Creating Essay Writing Outlines

brainstormingWhether you are writing an English essay for your class or for the TOEFL test, you will need to get organized before you ever put pen to paper.  Outlining your essay topic, no matter how big or how small, can make the difference between a passing grade and a failing one.  But putting together an essay writing outline can be confusing if you don’t understand how to do it properly.  The key to any good essay is organization, clarity, and supporting facts, so outlining all of your ideas before you write your essay is essential to hitting all of these important points.

Persuasive Essays

essay_examIn order to help you write good persuasive essays, it is helpful to read other persuasive essays written by other authors in order to recognize specific essay writing styles.  Essay writing for academics is written in a very specific and well-organized way.  The standard essay for most academic tests that are common in the United States (TOEFL, GED, GRE) use the five paragraph style: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.  Each essay must have a clear thesis statement, transitional statements, supporting and/or contrasting ideas, and each body paragraph should be written in a parallel manner.  Take a look at the following persuasive essays written by ESL students just like you and see if you can recognize these typical essay traits and decide if they were successful or not.

Register for the TOEFL Test

toefl2When you’re ready to finally take the TOEFL test, you can easily register online with the official ETS testing site.  The test is offered at multiple locations across the state of Georgia (and the world) and is given multiple times each month.  The fee for taking the TOEFL test is $170 and you can choose from a paper or computer based test.

Improve Your English Reading Skills

free2readYou may not realize it, but one of the most effective things you can do to improve your understanding of the English language is to read, read, read!  News stories are particularly helpful for ESL students because they are short, smart, interesting, and to the point.  This website offers a variety of topical news stories to choose from along with outlines and worksheets, which would be particularly helpful for TOEFL students.

Practice TOEFL Tests

Are you getting ready to take your TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), but want to practice a little bit more before you take the real test?  Check out the following links to several different online practice TOEFL tests.  The key to scoring well on any standardized test like the TOEFL is to keep moving!  Never spend too much time on one question because you will run out of time.  It is better to guess on a question you’re not sure of rather than leaving a bunch of questions at the end unanswered because your odds of guessing correctly are much higher than not answering a question at all…which will definitely get you a zero.