Independent writing toefl practice
Jun 10, 2018
Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers. Tony Robbins The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been. Henry Kissinger Now my haters are very high class people, so I feel like I've moved up. GloZell I think that's the most beautiful thing about being confident - just loving yourself, not caring what everybody else thinks. Because you could be Mother Theresa, and people are still going to try to find some imperfection. Joanna Krupa People go to the zoo and they like the lion because it's scary. And the bear because it's intense, but the monkey makes people laugh. Lorne Michaels I don't want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death! Anne Frank If someone decides they're not going to be happy, it's not your problem. You don't have to spend your time and energy trying to cheer up someone who has already decided to stay in a bad mood. Believe it or not, you can actually hurt people by playing into their self-pity. Joyce Meyer People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new. Travis Bradberry If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. Franklin D. Roosevelt I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person. Audrey Hepburn Some people are born with very little; some are fortunate enough to have it all. When I grew up, we didn't have much. I had to hustle to get what I wanted... but I had that hunger for more. I didn't always make the right choices, but I learned from my mistakes. Curtis Jackson As a black woman, my politics and political affiliation are bound up with and flow from participation in my people's struggle for liberation, and with the fight of oppressed people all over the world against American imperialism. Angela Davis We are supposed to enjoy the good stuff now, while we can, with the people we love. Life has a funny way of teaching us that lesson over and over again. Sheena Easton Animation offers a medium of story telling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world. Walt Disney The hardest thing for - not only an artist but for anybody to do is look themselves in the mirror and acknowledge, you know, their own flaws and fears and imperfections and put them out there in the open for people to relate to it. Kendrick Lamar Competition is always a good thing. It forces us to do our best. A monopoly renders people complacent and satisfied with mediocrity. Nancy Pearcey People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives. J. Michael Straczynski Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. - Albert Camus Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. Albert Camus The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant. Maximilien Robespierre If I could give one tip for people - it's not an exercise or nutrition regimen. It's to walk your talk and believe in yourself, because at the end of the day, the dumbbell and diet don't get you in shape. It's your accountability to your word. Brett Hoebel Yes, I guess you could say I am a loner, but I feel more lonely in a crowed room with boring people than I feel on my own. Henry Rollins Genocide is not just a murderous madness; it is, more deeply, a politics that promises a utopia beyond politics - one people, one land, one truth, the end of difference. Since genocide is a form of political utopia, it remains an enduring temptation in any multiethnic and multicultural society in crisis. Michael Ignatieff How horrible, fantastic, incredible, it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing. Neville Chamberlain What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and its grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible. John Lewis A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. Douglas Adams We shall never change our political leaders until we change the people who elect them. Mark Skousen I always tell my kids if you lay down, people will step over you. But if you keep scrambling, if you keep going, someone will always, always give you a hand. Always. But you gotta keep dancing, you gotta keep your feet moving. Morgan Freeman This is what people don't understand: obesity is a symptom of poverty. It's not a lifestyle choice where people are just eating and not exercising. It's because kids - and this is the problem with school lunch right now - are getting sugar, fat, empty calories - lots of calories - but no nutrition. Tom Colicchio I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. Colin Kaepernick People can judge me for what I've done. And I think when somebody's out in the public eye, that's what they do. So I'm fully comfortable with who I am, what I stand for, and what I've always stood for. Hillary Clinton Thin people are beautiful, but fat people are adorable. Jackie Gleason I love making new friends and I respect people for a lot of different reasons. Taylor Swift We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. Jimmy Carter There is no better feeling than doing well while you are doing good. If you really want to meet the nicest, most caring people in your field, get involved with charity work. The thankless hours that go into planning charity dinners, running a carnival, and gathering donations for silent auctions are noticed and appreciated. Jay Samit Most people want to avoid pain, and discipline is usually painful. John C. Maxwell My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company. Jane Austen Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. George S. Patton People love me. And you know what, I have been very successful. Everybody loves me. Donald Trump You can't just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream. You've got to get out there and make it happen for yourself. Diana Ross The best way to inspire people to superior performance is to convince them by everything you do and by your everyday attitude that you are wholeheartedly supporting them. Harold S. Geneen Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs. Bill Gates Love is a strange emotion. It is ever evolving. Lust is transient. With time, one realizes that love and togetherness are two different things. Very few people are lucky enough to experience the two emotions simultaneously. Randeep