TOEFL Writing: Section details, Question Types, Score, Preparation Tips and More

    Rachita Mitra Rachita Mitra
    Content Curator

    TOEFL Writing comes at the end of the TOEFL where the candidates need to show their reading listening skills along with their writing abilities. This section is easy yet a bit complicated because of this. For a detailed understanding of TOEFL writing section read this article.

    TOEFL Writing Test – Description

    TOEFL writing section asks the test-takers to write two essays in 50 minutes. The two tasks are named as TOEFL integrated writing task and TOEFL independent writing task. The following picture shows the details of these two writing tasks:

    Comparison between TOEFL integrated & independent task

    As per the TOEFL exam pattern, the total duration of TOEFL writing is 50 minutes and it does not include the reading and listening time. For the TOEFL integrated writing task and TOEFL independent writing task, remember the following points:

    TOEFL integrated writing taskTOEFL independent writing task
    Reading the article is possible while writing the essayQuotations related to the prompt are necessary
    The lecture will be played only onceExplaining the prompt in own words is the focus of TOEFL Independent writing task
    The candidates need to explain whether and how the passage support or oppose to the lecture – Own viewpoints are not needed at allThe stand of the candidate must be clear and constant
    Including examples are mandatory-
    Referring to the passage and lecture is mandatory-

    TOEFL Writing Topics

    TOEFL Independent & Integrated Writing Tasks

    TOEFL integrated writing task topics can be academic or generic which means any of the following can be the topic of the TOEFL integrated writing task’s reading passage and lecture.

    • Any academic subject
    • Current affairs (Business deal, economic policy, market trend, games, and more)

    On the other side, TOEFL independent writing topics are not limited to any subject. The questions of TOEFL independent task will simply provide a viewpoint on any topic in 1-2 sentences. Along with the prompt, a question will be there and the essay must be constructed in relation to that question.

    Though the picture holds a few topics of TOEFL writing, we suggest the test-takers to check TOEFL writing samples for a wide range of topics for TOEFL writing task 1 and 2.

    TOEFL Writing Question Types

    For TOEFL writing task 1, the question type is the same: the candidates need to explain how the text support and oppose to the recording. The task of TOEFL integrated writing task is just to summarize the passage and the lecture with compare and contrast techniques. The explanation must be to the point and not plagiarized.

    For question types of TOEFL writing task 2 are

    • Agree or Disagree Prompt
    • Explain Both Sides Prompt
    • Pick a Stance prompt

    Penalty in TOEFL Writing

    TOEFL writing section has several penalties for both tasks. Check the table below to understand how points can be deducted here:

    TOEFL Integrated writing taskTOEFL independent writing task
    Rewriting or plagiarized contentGeneric content
    Too much referring to the passage and lectureMultiple stands and lack of clarity
    Too less or not referring to the passage and lectureNo example or quotation
    Stating own opinions-

    Plus, avoiding the followings can save the test-takers from losing points:

    • Spelling and grammatical mistake
    • Distraction from the topic
    • Multiple tense and passive voice
    • Unnecessary illustration
    • Unnecessary use of synonyms

    Following proper TOEFL integrated writing structure and using the connecting words in both essays can carry more marks here.

    TOEFL Writing Score

    Each task of TOEFL writing is graded on a scale of 0-5, which means the total score range is 0-10 for 2 tasks. It is the raw score of TOEFL writing and this is used to convert to obtain a TOEFL writing scaled score within 0-30.

    This scaled score is the TOEFL writing score or TOEFL writing (sectional) cut off for and this score is used to calculate the overall TOEFL score out of 0-120. Check the TOEFL writing raw score to scaled score conversion in the table below:


    To understand your preparation, go through TOEFL writing practice, take a test, and check the score.

    TOEFL Score Statistics

    In 2017, Indian candidates secured 24 in TOEFL writing section and it is the same as the TOEFL writing score of 2018.

    Globally, in 2018, the writing mean score of the males was 20.5 and for the females, it was 20.9. In 2017, the writing mean score of the males was 20.6 and for the females, it was 20.9. It indicates the level of preparation had a decay among the males but that remains the same in females. In both these years, the males and females applying in business and non-business programs secured the highest mean scores.

    TOEFL Writing Mean Score Comparison

    TOEFL writing section is definitely a scoring section but proper TOEFL writing tips and strategies are needed.

    TOEFL Writing Tips

    A few TOEFL writing tips include:

    • Daily habit of reading English passages from books, journals, and newspaper
    • Daily listening to English news
    • Daily writing to increase speed and accuracy
    • Enhance your vocabulary
    • Follow TOEFL writing template
    • Fill the body paragraphs with arguments and examples
    • Master the art of note-taking
    • Keep the essay specific, logical and concise
    • Keep the paragraphs interrelated
    • Don’t exceed the word count

    Writing topics for TOEFL IBT with answers are available online and we suggest the candidates must check those to understand the TOEFL essay structures. Generally, the essay should have 4-5 paragraphs: the introduction must have a thesis statement and the conclusion must be general. Follow all these and get ready for a good score in TOEFL writing.

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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