Reading is the first part of the TOEFL exam. It is also considered to be the easiest part of the exam. Although it is a lengthy part, most of the students can manage to get a good score in this part.  Practicing your reading skills at home is the key to success. If you have applied for the exam but have not started practicing yet, we will solve your problem. After reading this article on TOEFL Reading, you will be able to plan and start preparing for your exam. In fact, you are mostly preparing for the reading part while going through this article.

Overview of TOEFL Reading

Reading is the first section of the TOEFL exam. It has a total score of 30. In this part of the exam, you are given 4 paragraphs of academic texts along with some questions. Your task is to read the text and answer the questions based on what you extracted from the text. You are given a total of 60 to 80 minutes to complete this task depending on the number of questions.

The key purpose of TOEFL Reading is to evaluate your ability to understand the written English text and extract ideas from it. A person who is proficient in English must be able to read the text quickly and understand what the author wants to deliver.  The test taker should be able to quickly grasp the ideas being delivered by the author and answer questions related to the text using his knowledge.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Tips & Techniques to Increase Your TOEFL Reading Score

Students with good preparation usually score between 20 to 24. We will share some important tips with you in this article. If you follow our tips, you can easily score above 25.

Tip 1: Read as Much as You Can

While preparing for the TOEFL Reading exam, try to read as much as you can. Make reading your habit, as long as you are preparing for the exam. The more you read, the more you will be able to understand the ideas behind the written text. You can read essays, short stories, books, articles, blogs, or any other thing you like. Reading an English newspaper is very helpful in this case. Try to read on different themes such as sports, business, current affairs, history, fiction, etc. This will allow you to understand ideas related to different topics. Include academic texts in your reading. Instead of reading a single author, try to read books of two to three different authors. It will make you familiar with different writing styles.

Tip 2: Think While Reading

If you can read a text but are not able to understand what the author is trying to deliver, you cannot pass the test. You will have to answer the questions as well during your exam. So instead of reading and just going through the text quickly, try to think while reading. Discover how different ideas are related in the text. How they are linked to one another? Try to group paragraphs into categories depending on the concept behind them. When you finish reading a paragraph, try to summarize it in your own words. You will be seeing questions on exam day that will ask you to describe the whole theme of a paragraph in your own words. This cannot be done without deep reasoning in the paragraph.

Tip 3: Develop Your Vocabulary

You will be in trouble on exam day if the paragraph contains a number of words you are not familiar with. This will limit your ability to apprehend the theme of the paragraph and you might not be able to answer the questions in the TOEFL Reading Section. To tackle this, develop your vocabulary gradually while preparing for the exam.

Whenever you come up with a word, while reading a text, you don’t know the meaning, underline it. Note it on some paper or book and find out its meaning. Keep the meaning in your mind. In this way, you can make a list of words that seem difficult to you. Before the exam, you can quickly take a look at that list and remember its meanings. You should try that there is not a single word in the text you are unfamiliar with.

Tip 4: Keep Track of the Time

On exam day, time management will be the determining factor of your success. Many students fail because they don’t know how to manage their time. They spend most of the time on one or two paragraphs. In the end, they are left with only 10 to 15 minutes and two or more paragraphs are remaining. This is a very important tip in the TOEFL Reading section.

Learn and practice time management. On the exam day, analyze the paragraphs on the basis of their length and the questions asked. Try to do the paragraph with more questions first. Do not spend more than 10 minutes reading and analyzing a paragraph. In this way, you will be left with more time to answer the questions.

Tip 5: Tips While Attempting the Questions

During the exam, you will be asked different types of questions such as multiple-choice questions, inserting a sentence and summarizing the paragraph questions, etc.

Most of the questions in TOEFL Reading are multiple-choice type and easy to answer. While attempting these questions, read every option before jumping onto the answer. There may be more than one true answer and you have to choose the best one. This is only possible after reading all the choices and comparing them to find which one is the best.

In inserting sentence-type questions, you will be required to add a sentence to the provided text where it fits best. The best way to attempt these questions is to read the entire passage carefully. Don’t stop before you have completed the entire passage, even if you think you have found the right place. After you have completed reading, analyze carefully the best place you can fit the sentence

For summarizing the paragraph, try to write it in your own simple words. Avoid using the vocabulary from the paragraph itself. The sentence structure should also be different from the one used in the paragraph.


We hope that this article in the TOEFL Reading section was helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

Share this article via

Leave A Comment