COMMING SOON: A LOT OF TEST

Friday, September 19, 2008

WRITING TIPS

Integrated Writing Tasks

Find a textbook that includes questions about the material at the end of chapters and
practice writing answers to the questions.
Read an article that is about 300–400 words long. Make an outline that includes the
major points and important details of the article. Use the outline to write a summary of
the information and ideas. Summaries should be brief and clearly communicate only
the major points and important details. Be sure to paraphrase using different words
and grammatical structures.
Find listening and reading material on a single topic on the Internet or in the library.
The material can provide similar or different views. Take notes on the written and
spoken portions, and do the following:
– Summarize the information and ideas in both the written and spoken portions.
– Synthesize the information and discuss how the reading and listening materials
relate. Explain how the ideas expressed are similar, how one idea expands upon
another, or how the ideas are different or contradict each other.


Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing involves restating something from the source material in one’s own words. On
the TOEFL iBT, test takers receive a score of zero if all they do is copy words from the
reading passage. Practice paraphrasing words, phrases, sentences, and entire paragraphs
frequently using the following tips:
Learn to fi nd synonyms with ease. Pick 10 to 15 words or phrases in a reading passage
and quickly think of synonyms without looking them up in a dictionary or thesaurus.
Write a paraphrase of a reading passage using only your notes. If you haven’t taken
notes, write the paraphrase without looking at the original text. Then check the
paraphrase with the original passage to make sure that it is factually accurate and that
you have used different words and grammatical structures.


Independent Writing Tasks

Make a list of familiar topics and practice writing about them.
For each topic state an opinion or a preference and then support it with evidence.
Practice planning and writing at least one essay for each topic. Be sure to take 30
minutes to plan, write, and revise each essay.
Think about and list all ideas related to a topic or task before writing. This is also called
“prewriting.”

Identify one main idea and some major points to support that idea, and
plan how to communicate them (by creating, for example, an outline to
organize ideas).
Create a focused thesis statement and use it to develop the ideas
presented in the essay.
Develop the essay by using appropriate explanation and detail.


All Writing Tasks

Increase vocabulary and knowledge of idiomatic speech so you can use
it appropriately.
Learn grammatical structures so well that you can use them naturally
when writing.
Learn the conventions of spelling, punctuation, and layout (e.g.,
paragraph creation).
Express information in an organized manner, displaying unity of
thought and coherence.
Use signal words and phrases, such as “on the one hand” or “in
conclusion,” to create a clear structure for your response.
As you practice ask yourself these questions:
– Did I complete the task?
– Did I write clearly?
– Did I make grammatical errors?
– Did I use words correctly?
– Did I organize my ideas clearly and coherently?
– Did I use the time effectively?
Monitor your own progress and ask an English teacher or tutor to
evaluate the writing by using the appropriate TOEFL iBT Writing
Rubrics. (See pages 46–47 for the Rubrics.)

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