How to improve your TOEIC score

To improve in TOEIC, especially the reading section, but in fact all of TOEIC, you need to improve your reading skills. Here are some suggestions on how to do that.

Extensive reading. (to increase your reading speed)

A) Read a lot of easy content where the number of new words is not greater than 10 % of the total number of  unique words. (Note that this information is provided when you click on the title of new items in the LingQ Library).

1)      Read a new item quickly once. Then try to summarize out loud to yourself what the item was about.

2)      Listen to the item and read along at the same time. Make sure that you can read faster than the audio file you are listening to. If you cannot, read the item again and continue practicing to try to increase your reading speed. Note that most articles, including news reports are read at about 140 words per minute, whereas conversations are around 160 words per minute and Dr. Laura is closer to 200 words per minute. You will need to get your speed up to 200 words per minute or faster to really do well on TOEIC.

3)      Select a new item and do the same again. You can use imported content if (as in the case of VOA) there is a sound file provided. If there is no sound, do as in B) below.

Note that you should read these easy items at first without listening, and then read along while listening. The objective is to increase your reading speed.

B) Read newspaper articles, magazine articles, or other handy material, including web sites, on subjects of interest to you.

1)      Make sure you are interested in the content.

2)      Do not look up any words. Just read, scan and try to figure out the meaning.

3)      Do this daily and try to enjoy it. Do not look up any words in a dictionary!!

4)      Try to summarize the meaning to yourself.


The goal is to develop the ability to scan, and to guess at meaning.



Intensive reading. (to increase your vocabulary and ability to use phrases)

A)    Choose content items with more than 10% new words and up to 20% new words as a percentage of unique words. (See the LingQ Library information on each new content item.) 

1)      Read through once, saving new words.

2)      Listen and read. Save additional words and phrases that cause trouble.

3)      Listen to the text 3-5 times.

4)      Read the text 2-3 times.

5)      Review the saved words and phrases using Flash Cards. Try our new free app for the iPhone and iPod Touch if you have these devices.

6)      Continue listening and reading to the item 3-5 more times.


Practice a mixture of extensive reading and intensive reading. Your reading will improve and so will your TOEIC score. But remember to stick to articles that you find interesting, as much as possible.

3 comments on “How to improve your TOEIC score


All methodologically sound studies show that extensive reading does not have a noticable effect on TOEIC scores.
Students would probably be better off memorizing vocabulary.

Fricker, I would be interested in seeing these studies.

TOEIC is in effect a measure of one’s vocabulary and comprehension. As I said in the post, a high level of comprehension and a large vocabulary is best acquired through intensive and extensive input activities. I would not recommend studying isolated word lists. I think that this practice is common in East Asia, where the TOEIC scores are lowest.

Sandeep dhar

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