The writing section is the final section of the TOEFL test. It has 2 different question types, and you get one question from each question type in your test. You will be given 20 minutes for question 1, and 30 minutes for question 2, so it can be difficult at first to come up with a high-scoring essay within such a short time. To help you with that, here is a TOEFL Independent Essay structure template that can help you write a high-scoring answer. With this template in hand, all you need to do is come up with creative and logical reasons. The template is here to do the rest.

This blog post is a part of a series where I post templates for all TOEFL Speaking and Writing questions. As a part of this series, I will introduce you to structure templates for 4 speaking and 2 writing tasks, along with model answers written based on those templates.

Here we go with the first post: How to write a TOEFL independent essay.

Now here is a structure template that can help you get a decent score in TOEFL Writing independent question type. I will go over the template with a model answer to help you understand better. Before beginning, here is the question the model answer is based on:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?
It is more important to use the land for human needs like farms, houses, and factories than for saving endangered animals.

Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

And here is the model answer:
As the human population has increased over time, more land has become necessary to accommodate the growing number of people, resulting in the reduction of the habitats of wild animals. In this situation, many people question whether the land should be used for the needs of humans or for saving endangered animals. I firmly believe that it should be used to save endangered animals for two reasons.
First, land should be used for endangered animals rather than human beings because the land is essential for animals, while that is not the case for human beings. Due to developments in architecture and technology, it has become possible to use a small amount of land to accommodate a large number of people by constructing tall buildings. For example, the tallest building built by humans is the Burj Khalifa, which is more than 160 floors tall and can accommodate thousands of people. While human beings can satisfy their need for land in this way, it is not possible for animals since they have adapted to live in particular environments with specific conditions. If the surrounding environment does not satisfy the conditions of their natural habitat, those animals eventually become extinct. This is why it is highly preferable to use the land for endangered animals.
Second, all living species on Earth are interconnected and allowing endangered species to go extinct can have devastating results. The global ecosystem sustains life with sophisticated yet delicate food chains. When there is no space to preserve animals, they will die out, and then the chain will collapse. For example, grey wolves were eliminated from the Yellowstone area in the US through hunting. This had a huge impact on the ecosystem of Yellowstone, as the number of large herbivores like deer drastically increased, and they ate most of the available food. That caused their population to crash, and drove out many other species, which completely altered the composition of the forest. After wolves were reintroduced, the food chain returned to its former state.
Because of these two reasons, the land should be used to preserve endangered animals. The human population is increasing, and the demand for food and shelter is also on the rise. However, this does not mean that saving endangered animals should become less of a priority.

First, let’s take a look at the introduction paragraph:

There are three main elements included in this introduction paragraph:

Hook: The purpose of this hook sentence is to get the reader interested and curious. The sentence should introduce something general about the topic given, in this case, the necessity of land and how it has increased over the years.

Paraphrase: Here in the model essay, the writer restated the question just to remind the reader what the topic was about. This sentence is important as it can smoothen the transition between the hook and the thesis statement.

Thesis Statement: This is where you state your opinion on the given topic. Notice how the thesis statement is short and concise in the model answer. Like this, make sure that your thesis statement is short and clear.

Let’s move on to the body paragraphs.

Now there are 3 different types of information to include in the body paragraph:

Topic Sentence: This is the most important part of your body paragraph. The topic sentence shows the main topic of that paragraph. For the independent essay, it should include one reason that supports your thesis statement. Always try to start your paragraph with the topic sentence because you will expand on this reason in the remainder of your paragraph. It should be clear and concise, just like your thesis statement.

Supporting Details: This is the part where you provide details to support your topic sentence. In the topic sentence, you provide a reason as to why you think a certain way. Supporting details allow you to explain why that reason makes sense. For example, in the first body paragraph, the topic sentence states that the reason why the author thinks land should be used for endangered animals is because the land is essential for animals, while that is not the case for humans. In the supporting details, the author explains WHY land is essential for animals but not for humans.

Example: This is where you illustrate your point by giving a real-life example. Examples make your arguments seem more logical and believable. Let’s look at the second body paragraph. Here, the topic sentence states that allowing endangered animals to go extinct can have devastating effects because all species on Earth are interconnected. The supporting details give further explanation about HOW this issue may lead to devastating results. In the rest of the paragraph, the author gives a real-life example that illustrates their logic. By explaining how the disappearance of wolves actually led to the devastation of the ecosystem in Yellowstone, the author provides a solid body paragraph that is logical and persuasive.

Moving on to the conclusion paragraph:

There are two things you need to keep in mind for conclusion paragraphs:

Topic Sentence: You can think of this part as restating your thesis statement. By restating your thesis statement, you are once again emphasizing your opinion.

Closing Sentence: The purpose of this part is to wrap up your essay. It gives a feeling of closure to the reader. However, if you do not have enough time, you can skip this part and finish your conclusion by just restating your thesis.

So the structure of your essay would look like this:

This concludes today’s post. I hope this template helps you improve your writing score!


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