In today’s world, the importance of knowing English is no longer in doubt. It is an international language that is understood on any continent in any country. Knowing English, you can study abroad, establish partnerships with foreign companies, and, most importantly – understand and be understood.
The TOEFL exam serves as a system for assessing the level of English language proficiency. It was developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and Princeton University in New Jersey (USA). The main task of the TOEFL is to assess the level of training of those for whom English is not a native language. Submission of the results of such a test is mandatory for admission to more than 2,400 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, and other countries. It is also necessary to take the TOEFL to participate in many international internship programs in institutions where education is in English. Some research and certification programs require applicants to take this exam.
This test includes 4 sections: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. “Reading” contains three texts. These can be texts on scientific, social, or humanitarian topics. The basic aim of the chapter is to define the understanding of the general structural elements of a text and the ability to think critically. “Listening” is based on four lectures and two general talks. The content of conversations is related to educational and household themes. This section allows testing the ability to understand oral speech. In the “Writing” section, you need to write two essays, based on which your grammatical skills and the aptitude to express own thoughts in writing on given topics are evaluated. “Speaking” has six assignments, including listening to questions and providing oral answers to them. Therefore, the above description shows that the TOEFL test provides a comprehensive assessment of all speech skills.
TOEFL is impossible not to complete. In any situation, you will get a certain number of points, but with a low score, you will not be taken anywhere: the passing score is at least 250 points (earlier it was 600). In general, this exam cannot be called very difficult. Some difficulties can arise if a person is not used to using an American computer, because most countries have already abandoned the paper test and switched to a new format.
So, we briefly told you about what the TOEFL test is and what tasks you need to complete in order to pass it. In this review, we want to provide you with actual recommendations on how to write a TOEFL essay since, as it was stated above, writing two essays is the key to successfully passing the “Writing” section.
TOEFL Essay Distinctive Features
Taking into account the theme of our review, it seems appropriate to consider the main features of the TOEFL essay and then proceed to describe the basic steps in working on creating a paper.
TOEFL Essay Characteristics
According to professionals, a good TOEFL essay should comprise the following characteristics:
- the availability of a particular theme or issue;
- the individual nature of the perception of the topic and its interpretation;
- small volume;
- freeform composition;
- fluency in the theme;
- a multidimensional view of the phenomenon;
- internal semantic unity;
- the consistency of the author’s basic beliefs, as well as the interconnection of those theses in which the personal position is vividly illustrated;
- openness: this paper does not usually pretend to be complete and provide the analysis.
TOEFL Essay Specificity
So, the listed features are typical for the TOEFL essay. But what is its specificity? It consists of two aspects described below:
- first of all, the TOEFL essay is focused on a certain problem that must be revealed in the course of writing;
- the purpose of the TOEFL essay is to disclose the basic meaning of the statement, as well as to present and prove your own point of view. At the same moment, theoretical positions and practical results, as well as facts from social and personal experience, may be used as arguments.
Thus, the TOEFL essay is a reflection of an original topic using existing knowledge.
Creating a Draft of the TOEFL Essay
Obviously, for successful TOEFL essay writing, you should organize your activity. Only purposeful and systematic work and repeated performance of this assignment will contribute to the formation of the appropriate skills and abilities and will allow you to achieve a good result during the test.
So, how to properly organize your writing the TOEFL essay and receive the high grade?
In our opinion, there are several stages in this work:
- draft essay writing;
- analyze the main content of a paper;
- check the consistency, style, as well as argumentation of the material provided;
- make the necessary changes and write the final version.
The work begins with the creation of a draft of the TOEFL essay. Often, students do not know what a draft is, and write it as a final version of the paper: the same densely written sheet, without borders and icons – one difference is that it is written carelessly. Such a draft is not convenient for work, since it does not allow improving the text, supplementing it with new provisions, correcting wording, and making amendments. For convenience, the margins of the draft should have wide margins in order to make corrections and additions that appear in the process of re-reading and editing the original text. It is very convenient to write only on one side of the sheet since, on the back, you can collect quotes, practical examples that can be used to illustrate your thoughts, confirm or refute arguments.
It is very important to remember what elements are included in the structure of the TOEFL essay. It is recommended for students to create a kind of form or matrix in the draft, indicating the main structural elements of the future TOEFL essay, leaving a certain place after writing each of them:
- the actuality of the basic issue;
- the main meaning of the statement;
- own position of an author;
- theoretical argumentation;
- examples from personal life, fiction, history, etc., confirming or refuting the correctness of the main thesis;
Selecting a Quote
Having created the form, you can proceed to the choice of the main statement (that is, the main quote). When choosing the TOEFL essay statement, you must be convinced that you:
- are fluent in the basic terms of the science to which it belongs;
- perfectly understand the essence of the statement and can interpret it correctly;
- can you express your own opinion without any difficulty? This can be either full or partial agreement with the presented statement or its reputation;
- know that terms and concepts, without which it is impossible to theoretically competently substantiate a personal position. In this case, it is very important that the main terms are directly related to the TOEFL topic, and not go far beyond its limits;
- easily bring up various examples from your life, from the lives of other people, as well as from history and literature, which vividly illustrate and confirm your position.
The result of your thoughts is the conscious choice of a quote for work. Write it down in 1 column of the draft.
Write the formulated problem (topic) of the statement in column 2. The identification of the problem is carried out in the process of generalization. The theme will have some problematic conditions for you, and you will have to come back to it constantly during the writing of the TOEFL essay. This is very important so that you can establish a clear framework for the content and not be distracted from the topic by using arguments and examples that have nothing to do with the main idea of the text. As practice shows, this is one of the main mistakes when writing the TOEFL essay.
The next step that you need to complete is to determine the relevance of the selected problem at the present stage. Below we provide a list of cliché phrases that can be used for this purpose:
This issue is especially actual in conditions of:
- active globalization of public relations;
- the formation of unique information and educational space;
- the emergence of significant global problems;
- inconsistencies arising in the field of scientific inventions and world discoveries;
- the international integration of society;
- a highly developed market economy;
- overcoming the protracted economic crisis;
- rigid social differentiation;
- the open and ready to change the social structure of modern society;
- the organization of general law and order;
- systematic overcoming of the spiritual and moral crisis of the younger generation;
- active dialogue between different world cultures;
- a high need to preserve traditional spiritual values.
This problem is eternal in philosophy, but it is still relevant since its solution contributes to the formation of a certain type of people’s worldview: scientific or religious.
Meaning of the Statement
Write down the basic idea in section 3. Do not repeat the words of the author verbatim; the key task here is to define the main meaning of the chosen statement. You can use a cliche:
- The meaning of the statement is determined by the fact that …;
- The author asks us to focus on …;
- According to the author, …
You should consider your relationship with the author’s statement. Determine your clear position and stick to it. You can express your opinion in different ways: it can be a complete agreement with the author, partial agreement, or the expression of the opinion that is the opposite to the author’s point of view.
Answer the following questions. This will definitely help you make the right decision:
- Does my opinion coincide with the opinion of the author?
- If I agree partially, what do I agree with, and what do I disagree with?
- What is my position on this issue?
Write down your own opinion on the problem in column 4 of the draft. We recommend you to use clichés:
- My opinion completely coincides with the author’s opinion that …;
- I cannot but accept and agree with the author of the statement that …;
- In my opinion, the author of the statement correctly indicated that …;
- As the analysis shows, the author very accurately demonstrated in his statement the situation that has developed in modern society;
- I would like to argue with the author and express my opinion regarding …;
- I cannot agree with the author’s opinion that …;
- To some extent, I agree with the author. However, there are aspects about which I cannot agree …;
- Could you imagine the situation that the author describes …?
As you probably already understood, your main task is to choose own position and correctly express your opinion on a particular problem. Arguments (strong evidence) will help you with this. It can be either certain theoretical provisions or terms, facts, etc.
Argumentation can be carried out on two levels:
- Theoretical level. Argumentation at the theoretical level, as a rule, is based on general scientific knowledge. That is, it is appropriate for you to use terms, concepts, to analyze contradictions, different directions of scientific thought, to reveal interrelationships, and also to cite the opinions of scientists;
- Empirical level. Two cases are possible here:
- the usage of vivid examples from history, fiction, social reality, etc.;
- appeal to own life experience.
Arguments of the second level should illustrate and support the theoretical positions used to substantiate own position.
Selection of Examples
When choosing examples, remember that they must be bright, correspond to the stated topic, and complement the already existing theoretical material. Therefore, if you want to choose good examples, first answer the questions below:
- Have I chosen bright and good examples?
- Do these examples complement my point of view?
- Could someone else interpret this example?
- Is there any conflict between the information provided in the TOEFL essay and the examples provided?
- Are they convincing?
If you are convinced that the examples you have provided prove your point, write them down in section 6 of the draft.
Our form will surely help you with a choice of good arguments and examples given in relation to the judgment you are proving and will prevent you from leaving the topic.
Your TOEFL essay must have a reasoned conclusion. But remember that the conclusion expresses your individual statement on the topic.
In order to make it easier for you to compose a conclusion, you can use those cliché phrases that we list below:
- Therefore, I can conclude …;
- Summing it up, I would like to state that …
The conclusion is recorded in column 7 of the draft. In this section, it also seems appropriate to list those problems that are directly related to the topic, but still have not found their solution in the paper.
Design of the TOEFL Essay
It is important to arrange the received material in the form of an essay. In the process of work, you should not forget that the TOEFL essay is the text with a small volume. Its main characteristic feature – semantic unity. Therefore, a logically coherent text is drawn up; various linking words are used, special attention is paid to the correct design of the paper.
It is desirable to divide your TOEFL essay into several paragraphs, expressing separate thoughts. Compliance with the red line is mandatory.
The finished TOEFL essay needs to be analyzed for compliance with the criteria used to evaluate the paper:
- Determining the topic and revealing the meaning of the statement;
- Presentation and explanation of personal position;
- The level of judgments and arguments represented.
If, in your opinion, the TOEFL essay meets the above criteria, then write this version of the work.
In conclusion, we should note that if you are faced with difficulties in your TOEFL essay writing and do not know what to write in the paper, contact our certified specialists with extensive experience. They will create a great paper for you and deliver it on time!