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Ibt Toefl Writing Model Essays For Spm

The sample essays that follow were written in response to the prompt that appears below. The rater commentary that follows each sample essay explains how the response meets the criteria for that score. For a more complete understanding of the criteria for each score point, see the "Analyze an Issue" Scoring Guide.

As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

Note: All responses are reproduced exactly as written, including errors, misspellings, etc., if any.

Essay Response — Score 6

The statement linking technology negatively with free thinking plays on recent human experience over the past century. Surely there has been no time in history where the lived lives of people have changed more dramatically. A quick reflection on a typical day reveals how technology has revolutionized the world. Most people commute to work in an automobile that runs on an internal combustion engine. During the workday, chances are high that the employee will interact with a computer that processes information on silicon bridges that are .09 microns wide. Upon leaving home, family members will be reached through wireless networks that utilize satellites orbiting the earth. Each of these common occurrences could have been inconceivable at the turn of the 19th century.

The statement attempts to bridge these dramatic changes to a reduction in the ability for humans to think for themselves. The assumption is that an increased reliance on technology negates the need for people to think creatively to solve previous quandaries. Looking back at the introduction, one could argue that without a car, computer, or mobile phone, the hypothetical worker would need to find alternate methods of transport, information processing and communication. Technology short circuits this thinking by making the problems obsolete.

However, this reliance on technology does not necessarily preclude the creativity that marks the human species. The prior examples reveal that technology allows for convenience. The car, computer and phone all release additional time for people to live more efficiently. This efficiency does not preclude the need for humans to think for themselves. In fact, technology frees humanity to not only tackle new problems, but may itself create new issues that did not exist without technology. For example, the proliferation of automobiles has introduced a need for fuel conservation on a global scale. With increasing energy demands from emerging markets, global warming becomes a concern inconceivable to the horse-and-buggy generation. Likewise dependence on oil has created nation-states that are not dependent on taxation, allowing ruling parties to oppress minority groups such as women. Solutions to these complex problems require the unfettered imaginations of maverick scientists and politicians.

In contrast to the statement, we can even see how technology frees the human imagination. Consider how the digital revolution and the advent of the internet has allowed for an unprecedented exchange of ideas. WebMD, a popular internet portal for medical information, permits patients to self research symptoms for a more informed doctor visit. This exercise opens pathways of thinking that were previously closed off to the medical layman. With increased interdisciplinary interactions, inspiration can arrive from the most surprising corners. Jeffrey Sachs, one of the architects of the UN Millenium Development Goals, based his ideas on emergency care triage techniques. The unlikely marriage of economics and medicine has healed tense, hyperinflation environments from South America to Eastern Europe.

This last example provides the most hope in how technology actually provides hope to the future of humanity. By increasing our reliance on technology, impossible goals can now be achieved. Consider how the late 20th century witnessed the complete elimination of smallpox. This disease had ravaged the human race since prehistorical days, and yet with the technology of vaccines, free thinking humans dared to imagine a world free of smallpox. Using technology, battle plans were drawn out, and smallpox was systematically targeted and eradicated.

Technology will always mark the human experience, from the discovery of fire to the implementation of nanotechnology. Given the history of the human race, there will be no limit to the number of problems, both new and old, for us to tackle. There is no need to retreat to a Luddite attitude to new things, but rather embrace a hopeful posture to the possibilities that technology provides for new avenues of human imagination.

Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 6

The author of this essay stakes out a clear and insightful position on the issue and follows the specific instructions by presenting reasons to support that position. The essay cogently argues that technology does not decrease our ability to think for ourselves, but merely provides "additional time for people to live more efficiently." In fact, the problems that have developed alongside the growth of technology (pollution, political unrest in oil-producing nations) actually call for more creative thinking, not less.

In further examples, the essay shows how technology allows for the linking of ideas that may never have been connected in the past (like medicine and economic models), pushing people to think in new ways. Examples are persuasive and fully developed; reasoning is logically sound and well supported.

