Two TOEFL Writing Strategies

Two TOEFL Writing Strategies can help you improve your writing level.Two TOEFL writing strategies

The sample paragraphs illustrating two TOEFL writing strategies are based on the following writing prompt.

Which of the following is most important in having an environmentally-friendly city?

    • A city with a public transportation system so extensive that private cars are not needed
    • A city which requires all residences to use solar power for at least 80% of their energy needs
    • City whose residences are required to recycle at least 50% of all water used

TOEFL Writing Strategy: Write a 100-word introduction with a sharply-focused thesis.

Keep in mind these important strategies as you practice writing introductions:  1) You should make some general statements related to the topic. 2) Include an attention-getter sentence to engage readers’ interest. 3) Restate the writing prompt. 4) Include a three-point thesis to frame your body paragraphs.

Given the fact that oceans are rising, the Earth is getting warmer, and we are experiencing more frequent, severe storms, all of us should be taking steps to reduce our carbon footprints on our planet. In fact, if we ignore the warning signs that our mother Earth is trying to tell us, humans could face an extinction-level event. In response to these existential threats to our existence, cities all over the world are taking at least three steps to create more climate-friendly areas. Cities like New York City and Tokyo have extensive public transportations so that their residents do not need private cars. Other cities in California require residents to install solar power on their roofs so that these citizens use this form of clean energy for 80% of their needs. Finally, other cities require their residents to recycle at least 1/2 of their water supply. Of these three environmental changes that cities are making, having an extensive public transportation system is most important in that it drastically reduces the amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, it will help reduce the garbage we throw into our landfills, and it will eliminate almost all car accidents.

This introductory paragraph that I just wrote contains 197 words.  The paragraph contains 7 sentences with an average sentence length of 28.1 words. In addition, the average word length is 4.9 words. Therefore, the Flesch-Kincaid grade level is 14.1. This is definitely college-level writing.

Avoid a choppy sentence style. Instead, keep your average sentence length between 20 to 30 words.

Oceans are rising. The Earth is getting warmer.  We are experiencing more frequent, severe storms. All of us should be taking steps to reduce our carbon footprints on our planet. In fact, if we ignore the warning signs that our mother Earth is trying to tell us, humans could face an extinction-level event. In response to these existential threats to our existence, cities all over the world are taking at least three steps to create more climate-friendly areas. Cities like New York City and Tokyo have extensive public transportations. Hence, these residents do not need private cars. Other cities in California require residents to install solar power on their roofs. Therefore, these citizens use this form of clean energy for 80% of their needs. Finally, other cities require their residents to recycle at least 1/2 of their water supply. Of these three environmental changes that cities are making, having an extensive public transportation system is most important.  It drastically reduces the amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. It will help reduce the garbage we throw into our landfills.  It will eliminate almost all car accidents.

On the other hand, this revised introductory paragraph contains 187 words. The paragraph contains 15 sentences with an average sentence length of 12.4 words. In addition, the average word length is 5.0 words. Therefore, the Flesch-Kincaid grade level is 8.4. This is definitely not college-level writing. Do not write short, choppy sentences like this during the writing section of the TOEFL iBT exam.

Michael Buckhoffmbuckhoff@aol.com

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