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TOEFL Tip #173: Don’t Read The Reading Passage

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on October 12, 2012

It’s a common experience on tests like the TOEFL: students spend so much time making sure they understand a reading passage that they run out of time to answer all of the questions. Maybe they end up guessing some answers, or maybe they pick the decoy answer – the choice that refers to something in the passage, but which doesn’t answer the question correctly. This can lead to lower scores on the Reading section, and higher student anxiety about the rest of the test.

Strictly English has a solution that creates more time for answering the questions, increases student confidence, and leads to better Reading scores.

Don’t read the passage before answering the questions.

We know this is counterintuitive. Answering the questions without reading the passage first seems really risky. However, this technique works because of the way that the questions are structured.

The questions generally follow the order of the reading passage. The first few questions refer to the beginning of the passage, the next few questions refer to the middle of the passage, and so on. In addition, some of the questions will refer to a specific line or paragraph in the passage. Other questions will refer to the meaning of a particular word in the passage. You can use this to your advantage to only read the part of the passage necessary to answer the question. As you work through the questions, you will generally end up reading the entire passage anyway. Often, one of the last questions asks about the overall theme of the passage. You will probably have a good idea of the theme from answering the previous questions; if you don’t know the theme, you’ll be able to read the passage quickly because you already know what most of it is about. You can even answer the summary question, in which you’re given a lead-in sentence and you need to choose the 3 answers that work with it to summarize the reading passage, without reading the passage at all.

If you don’t need to spend 5-7 minutes reading the passage, you can spend that extra time answering the questions. Because you won’t feel rushed, you’ll have more confidence in your answers, and that confidence will follow into the other sections of the exam.

Want to learn more about this technique and practice using it? Contact us!


Categories: Reading,TOEFL for Pharmacy,TOEFL for University,TOEFL Preparation

1 comment so far. Leave a comment.

  1. StrictlyEnglish | Blog » TOEFL Tip #174: Understand The Logic Behind The TOEFL

    wrote on October 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    [...] Last week, we discussed a strategy for the Reading section of the TOEFL which advises test-takers to read as little of the passage as possible. This week, we want to highlight an implicit point about that strategy. [...]

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