TOEFL® Writing Practice 119

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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: When famous people such as actors, athletes and rock stars give their opinions, many people listen. Do you think we should pay attention to these opinions? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer
Word Count: 0
 

Question: When famous people such as actors, athletes and rock stars give their opinions, many people listen. Do you think we should pay attention to these opinions? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

There isn’t any question, when famous people, such as actors, athletes or rock stars give their opinions, people listen. However, the public should remember that each person has their own problems and opinions, and they don’t need to relate to celebrities all the time. I feel that people shouldn’t listen to a celebrity’s opinion because they live an unstable life, they have a completely different lifestyle than the “common man” and they may be taken out of context. So, I feel that we should not pay attention to their personal opinions all the time.



To start off, it isn’t any secret that celebrities live a turbulent lifestyle and there is not much stability. They are constantly on the move and typically do not show very many emotions to the public. They do not have time to sit and brood over issues, as they are busy with their hectic schedules. This causes them to say and do things in the moment, without much thought. Just like normal people, they may regret something they said in the heat of the moment. The difference is, they are recorded and the recording can be used to sway people’s opinions, even if that wasn’t the intended cause of the celebrity.



Next, many fans worship their favorite celebrities and keep a tab on everything they do and say. They are very much influenced by their opinions, thinking that whatever they say is true. People also have a habit of relating a famous person’s opinion to their own life, which isn’t relevant as there are two very different lifestyles being compared. When you take a celebrity’s opinion about something related to lifestyle, it can have devastating effects. For example, if a celebrity talks about an expensive new skin cream that everyone has to have, she probably isn’t expecting someone living pay check to pay check to go out and purchase the cream. However, when you follow a celebrity’s opinion closely, this may happen, which can result in debt and bad fortune to your family.



Lastly, many times a celebrity’s opinion can be taken out of context. For example, many times the media only shows us short clips of an interview that may have lasted twenty minutes. The media is able to portray many things from cutting a celebrity off mid-sentence. They could say “XYZ airline was great, but they have a lot of delays, so I wouldn’t use them again.” The company could edit the footage to say “XYZ airline was great”, which may cause many people to use them, solely based on this misleading information.



With this being said, I don’t think people should pay much attention to a celebrity’s opinion. They lead a different type of lifestyle than a common person, and don’t have much time to think about the opinions that go on record and in many instances are taken out of context. One should focus on being true to themselves, and figuring out how they feel about issues by doing research and having a think about it, rather than just follow someone else.
Learn How to Tackle TOEFL Independent Writing - Description or Explanation 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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