TOEFL Independent Writing Tips for Success

If its your first time here, welcome! Today, we’re going to go over the scale in which you’re graded + the different tips and break down of each paragraph. This will be very useful for you, so keep this handy at all times to grade yourself!

TOEFL Independent Writing Tips for Success

These are general tips that will appear on all Independent writing questions.


Introductory ParagraphProvide background information about the essay topic. Here are a few techniques:

Begin with two sides of opinions on the essay topic Begin with the general public’s opinions Introduce a fact that raises a question about the essay topic Introduce a debate on the essay topic Mention the advantage or disadvantage of a subject as a way to contrast your main opinion on the subject.

2. Write a strong thesis statement
Body Paragraph A
Body Paragraph B
Body Paragraph C (Optional)
1. Include a transition word/phrase at the beginning
2. Write a topic sentence
3. Include supporting sentences

Conclusion Paragraph1. Include a restatement of the thesis statement you wrote in your introduction
2. Provide a brief summary of your main ideas

There’s no maximum length for your essay, but a good response is usually at least 300 words.


You need to use transition words and phrases to connect your ideas in your essay. You should have 2 transition words/phrases every 4-5 sentences.

Type of connectionTransition words
These words can help you show the order of ideas.First/Second/Third
Firstly (or “First of all”)/Secondly/Thirdly (or “Lastly”)
For one thing/For another thing/Finally (or “Lastly”)
In the first place/in the second place/Finally (or “Lastly”)

Instead of “First“, “First of all” and “Firstly“, we can use “To begin with”, “To start with”, or “For starters”. We can also use “First and foremost” to state that the first key point is the most important one among all key points. Likewise, instead of “Finally” and “Lastly“, we can use “Last but not least” to state that the final key point is just as important as the others, despite it being mentioned last.
These words can help you add informationIn addition, furthermore, additionally, also, next, moreover, what’s more, on top of that
These words can help you conclude or to summarize:To sum up, in summary, in conclusion, to conclude, all in all, all things considered, overall, taking everything into consideration, in a nutshell
These words can help you demonstrate contrastConversely, on the contrary, by contrast, by way of contrast, on one hand/on the other hand
These words can help you compare or demonstrate similaritySimilarly, likewise, by the same token, along similar lines
These words can help you state a result.As a result, as a consequence, consequently, therefore
These words can help you state a generalization.Generally, on the whole, in most cases, in general
These words can help you clarify a point.That is, in other words, to put it simply, That is to say, just to reiterate
These words can help you give examples.For example, for instance, take something, for example, to give a clear example
These words can help you state an alternative.Alternatively, as another possibility

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