Sharing ideas that you learn from reading or listening is an important part of writing. Because it is an important part of college writing, it is a task included on the TOEFL. The first writing task in the TOEFL has very specific requirements. This chapter will explain how to be successful in this type of integrated writing.
The TOEFL integrated writing task is not a true essay like you practice in other parts of this textbook. There is not a full introduction. There is no conclusion. There is no place for your own personal feelings and opinions on the topic. You thesis statement is not creative. You don't need 5 paragraphs with 5 sentences each.
You will have three minutes to read a few short pargraphs from a textbook. You should take notes about the major details that the author explains. Your notes do not need to be very detailed because you can see the reading again when you start writing. The textbook will usually:
- Introduce the main idea
- Give support for the main idea with three major details
Next, you will listen to part of a lecture. The professor who give the lecture will talk about the same topic as the reading. There are two usual organizations for the lecture:
- The professor disagrees with the textbook and explains why the three points are wrong
- The professor agrees with the textbook and adds more detail to the three points
The order of the major details will be the same in the reading and lecture.
You need to take good notes during the listening. You can only listen one time.
You will have 20 minutes to write your response to the question. You will focus your answer on the lecture and explain how it connects to the textbook. Include all three of the major details.
Example: TOEFL Writing Prompt 1
The TOEFL Writing Task 1 will always ask you to summarize the lecture and compare it to the reading passage.
Prompt: Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they challenge specific arguments made in the reading passage.
This question asks for a summary. The easiest organization is to have 4 paragraphs. The first paragraph will explain the relationship between the reading and the listening (e.g., do they agree about the topic, or do they disagree?). The other three paragraphs will explain each major detail. You do not need a conclusion paragraph. An effective response will have approximately 200 words. Do NOT include your own opinion or any outside information.
|Paragraph 1: Introduction|
A brief introduction with a comparison thesis statement. There is probably no hook. The background information is more of a summary of the listening and reading passages.
|Paragraph 2: Point #1|| A summary of the listening and reading passages. You may want to use a comparative/contrastive cohesive device to transition from summarizing one source to the next source. |
|Paragraph 3: Point #2||A summary of the listening and reading passages. You may want to use a comparative/contrastive cohesive device to transition from summarizing one source to the next source. |
|Paragraph 4: Point #3||A summary of the listening and reading passages. You may want to use a comparative/contrastive cohesive device to transition from summarizing one source to the next source.|
You can get a high score on this section, if you write about the important points from the reading and listening in a clear and accurate way.
A T-Chart is a good way to organize your notes. On the left, you will write the three major details from the reading. The professor will talk about the same ideas in the same order. The T-Chart helps you know what to expect when you take notes.
This is a sample T-Chart that could be used to show the points made in the example task.
TOEFL Integrated Writing Tips
Every student will feel ready to take the TOEFL at a different time. Here are some strategies to help you prepare when you are ready.
- The prompt does not really change. The topic will be different, but you will always be comparing the reading with the listening.
- You can see the reading when you write. Only take simple notes of the major details to make it easier to listen for how the professor agrees or disagrees with that point.
- Take careful notes during the listening.
- Organize your ideas into a logical outline.
- Paragraph 1 What do the reading and lecture discuss?
- Paragraph 2 What is the speaker's first point? How does it connect to the reading?
- Paragraph 3 What is the speaker's second point? How does it connect to the reading?
- Paragraph 4 What is the speaker's third point? How does it connect to the reading?
- Leave a few minutes read your writing and make changes.
- Look at your notes again. Did you explain the ideas from both the reading and the listening?
- Before the test, look at feedback your writing teacher gives you about your writing. Go to your writing teacher's office hours to get advice.
- You should also look at feedback your grammar teacher gives you about your writing. Go to your grammar teacher's office hours to get advice.
Exercise 1: TOEFL Writing Task 1
1. Read the passage.
2. Listen to the lecture.
3. Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they challenge specific arguments made in the reading passage.
Teachers have access to the "Career Planning" Integrated Writing files on the ELC Curriculum Portfolio.