TOEFL® Writing Practice 21

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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 with the following statement? The best way to travel is in a group led by a tour guide. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
Word Count: 0

Question: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The best way to travel is in a group led by a tour guide. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

I completely disagree with the thought that the best way to travel is with a group and a tour guide. When part of a prearranged group people lose all flexibility concerning their travel plans. By taking along a guide people further lose out on the rewards that come along with the challenges of finding their own way. Ultimately people can have a similar experience by doing some research and leading themselves on a journey. I believe the best way to travel is not with an organized group and guide, but following my own agenda and learning as I go.

An initial benefit to travelling without an organized agenda and guide is the elasticity of plans. While traveling, people sometimes don’t know what places they will enjoy and what places they will not like. By avoiding a schedule or any hard plans, people can go where they want when they want. This flexibility allows people to enjoy the trip at their leisure rather than constantly worrying about meeting deadlines or following the herd. Groups and guides are too controlling for enjoying the spontaneity of travel.

A second advantage to avoiding guides is the challenge and reward of creating plans and seeing them through. One important aspect of travel is meeting the local people, speaking their language, and learning their customs. When part of a group, people lose some potential for conversing with locals or stumbling upon something great. By traveling alone people are forced to ask for directions, seek out transportation and lodging, and interact more with locals than when part of an organized trip. A solo adventure encourages some rewarding experiences and challenges.

Whereas people often join a group with a guide for the knowledge of an experienced company, they can often get a similar experience with some research and effort. Instead of paying a guide to take them around, people should simply study maps before leaving, read reviews online, and do the legwork themselves. This gives anyone a better understanding of where they’re going anyway because a person is forced to learn about the place to which they’re venturing. The knowledge gained from planning a trip can be vital to appreciating a place and people.

Therefore, despite the ease and convenience of group guides, a trip can be far more rewarding without them. People reserve some flexibility into their travel plans when they don’t follow a group schedule, allowing them to enjoy what they want. They are simultaneously forced to interact more and gain great experience from speaking with locals. In the end a person can simply do the research and be their own experienced guide. There is really no need for traveling in a planned group with a guide.

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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