TOEFL® Writing Practice 9

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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 has recently been announced that a new high school may be built in your community. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details in your answer.
Word Count: 0

Question: It has recently been announced that a new high school may be built in your community. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details in your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

If the government announced a plan to construct a new high school in my area I would offer my support to this idea. As a center that encourages education, a school has many amazing things to offer a community. A new school creates smaller class sizes that can improve personal education while also doubling the positions in clubs and on sports teams. An alternate location for school also reduces traffic problems through a community, which are a constant headache. Overall the many benefits of school make it a great proposal.

    Although it may sound simple, a new school’s potential to reduce traffic can have a great influence on a neighborhood. Since many freshman and sophomores need a ride to school it can be a great burden on parents to drive or organize carpools for their children. If a school is close enough, however, a student has the potential to walk. This therefore reduces the need for parents to drive, lessens traffic, and also requires fewer parking spaces at the school. This space can then be used for things that are more beneficial to a school such as fields or additional buildings. This simple effect is in fact far reaching.

    A more direct influence on the school population would be the reduction in class sizes. If half the student population goes to a different school then each class is in theory reduced by half. This allows for a lower teacher to student ratio. If each teacher has to focus on fewer students then they can give more attention to the academic needs of each student. This will help improve education overall and ensure that every kid gets what they need to be successful. A new school can thus encourage a smarter population, which is undoubtedly good.

    An additional advantage of a new high school is the extracurricular opportunities. If my neighborhood has two football teams then twice as many kids would get to participate and try out their skills. The same goes for clubs, which would then have more space for additional students. Schools also host plays and festivals. If there are two schools there are two times the number of social events for the public to attend. The addition of a new school provides twice the benefits of a school community.

Thus a new high school would be a great advantage to my neighborhood. Requiring students and parents to drive less encourages walking and limits traffic. Providing smaller classes helps to ensure a better education through teacher attention to students, and creating more extracurricular activities benefits students and the community. The creation of a new high school would therefore be a positive endeavor that I would most certainly support.

Learn How to Tackle TOEFL Independent Writing - Support and Oppose 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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