TOEFL® Writing Practice 83

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For this task, you will write an essay in response to a question that asks you to state, explain, and support your opinion on an issue. You'll have 30 minutes to write your essay.

Typically, an effective essay will contain a minimum of 350 words.

We recommend you practice organizing your essay for the first 5 minutes with a pen and paper like you will during your TOEFL exam.

Question: Some people trust their first impressions about a person`s character because they believe these judgments are generally correct. Other people do not judge a person`s character quickly because they believe first impressions are often wrong. Compare these two attitudes. Which attitude do you agree with? Support your choice with specific examples.
Word Count: 0
 

Question: Some people trust their first impressions about a person`s character because they believe these judgments are generally correct. Other people do not judge a person`s character quickly because they believe first impressions are often wrong. Compare these two attitudes. Which attitude do you agree with? Support your choice with specific examples.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

When encountering someone for the first time, some people form an opinion based on their gut instincts. Others, however, prefer to become acquainted with newcomers rather than hastily making a first impression. I firmly believe that it is better to get to know someone before forming an opinion, since understanding people’s characters and motivations requires time and patience.

Firstly, placing confidence in first impressions or taking time to understand people will both impact how one’s character is perceived. To illustrate this example, imagine that there are many people at a professional networking event, and a timid person introduces herself to a potential acquaintance. If she is too afraid to engage in small talk, people who trust their gut instincts may assume that the woman is snobbish, and therefore disengage from further communication. Others who do not immediately judge a person, however, would likely spend more time in conversation, and perhaps recognize her shy demeanor. Thus, it is imperative to try and understand one’s true personality, especially when a person is reserved or timid.

Secondly, discerning people’s motivations is impacted by the way an opinion is formed. Take the aforementioned networking event, for instance. If a hesitant sales representative is insecure about his abilities to pitch a product to a stranger, he may initially break the ice with a silly joke. If people use this first impression to form a negative opinion, they could incorrectly assume that he is only interested in making people laugh. On the other hand, those who do not place importance in first impressions would spend more time in conversation, thus recognizing the professional’s true motivations in presenting a business deal. Consequently, holding off on quick judgments may result in correctly identifying a person’s true intentions.

To sum up, people hold contrasting opinions on the importance of first impressions, and both sides present differences when it comes to meeting people. As rapid discernment can eliminate the opportunity of getting to know people’s genuine characters and motivations, I strongly reckon that it is better to wait before judging a person and to eliminate the importance of first impressions altogether.

Learn How to Tackle TOEFL Independent Writing - Compare and Contrast Essays
Tip 1: Follow a standard TOEFL essay structure
Introductory Paragraph 1. Provide background information about the essay topic. Here are a few techniques:
  1. Begin with two sides of opinions on the essay topic
  2. Begin with the general public's opinions
  3. Introduce a fact that raises a question about the essay topic
  4. Introduce a debate on the essay topic
  5. Mention the advantage or disadvantage of a subject as a way to contrast
  6. your main opinion on the subject.

2. Write a strong thesis statement

Lesson: How to write a high-scoring TOEFL introductory paragraph part 1
Lesson: How to write a high-scoring TOEFL introductory paragraph part 2
Body Paragraph A
Body Paragraph B
Body Paragraph C (Optional)
1. Include a transition word/phrase at the beginning
2. Write a topic sentence
3. Include supporting sentences

Lesson: How to write a high-scoring TOEFL body paragraph
Conclusion Paragraph 1. Include a restatement of the thesis statement you wrote in your introduction
2. Provide a brief summary of your main ideas

Lesson: How to write a high-scoring TOEFL conclusion paragraph

There's no maximum length for your essay, but a good response is usually at least 300 words.

Tip 2: Use transition words and phrases

You need to use transition words and phrases to connect your ideas in your essay. You should have 2 transition words/phrases every 4-5 sentences.

Type of connection Transition words
These words can help you show the order of ideas. First/Second/Third
Firstly (or "First of all")/Secondly/Thirdly (or "Lastly")
For one thing/For another thing/Finally (or "Lastly")
In the first place/in the second place/Finally (or "Lastly")

Instead of "First", "First of all" and "Firstly", we can use "To begin with", "To start with", or "For starters". We can also use "First and foremost" to state that the first key point is the most important one among all key points.

Likewise, instead of "Finally" and "Lastly", we can use "Last but not least" to state that the final key point is just as important as the others, despite it being mentioned last.

These words can help you add information In addition, furthermore, additionally, also, next, moreover, what's more, on top of that
These words can help you conclude or to summarize: To sum up, in summary, in conclusion, to conclude, all in all, all things considered ,overall, taking everything into consideration, in a nutshell
These words can help you demonstrate contrast Conversely, on the contrary, by contrast, by way of contrast, on one hand/on the other hand
These words can help you compare or demonstrate similarity Similarly, likewise, by the same token, along similar lines
These words can help you state a result. As a result, as a consequence, consequently, therefore
These words can help you state a generalization. Generally, on the whole, in most cases, in general
These words can help you clarify a point. That is, in other words, to put it simply, That is to say, just to reiterate
These words can help you give examples. For example, for instance, take something, for example, to give a clear example
These words can help you state an alternative. Alternatively, as another possibility
Tip 3: Vary your sentence structure

To achieve a higher score or a perfect 5 out of 5 on the TOEFL English language criteria, you must show that you can accurately and flexibly use a variety of structures.

Lesson: Achieving sentence variety part 1
Lesson: Achieving sentence variety part 2
Lesson: Achieving sentence variety part 3
Tip 5: Vary your vocabulary

You should avoid using the same vocabulary throughout your essay. Instead, you can use synonyms or phrases that have the same meaning of words.

Here are some ways you can improve on this area:

  1. Read our sample essays and pay attention to words you are not familiar with.
  2. Utilize our TOEFL Vocabulary system
  3. Utilize our TOEFL synonyms exercises
 
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