TOEFL Writing Tips and Tricks

TOEFL writing on this web page will help you learn how to write an introduction plus a sharply-focused thesis. You will also learn how to write arguable topic sentences. Lastly, you will learn how to write with depth and complexity of thought.

TOEFL Writing
TOEFL Writing

This TOEFL writing practice test lesson will be based on the following writing prompt:

“Planning for the future is much better than living each day without any prior planning.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement.”

TOEFL Writing Practice:  Writing a 100+ Introduction

Starting your essay off with a 100+ introduction can be as easy as

  • Making some general statements about the writing prompt
  • Addressing the counter-argument
  • Including a three-point thesis

In order for people to succeed in life, they will need to get a marketable college education, they will need to find high-paying jobs, and they will need to save money to buy houses in nice neighborhoods. Some would say that achieving these goals represent the American dream. Even though some may argue that these aspirations can be achieved without any planning at all, I believe that planning for the future will help people to get good educations, lucrative jobs, and valued homes. Therefore, indeed, I do agree with this statement.

TOEFL Writing Practice: Writing Arguable Topic Sentences

Each body paragraph should be unified around a central idea.  The central idea or topic should restate one of the key points in your thesis that you included in the introduction.

In addition, you should make sure that your topic sentences are arguable and not factual in tone. Read the following examples showing the difference between arguable and factual tones:

Too factual: First of all, many students enroll in competitive universities.

Arguable: First of all, planning for the future can help one to get a competitive, marketable college education.

Too factual: Second of all, some workers get high-paying jobs in the future.

Arguable: Second of all, planning of the future is also important because it can help one to get a high-paying job.

Too factual: Lastly, some people plan in advance and buy homes in popular neighborhoods.

Arguable: Lastly, preparing for the future now can help one get an appreciating house in in-demand neighborhoods later on.

In short, make sure that you topic sentences make assertions which need to be defended.

TOEFL Writing Practice: Writing with Depth and Complexity of Thought

Depth refers to how specific and focused you are in your writing after the topic sentence of a paragraph. Having depth also means that your ideas are complex in that you are able to interconnect different parts of a single idea.

TOEFL Writing Practice: Paragraph Lacking Depth

Second of all, planning for the future is also important because it can help one to get a high-paying job. Every one wants a job that pay wells. For instance, jobs that pay more than $100,000 annually can help people to afford larger homes. Good paying jobs help people to be able to travel more with their families. Of course, who doesn’t want to go on a trip to Europe, for example? Whether you want to buy a large home or be able to travel, you will want a good job that pays well.  Then it will be important to plan in advance how you will be able to get this job. 

This paragraph lacks depth because it

  • Covers too many topics without enough development (high-paying job, traveling more with family, and planning in advance).
  • Doesn’t make the connection between high paying jobs and traveling with planning in advance.
  • Is not unified (the writer begins by talking about high-paying jobs and then moves to discussing traveling; in fact, the writer spends almost no detail explaining why planning in advance is important.).

TOEFL Writing Practice: Paragraph with Depth

Second of all, planning for the future is also important because it can help one to get a high-paying job. To illustrate, my cousin Tomas recently completed his Master’s Degree in Accounting.  However, before he finished his academic studies, Tomas took advantage of the career center at his university.  The Career Center helped Tomas to prepare a resume. Furthermore, the center gave Tomas several mock interviews along with feedback on how to improve his interviewing skills.  Finally, a few months before Tomas finished his accounting studies, he began interviewing with prospective employers. Due to his planning in advance, one of the big five accounting firms hired Tomas. Also, his starting salary with the firm was set at $105,000 annually.

This paragraph has depth because it

  • Uses only one example to support the topic sentence and spends roughly 80 words developing the example.
  • Effectively makes the connection between planning in advance and getting a high paying job (making a resume, practicing mock interviews, and interviewing for jobs prior to graduation).

TOEFL Writing Practice:  Putting It all Together

Maybe after reading this lesson, you may want some feedback as you practice these important tips and tricks that you have learned.  I have a TOEFFL Writing Boot Camp Course, which specializes in giving you the practice and feedback you need to score 24+:

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff,