Paraphrase Power on TOEFL Writing

 

A super common issue on the TOEFL integrated writing section is copying words from the text.

Why is this a bad idea?

The poor habit of copying—any kind of copying, such as a few groups of words or just one sentence will hurt your writing score. Sometimes, you may feel like it’s time-consuming or it poses a risk from potential incorrect wording to write your own words in a paraphrase. However, coming up with a paraphrase from the original source in which you may have improper wording is not going to hurt your score as much as copying.

3 Techniques to Rephrase

Let’s go in-depth how to restate the original source sentence with these techniques:        1) changing word order (moving words or phrases around in the sentence)                            2) modifying word forms (changing a noun to a verb or vice versa)                                              3) finding a synonym (adjusting a word/phrase to something similar)

Sample

Original sentence from text:

Humpback whales migrate long distances.

Techniques:

  1. Changing word order:

Choose one or two words to move to a different place in the sentence, and then make sure the sentence keeps the same meaning. Hint: you may need to add a verb.

Paraphrase:

Humpback whales go long distances to migrate.

Notice the three words moved in changing word order were these: migrate long distances.

In this case, moving the verb migrate and placing that idea at the end of the sentence as an infinitive to migrate necessitates adding a new verb go to be grammatically correct.

  1. Changing word form:

Paraphrase:

Humpback whales go long distances for migration.

In this case, moving the verb migrate and placing that concept at the end as a gerund (-ing form) following a preposition (for) in for migration (a prepositional phrase) necessitates adding a new verb, go.

In these techniques of changing the order of the words or modifying word form, the verb form of migrate was changed using the root base “migrat” converting first, into an infinitive (to + verb), and next, into a gerund (-ing) following a preposition in the phrase.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but you’ll need to keep the same meaning as the original.

  1. Changing a word to a synonym or words to synonyms:

Paraphrase:

Humpback whales migrate a far distance.

  • The original word long was replaced with the synonym,
  • The original plural word “distances” was adjusted to singular form distance, dropping the plural -s at the end of the word.

With these two minor word changes, one to a similar word, and another to a plural/singular change, a quick proper rephrase has been created.

Now, you try to paraphrase from another phrase below. Use techniques #1, #2, or #3 above.

Original phrase:

In the case of the humpback whales, we may have found the answer: they may be navigating by the stars, much as early human sailors did.

Practice your paraphrasing.

 

 

OK, let’s do a comparison. We can analyze a paraphrased sample to compare to your practice written response.

Possible paraphrase:

We might have discovered a reason, for in the case of these whales, they used stars to navigate just like early sailors.

Which techniques were used to rephrase in the sentence above? Can you point out technique 1, 2, or 3?

 

Word order                       in the case of whales was moved from the beginning to the middle

Word (verb) form          navigating changed to navigate using the root “navigat” from                                                              an -ing verb ending to an infinitive with to + verb.

Word to synonym         found replaced by discovered; may altered to might

Yes, speed and accuracy are essential in paraphrasing! First, you don’t want to waste time thinking too much when writing since you’ll be in a time crunch. Second, you’ll need to have a similar meaning to the original source. That’s why practicing your rephrasing is valuable to improve your skill. With time using any of these techniques, you’ll be faster and more accurate. If you feel like you are rephrasing too slowly, one of the fastest ways to change the word form or synonym quickly is to look at the main verb or any verb form in the original and adjust the main verb or other verb forms. Let’s take a closer look at how this works quickly.

Original:

Humpback whales seem to be intelligent enough to use stars to navigate by.  

Try your hand at paraphrasing the above sentence by adjusting verbs or verb forms.

Your paraphrase practice:

 

Sample Paraphrases:

Humpback whales are intelligent enough using stars for navigation.

Humpback whales are intelligent enough navigating by stars.

 

If you still find it a challenge to speedily change a verb, then change an adjective or a noun.

Alternative Paraphrase:

Humpback whales seem to be smart enough to use constellations to navigate by.

 

After you’re familiar practicing these techniques to paraphrase better and faster, you may be considering how does re-phrasing influence your integrated writing task result. Be confident that proper paraphrasing does positively impact your score…just as copying lowers it.

When you are short on time, remember that your paraphrase does not have to be perfect like the original writing in the passage, which was written by a professional.

