The most important thing you have to know about the reading part of the TOEFL Test is that you DON’T have enough time!

The people who are testing you love to play with your stress: don’t fall in this trap. In the actual Test you’ll have to read 3 or 5 passages about academic topics, and 20 minutes to read and answer all the questions for each passage. Do you think it’s enough? Let’s see… Try to read the following short passage and measure how much time you need.

In Southwest France in the 1940’s, playing children discovered Lascaux Grotto, a series of narrow cave chambers that contain huge prehistoric paintings of animals. According to a scientific analysis, the colors in the paintings were derived from ocher and other iron oxides ground into a fine powder. Some colors were brushed or smeared on rock surfaces and others were blown or sprayed. It is possible that tubes made from animal bones were used for spraying because hollow bones, some stained with pigment, have been found nearby. How much time did it take you? 2 minutes? You’re a very fast reader, but… a real TOEFL passage is 5 times this one, so it will take you at least 10 minutes just to read the passage. Than you’ll have another 10 minutes to answer 12 to 14 questions. Less than one minute per question. Do you still think it’s enough? And now… how many details do you remember of the passage you read? Are you sure that you will remember all the details of five paragraphs like that? The answer is: NO, you won’t!

After a few questions you’ll get confused, because the passage is complicated and full of details. How is the normal procedure when you need a detail?

  1. read the question
  2. go back to the text
  3. find the detail you need
  4. go back to the question
  5. find the right answer and eliminate the wrong ones
  6. answer the question

This will take you 3 to 4 minutes.
It’s TOO MUCH time! This is not a secret, but many students really don’t know that
time is their enemy. You will see, during the Test, many people getting very angry because they left 8-9 unanswered questions. It’s their future, and I don’t think they’re smart. They just throw it away! Source: []


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