TOEFL Reading Overview

The reading section is the first section of the TOEFL. Test takers will have to read five to seven passages. Each passage may contain around 700 words. If you are given only three passages, you will have to finish the test in 60 minutes. If there are five passages, you will get up to 100 minutes for reading and answering the questions. You will have to answer 12 to 14 questions on each passage.

The time is divided as follows.

  • 20 minutes for the first passage.
  • 40 minutes for the second and third passages.
  • 40 minutes for the fourth and fifth passages.

As we have already stated some tests have only three passages. Even if your test has five passages, you are not graded on the additional passages. Your performance in those passages is used to modify questions for later tests. The problem is that you are not told which passages are counted toward your mark. So you will have to read all passages as well as you can.

The passages usually deal with academic topics like arts, sciences, applied sciences and social sciences. You are not required to have any special knowledge in these fields. Remember that all the information you need to answer the questions are given in the passage itself.

The TOEFL Reading test is not a test of your general knowledge. Instead, it aims to test your ability to grasp information through reading.