Ideas in the essay are connected logically, with effective transitions used both between paragraphs ("However" or "In contrast to the statement") and within paragraphs. Sentence structure is varied and complex and the essay clearly demonstrates facility with the "conventions of standard written English (i.e., grammar, usage and mechanics)," with only minor errors appearing. Thus, this essay meets all the requirements for receiving a top score, a 6.

Essay Response — Score 5

Surely many of us have expressed the following sentiment, or some variation on it, during our daily commutes to work: "People are getting so stupid these days!" Surrounded as we are by striding and strident automatons with cell phones glued to their ears, PDA's gripped in their palms, and omniscient, omnipresent CNN gleaming in their eyeballs, it's tempting to believe that technology has isolated and infantilized us, essentally transforming us into dependent, conformist morons best equipped to sideswip one another in our SUV's.

Furthermore, hanging around with the younger, pre-commute generation, whom tech-savviness seems to have rendered lethal, is even less reassuring. With "Teen People" style trends shooting through the air from tiger-striped PDA to zebra-striped PDA, and with the latest starlet gossip zipping from juicy Blackberry to teeny, turbo-charged cell phone, technology seems to support young people's worst tendencies to follow the crowd. Indeed, they have seemingly evolved into intergalactic conformity police. After all, today's tech-aided teens are, courtesy of authentic, hands-on video games, literally trained to kill; courtesy of chat and instant text messaging, they have their own language; they even have tiny cameras to efficiently photodocument your fashion blunders! Is this adolescence, or paparazzi terrorist training camp?

With all this evidence, it's easy to believe that tech trends and the incorporation of technological wizardry into our everyday lives have served mostly to enforce conformity, promote dependence, heighten comsumerism and materialism, and generally create a culture that values self-absorption and personal entitlement over cooperation and collaboration. However, I argue that we are merely in the inchoate stages of learning to live with technology while still loving one another. After all, even given the examples provided earlier in this essay, it seems clear that technology hasn't impaired our thinking and problem-solving capacities. Certainly it has incapacitated our behavior and manners; certainly our values have taken a severe blow. However, we are inarguably more efficient in our badness these days. We're effective worker bees of ineffectiveness!

If T\technology has so increased our senses of self-efficacy that we can become veritable agents of the awful, virtual CEO's of selfishness, certainly it can be beneficial. Harnessed correctly, technology can improve our ability to think and act for ourselves. The first challenge is to figure out how to provide technology users with some direly-needed direction.

Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 5

The language of this essay clearly illustrates both its strengths and weaknesses. The flowery and sometimes uncannily keen descriptions are often used to powerful effect, but at other times, the writing is awkward and the comparisons somewhat strained. See, for example, the ungainly sequence of independent clauses in the second-to-last sentence of paragraph 2 ("After all, today's tech-aided teens ...").

There is consistent evidence of facility with syntax and complex vocabulary ("Surrounded as we are by striding and strident automatons with cell phones glued to their ears, PDA's gripped in their palms, and omniscient, omnipresent CNN gleaming in their eyeballs, it's tempting to believe..."). However, such lucid prose is sometimes countered by an over-reliance on abstractions and reasoning that is not entirely effective. For example, what does the fact that video games "literally train [teens] to kill" have to do with the use or deterioration of thinking abilities? On the whole, however, the response develops its ideas about the ways that technology can promote isolation and conformity with well-chosen examples, even if its ideas about the positive effects of technology are less successfully realized.

Because this essay provides generally thoughtful analysis and takes a complex approach to the issue (arguing, in effect, that technology neither enhances nor reduces our ability to think for ourselves, but can do one or the other, depending on the user) and because the author makes use of "appropriate vocabulary and sentence variety," a score of 5 is appropriate.

