Lucas Fink

The Best TOEFL Writing Practice

If you want to practice writing for the TOEFL, you have a few options. First, look through those sources for TOEFL practice in this blog post and this collection of sample TOEFL Writing topics.

Now, if you’re looking for the best TOEFL writing practice, be sure it has all of the following features. This will prepare you best for actual TOEFL essays.

Practice On a Computer (and Use the Right Keyboard!)

Since the TOEFL iBT is on a computer with a qwerty keyboard, you need to practice typing on that—not on a different keyboard layout, and definitely not writing by hand. Your typing speed has a very real effect on your score, because the best TOEFL essays are typically the longer ones.

Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.

Time Yourself

TOEFL writing happens with a clock. You get only 20 minutes for the integrated essay, and 30 minutes for the independent essay. In order to do this, you need to learn time management and how to write well under pressure. Many people freeze when they see the clock—they can’t write, because they’re too nervous. The more you practice, the less of a problem that becomes. Just keep using the clock, and it gets easier!

Good Lectures and Texts

On the TOEFL integrated essay, the relationship between the lecture and the text you read is very clear. The professor will clearly argue against (or sometimes support) the text by discussing three main points. Both the text and the lecture should be very structured, almost like a list.

This is important because you need to make clear links between text and lecture in your integrated essay on the TOEFL. If the material doesn’t have clear connections, that’s hard to do!

No Outside Knowledge

While the integrated essay is about material that you read and listen to during your test, the independent essay is all about you and your thoughts. But here’s the important part: it doesn’t ask anything that requires knowledge on a subject. For example, you would not get a question that asks about your favorite type of poetry. That’s because if you don’t know any types of poetry, you can’t answer the question! But you might see a question that asks about how much money people should spend on going to restaurants. That’s something everybody can answer. Be sure your practice doesn’t include outside knowledge.

Plan Your Essay

It’s absolutely vital that you plan your TOEFL essays. If you don’t plan, it will be much harder to write continuously and stay on topic. Good planning means a clearer, more understandable essay—and often a longer one, too!



  • Lucas Fink

    Lucas is the teacher behind Magoosh TOEFL. He’s been teaching TOEFL preparation and more general English since 2009, and the SAT since 2008. Between his time at Bard College and teaching abroad, he has studied Japanese, Czech, and Korean. None of them come in handy, nowadays.

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