To sum up, if you make it a habit to practice paraphrasing words or phrases from the original text, it will lead to better habits of faster thinking and writing in the language. In both tasks of the writing section, it’s important that you are comfortable writing your own words. In an upcoming post, we’ll analyze how to paraphrase the prompt properly in the independent task.

Finally, if you stay calm and focused, your paraphrasing will improve with practice. Before you know it, you’ll ace your paraphrasing technique on TOEFL writing and in professional business interactions.

Don’t Worry, It’s Easy to Write Concise Sentences

9.21“Less is more” in writing English. When you construct sentences to create a paragraph, each sentence should be trimmed down to only what is necessary to clearly communicate your point.

Do you find yourself struggling to create a simple, clear way of writing your ideas in English? On the TOEFL exam writing section, especially on the independent task, eliminating wordiness can raise your score.

Here are four efficient tips to make your sentences concise.

  1. Do not repeat the same idea twice.
  • Many uneducated adults who never went to primary school vote for improving the school system.

Examples of wordy phrases and how to trim them down.

REDUNDANT CONCISE
A lot of many
In recent times now
There is no doubt that No doubt
Personally, I think I think
Each and every each
A total of 10 pets 10 pets
In a period of five days Five days
One and the same The same
Of particular interest Interest
In the event that If
At 12 noon At noon
A person who is smart A smart person
At 1AM in the morning At 1AM
New innovations innovations
In the field of business In business
He is a person who… He
In spite of the fact that… Even though
In the event that… if

 

  1. Delete phrases that do not add value to your writing
Delete unnecessary phrases
In other words,
Type of
Kind of
In the case of
By means of
In the event that
Have a tendency to
For the most part
As far as I’m concerned,
By virtue of the fact that
It seems that
Due to the fact that
For all intents and purposes
At the present time,
All things considered,
In light of the fact that
As a matter of fact,
…because of the fact that…
Which exists
For the purpose of
In a manner of speaking

 

  1. Avoid weak adverbs, choosing instead strong active verbs. The best effect is to use adverbs sparingly or only when necessary.
  • Really, very, mostly, severely

 

  1. Avoid there is/are or it is
  • There are 25 colleagues in the office. à 25 colleagues are in the office.
  • There is a mess. à A mess exists.

In short, concise writing does not equal short sentences. You can still go into detail in body paragraph development. Aim for clear ideas by deleting unneeded words and phrases.

If you enjoyed this blog, you’ll like Transitions and Structure Create a Smooth Flowing TOEFL Essay.

 

Secret Tips to Developing TOEFL Writing Skills

book

Of course, if you still have not yet mastered fluency in written English, writing a quality essay may still be a challenge. You are probably thinking more than you need to. How can you make each essay a little better? Be careful not to repeat the same format again and again in order to move to the next level. Here are a few useful tips. You can use these techniques to constantly write excellent essays.

 

  1. Read others’ essays

To develop your own writing style, read essays written by others. 1. Read essays of other students or academic essays. In fact, if you read a wide variety of essays on diverse subjects, you can get insight into different types of argumentative styles. Clearly, the more you read and become familiar with alternate styles that exist, the more techniques you will have in your pocket to use in your own essays.

 

As you familiarize yourself with others’ essays, critically analyze what you like and what you do not like. Consider whether or not the writer is persuading you well. If so, how? Ask yourself, is the writer’s argument one-sided or does the writer support the argument with evidence such as reasons and examples? Contemplate if the writer is using an effective technique which you have not seen before so that you could incorporate a similar technique in your writing style.

A. Read online newspapers, particularly opinion pages to see viewpoints

B. Online magazines

C. Online journals

 

2. Use a dictionary and thesaurus to build your vocabulary

An extensive word choice permits you to express what you want in clear, concise terms. “Less is more.” Using essential, precise words is much more effective than being wordy with unnecessarily longer sentences.

 

Write to the point with clear, accurate vocabulary. In English, there are constantly new advanced words to learn. These words can assist you in communicated your point much more efficiently. When you are able to employ strong vocabulary, it manifests your higher level of English, and your written argument may come across as more convincing in your essay. The more widely you read, write down new vocabulary you see and label them in categories according to topic. Review them in each study session. Try to use the new vocabulary in the correct context in your speaking and writing. Here are two links below which both have dictionaries and thesauruses.

