The iTEP reading section is the third part of the iTEP test. It comes right after listening.

Structure of the reading section.

The iTEP reading section has two parts.

Part 1

You read a lower intermediate level text of approximately 250 words and you answer 4 multiple choice questions about it.

Part 2

You read an advanced level text of nearly 450 words and you respond to 6 multiple choice questions about it.

The types of questions are the same. They only differ in the level of difficulty with questions getting more complex as you advance.

Time and timing

You have exactly 20 minutes to answer both sections and approximately 2 minutes for each question.

The best way to get a better understanding of the iTEP reading is to understand it in terms of question types and strategies for each question type.

Types of questions.

There are basically 5 types of reading questions in the iTEP test. 

These reading types are –

1.Main idea question.

2.Catching detailed questions.

3.Vocabulary question.

4.Synthesis question.

5.Sequencing question.

1.Main idea question.

This is a question that tests your ability to understand the general idea of the text. This type of question focuses on testing whether the candidate can comprehend the text as a whole other than small specific details. A main idea can be defined as the author’s opinion in the text. It centres on the text as a whole and concentrates mainly on what the author thinks about the topic under discussion. 

For instance the general topic might be Education and the author’s argument(main idea) is that Education should be provided freely to everyone.

There are two types of main idea questions.

1.Type 1 – Asks about the main idea of the whole text. It just asks about a single main idea.

An example of a Main idea question type 1.

What is the main idea of the passage ?

a)People don’t have to pay money for valuable things

b)Valuable things are not free

c)Don’t trust anyone who offers free lunch.

d)Governments spend a lot of money

2.Type 2 – Asks about the summary of main ideas of the text.This is also called a summary question. iTEP classifies this under main idea questions. This question has a sentence that summarises the whole text and in addition. It tests your ability to comprehend the passage and identify the different main ideas.Students should be very careful with this question because it is worth 3 points unlike the others that are worth 1 point.

Strategy for main idea questions Type 1.

1.Read the question(most of the time it is the first one) and then go to the text.

2.While reading the text normally in the introduction , identify the topic that is normally the title, then continue reading and focus on comprehending the author’s opinion about the topic.Put the main idea in your own words in 3-4 word text.

Let’s have an example using a text from a practice test.

From the above text we can understand that the topic is – behaviours and the main idea is that animals experience emotions as humans do.

If we use the real question about the text from the test:


What is the main idea of the passage?

A) There is disagreement as to whether animal behaviours can result from higher  order thinking.

B) Animals perform social rituals in the same way that humans experience them.

C) Most social animals obey very complicated rules for mating based on the species’ culture.

D) There is a possibility that animals experience sentiments like humans.

The answer is clearly D and it expresses the opinion in the text.

You don’t have to read a whole text to capture the main idea. Normally, a thorough  reading of an introduction and the final paragraph will do the trick.

Strategy for main idea question type 2.

1.Read the summary sentence and identify the main point(s) mentioned in it.

2.Look for the sentences in the list that contain these similar ideas. Wrong answers normally have contradicting ideas or mention specific details that do not necessarily reflect the main idea in the summary sentence.

Let use look at an example of a summary question

1.Let us take some time to understand the main ideas mentioned in the summary sentence

 ‘’Franchising has been increasing in popularity as a business format for several decades.’’

From that sentence we can conclude that:

Franchising is a popular form of doing business Or in other words Franchising has appealed to many people for a long time. 

So we need to look for the sentences that reflect this fact.

A) A franchise allows people who want to study business to escape many of the pitfalls of being an independent owner. This can be considered since wanting to escape many pitfalls of doing business can motivate people to go for a franchise.

B) -franchising is less risky than it used to be thanks to ethical standards developed by the industry and regulations established by the government. Being less risky can explain why ‘’Franchising’’ is very popularly

C) – Franchises research different aspects of the market to determine the demand of their products. – This does not explain why it is popular since even in other business research is conducted.

D) A number of states set up standards for business practices that led to the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular UFOC. – This point does not in any way care to explain how the formation of UFOC made Franchising popular. 

E) Mobil McDonald’s Qwik shop and Coca-Cola, are well-known brand names. – This sentence does not in any way explain why franchising is popular. It just mentions well=known brand names.

F) A franchisee benefits from the brand name of the franchiser and from various types of help that the franchiser offers in exchange for fees paid. Because its main highlight is the benefits of franchising, it can explain why Franchising has become more popular.

From the above analysis, we can conclude that the correct answers that represent the main ideas are  – A,B and F

2.Catching details question

This is a question that checks your ability to capture small specific details. This question assesses whether the candidate can scan for details in the text. These specific details can range from supporting details, definitions or even main ideas of text paragraphs. These questions are normally phrased this way :

‘’According to paragraph(3) which of the following is  . . . . . .’’

Tips for answering a catching details question 

1.Do not automatically select an answer just because it contains a word or phrase from the referenced paragraph.

2.Carefully evaluate each option to determine if it is true or not.

An example of a catching details question:


According to the passage, where was coffee first cultivated ?



