TOEFL Reading Tips
The TOEFL Reading Tips Section of the TOEFL iBT tests your ability to read and comprehend a series of academic texts written in English, and is the first of four sections you will encounter on test day. You will be given from 60-80 minutes to complete between 36-56 questions, based on 3-4 separate reading passages. It’s important to note that not all questions included on your test will count towards your score, as one of the four passages may be included for experimental purposes. Since you won’t know which one, it’s best to treat each section with equal importance, and do your best to answer all the questions. TOEFL Reading Tips.
The reading section may seem daunting at first, but if you follow the four simple tips listed below, you’re sure to increase your score. TOEFL Reading Tips.
1. Improve your Vocabulary TOEFL Reading Tips.
Your first task begins long before test day has arrived. Improving your vocabulary is the number one way to improve your reading comprehension. How to do this you ask? Read! Use textbooks, news articles, or any other source of academic literature to help you build your vocabulary in a variety of subjects. When you come across a word you don’t know, write it down and look it up later in an English to English dictionary. Practice your vocabulary daily by making flashcards or a word list. The more often you use your new vocabulary, the more likely you are to remember it. TOEFL Reading Tips.
2. Read the Questions First TOEFL Reading Tips.
When you begin the test, take a minute or two to briefly read over the questions before you begin reading the first passage. Knowing the questions beforehand will help you decide which material to focus on, and will allow you to read with purpose. Additionally, it’s important to note that the questions are usually in the same order as they appear in the passage. When you find the answer to the first question, the information for the second question will appear next, and so on and so forth. TOEFL Reading Tips.
3. Use Context Clues TOEFL Reading Tips.
No matter how many words you learn or how much you work to improve your vocabulary, let’s face it, you’re going to encounter some words on the test that you are unfamiliar with. When presented with this situation, the best solution is to try to infer, or guess, the meaning of the word in question based on the vocabulary surrounding it, as well as the overall meaning of the sentence. Use prefixes and suffixes to help you grasp the meaning of the words you’re unsure about, and ask yourself if they have any relation to other, similar words you might know. TOEFL Reading Tips.
4. Learn to Skim TOEFL Reading Tips.
Come exam day, you will not have time to read the entire passage, which makes skimming a vital skill. Skimming is the art of reading quickly through a passage to get the general information, without reading every word. Look for key words and understand that the main ideas usually come at the beginning or end of a paragraph, while examples and details are usually found in the middle, or body, of a paragraph or passage. Practice this skill by reading academic material on your own, leading up to the test. Skim first and take notes on your understanding, then go back and read again in detail. Did you understand correctly the first time? Where was the important information located? TOEFL Reading Tips.
While there are many more strategies for the TOEFL exam, following the basic ones listed here will put you well on your way to achieving the TOEFL score you desire. If you’d like more detailed tips and information for each section, read our series of in depth articles below: TOEFL Reading Tips.
- How to do well on TOEFL: TOEFL Writing Tips
- How to do well on TOEFL: TOEFL Listening Tips
- How to do well on TOEFL: TOEFL Speaking Tips