TOEFL Integrated Writing Strategies

The TOEFL integrated writing strategies on this web page will help you understand the skills that you will need. In addition, you will learn some important tools that you can use during the test so that you can score high when TOEFL test day comes.

Use this TOEFL integrated writing lesson to score higher.
Use this TOEFL integrated writing lesson to score higher.

TOEFL Integrated Writing Strategies: Use transition words

Remember that ETS’s eRater scoring engine will be evaluating your writing task. Therefore, good TOEFL integrated writing strategies are to use transition words. These important words will show how your ideas are connected.

Transition Words of Contrast

TOEFL integrated writing strategies

Transition words of contrast should be positioned after you discuss one of the main points from the reading passage.  When you begin the lecture, use a transition word of contrast to show that the lecture differs from the information in the reading passage.

Example:  Bears are naturally aggressive toward humans, asserts the author in the reading passage, because these wild animals often find food around people’s homes. Therefore, bears have lost their fear of people and are more likely to attack. By contrast, the speaker in the lecture casts doubt on this claim. In fact, the speaker believes that much evidence suggests that bears which often live in close proximity to humans and which are often fed by humans rarely attack humans. As a result, bears are not naturally aggressive toward people, argues the speaker in the listening passage.

Notice how I use “by contrast” right after I finish discussing the information in the reading passage. In addition, I also use “because,” “therefore,” “in fact, and “as a result” in this short paragraph.  Out of the 77 words in this passage, 5 are transition words. Consequently, about 15% of words in this paragraph are transition words.  I recommend that you stay between 15%-20% ratio with your use of transition words.

Transition Words of Addition

TOEFL integrated writing strategies
TOEFL transition words of addition

Effective TOEFL integrated writing strategies encourage you to use additional transition words if you want to add to something that you have previously mentioned.

Example: The writer in the reading passage explains that businesses should encourage employees to read all documents in their entirety. In addition, the author claims having workers read all documents will help them perform their job tasks more efficiently.

“In addition” is used to add the ideas in the previous sentence.

Transition Words to Show Emphasis

TOEFL transition words to show emphasis
TOEFL transition words to show emphasis

You can use these transition words to emphasize ideas.

Example: The author in the reading passage claims that camouflage can effectively help animals sneak up on their prey.  Surprisingly, when the lion gets within 30 meters of its prey, the author explains that the prey has no idea how close the lion actually is.

Example: The lecture casts doubt on the claim that lowering taxes will create more economic activity. Indeed, the speaker believes that lowering taxes will slow the economic activity.

“Surprisingly” and “indeed” are used to emphasize ideas.

Transition Words to Show Sequence

TOEFL transition words to show sequence
TOEFL transition words to show sequence

Some of these sequence transition words can be grouped together.  In other words, certain transition words that you use in the first line of one paragraph will lead to specific transition words in the first line of other paragraphs which are parallel to those words.

  • First of all, second of all, third of all….
  • First, second, third…
  • In the first place, in the second place, in the third place…
  • The first step, the second step, the third step…

Transition Words to Introduce Examples

Transition Words to Introduce Examples
Transition Words to Introduce Examples

Additional TOEFL integrated writing strategies can help you when using TOEFL example transition words.   Look over the outline below to see how you should be organizing your notes before you begin the TOEFL integrated writing task:TOEFL integrated writing outline

As you can see from the outline, you will be introducing a total of six examples. The example transition words on the above chart will help you to do that.

Example: The speaker claims that lowering taxes will stifle economic activity. For instance, a large corporation, according to the speaker, got a huge tax break. However, its owner choose not invest those savings in its workforce or the community. Instead, the owner sent the money overseas to a Swiss bank account to protect the money from any additional capital gains tax.

The writer uses the TOEFL transition word “for example” to introduce the example of the corporation.

Transition Words to Show Cause/Effect

TOEFL cause effect transition words
TOEFL cause effect transition words

You may also need to show cause-effect relationship.

Example:  The author asserts that bloggers do not have the same training as journalists.  Consequently, these online writers should not be seen as credible writers.

Consequently” is used to link the cause “bloggers are not well trained” with the effect “they are not credible.”

TOEFL Integrated Writing Strategies: Summarize and paraphrase ideas

TOEFL summary tips
TOEFL summary tips

Your goal as you learn these TOEFL integrated writing strategies is to use a neutral tone. In addition, you should frame your writing from the point of view of the author in the reading passage. You should do the same thing with the listening passage. To accomplish this, follow these tips:

Choose the most appropriate point of view.
Choose the most appropriate point of view.

To illustrate, let’s compare four points of view. Which one works better for the integrated writing tasks?

  • 1st person singular point of view: I believe that bears are no more likely to attack humans even if they live within populated centers.
  • 2nd person singular point of view: Even if bears live near you, they are no more likely to attack.
  • 3rd person singular point of view: Bears are no more likely to attack even if they live in populated centers.
  • 3rd person point of view with voice marker + reporting verb: The author explains that bears are no more likely to attack even if they live in populated centers.

The 1st person point of view “I believe”  focuses on the writer’s experience. However, that creates a personal experience tone which is inappropriate in the TOEFL integrated writing task. Therefore, this sentence has a argumentative tone.  In contrast, the sentence should have a neutral tone.

