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TOEFL Integrated Writing Practice Task

Announcement! As of August 1, 2019, the TOEFL Reading, Listening and Speaking sections will be shortened. The TOEFL will also make changes to its prep materials and scoring system. Because of this, some of the info in our blog posts may not yet reflect the new exam format. We cover all the changes here.

TOEFL Writing PracticeThe TOEFL 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 TOEFL Integrated Writing practice outside of official TOEFL materials.

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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 Integrated Writing Task Practice

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.

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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:

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Once you’ve completed the practice task, you can assess the quality of your answer by comparing it to this sample answer. Good luck!

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If you’re ready to try the independent and integrated tasks together under test-like conditions, check out our full-length video Writing Test!

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40 Responses to TOEFL Integrated Writing Practice Task

  1. rabia March 6, 2015 at 5:59 am #

    u shud have atleast given a sample answer for us to compare our answers to.

    • Ita November 11, 2016 at 7:48 am #

      Really that you are complaining? This is a great exercises. Just be grateful!

  2. David Recine March 9, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    Hello Rabia,

    That’s a good point and an excellent request. To meet your request, I’ll write up an example answer ASAP and make a blog post about it. My post will include an explanation of my writing approach, and reference to the TOEFL Integrated writing rubric. As soon as my example is up and posted, I’ll link it to the comments here.

    Have a great day,

  3. 무하마드 September 16, 2015 at 10:08 pm #

    Still waiting for the example answer.

  4. K.C. January 28, 2016 at 11:12 am #


    This is a very helpful integrated writing practice, especially with the sample answer. However, I can’t seem to figure out what question the essay should answer. The directions just say to write a response, but they don’t give any direction as to what is expected in this response. Is this typical of TOEFL integrated writing questions?

    • David Recine
      David Recine January 28, 2016 at 8:58 pm #

      Hi K.C. The essay question is in this post, but I think I know why you can’t see it— I’ve just realized it’s kind of oddly placed. Or rather, the lecture track is oddly placed in this post. The lecture audio link appears right below the directions and right above the question, so that the question itself is easy to miss. But look carefully below the audio and you’ll see:

      “Summarize the main points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they challenge the specific points made in the reading passage.”

      This specific task is typical of the TOEFL, but the confusing screen layout is not. The layout was likely my mistake when I wrote and uploaded this. I’ll check with my editor about fixing that. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

      • Zehera April 5, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

        Hmm…And now I do not see an audio link. Thank you for making the task more visible, though.

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 5, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

          Hmm, indeed. I seemed to be having some issue with the external link. I just hosted the file locally, and the sound file should be playable now.

  5. toefl test taker April 9, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

    hello sir/Mam I have a question regarding the integrated writing task….will the passage reappear even after the listening part?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 11, 2016 at 7:54 am #

      Yes, the passage reappears on the screen after you listen to the audio track, and the passage remains available the whole time that you write your response.

  6. Mazdak May 1, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    Can you please introduce a good source for practicing integrated writing task.

    • David Recine
      David Recine May 3, 2016 at 9:58 pm #

      Sadly, there aren’t a lot of good materials out there for TOEFL Integrated Writing tasks, compared to Independent Writing. This is because it’s a lot harder to create an Integrated Writing Task— it requires writing a complete passage and recording a lecture. Still, you get one Integrated Writing Practice task in each and every exam in ETS’s official TOEFL books and materials. And Magoosh TOEFL subscribers get access to quite a few of these practice tasks too.

      I’m also happy to tell you that I’ll be putting up a few more Integrated Writing Practice tasks in the next few weeks! Watch this space, Mazdak. 🙂

  7. Pratiksha Rijal June 19, 2016 at 11:35 pm #

    how to download the given audio? I need to download and copy it in the pen drive so as i can practice when internet connection is not available.

  8. dhani July 7, 2016 at 7:57 am #

    i m not good listening practice and also i have problem in matching and choosing the correct point to reading passage how can i improve score

  9. Sanjay Paudel August 18, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

    The reading and the lecture are both about comic medium, which includes newspaper comic strips. The author of the reading believes that the comics are of unique American art form and that scholars all over the globe agree on this. The lecturer casts doubts on the claim made in the article. He thinks that when more study was done, scholars realized that the comic mediums were not uniquely American.

