目前对新托福考试的很多理解和看法基本定形。本文通过综合多个权威信息渠道的信息(Official Guide，Teacher's Guide，Propell Workshop Manual，以及ETS高级专员Susan Hines的讲解和对本人私下提问的回答等)，试图为大家揭开新托福写作众多关键问题的答案。
本文分为三个部分：其中Independent Writing Task 9个问题，Integrated Writing Task 6个问题，以及牵涉全局写作的3个问题。
Q: Independent Writing Task有没有题库?
"You will see topics very similar to these [TWE Topics] on the TOEFL iBT." [OG, P267]
Q: 准备Independent Writing Task需不需要专业知识?
A: "None of the topics requires specialized knowledge. Most topics are general and are based on the common experience of people in general and students in particular." [OG, P267]
A: "It does not matter whether you agree or disagree with the topic; the raters are trained to accept all varieties of opinions." [OG, P267]
"I think test takers had better simply pick one side rather than straddle the fence." [Susan Hines, Dec. 2006]
"Creativity is not necessary." [Susan Hines, Dec. 2006]
"If your language is hard to follow, your sentences are overly simple, and your vocabulary is limited, you may score no higher than 3 no matter how impressive your ideas may be." [OG, P260]
"Personal experiences are common." [Susan Hines, Dec. 2006]
Do not "memorize" long introductory and concluding paragraphs just to add words to your essay. Raters will not look favorably on wordy introductory and concluding paragraphs such as the following:
"The importance of the issue raised by the posed statement, namely creating a new holiday for people, cannot be underestimated as it concerns the very fabric of society. As it stands, the issue of creating a new holiday raises profound implications for the future. However, although the subject matter in general cannot be dismissed lightheartedly, the perspective of the issue as presented by the statement raises certain qualms regarding practical application."
"In conclusion, although I have accept that it is imperative that something be done about creating a new holiday for people and find the underlying thrust of the implied proposal utterly convincing, I cannot help but feel wary of taking such irrevocable steps and personally feel that a more measured approach would be more rewarding."
Likewise, raters will not look favorably on paragraphs like the following, which uses a lot of words but fail to develop any real ideas:
"At the heart of any discussion regarding an issue pertaining to creating a new holiday, it has to borne in mind that a delicate line has to be trod when dealing with such matters. The human resources involved in such matters cannot be guaranteed regardless of all the good intentions that may be lavished. While it is true that creating a new holiday might be a viable and laudable remedy, it is transparently clear that applied wrongly such a course of action could be calamitous and compound the problem rather than provide a solution." [OG, P259]
"I think you could use it as long as it is on topic." [Susan Hines, Dec. 2006]
A: Your ability
to respond directly to the question;
to take a clear position; and
to write an essay characterized by (1) good organization, (2) proper use of supporting examples, (3) sentence variety, and (4) correct sentence structures.
[Workshop Manual, P26]
A: "Those that receive a score of 4 also have clear, well-written essays, but there are more flaws and the ideas are less developed." [Teacher's Manual]
"Raters will also judge your essay based on the complexity of sentence structures and on the quality and complexity of your vocabulary. If you use very simple sentences and very basic vocabulary, you will probably not be able to express very complex ideas." [OG, P260]
就词汇而言，关键是表达的准确性。请参看OG第287页的满分范文1，评语中有这样一句话：The writer does not use high-level vocabulary, but word choice is correct throughout.同时请参看Workbook第57页的范文，同样没有big words，也是满分。
A: 不是。Independent Writing Task并不偏好formal expressions.只要能把意思表达清楚，并把问题回答好了，就行了。参见OG第288页满分范文2，评语中这样写道：the writer consistently demonstrates command of language and English idioms, especially by using various informal expressions ("Let's assume," "we would all agree," "can make or beak," "come in very handy").
A: There are three kinds of connections between the reading passage and the listening passage.
a. The listening passage that challenges the points made in the reading.
b. The listening passage that presents the reasons/ways the problem described in the reading passage is solvable or really not a problem at all.
c. The listening passage that supports the points made in the reading.
[OG, P252] [Workshop Manual, P41]
目前考的都是Contrast题目(只有一次考到了Solution，但也和Contrast差不多)，预计在不久的将来也不会有太大变化。根据ETS高级专员(Assessment Specialist II)Susan Hines [Dec, 2006]的说法，目前题库中还没有出过关于support的题目("Comparison is not available now.")，所以建议大家主要针对contrast题目进行训练，偶尔也可以用朗文的光盘训练一下solution的写法。
A: "Typically the main idea will be developed with three points." [OG, P252]
A: "Remember that you are NOT being asked for your opinion. You ARE being asked to explain how the points in the listening relate to points in the reading." [OG, P253]
"In English-speaking countries, you must follow the rules for citing when you use the same words of the original speaker or author. If you do not do this, it is considered a form of intellectual stealing, called plagiarism. While this may be accepted in some cultures, it is not acceptable in most English-speaking academic settings. Therefore, paraphrasing skills are important to learn." [TOEFL iBT Tips, P29]
"Restatement and paraphrasing is, of course, needed." [Susan Hines, Dec., 2006]
A: "A response that scores at level 4 has many of the characteristics of a 5, but it does not reflect the content of the listening passage as accurately." [Workshop Manual, P45]
A: "The response may omit one major key point made in the lecture." [Workbook, P7]
"Response generally cannot receive a score higher than 3 if they do not address all three points and usually need to address two of the points of contrast." [Workbook, P11]
"Responses that earn a score of 3 respond to the prompt, but they are vaguer than either 4 or 5 responses. Some details might be incorrect or altogether missing and inaccuracies increase. This combination may cause the reader to be slightly confused." [Workshop Manual, P46]
All Writing Tasks
"In general, responses should be scored at the highest levels (4 or 5) if all the score descriptors fit the response. In contrast, a response should be scored at one of the lower levels (3, 2, or 1) if some or any of the score descriptors noticeably fit the response." [OG, P267]
A: 关于这一点，我们要一分为二来看。一方面，我们没必要吹毛求疵;阅卷人知道这是first draft并且是under timed condition，只要看得懂，不构成理解障碍，就没太大问题(minor flaw)。另一方面，语法和拼写还是重要的，一旦这些小错误导致阅卷人觉得难以理解，就会构成重大问题(major flaw)。
把"dependence"写成"dependency"没太大问题;偶尔把"becomes independent"写成了"becomes independency"是个可以看到的错误，但还是问题不大;偶尔写出"They prefer to be depended on their parents."这样的奇怪句子也会得到阅卷人的宽恕。
"Occasional language errors will not count against you as long as they do not cause you to misrepresent the meaning of points from the reading and the lecture." [OG, P253]
"If your essay includes a few minor lexical and grammar errors, you can still get a high score. However, if you make a lot of grammar errors and if those errors make it hard to understand your meaning, you will get a lower score." [OG, P260]
其次，目前字数会比以前更有意义，因为考试有计数器专门动态显示字数，为的是让考生对自己的字数做到心里有数。而且两篇文章都有了推荐字数。所以，我的建议是超过这个建议字数，虽然不用超过太多。(Integrated Task超过150，Independent Task超过300)
"Suggested length is between 150 to 225 words. You will not be penalized if you write more, so long as what you write answers the question." [OG, P253]
"An effective response is typically about 300 words long. If you write fewer than 300 words, you may still receive a top score, but experience has shown that shorter responses typically do not demonstrate the development of ideas needed to earn a score of 5. There is no maximun word limit. You may write as much as you wish in the time alloted." [OG, P258]
"The length is not considered."