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TOEFL Reading


The TOEFL reading section consists of 3 or 4 passages, and you’ll have 60 to 80 minutes (or 20 minutes per passage) to complete the entire section. This section tests your ability to understand and interpret college-level academic writing. The TOEFL reading section will probably be a bit more difficult than most other tests you’ve taken, so read on for helpful tips, practice passages, and more. 🙂

If you want complete preparation for the reading section, including video explanations, top strategies, practice tests, and email guidance, check out Magoosh TOEFL.

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26 Responses to TOEFL Reading

  1. Mohammed March 25, 2015 at 1:24 am #

    I really would like to express my appreciation to you towards what you have done to make us feel English language and get more skilled in taking TOEFL exams

    thanks so Mush

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas March 25, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

      I’m glad we’ve been able to help, Mohammed!

  2. Anis Fasiha April 26, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    It’s really did helping.Thanks. Especially the type of questions for reading section of TOEFL.

    • Rita Neumann
      Rita Kreig April 27, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

      Thanks, Anis! I’m so glad that you’re finding this helpful. Best of luck with your TOEFL prep! 🙂

  3. Aishwarya January 23, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

    Thanks so much Magoosh. Lucas, you are a very energetic and awesome teacher. Support for magoosh!!!!

  4. Praveen January 24, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    You guys are best. The free videos on TOEFL helped me a lot. I was able to score 104 (R27,L29,S24,W24). It’s not my achievement guys. I should say a million thanks to your team. I just had a simple brain to follow the tips from magoosh.

    • Rachel Wisuri
      Rachel Wisuri January 25, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

      That’s awesome, congrats Praveen!

  5. Asal February 13, 2016 at 1:39 am #

    I have a question about TOEFL reading section.

    Underlining some sentences from a book that we are reading helps us to understand it easily.
    Does the application allow us to underline or highlight some points from the reading as we read? Some numbers or important facts that we think it might be useful while answering questions.

    • David Recine
      David Recine February 16, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

      Unfortunately that’s not really an option, because the TOEFL is computer-screen-based these days. Fortunately, the TOEFL will re-present the reading passage on the screen, and words that are key to the question will sometimes be highlighted or indicated with an arrow. If you want to see what this actually looks like, check out the practice test software that comes with The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test, or download the free software for the TOEFL Interactive Sampler (

      • Asal February 22, 2016 at 12:43 am #

        Thanks for helping.
        It could be much easier for me to mark as I read.

  6. Avit February 17, 2016 at 6:48 am #

    Dear Magoosh

    I have a question about how reading raw scores are converted to scale score. I only know about reading scale score’s level such high, intermediate etc. I want to score as hihg as possible in reading. And what if I want to score between 28-30 what scale score do I need? Thanks you for your help.

    • Avit February 17, 2016 at 6:50 am #

      Sorry I mean what raw score do I need? Thz

      • David Recine
        David Recine February 19, 2016 at 9:37 pm #

        This is a very good question, Avit. Because raw scores are adjusted based on ETS’s internal statistics on question difficulty, it’s impossible to know with 100% accuracy how raw scores correlate with official scores. That being said, the percentage of answers you get right (your raw score) roughly corresponds with the percentage of points out of a total of 30 on each section.

        28/30= 93%, 29/30=97%, and 30/30=100%. So to get an official score between 20 and 30 on each section, you’ll need to get 90%+ of the questions correct in each section in terms of raw score.

  7. vcbabu May 2, 2016 at 11:47 am #

    May please post an article on how to attack prose summary questions

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 3, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

      Well, we do have this article by Kate, which gives strategy tips and walks students through an example passage and question. This is one of the trickier question formats though. We’ll try to put up some extra posts on this with more examples soon.

  8. Wali Ahmad Shirzad September 21, 2016 at 2:16 am #

    Thank you so much for tireless efforts and valuable documents, I am from Afghanistan, the English is not very professional in my country as other: like Pakistan, India and etc.

    I recently, have found your resourceful site. I have many problem with TOEFL Test, but I will do my best to get the score.

    I don’t have anyone to review my essay, if I write some independent essay on the topic that you mentioned in the site, Is it possible for you to get reviewed them.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 23, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

      Hi Wali,

      Thank you for your kind words! One of the things I love most about working for Magoosh is getting to help students form all around the world. 🙂 Unfortunately, Magoosh TOEFL doesn’t offer TOEFL Writing feedback at this time. We’re a small team, and to keep offering our TOEFL service at a good price worldwide, we focus just on the blog and our video lessons, ebooks, and flashcards.

      Still, there are a number of affordable– and possibly free-of-charge– ways to get TOEFL Writing feedback on the web. For tips on getting helpful TOEFL essay reviews, see our post about getting feedback on your TOEFL writing.

  9. Mustafa November 6, 2016 at 2:44 am #

    Great! Great! Great!
    I really found your website very useful and technically goes through the TOEFL iBT test, so I would like to thank all your guys and wish all the luck in the world for you 

  10. VERONICA November 28, 2016 at 9:41 am #

    Hello, this is a great blog and your video lessons are very useful too. I have a question about the writing section, is it possible to visualize the entire lecture when answering the questions? or it is not allowed?. I appreciate your response!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 29, 2016 at 10:03 am #

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by “visualizing” the entire lecture? Explain a little more, and I’ll give you the best answer I can, Veronica.

  11. zuli March 31, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

    I would like to ask about what kind of radio should I listen for improve my listening on TOEFL? Thank you!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 1, 2017 at 5:01 am #

      Hi Zuli,

      You want to look for stations that talk about academic or news subjects. So podcasts on interesting topics about economics, news, politics, etc. would be a great place to start. Also any programs where interviews or conversations on these types of topics occur, so you can get used to listening to interaction between speakers. 🙂

  12. Jessica June 2, 2017 at 5:17 am #

    I have a question about strategies in the reading section.
    You said there’s two strategies, one is read the passage first, another is go to the questions first if you are high level student. What I was doing is to read like the first two lines of each paragraphs trying to understand the structure of the text or the sequence of the ideas presented. Then go to question. What do you think about this?


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 5, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

      Hi Jessica,

      There is one more approach to TOEFL passages, and it sounds like you are already doing it! It is called the Skim and Scan approach, and you can read more about it here:

      Basically, this approach requires you to read the first sentence of each paragraph in order to get the main idea. Then, you look at the questions and return to the part of the passage that provides the answer. I wouldn’t count the lines, but rather complete the entire first sentence of each paragraph. The first sentence usually contains the main idea of the paragraph, so this will give you the information you need to find the question later 🙂

  13. Lea Dasallas September 18, 2017 at 2:44 am #

    Hi, magoosh! I have a question about the scoring policy. I took the test this weekend, and I definitely remember answering around 56 questions in Reading, and three 17-question passages in Listening. How can this be translated to 30-point score each?

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 18, 2017 at 10:58 am #

      Wow, that is an unusual number of questions for TOEFL Reading and Listening. But I do think I know why that happened, and its impact on your score. Sometimes the TOEFL will make either the Reading or Listening section extra long. In that case, the additional material and questions will be an “experimental” section. The experimental sections are new, previously untested questions that ETS wants to try on new test-takers. The experimental portions of the test aren’t actually scored, so the normal conversion to 30 points still applies.

      Frustratingly, there’s no way to tell which extra section is experimental if you get an extra-long Reading or Listening section. SO you have to try your hardest on each section, in case it’s a section that is being scored. Kate has written an article about experimental sections on the TOEFL, in case you’d like to know a bit more.

      One thing that’s definitely unusual about this is the presence of both a longer Reading section AND a longer Listening section on the test you took. You’re usually only supposed to get an experimental section in Reading OR Listening, not in both. Very interesting, so thank you for sharing your experience with us!

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