The 2nd person point of view “near you” writes directly to the audience.  But the purpose of this type of writing is to focus on the information in the reading and the listening passage. Moreover, using “you” makes the writing less formal, but the sentence needs to be more, not less, formal.

The 3rd person point of view indeed focuses on the information about bears.  Still, because there is no mention of the author in the reading passage, iBT human raters have to assume that the writer is stating his opinion. Hence, the sentence reads more as an argument instead of a neutral summary.

The 3rd person point of view with the voice marker plus the reporting verb focuses on the information and acknowledges the author.  Thus, this sentence sounds more like a paraphrase or summary of someone else’s ideas. The tone is both formal and objective, which exactly matches the purpose of the integrated writing task.

TOEFL Integrated Writing Strategies: Use a chunking compare/contrast organization

Having strong integrated writing strategies involve understanding compare and contrast method of organization. Since the lecture will differ from the points in the reading, you will need to use a logical, easy-to-understand compare and contrast structure.

  • A very easy way to do that is by chunking ideas from the reading passage.
  • In addition, you can chunk ideas together from a listening passage.
  • The first 1/2 of a paragraph can, for example, group together an important point from the reading passage.
  • Then in the second 1/2 of a paragraph, for instance, you can group ideas from the listening passage that oppose that point.

Observe in the following paragraph how I place the important points from a reading and listening passage:

Global warming, according to the author, is mostly caused by human activities.  To illustrate, the author presents multiple examples of glaciers all over the world that are melting at a faster rate than seen in previous decades. In contrast, the speaker argues that global warming is mainly due to natural factors.  To support this claim, the speaker points to other periods of time 1000’s of years ago when there were also  warming trends.

The way I wrote this makes it easy to see how the human activity and natural factor are opposing points from the reading and listening passage. Notice how I spend roughly the same number of words to  explain the reading and listening passage. This balance prevents any possible bias I might have about the topic. For example, I believe global warming is mostly due to human activities. However, there is no way for you to know my personal beliefs from reading this paragraph, right?

TOEFL Integrated Writing Strategies: Create unique templates to frame your writing task

You have learned several important TOEFL integrated writing strategies so far in this lesson.

  • You learned about the importance of transition words. Specifically, you learned that 15%-20% of each paragraph should consist of transition words.
  • In addition, you learned that you should frame your essay from the author’s and the speaker’s point of view. That means you should use the third person point of view.
  • You also learned that you should use present tense reporting verbs to explain reading and listening passages.
  • Finally, you also learned how a chunking compare/contrast organization logically, easily, and accurately shows how the information in the listening passage is related to the information in the reading passage.

Your next step is to create  a unique template that you can use based on what you are learning on this web page. However, I will NOT give you a template. You must create your own way of organization. You will remember better if you create your own. In addition, it will sound more natural. Here are some general guidelines to help you to organize the different parts of your TOEFL integrated writing task:

Introduction: Your introduction needs to be about 25 words. Use a compound sentence, as you can see in this lesson, connecting the main point of the reading and the listening passage.

Body paragraph 1: Begin this 100 word paragraph with a transition word of sequence. After the reading passage, use a transition word of contrast.  As you discuss the reading and listening points, use other transition words as necessary.

Body paragraph 2: Repeat the same step in paragraph 1. This time place reading point 2 with listening point 2.

Body paragraph 3:  Follow the same step in paragraph 1.  Combine reading point 3 with listening point 3.

Conclusion: Use a transition word such as “to sum up.”  Write a short sentence explaining how the listening passage disagrees with the information in the reading passage. However, use different vocabulary and grammar that you used in the introduction.

TOEFL Integrated Writing Strategies: Take a mock Integrated writing practice test

Now that you have learned some TOEFL integrated writing strategies, you should take a mock practice test.   Watch the video, take notes, and then write a 250-350 word response. You can compare your notes + essay to the model response on this web page.  Good luck!

TOEFL Integrated Writing Strategies: Compare your sample notes note to these.

Below are notes based on the most important points from the reading passage and the listening page. During the TOEFL exam, you should ask for 5-6 sheets of paper so that you can take notes. As you can guess, taking accurate and complete notes are important TOEFL integrated writing strategies.

TOEFL integrated writing example notes
TOEFL integrated writing example notes

TOEFL Integrated Writing Strategies: Compare your practice test to this model response

To help you see the integrated parts of this response, pay attention to the follow parts, each with its own color:

  • Reading passage
  • Listening passage
  • Voice markers/reporting verbs
  • Transition words/connectors

The reading passage discusses three theories regarding the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the lecture casts doubts on each theory.

First of all, the author in the reading passage explains that a warming trend caused dinosaurs’ testes to malfunction. As a result, the male dinosaurs became sterile. Hence, the dinosaurs died out, according to the author, because they could no longer reproduce. On the other hand, the speaker in the lecture says there are too many unanswered questions about this theory. Most importantly, because testes do not fossilize, no fossil records can provide evidence to prove or disprove this theory.

Second of allpoisonous flowering plants began to grow  during the dinosaurs’ reign, asserts the authorThe author explains that dinosaurs could not taste the bitterness of these deadly flowers. Consequently, the dinosaurs died of overdoses. Conversely the speaker argues that these poisonous plants flourished long before and during the time of the dinosaurs’ time. As a result, the speaker questions why it took so long for the dinosaurs’ to die out.  In addition, similar to the testes theory, the speakers argues that  the fossil record cannot tell scientists what dinosaurs ate and whether or not they died of overdoses. Like testes, livers do not fossilize.

Finally, a large asteroid hit the Earth, according to the author, who believes that the impact caused a lot of dust to rise into the atmosphere. This dust, reports the author, blocked sunlight, which caused the dinosaurs to freeze to deathHowever, in the lecture, the speaker explains that the impact may have happened 1000’s of years before the dinosaurs became extinct. In addition, the fossil record suggests that dozens and dozens  of species of plants lived during the impact  and after the impact of the asteroid. As a result, the speaker contends that the effects of the impact may not have been as serious as once thought.

In conclusion, the listening passage is skeptical of the accuracy of each theory discussed by the author.

TOEFL Integrated Writing Strategies: Final Tips on scoring high

Improving your writing so that you can reach 24+ may take some time.  I offer two great ways for you to practice your writing. 1) You can subscribe to STEALTH, “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT.” After you join, you can start sending me independent and integrated writing practice every day. I will evaluate, score, and provide basic feedback on your writing practice tests so that you can monitor your progress. Find out more.

In addition, I have a more expensive option.  Like the less expensive option, you will get access to STEALTH. You will also be able to send me writing practice tests every day for evaluation. However, with this option, I will error correct two of your essay so you can exactly see your mistakes. Watch part of the following video to see how my error-correction service works:

If you are interested in this more expensive option, you can join my TOEFL Writing Boot Camp Course.  Read the course outline. You will also have the option to join the course.

Getting my feedback might be good TOEFL integrated writing strategies, especially if you have failed the writing section more than one time.  Many students make the same mistakes repeatedly. However, they do not know what they are doing wrong. I can quickly show you what your mistakes are so you can avoid them during the writing section of the TOEFL iBT. Some students who do not get professional help end up in TOEFL Hell. Do NOT go there!

TOEFL Integrated Writing Strategies: Helpful links

Additional lessons will help you to improve your TOEFL integrated writing strategies:

I hope that you found this lesson useful! Leave a comment below if you have any questions.

You WILL be able to reach your target TOEFL writing score.
You WILL be able to reach your target TOEFL writing score.

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

 

 

 

 

TOEFL Reading Resources

These TOEFL reading resources focus on three areas:

  • Improvement suggestions to help you improve your concentration and comprehension of complex reading passages
  • Practice tests to help you monitor your comprehension and reading speed
  • Reading question types and their test-taking strategies

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TOEFL Reading Resources: Improvement suggestions

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TOEFL Reading Resources: Practice tests

TOEFL speed reading practice tests
TOEFL speed reading practice tests
  • Understanding Organizational Patterns. Take a practice test to see if you can recognize the methods of development such as compare/contrast, classification, definition, description, and narration.
  • TOEFL Speed Reading Test. Through six practice tests from 100-400 words per minute, find out exactly what your reading speed is and whether or not you are ready to take the TOEFL iBT.

TOEFL Reading Resources: Question types and test-taking strategies

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  • Answering Pronoun Referent Questions. You will be asked what “that,” “it, “they,” and pronoun referents refer to. This lesson will teach you several important steps in answering this type of question.
  • Answering Vocabulary Questions. Answering vocabulary questions can be tricky. Clarify exactly what to do when you see this common question on the reading section of the exam.
  • Getting the Main Idea of TOEFL Passages + Integrated Speaking and Writing Templates. This lesson helps you to get the main ideas of reading and listening passages. Then the lesson will show you how to take those main points so that you can answer reading, speaking, and writing questions accurately and confidently.
  • Inferring Rhetorical Purpose. Get the specific strategies for the rhetorical question that causes many students’ heads to explode during the TOEFL reading section.
  • Inserting a sentence. Find out what you need to do when you insert a sentence into a reading passage.
  • It Is Not About Reading! These five important steps will help you spend less time reading and more time answering questions when  you see a reading question on the TOEFL exam.
  • TOEFL iBT 800 Word Reading Passage. Learn How to Read It.
  • Recognizing Paraphrases.  Watch a video that explains how to answer the paraphrase type of reading question.
  • TOEFL Reading Paraphrase Question. This TOEFL lesson will give you more practice  answering the paraphrase question. In addition, you will get to answer 10 practice questions.
  • TOEFL Reading Strategies. Specific reading strategies in this lesson will show you how to answer ALL questions in the reading section of the TOEFL exam. Moreover, you will learn nine reading question types and the strategies for answering them.
  • Test-Taking Strategies. Get additional strategies to help you answer the reading questions confidently and accurately.

I hope that you have found these TOEFL reading resources helpful.  Improving reading is a slow process requiring consistent practice over time. Be patient.

Follow the tips in these TOEFL reading lessons, and you will improve.
Follow the tips in these TOEFL reading lessons, and you will improve.

Good luck on your TOEFL journey!

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

http://onlinetoeflcourse.com

 

 

TOEFL Listening Resources

Welcome to my TOEFL Listening Resources page of general and specific test-taking strategies.

Welcome to my TOEFL listening resources web page!
Welcome to my TOEFL listening resources web page!

