Academic Reading Skills
The Reading section measures test takers’ ability to understand university-level academic texts and passages. In English-speaking academic environments students are expected to read and understand information from textbooks and other types of academic material. Below are three possible purposes for academic reading.
Reading purposes include
1. Reading to find information, which involves
• effectively scanning text for key facts and important information
• increasing reading fluency and rate
2. Basic comprehension, which requires the reader to
• understand the general topic or main idea, major points, important facts and details, vocabulary in context, and pronoun references.
• make inferences about what is implied in a passage
3. Reading to learn, which depends on the ability to
• recognize the organization and purpose of a passage
•understand relationships between ideas (for example, compare-and-contrast, cause-and-effect, agree-disagree, or steps in a process)
• organize information into a category chart or a summary in order to recall major points and important details
• infer how ideas throughout the passage connect
The TOEFL iBT test includes three basic categories of academic texts. The categories are based on the author’s objectives:
• Historical biographical/event narrative
Test takers do not need any special background knowledge to correctly answer the questions in the Reading section; all the information needed to answer the questions is contained in the passages.
Test takers must read through or scroll to the end of each passage before receiving questions on that passage. Once the questions appear, the passage is located on the right side of the computer screen, and the questions are on the left..