Changes in Chapter 5 – The Writing Section
Although the writing section of the TOEFL has not changed since the last edition of the Official Guide, there are a few changes in the book worth mentioning.
Page 187: There is a new warning for students: “be sure to use your own words rather than memorized sentences and examples in your essays. Essays that include memorized text will receive a lower score.”
Page 200: The book repeats the old warning about memorized examples, but adds “and your response will receive a lower score.”
Page 201: This warning is expanded upon. I won’t repeat the whole thing here, but it adds to the above: “extended stretches of memorized text do not represent the writer’s true academic writing skills. Responses that include memorized examples, arguments, or formulaic references to sources will receive considerably lower scores than essays containing the writer’s own words.“
It also adds an example of what it is referring. The example is a long body paragraph that summarizes a fictional poll conducted by the New York Times, which it describes as “not genuine development.”
This matches the advice I have long given students to not use fake research to support their arguments.
Those are all of the changes I could spot, but it is worth mentioning that the book still contains the following misleading parts:
- An inaccurate integrated sample question on page 188 (the reading only has two paragraphs in total)
- A reference to supporting lectures on page 190
- A poor list of sample questions on page 210 (some of them are styles of prompts no longer used on the real test)
I’ll wrap this series of articles up tomorrow with a few words about the sample tests.