English proficiency Exam

TOEFL Reading Test (A Comprehensive Guide)

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Blog Summary Get a comprehensive understanding of the TOEFL reading section in this blog. Learn how the TOEFL reading test assesses your reading abilities and the time limit you'll have to complete it. Discover how the TOEFL reading section is scored based on proficiency levels. Understand the TOEFL reading pattern and different types of passages you'll encounter, including academic and non-academic texts. Gain insights into effective TOEFL reading practice, tips for success, and preparation strategies. Improve your reading skills by following these guidelines and practicing with TOEFL reading passages and practice tests. Achieve your desired scores in the TOEFL reading section with strategic preparation.

TOEFL reading is the first section which appears in the TOEFL exam. In this section, an individual’s reading ability is analysed and tested. The candidate's reading competency is assessed based on certain parameters. The TOEFL reading test has a time limit of 54-72 minutes. Read ahead to get a comprehensive overview of the TOEFL reading test.

TOEFL Reading Overview

The TOEFL reading section measures your competency in comprehending academic and non-academic content. You will notice some tricky questions in this part of the test, which you need to answer aptly. All test takers can score well in the TOEFL reading section if they practise well. The passages given in the TOEFL reading section are taken from university-level textbooks. Hence, the passages will be a diverse range of academic subjects like art, history, science and business.

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TOEFL Preparation

TOEFL Scores and Results

TOEFL Accepting Countries

How is TOEFL Reading Scored?

You can expect to score well in the TOEFL reading section with a comprehensive TOEFL reading preparation plan. The proficiency level ranges from below low, intermediate to advanced level. The total score range for the TOEFL reading section is 30. The table below explains how TOEFL reading is scored.

TOEFL Section

TOEFL Reading Score Chart

Proficiency Level

TOEFL Reading

TOEFL Reading Score Range is  0–30

Advanced Level (24–30)

High-Intermediate Level (18–23)

Low-Intermediate Level (4–17)

Below Low-Intermediate Level (0–3)

TOEFL Reading Section (Pattern)

TOEFL Pattern



For a given word, choose the most similar option from the list of words provided.

TOEFL General Reading: Daily Life

  • You will read a short, non-academic text of 15 to 150 words. 
  • You can come across social media posts, menus, posters and news articles. 
  • You will also have to answer 2-4 multiple-choice questions.  

TOEFL Academic Reading: Tables

  • You will read small academic texts in a grid format.
  • The table will summarise critical pieces of information from academic sources such as websites, newspapers, textbooks and magazines.
  • Every table consists of 50-85 words and four questions.
  • Every question lists three options: True, False and Not Stated.

TOEFL Academic Reading: Reading Passages

  • You will read short TOEFL reading passages which are written at the secondary or post-secondary level. 
  • The passages can be a diverse range of academic subjects such as art, history, science and business.
  •  Every passage is around 200 words long and consists of six questions.

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TOEFL Exam Pattern and Syllabus

TOEFL Exam Fee and TOEFL Exam Date (India)

TOEFL Exam Fee and TOEFL Exam Date (Nepal)

TOEFL Exam Fee and TOEFL Exam Date (Philippines)

TOEFL Reading Test - Overview

  • TOEFL reading passages are excerpts from college/university books. 
  • The passages are modified to be meaningful for every student. 
  • Each passage is about 700 words in length.
  • The passages might have elements like cause/effect, problem/solution, classification or contrast/compare.
  • Each passage comprises one to two inferences, one to two rhetorical purpose questions, and one text-based question.
  • There are two types of reading-to-learn questions: filling in the table and prose summary. For every passage, only one question is expected. It could be any one of the two types that were already stated.
  • Prose summary questions highlighting crucial ideas and prioritising them based on their relevance and importance. Fill-in-the-table questions are related to the organisation of ideas and contextualisation from many reading passage sections. 
  • In some cases, sentence simplification questions are asked in every passage.

TOEFL Reading Practice Test

The TOEFL reading practice test enhances your ability to comprehend academic passages. You will be reading a single passage and responding to related questions. With the TOEFL reading practice questions, you will be able to find the weaker areas to be improved.

It is recommended that you read many books, newspapers and blogs to get the flow of reading. You will get to read many passages in the first, second, and third practice tests. All three practice tests have a time limit of 20 minutes each.

TOEFL Reading Tips

  1. Develop a consistent reading habit.
  2. Be cautious about the modifiers in answer choices.
  3. Use a timer while you practice reading the passages.
  4. Find new words and phrases to enhance your vocabulary.
  5. Practice the reading test from the ETS website to know the question types.
  6. Develop a good understanding of why certain words or phrases are wrong.
  7. Practising with short passages will be a good start for developing your reading skills.
  8. After you scan the passages, read them carefully again and understand the main idea of the passage.
  9. Read academic textbooks often in a wide variety of subject areas such as arts, science, history, and business.
  10. Improve your reading speed and fluency gradually by reading a lot of study materials, blogs, magazines and newspapers. 


Note: It is recommended to follow the aforementioned TOEFL reading tips to achieve desired scores in the TOEFL reading section.

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TOEFL Listening

TOEFL Speaking

TOEFL Writing

TOEFL Reading Preparation

  1. Find your weak areas and try to improve on them.
  2. You can prepare a comprehensive study plan to gain good reading scores.
  3. Get study guides from the TOEFL website or famous authors to prepare well.
  4. Understand the TOEFL exam pattern well to be prepared for each reading section.
  5. Set a specific goal in mind when it comes to reading, such as speed, accuracy and fluency. 

TOEFL Reading Passages

The TOEFL reading passages evaluate the test takers’ reading skills. The passages comprise a wide range of questions related to academic subjects. You can practice reading those passages from academic textbooks and the TOEFL website, where they have three practice tests.

TOEFL Reading Practice PDF

The link below has three practice tests with many questions in each section which are taken from academic textbooks. Refer them to get an idea of the questions that would be asked in the TOEFL test. You can also use the below PDF for TOEFL reading preparation.

Click this link for TOEFL Reading Practice PDF

Frequently Asked Questions

How to get high score in TOEFL reading?

To get a higher score in TOEFL reading, you need to prepare a comprehensive study plan for each TOEFL reading section. Use timers to finish before the time limit for each section in the TOEFL exam. You can also do practice tests from the ETS website to understand the questions asked in the TOEFL test.

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