TOEFL Writing Feedback on Two Tests

This web page contains TOEFL writing feedback for two practice tests that one of my TOEFL writing Boot Camp students completed. Understanding why the student received her estimated writing scores will help you to improve your writing proficiency.  Then you will be able to score higher on the writing section of the TOEFL exam.  So, go get some popcorn and a soda, and let’s see what you can learn about TOEFL writing.

TOEFL writing feedback

TOEFL Writing Feedback for Independent Writing Task 1

Below I include the following:

  • A video containing the TOEFL integrated practice test reading and listening passage
  • A student’s response to the assignment
  • An edited version of what the student wrote
  • An error correction video explaining why I scored the essay the way I did

Watch the video to read the passage and to listen to the lecture.

 

Read the essay that the student wrote.

 

Estimated score is 24/30 pts.

The lecture and the reading passage discuss about non-renewable energy sources of earth such as coal, oil, and natural gas. While the reading explains about the benefits of these non-renewable energy sources, the lecturer refutes it by pointing out the negativity involved with usage of these source of energy.

First of all, the passage mentions that coal is abundant, low-cost, and easily available. On the other hand, the lecturer argues the positive aspect of coal mentioned in the passage by saying that  burning of coal leads to immense quantity of harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, sulfur,etc in atmosphere, which eventually leads to imbalance in atmosphere finally leads to acid rain in many places. Moreover, the lecturer claims that coal mining scars the adjacent land space and also affects the wild life in that region. Furthermore, the lecturer states that coal miners develop serious health problems later in their lives.

Second of all, the reading explains about the benefits of oil by pointing out it’s effective use in automobile industry and cost-friendly generation of electricity. While the lecturer claims that there is no way to obtain more detrimental effect to the balance of earth by using oil as a form of energy. In addition, spillage of oil from super tanker ships used to transport it from one place to another have a catastrophic effect on the sea life balance.

Lastly, the passage points out the positive effect of natural gas by stating it’s versatility, abundance and environment-friendliness. On the other hand, the lecturer refutes it by stating that usage of natural gas is expensive because of it’s high maintenance cost for underground pipe line repairs and other leakages. Furthermore, the lecturer states the negative effect on the earth crust while extracting gas, which eventually cause immense damage to the earth hence, making it less eco-compatible fuel.

Read the edited version of the student’s essay.

Edited version of what the student wrote:

The lecture and the reading passage discuss about non-renewable energy sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas. The reading explains about the benefits of these non-renewable energy sources, but the lecturer refutes these ideas by pointing out the disadvantages involved with using these sources of energy.

First of all, the reading passage mentions that coal, representing matter that decayed over a long period of time, can be found in many areas of the world. Therefore, coal is much less costly, the author explains, compared to other fossil-fuel sources since companies can easily transport this energy to other areas of the world. On the other hand, the lecturer argues against the positive aspects of coal mentioned in the passage by saying that the burning of coal leads to immense quantities of harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, sulfur, etc in the atmosphere, hence eventually leading to an imbalance in the atmosphere and finally leading to acid rain in many places. Moreover, the lecturer claims that coal mining scars the adjacent land areas and also affects the wildlife in that region. Lastly, the lecturer states that coal miners develop serious health problems later in their lives.

Second of all, the reading explains about the benefits of oil by pointing out its effective use in the automobile industry and its cost-friendly generation of electricity. For example, a small amount of oil can be used to power automobiles at fast speeds at relatively cheap prices, asserts the author. In addition, oil can create a lot of electricity at a proportionally low price. However, the lecturer claims that there is no other way to obtain a more detrimental effect on the balance of Earth than by using oil as a form of energy. In addition, spillage of oil from super tanker ships, mentions the speaker, used to transport it from one place to another have had catastrophic effects on the sea life balance.

Lastly, the passage points out the positive effects of natural gas by stating its versatility, abundance, and environmental friendliness. In fact, natural gas, because it is so common in the United States, can help this country relay less on fossil fuels from the Middle East. On the other hand, the lecturer refutes these claims by stating that the usage of natural gas is expensive because of its high maintenance costs for underground pipeline repairs and other leakages. Furthermore, the lecturer states that the negative effects on Earth’s crust while chemical engineers extract gas, will eventually cause immense damage to Earth, hence making it a less eco-compatible fuel.

Watch a video explaining how the student can improve her writing.

Go to 29:10 in the video to see the feedback I give about the student’s integrated writing task.

TOEFL Writing Feedback for Independent Writing Task 2

Below I include the following:

  • An example writing prompt
  • A student’s response to the assignment
  • An edited version of what the student wrote
  • An error correction video explaining why I scored the essay the way I did

An Example Writing Prompt

Many people visit museums when they travel to new places. Why do you think people visit museums? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

A student’s response to the writing task

Estimated score is 24/30 pts.

