In this video, Lucas from Magoosh points out one of the worst mistakes that so many students make. He explains in detail the 3 reasons why this mistake is so important to avoid: It’s obvious – people can see it easily. It’s big – it’s in a lot of your writing. And it’s avoidable – you can choose not to do it.
Lucas is alluding to taking a piece of the text from the integrated writing and copying it in your essay. That means copying not just individual words, but whole phrases or even sentences. This is indeed quite obvious, because the person who grades your essay will know the text and will be able to compare it with your essay.
Check out: How Long to Study for TOEFL or IELTS
“Why is it big?” – You may ask. Because it’s about copying whole sentences or half paragraphs from the same text. Spelling mistakes or grammar mistakes – these are small, because they include one or two words. However, when you copy a piece of text it might include 8 or 9 words. If it’s that much and if you do it more than once it can become a major problem.
This mistake is particularly bad principally because you can choose not to make it. This is actually a good thing; it makes it easy to fix. Others, like grammatical mistakes, may not be so easy to avoid, because you are not doing them intentionally. Whilst in this situation, you can choose not to copy the text. Just use your own words to paraphrase. Of course, you can use some individual words from the text, but if you take two or more exact same phrases you will definitely lose many marks on this section.
Check out: How to Reduce Test Anxiety in the TOEFL iBT
The conclusion is – don’t sabotage your chances. Instead, use your own words to describe what you want to say! Avoid this problem and you will definitely score higher in your TOEFL writing.