Looking for some TOEFL Reading practice?

Look no further.

Below you will find 100 free TOEFL Reading practice questions, organized based on question type.

But first, how many reading questions are on the TOEFL?

Since August 2019, in the TOEFL Reading Section you can expect 30 questions that you’ll need to answer in 54 minutes.

There are 10 different question types:

  • Vocabulary Questions
  • Rhetorical Purpose Questions
  • Inference Questions
  • Sentence Simplification Questions
  • Insert Text Questions
  • Factual Information Questions
  • Negative Factual Information Questions
  • Reference Questions
  • Fill in a Table Questions
  • Organization Questions
Cover of the TOEFL Reading Practice PDF
Cover of the TOEFL Reading Practice PDF
If you prefer a good ole PDF to test and practice your reading skills for TOEFL iBT, we’ve got that too – 100 Practice Questions for the TOEFLReading Section – PDF

  • Easy to download.
  • Open from any device.
  • No Internet connection needed.
Cover of the TOEFL Reading Practice PDF

What you need to know
about the TOEFL Reading

The TOEFL Reading exercises cover a number of academic topics with passage difficulty varying between an 8th grade level, which implies an appropriate text for a 14-year old American junior high school student, and a 14th grade level, which implies an appropriate text for a 20-year-old American college sophomore.

How many reading passages are on the TOEFL?

In the TOEFL iBT Reading section you have 60 minutes to:

  • Read three academic texts, totaling around 2100 words
  • Understand how to answer 10 different types of questions
  • Answer 30 questions in total

And, unfortunately, the TOEFL Reading practice available online is either out-of-date or unreliable.

These are just a few of the reasons why we have designed our own TOEFL Reading Practice Questions that you can access for free right here.

Here’s just one example:

 Human Anatomy

Human anatomy is the scientific study of the body’s structures. Some of these structures are very small and can only be observed and analyzed with the assistance of a microscope.Other larger structures can readily be seen, manipulated, measured, and weighed. The word “anatomy” comes from a Greek root that means “to cut apart.” Human anatomy was first studied by observing the exterior of the body and observing the wounds of soldiers and other injuries. Later, physicians were allowed to dissect bodies of the dead to augment their knowledge. When a body is dissected, its structures are cut apart in order to observe their physical attributes and their relationships to one another. Dissection is still used in medical schools, anatomy courses, and in pathology labs.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 8.5

1. The word augment is closest in meaning to

  1. Prove
  2. Increase
  3. Validate
  4. Spread

1. B (vocabulary)

B is correct because increase is closest in meaning to augment. Spread is similar in that it means to make something larger, but spread implies that something grows outward, while augment, in this situation, implies an increase.

But wait…

Do you notice something strange about this TOEFL Reading practice?

It’s short! Usually a TOEFL iBT Reading passage is 700 words, but this is just 100 words.

And there’s only one question after the passage (usually there are around 14).

This unique approach to practicing the TOEFL Reading section is designed to help you improve your reading skills and speed. But if you want to know how to use these TOEFL Reading practice questions to improve your reading score, here are five easy steps to follow.

TOEFL Reading Practice Step 1:
PRACTICE WITH SHORT PASSAGES

If you’re like most students, then you want to practice in a way that looks exactly like the test. You want to read a 700-word passage and answer 14 questions in less than 20 minutes.

Practicing for the test and replicating the conditions will help you prepare for the format of the TOEFL, but it will not help you increase your reading comprehension or English fluency.

Improvement comes when you reflect on your answers and identify why you did something wrong.

Practice alone is not enough to help you improve, you must also reflect.

When you do a single reading passage and answer 14 questions about it, you are reflecting on the entire experience, a 20-minute reading passage, instead of a single question. When you use these short reading passages, you get more immediate feedback on your responses. This, in turn, will help you quickly identify the question types and passage topics you struggle with.

Besides providing you with more specific and immediate feedback, here are a few more benefits of using short passages to practice:

  1. More exposure to various topics
  2. Study in short intervals of less than five minutes
  3. Learn more vocabulary in less time
  4. Build your reading skills
  5. Master question and answer strategy

Once you dive in and start to answer the questions you will find these short passages to be the exact answer you have been looking for to help you improve your TOEFL Reading skills.

