TOEFL® Integrated Writing Practice 29

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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.

Car manufacturers and governments have eagerly been seeking a replacement for the internal combustion engine as an automobile's main source of power. The most promising alternative source is currently the hydrogen-based fuel-cell engine which uses electricity created by hydrogen to power the car. There are several advantages to fuel-cell engines over the internal-combustion engine and will probably replace them soon.

The main problem with internal-combustion engines is that they rely on petroleum. Petroleum is a finite resource. At some point in the future, the supply of oil in the Earth's crust will be exhausted. On the other hand, fuel-cell engines use hydrogen fuel for motive power. Hydrogen cannot easily be depleted and is found in various plentiful resources including natural gas and water. This makes hydrogen fuel cells a better environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional fossil fuels.

Also, fuel-cell engines are particularly attractive as an alternative power source for cars because they will solve several of the world's pollution problems. By oxidising molecular hydrogen, the only direct by-product of their energy generation is water, which means they could significantly reduce pollution and man-made greenhouse gases. On the other hand,  carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons are released when fuel is burned in an internal combustion engine.

Finally, fuel-cell engines will become economically competitive due to the reduced cost of operating them. A fuel-cell automobile is almost twice as efficient at fuel use as an internal-combustion automobile. This means that it only requires half of the fuel energy to go the same distance as an internal-combustion powered car.

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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 and the lecture discuss alternative fuel sources, namely, hydrogen-based fuel-cell engines. While the reading claims that this fuel source is advantageous, the lecturer identifies several issues with the use of hydrogen and provides three reasons as to why it is not a good choice.  

First, in the reading, hydrogen is described as an attractive resource because it is an infinite supply of energy. However, the lecturer argues that due to the technological challenges of both obtaining and storing hydrogen, it is impractical to replace internal-combustion engines with fuel-cell engines.

Second, the reading makes a claim about hydrogen being environmentally-friendly. The lecturer refutes this. He says that even though fuel-cell engines would produce less pollution, the hydrogen manufacturing process would generate pollution when purifying the hydrogen. Moreover, he feels that this would not solve long-term problems with pollution.

Finally, while the author of the reading argues that the fuel-efficient hydrogen-based engines will cost less to operate, the professor refutes this concept. He cites the extremely expensive materials required to manufacture the engine, such as platinum, as being the source of the expense. Furthermore, he states that past attempts to replace materials this way have not been successful.

In conclusion, although the reading and the lecture are both about alternative fuel sources, the three main points made in the reading about the benefits of using hydrogen-based fuel-cell engines are challenged by the lecturer’s counterpoints.

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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