The TOEFL Writing Section only has 2 types of questions — Integrated and Independent.
The first task is an integrated question.
You will read a short reading passage about a topic then hear a lecture on the same topic.
The integrated question will ask you to summarize the points made in the passage and the lecture.
You’ll have 20 minutes to write the integrated answer essay.
Then, your next task is the independent question.
The independent question will ask about your opinion on a topic.
You’ll have to choose an argument and provide details to support your argument.
Let’s take a look at simple ways to prepare for each of them.
The integrated question types of the TOEFL writing section will give you a reading passage and a lecture about the same topic.
Both passage and lecture will present different arguments about the topic.
For the integrated questions, you’ll have to take notes of both the passage and lecture, then summarize what each argues along with its supporting details in your answer.
Often, the integrated question will give you a reading passage about a topic with 3 arguments supporting its main claim and an audio lecture on the same topic, disagreeing with each of the 3 arguments from the reading passage.
It’s important to organize your notes. A t-chart helps.
Write notes from the reading passage on the left, then write the arguments from the lecture on the right. Make sure each paragraph is in order and write your answer in the order of the points as given in the passage and lecture.
For an in-depth example of the lecture vs. passage question, check out this TOEFL Integrated Writing answer template.
The TOEFL Writing Independent question asks you about your own thoughts on a given topic.
Often, the independent question will ask you whether you agree or disagree with a given position.
For example, “The expression ‘the early bird gets the worm’ means that the person who arrives first is the one who is successful. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?”
State your position clearly with “I agree” or “I disagree.”
Pick one position and provide clear, supporting details to why you agree or disagree.
Make sure to stay on topic and answer the question.
Pick the option you have a strong argument for.
If you often struggle to pick one answer, try making a short list of the pros and cons of each option (2-3 reasons). Ask yourself: “What is better about this option than the others? Can I write a specific example for this option right now?”
Practice making strong decisions so you can spend more time explaining your thoughts.
You wouldn’t want to write for 15 minutes only to realize another option would’ve been a better choice!
For more answer ideas, read through TOEFL Writing model answers and compare them with your practice essays.
That completes the introduction to 2 types of TOEFL Writing Section Questions!
For both Integrated and Independent questions, ETS recommends that test-takers save the final 2-3 minutes before the time limit for revisions.
Use the final few minutes to review what you’ve written. You might be able to catch some crucial mistakes you didn’t catch during the writing session!
Let us know how you’re preparing to write the best writing section answer in the comments below.
And as always,
Good luck with your studies,
Your TestGlider team.