TOEFL Reading Practice Step 2:
DON’T FORGET TO REVIEW THE STRUCTURE

These short TOEFL Reading comprehension passages are just like the TOEFL, only shorter. It’s still important for you, however, to get a clear understanding of exactly what to expect from the TOEFL Reading section on test day.

Here are some of the most important points:

  • Read three academic passages of 700 words
  • Take 18 minutes per passage, 54 minutes in total
  • Answer 10 questions per passage

There is no way to predict what kind of passages you will receive in your TOEFL test, but here are some of the more popular topics:

"There is a table here. Please rotate your phone to landscape in order to see it."
Biology Ecology
History Astronomy
Geology Education
Psychology Art
Environmental Science Archaeology
Cover of the Complete TOEFL Test #13

If you want to sink your teeth into a full TOEFL iBT Reading section, you can check out our free and complete TOEFL Test.

Cover of the Complete TOEFL Test #13

Now, you might be confused by all of the question types in the TOEFL Reading practice test PDF…

…and you’re not alone!

There are ten question types and some have strange names like rhetorical purpose and pronoun referent questions.

But don’t worry. 

In the chart below, all of the question types have been laid out and separated based on frequency, common lexical structure, and the time it should take you to answer each.

The Reading Section Question Types

Question Type Frequency
(per section)
Time to Answer Question Phrasing
1. vocabulary 3-6 60 seconds “The word _________ in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to…"
2. factual information 4-8 90 seconds “According to paragraph 4, what….”
“Which of the following…”
“It is stated in paragraph 4 that…”
3. negative factual information 2-4 120 seconds “All of the following are mentioned in paragraph 3 EXCEPT…”
“Which of the following is NOT mentioned....”
4. inference 2-4 90 seconds “What can be inferred from paragraph 5 about…”
“Paragraph 5 implies that…”
“Paragraph 5 suggests…”
5. rhetorical purpose 2-4 90 seconds “In paragraph 6, the author discusses ________ in order to…”
“Why does the author mention…”
6. sentence simplification 2-3 120 seconds “Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in paragraph 4?”
7. insert text 2-3 120 seconds “In paragraph 2 there is a missing sentence. Where would the sentence best fit?”
8. reference 0-1 60 seconds “The word _________ in paragraph 1 refers to…”
9. prose summary 2-3 150 seconds “An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage."
10. organization 0-1 150 seconds “Complete the table below to summarize information about _________ in the passage. Match the appropriate statements to _________”

TOEFL Reading Practice Step 3:
PRACTICE WITH A TIMER

Picture of a clock
Picture of a Clock

If you have done some TOEFL Reading practice tests already, then you know that time management is an issue for the reading section. Few people can read the entire passage and answer all of the questions in a given passage in less than 18 minutes.

It takes skill to read a question, understand the meaning, identify the key words, and find that information in the passage in less than two minutes. Even if you understand the question and know where to look, it may still be challenging to identify which information is essential to help you answer the question.

When you work through these short passages, you can answer based on question type. Each passage will be followed by a single and predictable question.

But I can’t emphasize this enough…

…be sure to challenge yourself by setting a timer. And keep in mind that some TOEFL questions take longer than others.

For example, in the case of vocabulary questions, give yourself only 60 seconds to answer. However, if you are working on detail questions, set the timer for 90 seconds. (refer to the chart above for each question type’s timing) 

Human Anatomy

Human anatomy is the scientific study of the body’s structures. Some of these structures are very small and can only be observed and analyzed with the assistance of a microscope. Other larger structures can readily be seen, manipulated, measured, and weighed. The word “anatomy” comes from a Greek root that means “to cut apart.” Human anatomy was first studied by observing the exterior of the body and observing the wounds of soldiers and other injuries. Later, physicians were allowed to dissect bodies of the dead to augment their knowledge. When a body is dissected, its structures are cut apart in order to observe their physical attributes and their relationships to one another. Dissection is still used in medical schools, anatomy courses, and in pathology labs.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 8.5

