Overview of the TOEFL reading section

Reading is the first section of the Internet based TOEFL test. In the reading section you will be given 3 to 5 passages for reading. Each passage will be about 700 words long. You will have to answer 12-14 questions based on each passage. Reading section takes about 60 – 100 minutes.

You don’t need to be familiar with the subject matter of the passages given for reading. All the information you need to answer the questions are in the passage itself. In addition, you can find the definition of some of the technical terms in the glossary made available during the test.

Before you start answering the questions, skim through the passage to get a general idea. You don’t have to read it in depth. Once you have an idea of what information goes where, you will find it easier to answer the questions.

Try intelligent guessing

There is no penalty for wrong answers. So if you are running out of time, you should try to guess at an answer.

Types of questions

All questions in the TOEFL iBT Reading are of the multiple choice type. To score well, you should be familiar with all types of questions.

The TOEFL iBT reading questions are of the following kinds:

  •     Questions that require you to understand facts and details
  •     Questions that require you to identify negative facts
  •     Questions that require you to understand vocabulary in context
  •     Questions that require you to make inferences
  •     Questions that require you to determine purpose

You must also be able to paraphrase, identify main ideas, and summarize important points.

TOEFL Reading Tips

Read extensively. While preparing for TOEFL read articles on a variety of topics to improve your vocabulary. Read from text books, magazines, newspapers and websites. Read anything that is of the academic nature. While reading try to guess at the meaning of unfamiliar words. Try to see if you can grasp the main idea of the passage even if you don’t know the meaning of the word.