TOEFL® Writing Practice 53

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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: People recognize a difference between children and adults. What events (experiences or ceremonies) make a person an adult? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.
Word Count: 0

Question: People recognize a difference between children and adults. What events (experiences or ceremonies) make a person an adult? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

Childhood is a carefree time. A child usually has no worries, no responsibilities, and is generally happy. There is a time when children slowly learn to be responsible and eventually start to have worries. Eventually, they cross the line into adulthood. A person goes through many milestones as they change from child to adult, and the main experiences are going to college, getting a job, and getting married.

The first experience that helps shape children into adults is going to college. In college, a person grows as an individual and learns responsibility, gains independence, and learns some discipline. College students also learn how to contribute to society by learning more about the career path they wish to take. During this time they mature and develop skills required for adulthood. They come to know what their responsibilities are and how to handle them. It is at this point that young people truly start to consider their future, goals, and desires.

The second life event that makes a person an adult is getting that first "real" job. For, it is around this time when young people gradually start to realize that, one day, their own parents won't be there to financially support them and that balancing work and life is a real challenge. Personally, I have always lived a frivolous life; I was pampered and had everything given to me. I didn't understand pain or sacrifice for the longest of time. It was only after I started working that I started to realize the value of money, and how much time and effort goes into earning a living. My elders always told me that one day I would realize the value of money when I started earning my own. Many people have this same realization when they start their first job.

Finally, the most significant ceremony that marks the transformation from youth to adult is marriage. Now, while some people marry young, they quickly mature and grow into adults. Marriage definitely signifies a coming of age and a transition from child to adult. For, marriage requires commitment and responsibility to yourself and your partner, and any future children you may have. It shows that you are ready to take on responsibilities that come with marriage like sharing the bills, house duties, making tough decisions, and others.

In closing, growing up is hard to do and age often has nothing to do with it. Some children think like adults and some adults still think like children. However, it is the responsibilities and commitments that an adult accepts and undertakes that show when he has matured into an adult. Even people in their mid-20s, who are officially adults, may still be caught in between acting like a child and behaving like an adult. But, when a person has gone through each of these three experiences, I believe s/he can be said to truly be an adult.

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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