TOEFL® Writing Practice 5

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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: If you could change one important thing about your hometown, what would you change? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.
Word Count: 0

Question: If you could change one important thing about your hometown, what would you change? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

Despite many challenges communities face, one change I would make to my community would be the creation of a public transit system. The lack of public transportation affects a city in many adverse ways. Among the many negatives of a car-based society are the environmental concerns, the lack of focus on public health, and the lack of options for people of various incomes and circumstances. A comprehensive public transit system can tackle many concerns of my hometown.

    First, I need to explain what is meant by a comprehensive transit system. In a city as large as mine, around three million people, there must be more than just options for cars. The city needs to expand its public bus system to include additional routes through a more diverse set of neighborhoods. Alongside more bus routes, a train system that allows for suburban commuters to get to work without sitting in rush hour traffic would improve many characteristics of the city. Additionally, the city should develop the bike lanes to allow for more riders and also extend the lanes to further neighborhoods. These three changes would create a multi-modal transit system that would improve many problems faced by a variety of people in the city.

    The problems this change would alleviate are twofold, the first of which is changes to the overall health of the community. In a car based society the city is now constantly filled with pollution and a perpetual layer of smog. Pollution not only makes the city unattractive but also causes health and environmental concerns. If buses, trains, and bikes reduced the number of cars than the amount of air pollution would decrease, making the air friendlier to breathe. Also, if people are taking an alternative mode of transportation they are more likely to be walking or biking for part of their daily commute, which is boost to overall community health.

    The second problem this change would help improve is related to economics. The price of a car, insurance, gas, and upkeep is out of reach for many people financially. If a city neglects to provide an alternative form of transportation for those people, then it hurts those people‚Äôs chance to be a productive member of society. Public transportation provides a cheaper alternative while opening up a wider range of job locations to people who may need assistance. The option to ride the bus or train allows for anyone to save some money and stress, a benefit to people of all economic backgrounds.

    Thus, although my hometown would benefit from any number of changes, a public transit system would reach a broad number of people and only provide positive changes. This system would improve the overall health of our community, while providing more economic opportunities. This is a change that can improve the lives of all people, young and old, rich and poor.

Learn How to Tackle TOEFL Independent Writing - If / Imaginary 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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