    First of all, the author of the reading claims Hogan’s Alley to be the first commercially successful comic strip having first popular cartoon character. He believes that Hogan’s alley focused mainly on the lives of ordinary Americans and that the people involved in making it were all Americans. This point is challenged by the lecturer. He says that Hogan’s Alley was not the first successful comic strip with first famous cartoon character. He adds that during 1790’s many popular comic strips and popular comic character were from Europe, especially from Britain and Switzerland. He adds that the characters and publisher were not uniquely American but were immigrants as well. The publisher of Hogan’s Alley, Joseph Pulitzer was himself an immigrant from Hungary.

    Secondly, the author states that the first popular action book comic was American which involved Superman – The first Superhero. He argues that the first popular action comic was American. The lecturer rebuts this argument. He suggests that 16 years before action comic was prevalent, Adventure of Tintin comic from Belgium was popular and it predates superman. He elaborates on this by mentioning that the artist of Superman was not from America but from Canada.

    Finally, the author mentions that Americans devised and transferred the art form all around the world. He is of the opinion that Japanese comic strips were influenced by comic from America and that Americans created Disney character that was popular in Europe. The lecturer, on the other hand, feels that Japan and Europe were influenced by various other art forms. He says that Japan was highly influenced by the traditional Asian art and that the Disney characters popular in Europe were drawn in European style and art. He puts forth the idea that the comic strip is from all around the world and not only America.

    • David Recine
      David Recine August 22, 2016 at 10:41 am #

      Normally I don’t approve comments like this, since there isn’t time to review every sample essay that students try to post here. However, in this case, I’ve decided to approve this essay and give some feedback. Sanjay, I think this essay of yours can help other students who read the comments, for two reasons: First, it’s fairly well-written overall. Second, the mistakes you make are common ones. So let’s look at your strengths and weaknesses of this essay.


      This essay is incredibly well organized! Sanjay, you did a great job of moving through both the lecture and the essay point-by-point. Also, the grammar and spelling is quite good— you do have a few mistakes in these errors, but the mistakes are so minimal, they’d have little or no impact on your TOEFL score.

      Your biggest weakness is paraphrasing. Sometimes your wording was way too close to the original source material, so much so that your writing might be judged as plagiarism. This is especially noticeable in the second paragraph. (For more info, see my post on avoiding plagiarism on the TOEFL.) At other times, you misinterpreted information from the sources. For example, Superman was not the first successful action comic; “Action Comics” is the name of a publication, not a description of a kind of comic book.

      Your transitions are a bit weak as well. Ideally, TOEFL scorers want to see transitions that are more descriptive— not just numerical words like “first” and “second.” For examples of more varied transitions, see the Magoosh TOEFL Writing Templates ebook, and check out Kate’s tutorial on TOEFL Writing transitions, and mine.

      All in all, I’d put this essay in the 3.5-4 point range, per the official TOEFL Writing rubrics. Address those weak points, and you could get your score all the way up to a 5.

  10. 6666 September 16, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    how many words should this part have?

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 16, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

      The TOEFL doesn’t set any strict, official rules for word count in the TOEFL Integrated Writing Essay. However, ETS reports that most top-scoring Integrated Writing responses are between 150 and 225 words long.

  11. Yash January 12, 2017 at 8:31 am #

    Hey there David or Rachel….I don’t know with who am I talking with …:-) 🙂
    But I wanted to ask you about the listening and reading sections. Do paragraphs appear while attending the question ?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 13, 2017 at 9:28 am #

      Hi Yash,

      Yes, you should be able to see the text (or a relevant portion of the text) when answering questions. 🙂

  12. Aakash March 23, 2017 at 7:31 am #

    The passage claims the idea that the comic medium is popularly American, However professor refutes each of the claims by saying that comic medium is not popularly American it is influenced by the whole world.

    The passage claims that Hogan Alley the most popular comic of 1890’s was the first successful comic and was developed by Americans, However professor refutes this claim by saying that Hogan Alley was not the first successful comic , In 1970 many comic strips were originated in Europe which were popular and successful.

    The passage states that Action comic series which introduced superman as a character was the first popular comic series developed by Americans in 1938, However professor refutes the claim by saying that in 1922 Tin-Tin published in Belgium was the most popular comic ever.

    The passage posits that The Japanese comics which are popular throughout Europe are influenced by American art and literature, however professor refutes the claim of the passage by stating that Asterics the most popular Japanese comic was influenced by Canada not from US.

    Thus the professor refutes the reading by illustrating some facts and states that the Comic medium is influenced by al over the world it is not popularly American.

    Can you please rate this answer

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert March 23, 2017 at 8:04 am #

      Hi Aakash! Unfortunately, at the moment, we don’t offer a TOEFL essay review service. However, to help you evaluate your response, I recommend the following. First, check out David’s sample essay here. You can compare your structure and the points you make with what David wrote in his essay 🙂 Also, I highly recommend that you check out this page, where we provide some guidelines on how to evaluate your own essays. I hope this helps, at least a little!

  13. Sebastian March 25, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

    Hi there,

    One question regarding scoring: although the TOEFL OG recommends essays of 150-225 words for the Integrated Essay, do you think that length correlates with score?

    My point is all things being equal (coherency, grammar, vocabulary), would a longer essay tend to score higher than an average one?

    In other words, do you think it is worth it to push it to the 250+ words in order to try to get a higher score?

    Thank you so much!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert March 26, 2017 at 8:19 am #

      Hi Sebastian,

      Once again, my statements regarding your identical question for the independent essay apply. In addition, on the integrated essay, including too much (say writing 350 words and covering 6 main points) can demonstrate a lack of concision and an inability to distill the most important points from many. As this test is aimed at demonstrating your ability to handle academic-style writing, you want to showcase this in addition to grammar, argumentation and organization.

      I hope that helps! 🙂

      • Sebastian March 26, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

        Great! I will follow your piece of advice!
        Apologies for repeating the question. I jut thought that since they were two different tasks, they could yield two different tactics and maybe scoring system. I just wanted to post each question in the appropriate post.

        Have a great week and thank you as usual!

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert March 26, 2017 at 10:00 pm #

          No worries, Sebastian! I’m sure these comments will be useful for future students 🙂

          Best of luck as you continue studying!

  14. Jeffrey R Goddard July 21, 2017 at 8:31 pm #

    Call me petty, but I would just appreciate Americans like you being totally accurate with facts that you feel you can confidently, expertly provide as subject matter for something that should feel as authoritative as a “lecture”. Joe Shuster was Canadian half by birth and grew up in Canada right into his teens. This time also included his first exploits as a writer for a publication. So it would be nice not to see folks like you casually whitewashing Superman as a wholly American creation. If I tried to claim conversely that Superman was actually just a Canadian creation in basically the exact same way, I’m sure there’d be no end to the uproar. We also helped to give the world the phone and basketball, just in case you planned on overAmericanizing those facts in other tasks too…

    • David Recine
      David Recine July 24, 2017 at 7:58 am #

      Jeffrey, I definitely hear you on that, and I tried to touch on that in the lecture. FYI, although I wrote both the passage and the lecture script, the lecture– which refutes the idea that comics are a purely American art form– reflects my own personal opinions a bit more. On an additional personal note, many of my favorite comic books– and many comics I feel have had some of the greatest influence on the medium worldwide– are made by creators from Canada and other places not in the USA. 🙂

  15. Denis August 30, 2017 at 10:15 am #

    This example has made my day, I’ve spent all evening trying to understand the difference between the lecture and the reading and it has made it more clear than all materials i consulted . Thank you so much, Very helpful.

    • David Recine
      David Recine August 31, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

      So glad this tutorial and sample lecture helped, Denis. I had fun putting it all together too. 🙂

  16. Jimmy February 22, 2018 at 4:16 pm #

    Thank you so much Mr. Recine! This example was spot-on! 🙂

  17. Paris July 8, 2018 at 2:14 am #

    Thanks for this sample test. Where can i get more task 1 practice test for my students?

  18. Shruti March 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm #

    The lecture challenges the points made in reading passage that comics strips and comics books are original art form from America, they started in America and comics created around the world are influenced by American comics.The lecture disputes the following claims made in the passage.
    First claim made in the passage is that the first famous comics strip was Hogan Alley and was published in 1890, however the lecture claims that it was not the first and further gives example for a comics published in 1790 in Europe. The characters in the Hogan Alley were immigrants and cartoonist RF Outcalt himself was an immigrant which means that the origin of the comics comes from another country.
    Second claim in the passage is that the first adventure comics published was in 1938 and was about Superman, lecture refutes the argument by giving example of comic book “Adventures of Tin Tin” which as Belgium origin and it predates Superman.
    Third claim made in the reading passage is that Japanese comics manga was influence by American, but the lecture contradicts it by claiming that it was influenced traditional Asian comics
    The last claim made in the passage is that European comics is also influenced by American comics, the lecture clarifies that by the example that even though the disney characters are famous in Europe but these characters are written as European disney characters by the Europeans.
    In conclusion, the lecture says that comics art were not first originated in America but they did exist in the world much before the comics became famous in America and that the comics around the globe is not influenced by American comics.

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