  1. Avoid using the same words over and over again by substituting synonyms and/or new phrases
  2. Sign up for “word of the day” on a site
  3. Become familiar with synonyms and antonyms of your new vocabulary word
  4. Study lists of prefixes, suffixes, and roots of words to help you expand your word choice based on these meanings.
  5. Create a vocabulary journal where you write vocabulary from your reading. Divide it into sections so that all the words are categorized such as science, business, art, history, and then you can review them easily. Write synonyms, antonyms, and an example in context.
  6. Use these new words when applicable in your written practice. Push yourself to use at least two new vocabulary words in each practice essay you write before the exam day. Not only will you become more comfortable using the new words, you will be able to try other whether or not the words are used correctly in your writing.
  7. Avoid using advanced words that look fancy if you are not clear of the meaning. Using a long or quite advanced word choice, you can run the risk of mistaking the meaning. Only focus on using clear words that you can employ with no doubts of the audience understanding them, so that your vocabulary is comprehensive and easily understandable.

http://dictionary.reference.com/

http://www.thesaurus.com/

 

If you like this blog, then check out this article: Why Am I Not Improving English?

 

Top Strategies for Excellent TOEFL Writing

Do you struggle with how to best tackle which way to go about improving your essays on the TOEFL writing section? To beat both the integrated and independent in the writing section, a few straightforward strategies go a long way to boost your section score.

Are you typing at least 40 words per minute? Of course, you can type faster improving your ability through typing sessions. First, make sure to practice typing your English writing on a QWERTY computer keyboard. Since you will need to type in your task responses, the faster and more accurate you type on the keyboard, the better you can focus on writing a quality essay. Touch typing without looking at the keyboard will give you an advantage since you will be able to think in English while not looking at the letters on the keyboard. Type daily for consistent practice with speed and no errors. Aim for 55 words per minute. Some websites for English typing test speed and practice are these:

The Principles of Touch Typing

http://www.typingtest.com/touch-typing.html

Typing tutor

http://www.speedtypingonline.com/typing-tutor

Typing Tests

http://10fastfingers.com/typing-test/english

http://www.keyhero.com/free-typing-test/

http://typing-speed-test.aoeu.eu/?lang=en

http://www.powertyping.com/typing_test/typing_test.shtml

Timing, of course, is critical in each writing task. When you first start practicing, you may feel slow and not be efficient in finishing your essay on time within 20-30 minutes, depending on the task. Every time you practice a simulated timed writing, you will get closer and closer to finish your essay in time, so that by the time the exam day rolls around, you are confident and comfortable to complete your tasks in the given time frame.

It’s important to also make a strategic plan to expand your vocabulary day by day. Maintain a vocabulary list in a notebook with new words and use review time daily to learn the words. Attempt to use those words in your essay practice when your writing is checked by a native speaker.

While you are practicing writing, look at your vocabulary list and use some of those words in context in your writing. Write in a style which has a variety of grammar structures. Using alternative word choices and various sentence structures, you can master how to write them effectively. The raters of the exam count a variety of word choice and sentence variety as higher level writing.

Next, formulate your essay structure so it’s well-organized with an introduction, body and conclusion, and be sure to use that structure in practice and on the actual test day. Each of the three parts of an essay has structural aspects to follow so that each paragraph in the essay is ordered logically and flows smoothly.

After you learn the structure, familiarize yourself with how to organize the content in the essay. There is a planning stage, a writing stage, and a revision stage. During the planning time of 3-5 minutes, you create a mapping of ideas or an outline before beginning to write the essay. A solid planning such as idea mapping saves time during the writing period because all your ideas will already be organized. The planning stage has key words from the question, a list of mapped out phrases of reasons, examples, and supporting details of ideas for the body paragraphs (2-3.) Do not write sentences, only write words or phrases to create an order of ideas so that you can refer to your planning to develop a clear, logical, and well-organized essay.

Know how to successfully write with connecting ideas, in particular, use transitions or phrases to introduce a reason or point, to give an example, to contrast an idea, to switch from one idea to another, to give more supporting information such as details, or to conclude. Some transition words are the following: first, second, next, in addition, moreover, for example, for instance, in contrast, on the other hand, to conclude, and to sum up. A list of transition words and phrases to be familiar with is at Study Guides and Strategies link.

How far have you come? Reflect on your writing advancement. Have a native English teacher or editor give you feedback on your writing according to the writing scores for TOEFL. Use the accurate input to get better on your writing techniques. Implement strategies to help you advance even further so that your writing progress is faster to get your goal.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll like Advance English Vocabulary with Flashcard Technology Tools.

How an Explanation Essay is Easy to Write

8.31.15Have you ever had to write an explanation of an event?Taking the TOEFL exam, the writing section is divided into two tasks, one of which is the independent writing. You may get an explanatory writing question. In this category of topics, you will be required to present a specific viewpoint or perhaps write about a particular situation. Be sure to explain your standpoint or viewpoint of the situation in detail. In an explanation essay, it is different than an argument, since you will analyze. You may give analysis through comparison/contrast or by definition/example. Get to know the explanation topic list below in order to know the topic that you might face come test day.

Explanation Prompts:

164 People attend college or universities for many different reasons. Why do you think people attend college or universities? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

165 Nowadays food has become easier to prepare. Has this change improved the way people live? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

166 How do movies or television influence people’s behavior? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

167 Many people visit museums when they travel to new places. Why do you think people visit museums? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

168 A person you know is planning to move to your town or city. What do you think that person would like and dislike about living in your town or city? Use specific reasons and details to develop your essay.

169 Choose one of the following transportation vehicles and explain why you think it has changed people’s lives. Automobiles. Bicycles. Airplanes. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

170 What are the important qualities of a good son or daughter? Have these qualities changed or remained the same over time in your culture? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

171 People work because they need money to live. What are some other reasons that people work? Discuss one or more of these reasons. Use specific examples and details to support your answer.

172 Some people believe that success in life comes from taking risks or chances. Others believe that success results from careful planning. In your opinion, what does success come from? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

173 Your city has decided to build a statue or monument to honor a famous person in your country. Who would you choose? Use reasons and specific examples to support your choice.

174 Describe a custom from your country that you would like people in other countries to adopt. Explain your choice using specific reasons and examples.

175 If you could ask a famous person one question, what would you ask? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

176 It is generally agreed that society benefits from the work of its members. Compare the contributions of artists to society with the contributions of scientists to society. Which type of contribution do you think is more valued by your society? Give specific reasons to support your answer.

177 You need to travel from your home to a place 40 miles (64 kilometers) away. Compare the different kinds of transportation you could use. Tell which method of travel you would choose. Give specific reasons for your choice.

178 If you could invent something new, what product would you develop? Use specific details to explain why this invention is needed.

179 What do you consider to be the most important room in a house? Why is this room more important to you than any other room? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

180 You have the opportunity to visit a foreign country for two weeks. Which country would you like to visit? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.

181 People remember special gifts or presents they have received. Why? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

182 People do many different things to stay healthy. What do you do for good health? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

183 You have decided to give several hours of your time each month to improve the community where you live. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

184 You have decided to give several hours of your time each month to improve the community where you live. What is one thing you will do to improve your community? Why? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.

185 Many students choose to attend schools or universities outside their home countries. Why do some students study abroad? Use specific reasons and details to explain your answer.

186 People listen to music for different reasons and at different times. Why is music important to many people? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

187 Groups or organizations are an important part of some people’s lives. Why are groups or organizations important to people? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.

188 When students move to a new school, they sometimes face problems. How can schools help these students with their problems? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.

189 Every generation of people is different in important ways. How is your generation different from your parents’ generation? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.

190 Holidays honor people or events. If you could create a new holiday, what person or event would it honor and how would you want people to celebrate it? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

191 The 21st Century has begun. What changes do you think this new century will bring? Use examples and details in your answers.

192 What are some of the qualities of a good parent? Use specific details and examples to explain your answer.

193 Movies are popular all over the world. Explain why movies are so popular. Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

194 Films can tell us a lot about the country where they were made. What have you learned about a country from watching its movies? Use specific examples and details to support your response.

195 If you could change one important thing about your country, what would you change? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

196 What are some important qualities of a good school teacher? Use specific details and examples to explain why these qualities are important.

213 Which is the best way for students to make new friends: playing sports, traveling, or joining a volunteer group?

If you like this blog, you will enjoy TOEFL Writing Independent Task: Preference Essay.

Tap into Your Perspective to Write a Preference Essay

Aug 30 2015When you get to the TOEFL writing section, you will have two tasks to perform in English. In both of those, you will show your language ability to put together a written argument. The second writing is the independent essay, in which you give your opinion. In this task on the exam day, you will have 30 minutes to state your opinion and support it with examples in your essay. One of the categories of questions you may get is the preference topic. To get a head start on what you will encounter on the test day, look over the list below of those topics so you will be better prepared for what is to come.

