TOEFL Speed Reading Test

Taking a TOEFL speed reading test is important so you can find out whether or not you are ready to take the TOEFL exam. Furthermore, if you have an adequate reading speed of 300 words per minute with 80%-100% comprehension, you are likely to score higher as you complete the reading, speaking, and writing portions of the TOEFL iBT.

TOEFL speed reading test
TOEFL speed reading test

TOEFL Speed Reading Test: Why you should read faster during the reading section

It will take you 60-80 minutes to complete the reading section. Typically, you will read  three to four 700 word reading passages. Then you will answer 36-56 questions.  In other words, you will be reading approximately 2,100-2,800 words. Reading through and taking notes on these passages at 300 words per minute will help to complete this part of the test three times faster than a reader who reads at 100 words per minute. For example, at 300 words per minute, you will be able to read through these passages in about 9 minutes. However, at 100 words per minute, it will take you 24 minutes.

Therefore, what do you want to spend more time on during the reading section: reading the passages or answering the questions? Obviously, you want to spend more time answering questions.


TOEFL Speed Reading Test: Why a faster reading speed is important in the speaking section

During integrated speaking tasks 3-4, you will have 45 seconds to read two 100 word reading passages.  Moreover, after each reading passage, you will have a short conversation or lecture.  As a result, it is important for you to read these passages quickly and take notes on the most important points. If you can read at 300 words per minute, you can read each passage in 20 seconds. Then you have 40 seconds to write down some important points from the passages so that you can get ready for the listening passage. If you read at 100 words per minute, you will have no time at all to take notes on the reading passages.  As a result, it is critical for you to read at 300 words per minute if you want perform well on the speaking section.

TOEFL Speed Reading Test: Why reading faster is important during the writing section

During the integrated writing task, you will have about 3 minutes to read a 300 word passage. Then you will listen to a lecture related to that topic. If you read at 300 words per minute, you can finish the reading passage in about 60 seconds. That gives you another 2 minutes to record the main idea and 3 important points + details from the lecture.  It is critical that you can write down the most important points from the reading passage. You will need to show how each reading main point is related to the main points that you are about to hear in the lecture. A reading speed of 100 words per minute does not give you enough time to get through and take notes on the reading passage. Therefore, after you listen to the lecture, you will have to read the passage again which will waste some of the 20 minutes you have to complete the writing task.

TOEFL Speed Reading Test: Benefits of reading at 300 words per minute

  • In the reading section, you will complete the reading passages quickly. Hence, you will spend more time answering questions and less time reading the passages.
  • In integrated speaking tasks 3-4, you will get through the reading passages in about 20 seconds.  Then you can use the remaining 25 seconds to jot down some notes so you can get ready for the listening passage.
  • In the integrated writing task, you will finish the reading passage in about 60 seconds. Then you will have 2 additional minutes to make a rough outline of the reading passage’s important points. After you listen to and take notes on the lecture, you will not need to read the passage again. Consequently, you can use ALL of your 20 minutes writing your response without having to re-read the passage.

TOEFL Speed Reading Test: Additional benefits of reading at 300+ words per minute

Now you know how reading faster can help you to perform better on the reading, speaking, and writing sections of the TOEFL iBT.  Are there any other benefits of reading faster? The answer is yes!

  • Faster readers have better comprehension than slower readers.  Why is that? Slower readers have more distractions. Because the words in the passage are hitting the brain more frequently, faster readers have fewer distractions and can concentrate better on the text.
  • You will be able to read college-level and professional textbooks, reports, and other documents much faster.  Thus, you will be able to save a lot more time in your academics and professional life if you learn to read faster.

TOEFL Speed Reading: How do I read a text?

  1. Scan through the text first looking at the first and last line of each paragraph. Pay attention to headings, subheadings, and other cues.
  2. As you begin to read the text line by line, eliminate any distractions. Try your best not to let your mind wander. Your worst enemy is that you lose your focus and concentration.  As a result, you have to re-read something that you have already read.   Re-reading a text slows your reading speed and makes it difficult to get the overall idea of the text.  As you practice reading, you need to carefully and attentively approach a text.
  3. Do not read every word in every sentence of the text.  Group 4-5 words together as a chunk and concentrate on silently reading chunks of words rather than reading word by word.  In addition, you do NOT want to read out loud the text. Nor do you want to sub-vocalize when you read.  Reading word by word out loud or in your mind will prevent you from getting the big picture of the passage. It will also slow down your reading speed. To prevent you from reading word by word, try pointing your finger at each chunk of words as you read. Then move your finger to the next chunk. Doing this will help your eyes to quickly move through the text.
  4. Skip sentences or words in the text that are unimportant.

TOEFL Speed Reading Test:  How do I figure out my reading speed?

