3.01 Reading Overview: ( 3 to 3.5 Minutes)

Hello there! By now, I’m sure you understand, at least in a general way, what is expected of you when you complete the TOEFL exam. We are now ready to get into the details. This part of the course will deal with an overview of the Reading Section of the TOEFL. The structure, the reading passages, and the questions themselves. So, let’s begin.

The reading section will be the first that students will complete when doing the TOEFL. It consists of three or four reading texts on various topics, such as History (20th Century European History, or Literature during the Industrial Revolution, for example), Science (Symbiotic Relationships or Molecular Biology), or Business (Agricultural Transportation Costs, or E-mail Etiquette). Each text is similar to something a student might see in a University Textbook. Each text is approximately seven hundred words, and will roughly take up two pages on the screen. The student will carefully read this text, scanning it for content, grammar, and vocabulary.

Don’t worry, though. Each passage will remain on the screen while you’re answering the question, so memorizing the passage is not necessary. The text will always remain next to the question, and you always have something to refer to. The students will be given all of the texts and questions at the same time, and it is up to them how to delegate the allotted time to complete them.

Each text given will have ten multiple-choice questions. There are no short answer or essay questions in this section, and students will be given fifty-five minutes to complete three reading passages, and seventy-three minutes if they receive four reading passages. This will allow for twenty minutes per text, and two minutes per question.

Now, because the texts cover more complex topics, the vocabulary will be advanced, and there will also be vocabulary related directly to the text. In fact, there could even be a question regarding the language that specifically relates to the topic and what it means. In many of the texts, the more complex words will be highlighted, and the students will be able to click them if they want to see a definition.

The students will not have hard copies, meaning they won’t have a hand-written version of the texts as the test itself is now mostly administered online. Locations that supply the written version of the test, or PBT, may give students hard copies. However, since most countries don’t follow this practice, students will not be able to write on the text or highlight ideas. They can make notes on paper, which will be given to them, if requested. 

Since the reading section freely displays the passages for a student’s reference, the reading section simply requires a good understanding of the written word at an Advanced Level. The Reading Section is also considered by most students to be the easiest of the four sections. Don’t overlook it, though. The Reading Section still counts for 25% of your overall grade for the TOEFL, or 30 points. Read each word carefully, taking context, and the possibility of jargon into account. 

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