Links to general listening strategies offer several benefits:

  • Ideas on how to improve your listening comprehension abilities
  • Instruction on specific linking and other transition words to help you understand a complex listening passage
  • Importance on understanding natural speech patterns

Other links to listening question types and test-taking strategies will help you in certain ways:

  • Practice with negative expressions
  • Tips and tricks with the eight listening question types and strategies for answering them
  • Helpful suggestions on test-taking strategies for the listening, speaking, and writing sections, all of which involve listening passages
  • Practice with academic lectures plus test questions to monitor your progress

TOEFL Listening Resources: General strategies

TOEFL Listening Resources
TOEFL Listening Resources

TOEFL Listening Resources: Question types and test-taking strategies

TOEFL listening test-taking strategies
TOEFL listening test-taking strategies

Good luck!

Your TOEFL listening comprehension will improve.
Your TOEFL listening comprehension will improve.

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

htttp://onlinetoeflcourse.com

TOEFL Pronunciation Resources

These TOEFL pronunciation resources reflect that knowledge and experience of more than 30 years of my teaching. For instance, I have taught accent reduction courses to many kinds of students. I teach accent reduction to Chinese business professionals who want to speak more naturally.

In addition, I teach accent reduction courses to Catholic priests at the San Bernardino Diocese in California. Lastly, I teach accent reduction to my international students online. I also help my international students at California State University, San Bernardino. Therefore, these TOEFL pronunciation resources on this web page are designed to help you speak more clearly. As a result,  you can increase your chances of scoring higher than 26 points on the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT.

TOEFL pronunciation resources
TOEFL pronunciation resources

TOEFL Pronunciation Resources: $$$ Accent reduction services

1-1 TOEFL accent reduction assistance
1-1 TOEFL accent reduction assistance

TOEFL Pronunciation Resources: Advanced pronunciation practice

Advanced TOEFL pronunciation practice
Advanced TOEFL pronunciation practice

TOEFL Pronunciation Resources: Examples of Clear or unclear speech

Examples of unclear TOEFL pronunciation
Examples of unclear TOEFL pronunciation

TOEFL Pronunciation Resources: Practice with consonant sounds

Consonant sounds of English
Consonant sounds of English

TOEFL Pronunciation Resources: Practice with vowel sounds

Vowel sounds of English
Vowel sounds of English

TOEFL Pronunciation Resources: General tips and tricks

TOEFL pronunciation tips and tricks
TOEFL pronunciation tips and tricks
  • TOEFL Speaking Rubrics Analysis: How will your pronunciation be graded during the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT?  Are there any differences in the grading of your pronunciation according to the independent and integrated speaking rubrics? Get these answers and more.
  • What Pronunciation Goals Should You Set Before Taking the TOEFL iBT? How clearly do you need to speak in order to score high on the speaking section? This article will give you some guidelines about the goals that you should set regarding pronunciation. That way you can score 26+ on the speaking section.

I hope that you have found my TOEFL pronunciation resources web page useful.

Good luck!

If you believe, you will achieve your goal.
If you believe, you will achieve your goal.

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

http://onlinetoeflcourse.com

TOEFL Grammar Resources

The TOEFL grammar resources I posted here reflect more than 10 years of TOEFL article writing on the Internet. These TOEFL grammar resources will help you avoid the most common writing and speaking errors. Many students make these errors during the TOEFL exam. I have graded more than 15,000 speaking practice tests at Stealth, The 7-Step Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT. In addition, I have graded close to 100,000 pages of college writing and TOEFL writing practice tests.  I see very similar writing and speaking errors recur, even from the same students.

As you do the grammar study on this web page, you can also get, as you will see here, 100 speaking and 100 writing topics that you can practice.  To get speaking and writing feedback, please consider choosing me. For only $45 a month, you can start sending me speaking and writing practice. During this time, I will provide you corrections of any grammar and other problems that you might be having.  You can join my course any time you like: CLICK HERE

TOEFL grammar resources
TOEFL grammar resources

TOEFL Grammar Resources: Adjective, reduced adjective clauses; noun clauses

Adjective clause practice exercises
Adjective clause practice exercises
  • TOEFL iBT Grammar Video: Who versus Whom: Differentiate between subject and object relative pronouns “who” and “whom”
  • TOEFL iBT Grammar: How to Use Whose, Practice Exercises: This TOEFL grammar resource explains how to use the possessive relative clause pronoun in both speaking and writing.
  • TOEFL iBT Grammar: Participial Phrases: This seven minute video will show you example sentences of participial phrases. You will learn how these reduced adjective clauses are formed. Moreover, you will understand why you should use them during the TOEFL speaking and writing tasks.
  • TOEFL iBT Grammar: Appositives: Reducing adjective clauses into appositives is another important way to impress TOEFL iBT human raters. TOEFL human raters will grade your speaking and writing tasks. Learn how to form these advanced grammar structures.
  • Reduced Adjective Clauses: Understand how and why you should reduce adjective clauses during the TOEFL speaking and writing tasks.
  • Adjective Clauses and the TOEFL iBT Exam: Knowing how to form adjective clauses is important to your speaking and writing improvement. In this lesson, you will learn why. Moreover, you will learn how to form these advanced grammar structures.
  • TOEFL iBT Grammar: Adjective Clauses: You will see connectors such as “which,” “who,” “whom,” “that,” “whose.” Furthermore, you will learn how they are used in example sentences.
  • Using Noun Clauses in TOEFL Integrated Writing: Noun clauses can help you to summarize reading and listening passages during the integrated writing task. This lesson will show you how to correctly form these advanced grammar structures. As a result,  you will score higher on the writing section.

