How to attempt the TOEFL reading test?
While reading the passage for the first time, your focus should be on understanding the main ideas and the connections among them. Try to understand as much information as possible. As you should know, this won’t be possible if you let your attention wander.
Find a strategy that works for you
You might have heard some TOEFL trainers advising that you should skim the passage rather than read it. This approach may not work for everybody. During the preparation stage itself, you must find out the strategies that work for you. Personally, I haven’t had much success with skimming. For one thing, TOEFL reading passages are complex. If you do not read them thoroughly, you may have trouble answering the questions. That said, you cannot spend more than 20 minutes on any given passage. That means all that ‘thorough reading’ has to be done within a very short span of time.
Note-taking is allowed during the Reading test. However, you will not require any detailed notes for answering the questions. That is because you can always see the reading passage next to every question.
Some questions on the TOEFL Reading test include references to specific paragraphs. A question about an idea mentioned in the second paragraph, may include a phrase like ‘in the second paragraph’ or ‘in paragraph 2’. This makes locating the idea a whole lot of easier, because you only have to look in the specified paragraph. However, some questions may include ideas from several parts of the test. You will need to read the entire passage to answer these questions.
There is yet another type of question that may require you to summarize the main ideas of the passage by choosing three key points from a list. If you have already prepared an outline of the main ideas of the passage, you might find it helpful while answering this type of question. While preparing the outline, jot down the important points in words, phrases, symbols, abbreviations etc.