TOEFL® Writing Practice 105

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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: Is it more important to be able to work with a group of people on a team or to work independently? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.
Word Count: 0

Question: Is it more important to be able to work with a group of people on a team or to work independently? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

With the understanding that humans are intrinsically social creatures, it is imperative that people know how to work in groups. Through working with others, people are able to learn from the experience and knowledge of a group. This is important because almost every profession requires group work and the associated skills. To be successful and move up in an occupation, it requires utilizing positive potential for working in groups. Despite the benefits of individual motivation, most success is gained through people’s potential to work in communion with others.

While seeking out the help or advice of others a person can find greater success or solutions. The old saying, “two heads are better than one,” has been a truism for good reason. Since people have varying educations and backgrounds, it is highly beneficial to have useful social skills for seeking out the help of others. Corporations and sports teams both rely on group thinking and working to be successful. The solutions and insights of a group are bound to be far more profound than those of a single person.

Given this understanding, it also seems pertinent to examine how widespread is the necessity for group work. Even a seemingly solo task like writing a novel requires working with an editor, a team of publishers, an art director, and bankers. Sports teams are by their very nature group efforts. Teachers, doctors, and lawyers all work in conjunction with their colleagues, but also with those they serve. Since so many occupations and tasks involve skills in dialogue amongst groups, it seems imperative that people maintain good abilities for group work.

Finally, to achieve success in an occupation by obtaining a supervisor role requires great social skills. Since a boss or leader is in charge of voicing concerns or actions, and delegating responsibilities, they must have the ability to work with a group. If a person doesn’t have the necessary capability of working with others they can never hope to move into a successful leadership position. The success of Steve Jobs required his potential for expressing his desires to thousands of workers involved in the steps to creating a great product. Therefore the skills of communication with others lead to greater collaboration and overall success.

In conclusion, the skills of group work are of crucial importance if a person hopes to ever be successful in life. People will inevitably learn from others by seeking out advice and working in a group. Almost any occupation on the planet requires working with others to varying degrees. Finally, those people who maintain these group work skills occupy all the leadership positions of the world. More important than personal motivation is the ability to work positively with others.

Learn How to Tackle TOEFL Independent Writing - Description or Explanation 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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