Guide to Writing a TOEFL Essay –
A TOEFL essay is a type of argumentative essay. In it the writer argues for a
particular point of view or explains the steps necessary to complete a task.
Either way, the essay will have the same basic format. If a few simple steps are
followed, writing the TOEFL essay will be an easy task. The writer will be
responsible only forsupplying ideas, which are the important part of the essay
A TOEFL essay is a type of argumentative essay. In it the writer argues for a particular point of view or
explains the steps necessary to complete a task. Either way, the essay will have the same basic
format. If a few simple steps are followed, writing the TOEFL essay will be an easy task. The writer
will beresponsible only for supplying ideas, which are the important part of the essay anyway.
These simple steps will guide you through the TOEFL essay writing process:
• Tackle the topic.
• Prepare an outline of your ideas.
• Write your thesis statement.
• Write the topic sentences of the body paragraphs.
• Write the main points.
• Write the subpoints.
• Elaborate on the subpoints.• Write the introduction.
• Write the body.
• Write the conclusion.
• Add the finishing touches.
1. Tackle the topic.
Topic: Some students prefer to attend a small university. Others prefer to attend a big university.
Discuss the advantages of each. Then indicate which type of university you prefer? Use specific
reasons and details to support your answer.
1.1. Address thegeneral topic first – find out the background idea, in this case attending university:
Some students prefer to attend a small university. Others prefer to attend a big university.
1.2. The second step involves focusing on the specific idea, which is the main target of the essay:
Discuss the advantages of each.
1.3. The third step is oriented towards the final idea in the topic – itasks your opinion and should be
dealt with after the discussion is over: Then indicate which type of university you prefer?
1.4. In other words, you should discuss the differences between studying in a small and big
universities in the light of the advantages either one has to offer and should state which one is
your choice based on the presented arguments.
2. Prepare an outline ofyour ideas.
2.1. Before setting about, you should make a short plan (outline) of the main ideas relating to both
small and big universities. A table may come in handy:
Advantages to small universities –
Advantages to big universities
1. smaller groups
2. more attention from lecturers
3. easier transportation
1. more majors
2. (perhaps) betterfacilities
3. richer academic life
2.2. It is possible to include only some of the ideas, so a revision may be needed; it may entail
combining ideas, rephrasing, rethinking of their importance, ordering in terms of significance...
3. Write your thesis statement
3.1. Your thesis statement should address the aspects to be discussed in the exposition, raher than
provide an opinionon the topic;
3.2. The thesis statement consists of topic and controlling idea.
Ex: Before finally making their choice, students have to carefully analyze all the advantages
of either type of tertiary educational institutions.
3.2. Here the type of university is the topic, while all the advantages is the controlling idea.
3.3. The controlling idea identifies the scope of discussionin the body.
4. Write the main points and break them down to subpoints
4.1. Your main points have already been written out while preparing the outline. They will serve as
the backbone of ideas in your essay. Writing them down though, won’t be enough, as a
convincing essay demands clarification and going to detail. Here, what is important, is to ask
questions about the chosen...
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