1. Become familiar with reading in English. You should be reading in English every single day. Read the newspaper or news online, print out the daily lessons on English, baby! and find academic papers at the library or online. Do not just stick to topics related to areas that you are interested in – become familiar with a variety of subjects!
2. Practice skimming passages rather than spending valuable time reading the passage in detail. (Skimming is when you quickly glance through text rather than reading every single word.) Then go back and read the passage more slowly – you will find you understand more now that you know what the key points of the passage are. By practicing using any passage of written English, such as today’s lesson on English, baby! you will dramatically increase your fluency and reading rate.
3. Highlight the main ideas of the passage – often you will find this in the introduction. Also, highlight key points and facts such as numbers and dates. You will not have time to read every paragraph in detail during your TOEFL® reading exam and practicing this regularly will increase your reading speed and fluency.
4. Make quick notes after your first or second reading to save time when looking back for the answers to the questions.
5. Do not worry if you are unfamiliar with the topic of the passage. Everything you need to know to answer the questions will be in the passage in your TOEFL® reading section and no prior knowledge is required.
6. Do not spend too much time on a question you are not completely sure about. If you do not know the answer to the question, try to eliminate any answers that you feel are not correct. You want to make sure you have enough time for the questions and answers you are sure of!
7. Practice creating charts placing information from the passage in the appropriate category. For the TOEFL iBT® reading exam, you do not have to create a chart but you will be expected to fill in the chart with the correct choices and this will help your thinking about putting the information you are reading into useful categories.
8. Increase your vocabulary and understanding of idioms – this will help your overall understanding of passages in your TOEFL® reading exam. Visit our grammar section for good examples.
9. Try to estimate if you are running out of time – if you have very little time left, it is better to complete all questions than to leave an answer blank. Remember, you will not lose points for incorrect answers in your TOEFL® reading exam!
10. Choose unfamiliar words from past TOEFL® reading exams and try to guess what they mean from the words surrounding it, as well as using the context of the paragraph. This will help you stay calm during the exam when you come across words you do not know, as you will be well trained to make an educated guess.