TOEFL Writing Task 1 Topics & more: Latest Guide 2022

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  • This blog gives an overview of the TOEFL Integrated Writing Test
  • It gives some examples of TOEFL Integrated Writing Test Topics 
  • Further, this blog shows things TOEFL candidates can expect from TOEFL Integrated Writing Test Topics
  • It states certain rules of the TOEFL Integrated Writing Task
  • Also, this blog provides several tips that will help TOEFL candidates obtain higher scores.

TOEFL writing test is the penultimate section which comprises two tasks. TOEFL writing task 1 is the Integrated writing test, where candidates are required to read a short passage and listen to a short lecture and write in response to these two inputs. 

It is different from Task 2 (Independent writing test), where candidates have to write an essay from their personal experience or opinion. Task 1 of the TOEFL writing examination requires enough practice, attentiveness a good command of paraphrasing. 

This blog illuminates essential pointers of TOEFL writing part 1, which will help candidates master this section.   

TOEFL writing task 1

A Brief Overview of TOEFL Writing Task 1: Integrated Writing Test

As stated in the introductory paragraph, the first task of the TOEFL writing test requires candidates to read a passage of 250 – 300 words for 3 minutes and listen to a short lecture of 2 to 2.5 minutes. 

Candidates have to write an essay in response to whatever they have read and listened to, ideally in 150 – 225 words in 20 minutes. 

Individuals should note that there is no upper limit or fixed word count for TOEFL writing task 1. However, individuals must write the proper answer in a limited time. 

TOEFL first part writing test is task-specific. Hence, finding a proper guide for the Integrated writing task is difficult. However, students can refer to the practice sets available on the official website of TOEFL.

As individuals are aware of the basics of TOEFL writing task 1, now let’s focus on topics or things candidates can expect in this test section.

TOEFL Integrated Writing Test Topics 

From the TOEFL writing examples, students can notice a wide variety of topics. These topics can cover the following ideas:

  1. Academic subject of commerce, humanities, or science     
  2. Environmental changes
  3. Education system 
  4. Notable incidents across the globe     
  5. Latest economic and political changes         
  6. Newspaper report      
  7. Business deals and foreign policies 
  8. Tournaments, games, and any sports reports 
  9. Scientific invention    
  10. Latest invention
  11. Technology

Things to Expect from TOEFL Writing Task 1 Test Topics 

As individuals can see from the above-mentioned topics, the Integrated reading passages may contain an idea or concept that the lecture or listening part will further elaborate with more detailed examples.    

TOEFL New Format

TOEFL candidates can expect the following types of questions:

  1. Summarise the points mentioned in the lecture. Especially explain how it cast doubt on certain points referred to in a reading passage.
  2. Summarise the points made in the lecture, being sure to specifically explain how they support the explanations in the reading passage.
  3. Summarise the points mentioned in the lecture. Focus on adding reasons that strengthen points referred to in a reading passage.
  4. Summarise the points mentioned in the lecture. Explain how the points address or answer the problems indicated in the reading passage.
  5. Summarise the points mentioned in a lecture and emphasise how it challenges certain claims or arguments referred to in a reading passage.
  6. Summarise the points mentioned in the lecture. Explain how it strengthens the mentioned in the reading passage. 

The listening part of TOEFL writing task 1 may contain opposing ideas or challenges mentioned in the short passage. 

Therefore, not only do students have only a short time to read a short passage and listen to a short lecture, they will have only 20 minutes to organise these points from both the reading and listening sections and present them in an essay form.  

Hence, learning the rules as well as practising to frame essay structuring is necessary for TOEFL writing part 1.   

Writing Rules of TOEFL Writing Task 1

To secure the maximum number in the TOEFL Integrated writing task, candidates must know the writing rules. These are discussed below:

  • The writing must have minimal spelling and grammatical errors.
  • It must be a generic explanation of ideas or concepts.
  • The essay must reflect a proper structure.
  • It should maintain uniformity of tenses.
  • The essay must include maximum sentences in active voices.
  • It should be free of repetitive words or phrases.
  • Paragraphs must be interrelated and logically well-organised.

