TOEFL® Integrated Writing Practice 13

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You'll have 3 minutes to read a passage. After reading, you'll listen to a lecture regarding the same topic you just read. Finally, you'll have 20 minutes to write a response to a question that asks you about the relationship between the lecture you heard and the reading passage. Try to answer the question using information from the reading passage and the lecture.

Typically, an effective response will be 250 to 300 words.

We recommend you practice taking notes with a pen and paper like you will during your TOEFL exam.

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Question: Summarize the point made in the lecture and explain how the speaker cast doubt on specific points made in the reading passage.

Glass is one of the most popular materials for modern architecture. However it is also very dangerous for wild birds because it is difficult for them to distinguish the difference between open air and glass. As a result, millions of birds are harmed every year when they fly through glass windows. But there are a number of solutions that can be used to prevent injuries to birds from the businesses that are housed in those modern glass buildings.

The first solution is to replace the regular, clear glass with one-way glass that is transparent in only one direction. This ensures that the occupants can still see out of the building, but the birds cannot see in. Of course, if birds cannot see through a window, then they understand that the glass forms a solid barrier and won’t try to fly through it.

Another solution is to use colorful lines or designs on glass windows. If a window had thin stripes or a decorative pattern over the glass, the birds would actually avoid trying to fly through the glass. Meanwhile people would still be able to see through the windows, in the places the paint is not covering the windows. Architects can be encouraged to include colorful painted patterns on glass as part of the general design of buildings.

A third solution is by using a magnetic field. You can use an artificial magnetic field to guide birds away from buildings. A magnetic compass is an instrument that humans use to determine directions, such as north, west, east, or south. Bird research has shown that birds have a natural ability to sense Earth's magnetic fields. This ability is similar to a compass. It helps birds with their sense of direction. They have the ability to navigate in the correct direction when they fly. If there is a building in the path of a bird’s flight, that building can be equipped with powerful electromagnets that emit magnetic signals that steer birds in a direction away from the building.

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Question: Summarize the point made in the lecture and explain how the speaker cast doubt on specific points made in the reading passage.

Word Count: 0

Listen to part of a lecture on the same topic.

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Sample Essay

The reading and the lecture are both about the use of glass and how it affects the birds. Whereas the author of the reading states that the glass used in the buildings is dangerous for the birds by providing three pieces of information to justify his point, the lecturer suggests that none of the claims made are effective and refutes each point. The lecturer casts doubt on the main points made in the reading by providing three reasons.

First of all, according to the reading, it is stated by replacing clear glass with one-way glass, the birds will distinguish the glass. However, the lecturer disputes this point. He states this by providing an example of one-way glass been used like a mirror where birds do not understand the concept of a mirror. Furthermore, he mentions that birds will confuse the image reflected on the window as a tree and will fly towards it resulting in them been injured.

Secondly, the reading states that by painting the glass various colors can result in the birds distinguishing between what is a window and what is not. Nevertheless, the lecturer refutes this argument. He argues this point by stating that that the birds will see the open spaces between the lines as holes and will fly right through them resulting in some sort of damage. In addition, he points out in order to solve this issue the windows should be designed with small open space but this can result in, the design of the building being too dark for people which therefore makes this design unacceptable.

Finally, the reading claims thatusing magnetic fields in the buildings will guide birds away from buildings. On the other hand, the lecturer casts doubt on this point and claims that the birds use magnetic fields as a way of direction on their long trips. He thinks that birds use their eyes or the brightness to fly a short distance, therefore magnetic fields will not work respectively.

In conclusion, although the reading and the lecture are both about a solution of buildings containing glass that is related to the bird's safety, the three main points made in the reading are effectively challenged by the lecturer.

Steps to tackle the TOEFL Integrated Writing Task
Step 1: Read the passage

The passage is important in giving you general background information of the topic. Read the passage carefully and make sure you understand it well. Take notes of the main ideas of the passage but do not go into too many details. Even though there will be a three minute timer for you to read the passage, the passage is actually displayed while you are writing your essay. Your goal while reading the passage the first time should be to understand the main points in each paragraph.

