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Sample Essays for the Writing Section of the TOEFL® Test

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Sample Essays for the Writing Section of the TOEFL Test ( document.write(new Date().getFullYear()) )

Did you hear about the updated TOEFL iBT Writing section?

On July 26, 2023, ETS introduced a new TOEFL Writing question : Writing for an Academic Discussion.

That’s right. The Independent Writing question has been retired from the official TOEFL iBT test.

Before we get into the topics and sample essays for the new TOEFL Writing question, let’s start with the first task, which hasn’t changed, the Integrated Writing.

TOEFL Integrated Writing Topics

In the TOEFL Writing Section, there are two questions you must respond to. The first question is called the TOEFL Integrated Writing task. The second question is called the TOEFL Writing for an Academic Discussion task.

The integrated question presents a reading and listening passage, followed by a question, which is a bit more complicated.

Simple, right?

No? Still confused.

No worries. The best way to understand something better is through examples.

Let’s do one together.

This TOEFL integrated writing topic deals with the use of  Corn Ethanol .

Give yourself three minutes to read it:

The chemical compound, ethanol, has risen in recent years as the most viable alternative to fossil fuels. Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from crops, mainly from corn in the United States, which can power engines. There are many who argue that corn ethanol should replace fossil fuel gas as the primary source for running cars.

One major benefit of using corn ethanol is that it uses less energy than gasoline. Using less energy means that people can get better gas mileage while driving these more fuel-efficient cars. In the long-run, this will be cheaper for consumers because they can drive further than they do now with fossil-fueled cars. People will spend less money on gas because they won’t have to stop to fill up as frequently.

Another advantage of switching to corn ethanol is that it helps the American economy become less reliant on energy sources from other countries. Petroleum is not readily available in the U.S., so it must be imported from other countries. Depending on foreign relations with those countries, fuel becomes a political issue. Corn is a crop that America has in abundance. By using corn ethanol instead, the cost of gas will decrease because now the import taxes on fossil fuels are calculated into the price. This also means that we will be putting the money into our own economy, thus helping local corn farmers.

One of the most attractive aspects of corn ethanol is how environmentally friendly is when compared to current automobile gasoline. Fossil fuels release carbon that has been stored for years from the earth. Burning biofuels, like corn ethanol, is better for the environment because it releases less greenhouse gas emissions. Lessening the amount of carbon emissions will help prevent global warming and all of the other negative effects of climate change.

Once three minutes have ended, listen to a conversation about the same topic

Now, it’s time to write your TOEFL essay.

Stop reading.

Start writing.

Write your essay before you look at this TOEFL Writing sample. You will learn a lot more if you actually write the essay and then compare this to your own.

Here’s an expert TOEFL teacher’s sample essay to this particular TOEFL Writing topic.

The article introduces the topic of corn-based ethanol. More specifically, the writer discusses the advantages of switching from fossil fuels to this alternative energy source. The lecturer in the listening passage disagrees. He believes that the benefits the author mentions are misleading and attacks each of the claims made in the reading.

In the reading, the author begins by stating that drivers will get better gas mileage on corn ethanol than on fossil fuels, and therefore save money on gas. The speaker, however, disagrees. He states that the production of corn ethanol is very expensive. He says that in order to make for the costs to create and distribute this biofuel, the price of ethanol gas will increase.  Therefore, it will not be any cheaper for consumers in the long run.

The writer also claims that making the switch to corn ethanol will help the American economy because it will make the United States less dependent on foreign oil. Again, the lecturer believes there are flaws in the writer’s argument. He holds instead that mass use of corn-based ethanol will hurt the economy. He elaborates this by point out that the inevitable competition for corn by multiple consumers, including beef and dairy farmers, will drive the price of corn up.

Another reason why the author feels that moving from traditional gasoline to corn ethanol is a good idea is that they are more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. The professor in the listening passage is doubtful that this is accurate. He suggests that as more farmlands are created to support the demands for more corn, more carbon will be absorbed by the land. This means that these emissions will still be released to negatively affect the environment.

As you can see the author and speaker hold very different views about the use of corn ethanol.

The author here clearly defined the main idea, organized the supporting points from both the reading and listening passage, and showed how they differ from each other. 

I know it may seem a bit difficult, which is why I recommend that you start off with a TOEFL Writing template for both the Writing for an Academic Discussion task and Integrated essay.

writing samples of toefl

Looking for more example essays?

Download our TOEFL Writing 24+ Guide if you would like more sample essays. It includes extra tips, tricks, and strategies you will not find anywhere else. Download it for free here

Too complicated? Don’t worry.

I will share TOEFL writing templates for the Integrated Writing question, which will make your life a whole lot easier.

We have to talk about the Writing for an Academic Discussion question.

Writing for an Academic Discussion Question

You will have 10 minutes to complete the Writing for an Academic Discussion question .

For this task, you will participate in an online discussion. After you read the question and student responses, you will have to write a response that adds to the conversation.

Here’s the breakdown:

This question is straightforward, but let’s do a sample together.

When the question appears on the screen, take two minutes to scan the passage and the student’s opinions.

writing samples of toefl

Start to write your response. Be sure to add to the discussion and avoid repeating the same points as the other students.

Aim to write at least 120 words.

writing samples of toefl

Get peace of mind with these TOEFL Writing Templates

Now that you have a few TOEFL Writing topics and sample essays to study from, you may want to use a writing template to help guide your writing.

A TOEFL template is basically a pre-organized set of words and phrases that you can use in almost any TOEFL Writing response.

Here’s TST Prep’s template for the integrated TOEFL Writing question (question one) :

The article introduces the topic of (general topic). More specifically, the writer discusses (stance of the author on the topic). The lecturer in the listening passage disagrees. He believes that (stance of the professor on the topic) and attacks each of the claims made in the reading.

In the reading, the author begins by stating that (first point made to support stance). The lecturer, however, disagrees. He states that (first counterargument by the professor). He goes on to say that (additional detail about first counterargument).

The author also claims that ( second point made to support stance). Again, the lecturer believes there are flaws in the writer’s argument. The speaker holds that (two sentences about the professor’s second counter-argument).

Another reason why the author feels that (restate stance of author ) is that ( third point made to support stance). The professor in the listening passage is doubtful that this is accurate. He suggests that (two sentences about the professor’s third counter argument ).

To sum up, both the writer and professor hold conflicting views about (general topic). It’s clear that they will have trouble finding common ground on this issue.

And here’s our template for the independent TOEFL Writing for an Academic Discussion (question two) :

You will notice that the sample essays in this article differ from the templates.

You do not have to use templates, it’s up to you. Some people prefer to write in their own unique fashion for the entire exam. However, you will notice that the structure of the templates is similar to the TOEFL example essays.

These templates follow the exact organization and structure you are expected to use on test day, so don’t hesitate to use them in your writing.

Also, don’t forget to download the free 24+ TOEFL Writing Guide if you would like more example essays, templates, and exclusive tips to help you earn the best possible TOEFL Writing score on test day.

If you read this far, it means you are serious about your TOEFL studies. Don’t hesitate to send us an email and let us know how we can help you earn the TOEFL score of your dreams – [email protected]

Did we forget anything? Please comment and let us know how we can improve our TOEFL Writing advice (or if you want to just say hi that would be great too).

Other articles

Ten Awsome Tips for the Writing Section of the TOEFL Test

100 Free Questions for the Listening Section of the TOEFL Test

Check other articles on TOEFL

109 Comments

Abdul Siyar Azizi

Hello Josh, I have a question regarding how we can write an advanced writing that will be scored 25+?

Josh

Thanks very much for your question. We do have some templates that can help to increase your score. However, to give you a more detailed answer, I would suggest you consider doing an essay evaluation with us so we can help you determine specific areas for improvement. In the meantime, here are some articles that can help.

https://tstprep.com/articles/toefl/ten-awesome-tips-for-the-writing-section-of-the-toefl-test/

https://tstprep.com/articles/toefl/sample-essays-for-the-writing-section-of-the-toefl-test/

Ireen

Hi Josh! For the academic writing, I only gave my reason for the topic, and I forgot to mention the opinion of the other student. I checked my word count. It is already past 100 words, and I do not want it to be too long. Do we really need to mention the other students’ opinion?

Hi Ireen. Great question! We often suggest mentioning one of the other students, but it is not required. As long as what you said was on topic, you “added to the discussion,” and gave specific reasons and examples, you should be okay with the 100 words you wrote.

Sarah

Hello, I have a question about the independent writing: Is it a problem if I just give one reason in my essay (but detailed enough)? Thank you

Hi there and thank you for your question. There are no specific grading criteria that say you MUST give two reasons for your opinion, so, in theory, yes, you can just give one reason. I don’t think you will be marked down for it. If possible, try to give two though. It will make your word count higher.

Lobna

Hello Josh, I was wondering if you have more integrated writing questions that we could do for practice, do you know where to find them?

Hi there and thank you for your question. If you search “TOEFL Writing Practice test” on Youtube you will find 2-3 TST Prep practice videos with an Integrated Writing practice question. I’m sure there will be tests from other providers as well.

Ashina

Hey Josh, I have been following your YouTube channel for my TOEFL preparation, where I learned a lot. My question is that I got stuck between 15-17 scores in the reading section and could not figure out what I would do to enhance my scores. Any suggestions?

Hi there Ashina, and thank you for your question.

It is, indeed, a difficult question to answer. Here are two pieces of advice on how to practice at home and how to improve time management:

HOW TO DO A PASSAGE

I am going to breakdown the process you should go through when you do a TOEFL Reading passage:

1. Copy the test conditions (set a timer to complete the passage and all the questions in 18 minutes)

2. Check your answers

3. Identify the reason you got a specific question wrong (or didn’t understand why you were correct) and write down what you can do to avoid the same mistake next time. Step #3 is the most important and the one often overlooked because most test-takers are pretty tired after reading and answering questions. This will help you notice patterns in incorrect choices and apply what you have learned later.

4. (Optional) Do the same passage again two weeks later. (You will remember much of what you did before, but it should help remind you of what you have learned)

TIME MANAGEMENT

My advice is pretty simple here, practice with LESS TIME. If it is not too stressful, try to complete a passage and all of the questions in 16 minutes (instead of 18). This usually does the trick for most students over time.

I hope you find some of this helpful. Good luck, and let me know if you need anything.

Kiba

Hey Josh, in the Reading section the last question holds two marks where we are asked to pick three choices. I have always have a hard time getting the perfect score here. any suggestions, please…

Hi Kiba, this is a popular complaint. I posted a video about summary questions here. You might find it helpful.

Joud

Hey Josh, I have a question. If the question is saying a good essay is between 200 and 300, and I wrote more than 300, is this okay? Or should I make it only as maximum as they are saying?

Hi Joud and great question. Definitely write MORE. There is a direct correlation between test scores and word count, so the more you write the better. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should write as much as possible as fast as possible, but anything between 350-450 words would be great.

Aziz

Hey Josh, I think I do well in my writing section, but my score doesn’t improve. Is there anything that I can do to know my mistakes from the ETS?

Hi Aziz, good question, and unfortunately, no, they do not release that information. The best you can do is work with an experienced teacher who can point out your weaknesses and work on them at home before test day.

