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?

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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.

If you like this blog, you will find Make an Argument Essay informative.

Superior Essays Contain Examples

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Examples are vital to creating a superior essay on the second task, the independent essay, in the TOEFL writing section. To create strong writing, you need to insert quality content with solid reasons on the topic and clear examples. Each example may be different since the topics are varied. Use a particular example from one of these below depending on which question you encounter on the exam day. Here are some samples of what types of examples you may integrate into your body paragraphs to give stronger support to your argument.

Your own experience

The majority of independent essay arguments can come from your own experience since your viewpoint is something you can grasp readily when you are in a time crunch. For example, you may consider referring to your family, friend, neighbor, classmate, boss, peer, or elder. If you have an independent (task #2) question that asks about family, community, children, school, education, work, career, or life, you can easily draw from your own experience to respond to the question and stay on topic. It saves time in planning your argument, and it makes your development more personalized with your experience. For structure in your example, keep the same main subject throughout a body paragraph for consistency.

Sample preference question

  • Some people prefer to live in places that have the same weather or climate all year long. Others like to live in areas where the weather changes several times a year. Which do you prefer?

Subject knowledge

Of course, you will not need any previous expertise on the subject to answer an independent question on the TOEFL. However, if you know something about the topic that is listed in the question, they you can use your subject knowledge to help you develop your argument. If you have a question related to social issues or politics, for example, it is useful to use subject knowledge for those types of questions.

Sample agree/disagree question

  • Agree or disagree? Technology has made the world a better place to live.

Someone famous or a global situation

Aside from using your personal experience or knowledge, you can use a global example. For instance, consider what renowned person you could write about as an example. Some questions may be a topic about time, about history, or about a country.

Sample independent questions:

  • If you could go back to some time and place in the past, when and where would you go? Why?
  • If you were asked to send one thing representing your country to an international exhibition, what would you choose? Why?

When giving evidence in the body to substantiate your claim, it is quick and helpful to illustrate an example from your own experience or knowledge, or from a well-known person or situation. Using those types of examples is effective in the body paragraphs, depending on which topic the question asks you.

If you liked this post, try reading the article: The TOEFL Independent Task Five-Paragraph Essay Structure.

Improve English Writing Skills Easily

imagesIf you need solid writing skills for a university graduate school program or for business, you can improve with practice and determination. Top writers are not born, but bred. Take time, and with practice, you can become a writer with fluent style. What you need to start with is determination.

Though you may need to push yourself at writing to top the TOEFL writing section or to succeed on the AWA of the GRE or the GMAT in order to get accepted into a school program, you can succeed with practice. It’s just like running a marathon. The more you practice, the better you will become.

Some tips you can follow to improve your English writing skills are these:

  1. Keep your writing organized in one place, for example, in computer files if you write on the computer. In that way, you can refer back to your previously writing to go over errors and to notice steps to improve upon. Be sure all the documents are well-ordered so that you can examine how much you are improving over time.
  2. Practice writing English every day. If you make a daily habit of writing, it will become a ritual in your study session. You will see significant improvement when you are dedicated to becoming a better writer. However, if you never take the opportunity to write or even save the writing that you do, you cannot create solid stories. Even writing English five minutes a day will create a pattern that will become as natural as brushing your teeth.
  3. Write on any topic

Avoid getting stuck with writer’s block. Think about what topic to write on by using topics that are easy to have an opinion on. The independent topics on the TOEFL exam are a set list of topics which you can write on to develop your viewpoint on specific themes. If you are studying for GRE, the AWA has Issue essay topics and Argument topics which you can also write about in essay format. If you are planning on taking the GMAT, you will need to be familiar with the AWA. A pdf downloadable list of Analysis of the Argument topics also can help you with practice.

  1. Revise your first written draft

Once you finish writing your essay, take time to look over your writing to correct the grammar errors and revise the ideas for clarity.

  1. Use resources or online links to correct your English grammar

Many resources exist to check your English grammar. For instance, in Word, you can turn on the spell and grammar check or the thesaurus. Online, you could plug in your essay to be grammatically corrected. Review the errors and make a point not to make the same mistakes in the next essay.

  1. Write from different perspectives

It is not interesting to practice writing on the same topic, so write about different topics by shifting your perspective. First, write about one side, and then consider writing on the opposing standpoint. Think about diverse viewpoints that you can argue in an essay. Be creative when presenting your argument.

In addition, you could practice writing by summarizing other viewpoints from written or lecture sources such as in readings or lectures. For example, you may listen to a lecture and write a summary about that listening. Or, you might read an article online that interests you, and then you could summarize the key points in the passage from the author’s perspective.

