ace TOEFL Reading section

Tips & Strategies To Ace TOEFL Reading Section

The reading section of the TOEFL English test examination is usually the first section among the four section test-takers are examined. This section examines the test-takers ability to make meaning out of passages through knowledge of specific words, general understanding of passages and vocabulary and hence requires test-takers to read through passages (3-4) with paragraphs not less than six. Each of the 3-4 passages has a corresponding 12 multiple choice questions that are tricky and therefore require critical in-depth analysis and retrospection before answering.

It is important for test-takers to bear in mind that this section of the TOEFL test accrues a 30 points mark and test-takers should strive hard to score higher marks in this section to build their confidence for the next sections. Your performance in this section will set the pace or rhythm for the next section in the exam. The tips discussed below will help test-takers to successfully go through this section with ease:

  • Time and speed: Remember that this section requires one to read very long passages within an allocated 80 minute period. Therefore, timing and enhancing your pace might just be the best and solution to the numerous complaints of limited time test-takers usually complain about. The summary as related to timing each test-taker should have their fingertips is that, this section usually contain as much as 56 questions for the 3 or 4 passages, with a maximum time of 80 minutes. This implies that a test-taker will have only 5 minutes to read each text and about 1 minute to answer each question in this section. Candidates should try as much as possible to comprehend the running theme of the passage as it will enhance the pace at which one reads through the passage.
  • Improve on your vocabulary: One of the objectives of this section of the TOEFL test is to examine test-takers knowledge on the use of vocabulary. Therefore, it is important to always have a dictionary that one can look for meaning of words when preparing for this test. It is much important as well to also understand each passage well so as to make inferences of meaning of certain words. Beware also and look up for synonyms of certain words so as not to get confused.
  • Adopt Line Numbering: The TOEFL quirk of numbering every fifth line in the passage is primarily aimed at helping you navigate through the words or sentences referred to in the questions. This Practice helps the test-taker to locate specific lines and words by the numbers provided and hence reduce the burden of searching through the passages for certain words.
  • Understand difficult passages and vocabulary with use of comprehension: It is important and helpful to always use Word lists in searching for new vocabulary. There are limitless words available and the more words a candidate learn the better. You will always find some words on the TOEFL that you haven’t seen before, or don’t remember the meaning of. Always understand the context of the passage and make meaning out of new vocabulary by introducing context clues. This will enable you guess the meaning of new words and phrases in the paragraphs.
  • Don’t Get Stuck on One Question: There is always the temptation in this section of the test to get stuck looking for meaning of a word or trying to understand the passage of one question with no regards to time. This might result in time wasting and therefore deny one enough time to tackle other questions. It is advised that you make use of the contextual clues as discussed previously. Failure to abide by these can really end up hurting your score if you end up not having enough time to answer other questions, so it’s something you want to avoid. (If you’ve spent a minute on a question and still don’t know the answer, make your best guess and then move on to the next one).
  • Learn to identify pronouns: It is very important when reading to take note of pronouns as it will enhance your understanding of the passage. Paying attention to the pronouns in a text will help you to know to whom or what it is referring, especially if there are multiple characters in the text. This could be the difference between you answering a question correctly and incorrectly.


It is the believe of the writer that if you abide by these simple tips and guidelines in addition to others, your TOEFL test examination might just be something you find easy doing.

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