Test Preparation

How to Prepare for TOEFL Writing Section?

How to Prepare for TOEFL Writing Section?

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Aspire to become an expert in TOEFL writing section? This ultimate guide will acquaint you with the necessary preparation tips to ace the TOEFL writing section!

GyanDhan

Yogender Panchal

Updated on: 07 Sep 2023

Bagging a decent score in each section of TOEFL, in turn, helps you increase your overall ranking.

Since one needs to have a veritable command over all the aspects of the test rather than one, we have prepared study guides for each section. In this article, we will specifically focus on how to prepare for the TOEFL writing section. For more such preparation guides for the other sections, you can visit the following links.

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What is the TOEFL Writing Exam Pattern?

This section measures the candidate’s English writing proficiency in an academic setting. Here is the exam pattern:

  • list items TOEFL writing template section consists of two tasks - Integrated Writing  Independent Writing
  • list items Integrated Writing 
  • list items Independent Writing
  • list items The TOEFL Writing Exam Duration is 50 minutes. 
  • list items The time allotted to the Integrated writing task is 20 minutes, and that for the independent task is 30 minutes. 
  • list items With the score scale ranging from 0-30, this section occupies 25% of the total paper (The total of all combined four sections is 120). 
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Independent Writing Task

TOEFL Independent Writing topics demand that the candidate writes on a specific issue (preferable lower word limit is 300) based on their knowledge. 

The Independent Writing essay task is assessed on the basis of the quality of your writing.  The following are the parameters of assessment: development, organization, and correct usage of grammar and vocabulary. The raters do not judge you on the basis of whether you agree or disagree with the topic, they are trained to accept varied opinions. 

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Integrated Writing Task

The Integrated Writing part first requires the test taker to read over a passage on an academic topic (one is allotted 3 minutes for this). Then, the candidate listens to a lecture that analyzes the reading material presented before. After this, comes the real task for the test- taker, wherein he/she has to frame a summarized paragraph of around 150-225 words, expressing his/her opinions about the same and how points in the lecture relate to those expressed in the reading passage.

Read more about: TOEFL Syllabus

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How to Prepare for the TOEFL Writing Section? 

With the right preparation, one can definitely burst the TOEFL stress bubble in one’s mind. Students can easily get through some of the most intimidating sections of the test by inculcating the following TOEFL writing section prep tips, tricks, and strategies.

  • list items Developing TOEFL writing skills is essential for students as this skill will help them perform the written tasks better in the test.There are some general writing skills you can practice before you move on to more targeted writing practice.  You can start by learning the conventions of spelling, punctuation, and paragraph creation.  Learn the basic organization of paragraphs in an essay. The answer should start with the topic of the essay. Each subsequent paragraph should discuss one aspect of the main topic or idea.  Before you start practicing TOEFL writing topics, think about the verb tense that will best suit the idea.   Read your write-up for 3 or 4 times, and make a checklist of common errors to improve on them.  Reread and replace uninteresting expressions with stronger words.  Do your TOEFL writing practice using transition phrases such as “on one hand” or “in conclusion”.  Since the exam is computer-based, practice on a QWERTY keyboard to gain typing speed. 
  • list items You can start by learning the conventions of spelling, punctuation, and paragraph creation. 
  • list items Learn the basic organization of paragraphs in an essay. The answer should start with the topic of the essay. Each subsequent paragraph should discuss one aspect of the main topic or idea. 
  • list items Before you start practicing TOEFL writing topics, think about the verb tense that will best suit the idea.  
  • list items Read your write-up for 3 or 4 times, and make a checklist of common errors to improve on them. 
  • list items Reread and replace uninteresting expressions with stronger words. 
  • list items Do your TOEFL writing practice using transition phrases such as “on one hand” or “in conclusion”. 
  • list items Since the exam is computer-based, practice on a QWERTY keyboard to gain typing speed. 
  • list items For a more targeted practice, students need to follow the given tips.  It is important to learn paraphrasing skills to avoid plagiarism.  Practice finding synonyms. Pick up words from a reading passage and think of their synonyms without looking at a dictionary or a thesaurus.  Another useful skill to develop is to practice using the noun form of the word and verb form of the word. Learn the difference between these forms and try writing sentences with both forms.  Make a habit of randomly selecting a few words from your vocabulary log, defining the words, and then using them in different sentences. Try thinking of as many synonyms of the word as you can. Start by paraphrasing 2 or 3 sentences and then move on to longer passages. 
  • list items It is important to learn paraphrasing skills to avoid plagiarism. 
  • list items Practice finding synonyms. Pick up words from a reading passage and think of their synonyms without looking at a dictionary or a thesaurus. 
  • list items Another useful skill to develop is to practice using the noun form of the word and verb form of the word. Learn the difference between these forms and try writing sentences with both forms. 
  • list items Make a habit of randomly selecting a few words from your vocabulary log, defining the words, and then using them in different sentences. Try thinking of as many synonyms of the word as you can.
  • list items Start by paraphrasing 2 or 3 sentences and then move on to longer passages. 
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TOEFL Writing Section Prep - Target Practice for Integrated Task  

  1. list items For TOEFL target practice, you can take a textbook of English, read the chapters given, and practice answering the questions at the end of the chapter. 
  2. list items To practice academic topics, read academic letters. Take copious notes and list out major points and important details. 
  3. list items Use your list (from the previous point) to write a summary essentially paraphrasing the original text using different words and grammatical structures. 
  4. list items Gradually inculcate a habit of paraphrasing faster.
  5. list items Pick recorded lectures or talks on academic topics. Listen for 30 seconds and try writing a summary of what you heard. Re-listen the recording to check your summary.  
  6. list items Read different articles on the same topic. Write separate summaries for each and an integrated summary to explain the similarities and differences between the texts. 
  7. list items The editorial section of the newspaper is another source. Read the section, interview a friend or a relative on the same topic, and write a summary comparing the interview and the written section. 