Essay Response — Score 4

In all actuality, I think it is more probable that our bodies will surely deteriorate long before our minds do in any significant amount. Who can't say that technology has made us lazier, but that's the key word, lazy, not stupid. The ever increasing amount of technology that we incorporate into our daily lives makes people think and learn every day, possibly more than ever before. Our abilities to think, learn, philosophize, etc. may even reach limits never dreamed of before by average people. Using technology to solve problems will continue to help us realize our potential as a human race.

If you think about it, using technology to solve more complicating problems gives humans a chance to expand their thinking and learning, opening up whole new worlds for many people. Many of these people are glad for the chance to expand their horizons by learning more, going to new places, and trying new things. If it wasn't for the invention of new technological devices, I wouldn't be sitting at this computer trying to philosophize about technology. It would be extremely hard for children in much poorer countries to learn and think for themselves with out the invention of the internet. Think what an impact the printing press, a technologically superior mackine at the time, had on the ability of the human race to learn and think.

Right now we are seeing a golden age of technology, using it all the time during our every day lives. When we get up there's instant coffee and the microwave and all these great things that help us get ready for our day. But we aren't allowing our minds to deteriorate by using them, we are only making things easier for ourselves and saving time for other important things in our days. Going off to school or work in our cars instead of a horse and buggy. Think of the brain power and genius that was used to come up with that single invention that has changed the way we move across this globe.

Using technology to solve our continually more complicated problems as a human race is definately a good thing. Our ability to think for ourselves isn't deteriorating, it's continuing to grow, moving on to higher though functions and more ingenious ideas. The ability to use what technology we have is an example

Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 4

This essay meets all the criteria of a level-4 essay. The writer develops a clear position ("Using technology to solve problems will continue to help us realize our potential as a human race"). The position is then developed with relevant reasons ("using technology to solve more complicat[ed] problems gives humans a chance to expand their thinking and learning" and "we are seeing a golden age of technology").

Point 1, "using technology," is supported with the simple but relevant notion that technology allows us access to information and abilities to which we would not normally have access. Similarly, point 2, the "golden age," is supported by the basic description of our technologically saturated social condition. Though the overall development and organization of the essay does suffer from an occasional misdirection (see paragraph 3's abrupt progression from coffee pots to the benefits of technology to cars), the essay as a whole flows smoothly and logically from one idea to the next.

It is useful to compare this essay to the level-3 essay presented next. Though both essays entail some surface-level discussion and often fail to probe deeply into the issue, this writer does take the analysis a step further. In paragraph 2, the distinction between this essay and the next one (the level-3 response) can most clearly be seen. To support the notion that advances in technology actually help increase thinking ability, the writer draws a clever parallel between the promise of modern, sophisticated technology (computer) and the actual "impact" of equally "promising" and pervasive technologies of the past (printing press).

Like the analysis, the language in this essay clearly meets the requirements for a score of 4. The writer displays sufficient control of language and the conventions of standard written English. The preponderance of mistakes are of a cosmetic nature ("trying to solve more complicating problems."). In general, these errors are minor and do not interfere with the clarity of the ideas being presented.

Essay Response — Score 3

There is no current proof that advancing technology will deteriorate the ability of humans to think. On the contrary, advancements in technology had advanced our vast knowledge in many fields, opening opportunities for further understanding and achievement. For example, the problem of dibilitating illnesses and diseases such as alzheimer's disease is slowing being solved by the technological advancements in stem cell research. The future ability of growing new brain cells and the possibility to reverse the onset of alzheimer's is now becoming a reality. This shows our initiative as humans to better our health demonstrates greater ability of humans to think.

One aspect where the ability of humans may initially be seen as an example of deteriorating minds is the use of internet and cell phones. In the past humans had to seek out information in many different enviroments and aspects of life. Now humans can sit in a chair and type anything into a computer and get an answer. Our reliance on this type of technology can be detrimental if not regulated and regularily substituted for other information sources such as human interactions and hands on learning. I think if humans understand that we should not have such a reliance on computer technology, that we as a species will advance further by utilizing the opportunity of computer technology as well as the other sources of information outside of a computer. Supplementing our knowledge with internet access is surely a way for technology to solve problems while continually advancing the human race.

Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 3

This essay never moves beyond a superficial discussion of the issue. The writer attempts to develop two points: that advancements in technology have progressed our knowledge in many fields and that supplementing rather than relying on technology is "surely a way for technology to solve problems while continually advancing the human race." Each point, then, is developed with relevant but insufficient evidence. In discussing the potential of technology to advance knowledge in many fields (a broad subject, rife with possible examples), the writer uses only one limited and very brief example from a specific field (medicine and stem-cell research).

Development of the second point is hindered by a lack of specificity and organization. The writer creates what might be best described as an outline. The writer cites a need for regulation/supplementation and warns of the detriment of over-reliance upon technology. However, the explanation of both the problem and solution is vague and limited ("Our reliance ... can be detrimental. If humans understand that we should not have such a reliance ... we will advance further"). There is neither explanation of consequences nor clarification of what is meant by "supplementing." This second paragraph is a series of generalizations that are loosely connected and lack a much-needed grounding.

In the essay, there are some minor language errors and a few more serious flaws (e.g., "The future ability of growing new brain cells" or "One aspect where the ability of humans may initially be seen as an example of deteriorating minds"). Despite the accumulation of such flaws, the writer's meaning is generally clear. Thus, this essay earns a score of 3.

Essay Response — Score 2

In recent centuries, humans have developed the technology very rapidly, and you may accept some merit of it, and you may see a distortion in society occured by it. To be lazy for human in some meaning is one of the fashion issues in thesedays. There are many symptoms and resons of it. However, I can not agree with the statement that the technology make humans to be reluctant to thinkng thoroughly.

Of course, you can see the phenomena of human laziness along with developed technology in some place. However, they would happen in specific condition, not general. What makes human to be laze of thinking is not merely technology, but the the tendency of human that they treat them as a magic stick and a black box. Not understanding the aims and theory of them couses the disapproval problems.

The most important thing to use the thechnology, regardless the new or old, is to comprehend the fundamental idea of them, and to adapt suit tech to tasks in need. Even if you recognize a method as a all-mighty and it is extremely over-spec to your needs, you can not see the result you want. In this procedure, humans have to consider as long as possible to acquire adequate functions. Therefore, humans can not escape from using their brain.

In addition, the technology as it is do not vain automatically, the is created by humans. Thus, the more developed tech and the more you want a convenient life, the more you think and emmit your creativity to breakthrough some banal method sarcastically.

Consequently, if you are not passive to the new tech, but offensive to it, you would not lose your ability to think deeply. Furthermore, you may improve the ability by adopting it.

Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 2

The language of this essay is what most clearly links it to the score of 2. Amidst sporadic moments of clarity, this essay is marred by serious errors in grammar, usage and mechanics that often interfere with meaning. It is unclear what the writer means when he/she states, "To be lazy for human in some meaning is one of the fashion issues in thesedays," or "to adapt suit tech to tasks in need."

Despite such severe flaws, the writer has made an obvious attempt to respond to the prompt ("I can not agree with the statement that the technology make humans to be reluctant to thinking thoroughly") as well as an unclear attempt to support such an assertion ("Not understanding the aims and theory of them [technology] couses the disapproval problems" and "The most important thing to use the thechnology ... is to comprehend the fundamental idea of them"). On the whole, the essay displays a seriously flawed but not fundamentally deficient attempt to develop and support its claims.

(Note: In this specific case, the analysis is tied directly to the language. As the language falters, so too does the analysis.)

Essay Response — Score 1

Humans have invented machines but they have forgot it and have started everything technically so clearly their thinking process is deterioating.

Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 1

The essay is clearly on topic, as evidenced by the writer's usage of the more significant terms from the prompt: "technically" (technologically), "humans," "thinking" (think) and "deteriorating" (deteriorate). Such usage is the only clear evidence of understanding. Meaning aside, the brevity of the essay (one sentence) clearly indicates the writer's inability to develop a response that follows the specific instructions given ("Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement above and explain your reasoning for the position you take").

