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TOEIC Writing

The optional Speaking and Writing test was introduced in 2006. More and more people in business connect globally through video conferencing, web conferencing, Skype and e-mail. If you're going to be successful in a global company, you have to be able to speak fluently and write well in English.

The type and format of the questions in the optional Speaking and Writing test are quite different compared to the standard TOEIC test. However, similar skills are being tested as well as your ability to communicate effectively. As with the standard test, all the questions are designed to represent real world corporate situations from the factory level all the way up to the boardroom. Your ability to communicate in any kind of workplace situation is being evaluated. However, you do not have to have specialized buisness knowledge to be able to answer the writing or speaking tasks.

Unlike the Listening and Reading sections of the standard TOEIC test, the optional Speaking and Writing test is done at a computer. Your responses are sent directly to ETS's online scoring network where highly trained graders by ETS will mark your responses. For Writing, the range of scores varies for each of the 3 types of tasks: 0-3 for tasks 1-5, 0-4 for tasks 6-7 and 0-5 for task 8. The sum of your scores for the 8 writing tasks is then scaled. The scaled score range is 0-200. In addition to your scaled score, you are assigned a proficiency level. There are 9 for writing. To see what the 9 levels are as well as description of what each means in terms of your writing skills, see the ETS PDF here.

What score you get for your writing responses is based on how well you demonstrate these essential skills: sentence variety, grammar, range and appropriateness of vocabulary, and coherence and organization. Sentence variety means you use more than one kind of sentence strucure. Grammar covers many, many skills. Make sure to read over your responses for spelling mistakes! Range and appropriateness of vocabulary means you don't use the same words over and over again, as well as using the right words related to the topic. What you write should make sense, someone reading it should not be confused or have a hard time understanding what you're trying to convey. Going from one idea to another should progress in a logical manner. This is what coherence and organization refer to.

The Writing section has 8 tasks. You have a total time of 1 hour to complete them all. These are the 3 types of TOEIC Writing tasks in the order in which you will do them in the test:

For questions 1-5, you will be presented with an image and 2 words or phrases. You must write one sentence. For questions 6-7 you must respond, by writing an e-mail, to a written request. Question 8 requires you to write an opinion essay.

TOEIC Writing Section: Write a sentence based on a picture

For this task type, there are five questions. You need to write one sentence based on what you see in a picture for each question. Along with the picture, you will be given TWO words or phrases that you must use in your sentence. The words can be used in any order, and you are allowed to change the forms of the words. Your sentences will be scored on the appropriate use of grammar and how relevant your sentence is to the picture. You have 8 minutes in total to complete this part of the writing section.


across / busy

One possible sentence to describe the picture: The two men sitting across from each other are busy at work on their computers.

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TOEIC Writing Section: Respond to a written request

For this task type, there are 2 questions. You need to write a response to an e-mail that you will read for each question. What your response needs to include is in the directions so make sure you also read the directions carefully. Your reply will be scored on the quality and variety of your sentences, vocabulary, and organization. You have 20 minutes in total to complete this part of the writing section; you're given 10 minutes to read and reply to each e-mail. Note that once you go onto question 7, you will not be able to return to question 6.

Sample prompt: You would read the following e-mail:

FROM: Chris Dunvail
TO: Owner of 2012 Karema XR
SUBJECT: Interested in your car
SENT: May 15, 11:52 AM

Hello. I'm interested in purchasing the 2012 Karema XR you listed for sale on the Wheel and Deal web page. Please tell me about the history of the car. Could you also tell me why you want to sell it? Thank-you for your time.

Directions: Respond to the e-mail as if you are trying to sell your car. Provide at least TWO details about the condition of the car and give ONE reason why you are selling it.

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TOEIC Writing Section: Opinion essay

For this final writing task, you need to write an essay in response to a question that asks you to state, explain, and support your view on an issue. An effective essay usually will consist of a minimum of 300 words. Your reply will be scored on whether your opinion is supported with reasons and/or examples, grammar, vocabulary, and organization. You will have 30 minutes to plan, write, and revise your essay.

Sample prompt: At some companies, the IT department saves a copy of all staff e-mails and monitors web sites visited on the Internet. Do you agree or disagree that companies should be permitted to do this? Provide reasons or examples to support your opinion.

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