good friend, but
I don’t want to hurt her feelings. Do
you remember what happened last
year with my old roommate Laura?
One time I asked her if she could go
outside to talk on the phone, and she
stopped talking to me all semester!
Jenny Oh, hi, Mark. Yeah, it is. Most of the time.
What? What do you mean? You have a
Who’s your roommate?
Jenny Shelly Cole. You know, secondyear biology student, from L.A. Mark
Oh, yeah. I know her. How’s it going?
Jenny Oh, she’s great. We like the same
food, she likes to clean the house…
Oh, yeah. But Shelly’s a different
person. I think you should be honest
with her. I mean, if she’s really a
good friend, she’ll understand.
Jenny You think so?
That sounds nice.
Jenny Yeah. But there is one little
problem. She likes to listen to
music… while she’s studying.
Does Shelly know how you feel?
Yeah, sure. And if you don’t tell her,
you’re always going to feel bad. And then
someday you won’t be friends anymore.
Jenny I guess you’re right. Thanks, Mark.
Jenny Yeah. I just can’t do that. I have to
study in a quiet place. And when
we have exams, it’s really hard.
No problem, Jenny. Let me
know how it goes.
Understanding main ideas
Main ideas give supporting information about a topic. Finding the main ideas in a text is one of the first things you need to do when you prepare to answer certain kinds of exam questions.
2 Finding main ideas
Choose the group that gives the main ideas of the conversation in Exercise 1. Group A
• Shelly is generally a good roommate.
• There’s one problem: she listens to loud music.
• Mark tells Jenny to talk to Shelly about the problem.
• Jenny and Shelly like the same food.
• Jenny’s old roommate stopped talking to her.
• Mark wants to know what happens next.
Spotlight on Testing • Unit 1
Strategies for taking the:
3 Choosing topics
Read the article. What is the topic? Check (✓) the correct answer. 1.
Choosing a college can be hard.
Deciding one’s major can be difficult.
Students have a hard time finishing college.
A Major Decision
About 60 percent of American students go directly
from high school into college. Choosing a college
can be difficult. But once these students are in
college, there is one other choice that seems to be
even harder—deciding on a major.
On average, college students in the United States
change their major three times. There are several
reasons for this, according to academic advisers.
About half of all freshmen start college not
knowing what to major in. Among those who
think they know what they want to study, six out
of ten end up changing their major as well.
College is a time of discovery. As students take
classes, they find new areas that they are interested
in. Unfortunately, some of those students find so
many interesting classes that they are not able to
decide on a major. Some of those students end up
going to school for years, without even graduating!
Some advisers say that students need better...
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