The language, too, is clearly level 1, as the sentence fails to achieve coherence. The coherent phrases in this one-sentence response are those tied to the prompt: "Humans have invented machines" and "their thinking process is deteriorating." Otherwise, the point being made is unintelligible.

The Writing section can be the most daunting section of the TOEFL. You’ll have 50 minutes to write two complete essays that must meet multiple requirements and show a strong grasp of English. Knowing what graders are looking for and reviewing TOEFL Writing samples can go a long way towards helping you get a high score on this section.

This guide will go over both of the TOEFL Writing tasks, explain how they’re graded, go over a high-scoring TOEFL Writing sample for each essay type, and end with TOEFL Writing examples for you to analyze.

 

The TOEFL Writing Section

The TOEFL Writing section is 50 minutes long (broken into two parts) and contains two tasks: Integrated Writing and Independent Writing. It’s the fourth and final section of the exam. You’ll type both essays on the computer. The next two sections will explain the format and requirements of each of the writing tasks as well as how they will be scored.

 

TOEFL Integrated Writing Task

The Integrated Writing task requires you to use listening, reading, and writing skills. For this task, you’ll have three minutes to read a short passage, then you’ll listen to a short (approximately two-minute long) audio clip of a speaker discussing the same topic the written passage covers.

You’ll have 20 minutes to plan and write a response that references both of these sources in order to answer the question. You won’t discuss your own opinion. During the writing time, you’ll be able to look at the written passage again, but you won’t be able to re-hear the audio clip. You’ll be able to take notes while you listen to it though. The suggested response length for this task is 150-225 words.

 

For this essay, you’ll be graded on the quality of your writing as well as how well your response represents the main points of the audio clip and written passage and how they relate to each other. Each essay receives a score from 0-5. For both essay types, you can check out the complete rubric used for official grading. Below are key points from the Integrated Writing rubric. (You can view complete rubric for both essays here.)

ScoreRubric Notes
5
  • Successfully selects the important information from the lecture.
  • Coherently and accurately presents information from both the lecture and the reading.
  • Well organized with few language errors.
4
  • Generally good in selecting the important information from the lecture and reading.
  • May have minor omission, inaccuracy, vagueness, or imprecision of some content.
  • More frequent or noticeable minor language errors.
3
  • It conveys only vague, global, unclear, or somewhat imprecise information about the lecture and reading.
  • Key points may be missing.
  • Errors of usage and/or grammar may be more frequent and obscure meanings.
2
  • Contains some relevant information from the lecture, but is marked by significant language difficulties or by significant omission or inaccuracy of important ideas.
1
  • Provides little or no meaningful or relevant coherent content from the lecture.
  • The language level of the response is so low that it is difficult to derive meaning.
0
  • Merely copies sentences from the reading, rejects the topic or is not connected to the topic, is written in a foreign language,or is blank.

 

 

TOEFL Independent Writing Task

For the Independent Writing task, you’ll have receive a question on a particular topic or issue. You’ll have 30 minutes to plan and write a response to that topic that explains your opinion on it. You’ll need to give reasons that support your decision. It’s recommended that your response to this task be at least 300 words.

You’ll be graded on how well you develop your ideas, how well your essay is organized, and how accurately you use English to express your ideas.

ScoreRubric Notes
5
  • Effectively addresses the topic and task.
  • Is well organized and developed.
  • Displays strong and consistent language skills with minimal errors.
4
  • Addresses the topic and task well, though some points may not be fully elaborated.
  • Is generally well organized and well developed.
  • Occasional noticeable minor errors in structure, word form, or use of idiomatic language that do not interfere with meaning.
3
  • Addresses the topic and task using somewhat developed explanations, exemplifications, and/or details.
  • May demonstrate inconsistent facility in sentence formation and word choice that may result in lack of clarity and occasionally obscure meaning.
2
  • Limited development in response to the topic and task.
  • Lack of details to support or illustrate generalizations in response to the task.
  • An accumulation of errors in sentence structure and/or usage.
1
  • Little or no detail, or irrelevant specifics, or questionable responsiveness to the task.
  • Serious and frequent errors in sentence structure or usage.
0
  • Merely copies sentences from the reading, rejects the topic or is not connected to the topic, is written in a foreign language,or is blank.

