TOEFL Writing Section

The TOEFL Writing Section is the fourth and final section of the TOEFL exam. In 50 minutes, you will have two writing tasks to complete: 1. The Integrated Writing, and 2. The Independent Writing. You will have 20 minutes to complete the Integrated Writing Task first, and then 30 minutes to complete theIndependent Writing Task.



First you have the Integrated Writing Task. You will have to read a passage and listen to a speaker before writing your essay. The first part is the reading passage which is approximately 250-300 words. You will have 3 minutes to read this passage. Next, you will listen to a lecture about the topic from passage you just read. This audio clip is typically 2-3 minutes long. Then you will have 20 minutes to write about the topic using information from both the reading and listening passages.

For the TOEFL Independent Writing, you will be given a question relating to topic which asks for your opinion. You will have 30 minutes to outline and write about your opinion on the topic.

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The TOEFL suggests an Integrated Writing that is 150-225 words, but we recommend writing 250-300 words. This should not be difficult because you have a lot to cover. Your Integrated Writing essay must include the three main points that the author makes in the reading passage about the topic, and the lecturer’s three responses to the author’s main points. It should also include supporting reasons for those main points.

The TOEFL suggests an Independent Writing that is 300-325 words, but we recommend writing 350-400 words. Unlike the Integrated Writing, your Independent Writing essay should be all about your opinion of the topic. Often these questions are designed for you to pick a side of a controversial argument, state your preference between two or three conflicting options, or explain why you agree or disagree with a given statement. These questions are very similar to the questions on the Speaking Section, Task #2. It is important to only choose one of the options or sides of the argument to write about, and to include at least two reasons for your opinion with detailed personal examples.


Like the other sections of the TOEFL, the Writing Section, it is worth 30 points (out of 120), or 25%, of your overall TOEFL score. Two to four ETS graders will mark your writing from 0-4, which is then converted to the 30-point scale. In order to receive a top score, your essays must not only have few spelling and grammar mistakes, but also be well-organized and complete.

On the Integrated writing, you must demonstrate in your essay that you understood the main points and counterpoints of the author and lecturer. It is important to know which argument comes from which source, and to include some of the supporting reasons for their positions on the topic in your essay.

A high-scoring essay on the Independent Writing has strongly expressed opinions with supporting reasons. This means that even if you don’t have a strong opinion on the topic, it is better for your score to pretend to be passionate about your position. Make sure you include at least two supporting reasons for your opinion, and then explain each of these reasons with a personal experience.

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