TOEFL® Writing Practice 184

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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 students move to a new school, they sometimes face problems. How can schools help these students with their problems? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.
Word Count: 0

Question: When students move to a new school, they sometimes face problems. How can schools help these students with their problems? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

Attending a new school is troubling for most students. The school and the students are completely new to them, and they might have difficulty making new friends. To make things even worse, most teachers introduce new students in front of the whole class which can make them feel more awkward. To help new students, schools should show them around, introduce them to groups they might enjoy, and offer counseling if they need it.

First, students should be given the opportunity to see the school, how it is set up, and what is available to them. One of the main problems that students face in a new school is that they do not know their way around. It is hard enough being the new kid without taking forever to find the classroom because no one told or showed the student how to get there. Schools usually have an orientation before a new year starts but new students do not always join at the beginning of a school year.

Second, moving away from friends is hard, and making new ones can be just as difficult. But it does not have to be. If teachers and school staff work on introducing a student to groups and organizations within the school, the student will have a better chance at and an easier time making friends. For, groups bring people together based on common interests. If a student is familiarized with groups at the school, s/he will feel welcome and accepted by the others, which will offer a lot of relief from the stress of being "the new kid."

Finally, students may find it stressful not only in their new school but at home as well. They may face problems outside of school that are only known to them. Therefore, counseling should be available if a student needs it. By offering counseling, students can feel safe knowing they have someone to go to during school if they are having any problems at school or even at home.

In conclusion, we attend school for a good chunk of our lives; the staff at school should be accommodating of students, especially newcomers. If a newcomer does not feel welcome or deals with too much stress, they may become depressed, do poorly, or even drop out of school. Having the extra attention from staff - teachers, group leaders, counselors - would ease the transition to a new school. After all, education is important for everyone, and schools should do their best to make sure they are helping solve problems rather than making them worse.

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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