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TOEFL iBT ® Test: Writing for an Academic Discussion

Video duration: 6:43

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Hi. I'm Michael from ETS, and welcome to Inside the TOEFL Test. Today, we're going inside the TOEFL IBT writing section-- specifically question 2, the writing for an academic discussion task.

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Map of the world.

So in the next few minutes, we're going to look at how the question is structured, how to approach the question, how your response is scored. We'll look at a sample response that received a high score, and will give you some tips for improving your writing skills.

So here's generally what the writing for an academic discussion task will look like. For this task, you're presented with an online academic discussion. A professor has posted a question about a topic, and some classmates have responded with their ideas. You have 10 minutes to type your own post that contributes to the discussion. There's no maximum length for your response, but a good response is usually at least 100 words.

So what is this task asking you to do? It's asking you to write an opinion in response to the professor's question. Your opinion should contribute to the discussion. It should be clear and cohesive, and it should be developed and well supported by reasons or examples.

Text, Approach Tips.

The best way to approach a response is to read the discussion carefully and then come up with one or two ideas you would like to contribute to the discussion. In this discussion, the professor is asking the class to think about important discoveries or inventions other than the computer or the cell phone. One student in the class, Paul, posts about space satellites and the various benefits they bring.

Another student, Lena, posts about advances in medical science, particularly the discovery of vitamins. And now it's your turn to provide your own contribution to the discussion. You could take some inspiration from one of the other posts and write about other advances in space technology or medical science, or something completely different, like how the invention of shipping containers made transporting goods around the world a lot cheaper, or anything else that comes to mind, like television, DNA, or plastics.

Start by introducing the invention, and then explain clearly why you think it is important, just as the professor has asked in the question. When you give your opinion, you may refer to one of the other student posts to agree or disagree, but make sure to use your own words and phrases. Don't just copy what the other students have written.

Scoring Criteria.

Before the test, make sure you understand what the raters are looking for and how each question is scored. Responses in the writing section will each be given an overall score from 0 to 5. For question 2, the writing for an academic discussion task, the raters are looking for three main things-- relevant and clearly developed ideas, variety in the use of language, and a correct use of language.

First, relevant and clearly developed ideas. The raters are looking for ideas that contribute to the discussion and are well supported by reasons and examples. If you just use a lot of words and sentences that are not well connected and do not support each other, or that don't add up to a clear point of view, or if you develop empty ideas, you'll receive a low score.

Second, variety in the use of language. The raters are looking for evidence that you can use a variety of structures and vocabulary. The variety should be natural and support your ideas. If you try to use varied structures of vocabulary without a good reason, that will not help you get a high score.

The third criterion is a correct use of language. It is important that your use of grammar is strong and consistent, that your word choices are correct and appropriate, and that your spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are correct. Your writing doesn't have to be absolutely perfect to get a top score, but the few small mistakes you may leave behind have to be typical of competent writers writing under timed conditions.

And don't try to create an answer by memorizing sentences or paragraphs on various topics before the test and then trying to relate them to the topic you receive, because the content won't be appropriate, and you'll just receive a low score.

You can see exactly how your responses are scored by looking at the writing for an academic discussion rubric, or scoring guide. The writing rubrics can be found on the TOEFL website.

e t s dot o r g slash t o e f l

Now, let's look at a sample response to give you an idea of what a good response looks like and what our raters look for when they score. This student wrote a response to the topic about inventions we discussed a minute ago. It received a score of 5 on a 5-point scale. The response is relevant and clearly expressed with good elaboration.

Santos was a major figure in the early history of flight and developed the first commercially viable airplane. There are some errors in mechanics, such as missing spaces after periods and not capitalizing Brazilian, and a few errors in prepositions and articles, like "any place of the world" and "a important invention," but these kinds of errors are to be expected from a competent writer under timed conditions.

Text, Skill Building Tips.

Now, here are some tips for improving your writing and getting ready for the writing for an academic discussion task. One, find articles in newspapers or on websites that express opinions. Read them and write about why you agree or disagree.

Two, elaborate on ideas as much as you can. Practice by thinking of different reasons why you feel a certain way about a topic, then provide plenty of supporting arguments and examples for each reason. Three, when you practice, you may find that you're making the same kinds of grammar mistakes over and over, so learn how to correct them. Then when you write, leave some time at the end to go back and revise to make those corrections.

Inside the TOEFL test.

There are lots of ways to improve your English skills. Whatever you do, keep practicing, and good luck on your TOEFL test.

For more information about the TOEFL i B T text and to register, visit the website at e t s dot org slash t o e f l Copyright 2023.

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TOEFL Writing Topics: Examples of TOEFL Independent Writing Topics

Open book lying in grass and flowers representing TOEFL independent writing topics - image by Magoosh

While the TOEFL is generally a very different type of test from the GRE, the GMAT, and the SAT, there are a few similarities, and the nature of the TOEFL Writing topics (specifically TOEFL Independent Writing topics) is one of them. As with most standardized tests, the TOEFL asks you to write an essay.

Well, it asks for two essays. For a quick summary of the two Writing tasks (Independent Writing and Integrated Writing) and how they fit into the Writing section as a whole, see Kate’s breakdown of the TOEFL Writing section. And for TOEFL Integrated Writing topics, jump down to this part of the post .

Table of Contents

Toefl writing topics: task 2 subject matter.

  • The Basic Structure of TOEFL Independent Writing Topics
  • Practicing TOEFL Independent Writing Topics with Magoosh
  • Choose a Side
  • View Both Sides
  • Describe or Explain
  • Integrated TOEFL Writing Task
  • Further Practice With TOEFL Writing Topics

Let’s look at the TOEFL Writing topics that you might see for that second TOEFL essay, the “ independent task .” (Also note that the TOEFL Independent Writing task is particularly similar to the GRE issue AWA task , something to bear in mind if you are prepping for the TOEFL and GRE at the same time .)

On the one hand, there are a LOT of different TOEFL Writing topics. You might be asked to write an essay about any of the following: technology, education, media, family, small towns vs. big cities, the benefits of constructing something such as a large factory or new movie theater, the qualities of a good neighbor, life for university students, the way people should work, social media, the impact of human activity on the environment, education (the education of young children, high school students, young adults, etc.), different kinds of people you’d want to work with, important characteristics of a co-worker, cell phones, the traits of the best teachers, the attitudes of young people, traveling to new places, use of free time, etc., etc…

You get the idea. There are many different topics for the test-taker to think about and give a personal opinion on.

TOEFL back to top button - Magoosh

The Basic Structure of an Integrated Writing Prompt

But on the other hand, there are only a few different types of Independent Writing tasks. And even with those different types, the tasks are very similar: give your main points, use reasons to support them, include specific points and specific examples in your reasoning, etc…. Since these tasks involve expressing your point of view, sharing your personal experiences is also a common practice across the different types of the Independent TOEFL Writing task. Essentially, you express your opinion in a thesis statement, add related main ideas to each paragraph, and support your thesis and main ideas in a variety of ways.

ETS does provide a list of TOEFL independent essay questions in the 4th edition of the TOEFL Official Guide , and it’s a good idea to look over those sample questions. But there’s an excess of information there—we want to know some more useful generalities! So let’s divide those subjects into types. ( Click here to jump ahead to the first of those three types! )

A Note on Practicing TOEFL Writing Topics

If you practice writing the essay before test day (a good idea!), then you can use an essay prompt from the ETS list mentioned above. This is a great option.

For more customized practice, sign up for Magoosh’s 7-day free trial , select “Practice –> Custom Practice –> Writing Section”, and then try one of our premium TOEFL Writing prompts. You can also choose to only practice the independent task if that’s what you want to focus on. The trial lasts 7 days and you don’t need a credit card to sign up.

screen shot of custom practice software for Magoosh TOEFL writing topics

Let’s talk about the TOEFL “independent task” Writing topic types I mentioned above!

Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.

TOEFL Writing Topic Type 1: Choose a Side

This is by far the most common Independent Writing question type. These TOEFL prompts ask you to choose A or B then explain your decision. There is no “wrong” decision here. You can side with the first or second point, as long as your argument is well-supported and you give an effective response. There are a couple of different approaches to writing this type of essay, but the simplest form is the “five-paragraph essay.” Usually, this is only four paragraphs, because you don’t have that much time—the test only gives you 30 minutes to complete your Independent essay.

So if you choose A, you might write an essay that looks like this:

  • A is better
  • Reason 1 and examples of why A is better
  • Short contrast with B
  • Reason 2 and examples of why A is better
  • Why this is significant in the real world

Of course, there are other ways to write an essay, but it’s a good idea to use a relatively simple structure for clarity; this tends to be the best, easiest path to a high score. This is more true for the TOEFL than it is for essays on other tests, like the GRE , because the TOEFL is really a test of communication and how well you can write in the English language.

Here are some examples of the “choose a side” Writing topics:

“Some would say it is more important to have an enjoyable job than to have a job with a high salary. Do you feel this is true or not true? Explain your thoughts using examples.”

“Opinion: It is better to have a low-stress job than a job with lots of responsibility. Do you hold this opinion, or disagree with it? In your essay, include supporting details.”

“Apartment buildings are the preferred living space for many people. But many individuals prefer living in a house. Which do you prefer ? Explain your thoughts using examples.”

“It could be argued that technology makes our lives easier and simpler. But there are certainly people who feel life has become more complicated due to modern inventions. Which opinion do you agree with? In your essay, include supporting details.”

“This week, your government announced plans to invest significant amounts of money in the exploration of outer space. Write an essay explaining why you are either for this new plan or against it. Explain your thoughts using examples.”

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Modern life is easier than life in the past. Use specific details and examples to support your answer.

Would you rather live in a large city or the countryside? Explain your choice, giving specific reasons and examples.

You might also get a slightly more complicated version of the “choose a side” prompt that asks you to compare sides, like these:

“Many workers change jobs a few times in their career. However, a number of workers instead do the same type of work throughout their career. Of these two career paths, which is a better option? In your essay, include supporting details.”

Which of these two is preferable for you: a high-paying job that you didn’t enjoy, or a lower-paying job that you did enjoy? Explain your reasoning, using specific reasons and examples.

Some students prefer to study many different subjects at once, while others prefer to focus on one topic at a time. Would you rather take a semester of classes in different subjects or a semester of classes in the same subject? Explain your choice, using specific reasons and examples.

In that case, you could still use the structure I showed above, but you would emphasize the contrasts with “B” and write a bit more about them.

Writing Topic Type 2: View Both Sides

This is very similar to the “choose a side” type of essay subject, but it’s a little bit more complicated because you have to think from two different standpoints. Thankfully, it’s also not as common.

Here are a couple of examples:

“Your family and friends are encouraging you to buy a new car. What are some benefits and downsides of purchasing a brand new vehicle? Explain your thoughts using examples.”

“What are some good things and bad things about remaining in your hometown as an adult? In your essay, include supporting details.”

There are a couple of different ways you might structure an essay like, but the simplest one may be the best.

