TOEFL® Integrated Writing Practice 7

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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.

North America is a continent that is completely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely in the Western Hemisphere.  It is the third largest continent and has the fourth largest population in the world. It was previously thought that the first people to reach North America were Asians, but new evidence has shown that they were actually Europeans.

 

First, scientists found spear points of similar shape and style in both Europe and North America. These spear points were large and fashioned like a sharp blade. In contrast, the spear points found in Asia are very small and don't share many similarities.

 

Also, European bones  have been found that can prove the earliest people were European. Bones analyzed from a 24,700 year old skeleton of a child have provided DNA that was able to be extracted showing genes found primarily in European humans.

 

Finally Europeans could have crossed the Atlantic Ocean while it was covered in ice during the ice age.  An ice pack stretched from France to North America during the glacial maximum. This provided the opportunity for them to travel similarly to the Inuit tribes of Alaska. They could haul their boats onto the ice at nights to rest and hunt seals and other ocean dwelling creatures for food and warmth.

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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 both concern the question of where the first North Americans came from, as new science suggests that they may have come from Europe rather than Asia. The reading presents three possible arguments to explain how this could have been possible, whereas the lecturer attempts to refute all three of these points.

The first explanation given in the reading is that spear points found in North America resemble those found in Europe, but not Asia. The lecture refutes this idea by saying that the similar shape is not due to inheritance, but instead can be explained by the fact that humans in both North America and Europe were hunting large animals.

The second point from the reading is that bones found in North America share European DNA as opposed to Asian DNA. The lecture points out that while that’s true, there are other bones that are not of European descent. Moreover, he states that only 33% of the bones found were of European descent.

The third point in the reading is that the ice shelf formed during the previous Ice Age would have allowed Europeans to walk from France to North America. However, the lecturer disagrees, saying that Europeans had no sailing capabilities at the time of the Ice Age. Furthermore, he feels that the journey as proposed in the reading would have been nearly impossible on foot.

In conclusion, the reading presents some interesting hypotheses about where North Americans came from. However, the lecture brings to light three interesting counterpoints to disprove these explanations.

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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