Tips to Improve your Reading Comprehension (Reading) for TOEFL iBT

In this guide, I will show you how to improve on your reading comprehension for TOEFL iBT.

toefl reading

Introduction – The Reading section TOEFL iBT

In the first section of TOEFL iBT – Reading – you will read three to five texts or passages. This means that the section can last at least an hour and up to one hour forty minutes. You will have 20 minutes to answer 14 questions about comprehension passages.

Each text has an area of ​​approximately 700 words. It is important to take into account the types of texts found in TOEFL: expository, argumentative and historical narrative.

On the issues, they can deal with exact sciences, social sciences, art, business, etc. The information submitted is sufficient to answer each item correctly, that is, you do not need prior knowledge of the specifics of each passage. Thus, a fundamental aspect of the test is to demonstrate that you learn from each of the texts presented. In fact, in the last question in each passage you will have to complete a schematic summary of ideas without having access to re-read the caption. Your correct answers will depend on exactly how much you have learned through the corresponding reading.

Reading 60 – 100
* 3-5 texts
* 12-14 items / questions by text
* Questions include classification of information, completion of tables and summaries.
Text / Passage 700 words
The texts are academic and 3 types:
Exhibition – the passage explains about a topic.
Argumentative – the passage presents a point of view on an issue and evidence to support that view.
Historical – narrative – the passage is an account of past events or the life of a person.


Tips on reading

Some students believe that classes with an instructor are sufficient when preparing the TOEFL (or other consideration). According to our experience, students who read daily and outside the class situation score higher.

The best way to improve your reading comprehension is just reading more. It sounds obvious, but many times we forget or do not know how and where to start.

Internet is probably the largest library today. This brings some difficulties related to the quality of content available, however, when we find reliable content and quality advantages for students and teachers are significant. Below we offer a range of reading activities with resources on the Internet to visit and use.

Practice extensive reading

First of all, it is important to read silently. Read aloud in general does not help your understanding and definitely will not help for TOEFL iBT. This extensive reading, it comes to reading texts simply for the pleasure of reading. When you read extensively you need to understand only general ideas and meanings without stopping in every detail and much less in those words or expressions you do not know. Extensive reading needs and should be practiced daily. Try to make it part of your routine, as is probably your breakfast or your lunch. You can increase your skills to understand main ideas (skimming), find details (scanning) and see how your speed increases to read.

  • Read the news every morning in your home or office.
    Online journals
  • Get news on your mobile (Palm, Blackberry), wherever you are in the bus, train, plane. For Palm users recommend the site Avant Go
  • Subscribe to the newsletters of newspapers and magazines. CNN subscriptions recommend the following link:
  • Read more about history, animals and the environment, among other topics with National Geographic. You can subscribe to feeds directly downloaded to your computer at the following link:
  • Find out what is happening in various parts of the world, Australia, India, Japan, from the comfort of your computer. Visit the Public Library IPL and choose their magazines where the items develop more in-depth topics daily. Http://

Recommended Books

Intensive reading practice

Intensive reading involves carefully read and understand the meaning exactly. You need to understand the message as it was conceived by its author; this includes both factual information (facts) as well as the intentions and purposes that the author has had the time of writing. For example, it is likely (and recommended!) To practice intensive reading when you read a contract before signing it. If you have an e-mail with Yahoo! you could follow this link and find out the conditions established by Yahoo! for its users: .html

Other times where you can practice intensive reading are instances of participation in virtual forums. We recommend you subscribe to the official forum at the following link TOEFL

Anyway, you need to practice intensive reading at least 2 times a week. Select an article, story or essay (paper); then prepares a summary or written outline and discuss it in English with a partner or your teacher. This will not only improve your reading comprehension but will help in sections of Oral Expression (Speaking) and Writing (Writing) exam.

Three easy steps to start your intensive reading

1. Look for items that interest you. Download them to your computer or receive academic articles in your e-mail.

2. As you read, pay attention to the details of the message and content. Make sure you understand the meanings of words and expressions as they are used in the text.

3. When reading uses these tools to query:

Recommended Books

Directories for academic articles and monographs

We hope these tips help you improve not only the TOEFL scores but your reading skills and study strategies in general. Many students create word lists, flashcards, create daily and schemes after their readings. Talk to your teacher and discuss these strategies.

Good luck with your homework and remember that your reading skills will also be essential in the next step, your life in college!


  • Read every day for about 10-15 minutes (Extensive reading)
  • Always read silently;
  • Select articles, stories, essays to read in detail 2 times per week;
  • When you read in detail (intensively) uses resources such as dictionaries and encyclopedias if you are interested in a particular aspect;
  • Prepare summaries and outlines (outlines);
  • Share what you are learning with your teacher and / or a partner; Do it in English!
  • Keep track of what you learn when you read;
  • Enjoy your reading and good luck in the exam!

Further Reading:

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