10 Common TOEFL Essay Mistakes

Improve your TOEFL essay writing score by avoiding these 10 mistakes.

There are a few mistakes that you should never make in your TOEFL iBT essays. Here is our list of 10 things you should never do:

1. Never use abbreviations

Students often make the mistake of using inappropriate abbreviations in their writing. Never do this. Never write u instead of you. Don't write l8r instead of later. These are great abbreviations for writing quick SMS messages, but not for an academic essay such as the TOEFL writing.

2. Never end a sentence with three dots...

When you end a sentence with three dots (...), you are telling the reader that you don't have the words and vocabulary to complete your thought. Don't do this. Ending your sentences in this way is simply bad English...

3. Don't use slang

The TOEFL writing tests your ability to write an academic essay, not to use slang with your friends in the pub. Never use any words or phrases that could be considered slang: coulda, woulda, shoulda, gonna, wanna, blah blah blah. Slang will not impress the TOEFL assessor, but it will lower your essay score.

4. Don't use emoticons :-)

Agan, the TOEFL writing is academic in nature, and this is not the same as the writing you use when sending SMS messages. Always avoid smileys and other emoticons. :-(

5. Don't use big words and complicated language

Many students think that their TOEFL iBT writing score will improve if they use big words and complicated language. This is not true. In fact, the opposite is true. If you try to use big words and complicated language, it will not sound natural. There is also a chance that you will use the words incorrectly or make mistakes in grammar. It is important to express yourself naturally, in a simple and elegant way, as a native English speaker would.


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