TOEFL® Integrated Writing Practice 28

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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 points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they answer the specific problems presented in the reading passage

Folic acid, or folate, is one of 12 B vitamins and is especially important to women who are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant. It has been shown that adequate folate ingestion during the preconception period helps protect against several congenital malformations such as neural tube defects. Neural tube defects are severe abnormalities of the central nervous system that develops in the first few weeks of embryo development and can result in malformations of the spine, skull, and brain. The most common neural tube defects are spina bifida and anencephaly. Because of this risk to the health of the embryo, pregnant women especially need proper amounts of folic acid and as a result it has been proposed that folic acid should be added to bread and other flour products to avoid this problem. However there are problems that could arise from this measure and it would not solve all of the current problems.

First, even if the folic acid was added to items like bread, women, even a young woman, would not be able to receive an adequate amount of it through a typical diet. The amount of folic acid women would receive would vary greatly depending on the type of diet they maintained. This method would not be a reliable way to solve the problem of pregnant women not receiving adequate amounts of it early in the pregnancy.

Also, by adding extra things to food, it can have adverse effects on the elderly. The addition of folic acid to everyday foods could be dangerous to the elderly community because they generally take supplements that add 400 micrograms (μg) to their daily folic acid intake. Adding folic acid to their daily food would increase this amount to more dangerous levels causing them to have higher levels of unmetabolized folic acid which can accelerate the growth of preneoplastic lesions.

And finally, tablets that add folic acid to the diet of pregnant women are readily available. The levels of folic acid in these tablets are only suitable for pregnant women and guarantee they receive the proper amount when used.

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Question: Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they answer the specific problems presented in the reading passage

Word Count: 0

Listen to part of a lecture on the same topic.

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Sample Essay

While the lecturer acknowledges the truth behind the need for pregnant women to consume higher levels of folic acid, he disagrees with the methods by which they should get that boost. He believes the method of putting folic acid in bread would be a good way to ensure that pregnant women receive their needed doses. 


To begin with, he believes that despite what the article says, women would eat more bread while pregnant. The reading mentions that women, especially young women, might have varying diets that influence how much they eat. The lecturer sees this as not practical because women will do what they need to receive the proper amounts of folic acid while pregnant. 


Second, the lecturer tackles the notion that increased folic acid in bread would be bad for the elderly, who can acquire lesions from unmetabolized folic acid in their blood. He explains that there is much unknown information about how much folic acid is harmful to people. Most folic acid is flushed from people’s systems through urination and makes diseases related to excess folic acid a low risk. The health risks of folic acid are simply unsubstantiated.


Third, the lecturer responds to the notion that excess folic acid is necessary during the early stages of pregnancy. While this is true, he points out that many women may be unaware they’re pregnant during the early stages. Therefore, they would have no way of ensuring they are getting the doses they need. 


In conclusion, the lecturer points out reasons for supporting putting extra folic acid in bread. He believes that women will adjust their diets to meet this intake, or have greater intake even when they don’t know they’re pregnant. Additionally, the risks posed to others, especially the elderly, would be negligible, making this idea a good one. 

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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