Preference Prompts:

121 It has been said, “Not everything that is learned is contained in books.” Compare and contrast knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books. In your opinion, which source is more importand? Why?

122 A company has announced that it wishes to build a large factory near you community. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this new influence on your community. Do you support or oppose the factory? Explain your position.

123 Some people prefer to live in a small town. Others prefer to live in a big city. Which place would you prefer to live in? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

124 Some people prefer to eat at food stands or restaurants. Other people prefer to prepare and eat food at home. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

125 It has recently been announced that a new restaurant may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

126 Some people think that they can learn better by themselves than with a teacher. Others think that it is always better to have a teacher. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons to develop your essay.

127 It has recently been announced that a large shopping center may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

128 It has recently been announced that a new movie theater may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

129 It has recently been announced that a new high school may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details in your answer.

130 Some place people spend their entire lives in one place. Others move a number of times throughout their lives, looking for a better job, house, community, or even climate. Which do you prefer: staying in one place or moving in search of another place? Use reasons and specific examples to support your opinion.

131 You have received a gift of money. The money is enough to buy either a piece of jewelry you like or tickest to a concert you want to attend? Which would you buy? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

132 Some people like to travel with a companion. Other people prefer to travel alone. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

133 Some people prefer to get up early in the morning and start the day’s work. Others prefer to get up later in the day and work until late at night. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.

134 Some people prefer to work for a large company. Others prefer to wrok for a small company. Which would you prefer? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.

135 Some people like to do only what they already do well. Other people prefer to try new things and take risks. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

136 Some movies are serious, designed to make the audience think. Other movies are designed primarily to amuse and entertain. Which type of movie do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

137 Some people are always in a hurry to go places and get things done. Other people prefer to take their time and live life at a slower pace. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

138 Some people prefer to work for themselves or own a business. Others prefer to work for an employer. Would you rather be self-employed, work for someone else, or own a business? Use specific reasons to explain your choice.

139 If you were an employer, which kind of worker would you prefer to hire: an inexperienced worker at a lower salary or an experienced worker at a higher salary? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

140 Some people prefer to live in places that have the same weather or climate all your long. Others like to live in areas where the weather changes several times a year. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

141 You have been told that dormitory rooms at your university must be shared by two students. Would you rather have the university assign a student to share a room with you, or would you rather choose your own roommate? Use specific reasons and details to explain your answer.

142 Some people think that governments should spend as much money as possible on developing or buying computer technology. Other people disagree and think that this money should be spent on more basic needs. Which one of these opinions do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

143 Some people like doing work by hand. Others prefer using machines. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

144 Students at universities often have a choice of places to live. They may choose to live in university dormitories, or they may choose to live in apartments in the community. Compare the advantages of living in the university housing with the advantages of living in an apartment in the community. Where would you prefer to live? Give reasons for your preference.

145 Some people believe that the best way of learning about life is by listening to the advice of family and friends. Other people believe that the best way of learning about life is through personal experience. Compare the advantages of these two different ways fo learning about life. Which do you think is preferable? Use specific examples to support your preference.

146 When people move to another country, some ofthem decide to follow the customs of the new country. Others prefer to keep their own customs. Compare these two choices. Which one do you prefer? Support your answer with specific details.

147 Some people prefer to spend most of their time alone. Others like to be with friends most of the time. Do you prefer to spend your time alone or with friends? Use specific reasons to support your answer.

148 Some people prefer to spend time with one or two close friends. Others choose to spend time with a large number of friends. Compare the advantages of each choice. Which of these two ways of spending time do you prefer? Use specific reasons to support your answer.

149 Some people think that family is the most important influence on young adults Other people think that friends are the most important influence on young adults. Which view do you agree with? Use examples to support your opinion.

150 Some people prefer to plan activities for their free time very carefully. Others choose not to make any plans at all for their free time. Compare the benefits of planning free-time activities with the benefits of not making plans. Which do you prefer–planning or not planning for your leisure time? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your choice.

151 People learn in different ways. Some people learn by doing things; other people learn by reading about things; others learn by listening to people talk about things. Which of these methods of learning is best for you? Use specific examples to support your choice.

152 Some people choose friends who are different from themselves. Others choose friends who are similar to themselves. Compare the advantages of having friends who are different from you with the advantages of having friends who are similar to you. Which kind of friend do you prefer for yourself? Why?

