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TOEFL Writing: Test of Written English


To wind up our introduction to the TOEFL, you'll be relieved to hear that TOEFL Writing is not as challenging as the GMAT AWA. In TOEFL Writing, the test makers don't really care how original your thoughts are - they just want to see that you can structure them according to the American Formula (think the Coco Cola secret formula!).

The TOEFL Writing Formula is much more basic and direct than those for Analysis of an Issue or Argument. You basically need to supply about 300 words in the following tight structure:

Paragraph 1: Introduction Sentence and Thesis Statement (what you think and the 2 or 3 reasons you will use to justify it)

Paragraph 2: Your first reason with a couple of examples to illustrate it

Paragraph 3: Your second reason with a couple of examples to illustrate it

Optional Paragraph: Your third reason with a couple of examples to illustrate it

Paragraph 4 or 5: Conclusion - or restatement of your Thesis Statement

Be careful to stick to this style since more open-ended styles will definitely bring down your score. If you manage to do this with very few mistakes and using varied syntactical structure, you can approach the high score of 6. It's important to decide whether you will type the essay or hand write it. If your handwriting is abysmal, by all means type it. The correctors give each essay just two minutes, so if they're struggling to decipher your penmanship, they're more likely to be brutal.

TOEFL iBT Writing

 Writing Task  Reading Time  Number of Words  Listening Time  Writing Time  Number of Words 
 Integrated task 3 minutes~ 250~ 2 minutes20 minutes~ 200
 Independent task 30 minutes~ 300

Several Essay Topics:

  • Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Parents are the best teachers. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  • Nowadays, food has become easier to prepare. Has this change improved the way people live? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  • It has been said, “Not everything that is learned is contained in books.” Compare and contrast knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books. In your opinion, which source is more important? Why?
  • A company has announced that it wishes to build a large factory near your community. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this new influence on your community. Do you support or oppose the factory? Explain your position.
  • If you could change one important thing about your hometown, what would you change? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.
  • How do movies or television influence people’s behavior? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.


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