TOEFL® Writing Practice 145

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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: It is better for children to grow up in the countryside than in a big city. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to develop your essay.
Word Count: 0

Question: It is better for children to grow up in the countryside than in a big city. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to develop your essay.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

Given the statement “it is better for children to grow up in the countryside than a big city”, I emphatically disagree. Cities have a wide array of things that cannot be offered from life in the countryside. Life in a city will provide children with more cultural experiences, opportunities for activities, and a more diverse population of people with whom to interact. Cities are most certainly the best option for raising children.

    An initial reason for raising kids in the city is the availability of activities that are deemed to bring more culture into their lives. Some of these activities include museums of all kinds, from science to art. These places of learning immerse children in knowledge that they could not gain in the countryside. Other activities include trips to a zoo, seeing a play, hearing a concert, or visiting government offices. All of these activities expose children to the broader aspects of our culture and community, making life in the city highly beneficial to learning.

    Additionally cities can offer more opportunities for hobby-based activities. With the large numbers of people who live in cities people are able to find a group who are interested in the same activities as themselves. So if a child wants to play a specific sport, any variety of teams and leagues are available to them. If a child wants to join a chess club, a science club, or board game league all of those activities will be available to them. This variety of league options is impossible in rural life because of the small populations. The broad types of people allow for an even broader spectrum of potential undertakings.

    This leads to the final benefit of raising a child in a city, which is the diversity of people. City life is often filled with people of different ages, religions, beliefs, and ethnicities. Raising a child in an environment where they continually interact with different ideas gives them more knowledge and a powerful understanding of how the world and people think and act. Ethnic diversity can lead to a better understanding of people and in turn create more peaceful societies. Diverse schools and communities thus lead to more creative and intelligent people, which is a bonus for everyone involved.

    The benefits offered to a child raised in a city are thus too great to justify a claim that raising them in the countryside would be more beneficial. The availability of cultural spaces for them to learn and gain interests is important. Likewise the accessibility of groups of people to pursue interests in sports and other hobbies is important. Finally the overall diversity of cities generates broader thinking and important knowledge. These advantages a city offers make it almost impossible to think that it’s better to raise a child in the countryside.

Learn How to Tackle TOEFL Independent Writing - Agree and Disagree 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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