400 Must Have Words for the TOEFL » LESSON 5 - Time Efficiency

Word List
  • adjust [əˈdʒəst] v.
    To change; to get accustomed to something
    Travelers are advised to adjust their watches before arriving in the new time zone.
    Parts of speech     adjustment n., adjustable adj.
  • arbitrary [ˈɑːbɪtrərɪ] adj.
    Chosen simply by whim or chance, not for any specific reason
    The decision to build a school in Blackberry Township was arbitrary, without any thought to future housing patterns.
    Parts of speech     arbitrate v., arbitrator n., arbitrarily adv.
  • denominator [dɪˈnɒmɪneɪtəʳ] n.
    The number written below the line in a fraction
    In the fraction 1⁄2, the number 2 is the denominator.
    Usage tips     The phrase lowest common denominator means “the most basic and unsophisticated things that most people share.”
    Parts of speech     denominate v., denomination n., denominational adj.
  • exponentially [ˌekspəˈnen(t)ʃəli] adv.
    At a very fast rate
    In Turkey, the value of the lira has decreased exponentially in the last several decades.
    Usage tips     Exponentially is taken from mathematics,where an exponent is a number indicating how many times something is multiplied by itself.For example,43 contains the exponent “3,” indicating 4 × 4 × 4.
    Parts of speech     exponent n., exponential adj.
  • infinitesimal [ˌɪnfɪnɪˈtesɪməl] adj.
    Immeasurably small
    The number of contaminants in the water was infinitesimal, so the water was safe to drink.
    Parts of speech     infinitesimally adv.
  • maximize [ˈmæksɪmaɪz] v.
    To increase or make as great as possible
    A coach helps each athlete maximize his or her potential.
    Parts of speech     maximum n., maximum adj.
  • parallel [ˈperəˌlel] adj.
    Being an equal distance apart everywhere
    The street where I live runs parallel to the main road through town.
    Usage tips     Parallel is often followed by to.
    Parts of speech     parallel n., parallel adv.
  • proportion [prəˈpɔːʃən] n.
    A part in relation to the whole
    The average employee spends a large proportion of each workday answering e-mails.
    Usage tips     Proportion is often followed by of.
    Parts of speech     proportionate adj., proportionally adv.
  • rate [reɪt] n.
    The cost per unit of a good or service; the motion or change that happens in a certain time.
    Some grasses grow at the rate of one inch per day.
    Parts of speech     rate v., rating n.
  • sequence [ˈsiːkwəns] v.
    To organize or arrange in succession
    Volunteers have been asked to sequence the files and organize the boxes.
    Parts of speech     sequence n., sequentially adv.

TOEFL Prep I Complete each sentence by filling in the blank with the best word from the list.Change the form of the word if necessary. Use each word only once.

  • adjust
  • arbitrary
  • denominator
  • infinitesimal
  • rate
  1. Students felt that the exam was unfair and the grading system was rather __________.
  2. The __________ of increase in prices made it difficult for people to afford basic goods.
  3. Politicians promised great changes in the coming year, but any improvement in people’s lives was __________.
  4. She quickly overcame her culture shock and found it easy to __________ to the new country.
  5. You can add two fractions that have the same __________.

TOEFL Prep II Find the word or phrase that is closest in meaning to the opposite of each word in the left-hand column. Write the letter in the blank.

______ 1. arbitrary(a) mix up
______ 2. maximize(b) intersecting
______ 3. sequence(c) minimize
______ 4. infinitesimal(d) huge
______ 5. parallel(e) planned out

Answer Key
TOEFL Prep I
  1. arbitrary
  2. rate
  3. infinitesimal
  4. adjust
  5. denominator
TOEFL Prep II
  1. e
  2. c
  3. a
  4. d
  5. b
Answer Key

TOEFL Success Read the passage to review the vocabulary you have learned. Answer the questions that follow.

Time is, as we all know, money. Such valuation of time leads people to extreme efforts to maximize their use of time. Some people obsess over knowing the exact time. They buy clocks and watches that automatically adjust themselves over the Internet or by radio waves. These measurements allow them infinitesimal accuracy in dealing with time. Regardless of how one tracks time, most people share a common goal: They want to use time effectively. Since about 1982, this efficiency has increased exponentially each year, thanks to computers and their ability to multitask. In multitasking, a computer executes several different tasks in parallel. Rather than being set arbitrarily, each task is given a priority in the computer’s operating system, and time is spent in proportion to the priority of the task. The computer executes different sequences of tasks at different clock cycles, thereby increasing the rate of output from a process.

Bonus StructureAs we all know is a writer’s device for appealing to common knowledge.

  1. Why does the author mention computer multitasking in this article?
    • a. because it is new
    • b. because it measures time better than any clock
    • c. because it helps people to arrange their activities sequentially
    • d. because it is a good example of the efficient use of time
  2. The underlined word sequencesin the passage is closest in meaning to
    • a. styles
    • b. lengths
    • c. orderings
    • d. difficulty levels
Answer Key
Answer Key
  1. d
  2. c
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