toefl guide

Introduction to the TOEFL Writing Section

Kayla C. October 12th, 2021

The TOEFL writing section is the fourth section of the TOEFL iBT test. It measures your ability to produce clear, organized academic writing. This section contains two tasks: an Independent Writing Task and an Integrated Writing Task. In this guide, we will give you a full introduction to the Writing section on the TOEFL.

About TOEFL Writing Section

The writing section is the fourth section of the TOEFL iBT test and takes about 50 minutes to complete. Have a look at the table below for details about each task.

Writing TaskDetails
Integrated Writing TaskYou are given 3 minutes to read an academic passage. After reading the passage, you then listen to a lecture on the same topic. You then write an essay summarizing the lecture and the reading passage and showing the relationship between them. You should not express your own opinion of the issues and you should not bring in any information form outside the passage and the lecture.Reading: 3 minutesWriting: 20 minutes
Independent Writing TaskYou read a prompt (a topic) and express your opinions in your response. Your response is based entirely on your own knowledge and experience.Writing: 30 minutes

When you begin the Writing section, you will see a writing section direction. After clicking on the "Continue" button, the Writing section begins immediately. 


Integrated Writing Section

Independent Writing

Sample TOEFL Integrated Writing Task Question

(This question is from ETS TOEFL

Directions: Give yourself 3 minutes to read the passage.

READING Time: 3 minutes 

Toward the end of his life, the Chevalier de Seingalt (1725−1798) wrote a long memoir recounting his life and adventures. The Chevalier was a somewhat controversial figure, but since he met many famous people, including kings and writers, his memoir has become a valuable historical source about European society in the eighteenth century. However, some critics have raised doubts about the accuracy of the memoir. They claim that the Chevalier distorted or invented many events in the memoir to make his life seem more exciting and glamorous than it really was.For example, in his memoir the Chevalier claims that while living in Switzerland, he was very wealthy, and it is known that he spent a great deal of money there on parties and gambling. However, evidence has recently surfaced that the Chevalier borrowed considerable sums of money from a Swiss merchant. Critics thus argue that if the Chevalier had really been very rich, he would not have needed to borrow money.Critics are also skeptical about the accuracy of the conversations that the Chevalier records in the memoir between himself and the famous writer Voltaire. No one doubts that the Chevalier and Voltaire met and conversed. However, critics complain that the memoir cannot possibly capture these conversations accurately, because it was written many years after the conversations occurred. Critics point out that it is impossible to remember exact phrases from extended conversations held many years earlier.Critics have also questioned the memoir’s account of the Chevalier’s escape from a notorious prison in Venice, Italy. He claims to have escaped the Venetian prison by using a piece of metal to make a hole in the ceiling and climbing through the roof. Critics claim that while such a daring escape makes for enjoyable reading, it is more likely that the Chevalier’s jailers were bribed to free him. They point out that the Chevalier had a number of politically well-connected friends in Venice who could have offered a bribe.

Directions: Now listen to part of a lecture on the same topic


Directions: 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 on how well your response presents the points in the lecture and their relationship to the reading passage. Typically, an effective response will be 150 to 225 words. 

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

Sample TOEFL Independent Writing Task Question

(This question is from ETS TOEFL

Directions: Read the question below. You have 30 minutes to plan, write, and revise your essay. Typically, an effective response will contain a minimum of 300 words.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? It is more important for students to understand ideas and concepts than it is for them to learn facts. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Our TOEFL Writing Practice Questions

Our TOEFL writing practice questions were designed to look and feel identical to the official TOEFL test. We made sure everything was the same including difficulty, formatting, and even how the test functions. 

To access all 240 TOEFL writing practice questions, go to our TOEFL App and click on "TOEFL QUESTIONS" menu.

Please note we offer 4 simulated TOEFL tests with never before seen questions. This means that in addition to our mock writing practices there are an additional 8 waiting for you in the form of a simulated TOEFL test. You just have to go to our TOEFL Practice Test section. 

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