TOEFL® Writing Practice 67

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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: In your country, is there more need for land to be left in its natural condition or is there more need for land to be developed for housing and industry? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
Word Count: 0

Question: In your country, is there more need for land to be left in its natural condition or is there more need for land to be developed for housing and industry? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

As the human population increases, there is increased demand for development around the world. As our population increases, the need for resources does too and thus, more land is developed for housing, industry, resources, and more. Certainly, there is a need to develop more land for housing and industry in my country but there is also an urgent need to leave the land in its natural condition. There are pros and cons to both, however, the most important factors to consider are the environment, population, and the cultural attitudes.

First of all, we must consider the environment. Every year we destroy more and more of the natural earth and convert it into housing and industrial land, leaving nature more tattered. While those who argue that this is necessary for human development have a valid point as we do need food and products, we aren't the ones who have to live with the results. We are not the ones who have to live without knowing what a forest is; we aren't the ones that have to live with ecosystems being damaged; it's the next generation.

The next issue to consider is population. This country is becoming more and more crowded, life expectancy is increasing, and there is no sign of birth rates declining. This problem seems to have no simple solution. The situation being what it is, I can understand the point of people who argue that we should spend more money, get more resources, and destroy nature to make more shopping centers, power plants, and modern day conveniences. Surely the current situation is an unfortunate truth, and I agree that using the land is necessary. However, I am very confident that this nonstop destruction of nature and unnatural development will come back to haunt us and our families in the not-so-far future.

Finally, we must consider cultural attitudes toward this problem. Unfortunately, most people don't believe the problem is as serious as it is. Increasingly, land is either being cultivated for farmland or being cleared so we can build towns and cities, residential areas, industrial areas, etc. I understand that there is plenty of land to be used - so why shouldn't we use it? It is our land to use. However, unfortunately, man is the only being that can adapt to most any environment and the only creature to actively and deliberately destroy his habitat. And the consequences of this attitude are devastating.

Ultimately, both sides of the argument have valid points and it is difficult to come up with a straightforward solution to this problem. There is no perfect solution that would not require some to give up something. But, if we do not find some solution, it will not remain a question of which we should do but it will become a question of how do we survive the consequences of our own actions. Therefore, I think there has to be some compromise that involves limiting the unnatural development of land in our country while still allowing some more construction of housing and industrial centers.

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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