Note - Paraphrasing is an extremely important skill that you need to develop to avoid losing marks in the TOEFL writing section. 

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TOEFL Writing Section Prep -  Target Practice for Independent Task  

  1. list items Start off with making a list of familiar topics. 
  2. list items After picking a topic from your list, the next important step is ‘pre-writing’ - you need to think, plan, and list the important ideas about the topic. Identify the main ideas and write down points to support your ideas. Develop the essay further with the help of explanations and details. Always re-read what you have written. 
  3. list items Read articles and essays by professional writers and study them in detail. Identify the opinions made by the writer and how he addresses the main points.
  4. list items See and try solving as much TOEFL writing examples as you can. 

Some Additional Tips -

  1. list items Plan your time carefully - you have to plan, write and edit your answers for a good score. 
  2. list items Do not just summarize. Connect your points to the points in the reading passage.   
  3. list items What really forms the base is your General Knowledge. The more you know about varied issues, the better you can discern and present your views. Undoubtedly, a known topic gives you more clarity and confidence to present your ideas clearly.

As the adage goes “Practice makes a man perfect,” ensure a rigorous TOEFL writing practice. The more you practice, the more you score. 

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What are the General TOEFL Preparation Tips? 

  1. list items The candidate must start the preparation on time in order to get enough time to chisel the skills well. 
  2. list items Making a time- table and assigning specific time blocks for practice as well as revision is crucial. 
  3. list items Conceptual clarity is what happens to be the cornerstone of your TOEFL preparation. Instead of mugging up, students should focus on understanding the fundamental concepts so that they can easily tackle any question based on that concept.
  4. list items Solving TOEFL writing samples is indispensable for acing the section. Practice as many mock tests as you can so that you are acquainted with the difficulty level, pattern, and usual content of the TOEFL exam.
  5. list items Clarifying your doubts is essential for TOEFL preparation. You can consult your seniors and mentors who have expertise in the test. 
  6. list items At last, time-management is what happens to be one of the most important aspects of exam preparation. One needs to decide how much time one needs to devote to each section, both while preparing and attempting the test.
  7. list items The day is yours, so you need to stay focused and confident; getting rid of all the anxiety is important so as to channelize your preparation well on the exam day.
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There is a lot of TOEFL writing practice online material available on the internet. Try utilizing these tests to sharpen your skills and learning time management as well. Here are a few TOEFL writing practice tests to solve:

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Resources for TOEFL Writing Section Prep

Here are some TOEFL writing practice questions and resources that you can use for preparing for your test:

  • list items ETS Resources (Free)
  • list items Good Books for TOEFL Preparation Kaplan’s TOEFL iBT Premier Barron’s TOEFL iBT Princeton Review Cracking the TOEFL iBT Cambridge Preparation for TOEFL
  • list items Kaplan’s TOEFL iBT Premier
  • list items Barron’s TOEFL iBT
  • list items Princeton Review Cracking the TOEFL iBT
  • list items Cambridge Preparation for TOEFL

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What are the Tips to Keep in Mind While Attempting TOEFL Writing Section?

  1. list items ‘Paraphrasing’ is considered to be a pre-requisite for the integrated writing section; else, it is easy to lose points due to plagiarism. 
  2. list items For the TOEFL independent writing section, pre-writing is considered extremely important. Outline the key takeaways from the topic presented to you and then build a coherent and organized write-up. 
  3. list items One needs to be very attentive while listening to the clip of Integrated writing. This enables the candidate to deliver a concise and summarized passage of the idea presented in the audio. Also, avoid repeating the same ideas.
  4. list items Syntax of sentence, vocabulary (it should be relevant and understandable), and grammar are the basic yet imperative components of any type of writing. 
  5. list items Stay on the topic and avoid unnecessary blabbering.

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How to Prepare for TOEFL One Week Before the Exam?

  1. list items Practice writing in a time-bound frame. 
  2. list items Learning some of the basic sentence patterns can be beneficial.
  3. list items Practice as many mock tests as you can. 
  4. list items Learn new vocabulary only if you are able to take it all in. It’s better to revise the stock you have already learned before moving on to new words. 
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Conclusion 

So, here were a few tips to help you study for the TOEFL writing section. In case you need further guidance with TOEFL preparation, all you need to do is get in touch with GyanDhan’s admission counselling team. Our team will connect you with the best TOEFL coaching institutes out there which will provide you with the perfect TOEFL preparation guidance.