TOEFL® Writing Practice 113

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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: In future, students may have the choice of studying at home by using technology such as computers or television or of studying at traditional schools. Which would you prefer? Use reasons and specific details to explain your choice.
Word Count: 0

Question: In future, students may have the choice of studying at home by using technology such as computers or television or of studying at traditional schools. Which would you prefer? Use reasons and specific details to explain your choice.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

There already exist several different types of education and as we develop more technology, it is likely that more options will emerge. Some kids are already homeschooled, but with the increase in technology and online courses, it's possible that better homeschooling options will soon be available. Surely, different persons have differing opinions about whether it is better to study at home or study at school. Personally, I prefer to go to traditional schools because schools provide disciplined learning, experienced teachers, and good facilities.

First of all, studying at school offers a disciplined learning environment. Although learning from a computer and television is comfortable, it is void of the disciplined learning environment that is provided by schools. Schools provide a balanced atmosphere where each subject is given equal weight and is taught on a regular basis; this leads to a balanced education of children. This discipline is absent in studying at home as we are inclined to focus more on subjects which appeal to us. For instance, some children prefer social sciences and might devote most of their time to this subject, while ignoring the subjects they dislike. This unbalanced focus inhibits overall development. Children are too young to decide what they should learn. Schools are superior because they have a rounded curriculum and teachers know their students and give individual attention to improve students' skills.

Additionally, the best equipment and technology is expensive and many cannot afford it. Meanwhile, schools provide all necessary equipment, experienced teachers, and the best facilities. Also, there are instances where students require constant supervision and vigilance. For example, while performing experiments in chemistry, which involves lots of dangerous chemicals, an experienced adult such as a teacher must be present. In these labs, children tend to "fool around" and could potentially put themselves in danger. Guidance is required by educated adults to understand and complete the experiments successfully. No television or computer can offer such guidance or oversight.

Lastly, studying at school allows children to get to know one another and build relationships and develop social skills. They also learn to work with a team, especially through group assignments; they learn to delegate and distribute tasks among themselves according to their strengths. Children learn how to socialize, make friends, resolve conflicts, cooperate with and care for others, and so many more skills that can't possibly be learned when studying alone at home. Moreover, children cannot develop certain critical life skills without the level of interaction that school provides.

Thus, taking into account all of these factors, I would opt to be educated at a traditional school as opposed to studying at home. In traditional schools, students learn a multitude of skills from socialization, teamwork, compassion, conflict resolution, delegation, and more. Learning at home via a computer or television does not help youth develop such skills as there is no interaction and very little guidance. Studying on a computer at home should be reserved for supplemental learning.

Learn How to Tackle TOEFL Independent Writing - Preference 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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