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Strategies for TOEFL iBT Writing Section

Test Taking Strategies

Test Taking

The last component in TOEFL iBT is the Writing section. It measures you ability to write in standard academic English. There are two tasks in TOEFL iBT Writing section - Independent Writing task and Integrated Writing task.

Within the Independent Writing task students are asked to write an essay on a given general question. The purpose of this Writing task is to measure the students' ability to state their opinions or express their comments on topics which are based on their personal knowledge and experience. The students should also support their ideas and opinions with examples or details. Students are given 30 minutes to write their essays. The essay should be approximately 300 words.

Within the Integrated Writing task the students are asked to demonstrate that they have understood material coming from different sources (reading and listening), that they can combine the information from those sources in a coherent, well organized, summarized written form, and that they may compare the information from those sources and draw conclusions from them. The time in the integrated task is as follows: You will have 3 minutes to read a passage of 230-300 words. The reading passage is hidden then and you will listen to a 2-minute lecture that is related to the reading passage. The listening may add new information or present a different point of view. You may take notes during both reading and listening part. Then the reading passage is shown again on the screen and you are given 20 minutes to write a response to a question. The response should be between 150-225 words.

Writing Preparation Strategies

Practice writing in English on a computer keyboard. There is no other way in TOEFL iBT than typing your response. So, practicing on keyboard will help you a lot.

Build your vocabulary systematically. Develop a wordlist with new words and devote time to learning these words, try to include them in your speaking and writing practice systematically.

When you practice writing try to use a wide range of vocabulary and grammatical structures. Do not fear to use new words and grammar patterns. That is a way to learn them and use them appropriately. Using rich vocabulary and variety of grammar is looked upon favorably by the raters.

Learn the essay structure very well and follow this structure closely in your practice and in your real exam. The essay is comprised of three components: Introduction, body and conclusion. Each component has its important features. Thorough review of the essay structure you may find in the paper TOEFL iBT Essay Structure on

Practice organizing your writing. Before starting your written response allow 2-5 minutes to make an outline of your essay. Do not worry that the time is running, a good outline will save you lots of troubles and time while writing. The essay outline should include the major ideas for the paragraphs in 2-3 main phrases per paragraph, as well as some examples and supporting details. Do not write complete sentences, but some words and phrases that may help you follow that outline and add additional information to develop a well-organized and coherent essay.

Learn to use transition (linking) words to switch between different ideas, add information, provide examples, compare points, etc. Such words are: furthermore, in addition, for example, for instance, on the other hand, to sum up, first, second, etc. A detailed list of such signal words, along with an explanation where to use them, is provided on

Be time effective. At the beginning of your practice you may not comply with the time for the particular writing task. However, each other time you write, try to get closer to the time requirement for this task.

Monitor your own progress. Ask your tutor to evaluate your writings in accordance with the appropriate TOEFL iBT Writing Rubrics. For best accuracy, take some of writing components which are scored by professional TOEFL iBT Teachers. You will be provided with accurate and constructive feedback with guidelines on how to improve your writing and how to continue your TOEFL iBT preparation.

For the independent writing task you will have to write on familiar topics. Make a list with familiar topics and practice writing on each of them. Do not forget the essay structure. Make an outline and follow it closely. State your opinion or preference and support it with examples and details.

An important skill to help you on the integrated writing task is the Paraphrasing. Paraphrasing involves connecting the ideas from the source material in your own words. Practice paraphrasing purposefully. Do not just rewrite what is stated but write selectively (only the important points) in your own words. To help you with paraphrasing, we have created TOEFL iBT Paraphrasing Strategies that you may find on

At the exam strategies

Do not forget to allot some time before you start your response to organize your writing - the outline. It will save you time and trouble. Follow it closely.

Pay attention to the time. Do not forget that you have limited time for both tasks. If you have a minute left, do not move to the next section. Make a quick review on what you have done. You may find errors and correct them.

Do not extend you writing well above 300 words for the independent task. For the integrated task it is important that you write between 150 and 225 words.

Use appropriate signal and linking words to switch between ideas, to add information, etc. That helps the reader to follow your writing easily.

Practice you writing skills with i-Courses Writing Components. You will benefit from the professional scoring that gives you feedback on all the weak points in your papers and ways to overcome those weaknesses.

Each student can easily get professional custom writing help from academic writers.

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General TOEFL iBT Tips

TOEFL iBT is a test that may shape your future. We have prepared some tips that may help you throughout your TOEFL iBT preparation process and also during the exam itself.

TOEFL iBT Reading Tips

Guidelines on how to prepare for the TOEFL iBT Reading section and how to behave at the real test in order to improve your final score.

TOEFL iBT Listening Tips

Guidelines on how to improve your TOEFL iBT listening skills and add value to your TOEFL iBT final score.

TOEFL iBT Speaking Tips

Strategies to do your best in the TOEFL iBT Speaking section.

TOEFL iBT Writing Tips

Tips to deliver best quality integrated and independent writings in your TOEFL iBT Exam.

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