TOEFL or test of English as a foreign language is administered for individuals from countries where English is not a native language. The test aims at testing the proficiency of the individual in the reading, writing and speaking English. The test has to be taken by students who wish to study in universities that recognize the TOEFL. The exam does have a reading, speaking and writing section. Typically, the writing section has more weight age than either of the other two segments and it is important to get good scores in the writing section. While the other parts of the examination can be easy to learn and prepare, the writing section does come with practice and adopting a certain strategy. The following tips will prove helpful in preparing for the writing section of the exam:
Understand the question– The writing section can ask for an essay or a paragraph or a letter or something else. It is important to a know the difference of all these kinds of writings. An essay or a paragraph topic also needs to be understood well; similarly a letter should be differentiated between a personal and a professional letter.
Prepare an outline– After reading the question; spend a few minutes in understanding it. Essay or paragraphs can be of many kinds such as:
- Descriptive- Asking to describe something. This is factual and needs to be accurate as much as possible.
- Reflective- Sharing an experience- This is a bit imaginative and personal and should clearly have that tone and language in the content.
- Suggestive- Compare and contrast some views and give a suggestion.
- Debate- These typically ask for your views on a subject where opinion is clearly divided. It is best to take a view and stick to your side of the topic with examples, thoughts and ideas.
- Supportive- An agreed view which has to be strengthened by your thoughts.
The above list is not exhaustive but does indicate that it is not just enough to know essay writing but it is important to know what should be written basis the topic provided.
Keep it Simple– It is important to stick to the vocabulary and words that you understand. Use of new words can make a positive impact on the scores but only when used correctly in the sentence.
Keep it well formatted– It is easy to lose marks in the writing section if the entire essay or paragraph is not well structured. It is important to structure an essay into a clear introduction, body and conclusion. The distribution of words between the three sections should be roughly 15%, 70% and 15% respectively. The body being the bulk of the essay should be neatly divided into two or three paragraphs but the whole essay should flow well with use of transition words and an overall connect between the three segments.
The TOEFL writing section does have some subtle nuances and it is important to know and practice them before getting ready to take the test.