  • General statements about issue
  • Advantages and examples
  • Disadvantages and examples

Writing Topic Type 3: Describe or Explain

In a way, this is the most difficult type of Independent essay question because it doesn’t give you an A or B situation. Instead, you have to think of your own subject from a very big pool of possibilities.

“ If you could choose any place to live in the world, where would you live? Explain your thoughts using examples.”

“How was your grandparents’ life different than yours? In your essay, include supporting details.”

“ What is your favorite movie and why? In your essay, include supporting details.”

“What is your favorite place to visit near your home? Explain your thoughts using examples.”

Because these Writing topics don’t give you a yes-no or A-B choice, it’s easy to get stuck in the planning phase. (By the way, planning is incredibly important for writing any standardized test essay; don’t skip it!)

The structure doesn’t have to be very different, though. Here’s a rough idea of how you might organize a descriptive essay:

  • Your choice/subject
  • Reason 1 and examples
  • Reason 2 and examples
  • Reason 3 and examples

Notice I added one more body paragraph. Because there’s no “other side” to deal with, you have more time to explain the one topic you chose. So why not use that time for another paragraph!

This Is Only Half of TOEFL Writing (the Other Half is the Integrated Task)

Remember that the Independent essay is only half of the TOEFL Writing section. There’s also the integrated task . Although the TOEFL Integrated Writing Task is not the main focus of this post, let’s go through some basics of the first half of the TOEFL Writing section.

First off, know that TOEFL Writing Task 1 has a reading passage and a listening passage. The listening passage features part of a lecture. The speaker in the lecture will disagree with or challenge the claims in the reading. As you navigate the reading and listening for this first task, you don’t need to pay much attention to the written portion. The focus of your essay will be summarizing what the speaker said, so the reading is merely background information.

The context of the reading and speaking in TOEFL Integrated Writing tends to be based on the United States. So, for example, if you see a passage related to business or economics, any amount of money described would probably be in American dollars, and examples would involve American consumers or American companies. Still, other non-American contexts may come up. You could encounter a topic about an important influence on a European art movement, or deal with a science topic; science topics in this task are typically international or culturally neutral.

Want more help with TOEFL Integrated Writing? Magoosh has you covered! See our complete guide to the TOEFL Integrated Writing task , which includes a free TOEFL Integrated Writing practice task from Magoosh. And you can find a second free Magoosh TOEFL Integrated Writing practice task in our complete guide to TOEFL Writing samples .

Ready For Some Practice?

Sample essays are another great resource for practice. You can review sample TOEFL essays for both Independent Writing and Integrated Writing in the aforementioned Magoosh’s complete guide to TOEFL Writing samples and in our TOEFL Writing Templates . And partial or complete sample essays can also be found in the following posts:

Task 2 Sample Essays

  • TOEFL Independent Writing: Unsupported Claims
  • TOEFL Independent Writing: Correcting Disorganized Answers
  • Examples of Counter-Arguments
  • TOEFL Writing Task 2 Model Answer
  • Prewriting for TOEFL Writing Task 2
  • How to Use Transitions in Your Writing

Task 1 Sample Essays

  • How to Revise TOEFL Writing
  • Paraphrasing in TOEFL Integrated Writing
  • The Complete Guide to TOEFL Integrated Writing

Last but certainly not least, I’ve written a quick summary of the best ways to practice TOEFL Writing . You can use that as a guide to tie all of your TOEFL Writing topic practice together!

Lucas Fink

Lucas is the teacher behind Magoosh TOEFL. He’s been teaching TOEFL preparation and more general English since 2009, and the SAT since 2008. Between his time at Bard College and teaching abroad, he has studied Japanese, Czech, and Korean. None of them come in handy, nowadays.

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TOEFL Writing Task 1: The TOEFL Integrated Writing Practice Task

64 responses to “TOEFL Writing Topics: Examples of TOEFL Independent Writing Topics”

Nawal Avatar

Do you have a template for writing task 2 in TOEFL?

Lucas Fink

We don’t yet have any blog post fully explaining the structure of the independent writing task, but Kate has written some related articles:

https://magoosh.com/toefl/2013/writing-essay-introductions/ https://magoosh.com/toefl/2013/writing-a-five-paragraph-essay/ https://magoosh.com/toefl/2013/the-toefl-essay-structure/

Our more complete explanations of the independent writing task are only in our premium TOEFL product lesson videos at the moment. Check that out if you’re interested!

saloni Avatar

can u just tell me can i complete my prepration for toefel exam in one month by daily practicing 5 to 6 essays as per your suggestion?

Hi there. I wouldn’t recommend writing 5 or 6 essays daily, no—I’m not sure where that idea came from, but that’s too many essays and not enough review! You need to spend time looking at good essays, good structures, and useful phrases, and revise your own essays to be better. Writing many essays helps, but you have to analyze them. And preparing for the TOEFL is more than just writing essays. There’s also reading, listening, and speaking. 🙂

deepali Avatar

Does the essay in toefl exam come from the list given by ETS (containing 185 topics). Is it a good idea to prepare for the topics given beforehand????

Hi Deepali,

While it’s possible that the essay topic will come from that list, you may also get a topic from outside the list. It’s a good idea to read through it, but you definitely should not prepare for every topic on that list . That would take too long even if it was a complete list of possible topics—it would be over 90 hours of essay writing, just for one of the two essays! It’s more important to learn the general themes and write your practice essays using that list.

Prashant Avatar

Thanks for this useful info. This will surely help me to organize my essay properly.

You’re welcome!

vandy Avatar

I have question regarding TOEFL ESSAY writing . I have given TOEFL test several tome to meet criteria for Pharmacy. Only problem is with my writing , i need 24 score, while i always get 22. I tried so hard and still trying. Please suggest me how i can improve my sscore.

That’s tough, Vandy! You’re so close! Well, there’s no single way to improve your writing score: there are a few different things that might help you, personally. Without knowing you much better than I can through blog comments, it would be hard for me to say. But you can definitely identify your own weak areas and what you need to work on! Here are a couple of posts that explain generally how you can practice for the test.

I really recommend reading a lot , too. The more you read, the better you can imitate native speakers in your writing. And pay careful attention to grammar when you read! The writing part of the TOEFL is time to let your grammar skills show. 🙂

renu Avatar

Can u plz help me, how i can score in my reading section??? actually its too difficult for me and i dont know how to improve this. if you have any tips regarding READING SECTION plz help me out.

Absolutely! We have plenty of blog posts about the reading section which will help guide you through. 🙂

I think these posts will be especially helpful: https://magoosh.com/toefl/2013/lucas-takes-the-toefl/ https://magoosh.com/toefl/2014/synonyms-in-the-toefl-reading-section/ https://magoosh.com/toefl/2014/common-toefl-reading-difficulties/ https://magoosh.com/toefl/2014/identifying-the-main-ideas-in-toefl-reading-passages/

I really appreciate your help… Thanks Lucas..:)

Shreya Mukherjee Avatar

The aftermath of the information that you provided was that it got me thinkng as to how would one clear the test if not into reading that much? I do not specifically mean only books and novels; though daily newspaper reading’s done. Would common way of speaking the language work in writing as well or does it have to be formal as always?

But for what its worth, that was some very useful content up there. Thank you for the information.

Magoosh Expert

Hi Shreya! Daily reading is important, but make sure it’s formal or academic English. News articles are great as long as they’re from a reputable news source. Examples include BBC, NY Times, The Economist, and similar publications. Spoken language can definitely help, especially on the Listening and Speaking sections, but when it comes to Reading, academic English is important.

Rakshya Avatar

My toefl exam is after 2 weeks and i have not yet started to prepare for it.Would you please help me?How can i get a better score in such a less time?I need a great score. 🙁 And,now i am really in dilemma.Please,help me out!

Hi Rakshya,

Don’t panic! But it’s time to get to work. 🙂 First, buy a copy of the official guide. You will want that practice material. 🙂 Take a full test so you can find out your weaknesses. Then, spend the next two weeks trying to improve those weak areas (for example, speaking more fluently) by reading the relevant blog posts here at Magoosh. Keep practicing and keep reading more about how to best answer questions, and you’ll do your best on test day.

deden n Avatar

I never took the TOEFL experience before.. Well, I eager to learn english many more, so give me advice to take study hard day by day, actually my english is not bad, but sometimes i always feeling not confident to say with someone, can you show me some friends to share with me, and tell me how to speak better than now?

The most important thing to improve your English is simply experience. Your goal should be to speak, write, listen, and read in English as often as possible! The best way to improve confidence is to use English regularly. Check out this blog post for some helpful resources:

– https://magoosh.com/toefl/2014/best-free-toefl-resources/

And these posts gives some advice on improving your speaking for the TOEFL:

– https://magoosh.com/toefl/2013/toefl-speaking-practice/ – https://magoosh.com/toefl/2014/how-to-practice-toefl-speaking/

If you’re going to take the TOEFL, then Magoosh can help you learn the test. 🙂 Start reading our TOEFL blog regularly for more advice on improving your English and your TOEFL score.

Alessia Avatar

Hi there. So I have a question regarding the whole choosing sides thing. Do I have to choose between options A or B or could I agree with both sides? My exam is tomorrow so it would be awesome if I could get a quick reply. Thanks!

I’m sorry we weren’t able to get back to you sooner! I hope your test went well. 🙂 In case you’re still wondering, though, it’s best to choose a side: the prompt asks you do make a decision, and your essay will be much clearer if you choose a single side. Trying to argue both sides often makes an essay hard to follow, and that hurts your score. It’s possible to write a good essay that considers both sides, but we don’t recommend it for the TOEFL.

David Avatar

Hello Lucas, Can you provide some sample essays that would get a 5 on writing? Thanks !

We don’t have many public samples of our own at the moment, but ETS provides free sample essays for all scores: https://www.ets.org/s/toefl/pdf/writing_practice_sets.pdf

I think those will help a bit!

Thanks Lucas!

Diana Avatar

Hello, my questions are about the independent task. It is possible to only have 4 paragraph essay with more then 350 words and still score very high? thanks in advance!!! very helpful site!!

It’s absolutely possible to score very high with only four full paragraphs in the essay! Your grade isn’t based on the number of paragraphs, but on how completely you answer the question and how well you communicate your line of reasoning. I actually advise most students to write 4-paragraph essays so that they can fully explain two reasons in the body of the essay, rather than rushing to explain three reasons and switching topics too quickly/unnaturally.

Giovanna Del Nero Avatar

Hello, Lucas.

Do you think it is possible reaching the maximum score with an independent essay of four paragraphs?

I am really having difficulties with time management and I would like to know if I have to focus on practicing to write less words AND correctly rather than just writing a longer essay.

David Recine Avatar

Hello Giovanna,

Very good question! According to the writing guide on the official TOEFL website ( https://www.ets.org/s/toefl/pdf/writing_practice_sets.pdf ), an independent essay usually needs at least 300 words to be “effective.” This means that essays of less than 300 words are less likely the maximum score. (But it’s not impossible!)

Word count is not the same as amount of paragraphs, of course. It’s possible for someone to write a five paragraph essay that only has about 250 words, a three paragraph essay that has 400 words, and so on.

