[Originally posted: Dec. 22, 2021]

Happy Holidays from the TestGlider Team! Try this free Free TOEFL Reading Mini Test and train your brain to recognize common question types.

  • Please note that this reading passage set and the related questions were created based on the format of TOEFL® reading passages. However, such topics (Halloween, Christmas, Diwali etc.) do not normally appear on the TOEFL®.

All answers are revealed at the end, Good luck. ☃️


The familiar Christmas carol Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer tells the story of a reindeer that can fly and has a glowing red nose. Although reindeer do not really fly and no reindeer’s nose really glows in the dark, these animals do have an array of physical adaptations which make them uniquely suited to a life of travel in frigid northern climates.

Nearly every part of reindeer anatomy has adapted to life in the cold and snow, but their hooves are especially notable. Reindeer hooves are unusually wide for a deer species, and that width helps them to walk in deep snow without becoming mired. The hooves are also concave on the bottom, and their shovel-like shape helps the reindeer to dig through snow in search of buried lichen, an important winter-time food source which can account for up to two thirds of a reindeer’s diet. The pad of the hoof is thick and soft during warm months but becomes thin and hard in the colder months to help reduce heat loss. Thick hairs grow between a reindeer’s toes and help to prevent slipping on winter ice.

Reindeer have a double layer of hair over their entire bodies. The fine inner layer traps body heat and insulates the animal, while the longer outer layer helps to shed water. Reindeer hairs are hollow, which is another adaptation to trap heat, but the hollow hairs also help the reindeer to float. This is a life-saving aid for reindeer when they are forced to swim across rivers or lakes during seasonal migrations. The hair also covers the reindeer’s nose, which helps to keep it from freezing as the reindeer grazes on icy lichen.

Another interesting adaptation is when looking into the eyes of a reindeer. During the summer, a reindeer’s eyes are a bright golden color, but during the winter they change to a deep blue. Reindeer live near and above the Arctic circle, and during winter months the days are short and the nights are long. During the long nights, reindeer’s pupils are almost constantly dilated to take in more light. Conditions are reversed during the summer months, when the days are long, so reindeer’s pupils must contract for long periods to counteract the near-constant brightness. The seasonal dilation and contraction are believed to change the density of light-sensitive structures in the eyes of reindeer, and the different densities cause different colors of light to reflect from reindeer’s eyes. Densely-packed structures reflect blue light while more loosely-packed structures reflect a golden hue.

Even reindeer antlers are specially adapted to cold northern climates. In most deer species, only the males grow antlers. ■ Reindeer are unusual because both male and female reindeer grow antlers. ■ Even more oddly, the females keep their antlers all winter long and only shed them in early spring. ■ The reason that females grow antlers and keep them so long is related to how reindeer find food. ■ During the winter, reindeer get much of their food by digging down into the snow to locate buried lichen. Once a reindeer has found some lichen, it must defend the discovery from other hungry reindeer. Without antlers to defend their lichen, the smaller females would be forced away by the much larger males. Recall how much of a reindeer’s diet can consist of lichen. Females with larger antlers have better survival rates and produce healthier offspring on average than females with smaller antlers because they are better able to defend the lichen that they find beneath the snow.

Unfortunately, the many adaptations of that reindeer have developed may not be sufficient to protect them against the threat posed by the warming global climate. Although warmer temperatures mean more food for the reindeer because more plant life grows during the summer, it also means longer autumn periods. This is dangerous for the reindeer because, during northern autumns, it is common for freezing rain to form a layer of ice over the ground. When the autumn is longer, the layers of ice become so thick that the reindeer cannot break through them to reach the lichen that they need to survive later in the winter.

Free TOEFL Reading Mini Test: Questions

  1. According to paragraph 1, which of the following is true of reindeer?
    (A) They are the subject of many songs and poems.
    (B) They cannot fly unless they have red noses.
    (C) They have moved north into colder areas over time.
    (D) Their bodies are well-suited to cold habitats.
  2. It can be inferred from the discussion in paragraph 2 that snow
    (A) causes damage to a reindeer’s hooves.
    (B) does not prevent reindeer from finding food.
    (C) makes food more abundant for reindeer in the wintertime.
    (D) makes it easier for reindeer to migrate during the winter.
  3. The author mentions that hair covers the reindeer’s nose in order to illustrate which of the following points?
    (A) Reindeer hair is adapted in many ways to life in the snow.
    (B) The story of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is unlikely to be true.
    (C) Most of the hair on a reindeer helps to keep it warm while it eats.
    (D) Individual reindeer can have very different amounts of hair.
  4. According to paragraph 3, how does reindeer hair help reindeer when they migrate?
    (A) The hairs help to block the heat from the sun.
    (B) Water is absorbed by the outer layer of hair.
    (C) Hollow hairs make the reindeer more buoyant when they cross bodies of water.
    (D) Air inside the hair makes it easier for the reindeer to fly long distances.
  5. The word “apparent” in paragraph 4 is closest in meaning to
    (A) noticeable
    (B) surprising
    (C) disguised
    (D) strange
  6. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in paragraph 4? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
    (A) Scientists found that reindeer in different parts of the world have different eye colors.
    (B) A researcher discovered that the eyes of reindeer change color as a result of living in the north.
    (C) A college professor found that reindeer changed their eye color to fit in with light-eyed reindeer in a new environment.
    (D) A researcher found that we see different colors in reindeer eyes as we go farther to the north.
  7. Why does the author ask readers to recall “how much of a reindeer’s diet can consist of lichen?”
    (A) To provide support for the idea that females having antlers is beneficial to their survival
    (B) To compare how two types of deer find food under the snow during the winter
    (C) To provide an example of a type of food which is difficult for most animals to eat
    (D) To argue that antlers help a reindeer to find lichen
  8. Which of the following statements about reindeer is supported by the information in paragraph 5?
    (A) Their antlers are the largest among all deer species.
    (B) They use their antlers in unexpected ways to survive in cold climates.
    (C) They use their antlers to fight predators more often than other types of deer.
    (D) The females use their antlers to chase males away from their young.
  9. Look at the four squares [■] that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.
    Male reindeer shed their antlers in the late autumn.
    Where would the sentence best fit?
    (A) 1st
    (B) 2nd
    (C) 3rd
    (D) 4th
  10. Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor details in the passage. Drag and drop your answer choices to the space below. Click on an answer choice if you would like to remove it. This question is worth 2 points.

Reindeer have a variety of adaptations to cold weather and snow that help them to survive and thrive in freezing northern habitats.

(A) Popular stories about reindeer do not explain how well-adapted they are to living in cold weather.
(B) The hooves, hair, and eyes of reindeer show adaptations to northern climates which make reindeer unusual compared to other deer species.
(C) Female reindeer even have antlers that they use to help them survive in a snow-covered environment.
(D) Scientists who studied reindeer found that temperatures in the far north have caused the eyes to adapt to very high and low levels of heat in summer and winter.
(E) Climate change is causing the environment that reindeer live in to change so that their adaptations may no longer be enough to help them survive.
(F) Reindeer females use their antlers to fight over patches of lichen that they have dug from under the snow.

That’s it for the questions!

⬇️If you’re done answering all of them, scroll down to see the answers. ⬇️

Free TOEFL Reading Mini Test: Answers & Question Type

  1. D. Factual Information question.
  2. B. Inference question.
  3. A. Rhetorical Purpose question.
  4. C. Factual Information question.
  5. A. Vocabulary question.
  6. B. Sentence Simplification question.
  7. A. Rhetorical Purpose question.
  8. B. Factual Information question.
  9. C. Insert Text question.
  10. B, C, E. Summary question.

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