Jacqueline has learned two important reading tips from her TOEFL course.

Like many other students, Jaqueline needs to score high on the TOEFL iBT so she can become a practicing physical therapist. Unlike some students, her improvements in the speaking and writing areas came easy, with her already reaching the 26 and 24 required marks on the speaking and writing sections.  However, her jaw dropped to the floor when she saw her reading score on the last TOEFL test she took– a disappointing 15/30 pts.. But, instead of giving up on what she thought was at the time a hopeless situation, she decided to enroll in an online TOEFL course so she could improve her reading proficiency: “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT.” And it is during her studies online she discovered two important tips to help her improve her reading abilities.

The first tip was so simple she could hardly believe it was a tip at all. Her teacher told her by e-mail and in several videos that she watched that she needed to read extensively for 45 minutes a day. She learned that extensive reading  should be done with novels and non-fiction books that consist of several hundred pages. Reading these longer books, says her TOEFL mentor, improves her word recognition and her ability to concentrate on reading materials in a new language for longer periods of time. And by having good concentration, she will be able to have higher comprehension. Having been highly motivated by this new insight, Jacqueline went to the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Rancho Cucamonga, California to get her first novel in English:  The Hunger Games.

The second tip that she learned was that she needed to increase her reading speed to a minimum of  300 words per minute so that she would have enough time to finish the reading passages during the actual exam.  According to her online mentor, faster readers have better comprehension because they have fewer distractions. But how could she increase her reading speed? Heck, she did not even know what her current speed reading was. Then she noticed that “The 7-Step System” included 70 speed reading practice tests starting at 100 and ending and 350 words per minute.

Therefore, she took the second tip to heart and completed the first speed reading test of 100 word per minute.  After clicking on a link to get to the test, she watched a 60 second video about United States founding father John Adams.  After reading the 100 word passage in the video, she completed a 6 question comprehensive quiz without rereading the passage, and, to her surprise, she scored 81%.  Then she knew she could read at least 100 words per minute. Now she had only 69 more practice tests to complete before she would be able to read 350 words per minute with 80% comprehension. It would be hard for her and would require a lot of practice, but Jacqueline knew that she would definitely be able to improve her reading proficiency using these lessons.

This article was written by Michael Buckhoff–co-founder and materials writer for Better TOEFL Scores and The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT, Composition and Linguistics Professor, TOEFL Specialist, ESL Master Instructor, and Placement and Testing Coordinator for California State University, San Bernardino.Follow more posts and videos from Michael at Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.

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