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TOEFL Writing


Adam Turner

TOEFL tips
  • You can bring a sheet of essay questions with you on the subway and think about each topic in your head. Thinking also requires practice!
  • Practice your answers to the questions. Keep a strict 30 minute period for writing with no interruptions. The TOEFL test is not a test of your best writing ability. It is a test to see what you can write in 30 minutes. The stress of the time limit is a necessary part of preparing well.
  • You can say that both sides have good points but it is more precise, easier to write, and saves time if you choose only one side in a question. You deal with some counter-arguments but it is a better strategy to choose one side of an agree or disagree question.
  • When practicing on computer, use a program such as NOTEPAD or WORDPAD with minimum editing functions. The TOEFL essay software is basic so you should try to simulate it.
  • You can copy and paste your essay into a WORD file when you are finished if you want to use spelling and grammar check to check your work. This may be helpful.
  • Write example questions as often as possible. Two essays a week for a year would prepare you for all possible questions!
  • Make sure you practice different structures of questions, not only agree or disagree questions.
  • Grammar is not the only part! Simply studying example sentence patterns is not real writing!
  • Write over 300 words to get a good score. Studies have shown that length is an important factor for determining score. Use Word 2000 (TOOLS->WORD COUNT).

Common TOEFL mistakes

  • Your thesis statement in the introduction is without any background information.
  • Using the same sentence in your THESIS and CONCLUSION.
  • No Conclusion. No further comment in the conclusion.
  • Overgeneralizing your argument. Use words like some many most etc.
  • Don't actually write the words Introduction, Body or Conclusion in the essay.



Follow this template for TOEFL Success.

Set your GOALS

Do these tasks.

Learn the structure of TOEFL questions.

Make generalizations carefully.