TOEFL® Writing Practice 61

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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 listen to music for different reasons and at different times. Why is music important to many people? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
Word Count: 0

Question: People listen to music for different reasons and at different times. Why is music important to many people? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

Music is universal. People have been making music for thousands of years. There isn't a part of the world where music is not a part of everyday life. Whether it is created by nature in the rustling of leaves on a windy day or the sound of a key being pressed on a piano, music is everywhere. Music affects us in so many ways, and that is why it is so important to people. It can cheer us up, calm us down, and inspire us.

One reason music is so important to people is that it has the ability to cheer us up when we are feeling down. Turning on your favorite song and singing along after a bad day just melts all the worries away. It has the power to make you forget about everything that was troubling you and to make you want to move your body to the beat. It is hard to be upset when you just want to groove. Moreover, music is an excellent pick-me-up and a great stress reliever.

Secondly, music is very relaxing. There are a variety of genres that will ease not only physical stress but mental stress too. Classical music is one such genre, and it is said to help people study better. Other genres that can be very calming include Folk, Jazz, and Blues. Different people appreciate different kinds of music; some even find less soft music relaxing, too. Music calms, de-stresses, and uplifts people.

Finally, music is an art form that inspires people, as well as other art. Obviously, there is the art of dance, but many painters, designers, and other artists are inspired by music to create their own works. Sometimes the music is just so moving that it stirs an idea in us that is not necessarily an art form. Other times it inspires us to get through obstacles, speak our minds, or even create our own music.

In conclusion, music is a unique, universal language that will forever remain as such. A world without music seems unthinkable, and rather unbearable. It is the one thing that everyone on this planet can understand and relate to. It also inspires human connection and bonding. Music is played and celebrated everywhere; it is on the radio, in movies and television shows, at weddings, funerals, etc. Music is life.

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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