Measuring your reading speed involves two steps: 1) you need to see how many words you can read in a minute. 2) You should measure how much you can understand after that minute of reading.  Even if you can read 500 words per minute, it will do you no good if you can not remember anything that you just read. Therefore, reading speed + comprehension = accurate reading speed.

Below are seven different practice tests: 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, and 400 words per minute.  Each reading passage has five multiple choice questions:  1 main idea, 1 unstated detail, 1 inference, 1 true/false, and 1 detail question.  To get your accurate reading speed, follow these instructions:

  • Starting with the 100 words per minute passage, watch the You Tube video one time only.  On the right hand bottom side of the video, click “full screen.” It is important that you see the text on your full screen. Do NOT preview the questions before you read the passage.
  • Immediately after you read the text, close the video.  Without looking at the text, complete the five question comprehension quiz. On a sheet of paper, write down the answers for each question. Then, click “Answer” to see the correct answers for each section.
  • If you score 80% (4/5) or 100% (5/5), move on to the next reading practice test.
  • Once you feel very uncomfortable trying to read the text and once your score is 60% (3-5) or lower, then you have found your reading speed limit. For example, let’s suppose you completed the 250 words per minute practice test. You felt a little uncomfortable reading the passage. However, you took the practice test and scored 80% (4/5). Then you took the next practice test at 300 words per minute. On this practice test, you could not finish reading the passage in the 60 seconds. In addition, you scored 20% on the quiz.  Based on your performance, your reading speed is 250 words per minute.

TOEFL Speed Reading Test: 100 Words per Minute

1. With what topic is this passage primarily concerned?
A. A founding father of the US
B. American diplomats in Europe
C. the Declaration of Independence
D. Historic US presidents

2. John Adams was all of the following EXCEPT
A. American Diplomat
B. Vice President
C. President
D. British supporter

3. What can be inferred about John Adams?
A. He supported British government.
B. He was disinterested in politics.
C. He had at least one child.
D. He was not a good speaker.

4. John Adams was a writer.
A. True
B. False

5. John Adams was
A. never married
B. uninterested in politics.
C. proud to serve his country.
D. not interested in public speaking.

TOEFL Speed Reading Test: 150 Words per Minute

6. What is the main idea of this passage?
A. Greek wars
B. Olympic sports of discus and jumping
C. The importance of exercise
D. Historic importance of wrestling in Greece

7. Which answer does NOT describe the Greek sport of wrestling?
A. Preparation for war
B. Important sport
C. Core sport
D. Not a martial skill

8. What is most likely true about the Greeks of olden times?
A. Some of their sports are practiced in modern day Olympics.
B. They were not very athletic.
C. They did not like war.
D. Wrestling was not a part of their culture.

9. Greeks were not motivated to prepare for war.
A. True
B. False

10. Wrestling is
A. no longer considered a sport.
B. believed to have been great preparation for war.
C. not a sport in the Olympics.
D. not practiced in Greek life today.

TOEFL Speed Reading Test: 200 Words per Minute

11. Which answer best expresses the title of this passage?
A. Larval stages of Rhino beetles
B. A Palm tree’s worst threat
C. Different bugs in nature
D. Fan shaped exotic plants

12. What is NOT mentioned about Rhinoceros beetles?
A. Where they live
B. What they eat
C. How they communicate
D. How they can be controlled?

13. Which answer is most likely true about the Rhinoceros beetle?
A. It is an insect.
B. It does not like eating Palm fronds.
C. It is nearly impossible to eliminate.

14. Rhinoceros beetles in their larvae stages do not damage Palm trees.
A. True
B. False

15. Chemicals or barbed wire may be used on Rhinoceros beetles to
A. fish for them.
B. kill them.
C. feed them different foods.
D. relocate them to different habitats.
Correct answer is “B“

TOEFL Speed Reading: 250 Words per Minute

16. With which topic is this passage most concerned?
A. Solar nebulas
B. Unmanned space missions
C. Meteorites
D. Origin of our sun

17. Which answer is not true about meteorites?
A. They are not geologically old.
B. They come from outer space.
C. They are material from planets.
D. They are small solar system particles.

18. What can be inferred about meteors?
A. They are not part of our solar system.
B. They never fall into Earth’s surface.
C. They are not very old pieces of rock.
D. They have not yet entered Earth’s atmosphere.

19. It is believed that the origin of our universe occurred a few million years ago.
A. True
B. False

20. Big Bang refers to
A. how the universe was created.
B. giant earthquakes occurring on planetary bodies.
C. the largest meteorite to have ever struck the Earth’s surface.
D. a supernova explosion from an aging star.

TOEFL Speed Reading Test: 300 Words per Minute

21. What is the topic for this passage?
A. Causes of World War II
B. Manufacturing in the 19th century
C. Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
D. World War II women’s employment

22. Before World War II, all were commonly held views about women EXCEPT
A. Women were mostly dependent on men.
B. Women were only capable of doing certain jobs.
C. They could live glamorous lives.
D. They should not hold jobs.

23. What is most likely true about women’s employment opportunities AFTER World War II?
A. They no longer were confined to traditional jobs.
B. They were not interested in seeking non-traditional jobs.
C. They were not allowed to become doctors, lawyers, and other professional jobs.
D. They did not hold any working class jobs.

24. World War II changed attitudes about women’s unemployment in the United States.
A. True
B. False

25. The city of Mount Vernon
A. had a large population.
B. was mostly an industrial town.
C. was a city with a small population base.
D. differed a lot from other war industrial cities.

TOEFL Speed Reading Test: 350 Words per Minute

26. This passage mainly discusses
A. Platypus
B. Cat
C. Mammals
D. Ducks

27. All of the following are true about platypuses EXCEPT
A. They lay eggs.
B. They are about as large as cats.
C. They are mammals.
D. They are reptiles.

28. What is not most likely true about the platypus?
A. It does not like water.
B. It is a fairly small mammal.
C. It does not like cold weather.
D. It is almost classified a reptile.

29. Female platypuses are larger than their male counterparts.
A. True
B. False

30. The platypus
A. can breathe under water.
B. has a lifespan of 25-50 years.
C. swims underwater when hunting for prey.
D. has little or no hair on its body.

TOEFL Speed Reading Test: 400 Words per Minute

31. What is the main idea of this reading passage?
A. Sun
B. Moon
C. Mercury
D. Earth

32. Which of the following is NOT mentioned about Mercury?
A. It has a strange orbit.
B. It has never been visited by a spacecraft.
C. It was given two names by the Greeks.
D. It is very far away from the Sun.

33. What can be inferred about the planet Mercury from this passage?
A. Other planets such as Earth and Mars have very different orbits than Mercury.
B. It indeed has some forms on life on its surface.
C. It is farther away from the Sun than the Earth.
D. It has a relatively cold atmosphere.

34. Mercury experiences dramatic temperature changes.
A. True
B. False

35. Mercury
A. keeps its same face to the Sun similar to what the Moon does to the Earth.
B. is the largest planet in our solar system.
C. rotates three times in two of its years.
D. has been visited by humans by spacecraft.


TOEFL Speed Reading Test: What do I do if I cannot read at 300 words per minute or faster?

If your reading speed is slower than 300 words per minute, do NOT register to take the TOEFL iBT. You need to improve your reading proficiency. Here are my recommendations based on your score:

  • Less than 100 words per minute: Your reading speed is very low if you could not even score 80% on the first test on this web page. Therefore, I recommend my 1-year TOEFL Course, which will give you the extensive practice that you need to improve your overall English abilities. Do not take the TOEFL iBT. You will be wasting your money. Follow the link to my 1-Year TOEFL Course:
  • 100 words per minute: At 100 words per minute, you will not be able to finish the reading section. You will also have trouble reading and taking notes on the readings in the integrated speaking and writing section. Do not take the TOEFL iBT. Therefore, I recommend my 6-Month TOEFL Course to give you the practice you need:
  • 150 words per minute: At his level, you may have had considerable practice with English, but your reading speed is still inadequate.  Therefore, I recommend my 3-Month TOEFL Course, which will help you to improve your English proficiency:
  • 200 words per minute: A reading speed of 200 words per minute may indicate your readiness to take the TOEFL iBT, especially if you are interested in scoring higher than 60/120.  However, if your goal is to score higher than 80, I recommend that you brush up on your English proficiency by taking my 1-Month TOEFL Course:
  • 250 words per minute: You are doing very well with your reading proficiency by reading at 250 words per minute. Nevertheless, if you want to score higher than 100, I recommend my 1-Month TOEFL course to give you just the practice you need to reach your target score: 
  • 300 words per minute: No matter what your TOEFL target scores are, you may not need to take any of my courses. However, if you have lower speaking and writing subtotal scores, you should consider taking my TOEFL Speaking or Writing Boot Camp courses.
  • 350 words per minute: You are an above-average reader.  You are ready to take the TOEFL iBT unless you are having problems with lower speaking or writing subtotal scores.
  • 400 words per minute: As long as your speaking and writing skills are up to par, you will likely score over 100+ on the TOEFL exam.


TOEFL course 7-day guarantee
TOEFL course 7-day guarantee
  1. All my TOEFL courses have 100% money-back guarantees for the first 7 days. You can request a full refund if you are unhappy with the course for any reason.
  2. All course includes access to more than 700 vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, listening, reading, writing, and speaking practice tests and lessons.
  3. All courses allow you to send up to but no more than 1 speaking and 1 writing practice test every 24 hours for evaluation. I will evaluate, score, and provide audio and written feedback on each practice test so that you can monitor your progress.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff,