TOEFL® Writing Practice 147

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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: A foreign visitor has only one day to spend in your country. Where should this visitor go on that day? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
Word Count: 0

Question: A foreign visitor has only one day to spend in your country. Where should this visitor go on that day? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

Given only a single day in America, I would recommend that a person visit New York City. In that one place, a person can see highly unique architecture that informed the way cities looked for the past century. Many American cultural experiences can be found throughout the city. Overall, New York City is a small example of the greater idea of the American Melting Pot, so people can see the many people and foods of America all in one place. My choice is motivated by the role New York plays in being the epitome of American ideals.

The most iconic feature of New York is ultimately its skyline. Famous for being one of the first cities to build skyscrapers and to build many of them, the city is an amazing wonder to see and walk through. The Empire State Building is so famous that it’s featured in many movies and tourists daily take trips to the top to see the view. Aside from the skyscrapers, the bridges connecting Manhattan to the rest of mainland New York are also famous for being some of the first large scale bridges ever built. Places such as Central Park and The Guggenheim museum are filled with iconic architectural features that many people should see in their lifetime.

Alongside the value in seeing the architectural achievements of New York, are the cultural experiences in those spaces. Some of the most famous art museums are located throughout New York and showcase art from around the world. Similarly the Natural History Museum as well as other museums are world famous and offer knowledge about many aspects of American history and science. Also, almost every great play in modern times gets its start in a theater on Broadway. Many people flock to see the famous plays of contemporary theater. New York has many educational and cultural opportunities unique to America.

Helping to support the multi-cultural aspects of America are the many ethnic neighborhoods and restaurants throughout the city. New York was the location of many immigrants throughout the twentieth century and so now reflects the true ethnic blending of America. China Town is a famous destination in the city. Similarly, New York boasts the best bagels, pizza, hot dogs, Italian food, and many other types of Americanized foods. To see the cultural complexity of America a person would need to visit New York City.

Therefore, although impossible to see in one day, I would recommend that the one place a person sees in America is New York City. It’s amazingly famous for many of its architectural features. The city provides ample opportunities to explore many interests through museums and plays. Finally, simply seeing the people and eating the food demonstrates perfectly the blending of ethnicities in America. New York City is truly America’s city and a place everyone should visit some day.

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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