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TOEFL Writing Section- Things You Should Know

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

toefl writing test

Before getting into the intricacies of the TOEFL writing section, you should learn more about the basic examination as a whole. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is accepted globally by leading universities for admissions. The TOEFL iBT (Internet-Based Test) or PBT (Paper-Based Test) are the two modes in which the test is conducted. 35 million+ individuals have already been selected to take the examination for showcasing their proficiency in the English language. The TOEFL writing section is only a part of the examination which has four sections. The scores in the examination are accepted for immigration, working in foreign countries and higher education.

Parts of TOEFL

Before understanding more about the TOEFL writing part, you should know more about the components of the examination itself. There are four sections in the examination: 

  1. TOEFL Reading Section
  2. TOEFL Listening Section
  3. TOEFL Speaking Section
  4. TOEFL Writing Section 

Here is an in-depth look:

Name of the TOEFL Section Time TakenNumber of QuestionsBasic Job Required 
Reading54–72 minutes30–40 Read the passages and respond to the subsequent questions
Listening41–57 minutes28–39 Answer the questions about any brief lectures or the classroom discussions
Break10 minutes
Speaking17 minutes4 tasksTalk about a topic familiar to you and discuss the material that you listened to and read
Writing50 minutes2 tasksRead a passage and listen to a recording before writing your responses  


TOEFL Writing Section in Detail

The TOEFL Writing Section aims at helping candidates enhance their abilities to write in the English language and within an academic framework. The TOEFL iBT will have you taking the TOEFL writing test online. You will have two tasks to complete in this section: 

  1. Integrated Writing Task- 20 minutes- The TOEFL integrated writing structure involves reading a small passage and listening to a brief lecture before writing your response accordingly. Write 280-300 words. 

Independent Writing Task- 30 minutes- This is one of the types of TOEFL writing questions. You will have to write an essay, giving your own opinion or taking your personal experience into account. This will be a response to a given topic. Write 380-400 words in total.

Recommended Reads:

TOEFL Eligibility CriteriaTOEFL SyllabusTOEFL Exam Dates
TOEFL Exam PatternTOEFL Exam FeeHow to Register for TOEFL

Download free guides for TOEFL preparation

TOEFL preparation guides
TOEFL preparation guides

Guides for TOEFL Writing Section 

You can always check out various TOEFL writing samples online and find TOEFL writing topics to help you practice. Here are some basic tips to sharpen your TOEFL writing skills for each section- 

Integrated Writing Section

  1. One of the biggest TOEFL writing tips for this section is to avoid copying parts of the passage or audio clip into the essay that you finally write. This will not demonstrate your own English proficiency. Keep rewriting core concepts by yourself and using your own words. 
  2. One of the effective TOEFL writing strategies for Integrated Writing is to keep taking notes while listening to the audio clip. This is essential for writing good answers afterwards. 
  3. Always be attentive to differences between data in the audio clip and the passage that you see. They can often constitute a crucial part of your final response. 
  4. Do not impose your opinion in these pieces. Only talk about the statements made by the passage and audio clip. Your own opinion is not required in this task. 

Independent Writing Section

You will find several TOEFL independent writing examples online. However, here are some tips that will still be of help: 

  1. Be bold with creating your arguments. Express your opinion and take sides depending on the question. You should not hold back from expressing yourself in this section. 
  2. Always show your opinion clearly in the first essay paragraph in order to leave no doubts about your thoughts on any particular topic. 
  3. The minimum length is 300 words for this essay (as per recommendations). If you still have time and points to add, you should go ahead. However, do not get into the 500-600 word territory with your essay. Longer essays are not always better ones. You should aim for a crisp and well-written essay instead, that is ideally between 380-400 words on average. 

These tips will help you ace both parts of the TOEFL writing examination with ease. You should focus on the material you have in hand and also the topic allotted to you. And always remember that spelling and grammar matter immensely in every section of the TOEFL.

Know More:

Documents Required for TOEFLHow to Prepare for TOEFLTOEFL Exam Preparation Tips


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Frequently Asked Questions

How to write a TOEFL independent essay?

You should first create your own essay structure, mentioning your opinion clearly in the first paragraph. Plan an essay with the discussion firmly outlined and the key points in paragraphs. Have word limits for every paragraph. Make sure that you provide examples or instances to support your views in the essay.

How to write TOEFL exam in india?

You can write the TOEFL iBT (Internet-Based Test) in India. You can expect a total time of 3 hours and 30 minutes while there are many centers where you can take the test in your preferred city and location. You can also opt for the iBT Home Edition in order to take the test conveniently at home if you wish.

How to improve TOEFL writing score?

  1. There are many ways in which you can enhance your writing score in TOEFL. 
  2. You can keep paraphrasing and rewriting core points that you hear or read in the Integrated Writing part. 
  3. Do not copy portions here and instead use your own words. 
  4. Clearly give your opinion in the first paragraph of the essay that you write in the Independent Writing part. 
  5. Always ensure spelling and grammar correctness above all else. These aspects will help you drastically improve your TOEFL writing score.

How to prepare for TOEFL writing section?

  1. You can find several online examples of TOEFL independent Writing section essays which are responses to various topics. 
  2. Write your own essays in response to such practice topics to prepare for this section. 
  3. For the Integrated Writing section, you will find sample passages and audio clips to practice with. 
  4. Keep listening and reading sharply in this section and taking notes to help you with the essay later. 
  5. Brush up on your transitional words, spelling and grammar and phrases. Practice completing both sections with the allotted timeline.

How to write TOEFL integrated essay?

You should first look into the topics and concepts carefully in the reading passage and the audio clip. Find the key parts and take down notes while listening to the audio clip which you can use later. Then organize the essay into points and paragraphs based on the given material. Use transition words and keep paraphrasing in your own words.

What is the use of writing TOEFL exam?

  1. The TOEFL examination is one of the world’s most-accepted tests for English language proficiency. 
  2. It helps you get admission into universities and other educational institutions in several English-speaking nations while being accepted for immigration or work purposes as well. 
  3. Millions of aspirants use their TOEFL scores for such purposes worldwide. Hence, writing this examination is always beneficial for candidates.

How TOEFL writing is scored?

The writing section is scored in a unique manner. Both the essays you write will be scored on a 0-5 scale. This is the raw score given for TOEFL iBT Writing. Every essay will have a raw score between 0 and 5. The raw score will be the average score of two essays. The average score will be used thereafter for finding the scaled or adjusted score.

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