You'll have 3 minutes to read a passage. After reading, you'll listen to a lecture regarding the same topic you just read. Finally, you'll have 20 minutes to write a response to a question that asks you about the relationship between the lecture you heard and the reading passage. Try to answer the question using information from the reading passage and the lecture.
Typically, an effective response will be 250 to 300 words.
We recommend you practice taking notes with a pen and paper like you will during your TOEFL exam.
Question: Summarize the point made in the lecture and explain how the speaker cast doubt on specific points made in the reading passage.
Listen to part of a lecture on the same topic.
In considering what exactly made the Roman Empire powerful, the lecturer questions the information presented in the reading. While he agrees that much of the reasoning is accurate, he takes a different interpretation to how each of those categories gave the empire power.
To begin with, although the empire derived much of its power from its military force, the reading was misleading in that not all soldiers were Romans. While the military conquered lots of land for the empire, many soldiers were from those conquered lands, and as loyalties waned the government would have to restructure the military. In this way they ensured that their power was unchecked by the soldiers.
The second questionable source of power was in the form of the holder of power. While the reading suggests the emperor held monarchical powers, the lecturer suggests that the ruler’s power came not through their undisputed role, but through their control of the military. This led to power struggles whenever a leader died as power seekers vied for the support of the military as the path to power. This led to bribing and paying off of military leaders to gain support.
Another section of dispute came in their views about how taxes were used to increase wealth. While the lecturer agrees that taxes were a source of revenue, he argues that this came initially through taxing wealthy landowners. However, as time went on and they needed more money, they began taxing everyone, leading to discontent and eventually the downfall of the empire.
In conclusion, the lecturer shows how these ideas, while correct in their inception, were not interpreted correctly. Rome’s power came through their military, while being kept in check. The lecturer also believed that one initial source of power eventually led to the downfall of the empire.
Steps to tackle the TOEFL Integrated Writing Task
The passage is important in giving you general background information of the topic. Read the passage carefully and make sure you understand it well. Take notes of the main ideas of the passage but do not go into too many details. Even though there will be a three minute timer for you to read the passage, the passage is actually displayed while you are writing your essay. Your goal while reading the passage the first time should be to understand the main points in each paragraph.Step 2: Take notes during the lecture
Needless to say, you need to take careful notes during the lecture. Unlike the passage, you will not have a chance to listen to the lecture again, so make sure you take careful notes of either the contrast between the passage and the audio or the similarities. The lecture will provide wither counter examples and disagreements or will provide examples to further prove the passage correct. Every main point from the passage is discussed again in the lecture, but with a different angle and attitude. For example, if the lecture is disagreeing with the reading and the reading says "teamwork allows individuals to respond quicker to their assignments", then the lecture might say "teamwork takes away the opportunities for hard working, talented individuals to be recognized".Step 3: Organize your response
There are many ways to organize an essay, but there are still a few good rules you can follow. The essay should have three sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. See the "TEACHING" tab in Independent Writing for an overview of the basic essay format.
Write a short and concise introduction for your essay. This introduction should include an explanation of your topic, and how the article and the professor either agree or disagree with each other about the topic. Keep this introduction short. Do not go into details of the reasons. You will only need to introduce the topic briefly, so the reader knows what to expect in the body section.
This section should include 2 to 3 paragraphs, each one with the main point that is mentioned in the reading. So each paragraph should start with a sentence that introduces the point to be discussed in the paragraph. Use the specific examples from the article and lectures. Use the same paragraph structure for all the paragraphs in the body section. Remember to start a new line for every paragraph. Don't clump all the paragraph together as a big block, and also do not break a paragraph into many small paragraphs. Each topic should be contained in one paragraph only. Do not copy the article or the lecture into your essay. This is your essay so all the information should be conveyed in your own words. Paraphrase as much as you can. Use a variety of words and sentence structures to avoid repetition in your essay, as well.
Write a short conclusion to sum up the whole essay. This conclusion can be considered a paraphrased version of the introduction. Restate the list of the main points and how the article and the professor either agreed or disagreed. Because this is the last section of the essay, many people tend to run out of time do not write a conclusion. First of all, running out of time can be avoided with proper organization and following our process. Secondly, forgetting to write a conclusion is a big mistake that you should avoid. Even if there is only one sentence in the conclusion, you still need to have one. It is essential for an essay to have three sections. Missing one section will make the essay incomplete, and that will cost you some points.
You should time yourself so that you have about 5 minutes left to review your essay. Fix typos, check for inconsistencies of the tenses of the verbs, the plurality of the subjects and verbs, and add transition words wherever you see fit. Having good transitions will gain you some extra points. Make sure the essay flows in a logical order.
Writing Template for Scenario 1: Contradiction
This scenario is the most common scenario. In this scenario, the lecture will contradict or cast doubt on the key points in the reading passage.Writing Template:
First of all, according to the reading, _____________ .However, the lecturer disputes this point. He/She says that _________. Furthermore, he/she mentions that ___________
Secondly, the reading states that _______. Nevertheless, the lecturer refutes this argument. He/She argues that __________. In addition, he/she points out ________.
Finally, the reading claims that _________. On the other hand, the lecturer believe that _____. He/She thinks that _______. Moreover, he/she feels that ________
In conclusion, although the reading and the lecture are both about _______, the two/three main points made in the reading are effectively challenged by the lecturer.
Writing Template for Scenario 2: Supporting with examples
In this scenario, the main points of the lecture are examples that support the key points in the reading passage.Writing Template:
First of all, according to the reading, _________. Supporting this idea, the lecturer explains that _________. Furthermore, he/she mentions that __________.
Secondly, the reading states that_______. The lecturer then goes on to explain that ________. In addition, he/she points out ________.
Finally, the reading claims that _______. In support of this idea, the lecturer brings up the point that ________. (Optional) Moreover, he/she feels that _________.
In conclusion, although the reading and the lecture both discuss __________, the two/three main points made in the reading are effectively supported by the lecturer.