Good Reading Practice for Integrated Writing

Finding TOEFL-like passages to practice for TOEFL Reading is reasonably easy—just find a nice medium-length article on an educational website, or read excerpts from first and second-year college textbooks. Finding good passages to prep for TOEFL Integrated Writing is a bit trickier, but here is a nice guide to gathering good prep material for this task. (And be sure to check out our blog’s comprehensive TOEFL Integrated Writing guide!)

Finding appropriate practice reading for TOEFL Integrated Writing

…is a little harder. In TOEFL Integrated Writing, you’re asked to read a passage that is short—but not too short. You won’t get the extremely brief 1-2 paragraph blurbs seen in TOEFL Integrated Speaking. But Integrated Writing passages aren’t anywhere near as long as TOEFL Reading Passages either. In terms of actual content and topic development, think of Integrated Writing passages as a simplified “digest” version of the TOEFL Reading format—you’ll get the same range of ideas on a subject, but in a shorter format with fewer supporting details.

The passages for the Integrated Writing Task are intellectually demanding enough that you definitely will want to do some relevant, appropriate practice reading. And you’ll want the reading to be comparable in some ways to reading practice for the TOEFL Reading Section  The trick is to find educational articles that match the Integrated Writing passage’s themes and particular length— articles that are 250-350 words long and cover a variety of academic subjects.


Recommendations for Practice

Outside of official TOEFL materials and third-party practice platforms like ours here at Magoosh, there aren’t any “perfect fits” for the reading portion of TOEFL Integrated Writing. But there are some great sources that come quite close, in terms of TOEFL-like practice for this task.

Popular Science is one good place to look. Many of this website’s articles are very TOEFL-like terms of vocabulary level, subject matter, and academic tone. Even better, Popular Science has a portal just for its shorter science articles, all of which fall within the Integrated Writing passage range of length or very close to it.

English Online is also pretty good for this kind of TOEFL Reading Practice. Granted, in some articles the vocabulary level is slightly (but only slightly) below the difficulty of the average TOEFL Integrated Writing Passage. This can be a plus in its own way though—if you need to build your vocabulary up as well as practice reading for the TOEFL Writing section, English Online can help you start at a vocabulary level that meets your learning needs—and each article comes with a vocabulary study sheet.

In general, any 200-500 word educational articles written at an intermediate English level are useful. Other good websites to check out include The Weekthe blog section of Discover MagazineTimeMagazine For Kids, and the Short, Sharp Science Blog over at The New Scientist  website. These are a little further off-the-mark than Popular Science or English Online, but they’re still pretty close. And you really don’t need exactly perfect matches to Integrated Writing’s passage format. These kinds of near-equivalent sources can help you get in some good practice with reading comprehension and the kind of light note-taking on the passage that is sometimes helpful on this task.


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  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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