05. Speaking Section:
06. Writing Section:
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6.02 Writing Tips and Strategies: (6 to 6.5 Minutes)

Hi there. We’ve given you a basic overview of what to expect when you’re completing the Writing Section of the TOEFL Exam. In this part of the course, we’ll dive deeper into the writing tasks, and give you the strategy you need to achieve the score that you’re working hard to achieve. Let’s get started.

Before we dive into the individual writing tasks, there are a couple more general strategies to keep in mind. First, use grammar structures and vocabulary that you understand. Don’t try and use too many complicated words, phrases, or grammar structures. If you do, you run the risk of making more mistakes. Before you take TOEFL Preparation Classes, make sure that your ability to use grammar and vocabulary is sufficient.

The second thing is about when you’re typing. You’ll certainly be compelled to keep your eyes on the clock and write your answer as quickly as possible. Slow down. Take your time. Prepare your answer first before you write it. This will prevent you from making unnecessary mistakes with grammar and spelling. Okay? Good. Now, let’s get into the questions themselves.

Writing Task One is the fact-based question. You will be asked to contract two different arguments about the same topic. There will be three main points that you will be required to include in their answer. First, a reading passage will be displayed. This passage will support the topic. You will be given three minutes to read the text. Don’t worry.

The text will appear after the listening excerpt. It is for this reason you should only read the main argument or opinion for those initial three minutes. Be sure to write down those three main points to prepare for the listening section, which contrasts or even contradicts the three main points in the reading passage. This is where your attention is most important.

The listening section is only played once. Try to write down the three main points that go against the reading passage in order to prepare your essay. Another thing that you should do is to take down the points in the order you hear them. This order is important. Why is it important, you ask? The first point that you read in the reading passage will have its counter-argument in the first point you hear in the listening section. In other words, it will make organizing your response easier, and less time-consuming.

Once the audio is finished, you will already have the points written, and you will simply have to go back to the reading passage, and look for the opposing ideas. If done correctly, you should only require five minutes out of the twenty given to you to complete the writing. 

After you have the main points from both the listening and the reading passages, it will then simply be a matter of composing a well-written comparative essay. How would you organize it? When doing the fact-based writing task, it’s best practice to employ a four-paragraph structure. In the first paragraph, you should certainly go into the main idea and the arguments made in both the reading and listening. Don’t give too many details, as they will be used in the corresponding three paragraphs.

Then, with the second, third, and fourth paragraphs, you introduce each paragraph using the points that support the main idea that you heard in both the reading and the listening. You should go into detail with the opposing points in both the reading and the listening. From these three paragraphs, you should also follow the order that the points appeared. Again, this will help minimize your preparation time. For this writing task, you will have twenty minutes to compose 150 – 225 words. 

With the second writing task, you will have to give an opinion on a general topic. You will be given thirty minutes to complete it. In order to complete this opinion-based task, you should organize your time in three sections. First, you should spend about five minutes coming up with a plan for your writing. Think about your opinion, and have all of your reasons ready to go before you put pen to paper. Stand by your opinion, and the points you intend to use, and try not to deviate when you’re writing.

The second part is the actual writing of your essay. This should take about 15 – 20 minutes to do. Finally, with the last few minutes comes the last section, and that is the editing of your piece. 

When writing your piece, the formal, or the five-paragraph essay structure should be used. The first paragraph, or the introduction, is where students introduce the main idea, or the thesis. Then, to make it true, support your thesis with the three points that you will use to mark each paragraph. Like the first writing task, be sure not to give too much detail. The second, third and fourth paragraphs are used to explain the main points that you used to reinforce your thesis.

Finally, with the fifth, and final paragraph, you should restate or paraphrase your central claim and ideas. With the conclusion, it’s always advisable to word it differently than you did in the introduction and conclusion to ensure that it doesn’t present itself as repetitive.

Read a couple of sample writing tasks to get an idea of how the formal essay structure and the comparative essay works in practice, do independent writing tasks, and adapt yourself to the pressures of writing a proper essay, and you’ll have no problem creating essays, even under the pressure that a lack of options will present, but also the pressure of time, as well.