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You have finally made the decision to pass your TOEFL exam and you want to have all the keys to do it successfully? Then this article is made for you. In this post, you are going to:

  • Discover what skills are evaluated during the Reading section;
  • Be able to train yourself with exercises and questions from our TOEFL sample tests;
  • Discover how GlobalExam can help you ace your test with our training program.

So if you are ready to learn everything you need to know about the Reading section of the exam and practice with sample exercises, keep reading!

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What Skills Are Evaluated in the TOEFL Reading Exam?

The reading portion of the TOEFL measures test takers’ ability to read, understand and analyze academic texts in the English language. Correctors will assess whether you are able to read the educational content that you will find in English-speaking universities. If you want to make sure that you possess all the required skills, take a look at our advanced guide for TOEFL test preparation.

TOEFL Reading Practice Test: Exercises and Questions

You will find practice questions and various question types for the TOEFL Reading section. However, if you are also interested in practicing for the other test sections, please take a look at the following articles:

Exercise 1 – Simple Passage

Text 1. In 1877, on July 4, in order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of America’s independence from England, the French government presented the United States with a colossal statue that has come to be one of the most beloved symbols of America. This statue was meant as a universal symbol of liberty and democracy. The gift was presented in honor of the alliance between France and the United States during the Revolutionary War. The formal name of the figure is Liberty Enlightening the World, but it is universally known as the Statue of Liberty.

Text 2. Once the French government donated the money for the project (by fundraising amongst the population even schoolchildren and ordinary citizens gave, as did 181 French municipalities), the French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and engineer Gustav Eiffel were put in charge of the design. This project was an important gesture of the French government and they therefore chose the best engineer of the country – maybe you remember the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Eiffel Bridge in Porto, Portugal. The massive structure was assembled in Paris, where it was put on exhibit before being dismantled, then shipped to New York and finally reassembled on Bedloe Island, which was later renamed Liberty Island. This island is only a few miles away from Manhattan and Ellis Island, the famous island where millions of immigrants arrived on American soil. The statue was the first symbol of the United States that one could see from the arriving boats and this symbol of liberty soon became the emblem of the country in the eyes of foreigners.

Text 3. The statue is made of thin copper sheets, each just a tenth of an inch thick. They are riveted to an iron framework, which forms the shape of the statue. The statue itself is 151 feet tall, but it stands on top of a large pedestal made of concrete and granite, which was designed by American architect Richard Morris Hunt. The total height of the statue and the pedestal is 305 feet, making it a spectacular sight on the New York City skyline, visible from miles away. The statue represents a robed woman, figure representing Libertas, the Roman Goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet.

Text 4. [1] Due to the difficulty and expense of working on an isolated island, construction took nearly ten years. [2] After the construction of the statue was completed in 1886, President Grover Cleveland came to New York to preside over the dedication ceremony. Several years later, Bedloe Island and nearby Ellis Island became part of a processing center for European Immigrants coming to New York. During the sixty years that the Ellis Island complex was open, it welcomed approximately sixteen million people entering America. The site is now the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, and it hosts roughly a million visitors every year. After the unveiling, the Statue of Liberty became a beacon of freedom for both newly arriving immigrants and longtime city dwellers. Unfortunately, after decades of exposure to pollution and harsh ocean air, time had taken its toll on Lady Liberty, as the statue is sometimes called. [3] A full century after the dedication, a restoration program was launched to repair the huge damage from age and the elements. [4] Funded by both the French and American governments (the French government is still actively involved in this project), the renovation of the statue required enclosing it in a scaffold while workers renovated the copper sheeting and replaced the glass torch with a gold one. The newly restored monument was unveiled a few years later, on July 4, 1986, as vibrant and inspiring as ever. Lady Liberty was designated a national monument in 1924 and has been part of UNESCO World Heritage sites since 1976. Ever since, millions of visitors visit this beacon of liberty every year – there are almost more visitors on Liberty Island than on Ellis Island!

Sample Questions

  • Which paragraph explains how the Statue of Liberty suffered damage?
  • In the text, look at the marks [1] to [4] that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage. The copper sheeting of the statue is highly reactive with carbon dioxide from car exhaust and with salty air from the New York Bay. Where would this sentence best fit?
  • Which of the following is NOT a name by which the monument is called?
  • Why were French artists responsible for designing the monument?
  • What does ‘they’ refer to in Paragraph 3?

girl reading a book in the hall

Exercise 2 – Double Passages

You will find some more free practice tests and reading questions to prepare for the TOEFL reading passage:

Text 1. The Arctic fox, also known as polar fox, is a small fox native to cold Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is common in all three tundra biomes. The tundra is a type of ecosystem where tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, Antarctic tundra, and alpine tundra. In all of these types, the dominant vegetation is grass, moss, and lichen. The word “tundra” usually refers only to the areas where the subsoil is permafrost, or permanently frozen soil.

Text 2. The arctic tundra is a vast area of stark landscape, which is frozen for much of the year. The soil there is frozen from 25-90 cm down, and it is impossible for trees to grow. Instead, bare and sometimes rocky land can only support low-growing plants such as moss, heath, and lichen. There are two main seasons in the polar Tundra areas: winter and summer. The biodiversity of the tundra is low: 1,700 species of flora and only 48 land mammals can be found, although thousands of insects and birds migrate there each year for the marshes. There are few species with large populations. Notable animals in the arctic tundra include caribou (reindeer), musk ox, arctic hare, snowy owl, lemmings, and polar bears (only the extreme North) and of course, the arctic fox.

Text 3. The Arctic fox has therefore evolved to live in the most frigid extremes on the planet and in areas where very few species have managed to survive and thrive. Some of the characteristics of its adaptation for cold survival are its deep, thick fur, a system of countercurrent heat exchange in the circulation of paws to keep them from freezing, and a good supply of body fat. Arctic foxes will eat pretty much anything. Their prey includes voles, hares, ground squirrels, bird eggs and lemmings that are their most common prey. A family of foxes can eat dozens of lemmings each day. Foxes living on the coast also eat shellfish, sea urchins, dead seals, and fish, beached whales, and nesting seabirds. If there is an overabundance of food hunted, the arctic fox will bury what the family cannot eat. When its normal prey is scarce, the arctic fox scavenges the leftovers and even feces of larger predators, such as the polar bear, even though the bear’s prey includes the Arctic fox itself. In winter when food is scarce, they may follow a polar bear and after the bear makes a kill, eats and leaves, they will steal whatever scraps of meat are left.

Text 4. The Arctic fox is losing ground to the larger red fox. This has been attributed to climate change – the camouflage value of its lighter coat decreases with less snow cover. Red foxes dominate where their ranges begin to overlap by killing Arctic foxes and their kids. An alternate explanation of the red fox’s gains involves the gray wolf. Historically, it has kept red fox numbers down, but as the gray wolf has been hunted to near extinction in much of its former range, the red fox population has grown larger, and it has taken over the position of top predator. In areas of Northern Europe, there are programs in place that allow hunting of the red fox in the Arctic fox’s previous range.

Text 5. As with many other hunted species, the most significant sources of historical and large scale population data are hunting bag records and questionnaires. There are several potential sources of error in such data collections. In addition, numbers vary widely between years due to the large population fluctuations. However, the total population of the Arctic fox must be in the order of several hundred thousand animals. The world population is thus not endangered, but two Arctic fox subpopulations are. One is on Medney Island (Russia), which was reduced by some 85-90%, to around 90 animals, as a result of mange caused by an ear tick introduced by dogs in the 1970s. The population is currently under treatment with antiparasitic drugs, but the result is still uncertain.

Sample Questions

  • Where does the Arctic Fox live?
  • Which of the following is not part of the Arctic Fox’s prey?
  • According to the author, how do Arctic foxes manage to eat when there is almost no food in winter?
  • Which of the following words is the closest to the word ‘thrive’ in Paragraph 3?
  • How many main seasons are there in the polar tundra?

Have these exercises been useful? If so, you can take a look at our TOEFL practice tests and questions for all the sections and get access to more advanced exercises.

Want access to the corrections? Join our training platform on GlobalExam!

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To go further, you can read our summary of recommendations for the TOEFL test. You can also find our tip sheets on the other sections of the exam : Listening, Writing, Speaking.