 

Top-Scoring TOEFL Integrated Writing Sample

Below is an official TOEFL Integrated Writing sample question and as well as an essay response that received a score of 5. It includes a written passage, the transcript of a conversation (which would be an audio recording on the actual TOEFL, and the essay prompt. After the prompt is an example of a top-scoring essay. You can read the essay in full, then read our comments on what exactly about this essay gives it a top score.

 

Integrated Writing Example Prompt

You have three minutes to read the following passage and take notes.In many organizations, perhaps the best way to approach certain new projects is to assemble a group of people into a team. Having a team of people attack a project offers several advantages. First of all, a group of people has a wider range of knowledge, expertise, and skills than any single individual is likely to possess. Also, because of the numbers of people involved and the greater resources they possess, a group can work more quickly in response to the task assigned to it and can come up with highly creative solutions to problems and issues. Sometimes these creative solutions come about because a group is more likely to make risky decisions that an individual might not undertake. This is because the group spreads responsibility for a decision to all the members and thus no single individual can be held accountable if the decision turns out to be wrong.

Taking part in a group process can be very rewarding for members of the team. Team members who have a voice in making a decision will no doubt feel better about carrying out the work that is entailed by that decision than they might doing work that is imposed on them by others. Also, the individual team member has a much better chance to “shine,” to get his or her contributions and ideas not only recognized but recognized as highly significant, because a team’s overall results can be more far-reaching and have greater impact than what might have otherwise been possible for the person to accomplish or contribute working alone.

 

Now listen to part of a lecture on the topic you just read about.

(Professor) Now I want to tell you about what one company found when it decided that it would turn over some of its new projects to teams of people, and make the team responsible for planning the projects and getting the work done. After about six months, the company took a look at how well the teams performed. On virtually every team, some members got almost a “free ride” … they didn’t contribute much at all, but if their team did a good job, they nevertheless benefited from the recognition the team got. And what about group members who worked especially well and who provided a lot of insight on problems and issues? Well…the recognition for a job well done went to the group as a whole, no names were named. So it won’t surprise you to learn that when the real contributors were asked how they felt about the group process, their attitude was just the opposite of what the reading predicts. Another finding was that some projects just didn’t move very quickly. Why? Because it took so long to reach consensus…it took many, many meetings to build the agreement among group members about how they would move the project along. On the other hand, there were other instances where one or two people managed to become very influential over what their group did. Sometimes when those influencers said “That will never work” about an idea the group was developing, the idea was quickly dropped instead of being further discussed. And then there was another occasion when a couple influencers convinced the group that a plan of theirs was “highly creative.” And even though some members tried to warn the rest of the group that the project was moving in directions that might not work, they were basically ignored by other group members. Can you guess the ending to *this* story? When the project failed, the blame was placed on all the members of the group.

 

Directions

You have 20 minutes to plan and write your response. Your response will be judged on the basis of the quality of your writing and on how well your response presents the points in the lecture and their relationship to the reading passage. Typically, an effective response will be 150 to 225 words.

Summarize the points made in the lecture you just heard, explaining how they cast doubt on points made in the reading.

 

TOEFL Integrated Writing Sample Essay

The lecturer talks about research conducted by a firm that used the group system to handle their work. He says that the theory stated in the passage was very different and somewhat inaccurate when compared to what happened for real.

First, some members got free rides. That is, some didn’t work hard but gotrecognition for the success nontheless. This also indicates that people who worked hard was not given recognition they should have got. In other words, they weren’t given the oppotunity to “shine”. This derectly contradicts what the passage indicates.