153 Some people enjoy change and they look forward to new experiences. Others like their lives to stay the same, and they do not change their usual habits. Compare these two approaches to life. Which approach do you prefer? Why?

154 Some items (such as clothes or furniture) can be made by hand or by machine. Which do you prefer–items made by hand or items made by machine? Use reasons and specific examples to explain your choice.

155 Would you prefer to live in a traditional house or in a more modern apartment building? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.

156 Some people prefer to spend their free time outdoors. Other people prefer to spend their leisure time indoors. Would you prefer to be outside or would you prefer to be inside for your leisure activities? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

157 In the future, students may have the choice of studying at home by using technology such as computers or television or of studying at traditional schools. Which would you prefer? Use reasons and specific details to explain your choice.

158 When people need to complain about a product or poor service, some prefer to complain in writing and others prefer to complain in person. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

159 Some students like classes where teachers lecture (do all of the talking) in class. Other students prefer classes where the students do some of the talking. Which type of class do you prefer? Give specific reasons and details to support your choice.

160 Some students prefer to study alone. Others prefer to study with a group of students. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

161 Which do you feel is more important in your life: security or freedom and independence? Use reasons and specific examples to support your opinion.

162 Some music is very inspirational. Other music seems boring and meaningless. Which type of music do you listen to and why do you think some music forms are much more popular than others? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

163 If you could travel back in time or into the future, which would you choose and what exact period of time would you like to experience? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

215 Some people prefer to follow their dream even if it is challenging and other people like setting practical goals, which do you prefer?

218 Which do you prefer: to donate money to the local towns that you live in or to donate your money to the more large-scale world?

If you like this list of preference prompts from the writing section, check out TOEFL Writing Independent Task: Agree or Disagree Essay.

 

Is It Better to Agree or Disagree on the Independent Writing Task?

8.29.15

Do you know how to structure and write an essay in which you must agree or disagree with a given topic? If you have ever taken a TOEFL exam, it is highly likely you encountered an agree/disagree question topic on the independent task of the writing section. The category of question “agree/disagree” on the writing section is the most common type of question which will arise on the exam day. It does not matter whether you agree or disagree on this writing task. The key is to choose one quickly and develop your reasons and examples on topic. Select whichever is easiest for you to give concrete details. Knowing a potential list of agree/disagree topics will make your life a whole lot easier when you come across one of these questions. Look over the topics in the list below, and you can begin to prepare yourself to respond with your opinion in an essay.

  • Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Parents are the best teachers. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

63 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Television has destroyed communication among friends and family. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinions.

64 “When people succeed, it is because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with success.” Do you agree or disagree with the quotation above? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your position.

65 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Universities should give the same amount of money to their students’ sports activities as they give to their university libraries. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

66 It is better for children to grow up in the countryside than in a big city. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to develop your essay.

67 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People should sometimes do things that they do not enjoy doing. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

68 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Television, newspapers, magazines, and other media pay too much attention to personal lives of famous people such as public figures and celebrities. Use specific reasons and details to explain your opinion.

69 Businesses should hire employees for their entire lives. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

70 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Attending a live performance (for example, a play, concert, or sport event) is more enjoyable than watching the same event on television. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

71 Do you agree or disagree that progress is always good? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

72 Learning about the past has no value for those of us living in the present. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

73 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? With the help of technology, students nowadays can learn more information and learn it more quickly.   Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

74 The expression “Never, never give up” means keep trying and never stop working for your goals. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

75 Some people think that human needs for farmland, housing, and industry are more important than saving land for endangered animals. Do you agree or disagree with this point of view? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

76 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Face-to-face communication is better than other types of communication, such as letters, e-mail, or telephone calls. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

77 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The most important aspect of a job is the money a person earns. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

78 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? One should never judge a person by external appearances.  Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

79 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? A person should never make an important decision alone. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

80 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Businesses should do anything they can to make a profit. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.

81 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Games are as important for children as they are for adults. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answers.

82 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Parents or other adult relatives should make important decisions for their older (15-18 year old) teenaged children. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

83 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Most experiences in our lives that seemed difficult at the time become valuable lessons for the future. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

84 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Classmates are a more important influence that parents on a child’s success in school. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

85 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Grades (marks) encourage students to learn. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

86 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The best way to travel is in a group led by a tour guide. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

87 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Children should begin studying a foreign language as soon as they start school. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

88 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Boys and girls should attend separate schools. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

89 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Technology has made the world a better place to live. Use specific reasons and examples to support your statement.

90 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Advertising can tell you a lot about a country. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

91 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Modern technology is creating a single world culture. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

92 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Telephone and e-mail have made communications between people less personal. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

93 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Dancing plays an important role in a culture.  Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

94 Some people think governments should spend as much money as possible exploring outer space (for example, traveling to the moon and other planets). Other people disagree and think governments should spend this money for our basic needs on earth. Which of these two opinions do you agree with?  Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

95 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Teachers should be paid according to how much their students learn. Give specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

96 Schools should ask students to evaluate their teachers. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

97 Some people think that children should begin their formal education at a very early age and should spend most of their time on their school studies. Others believe that young children should spend most of their time playing. Compare these two views. Which view do you agree with? Why? (Discuss BOTH.)

98 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People behave differently when they wear different clothes. Do you agree that different clothes influence the way people behave? Use specific examples to support your answer.

99 Decisions can be made quickly, or they can be made after careful thought. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The decisions that people make quickly are always wrong. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

100 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People are never satisfied with what they have; they always want something more or something different. Use specific reasons to support your answer.

101 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People should read only those books that are about real events, real people, and established facts. Use specific examples and details to support your opinion.

102 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? It is more important for students to study history and literature than it is for them to study science and mathematics. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

103 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? All students should be required to study art and music in secondary school. Use specific reasons to support your answer.

104 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? There is nothing young people can teach older people. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.

105 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Reading fiction (such as novels and short stories) is more enjoyable than watching movies. Use specific reasons and examples to explain your position.

106 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Only people who earn a lot of money are successful. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

107 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? A person’s childhood years (the time from birth to twelve years of age) are the most important years of a person’s life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

108 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Children should be required to help with household tasks as soon as they are able to do so. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

109 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Playing a game is fun only when you win. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

110 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? High schools should allow students to study the courses that students want to study. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

111 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? It is better to be a member of a group than the leader of a group. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

112 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Playing games teaches us about life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

113 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Watching television is bad for children. Use specific details and examples to support your answer.

114 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? A zoo has no useful purpose. Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.

115 It is sometimes said that borrowing money from a friend can harm or damage the friendship. Do you agree? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and specific examples to explain your answer.

116 Many people say that the internet is the most important invention ever. Do you agree or disagree with this and if not, what do you believe to be more important? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

117 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People pay too much attention to the less important things in life and fail to see the larger issues. Use specific reasons and details to explain your opinion.

118 A job should mean a job for life. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

119 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? With the help of technology, life is easier today than in the past.   Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

120 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? A problem shared is a problem solved. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

198 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.

199 Do you agree or disagree with following statement? The most important characteristic of a leader and a politician is a good communication skill.

200 Do you agree or disagree that face-to-face communication is more effective to produce better work than e-mail communication?

201 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the rules that societies require young people to follow and obey are too strict? OR Today, young people are expected to follow or obey rules that are too strict. Do you agree or disagree?

202 Do you agree or disagree movies and televisions have more negative effects than positive effects on young people?

203 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.

204 Providing internet access to people is as important as services such as building roads, so the government should provide internet access to all citizens at no cost. Do you agree or disagree?

205 Do you agree or disagree with using security cameras in public space in daily activities in the city/country to protect public safety?

206 Do you agree or disagree that using a lot of time to decide is a good quality for a person to have?

207 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? One of the best ways that parents can help their teenage children prepare for adult life is to encourage them to take a part-time job. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

208 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Young people nowadays do not give enough time to helping their communities.

209 Do you agree or disagree with starting classes at school earlier than normal time?

210 Do you agree or disagree with following statement? People will spend less time for cooking and preparing meals in twenty years than they do today.

211 Do you agree or disagree with the idea? Providing the Internet access to people is as important as services such as building roads, so the government should provide the Internet access to all the citizens at no cost.

212 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? In today’s world it is more important to work quickly and risk making mistakes than to work slowly and make sure that everything is correct.

216 Agree or disagree? It is important for children in some way to take care of a pet animal.

217 Do you agree or disagree? Kids should be given a chance to do whatever they want to, like study and music, rather than adults force them to do school homework and organizational events like sports.

  • Do you agree or disagree? Kids should be given a chance to do whatever they want to, like study and music, rather than adults force them to do school homework and organizational events like sports.

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