In some cases, an essay with as little as three or even two paragraphs can receive good marks. Remember though, paragraphs help you organize your ideas and connect them to each other. More connections (rather than fewer connections) can help you create a better organized essay. TOEFL scorers like to see that.

To make sure you earn full points (or something close to it), carefully read the official TOEFL Independent Writing Task Rubric ( https://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/TOEFL/pdf/Independent_Writing_Rubrics_2008.pdf ). You’ll notice that the rubric itself doesn’t grade test takers on word count or number of paragraphs. But as you practice writing based on the rubric, you’ll find that a certain word count or certain number of paragraphs allows you to reach level 5 on the rubric. Some of this depends on your own writing style.

Gaurav Avatar

My practice essays are about 315-330 words. What can I so increase the length without diluting the content of my essay?

Length isn’t really a goal—it’s more important that you clearly explain all of the main ideas, using specific details and clear connections between thoughts. If you do that well, it’s possible that 315 words is enough. 🙂 Don’t focus on length; focus on explaining fully and clearly!

Pakhi Avatar

Hi Lucas, The link you provided on this blog for “a list of TOEFL independent essay questions” on ETS website is not working. Can you please provide the link here? I have Toefl in 2 weeks and need it asap. Thanks!

Actually, it appears that ETS has removed that link since Lucas originally wrote this post. Luckily, someone has archived the list publicly on Google Docs. 🙂 Link here:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-EPRItMr6VtOGU4NzBiMjMtMmYzNi00YjBmLTkyZTUtY2FhMTljY2RhMTYx/edit

Stanimira Dervenova Avatar

Thanks, David 🙂 Really helpful 🙂

Monika Avatar

I am mostly confused ,because some of the books are saying that it is okay to have 4 bp and some recommend have 5 bd. Which one is more acceptable on the test ?

I think by “BP” you mean body paragraphs—is that right? If it is, then nobody is correct or incorrect, really. The most important aspects of your essay are the number or shape of your paragraphs. We recommend 4 paragraphs for both essays: 1 intro and 3 body paragraphs for the integrated essay, and 1 intro, 2 body paragraphs, and one conclusion for the independent essay. But the independent essay could very easily be 5 paragraphs total, with 3 body paragraphs.

But again, the numbers aren’t the important thing. What’s more important is that within those paragraphs , you clearly explain the main idea of that paragraph and then support the main idea with details or examples. Making a clear statement and explaining is the key for TOEFL writing. That also means using clear, conventional language. That means correct vocabulary, clear grammar, and logical transitions.

It is possible to write too many or too few paragraphs, but only because of the EFFECT that those have—in a short paragraph, you don’t have enough room to fully explain your reasons. In a too-long paragraph, you run the risk of repeating yourself. Because TOEFL essays are short, it makes sense to use only a few paragraphs total, and focus instead on the content of those paragraphs. 🙂

kelley Avatar

Lucas, I think you’re awesome!

I teach Advanced English for a non-profit organization in Arkansas. One of the classes I teach is a TOEFL preparation class.

I just thought you should know you’re awesome and appreciated.

You sound pretty awesome yourself. 🙂 Thank you for the kind words, and I’m really glad to hear we’ve been helping!

prak Avatar

i need some sample integrated writing questions, where can i find it?

Sample Integrated Writing tasks are definitely harder to find compared to Integrated writing ones. There are some out there though.

You’ll find two practice Integrated Writing questions in the TOEFL’s official Quick Prep practice sets, available online for free here . Unfortunately, the Integrated Writing task in Quick Prep Volume 1 has no audio— just a reading passage and a transcript of the related lecture.

A few other sources of Integrated Writing practice are available through ETS for a fee. Volumes one and two of Official TOEFL iBT Practice Tests contain a total of 10 Integrated Writing practice questions, as part of the 10 complete practice tests found in these two volumes. And there are 4 practice tests/4 Integrated Writing questions with audio in the Official Guide for the TOEFL. The OG also has one additional practice Integrated Writing question that is transcript only, no audio, like the one in Quick Prep Volume 1. You can purchase these and a few other TOEFL resources with Integrated Writing practice though the official materials catalog for the exam.

It’s also worth mentioning that we have one Integrated Writing practice task (with audio) here on the Magoosh TOEFL Blog. We even have a model answer for it. And of course, you can get many additional full Integrated Writing task questions with a Magoosh TOEFL subscription.

Rina Avatar

Hello Lucas, I’m currently preparing for TOEFL and I’m right now only focussing on the speaking section since I have to get good score on that. I’m very excited about the test though I feel it’s relatively harder than IELTS. I have taken IELTS and I have 7 band score in that. Now comes the question that I have from you, so basically I haven’t taken a date yet and I’ll most probably give my TOEFL in December because I want to be fully prepared and I want to do it in one go. I’m making smart strategies that works for me but still I feel I lack that confidence of talking to a machine (considering I like talking to a person more) I need you to provide me with some very common topics if you have any so I can constantly practice my speaking.

I’d suggest you read over our resources TOEFL Speaking Topics and TOEFL Speaking TIPS and PDF , which includes where to find practice questions and resources.

Happy studying! 😀

Raed Avatar

How can write complete essay in 30 min! It is very difficult

It definitely is difficult, Raed. Writing is one of the biggest challenges for many test-takers, but the writing section can be beat. One key skill is prewriting. You’ll want to get very comfortable with organizing your ideas and making outlines, so that you can do it quickly. And you’ll want to do some revision to organizaiton even while you write. (I’ve posted some additional thoughts on that here .

It also helps to strategize ways to minimize word count.Remember, ETS’s recommended length for Writing Task 1 (Integrated) is only 150 to 225 words. And their suggested length for Task 2 is 300 words. That’s really not that much. But the trick is learning to express your ideas within that word count, without having to revise and edit out extra stuff that you wrote.

In a nutshell, you’ll master the tricky skill of writing an essay in just 30 minutes if you can do the following:

1) Do all major prewriting in just the first few minutes. 2) Fall within the recommended word count on the first try, with no revisions. 3) Be able to edit for content as you write and shortly after you write.

lexi Avatar

I’ve been praticing TOEFL writing for a few weeks and had a native speaker review my essays for me. My reviewer’s pointed out a problem among my Independent essays which is that I don’t really choose a side sometimes on certain topics. For example, when I was asked to agree or disagree with the statement that “It is better to have broad knowledge of many academic subjects than to specialize in one specific subject”, I argued that diversification in knowledge and specialization in knowledge are simply different, sometimes overlapping, approaches to acquiring knowledge instead of being a rival to each other. My reviewer said he agrees with my essay, but he could only give me a C in regard to the criteria of the test since I didn’t really write in favor of a given side.

So my question is that: would it really harm my TOEFL writing score if I don’t choose a side, even when the essays are well reasoned and well organized?

Many thanks,

That is an excellent question, Lexi. It is definitely possible to get a good score by writing an essay in this way. Not choosing a side won’t automatically hurt your TOEFL score.

However, not choosing sides can still harm your TOEFL Writing score in another way. A more complicated opinion makes for a more complicated essay. And it’s harder to finish a more complicated essay– and do it truly well– in the time limit on the exam. Even if you can do a pretty good essay where you don’t take sides, a simpler essay where you do take sides can be written even more clearly and completely within the allotted time. Doing a simpler essay that focuses just on agreeing or disagreeing will leave you more time and energy to make good word choices, organize your ideas well, and check for mistakes at the end.

Of course, this may mean that you’ll need to write an opinion that isn’t truly yours. But as long as you’re comfortable doing that, taking a side is the best path to the highest score possible in TOEFL Independent Writing.

Sara Ferouz Avatar

Aslam o alikum i just wanted to know how we can say specific sentences? what is specific sentences mean? and what is the different between specific and general sentences?

“Specific reasons and examples” (as they are described in TOEFL Writing topics) are pieces of evidence that reference unique ideas and evidence. Suppose, for example, that you answered this quesiton (seen in the post above): “It has recently been announced that a large shopping center may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer”

If you support the plan, you don’t want your evidence for why you support a shopping center to be too general. A very general support might be “I think this would be good for the neighborhood’s economy.” This is too general, because the statement doesn’t include the reasons why the shopping center would boost the economy. So if you make a general statement like this in your written response, you need to follow it up with more specific statements such as “The shopping center will require a lot of workers, and people in my neighborhood can get jobs and spend more money in the neighborhood.” This is a specific reason. You could follow that sentence up with “For example, the shopping center’s food court will probably have a lot of jobs that younger people can qualify for.” This is a specific example.

Ted Avatar

Thank you very much for all those useful informations! I have one question according to choise of words. Is it better to choose simple words or very professional words? Such as organization VS company, harm VS Damage etc…

On the TOEFL Writing section, more “formal” academic words can help boost your score. But what’s most important is vocabulary variety— little repetition of words, and word choices that are creative and appropriate to meaning and tone.

Manpreet Avatar

is it important to go through each and every part of grammar so as to excel in toefl writing.

Yes and no. You should certainly have good general grammar skill, and a fluency with all the most important parts of English grammar. But the TOEFL only takes away points for grammar mistakes if the mistakes are frequent and interfere with the reader’s ability to understand your writing.

ciela Avatar

hello there.in case i was faced with a topic im not familiar with or got nothing to say about,,how am i supposed to react???

This is a common problem on TOEFL Independent tasks. Our blog has already touched on this problem a little with TOEFL Independent Speaking rather than TOEFL Independent Writing. In general, the trick to doing well when you get an unfamiliar TOEFL Independent topic is learning how to think fast and have enough to say.

To build this skill, you need to practice going with the first idea that pops into your head when you’re presented with an unfamiliar subject. If you have no opinions or experiences of your own, you also need to get good at making stuff up— yes, it’s OK to lie on the TOEFL !

Above all, you should practice with as many TOEFL Independent Writing topics as you can. You don’t necessarily need to write out a full essay for every Independent Writing questions you look at. But you should be able to brainstorm ideas and come up with an outline for any topic, even an unfamiliar one. A good resource for drilling yourself in this skill is this list of 155 TOEFL Independent Writing topics . Go through that list, and selectively look for topics where you feel like you have nothing to say. Then, through practice, learn to think quickly and say something.

Flávio Henrique Scarel Santos Avatar

Hi! Would it be advisable to put titles in the essays? Since it s answering to a given question, I would feel it s needed, is.it? Tks a lot.

David Recine

No, you definitely don’t need to add a title to your TOEFL essay. It’s not a requirement in the official TOEFL Writing rubrics . In addition, if your title is misspelled or confusing, that might actually hurt your score.

So I would avoid adding a title, to make a long story short. 🙂

Sola Avatar

My problem with independent writing that a lot of times my essays are very short because I am not too familiar with certain topics. For example – DO you think video games are beneficial or harmful to children. Explain your opinion/reasons. I personally have very minimal experience with video games, not too familiar with them. I never thought too much about this issue and as a result I do not have too much too say. How you would recommend to deal with a topic that is not very familiar to you, or if you do not have any particular opinion about? Thank you

When you say short, how long do you mean? The independent task really only needs to be ~300 words to be scored well. In any case, you can flesh out your points by adding examples or hypothetical situations to follow up your points. You can also imagine a counterpoint and refute it, giving your argument more length. 🙂

Parisa Avatar

there are many templates explaining how to write independent writing in IBT but I find less examples or templates for first writing which related to passage and lecture , can you please provide some more information at this point as well?

Examples for TOEFL Writing Task 1 (Integrated) are less common because they’re a lot harder to make. And I should know, because I made a Writing Task one sample prompt and answer for this blog. 🙂

Here is the sample TOEFL Integrated Writing Task , along with its corresponding TOEFL Writing Task 1 sample response .

In addition to this, you can find more free, full TOEFL Integrated Writing sample tasks by using ETS TOEFL Quick Prep , as well as Magoosh’s additional unofficial audio for TOEFL Quick Prep Volume 1 and TOEFL Quick Prep Volume 2 .

Wesselmie Pugsong Avatar

Hi, is it possible that i can come up with a 3-5 polished paragraphs with in 20 minutes? Including the preparation and organization of thoughts? Because i am doubting myself, do you have any suggestions that i could do? Thanks!

Hi Wesselmie,

I know it sounds difficult, but it is absolutely possible to improve your writing and craft a strong essay in 20 minutes! The best thing you can do to improve is to write as much as possible. You should be writing in English every single day–this will allow you to build your writing skills and confidence so that the essay becomes easier 😀

If you want to practice writing in English, it helps to have material to respond to. So why not get reading or listening practice at the same time?

This blog pos t has some great resources to use for listening or reading practice that’s similar to TOEFL material.

After listening to a presentation in English or reading an article from an English news site, summarize it in writing. Summarizing is an incredibly important skill for the TOEFL. Try to write as much as possible, and be very careful to use your own words. DO NOT COPY ANYTHING from the original text or presentation—instead, use synonyms and different sentence structures to convey the same information. Ideally, after reading or listening, you won’t go back to the material at all. Instead, you will only write what you remember (taking notes is a good idea!).

And you can go beyond just summarizing! Write reaction paragraphs, too. Act like you are writing back to the author or speaker with your opinion on the topic, although you are not really talking to them.

When you finish writing a response, save it for later. You should always come back to your writing a week later (or more), and edit it. Be very careful with the grammar when you edit, and add extra sentences that you need to make it clearer. Then, if you have the time, it can be a great help to write the same response (or essay) again a second time, with all of your edits in mind. 🙂

And check our the entire writing section of our blog for more tips and ideas for how to improve!

Shah Payal Avatar

Hello, Can you please help me with some useful tips on all the four sections of toefl.. Now it is just a weeks’ time for my examination and i am not understanding what to excatly focus on and put my efforts into.

I am using magoosh for my prepartion, of vocabulary, speaking, listening to audios & watching videos..

Thank you..

I recommend that you check out our 2 week TOEFL Study Schedule. You may not have time to complete all of it, but it will give you a good idea of what you should focus on in your last week. I recommend that you take a practice test, analyze your answers and performance, and then do some targeted review to ensure that you have a basic understanding of the methods and strategy for each section of the test. Good luck!

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writing samples of toefl

TOEFL Prep Online Guides and Tips

The best toefl writing templates for any prompt.

writing samples of toefl

Even if English composition isn’t your forte, you can still earn a high score on the TOEFL Writing section by following a template. But what exactly is a TOEFL Writing template? Simply put, TOEFL essay templates teach you how to organize your thoughts, select strong pieces of evidence, and get the Writing score you want .

In this article, we’re providing you with  two high-quality TOEFL essay templates for the Integrated and Independent Writing tasks. Before that, we’ll go over the differences between the two TOEFL Writing tasks and then discuss how our TOEFL essay templates can benefit you. After, we’ll teach you how to customize and use our templates.

What Essays Will You Write on the TOEFL?

The Writing section is the final section you’ll face on the TOEFL, and it consists of two separate tasks: an Integrated Writing task and an Independent Writing task . The Integrated task requires you to write a response comparing a lecture and an article, whereas the Independent task requires you to write an opinionated essay in which you agree or disagree with an idea.

Below, we examine the two TOEFL Writing tasks in detail.

Integrated Writing Task

For the Integrated task, you must read a passage on an academic topic for three minutes and then listen to a short lecture on the same topic. This lecture will either support or challenge what’s written in the passage. Your response must  summarize the main points discussed in the lecture and explain how these points relate to the reading .

You’ll have a total of  20 minutes to write your response. Your response should be around  150-225 words . During this time, you may reread the passage; however, you may not listen to the lecture again.

By the way: we have built the world's best online TOEFL course . Get online practice (TPO-sytle!) and individual grading and feedback on Speaking and Writing.

Learn how you can improve your TOEFL score by 15 points today .

The score you receive for this task will be on a scale of 0-5 . According to the official rubric , a level-5 essay (i.e., a perfect essay) selects the most crucial information from the lecture and presents it in a coherent, accurate, and well-organized manner. A level-3 essay is satisfactory but overall vague, with fewer key points and several grammatical errors. Finally, a level-1 essay offers minimal coherency and fails to address any of the main points in the lecture. ETS (the creators of the TOEFL) offers  several samples of scored Integrated essays  online.

Below is an example of an Integrated Writing task borrowed from  ETS :

Reading Passage

Critics say that current voting systems used in the United States are inefficient and often lead to the inaccurate counting of votes. Miscounts can be especially damaging if an election is closely contested. Those critics would like the traditional systems to be replaced with far more efficient and trustworthy computerized voting systems.

In traditional voting, one major source of inaccuracy is that people accidentally vote for the wrong candidate. Voters usually have to find the name of their candidate on a large sheet of paper containing many names—the ballot—and make a small mark next to that name. People with poor eyesight can easily mark the wrong name. The computerized voting machines have an easy-to-use touch-screen technology: to cast a vote, a voter needs only to touch the candidate’s name on the screen to record a vote for that candidate; voters can even have the computer magnify the name for easier viewing.

Another major problem with old voting systems is that they rely heavily on people to count the votes. Officials must often count up the votes one by one, going through every ballot and recording the vote. Since they have to deal with thousands of ballots, it is almost inevitable that they will make mistakes. If an error is detected, a long and expensive recount has to take place. In contrast, computerized systems remove the possibility of human error, since all the vote counting is done quickly and automatically by the computers.

Finally some people say it is too risky to implement complicated voting technology nationwide. But without giving it a thought, governments and individuals alike trust other complex computer technology every day to be perfectly accurate in banking transactions as well as in the communication of highly sensitive information.

Lecture Transcript

(Narrator) Now listen to part of a lecture on the topic you just read about.

(Female professor) While traditional voting systems have some problems, it’s doubtful that computerized voting will make the situation any better. Computerized voting may seem easy for people who are used to computers. But what about people who aren’t? People who can’t afford computers, people who don’t use them on a regular basis—these people will have trouble using computerized voting machines. These voters can easily cast the wrong vote or be discouraged from voting altogether because of fear of technology. Furthermore, it’s true that humans make mistakes when they count up ballots by hand. But are we sure that computers will do a better job? After all, computers are programmed by humans, so “human error” can show up in mistakes in their programs. And the errors caused by these defective programs may be far more serious. The worst a human official can do is miss a few ballots. But an error in a computer program can result in thousands of votes being miscounted or even permanently removed from the record. And in many voting systems, there is no physical record of the votes, so a computer recount in the case of a suspected error is impossible! As for our trust of computer technology for banking and communications, remember one thing: these systems are used daily and they are used heavily. They didn’t work flawlessly when they were first introduced. They had to be improved on and improved on until they got as reliable as they are today. But voting happens only once every two years nationally in the United States and not much more than twice a year in many local areas. This is hardly sufficient for us to develop confidence that computerized voting can be fully trusted.

Question: Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they oppose specific points made in the reading passage.

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Independent Writing Task

For the Independent task, you will write about your opinion on a certain topic . You must provide clear reasons and specific examples for why you agree or disagree with the issue or statement. (This doesn’t have to be your real opinion, though!) You’ll have 30 minutes to write your response. A typical high-scoring essay is at least 300 words .

You’ll receive a score on a scale of 0-5 . According to the official rubric , a level-5 essay effectively addresses the topic, provides clear and ample details, and contains at most only minor issues with grammar and word choice. A level-3 essay offers a generally coherent response with occasional slips in clarity. Finally, a level-1 essay offers little to no detail and contains multiple technical errors. You can look at samples of Independent essays  on the ETS website.

Here is an example of an Independent Writing task taken from ETS :

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Always telling the truth is the most important consideration in any relationship.

Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Integrated Task vs. Independent Task

So far we’ve covered all of the basic components of the TOEFL Writing tasks. To briefly recap, here is an overview of the Integrated and Independent Writing tasks:

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What Is a TOEFL Writing Template?

The purpose of a TOEFL Writing template is to help you compose a detailed and eloquent essay — and of course get you a high Writing score! But what exactly is a template?

It’s easiest to think of an essay template as a skeleton . While a skeleton is the framework for a body, a template is the framework for an essay . Thus, a TOEFL Writing template highlights basic structural patterns and phrases you can integrate into your own writing. What a template doesn’t do is write your essay for you. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how you’ll add the skin and muscles (i.e., the details and supporting evidence) to your “skeleton.”

Furthermore, writing templates are typically created to suit different types of essays . For example, a template for a compare/contrast essay will differ from a template for an editorial piece. This is why it’s so important you use a writing template specifically geared toward the TOEFL!

What Are the Benefits of a TOEFL Writing Template?

There are three major benefits to using a TOEFL Writing template.

It Organizes Your Thoughts

Using a TOEFL Writing template ensures you’ll have a focused and well-organized response . A high-quality template teaches you how to structure your response so that your introductory, body, and concluding paragraphs are all clearly defined. This way, even if your grammar and spelling aren’t perfect, your response will still have an overall strong framework that’s easy to follow.

TOEFL essay templates also show you  what kinds of transitions you can use and where . Transitions are a key component of essays that allow you to connect your thoughts and progress to new ideas smoothly. Truth be told, you probably won’t score super highly on the TOEFL Writing section if you don’t use any transitions!

It Saves You Time

Another big benefit of using a TOEFL Writing template is that it saves you time on the Writing section. Since you’ll already have a sense of how you’re going to structure your essay,  you’ll spend less time planning it out and   coming up with transitions, openings, and closings. As a result, you’ll get more time to actually write out your response!

It Gives You Confidence

Lastly, a TOEFL Writing template allows you to  feel more prepared on test day. Many test takers find it difficult to write out responses to English-language prompts in only 20 or 30 minutes. But TOEFL essay templates equip you with the skills you’ll need to feel more confident in your writing skills — and confidence is the first step toward getting a great TOEFL score!

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2 TOEFL Essay Templates for You to Use

In this section, we offer you   a TOEFL Integrated Writing template and an Independent Writing TOEFL template . We also provide you with a handy list of key transitional words and phrases  you can incorporate into your essays.

Please note that you do not need to follow these templates directly. In fact, we strongly encourage you to replace our sample words and phrases with your own . We will talk more about how to customize our TOEFL essay templates in the following section. But for now, let’s take a look at the templates!