Step 2: Take notes during the lecture

Needless to say, you need to take careful notes during the lecture. Unlike the passage, you will not have a chance to listen to the lecture again, so make sure you take careful notes of either the contrast between the passage and the audio or the similarities. The lecture will provide wither counter examples and disagreements or will provide examples to further prove the passage correct. Every main point from the passage is discussed again in the lecture, but with a different angle and attitude. For example, if the lecture is disagreeing with the reading and the reading says "teamwork allows individuals to respond quicker to their assignments", then the lecture might say "teamwork takes away the opportunities for hard working, talented individuals to be recognized".

Step 3: Organize your response

There are many ways to organize an essay, but there are still a few good rules you can follow. The essay should have three sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. See the "TEACHING" tab in Independent Writing for an overview of the basic essay format.

1) Introduction
Write a short and concise introduction for your essay. This introduction should include an explanation of your topic, and how the article and the professor either agree or disagree with each other about the topic. Keep this introduction short. Do not go into details of the reasons. You will only need to introduce the topic briefly, so the reader knows what to expect in the body section.

2) Body
This section should include 2 to 3 paragraphs, each one with the main point that is mentioned in the reading. So each paragraph should start with a sentence that introduces the point to be discussed in the paragraph. Use the specific examples from the article and lectures. Use the same paragraph structure for all the paragraphs in the body section. Remember to start a new line for every paragraph. Don't clump all the paragraph together as a big block, and also do not break a paragraph into many small paragraphs. Each topic should be contained in one paragraph only. Do not copy the article or the lecture into your essay. This is your essay so all the information should be conveyed in your own words. Paraphrase as much as you can. Use a variety of words and sentence structures to avoid repetition in your essay, as well.

3) Conclusion
Write a short conclusion to sum up the whole essay. This conclusion can be considered a paraphrased version of the introduction. Restate the list of the main points and how the article and the professor either agreed or disagreed. Because this is the last section of the essay, many people tend to run out of time do not write a conclusion. First of all, running out of time can be avoided with proper organization and following our process. Secondly, forgetting to write a conclusion is a big mistake that you should avoid. Even if there is only one sentence in the conclusion, you still need to have one. It is essential for an essay to have three sections. Missing one section will make the essay incomplete, and that will cost you some points.

Step 4: Review

You should time yourself so that you have about 5 minutes left to review your essay. Fix typos, check for inconsistencies of the tenses of the verbs, the plurality of the subjects and verbs, and add transition words wherever you see fit. Having good transitions will gain you some extra points. Make sure the essay flows in a logical order.

Writing Template for Scenario 1: Contradiction

This scenario is the most common scenario. In this scenario, the lecture will contradict or cast doubt on the key points in the reading passage.

Writing Template:
The reading and the lecture are both about ______. Whereas the author of the reading states that _______, the lecturer suggests that ________. The lecturer casts doubt on the main points made in the reading by providing two/three reasons.

First of all, according to the reading, _____________ .However, the lecturer disputes this point. He/She says that _________. Furthermore, he/she mentions that ___________

Secondly, the reading states that _______. Nevertheless, the lecturer refutes this argument. He/She argues that __________. In addition, he/she points out ________.

Finally, the reading claims that _________. On the other hand, the lecturer believe that _____. He/She thinks that _______. Moreover, he/she feels that ________

In conclusion, although the reading and the lecture are both about _______, the two/three main points made in the reading are effectively challenged by the lecturer.
Writing Template for Scenario 2: Supporting with examples

In this scenario, the main points of the lecture are examples that support the key points in the reading passage.

Writing Template:
The reading and the lecture are both about _____________. The reading states that ____________. The lecture builds upon those same ideas to give a more comprehensive picture with two/three examples.

First of all, according to the reading, _________. Supporting this idea, the lecturer explains that _________. Furthermore, he/she mentions that __________.

Secondly, the reading states that_______. The lecturer then goes on to explain that ________. In addition, he/she points out ________.

Finally, the reading claims that _______. In support of this idea, the lecturer brings up the point that ________. (Optional) Moreover, he/she feels that _________.

In conclusion, although the reading and the lecture both discuss __________, the two/three main points made in the reading are effectively supported by the lecturer.
 
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