Structure of the TOEFL Writing Section

توضیح مختصر: The writing portion of the TOEFL tests your ability to write academic-style English prose. Here's an overview of what the writing section looks like and how it's scored.

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TOEFL Writing

The TOEFL writing section is a test of how well you can produce the kind of English writing you’d need to do in school. In total, you’ll be working on the writing section for 50 minutes. It’s broken up into two tasks: an independent task and an integrated task.

  • The integrated task requires you to read a passage and listen to a speaker on the same topic, then, write about that topic. This task takes about 20 minutes.
  • The independent task requires you to take a position on an issue and support it with evidence and reasons. This task takes about 30 minutes.

The test is completely computerized, so you’ll be doing the whole thing on a keyboard.

The Integrated Task

On the integrated task, you’ll be writing about information that you read and listen to. That’s why it’s called ‘integrated’ - because it integrates your skills in reading and listening as well as writing.

First, you’ll have three minutes to read a short passage. You can take notes while you read, but don’t try to write down everything, because the reading passage will be available to you as you write. Then, the passage will disappear, and you’ll listen to a lecture for two minutes. The lecture will be on the same topic as the reading passage. You can take notes on this, too. Then, the reading passage will reappear on the screen, and you’ll start writing.

The writing assignment for the integrated task is always the same: summarize the main points of the listening passage and explain how they’re related to the main points of the reading passage. Most students end up writing between 150 and 225 words, but there is no upper limit.

This task is graded on how organized and grammatically-correct your writing is and how well you respond to the prompt and include all the important information. You’ll get marked down for things like incorrect grammar, awkward usage or leaving out important information in either of the passages. It’s important to pay attention to grammar and language, but your answers don’t have to be perfect to score well. You can still get a high score even if you make a few mistakes.

The Independent Task

After the integrated task, you’ll move on to the independent task. This one takes about 30 minutes to complete.

On the independent task, you won’t have to listen to anything or read any passages. Instead, you’ll get a prompt that asks you to choose between two opinions or decide whether or not you agree with a statement. Then, you’ll have to write an essay explaining your position and supporting it with evidence and reasons.

These will be questions that anyone can answer; you won’t need any specialist knowledge or outside information. You’ll be able to answer based only on your personal experiences.

You’ll be scored on this essay based on how well you present and support your opinion. It doesn’t matter at all which position you take. The graders don’t care about that. There’s no right or wrong answer. All that matters is how well you support whichever answer you choose in grammatically correct English. And again, it’s not about being perfect; you can still do very well even if your essay isn’t completely flawless.

Lesson Summary

In this lesson, you learned about the basic structure of the TOEFL writing test. This test as a whole takes about 50 minutes, and it involves two separate tasks:

  • An integrated task , where you summarize a reading and a listening passage.
  • An independent task , where you state and support your position on an issue.

Both tasks are completed electronically, so there’s no handwriting involved. You’ll be graded on the quality of your writing on both responses. On the integrated task, you’ll also be graded based on how accurately you summarize the information and how well you connect the passages. On the independent task, there’s no right or wrong answer, so don’t sweat over which side of the prompt you pick. Here, it’s all about how well you state and support your opinion.

The best way to prepare for the writing test (or any other part of the TOEFL) is to practice, so check out the other lessons in this course for some details and practice questions.

Learning Outcomes

Following this lesson, you’ll have the ability to:

  • Describe the structure of the TOEFL writing test
  • Recall how to complete the integrated task and independent task sections of the test
  • Explain how each section will be graded