 

2. Which of the following is true about human anatomy?
 

  1. The word “anatomy” is derived from a French root that means “cut
  2. The observation of soldiers’ wounds were originally used to study human anatomy
  3. Human and animal bodies were dissected in labs to understand human anatomy
  4. The smaller structures of the human body need to be observed with a telescope

2. B (detail)

B is correct because the other 3 options are all untrue – they each contain at least a word that changes its original meaning. The passage states “Human anatomy was first studied by observing the exterior of the body and observing the wounds of soldiers…”. While the words “human anatomy” are mentioned a few times, the answer can be found by searching for other keywords like “soldiers’” and “wounds”.

This exercise is challenging, but, over time, you will get used to the time restrictions and it will get easier. You will start to improve the speed and accuracy of your answers, which will improve your performance on complete TOEFL iBT Reading practice passages.

TOEFL Reading Practice Step 4:
REVIEW YOUR ANSWERS

Think of your favorite professional athlete.

Now imagine the incredible amount of work they endured to become one of the best at their sport.

Of course they practiced, but, more importantly, they watched the game film.

After the game, most professional athletes sit in a room and watch their performance. In American football, players spend dozens of hours every week watching their games because they understand that improvement comes through the study of what went wrong in the past.

Improvement comes through the study of past performance.

Picture of a girl reading off her laptop

Your TOEFL test is a performance of your English ability. Use the information you get from practicing your reading comprehension skills to understand your personal strengths and weaknesses. After you know what your problem is – for example, you have trouble answering inference questions – map out a course of action that will help you improve.

Most students only practice. Sure, everyone checks their answers, but only for a score, not to gain a deeper understanding of why they were wrong and how they can improve in the future.

Here are some questions to ask yourself after you have answered a question wrong:

  • Did I misread the passage or the question?
  • Was there difficult vocabulary that I didn’t understand? Is this word part of the Academic Word List?
  • Is there a particular question type I struggle to answer? What’s the answer and how do I fix it?
  • What can I do to ensure I don’t make the same mistake again?

In the ELT world (English Language Teaching), this is referred to as reflective practice. It’s popular in many other fields, like medicine and management, but it has also become an important component of improving teacher performance.

Failing to review your answers is just one of many mistakes students make when preparing for the reading section of the TOEFL. You can check out the five most common TOEFL Reading mistakes and how to avoid them below.

TOEFL Reading Practice Step 5:
IMPROVE YOUR VOCABULARY

Now at this point you:

1. Understand why these short reading passages are so helpful
2. Reviewed the overall structure of the TOEFL Reading section
3. Know how important it is to set a timer and develop your time management skills
4. Are ready to not only practice the questions, but review the answers

It’s now time to work on the most critical component of your TOEFL Reading score: your vocabulary.

How can I improve my reading comprehension for the TOEFL?

Simply put, if you don’t understand the words, you can’t understand the passage.

If you are not getting the score you want in the reading section, then you must invest the necessary time and energy into studying vocabulary. Now, there are thousands of words in the English language, so it’s hard to know which are important.

There are a lot of vocabulary lists, but this is the only one you need for the TOEFL Reading: The Ultimate TOEFL Vocabulary List

Originally developed in 2001 by Averil Coxhead, a distinguished linguist and researcher, she found that there were certain words that consistently show up throughout academic texts, regardless of the topic.

Unlike other TOEFL vocabulary lists, this one has been academically researched and verified by working professionals in the English Language Teaching Community.

If you know these 570 words, it will have a dramatic impact on your TOEFL Reading score.

Conclusion

Cover of the TOEFL Reading Practice PDF
Cover of the TOEFL Reading Practice PDF

So, how can you improve your reading skills for the TOEFL?

  • Practice with short passages
  • Review the structure
  • Use a timer
  • Review your answers
  • Improve your vocabulary
Enough talking…

You’re here to practice! These are an excerpt from our Practice Pack for the TOEFLReading: 500 Questions and Answers.

Nearly unlimited TOEFL practice specifically designed to build your skills.

But if you are just ready to sink your teeth into some free practice: Here are the first 100 Reading Practice Questions.

Cover of the TOEFL Reading Practice PDF

Did we miss anything? Any more advice you would like to add about the TOEFL Reading?

Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

66 Comments

  1. Elisiane Perkins

    Hi Josh, Where can I find more information about skimming ? I know You had a video about it, ” TOEFL Reading: How to Read Smarter and Faster, Homeschool Program 5″. I can not find this video or anything in your website. This video is very helpful and I don’t know what happened with this video.

    Thank you very much

    Reply
    • Josh

      Hi Elisiane and wow you have a good memory! I will put the link below to the video you are referring to (I think). I hope that helps.

      https://youtu.be/KOb-TozMOuM

      Reply
  2. Samhain

    Dearest Josh,
    I recently said OK! to some student of mine to work as his prep buddy here, in the FWI.
    My student is willing to get ready for his very first TOEFL IBT home session in December 2020.
    My question is: will my student have to have his keyboard set to the US English QWERTY mode?
    As tricky as this question may sound, I would prefer not to omit this potential detail that would make the difference!
    Thanks again for the invaluable ressources you make available for us all!
    Best,
    S.

    Reply
    • Josh MacPherson

      This is a great question and often overlooked. In my experience, yes, the test center will usually employ a US QWERTY keyboard since this is what you would use at an American university. I’m not 100%, but I am pretty sure that is correct. If possible, I would confirm at the testing center.

      Reply
      • Samhain

        Thank you so much!

        Reply
  3. Dalia

    Where I can find the answers of the reading questions

    Reply
    • Josh MacPherson

      Hi Dalia. You will find a link to download the PDF on this page. Just download the link and there is an answer key in the accompanying PDF (towards the end). I hope that helps you find it.

      Reply
  4. Liliana izquierdo reyes

    Hi! I wonder if you can help me out with an answer. I have the book but unfortunately it doesn’t contain answers to the practice exercises.
    It’s practice for QUESTION 1 (Homeschooling)
    This is the question I have problems with:
    Which of the following is mentioned as a problem with today’s public schools?

    a) They are a frequent recruitment ground for violent gangs.
    b) They overly emphasize the importance of standardized exams.
    c) They have too many students and are very distracting.
    d) They structure their lessons for children at the lowest level of ability.

    I’m thinking of C but I don’t know why not A

    Reply
    • Josh MacPherson

      I’m sorry Liliana, but we do not have access to those books. You should contact the publisher. They should have the answer key.

      Reply
  5. Zahabiya

    Hi, I have been referring to your videos and tips for toefl preparation. In reading section I am struggling with the summary\organization questions. Do you have any tips on how to approach those questions? I take TOefl in 5 days.

    Thank You for all the awesome videos and tips.

    Reply
  6. Morsal Hamidi

    I am struggling so much with reading section, although I am using a lot of good strategies, but still my score is about 19 to 20, and my target is 28+, so I do not know what should I do.

    Reply
    • Josh MacPherson

      Hi Morsal and sorry to hear about your struggle. We have private teachers and even TOEFL Reading group lessons starting in a few weeks. However, if you don’t want to work with a teacher, then I suggest reading A LOT. Go to the site LingQ, they have a lot of practice materials for language learners and tools to help you remember vocabulary and build your skills.

      I hope that helps!

      Reply
  7. Abdul

    Hi, thanks a lot Josh, amazing videos on the youtube channel, anyway I have two questions I hope ill get resolved,

    1)Can I use abbreviations in my writing? etc: didn’t , I’ll…
    2)When responding to a speaking answer, If I finish my response early, can I quickly summarize my points, or will that just make my response sound redundant and weak?

    Thank you again!

    TBH, it’s kinda hard to believe nice people like you still exists on the internet…

    Reply
    • Josh MacPherson

      Hi there and great questions. First of all, yes you can use contractions like “don’t” or “isn’t” but avoid text language like “LOL” and “BRB”. In response to your second question, you do not want to have much silence, so if you have some extra time it’s better to sound redundant than to remain silent. I hope that helps!

      Reply

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