Most Common TOEFL Reading Topics

    Indrita Ganguly Indrita Ganguly
    Content Curator

    The reading section of the TOEFL examines the candidate’s ability to read and comprehend the given passage and answer questions focused on academic settings. Candidates preparing to study abroad will definitely need to have a skillfulness in the TOEFL reading section to ensure understanding in universities or workplaces.

    TOEFL Reading Section: Overview

    TOEFL IBT reading section is a 54-72 minutes long exam where a candidate has to:

    • Go through 3-4 reading passages of 700 words approximately;
    • Answer around 10 questions followed by each passage;
    TOEFL Reading Section

    Most Common TOEFL Reading Topics

    These are the topics that have been noticed the most in the TOEFL reading questions but it should be noted that candidates need to practice other topics too.

    ScienceHumanitiesProfession orientedSocial Science
    AstronomyArtPublic RelationsSociology
    ChemistryArt HistoryArchitectureAnthropology
    BiologyMusicCommunicationPolitical Science
    MedicineNorth American Art--
    AnatomyWorld History--
    American Literature---
    American History---

    Note: ETS (conducting body of TOEFL) provides the candidates with all the information to answer the questions followed by the passage in the reading passage itself – which makes this section a comparatively easy one.

    TOEFL Reading Section Updates 2020

    The latest changes on the basis of which TOEFL will be taken this year are:

    • Three reading passages
    • In case, the fourth passage is given, it will be upgraded.
    • Each passage will be followed by 9-10 questions (previously it was 10-12)
    • The 10th question happens to be “Fill the table”

    In the TOEFL reading section, ETS has not mentioned any changes in the length of the reading passages.

    TOEFL Reading Questions: Types & Strategies

    It is important to know the TOEFL reading questions types first to take strategies accordingly:

    TOEFL Reading Question Types

    The TOEFL reading question types followed by the reading passage include 10 different types of questions for each passage. These are:

    TOEFL Reading Questions

    TOEFL Reading: Time-Management Tips

    TOEFL reading requires a systematic time-management strategy which will ensure the candidate is able to answer all the questions within that restricted time. Along with improving your reading skills from the newspaper, books, magazines, and journals, experts give a few tips to answer TOEFL reading questions within time:

    • Do not read the entire passage;
    • Read the first line of each paragraph instead;
    • Go to the questions section;
    • Answer the definition or vocabulary type answer which can be answered without reading the passage;
    • Move to the detail-type questions;
    • Memorize the first lines of the paragraphs and try to figure out which paragraph holds the answer
    • Read that paragraph and answer

    In case, you are stuck and unable to answer a question, experts suggest:

    • Instead of whiling away time, move to the next;
    • Complete rest of the questions;
    • Come back to the remaining question in the end;
    • Try to figure out the question;
    • Find out references from the passage to answer the question

    TOEFL reading strategies PDF and videos are also available which can help you in the strategies of this section.

    TOEFL Reading Preparation Strategies to Boost the Score

    • Engage in learning academic word lists as it involves intense vocabulary suited for TOEFL reading;
    • In case you come across a foreign word, try understanding its meaning by reading the whole sentence;
    • Scan the questions first, then start reading the passage – it will keep the focus on the exact details
    • Devote 20 minutes on each passage and its question set – which is 1 minute 25 seconds for each question;

    Top TOEFL Reading Practice Resources

    Multiple TOEFL IBT reading practice test free online are available where the candidates can practice for this test. TOEFL Practice paper is such a collection for the candidates. The official website (ETS) also holds a few TOEFL Reading Practice sets which can give you the idea of the difficulty level of this test.

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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