TOEFL® Writing Practice 77

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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? Playing a game is fun only when you win. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
Word Count: 0

Question: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Playing a game is fun only when you win. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

Recently, many people have been debating about whether it is a general truth that playing a game is fun only when you win. In various types of games and matches, the main focus of players on both sides seems to be winning. Of course, winning is not only for the individual players themselves but also for the honor of their team, and in certain cases, for the honor and pride of their nation. Frankly, I cannot agree with this side for more reasons than those that I will outline below. Games are meant to be fun and enjoyable with a bit of healthy competition certainly, but winning should not be the sole aim when playing a game.

First of all, the main problem with the argument that games are only fun when you win is that the true purpose of a game is to enjoy the process of the game; the result really does not matter. Consider the original games of our ancestors; the goal was to show their love of sports, their physical strength and to enjoy healthy competition together. The true purpose of their playing games was for amusement, fun and to de-stress. Another good example to highlight the essence of gaming is children, as they have more fun playing games than adults do. When we watch children play, we can understand that they are more concentrated on the game itself and do not care about the outcome or score. They are too young to realize the importance of winning the game, therefore they enjoy it more.

Additionally, when players play a game solely for the purpose of winning, they concentrate too heavily on the score and forget to enjoy the game. In this society, it seems that everyone wants to be a winner, for winners not only gain honor, but also fame, money, and so on. In the same way, the loser loses everything. Sadly, it appears that playing a game has become a way to earn material comfort, rather than the fulfillment of spirit or entertainment.

Finally, when players play only to win, they face stress from the team, possibly even from the nation, and they struggle to win. Sometimes, players will do anything, by fair means or foul, in order to win. They may use illegal drugs or bribe the judges. There are various scandals involving athletes in nearly every international sport and it seems to be getting more and more serious. Such behavior and poor sportsmanship are due to the fact that the results of games have been prioritized and linked to the gain or loss of money, fame, and the honor of a country.

To conclude, generally speaking, when you only want to win a game, sport or activity, you will lose out on the fun of playing the game. The stress brought on by this apparent need to win destroys the fun and takes away the enjoyment that is the true purpose of playing games. Considering all of these factors, we may conclude that it is wiser to learn to just enjoy playing without worrying about the outcome of a given match or game.

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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