Although the TOEFL scoring rubrics for both writing tasks allow for the presence of «minor lexical or grammatical errors» at the highest level, common sense suggests that, as the errors accumulate, the chances that these errors «result in inaccurate or imprecise presentation of content or connections» also rise. With that in mind, I’d like to make some general comments on avoiding errors before offering a list of my students’ most common and costly errors. Let’s start with some general suggestions:
In the previous blog entry, I offered an introduction to the Indenpendent Writing Task. Two of the most important points of that post was that this composition has a minimum number of words, 300, that must be reached, and secondly, that to fully develop a composition and increase your possibilities of scoring high, you will need to finish closer to 400 words than 300. Thus, I’d like to extend the discussion of the last entry by looking at how we can make sure that our compositions comfortably surpass the 300-word minimum. There are three areas to focus on: the introduction, examples and a transition sentence between supporting paragraphs.
A new year and a new section of the exam to look at: Writing. Today, I’d like to begin a discussion on the final task of the exam, the 30-minute indpendent writing composition. Before getting into the details of the organizational structure, I’d like to highlight the fact that in this composition, you are presenting, building and defending an argument in response to the question. This is NOT a balanced, «on one hand…on the other hand…» piece of writing.