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2 September 2023

5 minutes read

Master the TOEFL Independent Essay

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Everything You Need To Know About the TOEFL Independent Essay

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a test that measures your English language proficiency and your ability to use and understand English at the university level.

It is divided into four sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. In this guide, we will focus on the TOEFL independent essay, which is part of the writing section of the TOEFL iBT (internet-based test).

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Understanding the TOEFL Writing Section

The TOEFL writing section consists of two tasks: the integrated writing task and the independent writing task. For the integrated writing task, you must read a short passage, listen to a lecture, and then write an essay that combines and responds to the two sources.

For the TOEFL independent essay, you must write an essay in response to a specific topic or question, without any additional sources. This guide will help you master the TOEFL independent essay and improve your essay writing skills.

Tips for Crafting an Excellent TOEFL Independent Essay

To craft an excellent TOEFL independent essay, follow these essential tips:

  1. Understand the Question: It’s essential to comprehend the question thoroughly before you start writing your essay. Usually, the TOEFL independent essay will ask you to either agree or disagree with a statement or explain your perspective on a specific topic.
  2. Plan Your Essay: Before you start writing, take a few minutes to plan your essay. Jot down your main ideas, list the reasons for your opinion, and note down examples that support your reasons.
  3. Write a Strong Thesis Statement: Your thesis statement should clearly articulate your opinion and the main points that support it. Make it specific and to the point.
  4. Use Varied Vocabulary: Employ a diverse range of words and phrases to express your ideas. Avoid repetition and ensure that your essay is easy to understand.
  5. Write Clear and Coherent Paragraphs: Each paragraph should have a clear topic sentence and support the main idea of your essay. Utilize transition words to connect your ideas and make your essay flow smoothly.
  6. Use Examples to Support Your Ideas: Employ specific examples to support your reasons and explain why you agree or disagree with the statement.
  7. Revise Your Essay: Take a few minutes to revise your essay before submitting it. Check for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that your essay is well-organized and coherent.

TOEFL Independent Essay Structure

A well-structured essay is key to scoring high on the TOEFL independent essay. Typically, your essay should consist of an introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Introduction: Introduce the topic and state your opinion. Your introduction should also include your thesis statement, which will guide the reader through your essay.

Body Paragraph 1: Start with a topic sentence that articulates the main idea of the paragraph. Explain your first reason for your opinion and provide examples to support it.

Body Paragraph 2: Begin with a topic sentence that states the main idea of the paragraph. Explain your second reason for your opinion and provide examples to support it.

Conclusion: Summarize your main points and restate your opinion. Ensure that your conclusion reinforces your thesis statement and provides a concise summary of your essay.

Enhancing Your English Writing Skills

Improving your English writing skills is crucial for achieving a high score on the TOEFL independent essay. Here are some tips to help you enhance your writing skills:

  1. Read Regularly: Reading well-written materials in English, such as books, articles, and essays, will expose you to proper grammar usage, varied vocabulary, and different writing styles.
  2. Write Regularly: Practice writing essays on various topics regularly. This will help you get comfortable with expressing your thoughts in English and improve your writing speed.
  3. Seek Feedback: Share your essays with English teachers or native speakers and ask for feedback. They can provide valuable insights into your writing and help you identify areas for improvement.
  4. Use English Writing Tools: Utilize English writing tools, such as Grammarly, to check for grammar and spelling mistakes. These tools can also help you enhance your writing style.

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TOEFL Writing Templates

Utilizing TOEFL writing templates can help you organize your thoughts and craft a well-structured essay. Here is a template that you can use for the TOEFL independent essay:

Introduction

  • Introduce the topic.
  • State your opinion.

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic sentence that states the main idea of the paragraph.
  • Explain your first reason for your opinion.
  • Provide examples to support your reason.

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence that states the main idea of the paragraph.
  • Explain your second reason for your opinion.
  • Provide examples to support your reason.

Conclusion

  • Summarize your main points.
  • Restate your opinion.

Remember to customize the template to suit the specific question and your writing style.

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Sample TOEFL Independent Essays

Reading sample TOEFL independent essays is an excellent way to understand what is expected and how to craft a high-scoring essay. 

Sample Essay:

Introduction: In today’s digital age, the internet has become a vital tool for research and learning. While some people believe that using printed materials such as books and articles is better for research, I disagree. I believe that using the internet for research is more efficient and effective than using printed materials.

Body Paragraph 1: First and foremost, the internet provides access to a vast amount of information at our fingertips. With just a few clicks, we can find information on any topic from various sources around the world.

This is especially important for researchers who need access to the latest information and studies. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers and scientists from around the world were able to share their findings and collaborate online, which helped speed up the development of vaccines and treatments.

Body Paragraph 2: Second, the internet allows us to access information quickly and easily. Instead of spending hours in a library searching for books and articles, we can find the information we need in a matter of minutes online.

Additionally, many online resources are available for free, which can help save money on purchasing books and other printed materials. For instance, websites like Google Scholar and JSTOR provide access to thousands of academic articles and journals for free or at a minimal cost.

Conclusion: In conclusion, while printed materials have their advantages, I believe that using the internet for research is more efficient and effective.

The internet provides access to a vast amount of information, allows us to access information quickly and easily, and can help save money on purchasing printed materials. Therefore, I believe that it is better to use the internet for research than it is to use printed materials.

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Time Management Tips for the TOEFL Independent Essay

Managing your time effectively is crucial to completing your essay within the 30-minute time limit. Here are some time management tips for the TOEFL independent essay:

  1. Spend 5 Minutes Planning Your Essay: Jot down your main ideas, reasons, and examples before you start writing. This will help you organize your thoughts and make your writing process smoother.
  2. Spend 20 Minutes Writing Your Essay: Aim to complete your essay in 20 minutes. This will leave you with 10 minutes to revise your essay and make any necessary changes.
  3. Spend 5 Minutes Revising Your Essay: Take a few minutes to read through your essay, check for grammar and spelling mistakes, and ensure that your essay is well-organized and coherent.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the digital age has transformed the way we conduct research, making it more accessible, efficient, and cost-effective. While printed materials will always have a place in research, the internet has proven to be a valuable tool that offers a plethora of benefits.

It not only provides access to a vast amount of information from around the world but also enables quick and easy access to this information, often at no or minimal cost.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of the internet as researchers and scientists worldwide were able to collaborate and share findings in real time, ultimately contributing to the development of vaccines and treatments.

Therefore, while printed materials have their merits, the internet has emerged as a more efficient and effective tool for research in the modern world.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much time do I have to write the TOEFL independent essay?

You have 30 minutes to write the TOEFL independent essay.

How many words should my essay be?

Your essay should be at least 300 words.

Can I use a template for my essay?

Yes, using a template can help you organize your thoughts and write a well-structured essay.

How is the TOEFL independent essay scored?

The essay is scored on a scale of 0 to 5. Your score is based on the quality of your writing, the organization of your essay, and the relevance of your examples.

Can I take notes during the test?

Yes, you can take notes on the scratch paper provided during the test.

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