Reading Key Skills
In order to do well in the TOEFL reading section, you need an array of skills. The four most important skills are listed below.
- Language Awareness
- Familiarity of Academic English
- Skimming and Scanning
- Detailed knowledge of the question types.
1. Language Awareness
Language awareness has two key aspects: vocabulary and grammar.
It is vital that test-takers develop rich knowledge of vocabulary for the TOEFL test as a whole, but for the reading section, knowing more words will greatly help you to score well. As well as general academic vocabulary, you also need some awareness of topic specific vocabulary.
TOEFL reading passages are formed using a variety of phrases and clauses; therefore, the sentences are complex which makes comprehension difficult for many test-takers. Understanding different forms of sentences (i.e. compound and complex) and how they are formed using various phrases (prepositional, adverbial, etc) and clauses (independent and dependent) will help the test-taker to comprehend the reading passages.
2. Academic English
Academic English has two key aspects: writing structure and pattern of organization.
TOEFL passages (in all sections of the test) follow the same top-down approach. This means that the first or the second sentence of a paragraph is the topic sentence, which broadly describes the main idea of the paragraph, and the rest of the paragraph describes the details that support the main idea in the topic sentence. You are also expected to adopt this structure in your speaking and writing responses.
Take a look at the following example paragraph.