CoverObjectivesThe Writing ProcessAddressing the PromptPrewritingWritingRevisingOriginalityTimed Writing 1Integrated Writing 1Introduction to Academic EssaysEssay Shape and OrganizationIntroduction ParagraphsBody ParagraphsConclusion ParagraphsExample EssayTimed Writing 2Integrated Writing 2Descriptive EssaysExample Descriptive Essay 1Example Descriptive Essay 2PrewritingWriting: Word ChoiceSources: QuotingRevisingRevise: Descriptive EssayTimed Writing 3Integrated Writing 3Comparison EssaysExample Comparison Essay 1Example Comparison Essay 2PrewritingWriting: UnitySources: SummarizingRevisingRevise: Comparison EssayTimed Writing 4Integrated Writing 4Cause-Effect EssaysExample Cause-Effect Essay 1Example Cause-Effect Essay 2PrewritingWriting: CohesionParaphrasingRevisingRevise: Cause-Effect EssayTimed Writing 5Integrated Writing 5Additional ResourcesAppendix 1: DevelopmentAppendix 2: PunctuationAppendix 3: Using Academic VocabularyAppendix 4: Finding SourcesAppendix 5: In-Text CitationsAnswer KeyThe Writing Process AKIntroduction to Academic Essays AKUsing Sources AKDescriptive Essays AKComparison Essays AKCause-Effect Essays AKRefining Writing AKWriting for the TOEFL AKNuts and Bolts AK
Academic B Writing

Integrated Writing 2

Shape & Organization

Because an integrated writing task has specific expectations for the content that should be included, the shape and organization of the written product will be different than an average essay.


Every integrated writing assignment will have different expectations for how it should look. In many ways, a typical 5-paragraph essay can be considered an integrated writing assignment when you have to include references to other sources that you read. Other situations like the TOEFL will have a very strict expectation for the visual organization of this task. 

The TOEFL Integrated Writing prompt should be 3 short paragraphs. 

The general rule for the shape of this essay is that all of the necessary information from the original source should be included, and nothing extra should be in the paragraph. This means that you will likely have shorter paragraphs that do not follow the traditional organization.

TOEFL Strategy

Many students find it helpful to organize their notes with a “T-Chart.” On one side of the T chart, write down the main points from the reading. On the other side of the T-Chart, write down the corresponding points found in the listening. Even though the reading passage reappears on your screen while you write, taking notes on the reading is important. It can help you focus during the listening and give you something to listen for. 

In the TOEFL, the main points are presented in the same order in both the reading and the listening. However, it is your job as the writer to understand how the information from the two sources connect to each other.

Reading Passage 








This strategy can be helpful for organizing information on specific topics to see if it is is the same or different in your different sources. It is not just a TOEFL strategy.

TOEFL Integrated Writing Tips

Because students take the TOEFL at various points in the semester, here is a list of strategies that are discussed at other points in this textbook. All of these strategies are things to keep in mind as you prepare. You may want to skim through the textbook ahead of the class schedule to learn more about these points in more detail.

  • The prompt does not really change. The content will be different, but you will always be comparing two different sources.
  • The reading will be visible when you write. Only take simple notes of the main points to make it easier to listen for the comparison 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 challenge the reading?
    • Paragraph 3 What is the speaker's second point? How does it challenge the reading?
    • Paragraph 4 What is the speaker's third point? How does it challenge the reading?
  • Leave at least 5 to review and revise your writing.
    • Check your notes again. Did you accurately present the perspective of the lecture as it compares to the reading? Are all 3 main points included in your essay?
    • Before the test, look at feedback your writing teacher has given you on your writing. Are there patterns of organization, development, coherence, or unity errors? Meet with your teacher during office hours before if possible to get tips for how to recognize and resolve those errors during the test.
    • Also look at feedback your grammar teacher has given you on your accuracy errors. Are there patterns of errors with grammar structures that you can look for? Meet with your teacher during office hours before if possible to get tips for how to recognize and resolve those errors during the test.


When you are asked to do an integrated writing assignment, look carefully at the prompt to see what clues it has for the organization of your essay.

For example, the TOEFL Integrated Writing Task puts more emphasis on the listening. This means that your paragraphs should be organized with the most important thing at the beginning.

Example Organization for TOEFL Integrated

Paragraph 1

  • Topic sentence explaining the first common topic addressed in both reading and listening
  • Explanation of the topic from the perspective of the listening
  • Explanation of how the reading supported or conflicted with the listening
  • (No concluding sentence necessary)

Paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence explaining the second common topic addressed in both reading and listening
  • Explanation of the topic from the perspective of the listening
  • Explanation of how the reading supported or conflicted with the listening
  • (No concluding sentence necessary)

Paragraph 3

  • Topic sentence explaining the third common topic addressed in both reading and listening
  • Explanation of the topic from the perspective of the listening
  • Explanation of how the reading supported or conflicted with the listening
  • (No concluding sentence necessary)

(No conclusion paragraph necessary)

Other integrated writing opportunities will follow a similar structure. Introduce the source ideas by explaining a common topic. Then compare or contrast the viewpoints from the two sources. Again, this may be as short and simple as three sentences explaining sources in your cause-effect essay or as complex as a multi-paragraph comparison of the plot of a movie and the original novel.

No matter the length of the assignment, you should always use the prompt to decide what to focus on in your topic sentence and what order to present the information of the sources. You may also need to include a personal commentary and/or a concluding sentence depending on the expectations of the assignment.


Because of this task can range in the demand both in comprehension and in lingusitic ability, it is understandable that this writing may require more planning and time.

First of all, an outline will always benefit you. You may think that the best idea is to immediately start writing, but that could lead to a very disorganized or unfocused answer. Read the prompt carefully and make a brief outline of ideas from the source(s) that are necessary to include in an answer. Ensure that you know all parts of the prompt will be addressed and all of your most important details will be included. Identify any specific phrases or sentences you would want to include verbatim.

Second, be realistic about the time you have to work on this task. Review the source material to estimate the time it will take to read or listen to it. This may include multiple reviews and/or notetaking, which will add to the overall time. Next, consult the syllabus deadlines and your other committments to set a personal timeline for working on this project. Will you have time to write multiple drafts? Is there time to have a classmate review your writing or to visit the campus Writing Center? 

It may also be necessary to adjust times depending on what is most important to the teacher. For example, there may be a larger emphasis on accuracy, so you will need to give yourself more time to revise and edit. You will also want to consider how necessary it is for you to fully grasp the concepts. In other words, if this assignment is for a core course in your major or in a particularly challenging class, it will be worth scheduling additional time. However, if the assignment is a small percentage of your total grade or for a general education course you're doing well in, it may be fine to lower the priority for reviewing and drafting this essay.


Exercise 1: Integrated Writing

1. Read the following passage.

Children start their lives needing help in all kinds of decisions. But as they grow older, they begin to make their own decisions about life like what to wear and how to spend their time. However, the choices they make are usually influenced by people around them, most especially their parents. Indeed, parents have the greatest influence on their children’s choices.

For example, parents have the sole influencing contact on their children for the first several years of their lives. Every day from the time they are born, children go to their parents for information and direction. In a very real way, these formative years make children who they are. The personality and ideas that they develop during this time will have a great influence on the kind of person they will become and the decisions that they will make later in life.

Because they spend so much time together during the first few years, children learn what kind of people their parents are. Usually children naturally adopt many of the same views and character traits of their parents even if those traits and views are not good. Many children want to grow up to be like their parents, so they make decisions in the way that they think their parents would. Because they are such an important part of their children’s development, parents are widely accepted as the greatest influence on their children’s decision making.  

So parents should think now about the kind of character they are instilling in their children. If they are not careful, parents will end up worrying about the decisions that their children will make in the future.

2. Listen to the following lecture. (Available for teachers)

3. Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they challenge specific arguments made in the reading passage.


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