Even if you consider yourself a pretty good English writer, don’t assume you can breeze through the TOEFL. Unlike writing a paper for a class, where you might have weeks or even months to prepare and revise until it sounds just the way you want it to, the TOEFL is about showing you have the ability to make a clear written argument in a short amount of time. That means knowing the exact format they’re looking for and getting your point across quickly. What is the format you should strive for? Read on.
Choose the thesis (or main idea) for your essay
Write a single sentence that describes what your essay will be about. You can refer back to this thesis sentence to make sure your essay is on topic.
Your essay should have an introductory paragraph, several body paragraphs (usually two or three), and a concluding paragraph. Describe what each paragraph will cover in your outline. The form below can get you started:
Start your introductory paragraph with a hook
A hook is something that will draw your readers’ attention, such as an interesting fact or question. Then you can follow it up with your thesis and supporting points, laying out exactly what you will cover in the rest of the essay.
Develop your thesis in the body paragraphs
The body of your essay should elaborate on the supporting points mentioned in the introduction. Every paragraph should cover just one point.
Follow basic paragraph structure
Start with a topic sentence that tells readers what the paragraph will cover. Then provide two or three supporting sentences that support, or explain, that topic sentence. End with a concluding sentence that summarizes the information that has been presented.
Your concluding paragraph should summarize your essay
In many ways, it’s the reverse of your introductory paragraph, reminding readers how your body paragraphs supported your thesis statement. You should be sure to restate your thesis (though not in the same words).
For the TOEFL, you need to be able to write a 300-word essay in thirty minutes. Practice to make sure you are able to complete the task and still have time to proofread your essay.
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