TOEFL® Integrated Writing Practice 27

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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 in the lecture, being sure to explain how they address the specific reasons for the Great Depression described in the reading passage.

Many people have heard of the Great Depression, but what caused this economic downturn? One of the great signifiers of the beginning was the Stock Market Crash of 1929. With that came the disaster of thousands of banks collapsing through the 1930’s. With the failure of financial institutions came a reduction in personal spending. These three factors helped bring about this awful disaster.

In the beginning came Black Tuesday 1929. That day the value of shares in the Stock Market plummeted, causing people to lose fortunes. Within two months shareholders lost nearly 40 billion dollars. With no end in sight the country braced itself for the eventual repercussions of major companies and wealthy citizens losing so much capital in such a short time.

Following the market crash came trickling effects of this disaster. Throughout the 1930’s, 9,000 banks failed. This means that any bank that overstretched itself through loans could declare bankruptcy. Any person with funds in that bank would simply lose their entire life savings. Also, people stopped investing their money in banks, and banks stopped offering loans creating a series of continued problems.

A final cause came because of this lack of personal and commercial investment. Whether because of a loss of personal finances or a lack of commercial options, people stopped buying things. Without money to buy things the market continued its downward spiral, bringing banks and personal finances with it. This lack of personal spending perpetuated the problem of dwindling market values.

In the end the causes of the Great Depression were byproducts of each other. Starting with problems of an overextended market that crashed and died quickly over a few months, the spiral began. From there the failure of banks coupled with a lack of purchasing destroyed exchanging finances. Thus the United States created and endured the greatest financial disaster of the world.

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Question: Summarize the points in the lecture, being sure to explain how they address the specific reasons for the Great Depression described 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 passage explains the multiple factors that caused the Great Depression. The lecture then built upon those same ideas to give a more comprehensive picture.

First, the market crashed in 1929 caused by millions of shares being traded. This made the stocks eventually worthless and aside from the one day losses, created an overall loss of millions of dollars. The loss of money also caused businesses to fail which led to high unemployment.

Next, the failing businesses led to the collapse of the banks. Banks offered loans to many people. When people couldn’t pay those back, the banks lost money. However, since the banks had loaned out the money in the first place, they lost all the money that people had invested. So many people lost everything they had.

Finally, the government created more problems. Since they wanted people to buy things they made laws about not bringing in foreign items. But since the businesses all failed, there was nothing being made in America and so nothing to buy. That means people didn’t have basic things they needed.

Thus the reading and the lecture created a comprehensive understanding of all the factors that led to the Great Depression.

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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