CoverObjectivesThe Writing ProcessAddressing the PromptPrewritingWritingRevisingOriginalityTimed Writing 1Integrated Writing 1Introduction to Academic EssaysEssay Shape and OrganizationIntroduction ParagraphsBody ParagraphsConclusion ParagraphsExample EssayTimed Writing 2Integrated Writing 2Descriptive EssaysExample Descriptive Essay 1Example Descriptive Essay 2PrewritingWriting: Word ChoiceSources: QuotingRevisingRevise: Descriptive EssayComparison EssaysExample Comparison Essay 1Example Comparison Essay 2PrewritingWriting: UnitySources: SummarizingRevisingRevise: Comparison EssayCause-Effect EssaysExample EssayPrewritingWritingParaphrasingRevisingRevise: Cause-Effect EssayRefining WritingDevelopmentCohesionWriting for the TOEFLIntegrated Writing TaskIndependent Writing TaskNuts and BoltsPunctuationUsing Academic VocabularyUsing SourcesFinding SourcesAnswer KeyThe Writing Process AKIntroduction to Academic Essays AKUsing Sources AKCitationsDescriptive Essays AKComparison Essays AKCause-Effect Essays AKRefining Writing AKWriting for the TOEFL AKNuts and Bolts AK

Integrated Writing 2

In the first integrated writing practice, you learned that integrated writing is a common task at the college level. Because incorporating ideas from outside sources through summary and synthesis is so important, it is a task included on the TOEFL. This section of the integrated writing practice focuses on the unique differences between a normal integrated writing task and the very controlled version you will encounter on the TOEFL.

It is important to first note that the TOEFL integrated writing task is not a true essay as you have likely learned to create. There is no introduction. There is no conclusion. There is no room for your own personal reactions and opinions on the topic. You do not write a thesis statement. You don't need 5 paragraphs with 5 sentences each. 

The TOEFL integrated writing structure is very prescribed, and the content is provided directly. The integrated writing task requires you to summarize and compare academic information.

Task format

You will have three minutes to read a passage about an academic topic. You should take notes about the main points that the author makes, but you do not need to write a lot because you will be able to see the reading again when it is time to write.

Then you will listen to a piece of an academic lecture that addresses the same topic that you read about. The professor that is speaking may have the same opinion as the author of the article you read, but the professor often has an opposing point of view. You need to take good notes during the listening. You can only listen one time. Make sure you listen for the main points you found in the reading.

You will have 20 minutes to write your response to the question.

Read the question carefully and address all the parts of the question. For example, in this example question, the primary task is to summarize the points made in the lecture. Then you should explain how they relate to points in the reading. Always answer both parts of the question.

Example: TOEFL Integrated Writing Prompt

Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they challenge specific arguments made in the reading passage.

Response format

Your answer will not look like a traditional essay because this task is not an essay. This task is a summary. In order to summarize the information they give you, you will typically need four paragraphs. The first paragraph will state the relationship between the reading and the listening (e.g., do they agree about the topic, or do they disagree?). The other three paragraphs will each focus on a specific point that was addressed in both the reading and the listening. You do not need a conclusion paragraph. An effective response will have approximately 200 words.


Many students find it helpful to organize their notes with a “T-Chart.” On one side of the T chart, write down the main points from the reading. On the other side of the T-Chart, write down the corresponding points found in the listening. Even though the reading passage reappears on your screen while you write, taking notes on the reading is important. It can help you focus during the listening and give you something to listen for. 

This is a sample T-Chart that could be used to show the points made in the example task. 

Reading Passage 








These are two sample responses. The first response is a low-mid response because it has some of the details, but is missing significant points made in the lecture. It is not very developed and seems to focus a lot on the reading. 

The second response is a high response because all of the main points are addressed, and the emphasis is on summarizing the listening and comparing it to the article, rather than summarizing every detail mentioned in both.


In order to receive a high score on this section, you need to answer the question by writing about the important points from the reading and listening in a clear and accurate way.

The sample task on the following pages contains a reading passage, a lecture transcript, and a response that would receive high marks.

Exercise 1: Integrated Writing

1. Read the following passage.

Children start their lives needing help in all kinds of decisions. But as they grow older, they begin to make their own decisions about life like what to wear and how to spend their time. However, the choices they make are usually influenced by people around them, most especially their parents. Indeed, parents have the greatest influence on their children’s choices.

For example, parents have the sole influencing contact on their children for the first several years of their lives. Every day from the time they are born, children go to their parents for information and direction. In a very real way, these formative years make children who they are. The personality and ideas that they develop during this time will have a great influence on the kind of person they will become and the decisions that they will make later in life.

Because they spend so much time together during the first few years, children learn what kind of people their parents are. Usually children naturally adopt many of the same views and character traits of their parents even if those traits and views are not good. Many children want to grow up to be like their parents, so they make decisions in the way that they think their parents would. Because they are such an important part of their children’s development, parents are widely accepted as the greatest influence on their children’s decision making.  

So parents should think now about the kind of character they are instilling in their children. If they are not careful, parents will end up worrying about the decisions that their children will make in the future.

2. Listen to the following lecture. (Available for teachers)

3. Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they challenge specific arguments made in the reading passage.

Integrated Writing Tips

Because students take the TOEFL at various points in the semester, here is a list of strategies that are discussed at other points in this textbook. All of these strategies are things to keep in mind as you prepare. You may want to skim through the textbook ahead of the class schedule to learn more about these points in more detail.

  • The prompt does not really change. The content will be different, but you will always be comparing two different perspectives.
  • The reading will be visible when you write. Only take simple notes of the main points to make it easier to listen for the comparison point.
  • Take careful notes during the listening.
  • Organize your ideas into a logical outline.
    • Paragraph 1 What do the reading and lecture discuss?
    • Paragraph 2 What is the speaker's first point? How does it challenge the reading?
    • Paragraph 3 What is the speaker's second point? How does it challenge the reading?
    • Paragraph 4 What is the speaker's third point? How does it challenge the reading?
  • Leave at least 5 to review and revise your writing.
    • Check your notes again. Did you accurately present the perspective of the lecture as it compares to the reading? Are all 3 main points included in your essay?
    • Before the test, look at feedback your writing teacher has given you on your writing. Are there patterns of organization, development, coherence, or unity errors? Meet with your teacher during office hours before if possible to get tips for how to recognize and resolve those errors during the test.
    • Also look at feedback your grammar teacher has given you on your accuracy errors. Are there patterns of errors with grammar structures that you can look for? Meet with your teacher during office hours before if possible to get tips for how to recognize and resolve those errors during the test.