Template 1: Integrated Writing Task

Before we dive into our TOEFL Integrated Writing template, let’s get a quick reminder of what the Integrated task entails.

For this task, you’ll read a passage and then listen to a lecture. Your task is to summarize the lecture and explain whether the lecture challenges or supports what’s written in the passage. You’ll have 20 minutes to compose a response of around 150-225 words .

We’ll divide our template into four paragraphs:  an introduction and three body paragraphs . You shouldn’t need a separate concluding paragraph for this task, as you can still score a 5 without one (plus, you likely won’t have enough time to write one!). But if you want to write a conclusion, just be sure you keep it short —  two to three sentences  at most.

Now, on to the TOEFL Integrated Writing template!

Paragraph 1 (Introduction)

Your first paragraph will introduce the lecture and how it relates to the reading. This paragraph doesn’t need to be long; a simple  two or three sentences should suffice.

1. Begin with a topic sentence that summarizes the main point of the lecture.

  • According to the lecture, …
  • Based on the lecture, …
  • The lecturer states/believes that …
  • The lecturer talks about …
  • The lecturer discusses …

2. Next, explain whether the passage refutes or supports the main point of the lecture.

Examples (Contrast):

  • By contrast, the author of the passage explains/states/posits that …
  • The author of the passage, however, disagrees with this idea/belief. Instead, he/she believes that …
  • The author of the passage, however, doubts this idea/belief and thinks that …
  • The author challenges this point, however, by explaining/suggesting/positing that …

Examples (Agreement):

  • This line of thinking agrees with that of the author, who states that …
  • The author of the passage agrees with this notion/idea/belief, stating that …
  • Likewise, the author of the passage explains/states/posits that …
  • The author of the passage supports this idea/belief, explaining that …

Paragraph 2 (Body)

In this paragraph, you’ll want to focus on one of the key points in the lecture and explain whether the passage refutes or supports this idea.

1. Introduce the main point you’ll be discussing.

  • First, the lecturer asserts/claims/suggests that …
  • For one, the lecturer thinks/believes that …
  • The first point the lecturer makes is that …

2. Next, describe this particular point in more detail and then discuss how the passage either refutes or supports it. I suggest using one to two sentences here.

  • On the other hand, the author asserts/claims/suggests that …
  • Likewise, the author thinks/believes that …
  • This concept is refuted/supported by the passage, which asserts/claims/suggests that …

3. Finally, conclude your paragraph by explaining what this difference or similarity means .

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  • This difference/similarity ultimately means/indicates that …
  • Basically, the lecturer/author is saying that …
  • The lecturer and author are essentially in agreement with each other. Both think/believe that …
  • Clearly, the lecturer and author maintain different views on …

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Paragraph 3 (Body)

In this paragraph, you’ll focus on another key point in the lecture and again discuss how the passage either agrees or disagrees with this idea. The structure here is essentially identical to that of paragraph 2, so make sure you are using new transitions and varying your word choice.

1. Start by introducing the second point  in the lecture you’ll be discussing. Because this is your second body paragraph, do not use transitions such as “first” or “first of all.”

  • Second, the lecturer argues/contends/asserts that …
  • Next, the lecturer suggests/proposes that …
  • Another key point the lecturer makes is that …

2. Next, explain this key point in more detail  and elaborate on how it is either refuted or supported by the passage. As with paragraph 2, I recommend using one to two sentences here.

  • In other words, the lecturer is suggesting/proposing that …
  • The author, however, agrees/disagrees with this idea/belief, suggesting/proposing that …
  • Similarly, the author argues/contends/asserts that …

3. Finally, explain what this difference or similarity means .

  • What this difference/similarity means is that …
  • This difference/similarity in thinking tells us that …
  • Evidently, the lecturer thinks/believes that … , whereas the author thinks/believes that …

Paragraph 4 (Body + Conclusion)

This final body paragraph will offer  your last key point in addition to a brief conclusion . Once again, try to vary your transitions and words here so that your body paragraphs do not sound redundant.

1. Introduce and summarize the third point in the lecture . This is your third and final body paragraph, so do not use transitions such as “first” or “next.” Instead, use transitions such as “third,” “finally,” “last,” and “lastly.”

  • Third, the lecturer explains/states that …
  • Finally, the lecturer introduces the idea that …
  • Lastly, the lecturer goes on to say that …

2. Then, explain this point in more detail and discuss whether the passage matches or challenges it. Use one or two sentences here.

  • This point is also made in the passage, which argues/contends/asserts that …
  • The passage supports this idea, suggesting/proposing that …
  • On the contrary, the author writes that …

3. Finally, conclude your paragraph by explaining the significance of this similarity or difference . You should also look at this sentence as the conclusion to your entire response . Remember, you do not need to write a separate concluding paragraph for this task; it’s perfectly OK to combine it with your last body paragraph!

  • In conclusion, the lecturer and author appear to be in agreement/disagreement about …
  • All in all, the lecturer argues/contends/asserts that … , whereas the author argues/contends/asserts that …

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Template 2: Independent Writing Task

For this task, you will read a short prompt and then write a response explaining whether you agree or disagree with the issue or idea. Unlike the Integrated task, here you’ll be writing an opinionated response  (though you do not have to write about your actual opinion).

You’ll have 30 minutes to write an essay of at least 300 words . Because this essay should be longer than the Integrated task, it’s best to use the basic five-paragraph structure, with an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Note that many of the example sentences below are based on the sample Independent Writing prompt used above . This means that these sentences will not apply exactly to other prompts! So don’t simply copy the sentences onto your test; instead, use them as a general guide to help you develop a better sense of style and flow in your writing.

Now, let’s take a look at our Independent Writing TOEFL template.

In this paragraph, you’ll introduce the main issue or idea and rephrase the prompt in your own words. Then, you’ll state whether you agree or disagree with the statement and why.

1. For your first sentence, you’ll want to come up with a hook  that introduces the topic of your essay in a unique and creative way. Most people  start broad and then get specific . This sentence is also a great opportunity to insert a hypothetical question.

  • There is great debate about .. .
  • It is said that .. . But is this always true?
  • Many people wonder  whether telling the truth at all times is necessary in order to maintain a healthy relationship with someone .

2. Next, introduce your opinion on the topic . You may list your specific reasons for your opinion here or in the following sentence(s). Remember, this doesn’t need to be your real opinion!

  • In my opinion, …
  • I believe that … is important because …
  • I agree/disagree with this idea/suggestion because …
  • For me, although telling the truth is important , there are many cases in which it’s OK to lie .

3. Here, state how many points (three is ideal) you’ll be discussing in your essay and then  briefly summarize what these reasons for agreeing or disagreeing are . Your reasons may come from facts, predictions, personal beliefs, experiences, etc.

  • In this essay, I will address three potential problems with lying in relationships .
  • Lying is never a smart idea because it undermines trust in relationships, causes feelings of betrayal, and often leads to more lying.

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In this paragraph, you’ll introduce  your first key point about the issue and offer specific examples illustrating why you agree or disagree.

1. For the first sentence, introduce the key point you want to talk about.

  • First of all, lying can make it difficult to trust someone in a relationship.

2. Next, provide an example to explain why you believe this is the case . I suggest using a hypothetical situation somewhere in your essay to help illustrate one of your points.

  • For example, if a father lied to his daughter by telling her she was good at drawing, the daughter might begin to wonder whether her father has lied to her about other things, too.

3. Continue your paragraph by elaborating on your example . Explain any effect or consequence of the example and discuss how this outcome supports your viewpoint.

  • The next time the father praises his daughter for something, she might believe he is lying, even if he isn’t. In other words, the daughter might find it difficult to trust her father, thereby damaging their relationship.

This paragraph will follow a similar structure to that of paragraph 2, only this time you’ll discuss your second key point . To prevent this paragraph from sounding too similar to the one before it, vary your word choice and choose a different type of example on which to focus.

1. In the first sentence, introduce your second key point . Because this is your second body paragraph (and second point), make sure you employ appropriate transitions, such as “second,” “secondly,” and “next.”

  • Second, lying can cause feelings of betrayal in relationships.

2. As you did in paragraph 2, use these next few sentences to elaborate on your point and offer specific examples . Always clarify how your examples support your stance (agree or disagree) and how they relate back to the issue stated in the prompt.

  • When I was young, I lied to my best friend about being able to attend her birthday party. She later told me I’d betrayed her and that we couldn’t be friends anymore. Essentially, because I’d lied to her, I destroyed our relationship.

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Paragraph 4 (Body)

This is the last body paragraph in which you will introduce and explain your third and final key point .

1. First, introduce your third point . As this is your final body paragraph, make sure you’re using appropriate transitions, such as “finally,” “last,” “lastly,” and “third,” to introduce your point.

  • Lastly, lying often begets more lying. This means that once you tell a lie, you will become more likely to tell other lies.

2. As you did in paragraphs 2 and 3, elaborate on this point by providing new evidence, details, and/or examples. Explain why this point is important and how it supports your stance on the issue.

  • If you lie but nobody knows you’ve lied, you might begin to believe it’s OK to lie. As a result, you start to lie more and more. However, once people realize how often you lie, they’ll likely lose all trust in you and might even decide to end their relationships with you.

Paragraph 5 (Conclusion)

Like the Integrated Writing task, a separate concluding paragraph isn’t always necessary here . That said, if you have time, I recommend quickly wrapping up your points in a concise yet effective conclusion. One to three sentences should suffice.

1. In the first sentence or two, summarize your stance and explain why you feel this way . You may re-introduce your three main points here. You may also paraphrase the prompt and explain once more whether you agree or disagree with the issue and why.

  • In the end, I believe telling the truth is the most important consideration in a relationship.
  • Ultimately, lying can easily destroy relationships because it weakens trust, results in feelings of betrayal, and often causes more lying.

2. Finally, if you have time, bring together your concluding paragraph with a single general statement about your viewpoint .

  • This is why it is imperative we always refrain from lying.
  • Thus, the only way to ensure your relationships with others are healthy is to always tell the truth.

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54 Key Transitions & Phrases

In addition to TOEFL essay templates, we offer you an assortment of  common transitions and phrases you can use in your TOEFL responses. These words will allow your writing to flow more smoothly and connect your thoughts in a clearer, more logical manner.

To add information to a point, or to introduce a new (related) point:

  • In addition, …
  • Additionally, …
  • Furthermore, …
  • Moreover, …
  • Besides, …
  • Also, …

To introduce an example:

  • For example, …
  • For instance, …

To introduce an opinion:

  • I believe that …
  • I think that …

To start a new body paragraph:

  • First off, …
  • First of all, …
  • To begin/start, …
  • Secondly, …
  • Last, …

To add similar or related information:

  • Likewise, …
  • Similarly, …
  • On a related note, …

To restate information in a shorter or clearer way:

  • In other words, …
  • In short, …
  • Simply put, …
  • Essentially, …
  • In essence, …
  • Basically, …

To contrast information:

  • That (being) said, …
  • Nevertheless, …
  • Nonetheless, …
  • By/in contrast, …
  • On the contrary, …
  • On the other hand, …

To show cause and effect:

  • As a result, …
  • Because of this, …
  • As such, …
  • Consequently, …
  • Therefore, …

To emphasize information:

  • Evidently, …
  • Clearly, …
  • Certainly, …

To conclude information, a paragraph, or your overall response:

  • In conclusion, …
  • All in all, …
  • As you can see, …
  • In the end, …
  • Ultimately, …

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How to Customize a TOEFL Writing Template

Below, we offer you a few pieces of advice to help you customize your TOEFL Writing template.

