TOEFL Reading Practice Test and Score Improving Tips

TOEFL Reading Test

The Reading section tests the ability of test-takers to understand academic texts and phrases at the university level. All areas of study, from chemistry to literature to psychology, are potential subjects for reading excerpts. The average length of the passage is about 700 words. Students are required to read and understand knowledge from textbooks and other forms of academic material. Below are three potential educational reading uses:


  • Basic comprehension

  • Reading to find information

  • Reading to learn

TOEFL Reading Format

The TOEFL iBT exam consists of three basic categories for academic texts.

  1. Exposition

  2. Argumentation

  3. Historical biographical/event narrative


Exam takers do not need any specialized knowledge on the subject to answer the questions in the Reading section accurately; all the data needed to answer the questions is included in the TOEFL reading articles. Testers must read through or scroll through the later part of each passage before they receive questions about that passage.

Length of passage

Number of TOEFL reading passages and questions


About 700 words

3 to 5 passages

12 to 14 questions per passage

60 to 100 minutes

There are 10 types of questions for reading and 4 different formats used. Many types are worth one point, but a form may be worth up to 4 points. Although you will have 30-40 questions, the scaled score for the reading portion has the highest value of 30.


  1. Multiple Choice

Question Type:

  • Vocabulary

  • Detail

  • Purpose

  • Negative Factual Information

  • Essential Information

  • Reference

  • Inference


  1. Insert a Sentence

  • Question Type: Insert a Sentence


  1. Complete the Summary

  • Question Type: Complete the Summary


  1. Complete the Table

  • Question Type: Complete the Table

TOEFL Reading Tips

Tip #1: Match your approach to your expertise and stick to pacing. How quickly can you read the content without missing too much information? Practice this beforehand.


One way to create your strategy and master your pacing for this section is by using TOEFL reading practice tests and study guides that are available on the official ETS website and online, such as the following:

  • Reading comprehension TOEFL iBT practice tests

  • TOEFL practice test reading comprehension

  • TOEFL test online reading

  • Sample TOEFL reading test with answers

  • TOEFL iBT reading passages free practice test

  • TOEFL ITP reading test pdf

  • TOEFL iBT reading passages free practice test pdf

  • TOEFL iBT reading practice test pdf

  • TOEFL reading practice pdf

  • TOEFL iBT  reading practice

  • TOEFL reading question types and strategies pdf

  • TOEFL reading samples pdf

  • Reading examples for TOEFL

  • Reading practice TOEFL

  • Reading sample TOEFL


Tip #2: Learn the whole text while you’re reading, without looking up the words you don’t know so that you can imitate the requirements of the test. Wait until the document is over to check for meanings. Do not translate into your mother language with a translation device, but look at the English meaning of words. That means you’re going to remember it better, motivating you to express it yourself.


Tip #3: Read every single answer choice, although you may already know the right one. Read the passage carefully, as every correct answer is backed by the text.


Tip #4: Read the passage that presents every choice given and conclude which one makes more sense. Do not skip the choices or stop after thinking you’ve got the right one.

Tip #5:
In the case of questions involving the main ideas of the message, try not to be confused by trivial details. Noticing a specific fact in the passage may force you to choose that choice. However, some specifics have been included to confuse you.


Tip #6: Keep on reading and deduce the meaning of the word from the context once you encounter an unknown word. Throughout the Reading section, you will note that you have a very short time to read and comprehend a text, and very little time to answer your questions. When you encounter a question you absolutely cannot answer, don’t stop and move on to the next one.


Tip #7: There will be sections in the document that you will be more comfortable about rather than others, and some items will be harder than the others. The best tip is to keep up the pace and avoid questions that need too much time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How TOEFL reading is scored?

Most of the items in this section are single-answer multiple-choice questions where you will have four answers, but only one is correct. Another type of question in the TOEFL Reading section is the Reading to Learn questions where you will be asked to order the main ideas of the passage in either a map or a list.

To determine your raw score, tally up one point for each multiple-choice questions you answered correctly and probably 2-3 points for each Reading to Learn questions. The sum of all those points is your raw score.

TOEFL Reading Score Table

Scaled Score



45, 44


43, 42, 41


40, 39


38, 37




35, 34












































13, 12


11, 10


9 and below


How to increase my reading section score in the TOEFL iBT?

To improve your score in the TOEFL iBT Reading Test, you should:

  1. Read articles on a variety of subjects for both academic and non-academic content.

  2. Create some simple questions to test your comprehension of the article.

  3. Get your grasp of grammar to understand the difficult parts of a document.

  4. Work with your reading buddy.


Do I really need to know all TOEFL reading words?

There’s no such thing as TOEFL reading words. The reading portion of the TOEFL test would not require you to memorize a large number of words. So long as you’ve got the basic English vocabulary, you’re fine.


How should I prepare for TOEFL IBT? Which books should I read?

TOEFL reading preparation is a journey. Since you are taking the test online, you no longer need to read TOEFL Prep Books to prepare for this examination. However, if you decide to use books and are not interested in taking a TOEFL online course, you may use these books:

  • The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test

  • TOEFL iBT Preparation Book: Test Prep for Reading, Listening, Speaking, & Writing on the Test of English as a Foreign Language

  • Cracking the TOEFL iBT – Princeton Review

  • Practice Exercises for the TOEFL

  • Nova’s – Speaking and Writing Strategies for the TOEFL iBT


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