Second, groups were slow in progress. The passage says that groups are nore responsive than individuals because of the number of people involved and their aggregated resources. However, the speaker talks about how the firm found out that groups were slower than individuals in dicision making. Groups needed more time for meetings, which are neccesary procceedures in decision making. This was another part where experience contradicted theory.

Third, influetial people might emerge, and lead the group towards glory or failure. If the influent people are going in the right direction there would be no problem. But in cases where they go in the wrong direction, there is nobody that has enough influence to counter the decision made. In other words, the group might turn into a dictatorship, with the influential party as the leader, and might be less flexible in thinking. They might become one-sided, and thus fail to succeed.

 

TOEFL Writing Sample Analysis

There are three key things this TOEFL example essay does that results in its high score:

  • Clearly presents main points
  • Contrasts lecture and reading points
  • Few grammatical/spelling errors

This essay clearly organizes the three main points made in the lecture, which is what the first part of the prompt asked for. (“Summarize the points made in the lecture you just heard.”) There is one paragraph for each point, and the point is clearly stated within the first sentence of the paragraph followed by specific details from the lecture. This organization makes it easy to follow the writer’s thinking and see that they understood the lecture.

Additionally, the essay clearly contrasts points made in the lecture with points made in the reading. Each main paragraph includes an example of how the two are different, and the writer makes these differences clear by using words and phrases such as “however” and “this directly contradicts.” Stating these differences answers the second part of the prompt (“explain how they cast doubt on points made in the reading”) and shows that the writer understood both the lecture and reading well enough to differentiate between the two.

Finally, there are only a few minor spelling and grammar errors, the most noticeable of which is the incorrect use of the word “influent” in the final paragraph (it should be “influential”), and they do not detract from the meaning of the essay. This writer shows a strong grasp of the English language, a key TOEFL skill.

This essay shows that the writer understood the main points of both the lecture and the reading well enough to both describe them and contrast them. That, along with the relatively few mechanical errors, gives the essay a top score.

 

 

Top-Scoring Independent TOEFL Writing Sample

Below is an official Independent Writing prompt and top-scoring sample essay. Beneath the essay we analyze what about the essay resulted in it receiving a top score.

 

Independent Writing Example Prompt

DirectionsRead the question below. You have 30 minutes to plan, write, and revise your essay. Typically, an effective essay will contain a minimum of 300 words.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Always telling the truth is the most important consideration in any relationship. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

 

Independent TOEFL Writing Sample Essay

the traditional virtue of telling the truth in all situations is increasingly doubted by many in today’s world. many believe that telling the truth is not always the best policy when dealing with people. moreover, the line of a “truth” is becoming more and more vague. this essay will explore the importance of telling the truth in relationships between people.

we all understand that often the truth is offending and may not be a very nice thing to both hear or say. lies or white lies often have their advantages. the manipulation of white lies is the most obvious the business world. how many times have we heard that some product is “the finest” or “the cheapest”? how many times have we heard that products have such and such “magical functions”? advertising is about persuasion, and many would agree that if a company is to tell the absolute truth about it’s products, no one would be interested in even having a look at the products.

the same logic applies to human relationships. if your friend had worn a newly purchased dress on her birthday and energetically asked you if it was a worthy buy, would you freely express your opinion that you had never seen a dress as the one she’s currently wearing? and spoil her birthday? unarguably, hiding(entirely or particially) the truth in some situations can be quite handy indeed. confrontations and disputes can seemingly be avoided.

however, there is always the risk factor of the truth emerging sooner or later when telling an untruth. the basic trust in any relationships(businessman/customer, friends, parents/children) will be blotched, and would have an impact on the future relationship between both parties. the story of the “the boy who cried wolf” fully illustrates the consequenes of telling untruths. no one will believe you when you’re telling the truth. your word will have no weighting.

