Listen to this post:  Reading Tips for a Maximum TOEFL iBT Score

Before you spend a large sum of money at an ETS testing center to take the TOEFL iBT, you should consider what level of reading proficiency will be needed to get a high score.

“What do I need to do during the reading section of the TOEFL iBT?”
1. I can understand English vocabulary and grammar when reading.

2. When reading academic texts in English, I can understand the most important points.

3. I can understand the relative importance of ideas when reading an academic text.

4. I can organize or outline the important ideas and concepts in academic texts.

5. When reading academic texts in English, I can remember major ideas.

6. I can understand how the ideas in an English text relate to each other.

7. When reading English, I can understand charts and graphs in academic texts.

8. I can quickly find information that I am looking for in academic texts in English.

9. When reading academic texts in English, I can understand them well enough to answer questions about them later.

10. When reading a text in English, I am able to figure out the meaning of words I do not know by using the context and my background knowledge.

Don’t panic if you feel less than competent in one, some, or all of these reading competencies. Here are some suggestions to help you demonstrate a strong command of reading proficiency.

“How do I improve my TOEFL iBT reading skills?”

To score high on the TOEFL iBT Reading section, you need to improve your ability to understand university-level texts and reading passages for three main purposes: to find information, for basic comprehension, and to learn.

First, frequently reading academic texts in natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and business provides excellent preparation for TOEFL iBT Reading. The Internet is a great resource for these materials; also, in libraries, you can check out books, magazines, and journals that are academic in style. Therefore, ETS suggests that the more academic the reading material is, the more it will prepare you.

Second, to improve your reading-for-basic comprehension TOEFL iBT Reading skills, ETS suggests the following:

1. Through an extensive system of using flash-cards, increase your vocabulary abilities.

2. Rather than carefully reading each word and sentence, practice skimming-the process of looking over a passage quickly to get a general feeling of the main ideas.

3. Increase your ability to skim quickly and to identify the major points of a passage.

4. Once you have skimmed a passage, read it more slowly and write down the main ideas, major points, and important facts.

5. Choose some unfamiliar words in the passage and try to identify the meanings by using the context.

6. Underline the pronouns used (he, him, they, them, it, etc.) and identify which nouns they refer to.

7. Practice making inferences or drawing conclusions based on what is implied in the passage.

Third. to improve your reading-to-find information TOEFL iBT Reading skills, ETS suggests the following:

1. Scan the passage to find and highlight important facts (dates, numbers, terms) and information.

2. Practice scanning frequently so that you can increase your reading rate and fluency.

Fourth, to improve your reading-to-learn TOEFL iBT Reading skills, ETS suggests the following:

1. Identify the passage as fitting into a writing genre: classification, cause-effect, compare-contrast, problem-solution, description, narration, etc.

2. Practice organizing a reading passage by doing the following-

Distinguish between the major and minor points by creating an outline of a passage.

If the passage describes the order of a process or is a narration, create an outline of the steps in the process or narration.

If the passage categorizes information, create a chart and place the information into the correct category. On the TOEFL iBT, you will be provided with a chart with possible answer choices, and you will be required to fill in the chart with the correct choices.

If you follow these suggestions for an extended period of time, you will be very surprised at how strong your reading skills will become.

Good luck!

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