TOEFL Tips From ETS: Writing Advice

Posted on August 17, 2010 | Filed in TOEFL

ETS has thankfully released some very valuable tips for the writing section on the TOEFL exam. It seems to be that most of the tips are for the integrated writing section, so for these purposes we will save independent writing suggestions for another time.

In terms of writing practice for the integrated writing section, ETS recommends you practice combining information you have read or watched into a written summary. This is comparable to the TOEFL in that for the integrated writing section, you are asked to write a 150-225-word essay, combining information from both a reading and a listening passage. How do you go about practicing?  Here are the following tips from the makers of the TOEFL:

  • Read an article in the news and then listen to an article online or on TV on the same topic. Perhaps you are able to find an article written about the recent summit concerning global warming. Take that article, make any necessary notes in relation to all its important information and then listen to a radio or TV show on the same topic. Listen carefully to the similarities and differences in how both articles were presented. Were there different supporting details?  Was there a different opinion reflected in the articles? Listen carefully with an ear for comparison and contrasting.

  • Watch a speech on TV or listen to it online. A lot of times, important speeches, particularly political, are often aired again and again on TV.Try your best to only listen to the speech once and take notes on all the important points. Then, write a summary of what you heard, listing all of the major points. (Feel free to then check yourself by listening to the speech one more time with your notes in front of you.) A lot of times, famous political speeches are available as podcasts, so check online to see what might be available. While there aren’t “political” speeches, per say, on the TOEFL, there are certainly lectures that deal with socio-political issues, so the vocabulary and syntax is bound to come in handy.

  • Read a newspaper article on a controversial topic. Make any necessary notes about the topic and the newspaper article as you see fit. Then, interview your friends and ask them about this controversial topic. More than likely, you will see a difference of opinion throughout your various interviews. Make note of these in your notes and later on, sit down at your computer and type up a summary of all the different views accumulated. Make sure to note who said what, making it clear when there is either a similarity or a difference of opinion.

Want more TOEFL test tips from ETS?  Go to

Share this post on:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Comments are closed.