TOEFL® Reading Section: Tips

TOEFL Reading – During the Exam​

The computer will first guide you to test and set up your microphone and the exam will then begin.

The instructions for the reading section will appear on your screen:

TOEFL Reading material measures your ability to understand academic passages in English

•      You will read 3 passages and answer questions about them. You will have 20 minutes to read the first passage and answer the questions about it. Then, you will have 40 minutes to read the second and the third passages and answer the questions about them.

•      A clock at the top of the screen will show how much time is available to answer the questions.

•      When you want to move to the next question, click on the “next button”. You may skip questions and go back to them later.

•      If you want to return to previous questions, click on the “back” button.

•      You can click on the review button at any time, and the review screen will show you which questions you have answered and which you have not answered. From this review screen, you may go directly to any question you have already seen in the Reading section.

After reading the instructions, click on the “next” button: the first text will be on the right-hand side of the screen. The questions will appear one by one on the left-hand side.

TOEFL Reading Section Material 

Generally speaking, the TOEFL reading material does not include any trick. The academic texts should not be difficult in terms of vocabulary. The few technical words will be highlighted in blue: click on them and you will see their definitions.

On the top part of the screen, above the text and questions, you will find different tools:

  • A clock, displayed as a countdown: this will show you how much time you have to answer the questions. You may hide it if you find it too stressful.
  • The number of questions, e.g. “question 4 of 13”: this will allow you to better manage your time.
  • “Next”: This button allows you to go to the next question.
  • “Back”: This button allows you to go back to the previous question.
  • “Review”: By clicking this button, a table will appear and summarise which questions you have already answered. You can click on the question you wish to answer directly.
  • “Help”: This button will provide you with some basic information about how to answer the questions. Be careful, the timer does not stop when you click this button.

When you have spent the allotted 20 minutes to read and answer the questions regarding the first text, your answers will be saved and new instructions will appear. They will be quite similar to the first ones. This time, you will have 40 minutes to answer all the questions about two new texts, i.e. you can finish answering the questions on the first text in less than 20 minutes, and you will then have more time to answer those about the second text. On the contrary, if you take more than 20 minutes for the first text, you will have to hurry on the second text. Therefore, in order to do well on this part of the exam, you need to manage your time carefully.

The texts, questions and functions are shown in the same way for each exercise of the reading part.