TOEFL Writing Section: Syllabus, Task Types and Tips for TOEFL Writing Image
Exams Know-how

TOEFL Writing Section: Syllabus, Task Types and Tips for TOEFL Writing

Yocket Editorial Team
8 mins read

The fourth and the last section that you have to attempt in TOEFL Exam is the Writing Section. Having a good command over English writing is a crucial skill to possess for students to succeed academically and professionally, while studying abroad.

The TOEFL Writing section tests how well and accurately you can organize and present your ideas in English. It asks you to develop your ideas in the form of an essay and present them in an effective manner.  

Through this article, we will take a close look at the two tasks covered in the TOEFL Writing Section and learn about the strategies to ace them.     


Overview of TOEFL Writing Section

Number of Tasks


Time Duration

50 minutes

Score Range

0 - 30 (Scaled Score)

0 - 10 (Raw Score)


Tasks in TOEFL Writing Section

TOEFL Writing section consists of two tasks viz. Integrated Writing Task and Independent Writing Task. The key differences in between both the tasks is summarized as below.

TOEFL Writing Tasks

Now, let’s gain a thorough understanding of both these tasks.  


TOEFL Integrated Writing Task

The Integrated Writing Task is meant to measure your writing skills based on your analyzing abilities. Here, you get to read a passage and listen to an audio clip of a lecture about the same topic as the passage. You are required to write an essay summarizing the important points made in the audio lecture while explaining how these relate to the key points of the reading passage. You are tested on how well you present the essay while relating the relevant information from both the excerpts.

First, you are expected to read a passage of around 250 words. Time duration for it is 3 minutes. Even though you do not need to memorize the passage owing to its presence on your screen while you write. Make sure to note down some key points that relate to the main idea of the passage.

After having read the passage, you will get an audio clip consisting of a lecture. The lecture will be on the same topic but here the author’s argument will be from a different perspective. Also, since the duration of the lecture will be 2 minutes and you will listen to it only once, you need to remember and note down the relevant facts and information.

To type your response in the form of an essay, you will get 20 minutes. You’ll be graded on how concisely you present the main points of the passage and lecture. As per the ETS, there is no maximum length for your essay. It could be anywhere between 150 to 225 words to be regarded as an effective essay.

To understand how the questions are framed under this task, refer to the question structure below:

  • Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they cast doubt on specific points made in the reading passage.

  • Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to specifically explain how they answer the problems raised in the reading passage.

  • Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to include specific reasons that they strengthen points made in the reading passage. 


TOEFL Independent Writing Task

Under the Independent Writing Task, you get a question on which you are required to write an essay that expresses your personal opinion. The question would basically ask you to write your opinion on an issue of which the topic could be related to: Education, Work or Lifestyle.

The recommended word count for your essay is a minimum of 300 words for which you get 30 minutes to write. You’ll be graded on how well-organized your essay is with well-developed ideas. Also, you’ll be required to give specific reasons and examples in support of your answer.

The questions in the Independent Writing Task are phrased in the following manner: 

  • Do you agree or disagree?

  • Do you support or oppose this idea?

  • Which would you prefer?


How to write an Effective Essay?

To make your essay stand out and look impressive, use an effective outline or structure while writing it. Also, it is recommended that your essay should have at least 4 paragraphs to be regarded as an effective one. So, structure your essay well with clear arguments while using good vocabulary and grammar.

You can keep the following structure in mind in order to write an effective essay:  

  1. Your essay must include at least 4 paragraphs. Where the first paragraph should be the Introduction of the topic. To set up a good context and an impressive start for the essay, frame your introduction well covering the main ideas and important points.

  2. Second and third paragraphs should be about the body of the essay with well-organized sentences. In case of the Integrated Writing task, the body must include logical reasons and examples in support of the author’s statement.

  3. At last, the fourth paragraph should be a short conclusion summing up your essay with a few supporting points.


Tips and Strategies to crack TOEFL Writing Section

In order to solve the TOEFL Writing Section well, you must follow some techniques and strategies. Given below are a few techniques that could help you master this section:

  • Development of the Essay:
    Your essay must be well-organized including all the main ideas. You should be able to select the important information from the listening lecture. Further, this information should be clearly presented in relation to the relevant information from the reading passage. This technique will be helpful to you while writing the Integrated Essay.  

  • Propose solutions to a problem:
    Writing an essay while stating just the author’s opinion is not sufficient. It must include some solution to the related problem. You can do this by understanding the main idea of the reading passage as well as the listening lecture.

  • Take clear notes:
    You won’t be able to remember all the important points discussed in the listening lecture. Thus, it is suggested that you take notes that are neat and clear. You will be referring to these notes while you write so make sure they are understandable.

  • Take ample practice tests:
    In order to achieve your desired score, practicing is utmost important. Thus, solve as many practice tests and sample papers as you can. Also, to understand the exact type of questions that appear in the TOEFL Writing section, solve last years’ question papers and take mock tests.

Links to a few free official practice tests for TOEFL Writing are provided below:


While you aim to ace the TOEFL Writing Section with a high score, focus on developing solid essay writing skills. To effectively solve the Integrated Writing Task, make sure your reading and listening skills are excellent. Also, having strong command over grammar and vocabulary will always give you fruitful results. So, aim higher, prepare well, keep improving & achieve an outstanding TOEFL score. Best of Luck!  

Frequently Asked Questions by Students on TOEFL Writing (FAQs)

Q1. How do I start writing for TOEFL?

Ans. Before you begin to write for the TOEFL Writing section, plan out a structure or an outline for your essay. This will give you a clear understanding of what points you need to remember while you read and hear the passages. And leave yourself enough time at the end to review what you’ve written. In this way, your essay will look impressive covering all the relevant points.


Q2. How can I improve my TOEFL Writing score?

Ans. In order to improve your TOEFL Writing score, make sure you have an action plan in mind to approach this section. Also, keep the above-mentioned TOEFL Writing tips and strategies in mind while you solve the paper. This will help you write the essay effectively and achieve an outstanding score.


Q3. How do I write Independent Writing for TOEFL?

Ans. For TOEFL Independent Writing Task, you get the topics related to Education, Work or Lifestyle. In order to write the essay for this question, you need to have a good knowledge of these topics. During your preparation days, write more essays on questions from these topics and time yourself while you write. This will improve your essay writing skills as well as your speed of writing.   


Q4. Is TOEFL Writing hard?

Ans. The difficulty level of the TOEFL Writing section is similar to that of the other three sections. As there are no right or wrong answers to measure the difficulty with. Moreover, it can be said that the level of difficulty is based on how developed your grammar and vocabulary are. Thus, the writing section’s difficulty depends on you and your English language skills.  

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