If you are getting ready to take TOEFL, you are probably well aware that these four sections consist of Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. They all test your ability to communicate in English effectively.
The Reading section is the first section on the test. It involves reading a long passage on a specific topic. The topics are often highly technical and are always written in an academic style. I bet Reading is not the section you are most worried about, despite its difficulty. There are three other sections of the TOEFL to study for, after all. It is easy to be lured into a false sense of security when it comes to reading.
There are multiple study strategies and areas of improvement that you may consider to get a higher score on the reading section of the test.
1. Improve Your Reading Speed:
Time is one of the essence when it comes to the TOEFL. In fact, all other things being equal, good timing and the ability to pace yourself can make or break your TOEFL score. The Reading section is where a sense of time and pace will need to come from you and you alone. You need to judge how much time you have left to complete the readings and give your answers.
Time yourself when you study for the test and note how long it takes you to go through a given passage. You will likely notice that you slow down when your level of comprehension drops down, and that’s normal! When you understand less, you need to slow down and read more carefully.Everyone reads at a different pace. Your task is to make your reading pace slightly faster for the very specific test-taking situation, so you can switch gears and go into full-speed mode if you need to.
2. Work on Your Comprehension Speed:
The reading section will be full of challenging words you have not seen before. They put in challenging words that you probably do not know on purpose. The reading section will ask you to deduce meaning and infer informationfrom words you do not understand.
This is what the reading section is actually testing. Not your ability to memorize a thesaurus before the test, but your skill at dealing with vocabulary words that you do not know. Not knowing a word is not only normal, but it is expected from speakers of English as a foreign language.
3. Learn Specific Vocabulary:
Even though you will encounter unknown words, developing a nice and wide vocabulary never hurt anyone. When you study for the Reading section of the TOEFL, whether you are at home or in class, go ahead and look up words you don’t understand. The English-to-English dictionary will be very helpful to you. Not only will you read a clear English explanation for the word you do not understand, you will also familiarize yourself with synonyms (similar words) and antonyms (opposite words). Hint, hint! This is hugely useful and very much applicable to TOEFL.
4. Keep Moving
When it comes to the Reading section, remember that you will not have more than 4 minutes per passage, so do not get hung up on every passage. There are multiple passages on the test, and you are guaranteed to feel more comfortable with one or another. Some will seem harder and some will seem easier. Skim the passage, note key words in sentences, leave unfamiliar terms behind and keep in mind that TOEFL passages may contain words that even native speakers don’t typically know.