Beginner’s Guide to the TOEFL Independent Essay

This guide is for low-level students writing their TOEFL that is first independent. Advanced students might wish to skip directly to our advanced guide.

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(note, students pretty quickly may wish to skip directly to our TOEFL essay templates)

Start with making an outline of your essay. Consider the picture below:

The student starts by writing a “main point” at the top the chart. This might be her “answer” to your question posed by the exam.

Below the main point the student writes two “reasons” to aid the main point. These are broad and never too specific. However, they have to be unique. The causes should not be just like one another.

The student writes two “details. below each one of the reasons” they are more specific. They offer the reasons and explain why they usually have cited the reasons. They might likewise incorporate examples from the student’s life that support the reasons.

Here’s an illustration outline for the question: “what’s the gift that is best to offer to a child?” It was authored by an actual student. Think of it closely:

The student has filled in the outline point-form that is using (not complete sentences). Her main point is gift that is“Best pet.”

Her two reasons are “it is educational” and “it is a great friend.”

The details through the first reason are “learn responsibility” and “learn stages of life.” The information from the second reason are “never judgmental” and “children often alone these days.” The student has bigger ideas. she actually is planning to come up with how care that is taking of pet teaches responsibility and she actually is likely to write that students are along because their parents are often away. however the outline is simply her initial ideas.

The others of this article will show how exactly to turn this outline into a essay that is complete. I’ll use English that is simple throughout article. Advanced level students should probably use more vocabulary that is advanced sentence structure.

I teach my students to write a four paragraph essay into the writing section that is independent. This particular essay is long enough and can be finished in the right time allowed. Higher level students might try writing a five essay that is paragraph.

The four paragraph structure is:

  • Introductory Paragraph
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • Body Paragraph 2
  • Concluding Paragraph

Let’s start with the introductory paragraph:

My students use a sentence-by-sentence technique to write their introductions. The technique is it:

  • Sentence one: A “hook.” This will be an sentence that is interesting comes before most of your point. It references the relevant question and draws your reader into the essay.
  • Sentence two: Your main point. In one single good, clear sentence state most of your point. Don’t be too long. Arrive at the purpose!
  • Sentence three: A transitional sentence. Try something such as “I feel this way for two reasons.”
  • Sentence four: a single sentence summary of the first reason. Begin this sentence with “first” (you can leave this out if you should be low on time).
  • Sentence five: a single sentence summary of the second reason. Begin this sentence with “second” (you can leave this out if you should be low on time).

Talking about the relevant question above and using the given template, you could write an introduction such as this:

“There are many great gifts that could be given to a young child. I really believe that the gift that is best to provide a child is a pet. Personally I think in this manner for just two significant reasons, which I will explore within the essay that is following. First, a pet can be very educational. Second, a pet may be a good friend to a young child.

Remember that there aren’t any references to your details in this paragraph. Save those when it comes to physical body paragraphs.

Next step: Writing a body paragraph

This is your chance to show your essay off writing ability. I don’t teach a strict model for this area of the essay.

I do however, have some rules that are basic. They truly are:

  1. Each reason gets its own paragraph. Don’t combine your reasons into one paragraph.
  2. Start very first paragraph with a word that is transitional phrase like “first,” “to begin with,” and your second paragraph with “second” or “secondly.”
  3. At the beginning of each body paragraph, clearly state your reason. Don’t use a hook, just arrive at the point. Next, state your details one after another, expanding each one to 3 or four sentences. You can easily expand by including a personal example from your lifetime. Including personal examples from your daily life within the essay is okay. In fact, I recommend it.
  4. You will need to use transitional phrases in in the middle of your details (“moreover,” “furthermore,” “also”).

Here is an example body paragraph made using the outline that is above

“to start with, a pet is an extremely gift that is educational. Having a pet teaches children responsibility. A pet has to be fed every day and become given to be able to exercise. The owner of a pet also has to see or watch the ongoing health of their pet and do something if it becomes sick. Practicing this variety of responsibility will likely make a child more mature. Moreover, a pet can really help teach a child in regards to the stages of life. Animals grow even more quickly than humans and a young child can learn a whole lot by observing how their pet grows up. I had a pet gecko as a kid and watching it grow from a child to a adult that is full-sized me a great deal and got me very thinking about biology and nature.”

Remember that this paragraph followed the outline above quite closely. I stated my reason after which supported it with details. I expanded the main points significantly from the point-form utilized in my outline.

My second body paragraph is created in much the same manner:

“Secondly, personally i think that a pet makes friend that is great. It is great for children to possess pets as they are never judgmental. A kid might have a bad day at school or he could be in a fight along with his friends, but he will never fight along with his pet. It will love him unconditionally. Furthermore, pets can prevent children from being lonely. These days parents tend to be too busy to expend time due to their children. They often times leave their kids home alone. This might leave some kids feeling lonely, but individuals with pets will never feel alone.

And that is the body that is whole of essay! Focus on the way I used words that are transitional”moreover” and “furthermore”) in between the 2 details in each paragraph.

I’m not a large fan of lengthy concluding paragraphs, mainly because the independent essay is pretty short. But I do teach a three sentence technique:

  • Sentence one: re-state your point that is main and with a phrase like “to sum it up…”
  • Sentence two: restate your two reasons, you start with a phrase that is transitional “this is because…”
  • Sentence three: Once again, restate your main point but use different words

Here’s a conclusion for the essay we’ve been working together with:

“To sum it up, I feel that a pet could be the very best gift to provide to a young child. It is because pets have become educational, and they make great friends. There actually is no better gift that a child can receive than a pet.”

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