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Reading Skills:
Reading is the first section of the TOEFL iBT. It includes 3 to 5 reading passages (about 700 words)
and 12-14 questions after each step. You are given 60 minutes -100 to answer all the questions in the
entire section.
Do not panic if the subject of TOEFL iBT reading passage is unknown to you. All the information you
need to choose the correct answer is given. In addition, there is the definition of some of the technical
terms in the glossary that is available during the test.
Review the step to get the main idea and organization of ideas in the passage. Since you can read the
text while answering the questions, you need not read the passage in depth. This technique will allow
more time for the question and response options.
However, if you are running out of time, guess an answer, since it can only raise your score. In the
TOEFL, there is no penalty for wrong answers.
Types of questions
There are 10-12 different types of multiple choice TOEFL iBT reading questions. The way to get a
higher score is to familiarize yourself with all sorts of questions. This will help narrow the choices
and select the correct answer.
TOEFL iBT reading questions fall into three categories: basic information, the skills of inference and
learning reading skills. These questions can be of different types:

Understanding facts and details

Identification of negative

Referrents location

Understanding vocabulary in context

Make inferences

Determining the purpose


Knowledge consistency

Identify the main ideas

The logic

Summarize the important points

Each of the main guides iBT TOEFL, as HBP, Delta, Barron, Longman, Kaplan, and Cambridge, will
provide plenty of practice guidelines and respond to each of these questions. During the performance
of their practice exercises and tests, it is useful to record the type of questions that tend to make
mistakes, so you can identify what you need to work.

TOEFL Reading Tips

Learn and practice reading strategies and some academics can help you succeed on the TOEFL after.
While preparing for the test, read in a variety of topics to expand your vocabulary. You can read
textbooks, newspapers, magazines, academic journals and websites. Guess the meaning of unfamiliar
words and try to catch the main point, even if you do not know the meaning of each word.
Other skills are worth developing include: pre-viewing, reading faster, using the context, make
inferences, skimming, scanning, making connections, summarizing, note taking, and
synthesis. Improve the skills of each of these sub-will allow for greater global score on the reading
Preparation Strategies
Read, Read, Read. Read in English regularly. Focus on academic texts from university textbooks or
other materials. Do not stick to one or two topics that you are interested in. Read from variety of
subjects - science, social science, business, arts, geography, history, economics, and others. Academic
texts, apart from textbooks, could be found in variety of articles and academic publications on the
Internet or university libraries.
Find the purpose of the passage. Knowing the purpose of the reading you may easily find what the
writer is trying to accomplish. The purpose of the passage in most of the readings is embedded in the
introductory paragraph which is one of the most important paragraphs in the text. Most of the
passages in TOEFL iBT will try to do the following:

To Explain - to present the information on a specific topic in explanatory manner. These texts
contain mostly factual information.

To Resolve - it aims at finding solution for some sort of dilemmas or questions that need
answers. Usually there would be a debate.

To convince - to persuade the reader of the validity of certain viewpoint or idea. There would
be opinions and support with evidence in those type of passages.
Increase vocabulary. When reading wide variety of texts on different subjects you should make a
word list. Organize your list in topics for better results. Example topics could be business, geography,
science and others. Make flashcards to help you learn those word lists. Use the words learned in your
writings and speaking.
Take notes. During all sections of TOEFL iBT note taking is allowed. It is a crucial component for
success. It is difficult to remember all facts and details from a reading text in order to answer the
questions. You also don't have enough time to search for those again in the text. So, the solution is
called note taking. When skimming and reading the texts you should write down all important facts
and details in order to find them fast and easily when you need them. See also our effective note
taking strategies.
Learn how to skim the text. Skimming means reading the text quickly to obtain very first general
impression on what the text is about, what its main idea is. Skimming corresponds with Reading to
find information objective in TOEFL iBT. You should develop your ability to skim quickly but at the
same time to identify all major points in the passage. Take notes. See also our skimming strategies.
Read after skimming. Only skimming is not enough. Read the passage again. This time read it more
carefully, but don't forget that you have limited time. Take notes. Identify the passage type classification, cause/effect, compare/contrast, problem/solution, etc.
Try to guess the meaning of unfamiliar words in the passages, the context can help to do that. After
that, check those words in the dictionary. Guessing the words from the context brings great
advantages - you save time and it doesn't disturb your comprehension of the texts.
Highlight some of the pronouns (he, him, they, them, etc.) in the texts. Identify to which nouns in the
particular text the highlighted pronouns refer.
Practice making general inferences and conclusions based on what is implied in the text.
Learn to organize the data presented in the passage in charts and tables. Create charts with categories
and place the important data from the passage in the appropriate category. In TOEFL iBT you are not
asked to create charts. Rather, charts are provided and you are asked to categorize the information in
pre-defined categories.

Advice for Reading, Performance Level: Low

Score Range: 014
1. Read as much and as often as possible in English.

Read texts on a variety of topics.


Read both academic and non-academic materials.

Read about subjects that interest you and that DON'T interest you.

Write basic questions to test your understanding of a text.


Write questions and answers about the first paragraph. Then guess what
might be discussed in the next paragraph.

Use your knowledge of grammar to understand difficult sections of a passage.


Think carefully about the relationship between independent and dependent


Look for words that refer back to some information given in a previous
section of the text.

