You might understand your native English-speaking friends when they talk. They might even understand you. However, this does not mean you are ready for the TOEFL test. We’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating that the TOEFL exam is all about strategy.
TOEFL iBT has 3-5 texts. Most of these are around 700 words long. They are followed by 12-15 questions based on the text. There is 20 minutes allocated to each text/questions section.
Here are ten tips to help you prepare for the TOEFL reading test.
It might sound obvious but the best way to practice for TOEFL’s reading test is to read as much as possible beforehand on as wide a variety of topics as possible. Current affairs, health, sports, it doesn’t matter. Also, cover all the media in your reading materials like books, online texts, and also magazines. Familiarize yourself also with the size of texts that are 700 words long.
2. Keep a Vocabulary Notebook
How to do remember what you have to do everyday? Do you write lists on paper? Do you keep an online agenda? Do you stick yellow post-its on your fridge? It doesn’t matter. Do the same with new vocabulary. Build a vocabulary bank and refer to it as often as you can to refresh it in your memory. This will help you develop a strong vocabulary that should be a great help to you when you sit TOEFL’s reading test.
3. Practice Past Tests
You need to always remember that TOEFL is a standardized test. This means it always follows the same format. Practice past tests to familiarize yourself with the format.
4. Practice Staying Within The Time Limit
As well as familiarizing yourself with the structure of the exam, you need to practice working within the time limit. When you practice past exams respect the time constraints. Set an alarm clock if necessary. Remember that in TOEFL iBT the software will cut you off when you reach the time limit so it is critical you learn to work within it.
5. Learn to Skim
In English, skimming involves reading a passage quickly and understanding a text by extracting the important details at a glance. This is a crucial skill for the TOEFL reading test. Practice doing this with passages in the run-up to the exam.
6. Practice Summing Up
Never presume you know the meaning of a text while you are reading it. Always stop at the end of each paragraph and try to sum up what you have just read (even if it have to whisper rather than say it out loud).
7. Highlight (if you need to)
Highlighting important data like vocabulary, dates and places might help you relax and order your thoughts. Go ahead and do this while you are reading if it helps.
8. Learn To Guess Unfamiliar Words
When you are faced with a new word what do you do? Panic? Consult a dictionary? Neither of these responses will help you in your exam. Learn to guess the meaning of new words from the context of a passage or the words and paragraphs which surround it.
9. Learn To Pick Out Pronouns
When you speak, you know there is a big difference between the pronouns he, she and it. It is the same when you are reading. Learn to pay attention to the pronouns in a text so you know to whom or what it is referring, especially if there are multiple characters in the text. This could be the difference between you answering a question correctly and incorrectly.
In order to really capture the meaning of a text, you need to be relaxed so that you can focus on it completely. If you are very nervous you might miss important, and maybe obvious, points. Develop relaxation techniques like deep breathing during the test or even a yoga session before it! Whatever keeps you calm and works for you should not be ignored.