offers hundreds of practice questions and video explanations. Go there now.

Sign up or log in to Magoosh TOEFL Prep.

Get Cozier with English Part 2: How to Improve Your Reading Skills

extreme readingReading is like salt. Difficult to adjust and get right! If you have mastered it, that is half your battle won. I will tell you exactly how, in the following lines below!

Read the Right Stuff

Now why is it so important to read the right stuff?

When my family told me, “DON’T READ COMIC BOOKS !”, it was for a darn good reason! I don’t mean that you should completely disregard them, but you can find higher quality materials from different sources, and spend your time more wisely.

Try reading more of the following:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines [not the flashy ones, but the ones pertaining to general information]
  • Any good, credible author who matches your style. Otherwise it could get boring reading 500 pages of something that you don’t associate with!

Reading and Pacing

Okay we got the content right. Now how to read it?

Good readers have two things answered in mind before they start reading a piece.

1. How easy or tough is the piece?

2. How should I adjust my speed accordingly?

This will save you a lot of time because if you know the material is tough you will read slower and vice versa for the easier material.

This is not something that can be given to you in instructions. It totally depends on how FAMILIAR you are with reading material. That is why we are told to READ MORE. It sounds absurd at first. I mean why would someone practice reading?

Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.

But this goes a long way in helping you save time and judge the material.

How to Read and What to Take From It

It would be a waste of time to just read and not be able to judge what to take out of it. It is like eating the best dish in the word and not being able to describe and remember its taste. That would be a total waste of time. The two best ways to tackle any material are:

1. a)Read the questions first.

    b)Then go over the material completely.

    c)You will have reached some idea about how the answers should look like.

2. a)Read the material first.

    b)Then make a note of the following:

What is the content of the material?

What is the author really trying to say or what is the author’s purpose?

What is the main idea or takeaway of this material?

I can assure that most if not all the questions that follow, can be answered using this technique.

I switch between the two methods above depending on how tough or easy the material is. I use the 1st method with the easy ones and the 2nd method with the more difficult ones. Again, that only comes from practice, practice and more practice. There is no set guide to tell you how to tackle what type of written material.

Enter with a clear mind, leave with knowledge. 

Most people misjudge what an CLEAR MIND is. It is not something that is too hard to do. But yes, it takes some effort in the beginning to master. We all have an auto generator in our brains that starts throwing our judgements and comments even before we start reading something.

Will it be tough?

Will it be boring?

Why are the words used so complicated?

What is going on here?

Trust me, when you approach anything at all with a clear mind, free of judgements and thoughts you will be able to tackle the material 100% better. Start reading just like you read your favorite book. Without any thoughts. Initially, YOU HAVE TO SEE WHAT THE AUTHOR WANTS TO SHOW YOU, NOT WHAT YOU THINK IT IS. So that is why I say :


Check out the next series where I will continue on GETTING COZIER WITH ENGLISH! 🙂

Food For Thought: Season 1 Episode 5:

“If you want to move ahead in life, all that you have to do is get up and start walking!”


Cheers 🙂

Psst...Need more TOEFL practice? Start your FREE TRIAL today.

Most Popular Resources

No comments yet.

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply