TOEFL® Writing Practice 176

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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 universities require students to take classes in many subjects. Other universities require students to specialize in one subject. Which is better? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
Word Count: 0
 

Question: Some universities require students to take classes in many subjects. Other universities require students to specialize in one subject. Which is better? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

The requirement of universities to have students take a variety of courses has nothing but positive repercussions. For many students the opportunity to take many courses allows them to find a particular field of interest. The diverse knowledge gained from many courses is then used in two ways, interacting with various professions, and also in applying that knowledge within a particular field of employment. Universities that require students to have a diverse background produce well-rounded people with intelligence in many subjects.

Given that many people are unsure when they enter the college of what they want to study or a profession they desire, taking classes in a multitude of areas can help guide students. By exploring many avenues a person learns what subjects interest them and which are not for them. This helps people find the right path rather than being pigeon-holed in an occupation that’s not right. Some people enter engineering school without exploring their interest in English when maybe they have a natural talent as a writer. Being able to explore many subjects helps people find a good path for their curiosities and goals.

After graduating and finding an occupation, people often need vast knowledge for interacting with other professionals. A banker obviously needs skills in math and finance, but if they are conversing with potential restaurant owners or small business start-ups they also need a basic knowledge of those areas of life. If a novelist hopes to be successful they also need a vast knowledge about many subjects in order to compose a novel worth buying. Therefore every occupation requires knowledge outside of the immediate fields, and a varied education can create a better-informed employee.

This same acquisition of knowledge can be helpful to an employee within his or her own field as well. A science teacher who knows about writing can help reinforce the educational standards of their colleagues and be a better employee. A journalist with a varied background can easily apply a wide spectrum of knowledge to their reporting, making them a more diverse employee and highly valued. An employee with a varied intellect thus has the potential to apply their know-how to their own work as an advantage to their occupation.

In conclusion, universities that require students to take a variety of courses are creating better employees. Those schools allow students to explore and find an area of study that is right for their needs and interests. Those students then use that knowledge to help them interact with other professions to better meet the needs of their job. They also use their varied knowledge to be better employees and apply their diverse learning. The best universities are therefore the ones with the most varied options for acquired intelligence.

Learn How to Tackle TOEFL Independent Writing - Compare and Contrast 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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