TOEFL Reading – Tips and How to Get a Good Score

The TOEFL Reading section is the longest section of the test which will range from 54-72 minutes, so it will be good to prepare ahead of time because you will be under time pressure. Here, you will read 3-4 passages and each passage has around 9-10 you will have to answer.

If you get the test with four passages, one of the passages is an experimental one. This means one of the passages and its questions will not be part of your total score. So, you will not know which one this is so you will still have to read all passages and answer all the corresponding questions.

Types of questions in the TOEFL Reading section

For the TOEFL Reading section, you will have different kinds of questions to answer. Below is a guide to some of those that may appear on your test:

Multiple Choice

This is the most common kind of question in the reading section. Here, you are given a set of options to choose from and one of them will be the correct answer. Be sure to read all the possible answers. It may be tempting to go for the answer you see right away because of the time pressure, but some of those answers are meant to confuse you. So, don’t take the risk and read everything.

Inserting a Sentence

For these types of questions, you have a sentence which you must insert in a paragraph. There are options in the paragraph where you can insert the sentence. Simply pick where you think the sentence best fits. Again, read everything and see how your sentence works with the entire paragraph and if it will still make sense.

Fill the Table

For this, you will summarize the passage you read by picking the best sentences from the ones they will provide. The test will tell you how many sentences you should choose. They will be based on the passage so feel free to go back and check the passage.

Reference Question

An example of a reference question will use a pronoun like they or it and you will have to answer who or what they are referring to. Other words that may appear are this, that, those, the former, and the latter. It will help to go back to a few sentences to see what the question is referring to.

Tips for the TOEFL Reading section

Here are some tips that you can do to prepare yourself for the test.


This doesn’t you should read whatever interests you. The test will take their reading material from academic sources so it will be good to start from sources like that. Reading will also add to your vocabulary which will come in handy when you take the test.

Practice Tests

Try to take some practice tests and time yourself. You can find some here.


Your worst enemy during the test will be time. Try to time yourself when you do your practice tests so you can see if you need to improve either on your reading speed or answering speed.

Take Notes

If it helps, take notes whenever you need to. Only you can decide if this will be helpful for you on the day itself.

Unfamiliar Words

When you’re not sure about the meaning of a certain word, try to read the words and sentences around it. Usually it’s a matter of context and you can deduce the meaning of the word.

The TOEFL Reading section will either feel long or too short for you. Whichever the case, the key is how you pace yourself. See how you can improve not just your reading speed, but the rate at which you answer questions as well. Don’t spend too much time on a question. Remember, there are a lot of questions to go through so speed and accuracy will play a big role in completing this part.

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