TOEFL Independent Writing Task Topic–Type 1: Choose a Side


The writing section of the TOEFL analyzes how well you can communicate in written English. In the independent question (writing question 2,) one question topic will be presented. You will need to address the question, developing an opinion essay. In order to score well on that task, it is crucial to identify exactly what the question asks by picking out keywords, the important ideas found in the question. Then, create a logical response to directly answer the question by keeping all ideas on topic. If you do not respond to the question and by accident go off topic, it will lower your score.

Hundreds of different TOEFL independent task writing topics exist. One essay topic might ask about family, education, technology, travel, or another subject. The advantage you have is that only a couple different types of questions are presented. Let’s look at a few examples of just one specific type that is the most common: choose a side (either 1 or 2: agree/disagree.) With Choose a Side (Agree/Disagree) questions, choose to either agree or to disagree with the given statement, and then explain your choice.

By examining some samples of Agree/Disagree type of topics, you can pick out essential keywords to focus on. Look at what the question asks, and then select nouns which lead the idea. Pay attention to quantifiers such as all, superlatives such as most, best, comparatives such as more than, better, and conjunctions such as and as well as or that connect two key nouns since these may alter the meaning of how you respond with reasons and examples. You can also consider synonyms or related terms for those key nouns that you can integrate into your writing.

  1. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? All university students should take basic science courses even if science is not a major field for them.
  2. Do you agree or disagree with following statement? The most important characteristic of a leader and a politician is a good communication skill.
  3. Do you agree or disagree that face-to-face communication is more effective to produce better work than e-mail communication?
  4. Today, young people are expected to follow or obey rules that are too strict. Do you agree or disagree?
  5. Do you agree or disagree movies and televisions have more negative effects than positive effects on young people?
  6. Do you agree or disagree? Some people think that to go on field trips (such as a museum) is an important part of an education for a child. Others think that a child should spend time on classwork at school.


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