TOEFL® Writing Practice 171

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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: The twentieth century saw great change. In your opinion, what is one change that should be remembered about the twentieth century? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.
Word Count: 0

Question: The twentieth century saw great change. In your opinion, what is one change that should be remembered about the twentieth century? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

The twentieth century was a time of significant change. There were so many things that were invented and created in the twentieth century. We saw the creation of a lot of new technology which has had a lot to do with causing other changes, and the overall advancement of the world. One critical change, in particular, that should be remembered about the twentieth century is the invention of the internet. The internet made it possible for all people to interact globally, chat face-to-face from anywhere, and work from home.

First, while telephones allow us to make calls internationally, the internet has allowed us to do so much more. The internet allows us to communicate and share photos with a single click; we can shop from home in our pajamas; we can share and spread ideas and get help making our dreams come true. As well, the internet provides endless entertainment in multiple forms as we are able to watch movies, play games, chat with friends, and more. Perhaps most importantly, the internet enables us to spend time with family and see them without even getting on a plane.

Another great feature of the internet is video calling. For some, it is difficult to afford a plane ticket or the gas to drive across the country. Video calls allow us to talk to our friends and family and actually see them face-to-face without having to leave the house. Of course, we cannot hug or touch family and friends through the internet, but just being able to see their face when talking to them is more than enough. Video calls are also excellent for work and business meetings.

Finally, the internet has created so many jobs where people can work from home. Some of the work-from-home opportunities that the internet has created include graphic design, web design, article writing, customer service, and teaching. Individuals who are unable to get to a physical workplace - or simply don't want to - can work remotely online and have their paycheck deposited directly into their bank. It allows people the freedom to work from anywhere that has an internet connection. And for those who are uncomfortable around others, they can work from home and learn how to interact until they are ready for real face-to-face meetings.

In closing, the invention of the internet was a major event that changed the entire world and it must not be forgotten. It seems as if almost anything is possible because of the internet. For, it has created countless opportunities and allowed us to make more friends, regardless of location, even though we can't meet them personally. The internet is one of the greatest tools for communication and business, as well. Our world would be a much different place without it.

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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