Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities. TOEFL is a trademark of the Educational Testing Service (ETS), a private non-profit organization, which designs and administers the tests.
ETS issues official score reports which are sent independently to institutions and are valid for two years following the test. To successfully pass TOEFL writing, you need to know how this part of the test works, what you need to demonstrate in each essay, and most importantly, how to prepare correctly.
TOEFL writing steps
Here are essential TOEFL writing steps to help you prepare for test day.
1. Get to know the format
The TOEFL writing part consists of two tasks, both of which require an essay to be written. Despite the external similarity of the form, in the first and second tasks, the examinee has different charges. The first task, the Integrated Writing Task, aims to test analyzing various sources of information.
You will need to read the text and listen to an excerpt from the lecture, and then analyze in writing how the report from one source confirms or refutes information from another. It is essential to understand that this essay asks you not to express your opinion but process the data. On the contrary, the second task, the Independent Writing Task, requires a reasoned expression of personal position on some issue.
2. Practice at home
Don’t miss out on any written communication opportunity in English: chat with a friend in the US, email to Amazon delivery services, greeting card for the teacher – all genres are suitable. But the main thing is to work out the format of the essay. Take the topics from the link and set aside half an hour in your daily schedule to write an essay on one of the topics. The regular practice works wonders: it will become easier to express your thoughts and argue your position every day.
3. Stick to structure
TOEFL examiners do not require you to be original in your presentation. However, it is much more essential for them that the essay is logical and understandable. This may be accomplished by following the traditional essay structure of the trad’s introduction, body, and conclusion. In the introduction, state the thought that you will defend.
Then, the main body should consist of at least three paragraphs, each containing one argument or example to defend the main idea. Finally, confirm your position and summarize what you have written. In conclusion, do not forget about introductory constructions and alliances like, therefore, needless to say, which help structure ideas and make essays more understandable.
4. Time yourself
Start the timer from the first workout. This will help you adjust to the time constraints of the exam. After a few sessions with a timer, you will stop being stressed about time, start expressing your thoughts, build your essay more quickly, and learn to leave a couple of minutes for review without sacrificing the quality of the article.
Remember that you will have 20 minutes to write the first essay on the test and 30 minutes to write the second. In this case, the recommended length of the first answer is 150-225 words, and the second is at least 300 words. So after the stop-light of the timer, do not forget to count the number of words in the essay to get used not only to the time frame but also to the volume of the text.
5. Check for typos and errors
After you’ve written your essay, be sure to check it out to get rid of typos and grammatical errors and see if you answered the question. It is easier to do this if you have examples of well-written TOEFL essays on the same or similar topics in front of your eyes, with which you can compare your work.
What can help you get the maximum points?
Learn to paraphrase the source. When answering the questions, you must be careful not to use exactly the words you read or heard in the original. Otherwise, the overall score will be lowered. Do not use the exact phrases that were used in the question. Instead, make use of your own. Show that you have a large vocabulary.
1. Pay attention to the text and take notes
Attempt to be as attentive as possible during the integrated task. First, determine the central theme of the passage. Remember that the speaker is repeating important ideas over and over. Do not forget to write down significant facts and opinions – these notes can help complete the assignment if you forget any nuances. Finally, please pay attention to how the main ideas develop in the text and how they are interrelated.
2. Practice writing good essays
Of course, your writing skills are critical in this part of the written exam. A decent essay should be both huge and tiny. The ideal word count is 300-400 words, separated into 4-5 paragraphs. It is also vital to appropriately structure the display of information. In the first paragraph, you should talk about the main idea of your written statement. Next, provide arguments and details in the following three sections. Summarize in the last paragraph. The move from one concept to the next should be seamless and painless. In general, the text should be a single whole and not a set of statements.
3. Stay on top of the topic
Many students stray from the main topic and write a lot of unnecessary text to increase the length of the essay. However, such an essay will receive a lousy mark. Try not to write about anything unrelated to the statement’s topic. Specific examples should be relevant to the topic if you provide them. If you add “water” to your writing to make it longer, the quality will inevitably decrease. Personal experiences, ideas, and feelings are fine to write about, but they must be contextualized.
4. Practice writing various essays
Practice is the key to a good result. You can only enhance your writing talents by practicing. You also need to prepare for the final stage of the TOEFL exam carefully: write your essays at home. Write on finance, health, environment, business, politics, etc. Learn to substantiate your thoughts and ideas, name arguments, and defend them in your essay.
In addition, do not forget that you need to write an essay at a specific time. Therefore, during practice, also set time boundaries. Make a timer to see how long it takes you to write a good 300-400 word essay. Pay attention to vocabulary: what topics are you struggling with? Take your grammatical and punctuation mistakes seriously and try to refine all aspects of your writing.