TOEFL Writing Section- Independent Task Practice

توضیح مختصر: In this lesson, you'll get a chance to practice with several different independent task questions from the TOEFL. Test yourself, find your weaknesses, and learn how to improve.

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Independent Tasks

On the TOEFL Writing test, independent tasks asks you to state and support your opinion on a given issue. On these tasks, you won’t have to read or listen to any passages and you won’t have to remember any special information from your classes or other sources. It’s all about you!

The issues in the prompts are very generic, so anyone will be able to have an opinion on them. After choosing one side of the issue, you’ll have 30 minutes to plan an essay in English stating your opinion and providing reasons to back it up. Effective essays are typically around 300 words, although there’s no upper limit, and you can write more if you like.

In this lesson, you’ll work on two different practice tasks to get you ready for the test. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A pen and paper. You’ll write the actual essay on a keyboard, but you’ll need a pen and paper for planning and outlining.
  • A timer or stopwatch. You’ll use this to time yourself on the writing tasks.

Ready to go? Let’s start with Task 1.

Practice Task 1

In this task, you’ll read a statement and decide whether or not you agree with it. Then, you’ll support your position in an essay. If you’re ready to go, set your timer for 30 minutes now. Here’s the statement:

To fight growing rates of obesity around the world, fast food and sugary sodas should be heavily taxed to make them very expensive and discourage consumption. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Support your answer with reasons and evidence from your own experience and observations.

Now, pause the video for 30 minutes while you write your essay.

All done? Congratulations, you’ve finished this task. Save the file with your essay in it and take a break to get some distance from it. Pause this video and come back in a few hours or tomorrow to look over your essay with fresh eyes and see how you can improve it.

Scoring and Improving

Now that you’re back with some distance from your essay, it’s time to take a look at how you did. Here’s what the TOEFL grading rubric for independent tasks asks graders to check for:

  • Addressing the topic and responding to the task - Remember that your job is to pick ‘agree’ or ‘disagree,’ not to discuss the finer shades of gray. In your essay, underline the one sentence where you clearly state which side of the issue you chose. If you don’t have a sentence like that, you need to put one in.
  • Support for your opinion - You can’t just state your opinion. You have to provide reasons why you chose it. In your essay, number the reasons you give for taking your position. You should have at least two, but you might have more.
  • Organization, transitions, and structure - Your essay should have a clear introduction and conclusion, and it should progress logically from one idea to the next. In your essay, highlight transition words like ‘also,’ ‘therefore,’ or ,’and so.’ You should see a lot of highlights throughout the essay.
  • Language and grammar - Small grammar mistakes aren’t a big deal, but they shouldn’t make the essay hard to read. Look through your essay again with an eye for grammar and spelling errors and watch out for any that you tend to make again and again.

High-scoring essays get these things mostly right. There may be some small mistakes, but overall, this is what the graders are looking to see. Now that you’ve graded your first essay, keep watching to take another shot at it with a second practice task.

Practice Task 2

Ready for the second practice task? Just like the first one, you’ll read a prompt and then write an essay in response:

Should organ donation after death be opt-in (people have to make an effort to donate their organs) or opt-out (people have to make an effort to prevent their organs from being donated)? Support your answer with reasons and evidence.

Now, pause the video for 30 minutes while you write your essay.

All done? Congratulations, you’ve finished the second task. Save the file with your essay in it and take a break to get some distance from it. Come back in a few hours or tomorrow and skip back to grade your essay using the same rubric that you used for the first one.

Lesson Summary

In this lesson, you worked on two practice tasks for the independent tasks on the TOEFL Writing test. On these tasks, you’ll read a prompt and choose one side of an issue, and then explain and support your position in an essay. You’ll have 30 minutes to write, and strong essays are typically around 300 words long.

There is no right or wrong side of the issue on these questions; you can choose whatever side you like. Your essay will get a high score if you address the topic and answer the question in a well-organized and well-supported essay with reasonably good spelling and grammar. That’s what the graders are looking for.

You can keep improving by doing more practice tasks and going over them with the rubric, or asking a friend to go over each other’s essays.