Monday, June 23, 2014

The TOEFL Reading Test

The Test of English as a Foreign Language is an English proficiency examination taken by different non-native English speakers. This test evaluates the candidate on how well he or she can use and understand academic English. When we say academic English, most of the topics that are used in the exam are school subjects. These subjects can be science and technology, social studies, history, psychology, art and even music. The test has four parts – reading, listening, speaking and writing. Being considered the most boring part of the examination, the reading exam poses a great challenge to TOEFL test takers. 
TOEFL reading
In the TOEFL Reading test, the candidate will be reading three to five passages. Each passage will have about twelve to fourteen questions. The reading test will last for about an hour. The reading test will gauge the candidate’s ability to find information within the passage quickly and accurately. Hence, the skill of skimming and scanning will be perfect in this task.

In addition, the reading test is basically a reading comprehension type of examination. Candidates need to be very keen in finding the main idea and key points in the passage. Moreover, the candidates need to find important facts as well. Also, a good command in vocabulary is needed in the reading test. There are some words that may be unfamiliar to the candidate since topics are very academic. Additionally, the candidate should know how to make inferences since there are questions where the candidate should find an implied meaning in the passage.

These are the usual question types in the test:

  • Facts/details
  • Referent
  • Vocabulary
  • Paraphrase
  • Purpose
  • Coherence
  • Summarizing
  • Categorizing information

Now here are some tips to ace the TOEFL reading test.

1. Start by building good vocabulary. Candidates are not allowed to use a dictionary during the test. Some even learn the skill of using context clues. There are some jargons that are used; hence, being familiar with a good number of words is a great advantage.

2. Read. Read. Read. Since it uses academic English, reading information on academic subjects is a good start. You do not have to read intensive research, just the basics is fine.

3. Learn how to use skimming and scanning. These skills come in handy with very long passages.

4. Be sure to understand what the question asks you. Read instructions carefully.

5. Get help from TOEFL review centers. TOEFL review centers have classes focused on reading development. They give out classroom discussions and conduct classroom lectured on commonly used topics for the TOEFL iBT exam.

Reading is boring if you are not exposed on any reading activities. Being able to do reading activity will help someone read better and understand passages quickly. Preparation and exposure are the keys to a successful TOEFL reading test.

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