Look at pronouns and find the nouns that they refer to

Look at relative pronouns (who, that, which, whom, whose) used in

adjective clauses (for example, The student whoseclassmates are
taking the TOEFL test....) and find the nouns they refer to

Work with a reading partner. Read different newspaper or magazine articles.


Write questions about the articles you read.

Exchange articles with your partner and try to answer your partner's

2. Continually expand your vocabulary knowledge.

It is important to increase your vocabulary on many subjects because you will have to
read about various topics at the university.

Review lists of terms used in academic textbooks.

Make a plan for studying new words.


Write a new word on one side of a card and the definition on the back.

Write the sentence you saw the word in to help you learn correct

Study the words often and always mix up the cards

Group the words by topic or meaning. Study the words as a list of related

Study vocabulary by making a list of opposites (words with different

meanings) and synonyms (words with similar meanings)

opposites (relevant-irrelevant; abstract-concrete)

synonyms (excellent, outstanding, superb)

Review the new words on a regular basis so that you remember them.

Expand your vocabulary by analyzing the parts of a word. This will help you
understand some unknown words that you see.

Study roots (a part of a word that other parts are attached to)

-spect- (look at)

-dict- (say)

Study prefixes (a part of word attached to the beginning of a word)

in- (into)

pre- (before)

Study suffixes (part of a word attached at the end of the word)

-tion (inspection)

-able (predictable)

Study word families (the noun, verb, adjective, or adverb forms of related

enjoyment (noun)

enjoy (verb)

enjoyable (adjective)

enjoyably (adverb)

Use the context to guess the meaning of unknown words.


Notice when difficult terms are defined in the text.

Look for examples with an explanation of the meaning of a word.

Look at the other words and structures around an unknown word to try to
understand it.

Use resources to help you study vocabulary.


Use an English-English dictionary to learn correct meaning and word usage.

Get calendars that teach a new word each day or websites that will send you
an e-mail with a new word each day.

Study the vocabulary you find on university websites that give information
about the university and the faculty teaching at the school.

Practice correct usage by making sentences with new words. This will also help you
remember both the meaning and the correct usage of the words.

Have a teacher check your sentences.

Review the new words on a regular basis so that you remember them.

3. Study the organization of academic texts and overall structure of a reading passage.

Read an entire passage from beginning to end.


Look for the main ideas of the article.

Look for the supporting details.

Pay attention to the relationship between the details and main ideas

Learn to recognize the different styles of organization that you find in articles in
English in order to understand the way an article is structured

Pay attention to the connecting words/transitions used for specific


steps (first, second, next, finally)

reasons (because, since)

results (as a result, so, therefore)

examples (for example, such as)

comparisons (in contrast, on the other hand)

restatements of information (in other words, that is)

conclusions (in conclusion, in summary)

Outline a text to test your understanding of the structure of a reading passage.


Begin by grouping paragraphs that address the same concept.

Look for ways that main ideas in one paragraph relate to the main
points of the next paragraph

Write one sentence summarizing the paragraphs that discuss the same

Look at connections between sentences.

Look at how the end of one sentence relates to the beginning of the
next sentence

Think about the connection between the ideas of the two sentences

Combine the sentences using appropriate transitions words to show

the relationship between ideas

Write a summary of the entire passage.

Advice for Reading. Performance Level: High

Score Range: 2230
1. Read as much and as often as possible. Make sure to include academic texts on a variety of
topics written in different genres as part of your reading.

Read major newspapers, such as The New York Times or Science Times.

Use the websites of National Public Radio (NPR) or the BBC to get transcripts of
shows and study the content and new vocabulary you encounter.

2. Continually expand your vocabulary knowledge.

Develop a system for recording unfamiliar words.


Write each word on a card and mix up the cards each time you study them.
Write the context (the sentence the word was used in) to help you learn
correct word usage.

Group the words according to topic or meaning and study the words as a list
of related words.

Review the new words on a regular basis so that you remember them.

Increase your vocabulary by analyzing word parts. Study roots,prefixes,

and suffixes.

Study word families (e.g., enjoyment, enjoy; enjoyable, enjoyably)

Use available vocabulary resources.


Use a good thesaurus to study various shades of meanings of words.

The Longman Language Activator provides "collocations" (words used


There are online concordancers that search corpora and provide examples of
words in context, such as the British national corpus.

Practice using context to guess the meaning of unknown words.

Continually practice using new words you encounter in your speech and writing. This
will help you remember both the meaning and the correct usage of the words.

3. Think carefully about how ideas are connected within a text. The connections between
sentences and the links between paragraphs are critical to complete comprehension.

To understand the structure of a reading passage, outline the text.


Begin by determining the main idea or concept presented in each paragraph.

Remember to distinguish between the main points and the details that
exemplify them.

Group paragraphs that address the same concept. Think about how the key
idea in one paragraph relates to the main point of the next paragraph. If there
are several paragraphs that focus on the same idea or concept, synthesize the
key points into one main idea.

Write one sentence or phrase summarizing the paragraphs that discuss the
same idea.

Add important details that support each major idea or concept.

Learn to recognize different organizational styles in order to understand the way an

article is structured.

Look for the common patterns of organization that you find in articles.

Pay attention to connecting words in order to understand the pattern of


Write a summary of a text, making sure that it incorporates the organizational pattern
of the original.

If the text is a comparison, be sure that your summary reflects that and uses
appropriate transition words and phrases for comparison.

If the text argues two points of view, be sure both points of view are reflected
in your summary and that appropriate transitional words are used.