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Mental Floss, Part 2: More TOEFL Practice

practice TOEFL with Mental Floss
In my last post, we looked at a wonderful website for TOEFL practice: Mental Floss. Like the TOEFL, Mental Floss is big on science topics. But this website also has quite a few other TOEFL-like topics that aren’t strictly scientific.

TOEFL Practice: Animals

Animals and vocabulary related to animals come up on the TOEFL a lot. And Mental Floss has a tag for that! Here again, you’ll want to stick with the articles that have the most TOEFL-like language, such as this description of a species of salamander or this article about veterinary science. You can skip the other articles on subjects such as pet care and animal-shaped toys… or save them for a light-reading mental break.

TOEFL Practice: Oceans

Videos and pictures of the sea and the things in it look really cool. Mental Floss knows this, and they’ve filled their ocean articles with pictures and film clips. As a result, the ocean-related article son this website are a bit short on text. Still, these shorter passages often contain the same kinds of information and vocabulary you’d find in TOEFL readings and lectures about the ocean.

The article that accompanies this stunning video of a giant swarm of crabs is short but still TOEFL-like. The same goes for the text in Mental Floss’s collection of photos and fun facts about oysters. And the same can also be said for this historical look at ancient maps of the sea. Speaking of history, the next Mental Floss topic we’ll take a look at is….

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TOEFL Practice: History

Mental Floss’s History category has some not-so-TOEFL-like articles on tourism (visiting historical places) and celebrity gossip (about famous people from past decades and centuries).

But there are also quite a few articles with vocabulary and subject matter similar to the TOEFL exam. There’s a nice TOEFL-like reading about units of measurement from past historical periods. And there are plenty of articles about past political leaders in the United States, a topic that’s a big TOEFL favorite. (In fact, both Magoosh TOEFL and Mental Floss have offer reading practice about American “founding father” Paul Revere!)

Mental Floss also has an additional separate history-related category of reading practice—war. War is not quite as TOEFL-like as other historical topics. But Mental Floss’s war articles are definitely useful for TOEFL practice. (We’ll look at this website’s articles on war and a few other less TOEFL-like but still good topics in part 3 of this series.)

Mental Floss and TOEFL are Not Exactly the Same

As you might guess form this website’s funny title. (a play on the term “dental floss”), the reading materials here are not as formal or serious as TOEFL ones. Still, there are many great articles that cover the same topics and vocabulary as the TOEFL itself. This site is a fun and interesting way to get in some nice TOEFL practice.


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