Perhaps the most difficult section of the TOEFL test is the writing part, not only because you must have the correct spelling, but also because your grammar must be impeccable since you must demonstrate that you have a perfect command of English.
On this exam, you can’t just ask someone write my essay for me like you do in school. Here you are on your own and have to show your language abilities. In this article, we give you 8 tips to improve your writing skills for the Writing section of the TOEFL test.
How to master TOEFL Writing in 8 steps
1. Write and let others read you
The important thing about writing well is that the reader understands what you have to say. When you go through the exercise of writing, you must take the reader into account. To do this, do not use complicated phrases or analogies, try to express yourself in simple language.
A good exercise is to write for other people since they will be able to tell you if what you have given them is understandable or not. Always take spelling into account, writing a word well not only makes it legible but also gives meaning to the ideas you want to express.
If you do not know the correct spelling of a word, try to use a synonym that does not detract from the meaning of what you want to say. Avoid using complicated words that may make your writing unreadable.
2. Read what other TOEFL applicants have written
A very effective way to get a general idea of what the TOEFL writing test will ask of you is to read the essays of other TOEFL test takers. There are many practice tests based on the actual TOEFL format. Search the internet for these essays and read a little bit about what they are about, this will give you a good idea of what to write on your practice tests.
Also, reading other people’s content will always help you improve your spelling and vocabulary, because remember that both they and you are aiming for the top TOEFL score, so you can be sure that they are also trying to do their best and improving their writing skills.
Likewise, whenever you read other students’ essays and writings, try to have a dictionary at hand, if you see a word you have doubts about, follow your instincts and consult the dictionary, we all make mistakes from time to time.
3. Structure your essay before writing it
We already know that the exam has a time limit, and since time is tight you can’t stay too long to outline an overview of what you are going to write. However, you can take a few minutes and make a general structure for your essay. In a summary, this will serve as a guide to have the key concepts that will give life to your writing, it will also help you to develop in order the ideas that you are going to express.
Brainstorming can be a resource that saves the day. You write down the ideas that come to your mind and then try to give them a structure. Remember that the structure should consist of an introduction, development, and conclusion. This is the basis of your essay.
4. Learn to paraphrase
Paraphrasing is a literary resource for writers because when expressing an idea that we have read elsewhere if you do not paraphrase it, you will be committing plagiarism. The other way of not committing plagiarism is to quote exactly the phrase and place the reference, however, because quotations are very specific, it is not recommended to use this technique in TOEFL Writing.
Paraphrasing is thus a practical way to express an author’s ideas without committing plagiarism. This, in addition to repeating “verbatim” what you have read, is not well seen, paraphrasing instead gives the evaluators to understand that you have read, interpreted, and made your own the author’s knowledge.
5. Practice writing the same sentence in different ways
Grammar! Always a thorn in the side, because every goal involves effort. Grammar is often hard to learn, but let’s remember that this exam is about proving that we know English completely, that we can understand it, speak it, and write it. Writing can be one of the most difficult parts because of the grammar, but with a lot of practice and this advice, we will give you it won’t be a problem.
First of all, you should know that there are different ways to construct a sentence in English. These are different grammatical constructions you should know and practice. One of the easiest ways to start is to make a sentence with different grammatical structures. This will earn you points on your exam if you do it, as it shows that you possess varied grammatical knowledge.
6. Write, write, write
Practice makes perfect, so write, write and write is what you must-do if you want to improve your TOEFL Writing skills. We recommend that you organize your time and dedicate at least one hour a day to your English writing.
With enough time in advance, you will be able to prepare yourself to conquer the TOEFL without any problems. It’s not about just writing random topics, to make this activity much more relaxed and fun for you, try writing about the topics you like the most.
Within your writing try to do the different tips we have given you in the article, such as paraphrasing something read, making a summary, and trying different grammatical forms of writing the same idea.
7. Get a reader
Writing is important, but getting people to understand what you write is even more important. Ask a friend who speaks fluent English or is a native English speaker to read your essays.
Many times when we reread our essays we overlook details of meaning. This happens because we already have the idea expressed in our minds and we are so used to what we have read that no matter how many times you go over it you will not see the mistake.
On the other hand, if a third party reads your exercises, that person will be able to see clearly if you have made a mistake or if everything is clearly understood.
8. Reading, comprehension, and writing
Believe it or not, reading is also an important part of writing, because in your reading you will learn new words and grammatical structures. Reading helps you to improve your writing because as you improve your fluency in the former, you will polish your writing skills in the latter.
Understanding word for word what you are reading becomes not only a tedious task but also a sterile one. On the other hand, understanding complete sentences and paragraphs imply that your reading comprehension has improved, which helps you to improve the speed with which you read and understand what you read.
Reading helps you improve your spelling and in turn expand your vocabulary. Spend some time each day reading in English and then practice writing a series of questions about what you read or summarizing.
With effort and practice, you will surely succeed. Your writing skills will improve as you practice.