TOEFL Reading Sample

In this blog post we will look at a TOEFL reading sample and take dig deeper into the TOEFL reading section. The reading section is the first section in the TOEFL test, the TOEFL reading test measures the ability to read, understand, and analyze short stories or essays. The passages chosen for the TOEFL reading test are very similar to passages that are read on regular basis at U.S. universities.

The TOEFL reading test includes 3 reading sections with around 700 words in each passage, and followed by 13 to 14 questions for each passage. Let’s look a little closer at the questions you will see in the TOEFL reading section.

There are three different categories of questions in the TOEFL reading section:
1. Understanding of Language Use
2. Understanding Basic Reading
3. The Ability to Read and Learn New Information

The understanding of language use portion tests the meaning of words in different sentences. For example how different words can mean different things when they are in different sentences.

Understanding Basic Reading tests the ability to understand details of a passage and how it supports the main thesis of the essay.
The ability to read and learn new information examines how good you are at learning new information, how you can apply that information to different scenarios, and how well you learn while reading.

Let’s look over a TOEFL reading sample and the strcuture you should expect to see on the TOEFL reading test. The text and essays in the TOEFL test follows an academic structure. The reading sections include an introduction, body paragraph, and conclusion.

TOEFL Reading Sample

Our TOEFL reading sample below shows the structure you can expect when taking the exam and how you should approach it. Remember to be aware on what section of reading passage you are reading. Awareness can be accomplished by TOEFL iBT practice and reading a lot of essays.

Let’s start with the introduction part of the text. The introduction is going to provide you with some general information about the passage you are about to read. It usually presents the topic of the text and that is the information you should remember from the introduction. You should also be aware when the text transitions from being general to specific. The last sentence of the introduction is often the thesis statement. A thesis is the main idea of an article or essay.


The body paragraph follows the introduction paragraph. It usually starts off with a follow up on the thesis statement. It will then present key details to support the original thesis statement made in the introduction. The TOEFL reading passages has around 2 to 4 body paragraphs. Your goal should be to remember some of the details presented in the body paragraphs that support the thesis made in the introduction.

When you read the whole body paragraph it should explain the main idea of the essay and why it is important. By then you should understand the big picture of the reading.


The conclusion is the last part of the reading passage. It focuses on combining the important information gathered by the essay. Often the thesis that is presented in the introduction is mentioned again. It does not present any new information and can be as short as two sentences. The writer may choose to express his opinion in this paragraph.

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