Updated: Jul 24
**UPDATE** As of July 26, 2023 Writing Task #2 will now be an Academic Discussion Writing Task. Therefore, the following advice will not apply to TOEFL. You can find out more at ets.org or click here and scroll to "New Writing Task." This advice does apply if you are planning to continue academic education in English and want to improve as a writer.
Coming up with two separate and distinct ideas is the key for a successful Writing Task #2 essay.
At times during our brainstorming process we may think we have two ideas when we really don't. Here's an example of what I mean:
Question: Which do you prefer indoor activities or outdoor activities and why?
Answer to the Question: Outdoor activities are best.
Idea #1: Outdoor activities are wonderful because they encourage us to move our bodies.
Idea #2: In addition, outdoor activities are beneficial because they keep us fit.
Do you see how "moving our bodies" and "keeping fit" are very similar ideas? There is not much distinction between the two and this creates a problem as I begin to think about the examples for each paragraph. My examples will sound very similar and therefore, my whole essay sounds repetitive.
Let's try it again and make these two ideas different from each other.
Idea #1: Outdoor activities are wonderful because they encourage us to keep fit.
Idea #2: In addition, outdoor activities allow us to interact with nature and this has a calming effect.
Yay! Now, I've got two different ideas: keeping fit and calming down.
Your careful consideration and reflection as you plan your essay is needed.
Check out the video below for more examples on how to make your two ideas different!