TOEFL Grammar Resources: Error correction service; Online TOEFL Course

TOEFL speaking and writing error correction service
TOEFL speaking and writing error correction service

TOEFL Grammar Resources: General tips for speaking and writing

General TOEFL grammar tips for speaking and writing
General TOEFL grammar tips for speaking and writing

TOEFL Grammar Resources: Parallelism

Parallelism in TOEFL speaking and writing
Parallelism in TOEFL speaking and writing

TOEFL Grammar Resources: Practice Tests and Quizzes

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TOEFL Grammar Resources: Prepositional phrases

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TOEFL Grammar Resources: Punctuation

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TOEFL Grammar Resources: Syntactic variety

Sentence variety for TOEFL speaking and writing
Sentence variety for TOEFL speaking and writing

TOEFL Grammar Resources: Verb tenses

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TOEFL iBT Grammar: Verbs Followed by Infinitives: This lesson gives examples of dozens of verbs which are commonly followed by infinitives.

Subjects, Verbs, and TOEFL iBT Grammar: This lesson explains 7 different types of subjects you can use. In addition, this lesson will explain the thirteen verb tenses in English. You will see example sentences to help you understand what is being taught.

TOEFL iBT Grammar: Sentences with One Subject and One Verb: Learn how to accurately form sentences with one subject and one verb.

Four Language-Use Tips for TOEFL iBT Speaking Section: Many independent speaking tasks require a specific type of verb tense. In this lesson, you will learn what verb tenses to use with most TOEFL independent speaking example test questions.

TOEFL iBT Grammar: Verbs + Pronouns + Infinitives: Get used to the verbs + pronouns + infinitives combinations to improve your speaking and writing.

TOEFL Grammar Lesson: You will learn about present and past impossible conditions and specifically what types of very tenses you should use.

I have that you enjoyed my TOEFL grammar resources web page. Tell others about the TOEFL grammar resources that I posted here.

Michael Buckhoff, founder, owner, and materials writer for the Better TOEFL Scores, STEALTH, and Online TOEFL Course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOEFL Vocabulary Resources

These TOEFL vocabulary resources will help you to improve your TOEFL score on all sections! Improving your vocabulary means being able to recognize college-level words in reading and listening passages. In addition, expanding your vocabulary will help you use a wider range of words during the speaking and writing portions of the exam.   Take advantage of the TOEFL vocabulary resources on this web page. Tell other people about what I have posted here.  Together, we can conquer the TOEFL exam.

TOEFL Vocabulary Resources
TOEFL Vocabulary Resources

TOEFL Vocabulary Resources: E-book and strategies for learning all 1,700 words

TOEFL Vocabulary Resources: Strategies for guessing the meaning of unknown words

TOEFL Vocabulary Resources: Vocabulary and the reading, listening, speaking, and writing sections

TOEFL Vocabulary Resources: Practice with idioms (Useful for your speaking practice!)

I hope that you have found these TOEFL vocabulary resources helpful.

May the next TOEFL iBT test you take be your last!

TOEFL Vocabulary Resources
TOEFL Vocabulary Resources

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

http://onlinetoeflcourse.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How TOEFL writing tasks are scored

How TOEFL writing tasks are scored is, in the fourth section, that ETS rates TOEFL iBT writing tasks from 0-5.  Furthermore, ETS bases these wholistic scores on the iBT writing rubrics. Lastly, ETS combines the sum of these two writing tasks to a total of 0 -30 points:

24-30 = Good

17-23 = Fair

1-16 = Limited

0 = Incompetent

This blog post familiarizes you with the scoring system ETS uses.  Understanding how ETS scores your writing will help you understand what you need to do to score in the 24-30 points. ETS uses both human raters and eRater®  to score your writing tasks. According to ETS, human raters will judge your writing for content and meaning. In addition, ETS uses an automated scoring engine called eRater®  to score your essay for linguistic features.

ETS bases your integrated writing task score on the following: development, organization, grammar, vocabulary, and accuracy and completeness.

Similarly, specific factors relating to development, organization, grammar, and vocabulary will determine whether or not you have an overall high writing quality as it relates to the TOEFL independent writing task.

How TOEFL writing tasks are scored: The development of your integrated writing task

Development refers to how well you explain the most important points from the reading and the listening passage.  Keep in mind the following tips to help you score as high as possible in this area:

  • Limit the first paragraph to about 25-30 words.
  • Each body paragraph should be around 100 words, which is halfway between the 50-150 word suggestion in most writing handbooks. You should use three body paragraphs.
  • To avoid being biased, spend about 50 words in each paragraph discussing an important point and a detail from the reading passage. Then spend another 50 words discussing an important point from the lecture plus a detail.
  • Write a 25 word conclusion.

See a mock integrated writing practice test plus a model response: CLICK HERE.

How TOEFL writing tasks are scored: The organization of your integrated writing task

How TOEFL writing tasks are scored
How TOEFL writing tasks are scored

Organization means that there is an overall connectedness to your ideas and that your sentence to sentence organization is also apparent.