in addition, another “bad factor” of telling untruths is that you have absolutely no control over when the truth(of previous untruths) will emerge. untruths breed pain in both parties: tears when the truth is uncovered after a period of time; fear and the burden of sharing a “secret”. in the long run, it seems that hiding the truth is not beneficial to either party.
everyone hates betrayal. even if it is the trend to occasionally hide the truth in relationships, it is strongly recommended that not to follow that trend as the risk and the consequences of the truth unfolded overwhelms the minimal advantages one can derive from not telling the truth. afterall, it is understood that relationships are founded on “trust” which goes hand in hand with “truth”. indeed telling the truth is the most important consideration in any relationship between people. always.

 

TOEFL Writing Sample Analysis

There are three key things this essay does that results in its high score, and each is explained in more detail below.

  • Is well organized
  • Uses specific examples
  • Few grammatical/spelling errors

The essay, like the first one, is well organized. The writer’s position is clear within the first few sentences, and the rest of the essay elaborates on that position. Each paragraph begins with a new major point that is then explained. This logical flow of ideas is easy for readers to follow and shows that the writer knows how to set up a clear argument.

Another reason the essay received a top score is because the writer used specific examples to make her point. By using specific examples, such as a friend buying a new outfit and asking your opinion and phrases businesses use to sell products, the writer makes her argument stronger and more concrete.

Finally, despite the lack of capitalization throughout the essay, there are few spelling and grammatical errors, and the ones that do exist don’t detract from the meaning of the essay or make it confusing to understand. This shows a strong command of English and the ability to write in-depth essays that are clear and get their point across.

 

 

Where to Find More TOEFL Writing Samples

Below are a list of other places, official and unofficial, where you can find TOEFL Writing examples. You can use these examples to get a better idea of what a high-scoring essay looks like and what graders are looking for on the Writing section.

 

Official Resources

Official resources are always the best to use since you can be sure the essay prompts are accurate and the sample essays were accurately scored.

 

TOEFL iBT Writing Sample Responses

This resource contains several sample essays (including the two sample responses used above). The essays from on this site received different scores as well as analysis of why they received the score they did. This can be helpful if you want more information on, say, what differentiates an essay that got a “5” from an essay that got a “4”.

 

TOEFL iBT Test Questions

This is a complete practice TOEFL, but it does include several sample essays along with score explanations so you can get a more in-depth look at how and why different essays received the scores they did.

 

Unofficial Resources

There are numerous unofficial TOEFL writing samples out there, of varying quality. Below are two of the best.

 

TOEFL Resources

This site has several dozen sample essays for both the Integrated and Independent Writing topics. There’s no scoring analysis, but you do get a good variety of essay topics and essay samples so that you can get a sense of how to approach different essay prompts.

 

Good Luck TOEFL

Good Luck TOEFL has seven sample Independent Writing essays (no Integrated Writing). There’s no scoring analysis, but the essays and prompts are similar to official TOEFL essay topics.

 

Review: Analyzing TOEFL Writing Examples

Writing can be a particularly tricky TOEFL section, and seeing TOEFL Writing samples can go a long way to helping you feel more confident. For TOEFL Writing, you’ll need to write two essays, the Integrated Writing Task and the Independent Writing Task. Looking over the rubrics for both these essays and understanding what graders will be looking for can help you understand what to include in your own essays.

Both essays are scored on a scale of 0-5. Top-scoring essays generally need to have good organization, specific examples, answer the prompt completely, and minor spelling and grammar errors. It can also be useful to review other TOEFL writing samples to get a better idea of what a great TOEFL essay looks like.

 

What’s Next?

Looking for more information on the TOEFL Writing section? Learn all the tips you need to know in order to ace TOEFL Writing!

Want more tips on how to prepare for TOEFL Writing questions?Check out our guide to the best ways to practice for TOEFL Writing!

Looking for a great TOEFL prep book? A good prep book can be the most important study tool you use, and we have information on all the best TOEFL prep books you should consider.

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