How to write an effective essay for TOEFL examination?

How to write an effective essay for TOEFL examination?

Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native speakers wishing to travel to US either for academic or any other purposes. TOEFL is designed and administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service), which is a non-profit organization. This is one of the major English language tests in the world like IELTS and the scores are used by over 9000 universities and other institutions.

TOEFL is offered as both Internet based test (IBT) and Paper based test (PBT). PBT is administered only in select areas. IBT is conducted more than 50 times in a year in 4500 centers in 165 counties. Reading, Listening, speaking and writing skills of the candidates are tested in a span of 3 hours 10 minutes to 4 hours 20 minutes as set by ETS. The total score is 120 points with 30 points for each section. The validity of the TOEFL score is for 2 years.

The writing section comprises of two tasks that measure the ability to write in an academic setting of the test takers. Task 1 is an integrated one where the candidate should both read and listen to a discussion and then summarize. Task 2 is an independent task, where one needs to write an essay on the given topic.

The topics for the independent task, will be general in nature and mostly consist of contradicting statements for which the candidate should analyze and support. The essay should comprise of at-least 300 words and time available is 30 minutes.

Some examples of the topics are -

- ‘In some countries, teenagers have jobs while they are still students. Do you think this is a good idea? Support your opinion by using specific reasons and details.’

- ‘Have automobiles improved modern life?’

- ‘A teacher’s ability to relate well with students is more important than excellent knowledge of the subject being taught.’

There is no passing or failing in TOEFL and each institution sets its own cut off for their selection procedure. ETS uses both human rating as well as automated scoring methods for evaluating the test takers. The scores are finalized based on the human judgment for content and meaning and automated scoring for linguistic features and quality of language.

Tips to write an effective essay:

- Introduction should emphasize on which side of the discussion you are taking and it should be reinstatement of the thesis statement.

- The body of the essay should contain various examples that support your ideas. Each new idea in new paragraph and typically discuss 3-4 ideas in different paragraphs.

- Agree or disagree with something and provide the reasons that support your opinions.

- Do not forget to summarize your opinions and ideas in a final paragraph of conclusion.

- Focus on vocabulary and grammar throughout the write up and finally take time to re-read the essay to make the necessary corrections.

Proficiency in any language can be developed by reading and writing while there is no shortcut to it. Choosing a familiar topic and effectively sharing your opinions in a systematic order is the key for success in delivering a good essay for TOEFL.
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  • RE: How to write an effective essay for TOEFL examination? -Hemant Sharma (08/10/14)
  • TOEFL or Test of English as Foreign Language is an English proficiency test for people who are interested to take further education in US or any other country. There are more than 130 countries that accept the TOEFL scores for admission in more than 8500 colleges. The last component of TOEFL is the Writing section which requires an applicant to write an essay in standard academic English. The main idea for this test is to measure the students’ ability express their understanding of a topic in words. There are various different writing strategies to write an effective essay, which will be discussed in details.

    Before we move ahead we need to understand what type of essays are required to excel in TOEFL. A TOEFL essay is a type of argumentative essay. It basically explains the point of view of a writer regarding a particular topic. There is a basic format that needs to be followed along with the exuberant ideas of the writer.

    The first step in writing an effective essay is to make sure one understands the topic clearly and is able to focus on the specific idea of the essay. Depending upon the question students need to form an opinion of what they think and how it should be dealt.
    The second step is to prepare a guideline or outline of the various thoughts or ideas that may have accumulated in the mind after reading the topic. Always mention the advantage and disadvantage for a topic. Rephrase some of the ideas and put in order based on their importance. For this students need to practice organizing the essay properly. Always use examples to support your opinions. Use rich vocabulary and variety of grammar which is favored among the raters.

    The third step is to expand the main points that were noted done in the outline. These points will serve as the foundation of ideas in an essay. Focus on the main point and explain it by breaking it down to sub points. Make sure that the points written make some sort of logic and not just written to be there. Ask various questions to yourself before writing the final points. Be argumentative. It is important to back up your thesis but it should not be overdone, clarification should be within the permitted lines.

    The introduction should address the topic and should make way for a smooth transaction towards the body. It should highlight the main points that will be discussed in the essay. In the body mention the major points and sub points that have been outlined in the initial stages. There should be 2-3 paragraphs talking about all the major points which should include the ideas and support. It should be written within the time frame allotted. Thus, it’s important to use good vocabulary and use transition or linking words to save time.

    The last but not the least is the conclusion. The conclusion provides the overall overview of the topic that has been under discussion in the essay. Some of the arguments presented in the body may be reinforced here to strengthen the point. The last sentence should be effective and should express everything mentioned in the essay.

    Finally, students should not shy away from editing and should have enough time to make changes. Students should keep a track of the time allotted to them. There should be ample time for making an outline, writing the essay and then for revision and editing. Understanding what’s been asked is very important. Half of the work is done if students interpret the question in the correct way. The essay should be written in well-defined paragraphs. The presentation should be good and should be appropriately linked.