TOEFL® Integrated Writing Practice 25

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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.

Chevalier de Seingalt (1725–1798) recounted his life and adventures in a long memoir written toward the end of his life. the Chevalier was a controversial figure, but because of the people he met, his memoir became a valuable historical source about eighteenth century European society.  However, the accuracy of the memoir has been brought into question by critics claiming that the Chevalier distorted or invented events to make his life seem more glamorous than it was.

One point brought into question was that, in his memoir, he Chevalier claims he was very wealthy while living in Switzerland. While it was known he spent large amounts of money on parties and gambling there, evidence has recently surfaced showing that the Chevalier borrowed large sums from a Swiss merchant.  Critics argue that because of his need for borrowing money he could not have really been very rich.

Critics also question the accuracy of the conversations the Chevalier records in his memoir between himself and the famous writer Voltaire. There is no doubt that these two men met and conversed; however, critics state that it is impossible for the conversations to accurately be captured because they were recorded many years after they occurred. Critics point out that exact phrases from the extended conversation held years before are impossible to remember.

Another disputed event is the Chevalier's account of his escape from a notorious prison in Venice, Italy. The Chevalier claims he used a piece of metal to make a hole in the ceiling and climb out of his cell. Critics argue that, while it makes for an enjoyable reading, it is more likely that the jailers were bribed to free him. They note that the Chevalier had many politically well-connected friends in Venice capable of offering a bribe.

 

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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

Both the reading passage and lecture cover Chevalier de Seingalt’s autobiographical memoir. While the author of the reading passage questions the memoir’s accuracy, the lecturer provides three reasons to defend the memoir.

First, the reading brings up evidence that the Chavalier was in debt, meaning he could not have been wealthy. The professor refutes this, explaining that the Chevalier was rich in assets, but occasionally borrowed funds. According to the professor, being low on cash funds is not the same as being financially poor.

Second, the reading states that the memoir is fraudulent in light of the Chevalier’s claimed ability to remember exact conversations with Voltaire. Nevertheless, the lecturer argues that the Chevalier’s habit of recording each conversation with Voltaire explains his ability to recall those discussions in detail. Moreover, the lecturer feels that this has been confirmed by those who knew the Chevalier.

Finally, the author believes that the Chevalier’s retelling of his incredible prison escape is fictitious, and that bribery is the more likely explanation. On the other hand, the professor refutes this idea of bribery. He says even very wealthy prisoners were often unable to successfully bribe their way out. Additionally, the lecturer notes the existence of some government papers as strong evidence that the Chevalier’s escape having been recorded.

In conclusion, although the reading and the lecture are both about the validity of the Chevalier’s memoir, the lecturer effectively disputes all the three of the main points made in the reading.

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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