Hooda People work better when they know what the goal is and why. It is important that people look forward to coming to work in the morning and enjoy working. Elon Musk I accept you, and you get the same respect from me whether you are black, white, gay straight, Asian, bisexual, Australian, tall, fat, whatever it is. We are all people, and I look at the people of the world the same way, as my brothers and sisters. Nash Grier No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Steve Jobs People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them. Epictetus Being misunderstood by people whose opinions you value is absolutely the most painful. Gloria Steinem There's always gonna be setbacks; there's always gonna be knockdowns. There's always gonna be people telling you, 'Hey, you suck!' Post Malone Tough times don't last, but tough people do. And I've been through some tough times, and I know a lot of people can recall tough times, and maybe are going through some tough times right now, but they don't last. Alonzo Mourning People often say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves. Salma Hayek Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. James Madison I think there's no higher calling in terms of a career than public service, which is a chance to make a difference in people's lives and improve the world. Jack Lew Bad food is made without pride, by cooks who have no pride, and no love. Bad food is made by chefs who are indifferent, or who are trying to be everything to everybody, who are trying to please everyone... Bad food is fake food... food that shows fear and lack of confidence in people's ability to discern or to make decisions about their lives. Anthony Bourdain I think many people can relate to that excruciating pain of love gone wrong. I'd rather have a broken arm than a broken heart. Christie Brinkley An organization, no matter how well designed, is only as good as the people who live and work in it. Dee Hock When faced with a challenge, happy families, like happy people, just add a new chapter to their life story that shows them overcoming the hardship. This skill is particularly important for children, whose identity tends to get locked in during adolescence. Bruce Feiler Money and success don't change people; they merely amplify what is already there. Will Smith Many people resented my impatience and honesty, but I never cared about acceptance as much as I cared about respect. Jackie Robinson The strength of brand loyalty begins with how your product makes people feel. Jay Samit I don't really care if people think I'm good-looking or not; it doesn't define me as a person. Genesis Rodriguez No leader, however strong, can succeed at anything of national importance or significance unless he has the support and cooperation of the people he is tasked to lead and sworn to serve. Rodrigo Duterte Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike. Oscar Wilde Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them. Henry Ford Ice cream brings people together. Doug Ducey Trust is a big word for me. Loyalty and trust, for me, are everything. It's the core of what I'm about and what the people around me hopefully are about. It's a certain thing that gives you a sense of security. It's the biggest factor in everything I do. Tommy Mottola
Mastering the TOEFL Independent Essay
This guide demonstrates how to write a high-scoring TOEFL Independent Essay. It is written by a native speaker who has been teaching TOEFL preparation for more than seven years. Note that students who are in a rush may wish to just skip to our TOEFL essay templates.
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How to Write a TOEFL Independent Essay
The second essay in the writing section is the independent essay. In this part of the test you will answer a short question that asks your opinion about an issue. These issues often (but not always) relate to your preferences regarding education, work or life in modern society. As an example, this guide will use a question from the Official Guide to the TOEFL. If you like, you can also watch a video version of the guide below.
How the Question is Phrased
The independent essay question is phrased in three different ways. They are:
- Agree/Disagree Type. Questions of this type look something like this:
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: It is more effective to study in a group of students than to study alone.
- Three Choices Type. Questions of this type look something like this:
When choosing a place to live, which of the following factors do you believe is most important?
availability of jobs
quality of schools
number of parks
- Preference Type. Questions of this type look something like this:
Some people believe that high school students should be required to do volunteer work when they are not at school, while others believe that they should only focus on studying. Which do you think is better?
Note that no matter how the question is worded, you can answer it in the exact same way, using the model taught in this guide.
The question that we'll use in this article is from the Official Guide to the TOEFL:
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:
“It is better for children to grow up in the countryside than in a large city.”
Writing an Introduction
Coming up with an answer to the question is easy. But how do you write an introductory paragraph? Follow this model:
- Sentence one: A "hook." This is an interesting sentence that describes the topic of the essay without stating your main point.
- Sentence two: Your main point. Example: "In my opinion…”
- Sentence three: A transitional sentence. Example: "I feel this way for two main reasons, which I will explore in the following essay."
Following this model, your introduction will look something like this:
There is no shortage of debate about whether it is better to raise children in a large city or in a small town. In my opinion, it is more advantageous to raise young people in an urban environment. I feel this way for two main reasons, which I will explore in the following essay.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you write your introduction:
- State your main point clearly; don’t be ambiguous.
- Don’t write an overly long hook
- Don’t waste time; spend no more than five minutes on your introduction.
- You can summarize your supporting reasons in the introduction, but this is not essential.
- Don't copy and paste the statement from the prompt. Summarize it instead.
Some people think that three sentences is too short, but I am of the opinion that advanced students should instead focus on their body paragraphs, where they can show off their grammar and reasoning skills. If you really want a longer introduction, write a two sentence hook or summarize your reasons (at the end of the paragraph). Note how I used synonyms instead of repeating "city" and "children" in the paragraph.
Writing a Body Paragraph
Your First Body Paragraph
The main difference between a low-scoring TOEFL essay and a high-scoring TOEFL essay is in the sophistication of the body paragraphs. Try this template for your first (of two) paragraphs:
- A topic sentence that introduces your reason. Example: “First of all..."
- One or two sentences that give general information about this reason
- A transition like “My own experience is a compelling example of this.”
- A personal example from your life (three to five sentences)
- A one sentence conclusion that reiterates your main reason (optional)
That would result in a paragraph looking something like this:
First of all, cities include a vast number of academic and cultural facilities. A child who visits such places on a regular basis will undoubtedly become very interested in some of them. In addition, they will be able to make well-informed decisions about their future. My own experience is a compelling example of this. When I was young I lived in a major urban area, so my parents could easily take me to a cultural event almost every weekend. We attended book readings at the local library, art openings at many of the galleries throughout the city, and literary festivals during the summer. As a result of attending these outings I developed a strong interest in artistic expression, and decided to major in music at university. Now I enjoy a successful career as a recording artist. For this reason, I strongly believe that it is worthwhile to grow up in a large city.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you write this paragraph:
- Spend about nine minutes writing each body paragraph.
- Don’t repeat words. Try to avoid using the same word more than 2 or 3 times in the entire essay. The range of your vocabulary matters.
- Use transitional words and phrases (discourse words). These are underlined in the above example. You can read more about this issue.
- You need to use conjunctions. Easiest is to use coordinating conjunctions (especially “and,” “so,” and “but”). These are bold in the above example. You can read more about this issue.
- Avoid overly short sentences (less than seven words) and overly long sentences (more than 60 words).
- You don’t need to write about both sides (or all three choices).
Your Second Body Paragraph
Follow the exact same template in the second paragraph, just changing the way the paragraph begins, and the transitional phrase used to introduce the example:
Secondly, children who live in cities are exposed to people from many walks of life, while those in the countryside communicate with only one type of person. Cities are usually magnets for new immigrants to my country, and are populated by individuals from many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. It is useful for children to have friends who come from different walks of life. For instance, my young cousin is growing up in New York, which is the largest city in my country. She is still just a college student, but she is comfortable interacting with people who speak a variety of languages, and who have religious beliefs that are different from her own. Moreover, she recently mentioned that she was able to find employment at a company looking for workers with an international perspective. Accordingly, I think that people who live in cities can enjoy a variety of beneficial interactions.
That's how you write the body of your essay. Some students want to write three body paragraphs, but I strongly advise against that. Doing so will mean that your paragraphs are short and under-developed. I always say that two long paragraphs are better than three short paragraphs.
Writing a Conclusion
Conclusions are easy. Try this template:
- “In conclusion, I strongly believe...”
- "This is because REASON ONE, and REASON TWO."
To produce something that looks like this:
In conclusion, I strongly believe that it is better for children to grow up cities than in rural areas. This is because cities are home to a variety of educational venues, and because they have very diverse and cosmopolitan populations.
Here's what you should keep in mind:
- Keep it brief; the purpose is to summarize your main point and two reasons
- You can include a “clincher” (a final original thought) if you want, but don’t write anything needlessly complex
That's how you write a strong TOEFL independent essay. There are a final few points that are worth mentioning here, of course:
- Aim for about 400 words. Write a bit more if need a really high score
- Use two minutes to plan before you start writing and two minutes for proofreading when you finish
- Avoid contractions and slang as they are not acceptable in academic writing
- Practice does not make perfect; proper practice makes perfect
We maintain a large collection of complete sample essays, written using the above techniques.
You may wish to continue by reading our guide to the integrated essay.