Top 10 Writing Tips for the TOEFL iBT

The writing part is the last part for TOEFL test. Test takers have to write 2 essays and need take about 50 minutes in this part (20 minutes for first essay and 30 minutes for second essay). Below are the great techniques for test takers!!

1. Make a list of familiar topics –Practice planning and writing an essay for each topic. First, think of one main idea or opinion for each topic and then think of a few points that support this idea or opinion. When you first start practicing this, take at least forty-five minutes to plan, write and check each essay. Once you improve, you should be able to do this in half an hour or less.

2. Write out every word in full – never use abbreviations! Although you may want to save time, abbreviations such as u instead of you are not acceptable for TOEFL writing.

3. Keep your sentences simple. Only use big words and complicated language if you know how to use them! Although it looks impressive to show your command of English, if you make grammatical mistakes or misuse complicated words it can actually lower your score.

4. Make sure your essay has structure with a strong introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion that unify your thoughts.

5. Do not try to write too much – most TOEFL iBT essays are three paragraphs (Introduction, Body and Conclusion). If you try to write more than this, you will have less time to check for errors or properly plan your responses. Writing too much in a hurry also increases your chances of making mistakes.

6. Become confident with paraphrasing. Read essays, newspaper articles and practice writing what you have read in your own words (this is paraphrasing). You will receive a score of zero if you simply copy words from the reading passage.

7. Take your time to make sure you completely understand the question – you don’t want to rush into the essay only to find out halfway that you have misunderstood and have to start all over again.

8. Give details and examples to support your opinions – support your statements with reasons explaining why you feel this way. Increase your vocabulary and learn their synonyms, rather than using the same words again and again.

9. Use tenses appropriately. For facts and observations, use present tense. For example ‘sun screen is essential if you are going to be out in the sun’ or ‘I think that everyone should be tolerant of other cultures’. When describing past experiences, use past tense. For example ‘When I was a child, I loved to play outside’.

10. Write in English every day. The more comfortable you are with writing in English, the better your essays will be, as your ideas will flow more easily and you will have a greater vocabulary on a variety of topics.

Jaraswan Jarasjaruwan or Pear is a full-time MIM student. She got a Bachelor’s of Science from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. After she graduated, she worked as an educational consultant in Thailand for 2 years. Pear chose to study international business at Portland State University because she is interested in the business field and also the reputation of the university. Currently, Pear is studying Chinese as a third language. Also, she will choose Finance as her specialization in the Master of International Management program.
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