Integrated Writing Template

Here are two ways to customize our TOEFL Integrated Writing template.

#1: Tweak Sample Sentences & Openers

The sample sentence and openers we’ve provided above don’t contain any specific information, so you are welcome to incorporate these examples into your own Integrated Writing response however you like.

That said, you don’t need to use these examples exactly as they are . If you’d like to tweak them, try replacing the verbs and transitions with other (synonymous) words. I also suggest adding adverbs to emphasize certain words. So for example, instead of writing, “The author, however, disagrees with this belief,” you could write, “The author, on the other hand, strongly challenges this concept.”

Just be sure that the examples you’re using in your essay fit with the type of lecture-passage relationship you’re given. Remember, this relationship can be either supportive (in which the lecture agrees with the passage) or contrastive (in which the lecture disagrees with the passage).

#2: Use Different Words to Emphasize Contrast

Most Integrated Writing tasks will give you a lecture that challenges  what’s written in the passage. In these cases, it’s important you use a variety of transitions, conjunctions, and prepositions to emphasize this important contrast throughout your essay.

There is one caveat, though:  do not use a single transition more than once in your response . For instance, if you were to consistently start your supporting sentences with “however,” your essay would lack balance and begin to sound redundant. So be sure to vary your word choice!

Here is a list of strong contrastive words you can use in your Integrated Writing response:

  • Nonetheless …
  • Even though
  • In spite of

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Independent Writing Template

Here are three ways you can customize our Independent Writing TOEFL template.

#1: Choose the Side That’s Easier to Support

Although the Independent Writing task asks specifically whether you agree or disagree with an idea, you do not need to write about your real opinion . What you should really do is choose the side that’s easier to argue — regardless of whether you actually agree or disagree with it!

In other words, it’s perfectly OK to make things up for this response and pretend you support something you don’t actually believe. Remember, you are not being judged on which stance you choose but on  how effectively you support your stance.

#2: Do Not Copy Sample Sentences Word for Word

For this task’s examples, I’ve primarily supplied you with whole sentences, all of which were based on the sample Independent Writing prompt used above. Because our examples refer to a specific prompt, you cannot  copy these sample sentences word for word and use them in your own essay . Failing to change these sentences means your essay won’t make a whole lot of sense, if any at all!

Therefore, what you should actually be doing is using these example sentences to learn what types of details to include in your Independent Writing response. You may also use our examples to get a feel for how you can change up your sentences and word choice.

#3: Vary Your Supporting Details

For your response, you must come up with specific details and examples to support your viewpoint. These examples can range from facts and statistics to experiences and hypothetical situations.

In order to produce a truly compelling response (and get a high essay score), you must incorporate a variety of effective examples into your essay. This means you’ll want to  avoid using the same types of examples for each point you make . So if you were to discuss a personal experience for your first body paragraph, focus on a different type of detail, such as a universally accepted fact or a hypothetical scenario, for your second body paragraph.

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How to Use a TOEFL Writing Template: 4 Tips

Finally, here are four general tips for using a TOEFL Writing template effectively.

#1: Employ a Variety of Transitions

The sample sentences and openers we’ve given you for each template above contain different transitions to help link ideas together; thus, we encourage you to use a variety of transitions in your own essays . For ideas, refer to our transition list above. This list can help you swap out some of our sample transitions for other ones you believe fit better with your writing.

Ultimately, varying your word choice is critical to ensuring your essay is well written . This means that a high-scoring TOEFL essay will not simply use transitions but use them well . So if you’ve already inserted “therefore” in one area, try using “as a result” or “thus” in another area. You’ll still get the same meaning but with a stronger, more versatile effect.

#2: Add Details Without Rambling

Don’t feel limited by the number of sentences we’ve included in each body paragraph in our templates. If you need to use two or three sentences to explain a point, that’s OK! You should always give a lot of detail for your points — so long as you are staying concise and focused.

For example, if you spend a paragraph discussing a hypothetical scenario but fail to offer any analysis, you probably won’t receive a high TOEFL score. Likewise, if you write a verbose introduction or conclusion, your score may end up being lower than you wanted it to be.

Basically, you must find the perfect balance between detail and analysis. A good way to monitor this balance is to  always try to hit the word minimum for each task . Doing this means you’ll likely have an essay that’s sufficiently detailed. Just try not to exceed the maximum or you’ll risk rambling!

#3: 2 Strong Points Is Better Than 3 Weak Ones

Each of our TOEFL essay templates above has three body paragraphs and three main points. Although three points is a solid number of points, if you can only think of two points, just stick with those and try to   support them as clearly and effectively as possible.

As you can see in the sample TOEFL essays here , many essays with scores of 2 and 3 actually address three points — but their points are altogether weak, with few supporting details and insufficient analysis. What this means is that just having three points in your essay isn’t enough to guarantee you a high essay score . Thus, it’s far better to write an essay with two strong points than three weak ones.

#4: Do Not Copy Entire Sentences From the Prompt

If you struggle with English, you might be tempted to borrow some sentences and phrases from the prompt. While it’s OK to paraphrase sentences, you should never copy exact sentences from your prompt .

Copying the prompt shows evaluators that you lack the English level necessary for writing creatively and analytically. On top of this, copying is also a form of plagiarism, which means you are essentially “stealing” another’s work.

So what does this mean for your score? If you copy entire sentences and phrases from the reading or topic, you will receive a score of 0 .

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Additional Resources for TOEFL Essay Templates

In addition to our templates above, here are a couple of online resources offering high-quality TOEFL essay templates you can use for free.

  • TOEFL Resources : This resource offers detailed templates for the Integrated and Independent Writing tasks along with useful transitional phrases and sentence openers.
  • Magoosh : This handy PDF contains a lengthy list of transitions as well as various sample TOEFL essays.

Recap: How Can a TOEFL Writing Template Help You?

TOEFL essay templates are an especially useful component of TOEFL prep because  they raise your chance of achieving a high TOEFL Writing score .

With TOEFL essay templates, you can organize your thoughts more clearly, spend less time outlining your responses, and prepare for the TOEFL with increased confidence. Our templates are also flexible , allowing you to customize certain elements to your liking and cater the templates to many different prompts.

When using a TOEFL template, always remember the following four tips:

  • Employ a variety of transitions throughout your essay
  • Add details but try not to ramble
  • Two strong point are better than three weak ones
  • Do not copy exact sentences from the prompt

Now that you’re equipped with our TOEFL essay templates and the knowledge of how to use them, you should have no trouble getting a great TOEFL Writing score!

What’s Next?

Seeking additional help with the TOEFL Writing section?  Start practicing with our 13 Writing topics  and get information on what resources you can use for high-quality Writing topics .

What does a high-scoring TOEFL essay look like? Take a look at our analyses of two perfect-scoring TOEFL essays  to learn what you can do to guarantee yourself a high essay score on test day.

Want more TOEFL templates?  Check out our TOEFL Speaking templates to improve your English-speaking skills and confidence.

Ready to improve your TOEFL score by 15 points?

writing samples of toefl

Author: Hannah Muniz

Hannah graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in English and East Asian languages and cultures. After graduation, she taught English in Japan for two years via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel. View all posts by Hannah Muniz

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TOEFL writing samples

TOEFL writing samples for preparation in 2022

The toefl writing section evaluates your ability to write in a fluid and synthetic manner and the quality of your written english in an academic setting. you are given 50 minutes to complete two writing tasks. firstly, an integrated writing task, and secondly, an independent writing task. practicing with toefl writing samples is essential to ace this section. , table of contents, toefl integrated writing section, toefl independent writing section, agree/ disagree, take a stand, pros/ cons type, toefl writing exam grading system, key takeaways.

To make the best use of the TOEFL wiring samples, let’s first understand the two parts of the writing exam. 

When completing the Integrated Writing challenge, you must use your listening, reading, and writing skills. In this section, you will read a small essay for three minutes before listening to a two-minute audio clip of a speaker discussing the same subject. You only have one chance to listen, so take careful notes. Keep in mind that the lecture will always question the article. 

You will then be given 20 minutes to prepare and write a response to the topic, using both websites as references. The following is an example of a question you might see on your screen:

“Summarize the points in the above lecture and explain how they contradict the points mentioned in the short passage.”

While answering such a question, you need not discuss your point of view. All you need to do is summarize the passage and audio clip in 280 to 300 words. 

The independent essay is the second type of essay. In this task, you will be asked to express your thoughts on a topic that is most likely related to school, work, or life in today’s world. A question will be displayed on the screen, and you will have thirty minutes to complete your essay. You should write an essay of 380 to 400 words.

The Independent Writing Section consists of various questions to test the skills of the candidate:

There are three types of Independent Task questions: 1) Agree/Disagree, 2) Take a Stand, or 3) Pros/Cons Questions about agreement/disagreement are by far the most common in the Independent Writing Task.

Independent task TOEFL writing samples

  • “Should a parent instill their strong beliefs in their children. To support your response, give concrete justifications and instances. Don’t use memorization as an example. Do you agree or disagree? Why?”
  • “Do you agree with the following statement? Parents nowadays learn more from their children than the other way around.”
  • “Even if it is not part of the student’s major, all university students must take general science courses. Do you agree?”
  • “During major events such as weddings and graduations, some people prefer to take numerous photos, while others only take a few or none at all. Which option or decision do you favor?”
  • “Do you prefer opting for a course in your major under a professor who has received several academic honors and awards or one who is well-known and well-liked?”
  • “Next semester, you’ll have a new roommate. Which of the following characteristics is the most important to you: a) cleanliness b) levity c) politeness.”
  • “Your friends and family are urging you to purchase a new vehicle. Mention some pros and cons of your choice using examples.”
  • “A company decided to stop its employees from working via email or phone calls during the weekend. They believe that doing this will boost employee satisfaction and happiness. Do you believe that this is a wise plan?”
  • “What are some benefits and drawbacks of staying in your hometown as an adult? Include supporting details in your essay.”

Your TOEFL marks will depend on how well you arrange your essay, develop your ideas, and use English to convey those thoughts.

  • The TOEFL exam has two types of writing sections that you have to complete.
  • Acing the TOEFL test requires a lot of practice, which can be improved by practising TOEFL writing sample exams. 
  • The scores for both essays range from 0 to 5. Top-scoring essays often need to be well-organized, include specific examples, fully respond to the challenge, and have a few minor spelling and punctuation mistakes.

If you want to learn more about TOEFL or any other studying abroad exam, contact us today!

TOEFL writing samples

Question 1: How many times can we take the TOEFL?

Answer 1:  The TOEFL online test is offered more than 50 times yearly. You can apply for the exam as many times as you want. However, you are not permitted to retake the exam within 12 days after your prior try.

Question 2: What are the four abilities tested in a TOEFL test?

