Secret Tips to Developing TOEFL Writing Skills


Of course, if you still have not yet mastered fluency in written English, writing a quality essay may still be a challenge. You are probably thinking more than you need to. How can you make each essay a little better? Be careful not to repeat the same format again and again in order to move to the next level. Here are a few useful tips. You can use these techniques to constantly write excellent essays.


  1. Read others’ essays

To develop your own writing style, read essays written by others. 1. Read essays of other students or academic essays. In fact, if you read a wide variety of essays on diverse subjects, you can get insight into different types of argumentative styles. Clearly, the more you read and become familiar with alternate styles that exist, the more techniques you will have in your pocket to use in your own essays.


As you familiarize yourself with others’ essays, critically analyze what you like and what you do not like. Consider whether or not the writer is persuading you well. If so, how? Ask yourself, is the writer’s argument one-sided or does the writer support the argument with evidence such as reasons and examples? Contemplate if the writer is using an effective technique which you have not seen before so that you could incorporate a similar technique in your writing style.

A. Read online newspapers, particularly opinion pages to see viewpoints

B. Online magazines

C. Online journals


2. Use a dictionary and thesaurus to build your vocabulary

An extensive word choice permits you to express what you want in clear, concise terms. “Less is more.” Using essential, precise words is much more effective than being wordy with unnecessarily longer sentences.


Write to the point with clear, accurate vocabulary. In English, there are constantly new advanced words to learn. These words can assist you in communicated your point much more efficiently. When you are able to employ strong vocabulary, it manifests your higher level of English, and your written argument may come across as more convincing in your essay. The more widely you read, write down new vocabulary you see and label them in categories according to topic. Review them in each study session. Try to use the new vocabulary in the correct context in your speaking and writing. Here are two links below which both have dictionaries and thesauruses.

  1. Avoid using the same words over and over again by substituting synonyms and/or new phrases
  2. Sign up for “word of the day” on a site
  3. Become familiar with synonyms and antonyms of your new vocabulary word
  4. Study lists of prefixes, suffixes, and roots of words to help you expand your word choice based on these meanings.
  5. Create a vocabulary journal where you write vocabulary from your reading. Divide it into sections so that all the words are categorized such as science, business, art, history, and then you can review them easily. Write synonyms, antonyms, and an example in context.
  6. Use these new words when applicable in your written practice. Push yourself to use at least two new vocabulary words in each practice essay you write before the exam day. Not only will you become more comfortable using the new words, you will be able to try other whether or not the words are used correctly in your writing.
  7. Avoid using advanced words that look fancy if you are not clear of the meaning. Using a long or quite advanced word choice, you can run the risk of mistaking the meaning. Only focus on using clear words that you can employ with no doubts of the audience understanding them, so that your vocabulary is comprehensive and easily understandable.


If you like this blog, then check out this article: Why Am I Not Improving English?


Top Strategies for Excellent TOEFL Writing

Do you struggle with how to best tackle which way to go about improving your essays on the TOEFL writing section? To beat both the integrated and independent in the writing section, a few straightforward strategies go a long way to boost your section score.

Are you typing at least 40 words per minute? Of course, you can type faster improving your ability through typing sessions. First, make sure to practice typing your English writing on a QWERTY computer keyboard. Since you will need to type in your task responses, the faster and more accurate you type on the keyboard, the better you can focus on writing a quality essay. Touch typing without looking at the keyboard will give you an advantage since you will be able to think in English while not looking at the letters on the keyboard. Type daily for consistent practice with speed and no errors. Aim for 55 words per minute. Some websites for English typing test speed and practice are these:

The Principles of Touch Typing

Typing tutor

Typing Tests

Timing, of course, is critical in each writing task. When you first start practicing, you may feel slow and not be efficient in finishing your essay on time within 20-30 minutes, depending on the task. Every time you practice a simulated timed writing, you will get closer and closer to finish your essay in time, so that by the time the exam day rolls around, you are confident and comfortable to complete your tasks in the given time frame.

It’s important to also make a strategic plan to expand your vocabulary day by day. Maintain a vocabulary list in a notebook with new words and use review time daily to learn the words. Attempt to use those words in your essay practice when your writing is checked by a native speaker.

While you are practicing writing, look at your vocabulary list and use some of those words in context in your writing. Write in a style which has a variety of grammar structures. Using alternative word choices and various sentence structures, you can master how to write them effectively. The raters of the exam count a variety of word choice and sentence variety as higher level writing.

Next, formulate your essay structure so it’s well-organized with an introduction, body and conclusion, and be sure to use that structure in practice and on the actual test day. Each of the three parts of an essay has structural aspects to follow so that each paragraph in the essay is ordered logically and flows smoothly.

After you learn the structure, familiarize yourself with how to organize the content in the essay. There is a planning stage, a writing stage, and a revision stage. During the planning time of 3-5 minutes, you create a mapping of ideas or an outline before beginning to write the essay. A solid planning such as idea mapping saves time during the writing period because all your ideas will already be organized. The planning stage has key words from the question, a list of mapped out phrases of reasons, examples, and supporting details of ideas for the body paragraphs (2-3.) Do not write sentences, only write words or phrases to create an order of ideas so that you can refer to your planning to develop a clear, logical, and well-organized essay.

Know how to successfully write with connecting ideas, in particular, use transitions or phrases to introduce a reason or point, to give an example, to contrast an idea, to switch from one idea to another, to give more supporting information such as details, or to conclude. Some transition words are the following: first, second, next, in addition, moreover, for example, for instance, in contrast, on the other hand, to conclude, and to sum up. A list of transition words and phrases to be familiar with is at Study Guides and Strategies link.

How far have you come? Reflect on your writing advancement. Have a native English teacher or editor give you feedback on your writing according to the writing scores for TOEFL. Use the accurate input to get better on your writing techniques. Implement strategies to help you advance even further so that your writing progress is faster to get your goal.

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