To improve your overall organization, follow these tips:

  • Separate your integrated writing task into five paragraphs: introduction, three body paragraphs, and a twenty-five word conclusion.
  • The introduction can be a compound sentence connecting the main points of the reading and the listening passage.
  • Each body paragraph should have clearly marked topic sentences. In addition, you will need another topic sentence in the middle of each paragraph as you transition from the main point in a reading passage to a main point in a listening passage.
  • Use a transition word at the beginning of each body paragraph (i.e., first, second, third…); after you finish discussing the reading, use a transition word of contrast (i.e., in contrast, however, on the other hand, conversely…) to introduce the points in the listening.
  • From one sentence to the next, use words in one sentence that repeat or rephrase  words in the previous sentence:  The reading passage discusses the idea that successful businesses should encourage employees to read documents in their entiretyReading everything in all reports, according to the author, will help employees to master the concepts needed to perform their jobs.

How TOEFL writing tasks are scored: The grammar of your integrated writing task

E-rater scoring engine will be analyzing your grammar in addition to having a human rater read your essay. Therefore, keep in mind a few things that you should follow so that you can get the highest marks possible with your grammar.

  • Use a combination of longer sentences (20-40 words) with medium (15-20 words) and short sentences (10-14 words). Generally, the short sentence is the exception in your writing. Use short sentences when you want to emphasize important ideas.
  • Keep your reporting verbs in the simple present as you discuss information from the reading and the listening passage.  Learn more about to use reporting verbs in your integrated writing task.
  • Write from the third person point of view by using some of the following phrases: the author in the reading passage states; according to the lecture, the speaker asserts; and another point the speaker makes is.
  • Avoid personal pronouns such as I, you, we, or any other words that affect the objective tone that you are trying to convey in this writing task.
  • Take the following TOEFL grammar diagnostic post-test: CLICK HERE. Then, based on your errors, study the recommended web sites to improve your grammar proficiency. Also, check out the following article, which includes further information about syntactic variety.

How TOEFL writing tasks are scored: The vocabulary of your integrated writing task

In addition to a human rater, ETS will use eRater to score your integrated task. Therefore, keep in mind the following:

  • The more you copy from the reading and the listening passage, the lower your score will become. Instead, you should be summarizing the two texts. As a result, you should use different vocabulary and grammar to explain your ideas.
  • You should use a variety of reporting verbs as you explain the information from the reading and listening passages.  Do NOT rely on the same words over and over to explain the main points of the reading passage. Learn more about reporting verbs.
  • Do NOT use the same transition words over and over. eRater will infer that you have vocabulary limitations if you do that. Learn more about transition words.
  • Since eRater can check every word you use against a database of 1000’s of college-level words, it makes sense that you increase the number of college-level words that you can use when you write. The idea is that you have a good enough base so that you can use college-level words to paraphrase and summarize content.  A good start is to make sure that you can use every word on this vocabulary list: Get 1,700 college-level words right now.
  • In your conclusion, restate the introduction using different vocabulary and grammar. The idea is that you show that you have a wide range of vocabulary and grammar choices.

How TOEFL writing tasks are scored: The accuracy and completeness of your integrated writing task

Typically, a reading passage will include three ideas of about a topic. Then the author will include some supporting details for each topic.  Similarly, the lecture will also present three main points.  These three points will contradict the information in the reading passage. The speaker will also present some specific details to illustrate each of these points. To make sure that you do not leave out any important information, heed these suggestions:

  • Before taking the TOEFL exam, make you have a good note-taking system that can record the most important points from the reading and listening passages. Learn more about note-taking.
  • During the TOEFL exam, focus on getting three main points plus three supporting details from the content in the reading passage.
  • In the same manner, during the listening passage, concentrate on getting additional three main points plus three supporting details. Organize your notes so that you can juxtapose reading point 1 with listening point 1, reading point 2 with listening point 2, and reading point 3 with listening point 3. See below example:

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How TOEFL writing tasks are scored: The development of your independent writing task

Improve your TOEFL writing
Improve your TOEFL writing

To get the highest score in this area, I recommend the following: 100 word introduction, three 100 word body paragraphs,  and a 25 word conclusion. As a result, about 425-450 words will showcase your ability to develop your topic.  Here are some general guidelines to help you develop your ideas with more depth and complexity of thought.

  • In the introduction, make some general statements about your topic. Include a hook to engage readers’ interest. Narrow topic down to the main ideas relating to your writing prompt. Finally, include a sharply-focused thesis.
  • Generally, each body paragraph should start with a topic to frame the paragraph’s purpose.  Then use an example to illustrate that purpose.  Finally, spend about 80 words discussing one example. In your explanation, make it obvious how it relates to your paragraph’s purpose.
  • As you elaborate on the examples, you should provide specific words or concrete details to illustrate your ideas.
  • Remember you should be developing your ideas at three coherent layers of meaning: main ideas, support ideas, and sub-support ideas.  Your thesis includes your main ideas for the entire essay. Each body paragraph begins with a support point. Lastly, after each topic sentence, your body paragraphs should state your sub-support points. Do NOT include general statements or imprecise words in the middle of your body paragraphs.

To understand more about how to develop your ideas,  read this article I wrote.

How TOEFL writing tasks are scored: The organization of your independent writing task

To score high, you must clearly connect old and new information.  A few guidelines here will help you create a highly coherent essay:

  • Make sure that you have a sharply-focused thesis statement in the introduction.  Learn more. In addition, the following web page will show you a simple trick for creating a sharply-focused thesis for the TOEFL independent writing task: Learn more.
  • Restate each point from the thesis in the topic sentences of your body paragraphs. Get some practice creating topic sentences right now: CLICK HERE.
  • Keep all the details you use focused around the topic of that paragraph.  If possible, only bring up one detail per paragraph and spend about 80 words explaining that detail. Go here to see a TOEFL independent model essay that has paragraph unity:  CLICK HERE.
  • Use TOEFL connecting words to link the old and new information.
  • Tie your conclusion back to your introduction.  To do this, restate the thesis and its key points in different words and grammar.

