Students often ask what they should mention first in each integrated essay body paragraph  – the reading or the lecture?

I generally recommend mentioning the reading first.  However, I decided to do some research to figure out what ETS raters think is best.  I examined a variety of official sources, all of which include sample essays described as “high scoring.” 

I learned that the reading is generally mentioned first, but sometimes the lecture comes first.  This means you can probably do what feels best to you.

Official Guide to the TOEFL

  • Test Two: The reading is not mentioned.  Really.
  • Test Three: The reading is mentioned first.
  • Test Four:  The reading is mentioned first.

I did not include test one in my research as the sample question is terrible, and the sample essay is worse (one giant paragraph).

Official iBT Tests Volume 2

  • Test One: The reading is mentioned first.
  • Test Two: The lecture is mentioned first.
  • Test Three: The reading is mentioned first.
  • Test Four: The reading is mentioned first.
  • Test Five: The reading is mentioned first.

Note that in a few of the essays the body paragraphs begin with something like:  “First, the lecturer says [DETAILS FROM THE READING] are not true.”  I so mark these as the reading being mentioned first.  Note, also, that the Official iBT Tests Volume 1 has no sample essays.  Sucks.

Official Practice Sets

  • Writing Set (voting systems): The lecture is mentioned first

Official Practice Test

  • The reading is mentioned first

Propell Workshop Supplement Dated 2017

  • The reading is mentioned first (a weird essay with two paragraphs in total)
Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments