TOEFL Test Writing Topics

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The TOEFL test includes a writing exercise, which requires you to write about a specific assigned topic. Examples of TOEFL writing topics can be found in the TOEFL Information Bulletin. This section of the TOEFL test allows you to display your ability to create a standard written English composition, with organized ideas and supporting evidence or examples.

Basic Paragraph Structure
Paragraphs consist of several sentences that are grouped together. A group of sentences in a paragraph together discuss one main subject. Formal paragraphs have three principal parts, which are: the topic sentence, body sentence(s), and the concluding sentence.

Paragraph Coherence and Unity
When writing has coherence, all of the ideas in a paragraph progress easily from one sentence to another. With coherence, the reader easily understands ideas that are expressed. Paragraph unity means that one paragraph is about only one main topic.

Basic Essay Structure
The TOEFL includes an essay that is more than one paragraph long. Academic essays usually have a similar format. They are over four paragraphs long and frequently much longer. The basic structure includes the points mentioned above. Paragraphs in the U.S. academic essay can also be divided into three basic kinds: the introductory paragraph, the body paragraphs, and the concluding paragraph.

Types of Paragraphs
Some TOEFL writing topics will ask you to consider the relationship between two things. For example, some people like to eat at restaurants but others prefer to eat at home. Such topics allow you to organize your essay either around the similarities between these two subtopics (for example, eating at restaurants versus eating at home) or around the differences between them. If you write about the similarities, the essay will be a comparison essay. If you want to write about the differences, your essay will be a contrast essay.

Cause and Effect Paragraphs
Assigned topics on the written portion of the TOEFL sometimes ask you to explain the reasons or causes of something. For example, you might be asked to explain why people are now living longer than they did before. Other topics will ask you to discuss the results or effects of some cause.