Good news! The TOEFL writing test is the simplest section when it comes to structuring, and we are here to explain it step-by-step for you. After all, understanding the structure is equally important to studying and practicing for a high score.

In this article, GlobalExam will explain:

  • What does the TOEFL Writing test consist of?
  • All the tips you need to ace the TOEFL Writing Test.
  • What resources to use when practicing writing.
  • How can GlobalExam help prepare for the TOEFL iBT test?

Let’s dive right into it.

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TOEFL Writing Section: Presentation, Structure and Format

Learning the pattern of the TOEFL test’s four sections is crucial for getting a good score. As we mentioned earlier, the TOEFL Writing section is easier to understand than the other ones, so it would be sad if you failed it. This section consists of two tasks that get scored by a reviewer: the TOEFL Integrated Writing task and the TOEFL Independent Writing Task.

Each task would be measured on a scale of 0-5. The two scores will be added together and be converted to the 0-30 scaled section score which you will see in your official TOEFL score report.

On the other hand, the TOEFL Writing section is 50 minutes long and each of the two tasks has its own unique timing and structure. Here is a brief description of the tasks:

TaskDurationLengthCommon Topics
TOEFL Writing Task 1 (Integrated)20 minutesThe recommended length is 280-300 wordsAcademics
TOEFL Writing Task 2 (Independent)30 minutesThe recommended length is 380-400 wordsSocial issues

Please refer to these articles if you want to learn the format of the other sections:

TOEFL Writing Section Task #1: Integrated Essay

At the beginning of the first TOEFL Writing task, you will read an academic passage that tackles three main claims and is 250-300 words long. Next, you will listen to a lecture where a professor disagrees with one of the claims. Your job here is to write an essay explaining the claims and how the speaker is challenging them. Here is the precise structure:

  • Reading time: 3 minutes.
  • Lecture length: About 2 minutes.
  • Response time: 20 minutes.

woman writing in a notebook

Topics

The topics of TOEFL Integrated Writing task 1 are typically scholarly, meaning it would be regarding things you would hear in lectures and read about during academic settings. These topics usually include lectures on history, classic literature, the spending habits of American consumers, scientific debates, etc. It is very unlikely the TOEFL Integrated Writing topics will focus on modern topics, like social media, cell phones, etc.

Templates

The Introduction

No matter what question style is used, write your introduction using the following template:

  • The reading and the lecture are both about _____.
  • The author of the article feels that ______. or: The author of the reading presents three theories about _____.
  • The lecturer disputes the claims made in the article.
  • His position is that _____.

The Body Paragraphs

Use the following templates for the body paragraphs:

  • According to the reading _____.
  • The article mentions that ____.
  • The lecturer challenges this specific argument.
  • He claims that ____.
  • Additionally, he points out that ______.
  • Secondly, the author suggests ______.
  • In the article, it is said that _____.
  • The lecturer, however, asserts that ______.
  • He goes on to say that ______.
  • Finally, the author posits that _____.
  • The author contends that ____.
  • In contrast, the lecturer’s stance is _____.
  • He notes that _____.

You don’t need a conclusion.

Examples

Stonehenge – Glacial Erratics

Several of the rocks which make up Stonehenge, one of England’s most famous historical sites, have been found to come from a nearby quarry in Salisbury, around 25 miles away from the site. These could have been transported by men using sleds or other rudimentary tools. Others, however, have been traced to another location in Wales, almost 200 miles away.

So, how did those rocks, called bluestones, make the long and arduous journey? It is unlikely that the prevailing theory is true; namely, that these bluestones were transported from one location to the other. The technology of the time would have made this back-breaking work, and it is unlikely that they would have gone to so much trouble when they could simply have used rocks of a different type found closer to the site.

A new and exciting theory is called glacial erratics. This theory states that the rocks were, in fact, transported to the area far earlier by glacial movements during an icier interval in the Earth’s climate, and not instead by a phantom brigade of men.

Such erratics are widely known; we tend to think of the Earth’s climate as calm and tranquil, but on a historical basis, there have been several hundred thousand years where half of the planet was covered in glaciers. These tend to be slow but violent in nature; calmly and methodically carving their way through rock and earth.

Over many thousand years, it’s entirely possible that these glacial erratics transported the requisite materials to the site, thus solving the conundrum of how they came to be used in a field near Salisbury. It might also explain the unfinished-looking nature of Stonehenge itself; the interior part of it looks as though it’s missing a few pieces. Perhaps there were no more bluestones to use.

Question : Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they cast doubt on specific points made in the reading passage.

