TOEFL® Writing Practice 178

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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 people think that governments should spend as much money as possible on developing or buying computer technology. Other people disagree and think that this money should be spent on more basic needs. Which one of these opinions do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.
Word Count: 0
 

Question: Some people think that governments should spend as much money as possible on developing or buying computer technology. Other people disagree and think that this money should be spent on more basic needs. Which one of these opinions do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

While investments in developing new computer technologies would come with benefits, the government should put money towards more basic human needs. Firstly, technology does not help people who do not have the basic necessities for supporting life. Secondly, sufficient money should be poured into educating the population. Then, with the basics met, technology development will increase more rapidly and be used more positively. A population without concerns for survival and with proper education will be suited for better utilizing computer technology.

The government should not be able to justify grand spending on technology when there are too many people who cannot meet the basic needs of survival. If the government has money to spend on development of computers, they should be able to ensure that all people have food, water, and shelter. For those many people who do not have those basics for survival, new technology is not helpful. Technology will be more used by people who don’t worry about their survival. Therefore the government needs to ensure basic needs are met before spending on unusable technology.

Another basic assurance the government should provide is education. Too often the education budgets of American schools are slashed to make room for other government projects. Without an educated population, technology will be underutilized or misused. First, the government should ensure that all people within the country are properly educated to meet acceptable standards. Again, without people who know how to use technology, what benefit could the government hope to gain from greater development in technology? Very little is the answer.

Therefore, given the previous two points, a population that has the basic needs of survival and a proper education will be better suited for using and advancing technology. With more people using technology, more ideas and voices will contribute to the changes of future computers. Similarly, an educated population will contribute broader and greater ideas to future development. Although technology development will grow little at first, once the population is fed, sheltered, and educated, the rate of growth in computer technology will skyrocket.

So in the end, the most beneficial path towards computer development and distribution would be to initially spend money on alternative endeavors. People cannot utilize technology if first, they are not in possession of food, water, and shelter. Similarly, people cannot properly acquire or use technology if they are not smart enough. Finally, a cared for and intelligent people will produce faster and greater development on a long timeline. Therefore, the government should focus on meeting people’s basic needs before contributing mass sums of money to computer development.

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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