TOEFL® Writing Practice 154

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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: Do you agree or disagree that progress is always good? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
Word Count: 0

Question: Do you agree or disagree that progress is always good? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

Although progress is generally associated with providing positive outcomes for humanity, when we look closely we also notice that development also produces many negative outcomes. The improved forms of transportation have also created unprecedented levels of pollution across the planet. The benefits of modern medicine have also created problems of overpopulation. Similarly negative, the science of agriculture has generated wildly unhealthy cheap foods. Accompanying each technological progress is some form of negative or dangerous attribute.

    Modern transportation in the form of cars and airplanes has undeniably made many aspects of human life easier and perhaps better. On the other hand, however, so many people are now travelling in cars daily that they live in clouds of smog and pollution. A large number of people are now travelling by plane quite often and are contributing to the pollution of the atmosphere. Because humans travel more, we are producing more byproducts from our methods of travel. These consequences are undoubtedly harming the planet and our health.

    Another obvious benefit to humans with dangerous consequences is the progress of medical science. Nowadays there are medicines that cure illnesses or provide immunities. The repercussion of that is that more people are born and live longer lives. While this initially seems like a great benefit to humanity, more people means that we take up more space, limiting animal habitats. This also means that we need more resources for supporting human life, which means fewer natural resources in the wild. Overpopulation also requires more food that isn’t always available and leads to starvation. The negative effects are almost as widespread as the benefits of modern medicine.

    Alongside these other fields that have seen progress is the procedures involved in agriculture. Scientists have been able to create perfect seeds that are immune to many diseases and produce larger versions of foods than were previously seen in the wild. While this seems good, humans have used these advances to overgrow things like corn and soybeans and use them to make junk foods that harm people’s health. Also, the many growth hormones added to foods, making them larger has had negative effects on humans who then ingest the pesticides or hormones added to the foods we eat. Despite being able to provide better foods through science, we have in fact created more harmful foods.

These three examples prove that despite the perception of progress being a good thing, these are also accompanied by great harm. Progress in transportation has created a highly polluted world. The advancements in medicine have created an overpopulated world. The scientific achievements in agriculture have produced easy to make cheap junk food. Each of these acts of progress has brought about a vast number of problems rather than infinite benefits.

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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