Amongst all the four sections in TOEFL, the writing skills are perhaps the most important. It consists of two parts, ie the integrated writing task and the independent writing task. This section lasts for about 50 minutes. There are numerous guide books and preparatory programs which prepare a candidate for the tests.
The integrated writing task and is structured in the following manner which takes about 25 minutes:
• Reading a passage : 3 minutes
• Listening to a related topic: 2 minutes and
• Writing an essay : 20 minutes
While reading, it is recommended to make notes as also while listening. The 2 minute lecture is not repeated and hence carefully listening to it and making detailed notes on the essential aspects of correlation with the passage is necessary, while writing the essay. There are many ways in which the essay can be structured. However, making paragraphs and making contrast or comparison with the written passage and the audio lecture are common and proven techniques.
The independent writing comprises an independent essay. There would be a single question, based on which an essay of 300 to 350 words has to be written in 30 minutes. It is important to understand what is being asked for in the essay. Some sample essays are:
• How do movies or television influence people’s behaviour? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer
• “When people succeed it is because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with success”. Do you agree or disagree with the quotation? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your position.
• Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Parents are the best teachers. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
• If you could change one important thing about your hometown, what would you change? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.
These are some of the sample questions that are part of the independent writing task. After comprehending the subject matter, schedule 5 minutes to plan the essay, ie, what all contents, arguments and matter to be included and the sequencing and how best to express the ideas lucidly. Make use of any tool which will allow you to organize the essay more effectively. The critical aspect in the essay id to have solid content, rather than focussing on the line of argument. Emphasis should be on generating as many ideas, as possible.
So, like any standard essay, include a introduction, though brief, followed by the body, which contains specific arguments. This could have 2 to 3 paragraphs. Finally the conclusion must emphasize the argument and selected crunch point. This generates a feeling of completeness and will earn better scores.
To attain confidence and structure the essay within the time limits, do practice writing full essays within 30 minutes. You would be far more comfortable and generate thoughts fluidly while writing the essay.