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Here’s How One Can Ace the Reading Section of the TOEFL® Test

The Reading section of TOEFL is bound to have its fair share of troubles that may seem imposing to an absolute beginner. However, it isn’t an insurmountable challenge that’ll leave you defeated in the dust. With steady practice and a few smart approaches to tackling the exam, you too can make the most of what it has to offer. This is our set of tips for the TOEFL Reading test to help you rise to the challenge.

What is the structure of the Reading Section?

The reading section consists of 3-4 passages with 10 questions per passage and the time allotted to the entire reading section of TOEFL is 54-72 minutes. The length of the passage averages 700 words regardless of the nature of the subject. As such, the Reading Section can be divided into three key phases.

  • Reading to find information
  • Basic Comprehension
  • Reading to Learn

In the first case, individuals are required to sift through the article and skim the text. Though it may seem somewhat underwhelming it helps increase fluency and the rate at which information is being covered. However, this initial coverage is soon followed by the next phase of the Reading activity, that of Basic Comprehension. The second phase requires an understanding of the general topic and the main idea being expressed through the passage. The utilized vocabulary and pronouns act as clues that help the reader later on in the answering stage of the test. If one has enough comprehension of the text, it becomes easier to draw inferences to help answer questions later on.

The final stage of the test expands upon the idea of Reading to Learn. The original purpose of the passage is easily understood at this point in time besides which the test taker is capable of drawing up relationships between ideas. A summarized version of the text can be mentally acquired making it easier to recollect the necessary information.

In most cases, the Reading Passages are excerpts from University level textbooks that would be used as an introduction to a discipline or topic. According to the test developers, a score between 22 pts and 30 pts is considered ideal for a serious candidate.

Tips and Tricks for Reading Section in TOEFL

Knowing the structure of the TOEFL Reading Task is one thing but learning to better equip oneself to finish the test is far more important. Here’s our list of tips and tricks that you can utilize to achieve an ideal score.

Finding information

  • Finding Key Facts and Information

Many of the questions would be dedicated to facts that are mentioned in the Reading Passage. Using the initial skimming process to identify potential answers can go a long way in reducing time and eliminating unnecessary doubts.

  • Increasing the Reading Rate and Fluency

While it is logical to take one’s time in the reading process it’s recommended that test takers gradually decrease their reading time. Not only does it increase the pace but it also ensures that the test taker manages to acquire a much better understanding of the text in a shorter time.

Basic Comprehension

  • Skim the passage to get a general impression

Skimming requires a test taker to go through the entire text without specifically devoting attention to each and every section of it. It can be justified as a mere glance at the entire passage to understand the context of the material.

  • Scan for main ideas/ major points

Scanning requires you to be thorough in reading the textual details. Major points for discussion, important arguments/counter-arguments, suggestions, factual information, etc, are to be focused on when scanning the passage.

  • Look up unfamiliar words in a dictionary

Having an extensive vocabulary isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. For many, the prospect of coming across new words is met with distaste. However, to ace, the TOEFL test one ought to increase their collection of words, and what better way to do it than by looking up new words in the dictionary? Try to make it a habit to note down and understand the new words one would come across during the practice tests.

  • Understand the context of an unknown word

While it is convenient to use a dictionary, writing a test in real-time says otherwise. There may an occasion or two where we might come up short when trying to decipher the meaning of a word. In such situations try and understand the context of the sentence instead of panicking about not knowing what the word/term means. In most cases, test writers can understand what the sentence implies despite not knowing what the term specifically means.

That’s pretty much all there is on our end. Leave a comment below if you think we’ve missed out on any details and let us know about your reading experience after trying out our recommendations. Visit our webpage for more similar content.