TOEFL® Writing Practice 47

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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: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? A person`s childhood years (the time from birth to twelve years of age) are the most important years of a person`s life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
Word Count: 0
 

Question: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? A person`s childhood years (the time from birth to twelve years of age) are the most important years of a person`s life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

It is commonly said that life is short so we should enjoy it while we can. But, it seems that people tend to forget how to do this with age. Certainly, children are the best at living in the moment and enjoying life to the fullest. One's childhood is not only special for this reason, but it is a critical period in which the brain develops rapidly and forms beliefs and values. Surely a person's childhood years are indeed the most important years of his life for these reasons.

To begin with, the initial years of childhood are when a person learns a lot about himself, his family, society and the world in general. A child's mind is extremely impressionable and he adopts values and learns behaviors that he observes around him. In fact, it is said that between the age of 0 and 7, children have the largest mental capacity to learn than at any other point in life. Thus, the role of his family and school is of utmost importance at this critical time.

Secondly, it has been shown that children who are given the love and support of their parents and teachers during their childhood turn out to be mature and emotionally-balanced teenagers and adults, for the most part. On the other hand, if we consider the childhood of criminals and individuals with antisocial characteristics, we find that most of them have been through some form of trauma as a child. They were most likely deprived of proper care, education, and love. Delinquents quite often also have a history of childhood abuse. Clearly, one's childhood is the most crucial time in one's entire life.

Lastly, children are always inquisitive and willing to learn. When they are given a stimulating environment in which they can develop their talents and learn to enjoy their work, they become good citizens who are an asset to the nation. Family is the most important institution in a child's formative years because parents are the biggest role models to their children. Kids develop their ethics, moral values and temperament in tune with what they see in their parents and elder siblings. The type of personality and attitude that a child develops is difficult to change, thus it’s important to ensure good influences surround them at this important time.

In conclusion, children begin with a blank slate and are taught behaviors, values, ethics, morals, beliefs and more during their childhood. I firmly believe that childhood is a vital part of a person's life that plays an important role in shaping his future. There is ample proof that children absorb information and learn behaviors that they observe, making it an essential point in one's life.

Learn How to Tackle TOEFL Independent Writing - Agree and Disagree 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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