TOEFL® Writing Practice 54

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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: Some students like classes where teachers lecture (do all of the talking) in class. Other students prefer classes where the students do some of the talking. Which type of class do you prefer? Give specific reasons and details to support your choice.
Word Count: 0
 

Question: Some students like classes where teachers lecture (do all of the talking) in class. Other students prefer classes where the students do some of the talking. Which type of class do you prefer? Give specific reasons and details to support your choice.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

There is a growing public concern over the most effective education method. Some advocate that education will be truly effective only when it is specifically designed to meet the individual needs and interests of each student. By contrast, some people argue that the traditional teacher-centered approach is more suitable for education, particularly post-secondary. Personally, I agree that the former method is superior. For, having just the teacher talk the entire class is not beneficial to anyone.

First of all, the traditional teacher-centered approach to education ignores the individual needs and interests of each student, which proves counterproductive. For centuries, we have placed too much emphasis on the importance of teachers in education, and have taken it for granted that it is the teacher's duty to determine what and how to teach. Meanwhile, the students should accept whatever was provided to them. However, a recent study by experts of psychology and education revealed that this traditional single-sided education method has low efficiency because it puts students in a passive position. As our society progresses, old concepts of education should be transformed from teacher-centered to student-centered, which would achieve more effective teaching and learning.

Moreover, earnest communication and interactions lead to better results, and these should be based on the acknowledgment of the differences from one student to another. Since teaching is a process full of interaction, a mutual understanding helps teachers adjust their teaching to adapt to individual student needs. Furthermore, every student is a unique individual; students differ from each other in regards to reading, writing, comprehension, etc. Consequently, when teaching, a teacher that acknowledges this is more likely to impart knowledge to their students than a teacher who ignores the differences.

As well, student-centered education actually involves the student in the learning process. When student-centered education is offered, students feel a stronger sense of importance, which may help them to participate more actively in the learning process. Overall, this will contribute to deeper learning and understanding. Not only do the students benefit from this method, but teachers would likely discover that teaching is more rewarding this way. Another reason to advocate for student-centered education is the realization that the relationship between students and teachers, or learning and teaching, are in fact two sides of a coin. Once the harmony between these two is established, effective education will become reality.

In sum, student-centered education is far superior to when the teacher just lectures at the students all the time. While it is very likely that people will never be able to come to the same conclusion on this controversial issue due to different experiences and conflicting values, I insist that student-centered education will enrich our education. However, I do hope that public awareness of the issue will lead to a unified front in how best to improve our education system.  

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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