TOEFL® Writing Practice 126

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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: What are some of the qualities of a good parent? Use specific details and examples to explain your answer.
Word Count: 0

Question: What are some of the qualities of a good parent? Use specific details and examples to explain your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

Parents play, perhaps, the most important role in a child's upbringing. However, it is not easy to be a good parent - much to the surprise of those who think that dealing with young children is a piece of cake. Although there are many qualities of good parents, I think the three most valuable qualities a parent could have are understanding, patience, and self-discipline.

First of all, a parent needs to show their child how to act around and treat others by trying to understand their child. By listening to your child and showing them you care about what they think, say, and feel, you are laying the groundwork for your child's social skills. For example, showing your child you understand why they are crying about their broken toy demonstrates compassion and how to be kind. Your child will know how to treat people because you treated your child the same way. After all, children often learn by example.

Secondly, while children learn about the world around them, parents need to be patient with their child as s/he makes mistakes. One of the easiest ways to learn is through trial and error, and as a child tries new things and makes mistakes, parents who show patience can help a child get back up and try again without getting discouraged. Children who have patient parents can learn things more easily than children who are rushed into conclusions or led by short-tempered parents.

Lastly, a parent with strong self-discipline can show a child how to make smart and beneficial decisions. If a parent sets an example of how to make healthy eating decisions or how to be financially responsible, their child will be more likely to make the same healthy decisions. Although having a salad instead of pizza may not seem very fun, your child will see your healthy decision and want to copy what you do. This is only one small example, but the point is that children learn by example and parents are their child's most important role model.

Ultimately, there are many qualities of good parents. Some of the most important qualities in a parent are understanding, patience, and self-discipline. Parents must learn to understand their children, respond and teach with patience, and demonstrate self-discipline to instill good habits and life decisions. And while these are some prominent qualities of good parents, there are many other qualities parents need in order to be successful in raising a child.

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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