TOEFL Writing Section Task #2: “Independent Essay”

The second task of the TOEFL Writing would usually be very similar to the first task’s questions. You will be required to write about an important social issue. Here is the exact structure of task two:

  • Response time: 30 minutes
  • Recommended length: 380 words or more

Topics

Since this second task is the Independent Writing Task, then there are many different writing topics that you would be required to write about, here are a few examples to give you a clearer idea:

Education, technology, family, social media, the life of a university student, small towns vs. big cities, the qualities of a good employee, different types of coworkers, cell phones, use of free time, traveling to new destinations, etc.

We believe that you got the idea that there are limitless options of topics that you will be asked to give a personal opinion on.

Template

Paragraph 1 (Introduction)

  • Sentence One: The “Hook”
    This is an interesting sentence that introduces the general topic of the essay. Try something like: “It is critically important that we VERB…“
  • Sentence Two: The Main Point
    This is your main argument. Start with “Personally, I believe…“
  • Sentence Three: The Transition
    Just use: “I feel this way for two reasons, which I will explore in the following essay.”

Paragraph Two (Body 1)

  • Sentence One: A Topic Sentence
    Summarize your first supporting reason. Try: “To begin with…“.
  • Sentences Two and Three: The Explanation
    Explain what you mean, without talking directly about a personal experience.
  • Sentence Four: The Transition
    Just use: “My personal experience is a compelling illustration of this.“
  • Sentence Six to End: The Personal Example
    An example from your life that illustrates this argument. It should make up about 60% of the body paragraph.

Paragraph Three (Body 2)

  • Sentence One: A Topic Sentence
    Summarize your second supporting reason. Begin with “Furthermore…“.
  • Sentences Two and Three: The Explanation
    Explain what you mean. Shorten to one sentence if necessary.
  • Sentence Four: The Transition
    Just use: “For instance,“
  • Sentences Five to End: The Personal Example
    An example from your life that illustrates this argument. Again, it should make up about 60% of the paragraph.

Paragraph Four (conclusion)

  • Sentence One: Restate the Thesis
    Paraphrase your thesis. Begin with “In conclusion, I strongly feel that…“.
  • Sentence Two: Restate the Two Reasons
    Just use: “This is because ______, and _______.“

Example

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? A mother is more essential to a child’s upbringing than a father. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Tip:

Always try to evaluate both sides of the argument, even though you are agreeing with one perspective over another.

woman writing

Best Tips for Easily Acing the TOEFL Writing Section

So, understanding the structure and having the right template might seem like a great start but you still need a few winning tips that will help to push you from a regular success to a TOEFL star, and we have got those great tips:

Prewrite, always!

This is the most important thing you could do to create a great TOEFL writing essay, and still, many test-takers tend to forget to do it. Before you indulge yourself in the writing process, create notes and short outlines to organize your ideas and emphasizes the structure. Prewriting will help preserve the basic ideas you might need to use then shape them all into an outline.

Don’t worry about time when practicing

Sure, you need to train yourself to write the two essays at the right time, but when you first start practicing, ignore the time for a while and focus on how to write a good TOEFL writing essay. After all, it is almost impossible to do it at the beginning. But once you are comfortable writing well-constructed essays, then start working on your writing speed.

Practice on the model essays

It is extremely important to take a look at examples of good TOEFL sample essays to get an idea about what your essay should look like. Thankfully, there are many great sources where you can find model essays and great examples that guide you to a full score in your writing tasks.

What Are The Best Sources To Use When Practicing Writing?

As we mentioned before, there are many great sources where you can practice for your TOEFL Writing test and we are here to recommend you our top 5:

#1 GlobalExam

Yes, GlobalExam is a great platform to practice and train for your TOEFL test. This platform was specially designed to help students study and train for their tests using great and efficient tools. It is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and highly motivational to keep you excited for learning every day.

#2 ETS

ETS has to be included in our top five because it is administrating the TOEFL, which means the practice options mirror the real TOEFL test. The ETS offers a few selections of free TOEFL iBT practice sets as well as online courses to help test-takers study better for the test.

#3 TOEFL GO!

This one is also by ETS, and it is a perfect option for anyone who doesn’t want to sit for hours in front of a laptop. TOEFL GO! is the official online TOEFL practice app that will allow you to study and practice for your test whenever you want.

#4 TestDEN

Before you begin with TestDEN, make sure you have a minimum of 30 days to spare because that’s how long it takes to complete. However, it provides a structured course and many practice tests that will help you work on your weaknesses when it comes to the English language.

#5 Magoosh

Of course, one of the best ways to train for your TOEFL online is Magoosh. The latter is highly popular and capable of teaching you the exact format of the test while helping you prepare for it in a smart way. Magoosh is the best tool for anyone who is yet to learn the TOEFL structure.

Top 5 Preparation Resources for the TOEFL Writing Section

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