TOEFL® Writing Practice 107

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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 people need to complain about a product or poor service, some prefer to complain in writing and others prefer to complain in person. Which way do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
Word Count: 0

Question: When people need to complain about a product or poor service, some prefer to complain in writing and others prefer to complain in person. Which way do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

In our world, there are so many people that it’s impossible to please everyone. Surely, there are bound to be complaints - about services, products, processes, everything! Also, in our current world - thanks to the internet - we are fortunate enough to have the ability to complain about a problem instantly. It varies from person to person as to whether they want to complain about something in person or in writing. Personally, I do not like waiting for things to happen. Thus, I will see to it that I immediately make a complaint in person and get the matter solved. For, writing to the person it concerns may mean that the issue will take many days to resolve.

First of all, complaining to the necessary individual face to face is a much better option. Communicating your complaints in person enables you to explain your complaints more clearly and concisely. The person in charge will likely take you more seriously thereon and will realize that you want to see the issue resolved. It is also more likely that your matter will be addressed more immediately. Complaining in person allows you to defend your complaint and any additional issues or negative comments that may arise. Reputation is important and it is probable that the problem will be resolved in order to satisfy customers.

Secondly, I dislike stating complaints in writing because it's inefficient as we do not know when it will be read or who will be reading it. A problem cannot be communicated with the same emotion or follow-through in writing as in person. As well, it is not always practical to make a written complaint. The time and cost to write and send a complaint are high, while the chance that someone will read it - let alone a person with some authority to solve the complaint - is low.

Finally, when you send someone a letter of complaint or an email, it is not seen as very urgent and action could be put off for another day or more, or the matter simply forgotten. It is advisable that to speak to a manager directly if you have an issue so that it can be addressed right away, and the burden reduced for future customers.

In closing, I will always lodge a complaint in person no matter what because the chance that the issue will be resolved in a timely manner is significantly more. Also, the severity and emotion behind a complaint are much better communicated in person, face to face. A written complaint might be ignored or could even just be tossed in the garbage, whereas a personal complaint guarantees an audience and some form of agreement and/or resolution.

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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