CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS HELP ON TOEFL

You may be contemplating, “Why is critical thinking important on TOEFL? How are critical thinking skills evaluated in the scores? When do I need to employ logic on the test?”

On test day, TOEFL engages your critical thinking ability in different sections. It’s crucial because the way you use logic to analyze and reason in an answer will affect your results.

How?

Writing Section: Independent Task

On the independent task of the writing section of the test, some questions require you to apply skills such as effective analyzing and reasoning. In those cases, you’ll need to think critically to develop your argument. For example, with the agree/disagree questions, your argument or opinion needs to try to persuade the audience you believe in something. To show you’ve thought through a critical response, simply express your opinion with clarity in response to the prompt.

Placement of Thesis

Where does your key argument statement need to be written? In the thesis statement. In the last sentence in your introductory paragraph, you’ll give your reasons to support your view(s.) As you continue writing the independent task essay, all your topic sentences, which start the body paragraphs are reason statements in support of your argument. The ability to create a strong argument with reasonable support leading to a conclusion shows the audience/evaluators whether or not you have skill to develop an essay.

Test Strategy: Careful Evaluation

A key strategy on other sections of the exam is to approach responses by evaluating the best answer. Why? TOEFL avoids answers that are definitely 100% (or contain words that are absolutes) as those don’t require much reasoning. TOEFL wants test-takers to consider questions carefully.

How?

 

Approach

A good approach is to avoid selecting absolute answers. For instance, a typical absolute answer would be a response that has an answer with adverbs like always and never, which are absolutes of 100% definity.

Another fast tactic is to search answers for modal verbs to avoid selecting absolute answers like must. It will increase the possibility of selecting the right answer. Examples of modals are these types of helper verbs: can, could, may, might, must, ought, shall, should, will, would. Modals have varying degrees of possibility to indicate how likely something is to happen. Modals go from one extreme to the other–with absolute requisites on one end like will, must, ought, should, shall and suggestions on the other end of the scale of likelihood with can, could, may, might, would. Avoid responses that include the absolute modal verb must. If you see responses with the strongly suggestive modal verbs should and ought, consider carefully if the issue in the question is of enough importance to select that answer. On the other hand, if you see answers with the modal verbs might and could, those are potentially better answer choices as those are not absolute 100%.

Zone in on Success

Now that you understand why critical thinking is essential on the exam and how it’s assessed in responses, use your critical thinking skills and these strategies accordingly on your next exam for a higher rate of success.

Tap into Your Perspective to Write a Preference Essay

Aug 30 2015When you get to the TOEFL writing section, you will have two tasks to perform in English. In both of those, you will show your language ability to put together a written argument. The second writing is the independent essay, in which you give your opinion. In this task on the exam day, you will have 30 minutes to state your opinion and support it with examples in your essay. One of the categories of questions you may get is the preference topic. To get a head start on what you will encounter on the test day, look over the list below of those topics so you will be better prepared for what is to come.

Preference Prompts:

121 It has been said, “Not everything that is learned is contained in books.” Compare and contrast knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books. In your opinion, which source is more importand? Why?

122 A company has announced that it wishes to build a large factory near you community. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this new influence on your community. Do you support or oppose the factory? Explain your position.

123 Some people prefer to live in a small town. Others prefer to live in a big city. Which place would you prefer to live in? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

124 Some people prefer to eat at food stands or restaurants. Other people prefer to prepare and eat food at home. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

125 It has recently been announced that a new restaurant may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

126 Some people think that they can learn better by themselves than with a teacher. Others think that it is always better to have a teacher. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons to develop your essay.

127 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.

128 It has recently been announced that a new movie theater may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

129 It has recently been announced that a new high school may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details in your answer.

130 Some place people spend their entire lives in one place. Others move a number of times throughout their lives, looking for a better job, house, community, or even climate. Which do you prefer: staying in one place or moving in search of another place? Use reasons and specific examples to support your opinion.

131 You have received a gift of money. The money is enough to buy either a piece of jewelry you like or tickest to a concert you want to attend? Which would you buy? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

132 Some people like to travel with a companion. Other people prefer to travel alone. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

133 Some people prefer to get up early in the morning and start the day’s work. Others prefer to get up later in the day and work until late at night. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.

134 Some people prefer to work for a large company. Others prefer to wrok for a small company. Which would you prefer? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.

135 Some people like to do only what they already do well. Other people prefer to try new things and take risks. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

136 Some movies are serious, designed to make the audience think. Other movies are designed primarily to amuse and entertain. Which type of movie do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

137 Some people are always in a hurry to go places and get things done. Other people prefer to take their time and live life at a slower pace. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

138 Some people prefer to work for themselves or own a business. Others prefer to work for an employer. Would you rather be self-employed, work for someone else, or own a business? Use specific reasons to explain your choice.

139 If you were an employer, which kind of worker would you prefer to hire: an inexperienced worker at a lower salary or an experienced worker at a higher salary? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

140 Some people prefer to live in places that have the same weather or climate all your long. Others like to live in areas where the weather changes several times a year. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

141 You have been told that dormitory rooms at your university must be shared by two students. Would you rather have the university assign a student to share a room with you, or would you rather choose your own roommate? Use specific reasons and details to explain your answer.

142 Some people think that governments should spend as much money as possible on developing or buying computer technology. Other people disagree and think that this money should be spent on more basic needs. Which one of these opinions do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

143 Some people like doing work by hand. Others prefer using machines. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

144 Students at universities often have a choice of places to live. They may choose to live in university dormitories, or they may choose to live in apartments in the community. Compare the advantages of living in the university housing with the advantages of living in an apartment in the community. Where would you prefer to live? Give reasons for your preference.

145 Some people believe that the best way of learning about life is by listening to the advice of family and friends. Other people believe that the best way of learning about life is through personal experience. Compare the advantages of these two different ways fo learning about life. Which do you think is preferable? Use specific examples to support your preference.

146 When people move to another country, some ofthem decide to follow the customs of the new country. Others prefer to keep their own customs. Compare these two choices. Which one do you prefer? Support your answer with specific details.

147 Some people prefer to spend most of their time alone. Others like to be with friends most of the time. Do you prefer to spend your time alone or with friends? Use specific reasons to support your answer.

148 Some people prefer to spend time with one or two close friends. Others choose to spend time with a large number of friends. Compare the advantages of each choice. Which of these two ways of spending time do you prefer? Use specific reasons to support your answer.

149 Some people think that family is the most important influence on young adults Other people think that friends are the most important influence on young adults. Which view do you agree with? Use examples to support your opinion.

150 Some people prefer to plan activities for their free time very carefully. Others choose not to make any plans at all for their free time. Compare the benefits of planning free-time activities with the benefits of not making plans. Which do you prefer–planning or not planning for your leisure time? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your choice.

151 People learn in different ways. Some people learn by doing things; other people learn by reading about things; others learn by listening to people talk about things. Which of these methods of learning is best for you? Use specific examples to support your choice.

152 Some people choose friends who are different from themselves. Others choose friends who are similar to themselves. Compare the advantages of having friends who are different from you with the advantages of having friends who are similar to you. Which kind of friend do you prefer for yourself? Why?

153 Some people enjoy change and they look forward to new experiences. Others like their lives to stay the same, and they do not change their usual habits. Compare these two approaches to life. Which approach do you prefer? Why?

154 Some items (such as clothes or furniture) can be made by hand or by machine. Which do you prefer–items made by hand or items made by machine? Use reasons and specific examples to explain your choice.

155 Would you prefer to live in a traditional house or in a more modern apartment building? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.

156 Some people prefer to spend their free time outdoors. Other people prefer to spend their leisure time indoors. Would you prefer to be outside or would you prefer to be inside for your leisure activities? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

157 In the future, students may have the choice of studying at home by using technology such as computers or television or of studying at traditional schools. Which would you prefer? Use reasons and specific details to explain your choice.

158 When people need to complain about a product or poor service, some prefer to complain in writing and others prefer to complain in person. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

159 Some students like classes where teachers lecture (do all of the talking) in class. Other students prefer classes where the students do some of the talking. Which type of class do you prefer? Give specific reasons and details to support your choice.

160 Some students prefer to study alone. Others prefer to study with a group of students. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

161 Which do you feel is more important in your life: security or freedom and independence? Use reasons and specific examples to support your opinion.

162 Some music is very inspirational. Other music seems boring and meaningless. Which type of music do you listen to and why do you think some music forms are much more popular than others? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

163 If you could travel back in time or into the future, which would you choose and what exact period of time would you like to experience? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

215 Some people prefer to follow their dream even if it is challenging and other people like setting practical goals, which do you prefer?

218 Which do you prefer: to donate money to the local towns that you live in or to donate your money to the more large-scale world?

If you like this list of preference prompts from the writing section, check out TOEFL Writing Independent Task: Agree or Disagree Essay.

 

How to Make a Strong Argument Essay

essay tip fiveHave you ever needed to write an argument essay on the TOEFL writing section, the independent task? Various categories of topics exist on the independent writing, one being make an argument. Clearly, it is important to know each category of the topics in order to address the question more readily in a particular writing. Becoming familiar with the make an argument list of topics below will help you become prepared for a potential topic you may receive on the day of the exam. Once you know these argument topics, you will be apt to tackle the argumentative essay.

  1. If you could change one important thing about your hometown, what would you change? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.
  2. Some people believe that university students should be required to attend classes. Others believe that going to classes should be optional for students. Which point of view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.
  3. Neighbors are the people who live near us. In your opinion, what are the qualities of a good neighbor? Use specific details and examples in your answer.
  4. What are some important qualities of a good supervisor (boss)? Use specific details and examples to explain why these qualities are important.
  5. Should governments spend more money on improving roads and highways, or should governments spend more money on improving public transportation (buses, trains, subways)? Why? Use specific reasons and details to develop your essay.
  6. In general, people living longer now. Discuss the causes of this phenomenon. Use specific reasons and details to develop your essay.
  7. We all work or will work in jobs with many different kinds of people. In your opinion, what are some important of a good co-worker (someone you work closely with)? Use reasons and specific examples to explain why these characteristics are important.
  8. In some countries, teenagers have jobs while they are still students. Do you think this is a good idea? Support your opinion by using specific reasons and details.
  9. Some people believe that the Earth is being harmed (damaged) by human activity. Others feel that human activity makes the Earth a better place to live. What is your opinion? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  10. Is it better to enjoy your money when you earn it, or is it better to save your money for some time in the future? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  11. What is a very important skill a person should learn in order to be successful in the world today? Choose one skill and use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  12. Why do you think some people are attracted to dangerous sports or other dangerous activities? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  13. What change would make your hometown more appealing to people your age? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  14. A company is going to give some money either to support the arts or to protect the environment. Which do you think the company should choose? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  15. What do you want most in a friend–someone who is intelligent, or someone who has a sense of humor, or someone who is reliable? Which one of these characteristics is most important to you? Use reasons and specific examples to explain your choice.
  16. Should a city try to preserve its old, historic buildings or destroy them and replace them with modern buildings? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  17. Many teachers assign homework to students every day. Do you think that daily homework is necessary for students? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.
  18. If you could study a subject that you have never had the opportunity to study, what would you choose? Explain your choice, using specific reasons and details.
  19. Some people think that the automobile has improved modern life. Others think that the automobile has caused serious problems. What is your opinion? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  20. Which would you choose–a high-paying job with long hours that would give you little time with family and friends or a lower-paying job with shorter hours that would give you more time with family and friends? Explain your choice, using specific reasons and details.
  21. Some people say that computers have made life easier and more convenient. Other people say that computers have made life more complex and stressful. What is your opinion? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  22. Some universities require students to take classes in many subjects. Other universities require students to specialize in one subject. Which is better? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  23. Is it more important to be able to work with a group of people on a team or to work independently? Use specific reasons and specific examples to support your answer.
  24. Some people think the Internet provides people with a lot of valuable information. Others think access to so much information creaste problems. Which view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  25. A foreign visitor has only one day to spend in your country. Where should this visitor go on that day? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  26. If you could go back to some time and place in the past, when and where would you go? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  27. What discovery in the last 100 years has been most beneficial for people in your country? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  28. If you could travel back in time to meet a famous person from history, what person would you like to meet? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  29. If you could meet a famous entertainer or athlete, who would that be, and why? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  30. Many students have to live with a roommate while going to school or university. What are some of the important qualities of a good roommate? Use specific reasons and examples to explain why these qualities are important.
  31. People have different ways of escaping the stress of modern life. Some read, some exercise, others work in their gardens. What do you think are the best ways of reducing stress? Use specific details and examples in your answer.
  32. If you were asked to send one thing representing your country to an international exhibition, what would you choose? Why? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.
  33. In your opinion, what is the most important characteristic (for example, honesty, intelligence, a sense of humor) that a person can have to be successful in life? Use specific reasons and examples from your experience to explain your answer. When you write your answer, you are not limited to the examples listed in the question. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  34. Some people believe that a college or university education should be available to all students. Others believe that higher education should be available to only good students. Discuss these views. Which view do you agree with? Explain why?
  35. The government has announced that it plans to build a new university. Some people think that your community should be a good place to locate the university. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a new university in your community. Use specific details in your discussion. (Discuss both.)
  36. Some people trust their first impressions about a person’s character because they believe these judgments are generally correct. Other people do not judge a person’s character quickly because they believe first impressions are often wrong. Compare these two attitudes. Which attitude do you agree with? Support your choice with specific examples. (Discuss BOTH ATTITUDES in the essay.)
  37. Some people say that physical exercise should be a required part of every school day. Other people believe that students should spend the whole school day on academic studies. Which opinion do you agree with? Give specific reasons and details to support your answer.
  38. A university plans to develop a new research center in your country. Some people want a center for business research. Other people want a center for research in agriculture (farming). Which of these two kinds of research centers do you recommend for your country? Use specific reasons in your recommendation.
  39. Some young children spend a great amount of their time practicing sports. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer. (Discuss both.)
  40. Some high schools required all students to wear school uniforms. Other high schools permit students to decide what to wear to school. Which of these two school policies do you think is better? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  41. If you could make one important change in a school that you attended, what change would you make? Use reasons and examples to support your answer.
  42. A gift (such as a camera, soccer ball, or an animal) can contribute to a child’s development. What gift would you five to help a child develop? Why? Use reasons and specific examples to support your choice.
  43. Some people believe that students should be given one long vacation each year. Others believe that students should have several short vacations throughout the year. Which viewpoint do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  44. Some people say that advertising encourages us to buy things that we really do not need. Others say that advertisements tell us about new products that may improve our lives. Which viewpoint do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  45. You school has received a gift of money. What do you think is the best way for your school to spend this money? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  46. Imagine that you have received some land to use as you wish. How would you use this land? Use specific details to explain your answer.
  47. What is the most important animal in your country? Why is this animal important? Use reasons and specific details to explain your answer.
  48. Many parts of the world are losing important natural resources, such as forests, animals, or clean water. Choose one resource that is disappearing and explain why it needs to be saved. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  49. In some countries people are no longer allowed to smoke in many public places and office buildings. Do you think this is a good rule or a bad rule? Use specific reasons and details to support your opinion.
  50. Plants can provide food, shelter, clothing, or medicine. What is one kind of plant that is important to you or the people in your country? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  51. When famous people such as actors, athletes, and rock stars give their opinions, many people listen. Do you think we should pay attention to these opinions? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  52. The twentieth century saw great change. In your opinion, what is one change that should be remembered about the twentieth century? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.
  53. Some famous athletes and entertainers earn millions of dollars every year. Do you think these people deserve such high salaries? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  54. Is the ability to read and write more important today than in the past? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  55. People recognize a difference between children and adults. What events (experience or ceremonies) make a person an adult? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.
  56. Your school has enough money to purchase either computers for students or books for the library. Which should your school choose to buy–computers or books? Use specific reasons and examples to support your recommendation.
  57. Imagine you are preparing for a trip. You plan to be away from your home for a year. In addition to clothing and personal care items, you can take one additional thing. What would you take and why? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  58. A friend of yours has received some money and plans to use all of it either to go on a vacation/to buy a car. Your friend has asked you for advice. Compare your friend’s two choices and explain which one you think your friend should choose. Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  59. In your country, is there more need for land to be left in its natural condition or is there more for land to be developed for housing and industry? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  60. Many people have a close relationship with their pets. These people treat their birds, cats, or other animals as members of their family. In your opinion, are such relationships good? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  61. You have enough money to purchase either a house or a business. Which would you choose to buy? Give specific reasons to explain your choice.
  62. Of three government environmental policies–protect nature’s forests, protect clean air, and protect clean water–which is the best policy? What should the government do in those three cases?

 

If you like this article, you may enjoy The TOEFL Independent Task Five-Paragraph Essay Structure.

Superior Essays Contain Examples

note pen pencil

Examples are vital to creating a superior essay on the second task, the independent essay, in the TOEFL writing section. To create strong writing, you need to insert quality content with solid reasons on the topic and clear examples. Each example may be different since the topics are varied. Use a particular example from one of these below depending on which question you encounter on the exam day. Here are some samples of what types of examples you may integrate into your body paragraphs to give stronger support to your argument.

Your own experience

The majority of independent essay arguments can come from your own experience since your viewpoint is something you can grasp readily when you are in a time crunch. For example, you may consider referring to your family, friend, neighbor, classmate, boss, peer, or elder. If you have an independent (task #2) question that asks about family, community, children, school, education, work, career, or life, you can easily draw from your own experience to respond to the question and stay on topic. It saves time in planning your argument, and it makes your development more personalized with your experience. For structure in your example, keep the same main subject throughout a body paragraph for consistency.

Sample preference question

  • Some people prefer to live in places that have the same weather or climate all year long. Others like to live in areas where the weather changes several times a year. Which do you prefer?

Subject knowledge

Of course, you will not need any previous expertise on the subject to answer an independent question on the TOEFL. However, if you know something about the topic that is listed in the question, they you can use your subject knowledge to help you develop your argument. If you have a question related to social issues or politics, for example, it is useful to use subject knowledge for those types of questions.

Sample agree/disagree question

  • Agree or disagree? Technology has made the world a better place to live.

Someone famous or a global situation

Aside from using your personal experience or knowledge, you can use a global example. For instance, consider what renowned person you could write about as an example. Some questions may be a topic about time, about history, or about a country.

Sample independent questions:

  • If you could go back to some time and place in the past, when and where would you go? Why?
  • If you were asked to send one thing representing your country to an international exhibition, what would you choose? Why?

When giving evidence in the body to substantiate your claim, it is quick and helpful to illustrate an example from your own experience or knowledge, or from a well-known person or situation. Using those types of examples is effective in the body paragraphs, depending on which topic the question asks you.

If you liked this post, try reading the article: The TOEFL Independent Task Five-Paragraph Essay Structure.

Transitions and Structure Create a Smooth Flowing TOEFL Essay

note pen

One of the essential keys to a well-written essay is integrating transitions into your essay, whether that be the integrated task or the independent task on the writing section of the TOEFL exam. Transitions and transitional phrases are words or groups of words that connect ideas between or within sentences. When you write a paragraph, you should present ideas that flow; consequently, connector words or phrases are useful to make the paragraph cohesive. By inserting smooth connections, ideas can relate more logically so that no gaps exist. If you are able to connect your thoughts in a manner which leads the reader through your essay, you will effectively paint a clearer argument. For this reason, though you may already have presented a strong argument and supporting details, your opinion, reasons, examples and support need to also connect with transitions in order to make your persuasion seem stronger to any reader. Proper selection of transitions makes your written passage much more enticing to read

Moreover, you will need to decide which transition word or phrase to use in a particular spot in your writing. So, examine your essay overall. Look at the organization. When you give ideas that build on one another in the same way, use ‘like meaning’ transitions. If you have presented ideas which are opposing, then you would insert transitional phrases that are contrasting meaning. Sequential words also help to delineate the organization of time in paragraphs and keep sentences in clear order.

Sample transitions

SEQUENTIAL WORDS–First, at first, initially, first of all, in the first place, second, secondly, in addition, as well, next, later, after that, now, recently, at the same time,

EXAMPLE WORDS: for instance, for example, to illustrate, to exemplify, to demonstrate, to show,

EMPHASIS WORDS–in particular, specifically, even, especially, in fact, no doubt, doubtless

LIKE WORDS–similarly, like, as, likewise, in the same way, in addition, plus

CONTRAST WORDS—but, yet, however, nevertheless, yet, still, on the other hand, despite, although, though, even though, while, whereas

CONCLUSION WORDS–In conclusion, in summary, lastly, consequently, finally, hence, therefore, thus

Sentences example without a transition and with transitions

  • I built a house. It was one story. [no transition]
  • For instance, I built a house; initially, it was one story. [two transitions for smooth flowing logic]

Not only are transitions vital to your writing on the TOEFL, but also a solid structure makes your essay more convincing to the reader. The structure of an essay commences with an introduction, an initial paragraph which starts off with catching the attention of the reader with a lead-on on the topic. For instance, you begin with a general statement or question on the topic to entice a reader. The introduction moves from general to more specific: at the end of the introductory paragraph, in the last sentence, you state your thesis statement. A thesis is the main idea of your essay. Whatever main purpose you have (your argument,) you would mention that viewpoint to control the thesis and add your reasons why.

To follow the introduction, you would have a body of a few paragraphs which explain the support of your reasons why. In this way, your reasons each have concrete examples and details, which become more and more detailed to make a convincing argument. Each body paragraph follows a similar structure. You begin with a transition to refer back to the previous paragraph or move forward to a new idea. Thus, your writing will not jump from one idea to the next without logical reasoning. The first topic sentence of each body paragraph contains a controlling idea and one reason, which refers back to one reason stated in the thesis in the introduction. After proposing your reason, you give an example or evidence to support the topic. Following an example, you can include numerous details, which become more concrete as you move through the body paragraph. Those ideas support the argument, reason and example. If you wish to conclude the body paragraph, you may want to rephrase the topic sentence in other words to emphasize the point you are making.

The final part of the structure of an essay is to restate your thesis and express why that is important. In that concluding paragraph, you would start with an ending transition such as “In conclusion,” or “In summary,” or “To sum up.” One of those transitions smooths your writing so that moving from the body to the conclusion is not jumpy. To follow would be a short summary of your opinion and the reasons paraphrased with new word choice. Your concluding line should end strong. It would be a recommendation or suggestion on topic or a universal call to action. Be sure not to introduce new ideas in the conclusion or that would weaken the ending.

Of course, by using both the proper transitions in the correct location within your writing and by organizing your essay structure according to the standard set above, you can impact the reader positively. He/she will be able to readily comprehend your argumentative viewpoint and capture supporting points clearly to give you a better TOEFL writing score.

If you liked this post, try reading the article Writing a TOEFL Independent Essay with a Story as an Example.

 

Improve English Writing Skills Easily

imagesIf you need solid writing skills for a university graduate school program or for business, you can improve with practice and determination. Top writers are not born, but bred. Take time, and with practice, you can become a writer with fluent style. What you need to start with is determination.

Though you may need to push yourself at writing to top the TOEFL writing section or to succeed on the AWA of the GRE or the GMAT in order to get accepted into a school program, you can succeed with practice. It’s just like running a marathon. The more you practice, the better you will become.

Some tips you can follow to improve your English writing skills are these:

  1. Keep your writing organized in one place, for example, in computer files if you write on the computer. In that way, you can refer back to your previously writing to go over errors and to notice steps to improve upon. Be sure all the documents are well-ordered so that you can examine how much you are improving over time.
  2. Practice writing English every day. If you make a daily habit of writing, it will become a ritual in your study session. You will see significant improvement when you are dedicated to becoming a better writer. However, if you never take the opportunity to write or even save the writing that you do, you cannot create solid stories. Even writing English five minutes a day will create a pattern that will become as natural as brushing your teeth.
  3. Write on any topic

Avoid getting stuck with writer’s block. Think about what topic to write on by using topics that are easy to have an opinion on. The independent topics on the TOEFL exam are a set list of topics which you can write on to develop your viewpoint on specific themes. If you are studying for GRE, the AWA has Issue essay topics and Argument topics which you can also write about in essay format. If you are planning on taking the GMAT, you will need to be familiar with the AWA. A pdf downloadable list of Analysis of the Argument topics also can help you with practice.

  1. Revise your first written draft

Once you finish writing your essay, take time to look over your writing to correct the grammar errors and revise the ideas for clarity.

  1. Use resources or online links to correct your English grammar

Many resources exist to check your English grammar. For instance, in Word, you can turn on the spell and grammar check or the thesaurus. Online, you could plug in your essay to be grammatically corrected. Review the errors and make a point not to make the same mistakes in the next essay.

  1. Write from different perspectives

It is not interesting to practice writing on the same topic, so write about different topics by shifting your perspective. First, write about one side, and then consider writing on the opposing standpoint. Think about diverse viewpoints that you can argue in an essay. Be creative when presenting your argument.

In addition, you could practice writing by summarizing other viewpoints from written or lecture sources such as in readings or lectures. For example, you may listen to a lecture and write a summary about that listening. Or, you might read an article online that interests you, and then you could summarize the key points in the passage from the author’s perspective.

  1. Have another person edit your writing

A person who knows English fluently can be helpful in editing your essays. If you know one who is capable of the task, ask him/her to check your writing. As well, a teacher who is an expert at English writing can give you insight into how to strengthen your sentences and paragraphs and offer additional ideas how to generate development in your writing.

  1. Locate a quiet study space to write

If you find it difficult to start writing, tidy up your study space to create an ideal study environment: a clean, quiet zone. Be sure that the place where you are sitting down to write is free of noise and comfortable. Avoid being distracted at your desk so you can form tunnel vision and focus in on your topic.

Since writing is a process, the more you do it, the better you will become. If you like this article, try reading: Why Am I Not Improving English?

Presenting a Story as an Example Stimulates

storybook1

  • A Story as an Example in Writing

In the independent task essay of the TOEFL writing section, each reason to support the argument needs a strong example in each body paragraph. One way is to use a story as an example in the body paragraph(s) as a tool of persuasion in the argument and as a technique to develop a reason.

A story example is a connected set of events with a beginning, middle, and end. The story you tell is a journey that moves the reader (rater of your essay.) When the reader is reading your story, the reader feels differently than reading facts; consequently, the result is the reader feels persuaded by your story to understand your viewpoint.

When writing a story as an example in your body paragraph, remember that a story is not facts, figures, or lists. Yet, if you are able to integrate facts or figures as supporting details into your story example, these can stimulate the rater’s intellect and emotions to feel persuaded to your opinion, and ultimately it may lead to the rater give a certain score. Your story (the example and supporting details) can be short—140 characters (no spaces) such as in four short sentences–or if you write longer sentences about 140 words to develop the entire body paragraph.

Here are a few characteristics of an effective story as a solid example in the independent essay, task #2 of the TOEFL writing section.

  1. Objective: Why are you telling that story?

To support the reason

  1. Grab Attention: To catch the reader, the story must clearly exemplify support of the

                                            Reason in your topic sentence and main argument (your thesis)

  1. Engage: Why might the rater care about your story example?

For a high score, that example must develop the reason given in the first sentence of the                               body paragraph, and it needs to supply specific details

Keep these in mind when creating a story as an example in the body of your essay.