How TOEFL writing tasks are scored: The grammar of your independent writing task

Improve your TOEFL grammar
Improve your TOEFL grammar

In addition to a human rater, eRater will also evaluate your writing as it relates to grammar. As a result, following these general guidelines:

How TOEFL writing tasks are scored: The vocabulary of your independent writing task

Like the integrated task, eRater will compare your vocabulary against a database of 1000’s of words. Hence, using mostly basic vocabulary will cause you to score lower. Thus, you need to improve your vocabulary.  Here are some general tips to help you:

  • Make sure you are familiar enough with all the words on this 1,700 college-level word list.
  • Be careful of using the same word repeatedly. Your goal is to use a wide range of precise words to help you articulate your argument. If you use “student” in  one sentence, you might consider using “classmates” or “pupils” in another sentence.
  • Avoid generic words that do not have much meaning: good, excellent, bad, stuff, things, and so on.
  • Do not use the same transition word more than once.  For example, if you use “however,” the next time choose a word like “in contrast.”
  • Here are some additional web pages to help you improve your vocabulary: basic and advanced vocabulary usage, how to learn vocabulary words quickly, and effective method for learning vocabulary words.

How TOEFL writing tasks are scored: Final comments

Now you know how your writing tasks are scored.

  • For only $45 monthly, you can begin sending me speaking and writing practice tests every day. I will score each of your speaking and writing practice tests so you can monitor your progress.
  • In addition, you will have unlimited access to STEALTH, “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT.”
  • Finally, the first week of subscribing to my course is free. That way you can try before you buy.
  • Join my course today: http://onlinetoeflcourse.com/join/

Thank you for visiting my web page. I hope that you found this lesson useful.

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

Free TOEFL Help Offered to Students

Many want free TOEFL help. Some students need to score higher than 100. In these cases, only about 10% of all test-takers can reach this score. Furthermore, other students want to score 26 and 24 on the speaking and writing sections. About 10% of all test-takers score 26 on the speaking section. Around 20% of students reach writing subtotals scores of 24.  As a result, you may want to get free TOEFL help.

Free TOEFL Help
Free TOEFL Help

Free TOEFL Help: Complete speaking practice test.

You are reading this because you want to get TOEFL help with your speaking, right? Look at the below prompt. Take a few seconds to prepare a response. Then send me a 45 second audio file of what you said.

Speaking prompt: If you were to move to another city, which city would you choose.

Send me an e-mail (mbuckhoff@aol.com) with the following information:

Dear Michael,

Attached to this e-mail is my free TOEFL speaking practice test. I answered the following task: If you were to move to another city, which city would you choose.

Please score my practice test from 0 – 30 points. In addition, can you tell me any delivery, language use, and topic development problems that I have?

Thanks,

First and last name

Free TOEFL Help: Take writing practice test.

Another way to get free TOEFL help is by completing a free writing practice test. You can complete either a free independent or integrated writing practice right. Your TOEFL writing mentor will help you to understand what your estimated writing score is right now. Also, your mentor will tell you what types of writing issues are holding your score down. Take a free writing practice test right now.

Free TOEFL Help: Complete diagnostic grammar practice test.

Do you know what your grammar strengths and weaknesses are?  Do you know which areas of your grammar you should improve so that you can speak and write with greater accuracy?  If not,  take this 23 question grammar quiz right now.

Free TOEFL Help: Get accurate reading speed to find out if you are ready to take the TOEFL iBT.

Your reading speed is arguably the single most important skill that you need for the TOEFL.  To complete the reading, speaking, and writing sections of the exam, you need to have a reading speed of about 300 words per minute. Do you know what your reading speed is?  Find out right now.

Free TOEFL Help: Get a TOEFL study plan to meet your dream score and subtotal scores.

If you plan your TOEFL strategies, have the right study schedule focusing on the right areas, and set realistic goals, you will be well on your way to getting your target score.  However, without the right TOEFL study plan based on your current English abilities, you may end up in TOEFL hell.  Therefore, I will use my 25 years of experience as a TOEFL teacher to help you get on track. That way you will not need to take and retake the TOEFL exam dozens of times before you pass. Please send me the following information, after which I recommend a specific plan to help you improve:

Dear Michael,

My current TOEFL score is ____/120. Here are my subtotal scores: R____ , L_____, S_____, and W____.

However, I need a TOEFL score of ____/120. In addition, here are my subtotal target scores: R____ , L_____, S_____, and W____.

Please recommend a specific TOEFL study plan to help me reach my goals.

Thanks,

First, Last Name

If you have not taken the TOEFL before, you will need to complete a full-length four hour TOEFL exam.  Email me if you want me to recommend my partner web site which offers accurate, realistic practice tests.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

http://onlinetoeflcourse.com

TOEFL SpeechRater: How accurate is it?

One of my Online TOEFL Course students used TOEFL SpeechRater. TOEFL SpeechRater is an automated scoring system that Education Testing Service has created.  The behemoth educational institution has used the application for more than a decade.

