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iBT TOEFL Writing Exercises: Communicative Activities

With the proper use of the following communicative activities you can improve your general writing skills for TOEFL iBT test. For some of these activities, you need to work with the internet.The following activities are designed for small for large groups of iBT TOEFL students in order to make the practices more effective and fun. The instruction of each activity is explained under the item. Have fun and do some practice with your friends.

TOEFL Writing Exercise 1: News Report (Individual Activity)

First, listen to a news broadcast on television or radio. If possible, record it. Take notes on a news story that interests you. Then, try to find information on the same story in an English-language newspaper or magazine or on a news Web site (such as the sites for National Public Radio, The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, or the BBC). Take notes on the information that you read.

Now use your notes to write your own news report in English. Note how the information that you listened to differs from the information that you read. Mention these differences in the report that you write. After all the students have written news reports, you can put them together to create a newspaper.

TOEFL Writing Exercise 2: Advice Column (Individual and Class Activity)

First, find an advice column in a newspaper or online. (An advice column is a section of a newspaper or a Web site in which readers write letters about their personal problems and the columnist gives his or her advice. The Dear Abby column is one famous example of an American advice column, but there are many others.)

After you are familiar with the format of advice columns, write a letter requesting advice. You can ask for advice to deal with a personal problem, an academic problem, or you can make up a problem! Your instructor/ coordinator will distribute these requests so that each student has one, and then students will respond to the requests, giving suggestions on how to deal with the problems.

Afterwards, each student will read aloud the letter requesting advice and the advice that he or she gave. The class can vote on who provided the best advice.

TOEFL Writing Exercise 3: The Best of Everything (Small- Group Activity)

Many newspapers publish "Best of" lists. These list the best shops, restaurants, and so on, for a community. You may first want to take a look at one or more of these lists. (Type Best of and the name of a city into your browser: Best of Boston, Best of Toronto, etc.) Next, meet in a small group and choose four or five categories for the best of your community (Best Shopping Mall, Best Coffee Shop, Best Ice Cream, Best Pizza). For each of the categories that you choose, select one place or product to be the best and write a short review. In other words, explain why you think this place or product is the best. Read your list to the class and discuss the choices.

TOEFL Writing Exercise 4: Movie Review (Individual/Pair Activity)

Choose a movie that you have seen recently and write a short review. In other words, give your opinion of the movie and explain why you did or did not enjoy it. Exchange your review with a partner. Next, find a review of the movie that your partner reviewed in a newspaper or magazine or on a Web site. Write a summary of the review that you find. Focus on how the reviewer's opinion was different from your partner's review. Read your partner's review and your summary to the class.

TOEFL Writing Exercise 5: Letter to the Editor (Individual Activity)

Read the "Letters to the Editor" section of a newspaper (usually found on the editorial page, which is often the last page of the first section). You can use a city newspaper or a university newspaper. Find a letter on a topic that interests you. Summarize the opinion of the letter writer, writing down his or her key arguments. Next, write a letter of your own, giving your own opinions and responding to the letter-writer's ideas. Read aloud the letter that you found and your response.