TOEFL Writing Section: Independent Task Practice

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  • 0:01 Independent Tasks
  • 1:06 Practice Task 1
  • 2:11 Scoring and Improving
  • 3:57 Practice Task 2
  • 4:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

In this lesson, you'll get a chance to practice with several different independent task questions from the TOEFL. Test yourself, find your weaknesses, and learn how to improve.

Independent Tasks

On the TOEFL Writing test, independent tasks asks you to state and support your opinion on a given issue. On these tasks, you won't have to read or listen to any passages and you won't have to remember any special information from your classes or other sources. It's all about you!

The issues in the prompts are very generic, so anyone will be able to have an opinion on them. After choosing one side of the issue, you'll have 30 minutes to plan an essay in English stating your opinion and providing reasons to back it up. Effective essays are typically around 300 words, although there's no upper limit, and you can write more if you like.

In this lesson, you'll work on two different practice tasks to get you ready for the test. Here's what you'll need:

  • A pen and paper. You'll write the actual essay on a keyboard, but you'll need a pen and paper for planning and outlining.
  • A timer or stopwatch. You'll use this to time yourself on the writing tasks.

Ready to go? Let's start with Task 1.

Practice Task 1

In this task, you'll read a statement and decide whether or not you agree with it. Then, you'll support your position in an essay. If you're ready to go, set your timer for 30 minutes now. Here's the statement:

To fight growing rates of obesity around the world, fast food and sugary sodas should be heavily taxed to make them very expensive and discourage consumption. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Support your answer with reasons and evidence from your own experience and observations.

Now, pause the video for 30 minutes while you write your essay.

All done? Congratulations, you've finished this task. Save the file with your essay in it and take a break to get some distance from it. Pause this video and come back in a few hours or tomorrow to look over your essay with fresh eyes and see how you can improve it.

Scoring and Improving

Now that you're back with some distance from your essay, it's time to take a look at how you did. Here's what the TOEFL grading rubric for independent tasks asks graders to check for:

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