Arab World English Journal: Special Issue: Application of Global ELT Practices in Saudi Arabia September 2019      Pp. 42-56

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Using Verbal Reports to Explore Reading Test-Taking Strategies
of Saudi, EFL University Students

Wafa Ahmed Alsafi
English Language Institute
King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia



Reading test-taking strategies (RTTS) play a central role in test-takers’ performance.  Identifying these strategies and understanding their appropriate use is crucial for improving the test-takers accomplishment. Thus the present study attempts to further our understanding of EFL reading test-taking strategies (RTTS) by attempting to explore qualitatively the reading test-taking strategies (RTTS) of Saudi, EFL female students while completing a multiple choice reading comprehension test. The participants are 26 level-three, foundation-year students at a big Saudi University.  The study uses think-aloud techniques, retrospective interviews, observations, and test protocols to deduce the participants’ reading test-taking strategies (RTTS). The data were analysed inductively using some elements of grounded theory to explore the participants’ strategy use. The result of the study is a list of 127 reading test-taking strategies (RTTS) classified under seven main categories and 21 subcategories. The classification of the strategies follows a narrative order that mirrors the test-takers’ experience while completing the test.
Keywords: reading test-taking strategies, retrospective interviews, Saudi EFL students, think-aloud protocols, verbal report

Cite as: Alsafi, W. A. (2019). Using Verbal Reports to Explore Reading Test-Taking Strategies
of Saudi EFL University Students. Arab World English Journal, Special Issue 1: Application of Global ELT Practices in Saudi Arabia. 42-56.


Dr Wafa Ahmed Alsafi is an Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics at the English
Language Institute at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Her interests are:
students’ learning styles and strategies, reading to write strategies, testing, evaluation, and
learners’ autonomy. ORCID: