On the TOEFL iBT writing section, you will be asked to write two academic essays – the first one is integrated writing, and the second one is independent writing. In another course, we will talk about integrated writing, but in this course we will discuss independent writing.

The word independent means stand alone with no outside help. In other words, you will express your opinion on a topic and support it from your own understanding and experiences. For example, you may be asked to write about a controversial issue.  In this case, you want to use your understanding and experiences on the issue to support your essay.

Below are three examples of typical independent writing topics.

  1. “Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Technology helps students learn faster. Use specific reasons and details in your answer.”
  2. “In general, people are living longer then before. Discuss the reasons why people are living longer. Use specific reasons and details to develop your essay.”
  3. “Some people believe plastic shopping bags are harming the earth. Other people believe plastic shopping bags are making the world a better place. What is your opinion? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

What you must know…

  1. Your essay must clearly state your opinion on the topic and support it with strong reasons, details, explanations, facts, or examples.
  2. An effective essay will contain at least 300 words (About 3 or 4 paragraphs).
  3. You will have 30 minutes to plan, write, and rewrite your essay.
  4. Your essay must be well developed and not just a list of information.
  5. Your essay must be organized with transitional words to help readers connect ideas
  6. You must use a variety of grammar and vocabulary
  7. Must follow the conventions of spelling, punctuation, and word order.

For more information…

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