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TOEFL Reading Advice

If you are planning to study abroad in England, or elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and are not a native English speaker, you will most likely be required to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The TOEFL measures your ability to use and understand spoken and written English and helps school administrators determine if you will be able to succeed in an educational environment where English is the primary language.

international student reading a english book

The reading section of the TOEFL focuses on gauging your ability to read and comprehend university-level passages and academic texts. In this section you will be asked to read short passages and then will answer questions about each passage.

Here are five things you can do to prepare to pass the TOEFL reading section:

1. Read textbooks. Academic textbooks that contain study and summary questions at the end of each chapter are an ideal practice tool for the TOEFL reading section. Read each section and then answer the related questions. If possible, have someone who is fluent in English look over your work to check for accuracy.

student reading a english newspaper

2. Learn to paraphrase. Paraphrasing is a way of summarizing what you have read while maintaining the key points and information. Read magazines, books, textbooks, newspapers, or even blogs that are written in English, then paraphrase what you have read in your own words.

3. Practice pronouns. Pronouns can cause a great deal of confusion when trying to determine who did what to whom, even for native English speakers. A solid grasp on pronoun usage and plenty of practice will help you learn to quickly determine what or who the pronoun is representing and will increase your confidence.

4. Purchase an English language dictionary and a thesaurus. Looking up new words in a dictionary is a great way to improve your English vocabulary and improve your reading comprehension. Once you understand the definition of the word, looking that word up in a thesaurus to find other similar words will increase your vocabulary even more.

5. Use online practice tests and testing tips. Visit the TOEFL website at to download a useful test guide for the TOEFL, or to find practice reading tests.

Practicing for the TOEFL reading section will increase your vocabulary and hone your comprehension skills. This will help you to pass the TOEFL test and will prove incredibly valuable throughout your time studying abroad.

english dictionary