TOEFL® Writing Practice 187

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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: If you could make one important change in a school that you attended, what change would you make? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.
Word Count: 0

Question: If you could make one important change in a school that you attended, what change would you make? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

When it comes to schools, no one school has perfect policies; there is always room for improvement and change. Personally, if I could make one important change in my school, I would include more extracurricular activities such as music, ballet, and swimming. Many of my peers dropped out of school because there were no options for participating in activities that were of interest to them. Students want to, and ought to, regularly participate in something of their own interest rather than constantly doing compulsory activities. Upon learning that this wasn't encouraged in our school, they pursued their interests outside the school.

First of all, it is no secret that music has become an integral part of the life of young people. Since I was in school, music has had a huge influence on me. Everyone around me was being positively influenced or inspired by music. But unfortunately, my school only allowed the use of instruments for special functions. There was no music class and no extracurricular music program. I had to find an alternative and practice it outside the school, which was entirely inconvenient. I learned to play piano, guitar, and violin at a music institute, but I was disappointed and a little demotivated that my school did not offer anything like this.

Another example of an extracurricular activity that motivates students and teaches valuable lessons is ballet. I was always fascinated by young girls and boys doing ballet. There is something so beautiful and graceful about it, yet it involves discipline, commitment, and practice. If I had the chance to learn ballet, I am sure I would have excelled at it, and the same is true for gymnastics. I would have loved to work hard while learning, exercising, and pushing myself.

Finally, swimming is another extracurricular activity that should be offered at my school. It can be considered a hobby but it is a useful skill that can be relied on for a lifetime. It is a popular sport that has practical applications in life and in certain emergencies. Students would get exercise, develop useful skills, and have an outlet for their stress.

In conclusion, these are only some of the activities that I wish were offered at my school, even as extracurriculars. I think the experience of the majority of students would have been different in a positive way if my school had offered these activities. Not only do such activities have physical and mental benefits, but they offer a means in which to discover and develop talents and abilities and possibly even create professionals in the given field.

Learn How to Tackle TOEFL Independent Writing - If / Imaginary 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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