TOEFL SpeechRater
TOEFL SpeechRater

TOEFL SpeechRater: What is it?

When students complete TOEFL Practice Online, they have the option to use SpeechRater to score their independent and integrated speaking practice tests. SpeechRater is an automatic application. The app uses speech recognition. The advanced artificial program uses processing technology to grade your spoken responses.

TOEFL SpeechRater: What does it evaluate?

The program grades your speaking practice tests in pronunciation, fluency, vocabulary, and grammar. These four areas are also the same areas that iBT human raters look at when they are grading your responses using the official rubrics.

Pronunciation:  TOEFL SpeechRater has a very advanced speech recognition program. Therefore, if the program cannot understand some of the words in your response, the program knows to score you lower.  For example, maybe you are having some problems with vowel and consonant sounds. In addition, you may not be pronouncing certain parts of a word correctly. As a result, TOEFL SpeechRater can accurately detect those problems.  However, the program is not able to tell you what specific areas such as long or short vowels are hurting your ability to speak clearly.

Fluency:   Fluency refers to the ability to easily and articulately deliver your TOEFL speaking tasks. Moreover, SpeechRater can also accurately evaluate your speaking in this area.  Frequent pauses and hesitations will signal to TOEFL SpeechRater that you should receive a lower score. In addition, consistent difficulties pronouncing a word or string of words will tell SpeechRater that you are having problems.

Vocabulary:  TOEFL SpeechRater can recognize the vocabulary that you are using.  The software can compare your vocabulary to a database of both simple and basic vocabulary.  Your using mostly simple or imprecise vocabulary will tell TOEFL SpeechRater that you have limitations. As a result, you will score lower.

Grammar:  SpeechRater can detect problems that you might be having with subject-verb agreement. The program can tell if you are using singular and plural nouns correctly.  It can also tell you are demonstrating control over your verb tenses.  Therefore, the program seems to be  fairly accurate in evaluating your grammar usage.

TOEFL SpeechRater: What are the limitations?

TOEFL SpeechRater cannot determine whether or not your content matches the requirements of the task.  For example, let’s say that are answering speaking task 4: reading, listening, speaking–academic.  SpeechRater will  not know whether or not you have presented the most important points from the lecture. Nor will the program know whether or not you have presented the most important parts of the reading passage. Finally, the program will not diagnose whether you have made the required connections in the reading and listening passages. Here are some additional limitations:

  • SpeechRater cannot diagnose and provide feedback to you so that you understand what pronunciation improvements you need: vowels, consonants, syllable division, grammatical word endings, word stress, sentence rhythm, intonation, thought groups, and blending.
  • SpeechRater cannot tell you specifically which areas of your grammar are weaker. For example, it will not tell you that you have specific problems forming adjective clauses.

TOEFL SpeechRater:  Final Comments

TOEFL SpeechRater has a 10-20% inaccuracy rate. Therefore, if you want to get 100% accurate scoring, you may want to join STEALTH, an Online TOEFL Course created by founder and mentor Michael Buckhoff, who has

  • Been teaching TOEFL preparation for more than 25 years.
  • Graded more than 30,000 speaking practice tests over the last eight years.
  • Coached 1000’s and 1000’s and 1000’s of students to scores of 26+ on speaking.
  • Helped 1000’s of students reduce their non-native speaker accents.

You can learn more about his TOEFL courses here: http://onlinetoeflcourse.com

You can e-mail him at mbuckhoff@aol.com

TOEFL iBT vs. Paper-delivered Test

TOEFL iBT vs. Paper-delivered Test measure your academic English language skills.  Do you know the difference between these two tests?  The location, the format, and the scaled scores are important components of each test. The two tests differ in some small areas.

TOEFL iBT vs. Paper-delivered Test
TOEFL iBT vs. Paper-delivered Test

TOEFL iBT vs. Paper-delivered Test: Where is each test offered?

TOEFL iBT vs. Paper-delivered Test: You have about 50 chances every year to take the TOEFL iBT in many countries around the world.  You have to take this test at an official testing center. Therefore, you are not allowed to take the test in the comfort of your own home.  CLICK HERE to find an official testing center near you.

TOEFL iBT vs. Paper-delivered Test: Some testing centers do not have reliable internet connections. In these cases, you must take the TOEFL Paper-delivered test. For example, in the country of Zimbabwe in the Harare region, you have to take the TOEFL Paper-delivered test.

TOEFL iBT vs. Paper-delivered Test: What is the format like for each test?

TOEFL iBT vs. Paper-delivered Test: The TOEFL iBT has four sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

Click Here to learn more about the format of the TOEFL Paper-delivered test.

In short, TOEFL iBT vs. Paper-delivered Test are exactly the same test, except that the TOEFL Paper-delivered test does not have the speaking section since there is no way to upload those speaking files to the Internet during testing.

TOEFL iBT vs. Paper-delivered Test: What are the scaled scores for each test?

In the TOEFL iBT, the reading, listening, speaking, and writing sections are scaled from 0-30 points.  Therefore, the overall total score is 120 points.

The TOEFL Paper-delivered test has three sections: reading, listening, and writing, with each section scaled from 0-30 points. However, there is no speaking section. Moreover, there is no overall score,

In most cases, you will be taking the TOEFL iBT.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

http://onlinetoeflcourse.com