Answer 2: Four sections make up the TOEFL iBT exam: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

Question 3: Which section of TOEFL is hardest?

Answer 3: The TOEFL’s listening section, in the opinion of many, is the most difficult section of the TOEFL exam.

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TOEFL iBT ®  Test

The premier test of academic English communication

Learn more by selecting any step in your TOEFL iBT ®  journey.

Sample the TOEFL iBT Test

Start your TOEFL iBT journey with this 40-minute experience where you will become more familiar with the content and structure found in the full-length, just-under-2 hour-test.

Key features of the sample test include:

  • Self-paced approach
  • Authentic past test questions from all 4 skills (Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing)
  • Correct and incorrect answers for the Reading and Listening sections

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For an optimal experience, we recommend launching the TOEFL iBT sample on a desktop computer to simulate a real testing environment.

If you plan on taking the TOEFL iBT test at home, be sure to review the Equipment and Environment Requirements and run the ETS Secure Browser Equipment Check before registering for the test.

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Test Resources

TOEFL® Resources by Michael Goodine

Toefl writing for an academic discussion questions – samples and guide and templates, sample questions and answers.

These “Writing for an Academic Discussion” questions were added to the TOEFL iBT on July 26, 2023.  They replaced the “Independent Writing Task.”  Each link below includes a complete sample question and response.  These questions are based on the information we have at this time.  I will revise them as more information is provided.  I also have a guide to answering this question .

Basically, test-takers see a question written by a professor and responses by two students.  The test-taker should respond to the question and add to the conversation.  They have ten minutes to read the question, read the responses  and write their own responses.

  • Economic Growth vs the Environment
  • Targeted Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Grading Students
  • Taxing Unhealthy Products
  • University Spending
  • City Spending
  • Corporate Impact
  • Work From Home
  • Online Classes
  • Smartphones
  • Learning Styles
  • Influencers
  • Starting a Business
  • More sample questions from ETS

Need help preparing for the new TOEFL?  Check out my writing evaluation service .  I’ll examine your answers line by line and correct all of your mistakes.  I’ll even estimate your score and tell you how to do better on test day!  Looking for 1 on 1 lessons?  Send me a message !

Question Guide

I’ve written a detailed guide for this question .  I will update it as we learn more.

Answer Template 1

  • This is a challenging topic, but I think that [respond directly to the question].
  • I strongly agree with  [student]’ s idea that  [mention one point made by the student]. 
  • I’d add that  [expand on the point with your own idea].
  • While [other student] raised the relevant point that [mention one point made by the other student],  he/she didn’t mention that  [challenge that point].
  • For example  [elaborate on your challenge with your own ideas].

Answer Template 2

  • While I appreciate the points mentioned by both [name] and [name] , I think that …
  • [elaborate on your idea for a few sentences]
  • Remember that  [elaborate on your point], so [elaborate on your point].
  • Some people may feel that [mention a potential challenge], but [respond to this challenge].

Video Guide

IMAGES

  1. TOEFL Integrated Writing Template

    writing samples of toefl

  2. TOEFL Writing Practice Test

    writing samples of toefl

  3. TOEFL Writing Templates

    writing samples of toefl

  4. Toefl Ibt Writing Sample Responses

    writing samples of toefl

  5. Writing Templates Toefl

    writing samples of toefl

  6. TOEFL Writing Template

    writing samples of toefl

VIDEO

  1. TOEFL Writing: Are you doing this? #toefl #toeflwriting

  2. How Much to Study? #toefl

  3. TOEFL iBT Speaking #toefl

  4. TOEFL iBT Speaking #toefl

  5. TOEFL iBT Speaking #toefl

  6. TOEFL iBT Speaking #toefl

COMMENTS

  1. TOEFL Writing Questions in 2024

    About these TOEFL ® Writing Samples Sample TOEFL Integrated Essays On test day, you'll first get a TOEFL Integrated Writing Question. You will first read an article, then listen to a lecture, and finally write an essay combining information from both. Complete Samples (with reading and lecture) and Responses! Colonizing Asteroids

  2. PDF TOEFL iBT® Writing Practice Questions

    TOEFL iBT® Writing Practice Questions Please note: These practice sets align with TOEFL iBT tests administered on or after July 26, 2023. TOEFL iBT® Writing Practice Questions This document may contain some question types that would not appear on a test that has been adapted for various accessibility purposes.

  3. 2 Perfect-Scoring TOEFL Writing Samples, Analyzed

    Below is an official TOEFL Integrated Writing sample question and as well as an essay response that received a score of 5. It includes a written passage, the transcript of a conversation (which would be an audio recording on the actual TOEFL, and the essay prompt.

  4. TOEFL Writing Sample Essays

    In this guide you can start a free TOEFL writing practice test with sample essays and learn some basic and advanced independent & integrated writing lessons to help improve your writing skills and successfully prepare you for your TOEFL writing test. This page contains everything you need to know and the essential skills for a high writing score.

  5. Practice Tests for the TOEFL iBT Test

    Read sample Writing responses. Includes the new Writing for an Academic Discussion task Download (PDF) | File Size: 68.6kb Launch the TOEFL iBT Free Practice Test TOEFL iBT ® Practice Sets

  6. PDF TOEFL iBT® Writing Practice Questions

    TOEFL iBT® Writing Practice Questions This document may contain some question types that would not appear on a test that has been adapted for various accessibility purposes. On test day, you will receive an accessible assessment that is consistent with any accommodations for which you have been approved.

  7. Sample Essays for the Writing Section of the TOEFL Test ( )

    No? Still confused. No worries. The best way to understand something better is through examples. Let's do one together. This TOEFL integrated writing topic deals with the use of Corn Ethanol. Give yourself three minutes to read it: The chemical compound, ethanol, has risen in recent years as the most viable alternative to fossil fuels.

  8. TOEFL iBT Test Writing Section

    Question 1: Integrated Writing Read a passage and listen to a lecture. Then write a response comparing them. View Transcript Question 2: Writing for an Academic Discussion Share your opinion in an online discussion with a professor and other students. View Transcript Do you need to be an expert on the topics?

  9. Master the New TOEFL Writing Section in 2024, Test Resources

    A Guide to the Integrated Essay A Guide to the Writing for an Academic Discussion Task A Complete Practice Test (Video) The Most Common Grammar Mistakes in TOEFL Essays Many Sample TOEFL essays Blog: How Long Should a TOEFL Essay Be? Video Lesson: The new TOEFL Writing Question (Writing for an Academic Discussion)

  10. The Best TOEFL Writing Practice: 300+ Topics to Study With

    Each essay will receive a score from 0-5. The sum will then be scaled to a score from 0-30, which is your official Writing score. The Writing section makes up 25% of your total TOEFL score (from 0-120). By the way: we have built the world's best online TOEFL course.

  11. Complete TOEFL Essay Templates (2023 Update)

    Your TOEFL integrated essay should be about 280 to 300 words. To see this template in use, check out my collection of sample essays. Writing for Academic Discussion (Writing Question Two) Here's a template that focuses on expanding on and challenging the points mentioned by the other students.

  12. How to Ace the TOEFL Writing Section: 7 Expert Tips

    Sample TOEFL Integrated Writing Question (On the real TOEFL, the lecture would be an audio clip instead of a transcript.) TOEFL Writing Tips for Answering. Frequently refer back to the audio clip and written passage when making an argument. A key part of your grade is how well you show you understood the information these two pieces contained.

  13. TOEFL Writing Task 1: The TOEFL Integrated Writing Practice Task

    This first task in TOEFL Writing really is all about note-taking, paraphrasing, and reporting. Read on to learn all about TOEFL Writing Task 1! The TOEFL Integrated Writing Task requires you to read a passage that is about 250-300 words long. You then must listen to a lecture that is 2 to 2.5 minutes long. The lecture will challenge or disagree ...

  14. Writing for an Academic Discussion Task Transcript

    The writing rubrics can be found on the TOEFL website. (DESCRIPTION) e t s dot o r g slash t o e f l (SPEECH) Now, let's look at a sample response to give you an idea of what a good response looks like and what our raters look for when they score. This student wrote a response to the topic about inventions we discussed a minute ago.

  15. Master the TOEFL Independent Essay (2023)

    TOEFL Independent Writing Master Guide (2023 Update) You will be asked a question about your personal opinion and be given 30 minutes to write about it. Questions can be about any topics, but they are most often about education, work and society in general. There is no minimum or maximum word count, but I think you should write between 380 and ...

  16. TOEFL Writing Topics: Examples of TOEFL Independent Writing ...

    Here is the sample TOEFL Integrated Writing Task, along with its corresponding TOEFL Writing Task 1 sample response. In addition to this, you can find more free, full TOEFL Integrated Writing sample tasks by using ETS TOEFL Quick Prep, as well as Magoosh's additional unofficial audio for TOEFL Quick Prep Volume 1 and TOEFL Quick Prep Volume 2.

  17. TOEFL TestReady

    hundreds of sample questions for all four test sections; Official TOEFL iBT ® Tests, Volumes 1 & 2. Get 10 authentic, full-length TOEFL iBT tests with previous test questions. Available in paperback or eBook formats, each volume offers five practice tests and includes: Interactive online versions of all five tests; Sample Speaking and Writing ...

  18. TOEFL Writing Samples: Practice Essay Topic And Questions

    TOEFL Essay Sample 1 - Integrated Writing Question. You will find various sample essays for the TOEFL integrated writing task. If you wish to train more in-depth, make sure you take TOEFL mock tests regularly to practice for the exam in real conditions. Sample Text 1: Stonehenge - Glacial Erratics.

  19. The Best TOEFL Writing Templates for Any Prompt

    What Essays Will You Write on the TOEFL? The Writing section is the final section you'll face on the TOEFL, and it consists of two separate tasks: an Integrated Writing task and an Independent Writing task.

  20. How to Write a Fantastic TOEFL Integrated Essay (2023)

    How to Write a Fantastic TOEFL Integrated Essay (2023) Here's how the TOEFL Integrated Essay works: It is the first writing task on the TOEFL test. First, you will have three minutes to read an article (four paragraphs, 250 to 300 words) about an academic topic. Next, you will listen to a lecture (about 2 minutes) about the same topic.

  21. Some TOEFL Writing Samples For Your Exam Preparation

    The TOEFL exam has two types of writing sections that you have to complete. Acing the TOEFL test requires a lot of practice, which can be improved by practising TOEFL writing sample exams. The scores for both essays range from 0 to 5. Top-scoring essays often need to be well-organized, include specific examples, fully respond to the challenge ...

  22. Sample the TOEFL iBT Test

    Self-paced approach Authentic past test questions from all 4 skills (Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing) Correct and incorrect answers for the Reading and Listening sections Launch the sample experience For an optimal experience, we recommend launching the TOEFL iBT sample on a desktop computer to simulate a real testing environment.

  23. TOEFL Writing for an Academic Discussion Questions

    Sample Questions and Answers. These "Writing for an Academic Discussion" questions were added to the TOEFL iBT on July 26, 2023. They replaced the "Independent Writing Task." Each link below includes a complete sample question and response. These questions are based on the information we have at this time.