Museums are place where we can find lots of cultural and historical artifacts, scriptures and many other valuable things which tells us more stories about the place. So, there is no wonder why people wants to visit a museum when they make a travel to new place. Museums itself add strength and beauty to the place by showcasing historical events and many proudful aspects of a city.

First of all, people loves to travel are explorers and love to visit museums because more often they find it interesting to know more about the place they visit. Moreover, museums provide them with wide variety of information regarding the evolution, major events, personalities and many other factors that are linked to the development of the place. Ten years back, I made a visit to Meenakshi museum in Tamil Nadu, which opened my mind of knowledge and respect to the city of Meenakshi because of the pool of information the I gathered from the museum. The museum showed me the role of warriors and other women leaders who helped the city to gain freedom from higher authorities, which eventually spiked my respect to the courage of women at that time. Visit to the Meenakshi museum was very informative, energy boosting and eye opening for me. So I believe that it is essential to make a visit to nearby museum when we visit a new place to know more about place and its values.

Second of all, Museums provide a way to learn and not to repeat mistakes from histories of many leaders and other commoners. When visiting Kasturba palace  Museum in 1997, I learned a life long lesson. The guide I met in the museum explained me about the war that took place in the Kasturba, which destroyed almost thousands just because of one lie told by the queen. From that story, I took a lifelong change,not to lie, that molded my life in a good way.

To conclude, I think many tourist visit  museums when they go to new places, because it is shows a wide variety of information that is linked to the place which eventually help people to know better about the place. Moreover, learning from past help many people to attain valuable life lessons. Therefore, I encourage every tourist to make a visit to the museums.

An edited version of what the student wrote

To get away from the stresses of their daily lives, many people like to travel to new cities in their own country or in foreign countries. While these people are away from their homes, they will look to entertain or even educate themselves. One way to do this is to visit a museum in the new location. Museums display cultural and historical artifacts, scriptures, and many other valuable things which tell visitors more stories about the place. Therefore, people want to visit museums when they travel to new places. Showcasing historical events and many proud aspects, museums help tourists learn more about a city and its surrounding area, and, through their visual education, these alluring centers can help society avoid repeating mistakes made in the past.

First of all, people who love to travel are explorers and visit museums because more often they want to learn more about the history of the place they are visiting. For instance, ten years back, I made a visit to the Meenakshi museum in Tamil Nadu, which opened my mind of knowledge and respect to the city of Meenakshi because of the pool of information I gathered from the museum. Case in point, the museum showed me the role of warriors and other women leaders who helped the city to gain freedom from higher authorities, thereby spiking my respect to the courage of women in that era. Visiting the Meenakshi museum helped me learn more about the history of the city and hence gave me a deeper appreciation of the culture of that region. Consequently, it is essential that tourists visit museums so that they can know more about the place and its values.

Second of all, museums provide a way to learn and not to repeat mistakes from histories of many leaders and other commoners. When visiting the Kasturba Palace Museum in 1997, I learned a lifelong lesson. The guide I met in the museum explained to me about a war that took place in Kasturba, which destroyed thousands of soldiers and civilians just because of one lie told by the queen. According to the guide, the Queen……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… From that story, I took a lifelong change, not to lie, which molded my life in a good way. I did not want to repeat the mistakes that the queen had made, and hopefully, others who visit this museum will also learn not to repeat those same mistakes.

To conclude, I think many tourists visit  museums because it shows a wide variety of information that is linked to the place which eventually helps people to know better about that place. Moreover, learning from the past assists people to attain valuable life lessons. Therefore, I encourage every tourist to visit museums when traveling abroad.

An error correction video explaining why I scored the essay the way I did

TOEFL Writing Feedback Tips for Task 1

Based on the TOEFL writing feedback I provided the student in the video, keep these tips in mind:

  • To prevent unbalanced coverage of the reading and listening passages, spend about 1/2 of each paragraph explain the reading passage and about 1/2 of each paragraph explain the listening passage.
  • Make sure that you use simple present tense verbs to summarize the main points.
  • Keep your writing framed as a summary tone by using voice markers to acknowledge the reading and listening passage’s main points.

TOEFL Writing Feedback Tips for Task 2

This student had more problems with this writing task. Therefore, when you take the TOEFL exam, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure that you have a sharply-focused thesis.
  • Create arguable topic sentences which restate the key points from your thesis.
  • Limit each body paragraph to one example and keep the length at about 100 words.
  • Minimize the number of grammatical errors you make. In addition, remember that you should be using both basic and advanced grammar.

If you are on a tight budget and do not have much time for your TOEFL study, consider one of the below services. That way you can finish the TOEFL and move on with your life.  All my courses offer TOEFL writing feedback!

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

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