TOEFL Writing is the fourth and final section of the TOEFL exam. It is considered to be the toughest and the most strenuous part of the exam. You have to use your imagination, think of creative ideas, and write them down on paper. Most test takers are not confident enough to ace this section as they believe that they are not good writers and thus fail in this part.
If you are one of the TOEFL test-takers, you need to check the following tips to help you improve your English writing skills. This will serve as your guide to passing the exam.
Overview of TOEFL Writing Section
In this part of the exam, you are given written tasks. It also carries a score of 30. You are given two tasks; Integrated Writing and Independent Writing. Both writing tasks are to be done on the computer. You have a total of 50 minutes for both tasks.
In Integrated Writing, you will be required to use your reading, listening, and writing skills. First, you will be given a paragraph to read for 2 to 3 minutes; then you will listen to an audio clip of a speaker about the same topic. In the end, you will be given 20 minutes to plan and write a response in reference to both sources. You have to write a response and not your own opinions. Your score in this task will depend on the quality of your writing and your ability to give proper reasoning.
In the second task (Independent Writing), you will be given a question about a certain topic. You will have a total of 30 minutes to develop and write your answer. You are required to give reasons in support of your opinion or answer. You will then be graded on the basis of your writing quality, your ability to develop ideas and the use of vast vocabulary and grammar.
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6 Tips to Score Better in TOEFL Writing
Students tend to worry a lot about their performance in TOEFL Writing. Here are recommended tips that will solve all your problems and that will help you get above-average scores if you religiously follow them on your exam day.
Tip 1: Paraphrase the resources
Paraphrasing the resources is very important in Integrated Writing. If you don’t paraphrase and use exactly the same words as used in the passage or lecture, you will get a bad score. Use your own words. Paraphrase. Show the examiner that you have an extensive vocabulary. Don’t use the same words or phrases as quoted in the resources, copying the exact content will have a negative effect on your overall score.
Tip 2: Focus on the lecture and take notes
For Integrated Writing, focus on the lecture. Think about the main theme of the lecture. The speaker will repeat important ideas again and again. Note down the important facts and ideas. Learn how the ideas are being developed and how they are interlinked. In TOEFL Writing, the notes you make while listening to the lecture will help you a lot. You can also go back to the lecture whenever you want if you forgot a particular point.
Tip 3: Write a good essay
The quality of your writing is the key factor in deciding your score in this section. The essay you write in Independent Writing should be of proper length, not too long or too short. A good essay is 300 to 400 words with four to five paragraphs in it.
Structure your essay properly. In the first paragraph, write about the main idea or thesis. In the next three paragraphs, you should write your arguments and details. In the last paragraph, summarize your essay. The progress from one idea to another should be very smooth and clear. There should be a flow in the essay. The ideas discussed should not be disorganized.
Tip 4: Be relevant
In TOEFL Writing, some students write a lot of irrelevant stuff in their essays just to increase the length. By doing this, they are able to meet the minimum requirement of word count. But the essay they write would turn out to be of low quality.
Avoid using irrelevant words, and jargon in your essay. You can give examples, but they should all be relevant to the topic. You can use other tactics to increase the length of your essay so that the quality is also not compromised. You can write about your personal experiences, your thoughts, and your feelings but they should all be relevant.
Tip 5: Practice writing
Practice makes perfect. The only way to improve your writing skills is through practice. You should do a lot of writing before the exam day. Write essays about anything you can think of. Practice writing opinions on different topics such as finance, health, environment, business, politics, etc. Try to practice how to justify your ideas. You should learn how to give arguments and how to thoroughly explain them in writing. While writing practice essays, time yourself. See how long it would take you to write a good essay of 300 to 400 words. Use a broad range of words in your essay. Always ensure that your essay is free from grammatical errors.
Tip 6: Common mistakes
The examiners are not sitting there to fail all the students instantly. In TOEFL Writing, try to avoid making common mistakes such as: writing a lengthy essay or one that is too short, using slang words, grammar and punctuation mistakes, writing three body paragraphs, not using personal examples, etc.
Also, proofread your essay. Some test takers never do and they often tend to miss correcting simple spelling and punctuation mistakes. If you don’t check your essay it may result to a notably low score.
The chances of your failure increase if you don’t practice well enough. Another common mistake is that students use and write templates in their essays. Using templates is good for practice but not during the real exam. And, some students take online practice sessions without knowing the feedback. As a result, they waste both time and money.
Adhere to these guidelines and you will score more than 25 in writing. Hopefully, this article on TOEFL’s writing section was informative and helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.