TOEFL® Writing Practice 174

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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 believe that university students should be required to attend classes. Others believe that going to classes should be optional for students. Which point of view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to explain your answer.
Word Count: 0
 

Question: Some people believe that university students should be required to attend classes. Others believe that going to classes should be optional for students. Which point of view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to explain your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

Considering a large number of people who now attend college, the question of required attendance for university classes now affects many students. On the one hand, knowledge is best acquired through consistent interaction with material and professors. On the other hand, college is a personal choice and a personal purchase. Therefore making attendance in college courses obligatory is not a fair or responsible approach to encouraging students’ presence.

    On first thought, it seems obvious that people should attend college classes. Professors are the definition of masters of their subject area. Knowledge held by professors can only be gained through attendance of lectures. Similarly, class time is the best place for students to voice questions, hear their peers’ thoughts, and get clarification from their teachers. If a person is attending college to learn then their primary motivation should be taking advantage of every opportunity they have to become a smarter person. Class time is one of the main purposes of attending college and as such is vital to any student.

    Despite the importance of attending class, however, making turnout mandatory is not logical. Unlike lower levels of school, college is not a requirement but a choice. As a choice students should be allowed to decide when they wish to participate. Likewise, college is a purchase that a student can utilize. When a person purchases a car they are not under obligation to drive that car each day. Rather, people are allowed to take advantage of their purchases when and how they please. Therefore students should be given the choice to attend class or not given that they bought their rightful place at school.

    Furthering this argument against mandatory attendance is the thought that college is ultimately about mastering content in a specific field of study. A person’s presence in class does not show that they have grasped anything. While attendance definitely helps, the goal of a university education should be acquiring that knowledge and proving its acquisition. If a student has learned the necessary material it should not matter how often they chose to participate in their personal purchase of class time with a professor and peers.

    In conclusion, it is not a college’s rightful place to make attendance mandatory. Although attendance is an important part of the learning process, a college education is a personal choice which people cannot be forced to participate in. Also, college is about attaining knowledge, and if a person can gain insight without attending each lecture that is their advantage and choice. It would be a misuse of power and unnecessary for universities to make attendance mandatory.

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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