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Integrated Writing Task

The integrated writing task requires you to summarize and compare academic information. You should not include your opinion or experiences in your response to this task.

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:

Example: TOEFL Integrated Writing Prompt

Summarize the points made in the lecture you just heard, explaining how they cast doubt on the contents of the reading.

In this example prompt, 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.

What is the topic?                            This comes from the reading and the listening.

What type of writing?                      An integrated summary

What is the focus?                           The main points of the listening

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.

Be careful in your response to focus the summary on the lecture, not the reading. You should not copy from the reading passage word-for-word.

Scoring

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.

Strategy

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 theT-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 im- portant. 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

Lecture

1. People with poor eyesight may miscast their vote when voting on paper.

2. Counting videos fo a paper-based voting system is time consuming and has a greater chance of mistakes since votes are counted by humans.

3. Many companies use similar systems everyday to count and input information, so a computerized voting system can be trusted.

1. Some people have a hard time using computers and may make more mistakes than they would on paper.

2. Computers are still programmed by humans and so human error is still possible. Also, the mistakes computers make could be greater since data can be lost entirely.

3. Similar computerized systems are used more frequently than they would be for a voting system. Since they're used more often, the mistakes are quickly found and fixed.

Example: Integrated Writing Question

Summarize the points made in the lecture you just heard, explaining how they cast doubt on the contents of the reading.

Example: Integrated Writing Response

The reading passage and lecture both discuss the topic of current voting systems. In the lecture, the speaker disagrees with the ideas in the reading. She believes that a computerized system is not the best replacement for the traditional, paper-based voting system.

First, both the reading and listening have the opinion that people could accidentally vote for the wrong candidate. According to the reading, people who have poor eyesight and cannot read the small writing in the traditional system cause problems by casting a wrong vote. The reading claims that a computerized system could decrease this problem. However, the professor in the lecture indicates that there are many people that struggle using computers, such as the elderly. Computers are not a regular need for them. Therefore, a computerized voting system would not make it better and could still result in miscasts.

Second, the issue of counting votes was discussed. The reading passage indicates that for the paper-based system, people have to count the votes, one by one. Thus, mistakes are inevitable. The result of a mistake is then a long and expensive recount. Therefore, to remove the possibility of human error, a computerized voting system would be better. However, the listening debated that the computerized voting program is made by humans. As a result, there could still be the possibility of human error in the programming. Furthermore, the mistakes caused by these errors would be far more serious than just a few miscounts. Also, there isn’t a physical copy of the votes to recount. If votes are lost, they could be lost for good.

Finally, both passages discussed the risks of implementing a computerized system. The reading passage mentioned that some people may think it is too risky to use a computerized system, but a similar system has been used in other contexts, like with finances, where they are trusted and efficient. The lecture, however, indicates that a computerized voting system would not be used as often as it’s used in other contexts. It may only be used once every two years resulting in less opportunities to catch and fix mistakes in the programming. As a result, the lecture states that a computerized system would not be fully trustworthy.