When practising for TOEFL Integrated writing task, candidates must keep these rules in mind. In addition, they must follow certain writing tips to obtain maximum scores.

Writing Tips for Mastering TOEFL Writing Task 1

Here is a list of tips that can help TOEFL candidates get higher scores:

Focus on the Essay Structuring 

To write an essay in 20 minutes can be a daunting task. However, TOEFL candidates can excel in this section by adopting strategic methods. This includes outlining the essay structure in task 1. Test administrators provide enough scratch papers for such purposes.

An ideal essay should include an introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction part should contain a general statement regarding the connection between two inputs (reading and listening). In the body, students must paraphrase the professor’s point, contrast or compare with the reading, and give additional examples of the author’s point of view (if required).

Lastly, students must conclude an essay with their understanding from both reading and listening passages. 

Read Academic Writing and Understand the Task

As the TOEFL Integrated writing test emphasises academic topics, students must read articles, journals or other materials in English and understand its inherent meaning.   

One can write an effective and wholesome answer or essay when one can understand the topic thoroughly. Hence, to prepare a full response for the essay, TOEFL candidates must attentively read and listen to lectures and dig out its original intent, concept or idea.

Take Notes While Reading Passage or Listening to Lectures

TOEFL Integrated writing topics have academic touch; hence, remembering all of the details in one reading can be difficult.

Hence, to remember important details, students must take notes in any way they seem best. Here, using keywords, symbols, and tables can benefit students. While writing essays, candidates can write full sentences elaborating these points. This same suggestion goes for the listening part as well. Students need to write essential data from lectures and write it down immediately. At last, they have to combine these points, identify any contrasting ideas and explain them. 

TOEFL Integrated Writing

Save Time to Edit

Whereas writing an essay in 20 minutes becomes hard for TOEFL candidates, making time for editing can seem trivial or a waste of time. 

However, the last 1 or 2 minutes of editing can help TOEFL candidates secure maximum scores. There are no spellcheckers open w

hile taking the Integrated writing task. Hence, students are responsible for delivering correctly spelt words in the test papers. Further, editing test copies will help them detect spacing or punctuation errors and other minor mistakes. 

TOEFL writing task 1


TOEFL writing task 1 topics are scholarly, which individuals usually read or listen to in an academic environment. This type of reading passage demands additional attention and focus, and when TOEFL candidates can decipher the inherent meaning and context of the given passage, they can frame their answer optimally. Thus, to champion the first part of the TOEFL writing section, individuals need to focus on concise writing, structuring, and editing. 

1. Does quoting from a reading passage increase your TOEFL writing score?

No, quoting from a reading passage does not increase the TOEFL writing score contrastingly; it decreases the score. If a TOEFL candidate direct quotes an author or professor’s point of view, the TOEFL e-rater system will detect information which will reduce the total score. To avoid quoting, candidates must focus on enhancing paraphrasing capability. 

2. Why using transitional words is necessary for the TOEFL Integrated writing task?  

The lecture on the TOEFL Integrated writing task can contain ideas that differ from the points mentioned in the reading passage. Therefore, to ensure a smooth transition between opposing ideas or views of reading and listening passages, individuals need to use increased transitional words and phrases. For instance, to sequence ideas, they can use “secondly, firstly, last but not least”. On the other hand, to contrast ideas individuals can use “although, however, in contrast, on the other hand, etc. 

3. How to manage writing a TOEFL Integrated essay in 20 minutes? 

TOEFL candidates can invest the first 2 minutes in gathering notes or outlining the essay. They can give 3 minutes to writing the introduction and the next 10 minutes to writing body paragraphs (2 or 3). After that, they can invest 3 minutes in designing the conclusion and the last 2 minutes for task editing.

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