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About the TOEFL Integrated Essay

The TOEFL Integrated essay is the first part of the TOEFL's writing section. First, students read
an article (four paragraphs) about an academic topic. Next, they listen to a lecture which opposes
the main argument of the article. Students should take notes while listening to the lecture.
Finally, they must write an essay of about 280-300 words about the relationship between the
article and the lecture.

Understanding the Task


Remember that the lecture will always oppose the article. Your job is to describe how the lecture
opposes the article. You may only listen to the lecture once, but you can look at the article while
you are writing your essay.
It is important to note that there are three main styles that the question might have, and that they
are all quite similar. You will write the same kind of essay no matter what style the question
takes.
Note that the TOEFL no longer includes questions where the lecture supports the reading.

Styles of Questions
Opposition Style
The reading makes a claim about a specific topic. It includes three supporting reasons. The
lecture challenges this claim. The question will look something like this: "Summarize the
points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they oppose specific points made in
the reading passage."

Problems and Solutions Style


The reading mentions three problems related to some topic or theory. The lecturer provides
solutions to these three problems. The question will look something like this: "Summarize the
points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they answer the specific problems
presented in the reading passage."

Solutions and Problems Style


The reading suggests three solutions to a problem. The lecturer describes how these solutions
are not effective. The question will look something like this: "Summarize the points made in
the lecture, being sure to explain how they cast doubt on specific solutions presented in the
reading passage"

Understanding the Structure of the Article and Lecture


It is important to understand how the article and lecture are structured, because they are
structured the same way every week. The article begins with an introductory paragraph where the
main topic is mentioned. Here the author describes his opinion, or states the topic which has
problems or solutions.
The introduction of the article is followed by three body paragraphs. Each body paragraph
contains one supporting argument (opposition style), one problem (problem and solution style)
or solution (solution and problem style)
After a few minutes the article will disappear, and you will listen to a short lecture on the same
topic. At the beginning of the lecture, you will hear the lecturer's main idea. Here he states the
opposite of the reading's main argument, or says that there are solutions to the problems, or states
that the given solutions are faulty.
The rest of the lecture will consist of their three opposing arguments, three solutions, or three
problems. It is important to note that these counter-points directly challenge the three
arguments/problems/solutions mentioned in the reading. Not only that, but they are in the same
order.
This is illustrated in the following image. Note how the reading and lecture points match up
perfectly in the same order.
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Taking Notes
Now that you know how the sources are structured, note-taking should be easy. Do it just like
this:

However, it is important to note that in addition to noting the points and counter-points, you need
to get some of the additional details that are mentioned with them. Remember that you will have
access to the article while you write your essay. In the sample essay below, I'll show you some
actual notes from a real question.

Writing Your Essay with Templates


Your essay must include an introduction and three body paragraphs. The following templates
demonstrate how to write them. For more ideas about how to fill in the blanks, refer to the
sample essay at the end of this guide.

The Introduction
No matter what style is used, write your introduction using the following template:
 The reading and the lecture are both about _____.
 The author of the reading feels that ______.
 The lecturer challenges the claims made by the author.
 He is of the opinion that _____.

The Body Paragraphs


Use the following templates for the body paragraphs:
 To begin with, the author argues that _____.
 The article mentions that ____.
 This specific argument is challenged by the lecturer.
 He claims ____.
 Additionally, he says ______.
-
 Secondly, the writer suggests ______.
 In the article, it is said that _____.
 The lecturer, however, rebuts this by mentioning ______.
 He elaborates on this by bringing up the point that ______.
-
 Finally, the author posits that _____.
 Moreover, it is stated in the article that ____.
 In contrast, the lecturer's position is _____.
 He notes that _____.
Note that you don't need to write a conclusion.

Taking Notes
To illustrate how to use these templates, I am going to use a sample opposition style question
about Easter Island. The reading and lecture are contained in the following video (skip to about
1:30 to get right to the reading).