First of all, the typical factual questions in TOEFLiBT reading test usually ask about explicit facts or details given in the passage. In fact, they often contain one of the wh- words or phrases; who, what, when, where, why, and so on. Factual questions, for instance, often begin with the phrases like:

- According to the passage, ......

- According to the author, ......

- According to the theories of ______

- According to the information in paragraph 3, ......

While on the other hand, factual questions sometimes begin with such an interrogative statement as this:

- What does the author say about ...... ?

So, when you see those phrases above, you know precisely the information needed for an answer is directly stated or mentioned somewhere in the passage.

Scanning Method
Because there is a time limit given in every question which must be answered correctly, it is important for you to scan the information needed as quickly as possible. Normally, to scan something is to read quickly to find certain information. In order for you to answer factual questions correctly, it is compulsory that you must scan the passage or paragraph to locate and identify the information that the question is asking you about. In any case, the question revealed often gives the number of certain paragraph where the information can be found which makes your task easier.

Perhaps, it is natural when you find yourself somehow doubtful from your first reading in the passage or paragraph, especially in attempts of looking for specific answers. For this reason, you may take a look at some of the following techniques which will be outlined below.

- Focus on one or two key words from the question. These might be dates, names, or other nouns; something that will appear easy for you to find as you scan through.

- Scan the passage as you scroll down looking for similar words or their synonyms. It is recommended that you don’t need to read every single word from the reading text and therefore, stay focused when looking for these words.

- Keep it mind that the questions generally follow the order of the passage. Hence, you are advised to scroll down from the last question that you have answered, not up.

- While you are trying to find certain key words from the passage, try to read carefully where the sentence occurred. Perhaps, you may have to read the sentences preceding or following the sentence that comes next.

- Last but not least, spare your little time to compare and contrast the information that you read with the answer choices.

Remember, the correct answers for factual questions occasionally use the same words that the passage uses. While it is often the case that they contain synonyms and possess different grammatical structures, however, there will commonly be two or three factual questions associated with each of the three passages.

Here’s an example from the preview reading test and a factual question connected to it.

As you can see from the sample illustrated above, the key words that you probably would focus on in that question are sweet potato seeds. The answer for that question, surprisingly, comes in the last sentence of paragraph 6, which states that ‘most scientists now believe that sweet potato seeds were brought to the island in the stomachs of sea birds’. So, in that case, the correct answer which appears to be closely related to the factual question is on the fourth choice which is ‘they were transported by sea birds’.

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