TOEFL iBT: Tips For Acing The Writing Section

It's important to understand how TOEFL essays are scored in order to produce a high-scoring essay. Scores are granted by taking the following into consideration:

  1. Development: Use of examples, details and reasons that support your ideas
  2. Organization: Your essay should be organized and easy to follow; avoid repetition of ideas and unclear connections
  3. Language Use: use different sentence structures, word choices, use more complex vocabulary to how your lexical range.

There are 2 parts to the TOEFL Writing Section.

 Integrated Writing Task

  • Involves listening to a lecture as well as reading
  • Completing this section takes about 20 minutes
  • At the beginning, you will need to read an academic passage for 3 minutes
  • You are then required to summarise points in the lecture and explain how they relate to the points in reading passage
  • Reading passage will remain on your screen when it is time to write.
  • Look for the main idea and the 3 points for developing the main idea in the reading. How do the points in the reading relate to the lecture?
  • Use the keywords in the text and the audio recording to form your words
  • About 250 words should be fine here but ensure you stick to the content of your notes.

Independent Writing Task

  • Takes about 30 minutes to complete
  • You will have to give your opinion on an issue in this writing task
  • Write as much as you can; high word count matters though no word limit is advised, though 500 should be your target to get a very good score
  • Make an outline which will help you think about your essay and what you want to write
  • Content is king; make sure you develop your content by providing relevant examples
  • Use advanced vocabulary whenever you are comfortable with it
  • Write a 4-5 paragraph essay though 4 is more effective as you might be able to argue your points better
  • Ensure each paragraph in your writing has a topic sentence. This is the first sentence in each paragraph of the essay's body and it tells what will be the paragraph will be about. 
  • Connect transitional words using examples like, First of all..., more importantly..
  • Use different types of words/connectors, for example, create a collection of connectors such as but, although, which, etc, Using different grammar varieties will ensure you receive a high score.
  • Think about what you want to write and whether or not you have reasons. Give as many specific reasons and examples as you can