TOEFL Insider #105

How to answer TOEFL Reading summary questions

Happy Friday TOEFL Insiders;

Here is your weekly summary of tips and resources in the TOEFL® world.

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ETS is pretty quiet these days. The TOEFL test home edition looks like it is here to stay for a while.

Did you know that ETS actually has a site for all news and announcements? It is called ETS Open Notes and you can find it at this link.

However, I don’t think it would be very interesting for anyone besides a few educators and TOEFL nerds like me.


Here’s a tip from Katie Reaburn, one of our TOEFL Teachers.

TOEFL Reading summary questions are a nightmare for most students.

But I know a few tips that can make these questions type A LOT easier.

First, you have to realize that the three options you choose must be general, in other words, you should try to eliminate options that are too specific. These little ideas might be true and you will remember reading them in the passage, but they don’t usually help you summarize the topic.

Check out this example from TST Prep Test #13.


Choice B is highlighted in blue and considered incorrect because this was a minor detail when compared to the ideas in the rest of the passage.

You will also notice that choices C and D are highlighted in red.


Because they are not connected to the given statement, which is my second tip. Be sure to read the given statement carefully and only choose options that align to it. The sentence highlighted in yellow is about Transcendentalism while choice C is about Emerson and d is about Margaret Fuller, so it is safe for me to assume that these options are incorrect.

The TOEFL test is huge and confusing, and summary questions are one of the hardest to answer. But if you just take the time to think about the question and find the right strategy, they become much easier. Do the same for the TOEFL. Focus on one question at a time. Find a strategy that works for you and watch your TOEFL score improve.”

– Katie

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