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Why You May Not Be Scoring High in TOEFL Writing

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

**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 or click here and scroll to "New Writing Task."

Ok, so you've done all the things you are supposed to do for Writing Task #2.

You have an introductory paragraph.

You've got 2 supporting paragraphs with good grammar.

You've got a conclusion.

You even have some cool idioms and expressions.

Then, you see your score.

It's the SAME as the last score.

WHAT is going wrong?!?

Well, you might have heard that you have to:

  • write more words

  • include fancy vocabulary

  • throw in a lot of idioms

  • add millions of transition words

  • say that your example comes from an academic article you just read

So you do ALL that and...

the result is the same score or lower.

The thing that we forget is the simplest of all:

Your writing has to make sense.

When we pay so much attention to trying to sound fancy and academic, we forget about the basics. We forget how to organize our writing in a logical way.

If you feel overwhelmed with the crazy amount of writing advice out there, it's time to get back to the basics.

In the video below Jonathan Huggins and I evaluated TWO student essays. We talked about how:

  • sometimes you can have perfect grammar and still score LOW!

  • it's necessary to get your example to match your topic sentence

  • going into detail with ONE example is best

  • you can get your score to go UP!

You'll learn A LOT about writing by watching us evaluate two real student essays. Apply the advice to your own writing and see what happens to your score!

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