  1. Have another person edit your writing

A person who knows English fluently can be helpful in editing your essays. If you know one who is capable of the task, ask him/her to check your writing. As well, a teacher who is an expert at English writing can give you insight into how to strengthen your sentences and paragraphs and offer additional ideas how to generate development in your writing.

  1. Locate a quiet study space to write

If you find it difficult to start writing, tidy up your study space to create an ideal study environment: a clean, quiet zone. Be sure that the place where you are sitting down to write is free of noise and comfortable. Avoid being distracted at your desk so you can form tunnel vision and focus in on your topic.

Since writing is a process, the more you do it, the better you will become. If you like this article, try reading: Why Am I Not Improving English?

Presenting a Story as an Example Stimulates

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  • A Story as an Example in Writing

In the independent task essay of the TOEFL writing section, each reason to support the argument needs a strong example in each body paragraph. One way is to use a story as an example in the body paragraph(s) as a tool of persuasion in the argument and as a technique to develop a reason.

A story example is a connected set of events with a beginning, middle, and end. The story you tell is a journey that moves the reader (rater of your essay.) When the reader is reading your story, the reader feels differently than reading facts; consequently, the result is the reader feels persuaded by your story to understand your viewpoint.

When writing a story as an example in your body paragraph, remember that a story is not facts, figures, or lists. Yet, if you are able to integrate facts or figures as supporting details into your story example, these can stimulate the rater’s intellect and emotions to feel persuaded to your opinion, and ultimately it may lead to the rater give a certain score. Your story (the example and supporting details) can be short—140 characters (no spaces) such as in four short sentences–or if you write longer sentences about 140 words to develop the entire body paragraph.

Here are a few characteristics of an effective story as a solid example in the independent essay, task #2 of the TOEFL writing section.

  1. Objective: Why are you telling that story?

To support the reason

  1. Grab Attention: To catch the reader, the story must clearly exemplify support of the

                                            Reason in your topic sentence and main argument (your thesis)

  1. Engage: Why might the rater care about your story example?

For a high score, that example must develop the reason given in the first sentence of the                               body paragraph, and it needs to supply specific details

Keep these in mind when creating a story as an example in the body of your essay.

The TOEFL Independent Task Five-Paragraph Essay Structure

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Structure:

The typical structure for essays is the five-paragraph organization. The model is useful in the independent writing task since you have a limited time; you will have an advantage to know your structure in advance within a 30-minute time frame. Of course, it’s only one format, so you can optionally write a four-paragraph structural model instead. In either case, you would be organizing with an introductory paragraph, body paragraphs (2-3,) and a conclusion.

Introduction:

Start by getting the reader involved in your essay. You can write a general sentence about the question, but be sure to catch the reader’s attention by stating the topic. Since the introductory paragraph tells the reader what the essay is about, you can present your main points. For instance, you will need to answer the question and include a thesis statement (your main argument) with reasons. The last sentence of the first paragraph will have a related key word to lead into the first body paragraph so the connection is smooth.

Body:

The first body paragraph often has the strongest argument. Consequently, you should be sure to use the most significant reason to support the argument, the best example or illustration. The first sentence has a transition/reverse hook, which links back to the last sentence of the introduction.

  • In the first topic sentence, state the argument and first reason, which was in the thesis in the introduction.
  • Then, develop the reason with a supporting example and details which become more and more specific.
  • The last sentence can be either a concluding idea to restate the topic or a transition to lead into the second body paragraph.

Body:

The second body paragraph usually presents the second strongest point. So, use the next most convincing reason and direct example with underlying details in support. Again, the first topic sentence of this paragraph has a transitional hook such as a paraphrase of the previous reason relating back to the last paragraph (or the last sentence of the previous body paragraph.)

  • To start, write the topic reason (related to the introductory thesis,) followed by a clear example with supporting details.
  • To conclude, the final sentence can wrap up the paragraph by reiterating the topic reason in other words or lead into the next paragraph.

Body:

The third body paragraph will contain the weakest reasoning point, simplest example, and a follow up of that illustration with specific details. The beginning sentence will give a connecting transition or a clear link to the previous paragraph.

  • The first sentence will be the topic (related to the thesis in the introduction) with the least important reason, your weakest example to support that reason, and concrete details.
  • Finally, the last sentence should signal the reader that this is the concluding point in the essay.

Conclusion:

For the concluding paragraph, allude to the introduction by paraphrasing the thesis (echoing the idea but not copying the exact original words,) synthesize the three reasons from the body, and offer a universal call to action such as a recommendation or a suggestion of consequence for the reader or a provocative question on the topic.

When you present an orderly structure, the end result is a well-organized essay with ideas that flow coherently, leading to a higher score.

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

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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.