C)Southern Arabia

D)The Americas

Basing on factual information from the text, we can conclude that the answer is C.Southern Arabia is explicitly mentioned towards the end of the  in paragraph

3.Vocabulary in context question

This one tests your ability to understand the meaning of the word in context. It does not question the dictionary meaning but the meaning of the word as used in the passage

Vocabulary questions are more straightforward than other question types because they do not depend on the text as a whole. 

How do you answer a vocabulary question ?

1.Read the part of the paragraph where the vocabulary is and try to come up with a word to replace that vocabulary. Then can try to insert in your word and find out which of the four options matches with your word.

2.Insert each of the four answer choices and see which one expresses the best meaning according to the context.(Plug in method)

3.You can also play the positive or negative. Consider the tone of the word used in the passage whether it is positive or negative then choose the option that matches with that tone.

Example of a vocabulary question

The word “assume” as used in the passage means:

A. Guess

B. Accept

C. Suggest

D. Respect

Using the plug in method, if we try to insert the four options,option A fits right in. You may be tempted to choose C but according to the text, ‘’However, some scientists argue that if a person sees someone crying, he can assume that the person feels sad since he responds in a similar way to sadness’’  we need a word to mean making a judgement using the information you have – which disqualifies Option C.

4.Synthesis question

This is a type of question which asks you about an idea which is no t explicitly stated in the text.This is also sometimes called n inference questions. They are similar to rhetorical questions since they ask about information which is not clearly stated.You can easily identify this type of question by looking towards like – infer, suggest or imply.

Strategy for answering inference questions.

1.Read the question and highlight what exactly it is asking.

2.Read the part of the text where the answer is supposed to be and make sure you understand it. You can read it more than a few times until you fully understand what it means.

3.Make a 3-4 word short summary of that part of the text.

4.Compare the four options of the question and choose the one with the closest meaning to your short summary. That should be your answer.

Example of an inference question 

Extracted from this website.

Question: Which of the following can be inferred from the paragraph about the location of the meteorite impact in Mexico? 
  1. The location of the impact site in Mexico was kept secret by geologists from 1980 to 1990.
  2. It was a well-known fact that the impact had occurred in the Yucatán region.
  3. Geologists knew that there had been an impact before they knew where it had occurred.
  4. The Yucatán region was chosen by geologists as the most probable impact site because of its climate.

[C] is the correct answer.

[A] There’s no mention of the geologists keeping this event a secret, so we can eliminate A.

[B] The Yucatan wasn’t discovered as being the location until later in the passage, meaning it wasn’t well-known, so we can eliminate B.

[D] Climate isn’t named as a factor in the discovery, so answer choice D can also be eliminated.

[C] Choice C is the best choice, as we see from our notes under the main ideas, the collision occurred in 1980 and geologists didn’t locate the area until 1990.

5.Sequencing question.

These are questions that check your understanding of the logical order of ideas in the text.In the iTEP text there is normally 1 for each text.Instead of choosing an option from the four multiple choices, you have to click on one of the four black squares to insert the text into the paragraph. You can change the position as much as you want to.

Strategy for sequencing questions.

1.Read the removed sentence and determine the key information in it. Look for clues such as pronouns.You can restate the topic of the sentence yourself in 3-4 words.

2.Try to insert the sentence into the spaces and decide whether the flow is logical.Make sure that the topic of the sentence either before or after is coherent(connected) with the inserted sentence and your short summary.

3.Eliminate any option(s) that is not consistent with the ideas in the inserted sentence and there you have your answer.

Example of a sequencing question

Question :Insert this new sentence into the passage into one of the spaces indicated by letters A,B,C or D.

‘’They realize significant pricing discounts by joining together with many others to buy materials supplies and services such as advertising.’’

a) A

b) B

c) C

d) D

From the removed sentence ‘’They realize significant pricing discounts by joining together with many others to buy materials supplies and services such as advertising.’’we can understand that 

1.The previous sentence has a plural noun hence the ‘’They . . .  . .. . . .’’ so we need to look for a sentence with that kind of information 

2. There is an idea of coming together of different entities. 

So we need to look for an option that clearly contains both of these two ideas.

Let us look at the four options and examine them thoroughly.

A – ‘’The franchisee gets a proven system of operation training and how to use it and ongoing support.’’ – This cannot be the correct answer because there is no plural noun being referred to by the removed sentence and it does not mention anything about coming together.

B. ‘’Reputable franchises conduct market research before selling a new outlet, so the franchisee can be confident that there is a demand for the product or service’’.This could partially be the correct answer. It mentions ‘’franchises’’ which could be referred to by ‘’They . . ‘’ however, it does not mention anything about different entities joining hands.

C – ‘’Franchisees enjoy the benefit of strength in numbers. This is definitely the correct answer’’. It mentions something about working together and uses the word franchisees which is referred to by ‘’They . . . in the removed sentence.Thirdly the sentence that follows it reaffirms the information in the removed sentence by drawing a comparison with firms that work alone.

D.By comparison independent operators have to negotiate on their own, usually getting less favorable terms. This cannot be the correct answer. It just reaffirms the information from the previous sentence.

Those are the different types of reading questions that you should expect to see in the iTEP exam. Understanding them will be very fundamental for you in order to excel in the exam.

Check out these practice questions . These are the best questions for you to practice.