Preparing for TOEFL Reading Section Can Be Easier Than You Think

When preparing for the TOEFL Reading Section, many people stress out.   They worry that they won’t read fast enough and leave questions unanswered.   Or that some of the answers are so similar to each other that selecting the correct one is tricky.  They take practice test after practice test with the hope that familiarity with the kinds of questions asked would prepare them for the exam.   I think there is a more effective way to do this.

Study for TOEFL Reading exam more efficiently

Remember another blog I wrote about how some students learned French and retain at least 80% of what they learned after a summer vacation? (If you haven’t read that article, you can click here to read it.)  The secret to their success is the teaching method of their French teacher.  She waits until the students have mastered at least 80% of the content before giving them a test.   Many conventional teaching methods quiz students too early.   By waiting for more mastery before testing, students feel more confident and get higher grades.   This in turn encourages them, and the success cycle continues.   So how can we apply this principle to preparing for TOEFL?

Instead of reading the passage, answering the questions, then checking for the correct answer at the back of the book, try this.      Start with the answers.  Now that you know the correct answers to the questions, read the passage.   Look for evidence to support the correct answer.   This will help you understand why that is the best choice.  Then look at the incorrect answers to understand why they are not the ones.

Confidence is an integral part of taking exams

The reason for doing this is to understand why the writers of the passage and questions think the way they do.   Begin with the correct answer.   Don’t struggle.   Understanding is a more effective way to learn than testing yourself if you’ve got it right.   It’s like testing too early.

At first, this may feel like you are cheating yourself.   Consider this, when you learn to cook, didn’t you watch how it’s done first?   After you feel more confident with the process, then you can start experimenting.  It’s a similar principle.

You can read more about this process in the article Prepare for exams like TOEFL with ease.

Let me know how this method works for you.   I wish you success in your exam!


Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    To schedule a session with her, please email


Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *