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Today I want to talk a little about the TOEIC Reading test.

Reading test questions fall into three broad categories and it can be highly beneficial to recognise these in the exam and respond appropriately. The first are ‘main idea’ questions which ask you about the purpose or motivation of the text. It might seem obvious, but don’t go into details with these, just read the entire passage and identify its principle goal and sum this up in a few words. Next will come the ‘particular detail’ questions, which will often feature ‘who’/ ‘what’/ ‘why’ etc- and you should answer only the specific detail that is being queried. The final group are ‘inference questions’ which ask you to take what you see before you and extend it to a reasonable conclusion. Never fear, the conclusion should be very obvious, provided you have understood the text well e.g. if the text states that Mary is very unhappy in her work and is rewriting her CV, a suitable conclusion might be that she will leave her present job. Inference questions are acknowledged to be the most challenging, so make a note of all the relevant clues in the passage and devote a minute or so to looking for your conclusion.

Approach multiple choice backwards

The majority of test takers enter with one thought in mind: I must find the correct answer in the multiple choice. Here’s secret, though: all you really need to find is 3 wrong answers, and that can often be much easier. A correct answer could be right for a confusing range of reasons, but often it is quite simple to identify what is wrong with an answer- look for words that are misused or superficially similar to those in the text, and trust your instincts.

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