TOEFL reading passages and types of questions

The passages given for reading are not much different from what college and university students in North America will have to encounter in their courses. Three to five passages are given for reading. Each passage may contain roughly 700 words.

Reading questions

10 different types of questions are asked on the TOEFL iBT reading section. They can be classified into three general categories.

Language use

These questions test a student’s ability to understand language. Some of these questions test your understanding of the meaning of a word.

Basic comprehension

Roughly a third of the total questions in the Reading section belong to this category. They test a student’s general understanding of the main idea of the passage and the ability to make inference based on the given information.

Reading to learn

They are of two types: Drag-n-Drop Table completion and Drag-n-Drop summary.

If a question refers to a particular word or phrase in the passage, that word or phrase is highlighted, so you don’t have to search for it. Many questions also identify the particular passages where you can find the answer.

All questions except the Drag-n-Drop Table completion and Summary are multiple choice questions with four answer options. These types of questions are worth more than one point.

Infer meaning

You should be able to infer ideas using logic and certain details. Sometimes you will need to infer ideas that are not directly mentioned by the writer. However, you must be careful not to infer much. All inferences must be supported by the passage. Note that many incorrect answers are based on assumptions that are not supported by details in the passage.