By Mike H. Snow

TOEFL Reading Practice Tips

1. TOEFL IBT Reading Suggestion
A. Reading to find information
  • Read full text, look for the basis of the facts (dates, numbers, terminology nouns) and information.
  • Repeatedly practicing the above reading method, improve reading speed and efficiency.
B. Reading for basic comprehension
  • Extend vocabulary using flashcards help.
  • Should not word for word when reading articles, exercise how to read the full story, and get the central idea as fast as possible.
  • Strengthen the ability to catch up key points by browsing through rapidly.
  • Based on first time quick reading, re-visit essential paragraphs or sentences, note main views, augments, and facts.
  • Pick up unknown words and guess meanings be context.
  • Find out all pronouns (he, him, they, them, etc.), and understand what they are pointed out on behalf.
  • Practice reasoning, try to get the implied meanings behind sentences.
C. Synthesize
  • Understand that article structure type, such as cause / results, compare / contrast, problem / solution, description, narrative, etc.
  • Get article outline, distinguish major and minor arguments.
  • If the article groups something, draw a chart and make classification
  • If the article involved with steps or order, try to outline them in brief sentences.
  • Write abstracts based on the chart or outline.
  • Replace words of article and reorganize sentences or paragraphs in context.
2. Materials Recalled from Reading Test
Here we list some materials recalled by recent test takers. They offer first-hand information to feel what the real TOEFL reading articles look like.

A. Building in Japan during century 7 and 8
Before the seventh and eighth centuries, the Japanese monarch used to move and replace here and there because of its wood building materials were rot quickly. Later it learned from the Chinese way, construct the main palace to run power and summer palace for leisure. In the first paragraph, it talked about the changes in architectural style and connected to changes of government organization and agricultural. The second paragraph introduced the old building style of Japan were to use materials that are easy to destroy. Japanese liked to dismantle and re-build house for maintaining reason. They usually reuse existing components and only discarded or bunt damaged ones to save materials and money. So, it cannot be considered as waste. The third paragraph said there were many political marriages in ancient Japan, which is the reason the whole family had to live in one palace. With the development of Japan, they needed a stable residence. They finally decided to build a capital as China.

B. The USA Dams Construction and Demolition
At first it said that initially the USA built many levees, now no longer make new ones; on the contrary, USA began to remove some old dams, because of environmental reasons, such as to restore wetlands to save salmon or other wild animals. Then it told a few examples of demolitions.Many years ago, the public thought dams were good, because they can generate power. However, now people change mind. They dislike their side-effect on the ecological environment. Why does the government don't build the dam again, the answer should be public opposition. Then it said the government didn't build big projects anymore, and cited salmon as an example, after dams were built, the fish cannot be in their traditional place to spawn, prose fish endangered. The following paragraph said even dams were removed, and the ecosystem probably cannot back. It talked about a fish in endangered, because the spawning place had a lot of clay, if the government wanted the fish alive, they have to spend money to clean up the mud. Last paragraph raised some questions, like what is more critical, economy or environment, fish or people?

C. Water on the Moon
In the first paragraph, scientists analyzed some of the ingredients of the moon, found no organic matter, and no fossil was found at the moon. Then it raised the problem whether the moon has water. There are many efforts to discover water, such as looking for water from possible places, two poles and bottom of the old crater, as well as detecting hydrogen, which is the composition of the water. Then it said scientists tried to hit an expired satellite to moon so as to prove water on the moon, because there will be evaporated out of the water, they might be able to detect what. And then, it said the water is quite important; in space travel, water is costly.

D. Pesticide and Pest Control
In general, native pests are to be easily controlled; they have original natural enemies. Exotic pest is difficult to control due to lack of natural enemies. Pest control includes a variety of means; chemical control is one of them, which can effectively kill pests of many kinds. But the method has two shortcomings. Broad-spectrum insecticide will also kill beneficial insects, and pests will develop resistance. It cited an example of mosquito. The second way is biological control. The introduction of nonnative emeries can also control the pest quantity. It talked another example about China orchard. The disadvantage of this method possibly is nonnative emeries to destroy the local ecology because of no natural enemies. It gave an example in Australia.

Recently, a new method is combined with both chemical and biological controls. It needs the expertise with chemical and biological knowledge. At first, apply chemical control before outbreak; then consider if following by biological control based on demand.