TOEFL Exam: 10 Simple TOEFL Quick Prep Strategies for Writing Section

    Karishma Khatri Karishma Khatri
    Exams Prep. Master

    Are you all game for your TOEFL attempt? TOEFL gives you 50 minutes to showcase your proficiency in English Writing skills in its writing section and you must have a plan regarding what to do and what not to do during your attempt. 

    • Writing Section contributes 25% to your total TOEFL test score i.e. range of 0 – 120.
    • You have to complete two writing tasks in 50 minutes. First is an integrated writing task and second is an independent writing task. Read TOEFL Exam Pattern
    • Each of your essays will be given a score from 0 – 5, the sum of these two scores will be scaled to a score from 0 – 30. This will be your final writing score.
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    First, you need to understand that its natural to be uncomfortable when you are being timed while writing. It’s not what you do everyday and hence, a challenging task. Second, practicing the writing part thoroughly is extremely important. And why to do so? Obviously, to score better, so that you get into a foreign university of your choice.

    Our goal is to make easy your whole TOEFL writing section experience. Follow these simple TOEFL Quick Preparation Tips to aim for a better TOEFL score.

    Let’s begin!

    1. Do thorough ‘timed-writing’ before the test day

    Understand that writing an essay for an English class and for the TOEFL Exam are two different things. In class, you get ample time to formulate your ideas and work upon them. When you have a time constraint (as in case of the TOEFL exam), things ought to change. You are expected to think, write and revise as quickly as possible. And hence, a sufficient amount of before-hand practice is essential. Since you are supposed to write your essay online, work upon your tying speed. Set a timer for 30 minutes and try typing your essay within that time-frame without stopping. As a general rule, you must type about 30 words in one minute. Do not forget to revise it in the last few minutes!

    2. Focus on the quality

    Who says that filling pages will fetch you marks? Well, not in case of the TOEFL Exam.You must think about the quality and not the quantity of your essay. Short but well-written sentences are still acceptable but make sure whatever you write makes sense. Where these short sentences often fetch 4 or 5 scores, longer sentences may just fetch 2 or 3 scores. One reason may be because the quality might get compromised in lengthy sentences. Try that your paragraphs flow smoothly. Do not let your scores get cut because of your vocab or grammar mistakes.

    3. Learn the common types of TOEFL Prompts

    Be ready to get stormed by the essay topic you get in the actual exam. As much as you practice, guessing the exam topic is next to impossible. Also, you won’t be getting your choice of topic in the TOEFL Exam. Hence, practice writing about different genres, so that you get a hint of each.

    To help the aspirants, Education Testing Services (the makers of TOEFL) release sample topics on their website. Practice them for sure. Look for keywords that are repeated often in the prompts, such as ‘prefer’ or ‘oppose’. Try analyzing what the examiner is looking for from these hints and respond accordingly. Being familiar with such patterns makes it easier on the exam day for the candidate to identify  and respond accurately to what is being asked in the question.

    4. Devote sometime for brainstorming

    It is advisable that you brainstorm about the given topic, plan the structure of your essay and then start writing. Before you begin to write, take 1-4 minutes to decide upon what all you are going to add in different paragraphs. Substantiate your points with examples and reasons. This exercise will help you write a clear essay will minimal structural confusion. 

    As a general approach, we analyze both side of the coin, select the one which gives a better scope of expression and begin writing. Sometimes, it okay to think differently and write what you believe in.

    5. Begin with a basic thesis statement

    This is the first thing that your rater will see. Hence, it should be precise and grammatically correct. It should state the main idea of your response. You may skip the introductory paragraph but writing a thesis statement is essentially important. You may borrow it from the prompt itself. Once you choose your thesis sentence, create a strong opinion sentence. The rest of your essay will be built around this sentence only. Let your actual and honest words come out. Practice creating these thesis statement enough times, for different topics, and you will surely score well. 

    6. Support your answers with substantial reasons and references

    Every TOEFL prompt must have meaningful and sensible reasons for the points you state. Try detailing out on each of them. Generally, you will need three different, well-written reasons with one statement to get high scores. Add this in your ‘timed-practice’ sessions at home too. Do include examples wherever possible. Since a key part of your grading involves your interpretation skills. So you must include references from the audio clips and written passage in the integrated writing task. Writing in statistics isn’t really a good idea. So instead, quote experiences or facts from your own knowledge to support these thesis statement in the independent writing task.

    7. Do not diverge from the topic

    Stick to your topic only. We all know that choosing a topic isn’t really possible hence, stick to what is given to you. Do not mug up certain sentences and amend them according to the given topic. Instead, create your own. Students often lose marks due to diverging from the topic.

    Don’t layer your answers with your own opinion in the integrated writing task, stick to what has been said in the passage and the audio clip. You can discuss your opinion about the topic in the independent writing task though. 

    Honest, dedicated practice is much more useful and effective. If there are unfamiliar words in the prompt, use context to guess their meanings. Try your best to write about the exact topic given to you. Don’t include sentences that don’t connect to your thesis statement — these irrelevant sentences will lower your score. 

    8. Use helpful resource material

    There are plenty of useful TOEFL Books students swear by. Practice as much from them and you are good to go! Here are a few of them:

    Book NameAuthorISBN No.
    Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL TestJolene Gear & Robert Gear0521755840
    Vocabulary and Grammar for the TOEFL TestIngrid Wisniewska0007499663
    Oxford preparation course for the TOEFL iBT Exam:A Skills Based Communicative Approach Student BookSusan Bates0195431170
    Longman Preparation Course for the TOEFL iBT® Test (with CD-ROM, Answer Key, and iTest) (Longman Preparation Course for the Toefl With Answer Key)Deborah Phillips0133248003

    9. Do not forget to revise

    To err is human! It is very likely that would have made some silly mistakes in your essay. Read it atleast 2 times before submitting your response. Do fix as many of the typos as possible. This revision time will surely save a lot of your score from getting cut.

    10. Attempt the questions with a relaxed mind

    Attempting the questions with a relaxed mind is as important as anything else. A patient mind always works better. Do not panic when you receive the essay topic. Let all your apprehensions wash out. Just give your best shot and success will be all your way! 

    We are sure you guys must be all pepped up now! Hope this article will help you score better marks and you will come out as a winner.

    Good luck!



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