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 TOEFL Reading Passages & Question Types

TOEFL iBT Section Number of Passages Number of Questions Timing
 Reading Section

3 to 5 passages
(each almost 700 words)

from NOV 1st, 2011
3 to 4 passages

12 to 14 questions per passage

60 to 100 minutes to answer

from NOV 1st, 2011
60 to 80 minutes

TOEFL reading passages are excerpts from college-level textbooks that would be used in introductions to a discipline or topic. The excerpts are changed as little as possible because the goal of the TOEFL iBT is to assess how well students can read the kind of writing that is used in an academic environment.

The passages will cover a variety of different subjects. Don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with the topic of a passage. All the information needed to answer the questions will be in the passage. All TOEFL passages are classified into three basic categories based on author purpose:

 (1) Exposition,  (2) Argumentation, and  (3) Historical

Often passages will present information about the topic from more than one perspective or point of view. This is something you should note as you read because usually you will be asked at least one question that allows you to show that you have understood the general organization of the passage. Common types of organization you should be able to recognize are:

- classification    - comparison/contrast   - cause/effect   - problem/solution

TOEFL iBT passages are approximately 700 words long, but the passages used may vary somewhat in length. Some passages may be slightly longer than 700 words, and some may be slightly shorter.


Categorized TOEFL Reading Questions

TOEFL iBT Reading questions cover Basic Information skills, skills  to draw inference about something, and Reading to Learn skills. There are 10 question types. The following part summarizes the categories and types of TOEFL iBT Reading questions.

TOEFL iBT Reading Question Types

Basic Information and Inferential questions (11 to 13 questions per set)

1. Factual Information questions (3 to 6 questions per set)

2. Negative Factual Information questions (0 to 2 questions per set)

3. Inference questions (0 to 2 questions per set)

4. Rhetorical Purpose questions (0 to 2 questions per set)

5. Vocabulary questions (3 to 5 questions per set)

6. Reference questions (0 to 2 questions per set)

7. Sentence Simplification questions (0 to 1 question per set)

8. Insert Text question (0 to 1 question per set)

Reading to Learn questions (1 per set)

9. Prose Summary

10. Fill in a Table

 The attempt of our trainers is to include all the different formats of reading questions into the exercises. So please keep up with us to master the required skills effectively.