The Integrated Writing Task requires you to read a passage that is about 250-300 words long. You then must listen to a lecture that is 2 to t 2.5 minutes long. The lecture will challenge or disagree with the ideas in the reading passage. Because this task is so test-specific, it’s difficult to find authentic Integrated Writing practice outside of official TOEFL materials.
I have written and recorded a task for you that closely follows the real TOEFL Integrated Writing Task in length, content, and format. Read the passage, listen to my lecture and follow the instructions for an (almost) authentic TOEFL writing practice experience. To prepare, you may want to read some of Magoosher Kate’s advice on this task. The official TOEFL Integrated Writing Rubric may also be useful.
TOEFL Writing Practice Task
Directions: Give yourself 3 minutes to read the passage.
The “comics medium” includes newspaper comic strips such as Dennis the Menace and comic books such as Spider-Man. Scholars around the world agree that comics are a uniquely American art form.
The first commercially successful comic strip was Hogan’s Alley, a comic strip from the 1890s. Hogan’s Alley featured the Yellow Kid, the world’s first popular cartoon character. This strip and its character marked the beginning of comics and was American in every respect. Set in a low-income neighborhood in New York City, Hogan’s Alley dealt with the lives of ordinary Americans. It was written and drawn by American cartoonist R.F. Outcault. Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, two famous and influential American publishers, printed the comic strip in their newspapers.
The first popular comic book in the world was also American. Action Comics, a series that is still in print today, was initially released in 1938. It featured Superman, the world’s first superhero. Like Hogan’s Alley, Superman was American-created.
Americans invented comic strips, and Americans have exported their unique art form to the rest of the world. Japanese comics, called manga, were inspired by the comics that Americans brought to Japan after World War II. Popular European comics series such as Smurfs and Asterix are influenced by Disney comic books. Today, American-created Disney comic characters are more popular in Europe than ever.
The comics medium started in America. While it has spread around the world, even comics that aren’t created by Americans have an undeniable American influence. This is why so many art and literature scholars recognize the comic strip as a truly American art form.
Directions: Summarize the main points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they challenge the specific points made in the reading passage. You have 20 minutes to plan and write your response. Your response will be judged on the basis of the quality of your writing and how well your response presents the points in the lecture and their relationship to the reading passage.
Listen to the lecture here:
Once you’ve completed the practice task, you can assess the quality of your answer by comparing it to this sample answer. Good luck!