TOEFL Essay Templates

These writing templates cover both the integrated and independent TOEFL tasks.  They have been proven to work most of the time. Note that we also have speaking templates.

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Integrated Essay Template

Paragraph One (Introduction):

  • The reading and the lecture are both about ________, which is _________.
  • The author of the reading believes that ______________________.  (Main idea)
  • The lecturer casts doubt on the claims made in the article.
  • He/She thinks that _______________.  (Main idea)

Paragraph Two (Body)

  • First of all, the author points out that __________________. (point 1)
  • It is mentioned that _________________.   (supporting detail)
  • This point is challenged by the lecturer.
  • She says  _________________. (counter-point 1)
  • Furthermore, she argues _____________________. (supporting detail)

Paragraph Three (Body)

  • Secondly, the author contends that ______________.
  • The article notes ______________.
  • The lecturer rebuts this argument.
  • She suggests ________________.
  • She elaborates on this by mentioning that _____________.

Paragraph Four (Body)

  • Finally, the author states that _____________.
  • The article establishes that _____________.
  • The lecturer, on the other hand, posits that _____________.
  • She puts forth the idea that _______________________.

Paragraph Five (Optional Conclusion)

  • In conclusion, the lecture and the reading are both about ______________.
  • The professor effectively challenges the claims made in the article.

Your integrated essay should be about 280-300 words in length.  To see this template in use, check out my collection of sample essays.

Demonstration Video

Independent Essay Template

Paragraph 1 (Introduction)

  • Sentence one:  A "hook."  This is an interesting sentence that describes the topic of the essay without stating your main point.  Example:  "Children have an incredible number of interests, so there are many possible gifts to give them."
  • Sentence two:  Your main point.  Example:  "In my opinion, the very best gift to give to a child is..."
  • Sentence three:  A transitional sentence.  Example:  "I feel this way for two reasons, which I will explore in the following essay."
  • Sentence Four:  "First....." (quickly summarize your first reason, optional)
  • Sentence Five:  "Second...." (quickly summarize your second reason, optional)

Omit sentence four and five if you are running out of time.  It is perfectly okay to write just a three-sentence introduction!

Paragraph Two (Body)

  • A topic sentence that introduces your reason.  Example:  "To begin with..."
  • One or two sentences that give general information about this reason
  • A transitional sentence that introduces your personal example:  "My own experience is a compelling example of this."
  •  Four or five sentences that talk about an example from your life.

Paragraph Three (Body)

  • A topic sentence that introduces your second reason.  Example: "Secondly..."
  • One or two sentences that give general information about this reason
  • A transition.  Example: "My own personal history is proof of this"
  •  Four or five sentences that talk about this example

Paragraph Four (conclusion)

  • In conclusion, I believe that... MAIN POINT."
  • "This is because REASON ONE, and REASON TWO."

Your whole essay should be between 380 and 400 words. See this template in action by visiting our collection of sample essays.

Now that you've mastered the TOEFL essay, you might want to check out our speaking templates.

Demonstration Video