TOEFL® Writing Practice 129

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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 people spend their entire lives in one place. Others move a number of times throughout their lives, looking for a better job, house, community, or even climate. Which do you prefer: staying in one place or moving in search of another place? Use reasons and specific examples to support your opinion.
Word Count: 0

Question: Some people spend their entire lives in one place. Others move a number of times throughout their lives, looking for a better job, house, community, or even climate. Which do you prefer: staying in one place or moving in search of another place? Use reasons and specific examples to support your opinion.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

Traveling to different areas was once reserved for vacations, but some people prefer living in several diverse places throughout their lives. However, others prefer committing to life in one place. Personally, I would prefer moving in search of another place, because I strongly believe that it can provide better opportunities for professional networking, allow for more well-rounded experiences, and instil an appreciation for different cultures.

Firstly, networking in one’s professional industry has proven to be a useful tool for career advancement. Although it is possible to attend networking events in one’s hometown, travelling to other areas can only strengthen these connections. In particular, if a sales representative moves to different cities in his or her life, this would only increase the chances of connecting with more people in the industry, not to mention other sectors. Thus, changing cities can help professionals create worthwhile connections that would not have been possible otherwise.

Following this idea further, changing locations could help foster more well-rounded life experiences. If people stay in one place for their entire lives, they may become too comfortable with their surroundings. For instance, if a couple from the countryside in England move to different cities throughout their lives, they will be introduced to brand new experiences while creating a more well-rounded lifestyle complete with unfamiliar places and people. To put it briefly, this knowledgeable understanding can open up a wealth of new interests and ideas.

Thirdly, moving to new places may likely produce a more enlightened view of the world. As such, international mindsets can provide a more balanced perspective when it comes to other cultures. For example, if an American family moves to Italy, they would most likely pick up on new traditions and customs not practiced in their original city. Consequently, this knowledge could provide a better understanding of foreign cultures, and eliminate ignorance and close-minded views.

All things considered, when it comes to staying in one place or moving in search of new communities, the latter is the more beneficial option. Not only can relocating amplify professional networking, but it can also create more holistic international experiences and lead to a comprehensive view of the global community.

Model Essay 2

Although moving has become increasingly easy and many people continually relocate for legitimate work-related advancements, I would personally prefer to live in one place for the rest of my life. By choosing a city to live in and staying I ensure that I am always close to my family and friends. I can also allow myself time to become involved in different aspects of the community year after year. This all leads to me having some invested interest in the betterment of my city. For these interrelated reasons, I would choose to live in one place rather than move around.

An initial benefit of living in one place for many years is the close relationships that can be built with family and friends. Although technology makes communication easier, it is not a realistic replacement for personal contact. By living in the same place I can build traditions with family and friends around holidays and citywide events. These relationships will bring me happiness that cannot be achieved through constant moving, which limits the potential for personal relationships.

A long life in one location also allows for becoming an involved member of society. A teacher or doctor who lives in one city for a long time becomes an established member of the community with personal relationships to many families. Over a long time, people are also able to establish themselves as vital members of everything from bowling leagues to community councils. This involvement can bring a person a sense of purpose and happiness. Communities thrive on the participation of citizens and I desire to be an important part of my society.

Combining the influence of long-term relationships and community involvement generates overall investment in making a better community. I believe that if a person loves where they live then they should work hard to make that place better. This means that instead of leaving to find a community that is better suited for their needs, a person should get involved and make their own community better. This social betterment through personal investment can only happen if a person lives in one place for a long time.

Therefore, for these reasons, I would absolutely choose to live in one place rather than move constantly. I can forge important and lasting relationships with my family and friends if we spend a lifetime growing old together. I can also become an involved and therefore influential member of the community. Through my relationships and involvement, I can turn my city into the type of place that I am proud of. I would thus encourage others and choose for myself to live in one place, creating a great community.

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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