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The TOEFL iBT® Test: Improving Your Writing Skills

Advice for Writing
Skill: Writing based on Knowledge and Experience
Performance Level: Limited
Score Range: 1–16

  1. Practice writing daily.
    • Keep a journal. Write your opinions about things that you experience or topics in which you are interested.
      • Start out writing in your own language. This will help you get used to writing and will build confidence in your writing ability.
      • When you begin to feel more comfortable writing, keep a journal in English.
    • Take a writing class. This will give you lots of writing practice and a teacher will show you ways to improve your writing.
    • Find a pen pal or writing buddy. Write email messages or letters to each other.
    • Practice typing on a standard English (QWERTY) keyboard.
  2. Pay attention to your grammar and sentence structure.
    • Study the basics of English grammar and develop your vocabulary.
    • Practice writing correct sentences in English. Begin by writing simple sentences.
    • Make sure that each sentence has a subject and a verb, and that the subject agrees with the verb.
      • The student likes...; The students like...
    • Take 2 of your sentences and practice combining them.
    • Reread what you write. Look for and correct mistakes.
  3. Study the organization of good paragraphs and essays. A good paragraph discusses 1 main idea. This idea is usually written in the first sentence, which is called the topic sentence. Each paragraph should discuss one aspect of the main idea of the essay.
    • Write paragraphs in English that focus on one main idea and contain several complete sentences that explain or support that idea.
    • Ask your teacher to review your paragraphs for correctness.
  4. Think about who will be reading your writing. In some situations you need to write in a formal manner and your sentence structure, vocabulary use and general style should reflect that.
  5. Read a lot in English. This will help you recognize good writing styles.

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