TOEFL Q18: The American Industrial Revolution


In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over question six from the TOEFL speaking test. Listen to a short lecture.
Note to tutor: read the text to the student. The text is not presented to the student in the actual test.  

At the beginning of the 19th century, the United States went through a time of rapid development, known as the Industrial Revolution. Several factors contributed to the revolution. Today, however, I’ll just focus on the development of water and land transportation systems. Before the Industrial Revolution, the only way to travel around the U.S. was on foot or horseback. As you can guess, this was not very efficient. So the country began the construction of canals. These man-made waterways made it possible to transport goods from the ocean to places as far away as Chicago with ease. The result of this was lower prices on goods and services. Of course, canals could not be built everywhere. The nation needed a way to connect areas far from water with the rest of the country. Through the railway systems, trains could move even larger quantities of good than canals. They also made it possible to send raw materials from the rural South directly to the North. In this way, the railway systems lowered the cost of transporting goods further. This, in turn, created more industrial development.



Using points and examples from the lecture, explain the developments in transportation during the American Industrial Revolution.

Preparation time: 20 seconds l Response time: 60 seconds


Use the chart below to summarize the lecture.

Topic The speaker goes over the development of __ during the American Industrial Revolution.
Detail 1 The country built __ to transport goods to places far from the __. This resulted in __ on goods and services.
Detail 2 Canals could not be built __. So the nation built __. Trains could move __ of goods than canals. They also made it possible to send __ directly to the North.
Keywords canals, prices, railway systems, from the South to the North

Sample Answer

Reading great sample answers is one way to improve. Go over the sample answer with your tutor. Ask questions if you have any.

Sample Answer

The speaker goes over the development of water and land transportation during the American Industrial Revolution. Originally, people did not have an efficient way to travel around the U.S., so the nation constructed canals. These made it possible to transport goods to places far from the ocean cheaply. Later, the nation constructed railroads. Railroad trains could move even more goods than canals. Railroads also made it possible to transport raw materials from the South to the North easily. This lowered transportation costs further, allowing the U.S. to become more developed.

Further Study

Got more time? Here is a list of common vocabulary words related to the text you studied today. Go over each one with your tutor.

Additional Expressions
rapid (adj) very fast
e.g. He had a rapid heartbeat after running.
development (n) the act of making something larger or more advanced
e.g. The construction of canals and railroads in the U.S. promoted economic development.
contribute (v) to add to something, donate
e.g. He contributed one hundred dollars to the charity.
efficient (adj) able to work without waste
e.g. He was an efficient worker who outperformed his co-workers.
construction (n) the act of building something
e.g. Construction of the new bridge will begin in the spring.
man-made (adj) built by human beings; not natural
e.g. The government flooded the valley to create a man-made lake.
transport (v) to move something from one place to another
e.g. A van at the hotel transports guests to and from the airport.
quantity (n) a number; an amount
e.g. Railroads have a high quantity across the U.S.
raw material (n) a basic material used to make something
e.g. Wheat and rye are the raw materials used by a flour mill to make flour.
rural (adj) of the countryside; not of the city
e.g. She lives in a rural area far from the city.

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