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Strategies to adopt for reading section of the TOEFL

Posted on September 30, 2020
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TOEFL Coaching

There are 30 multiple choice questions in the TOEFL Reading segment to be answered within a 54-minute time limit. The Reading section assesses the ability to comprehend academic texts. The reading passages are taken from university course books and covers a number of topics.

Three passages, with ten questions per passage, are used. You can come across three key types of questions.

 With four alternatives and a single correct answer, the first is multiple choice. The second is “insert a phrase” in a text in one of four locations. Just one right placement exists.

The final form of question is “reading to learn” questions, where you have to choose from more than four choices and where more than one correct answer will be given. 

Question Types and Strategies

 You need to have a large academic vocabulary as this is a measure of your ability to comprehend university level texts. As the better your vocabulary is, the easier you will find it to do well in the exam, you should give priority to learning terms from the academic wordlist. Not only can this scholarly language assist you in the reading section, but also in listening and writing.

Be mindful that in the question and answer choices, the phrasing of the main words may be different from the words used in the reading passage. This tests the ability to recognize the same concepts represented by synonyms and paraphrases.

In reality, you should look out for distractors, responses that seem to be right but are not really right. It is also necessary to use only the facts in the passages that you read, and not from imagination or previous experience. The deduction of meaning from context is another ability that is important to learning. You are likely to encounter terms that are unfamiliar, so it is important to be able to make an informed guess about the unknown word’s meaning.

In the Reading section, reading methods such as skimming, scanning and intense reading are invaluable. Intentional speed reading is skimming, running rapidly through the text to grasp the key point of a paragraph and to note shifts in direction or argument. Scanning is the ability to find detailed information, and careful reading to identify the details of a sentence or paragraph is intensive reading.

Eliminating wrong answers is also a tool that can be used to find the right answer. If you know that the options A and D are wrong, you will have two options. By looking carefully inside the passage, you can then focus on which one is more probable.

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