TOEFL writing exams

 

Exam 1

Writing task 1

Directions: You will have 20 minutes to plan and write your response. The break between the reading and lecture is not timed on the CD, because some students may need to practice untimed. Therefore, you will need to stop the CD for the duration of the break. You have three minutes to read the selection. Please play Track 34 on the accompanying CD.

Narrator: Now read the passage about the suppression of forest fires. You have three minutes to read the passage. Begin reading now. [Stop CD for 3 minutes.]

Wilderness management has advanced greatly over the last century, due in part to such practices as the suppression of forest fires and limitations on the clear- cutting of trees. Monitoring forests for small brushfires is easier with aircraft, as is the use of large amounts of water and sophisticated chemical fire extinguishers to prevent fires from spreading.

The goals of decreasing the amount of destruction by fires and cutting are wide-ranging. One is simply the longer lives and improved health of trees. In some areas of hickory and oak forest on the Eastern Seaboard, fire suppression has allowed the maturation of so many trees that the treetops form a continuous canopy.

There is evidence of the healthful effects of fire suppression closer to the ground as well. Vines and low bushes that would be burned out in a forest fire can flourish when fires are suppressed, of course, but there is a more indirect way fires harm plant life. Chemical tests on areas that have recently experienced forest fires demonstrate that burning decreases the overall amount of nutrients in the soil. Suppressing fires prevents such a decrease. Ferns, wildflowers, and herbs grow without disturbance.

Finally, wildlife can benefit. In the eastern hickory and oak forests, the suppression of fires has meant that forest animals — ranging from small insects and birds to large deer and, bears — are not burned to death. Deer populations, in particular, have increased notably.

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

Now get ready to answer the question. You may use your notes to help you answer.

Directions: You have 20 minutes to plan and write your response. Your response will be graded on 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 150-225 words.

Question: Summarize the points made in the lecture you just heard, explaining how they cast doubt on the contents of the reading. You may refer to the passage as you write.

Answer

Forest fires are harmful to the land and should be stopped according to the reading, but the professor in the lecture claims that forest fires can conversely be good for forests. the professor made several points about the effects of forest fires. In fact, he casts doubt on the author’s view by stating that it is hard for some trees to get light and nutrition if there are too many of them. But the writer refutes the idea that the trees are not healthy because of their big number by pointing out that it is good to have a lot of trees in the forest. Moreover, the reading says that fires take them out of the soil while the lecture shows that burning a forest puts more nutrients into the land; yet, the professor says there are more nutrients at the top for plants to use. In short, the lecturer disproves the writer’s point of view through declaring that forests sometimes need fires to remain healthy.

Writing task 2

Directions: For this task, you will write an essay in which you state, explain, and support your position on an issue. You have 30 minutes to plan and write your essay.

Question: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

A university education should be provided free of charge to all interested scholars.

Use examples and reasons to support your position.

Answer

Despite the fact that education is important and its cost is rising, I believe that universities should not give free education for everybody for three main reasons. Firstly, taxes will be raised if the government has to pay for it. Secondly, universities that have more money can give better education. Thirdly, there are many schools available with different affordable prices. This topic will remain under scrutiny as long as there are private schools and universities.

The government may take the initiative to pay for university studies, but citizens will then pay more taxes. This is not fair to those people who do not take advantage of that grant as neither they nor their siblings go to university. That means that they will be paying for something they won’t even use, which they have to do against their will. Tax payers will, thus, pay for university studies whether they are rewarded for that or not, so a law will have to be passed to exempt those who are not concerned. Anyway, the government has to do a thorough survey before deciding to pay for university studies so that it could do justice to all its subjects.

Universities are not likely to provide free education because of three factors. They themselves need money to run their educational system as they have to pay teachers and administrative staff. They can neither buy computers or books nor hire good professors  without charging the students with fees. They also ought to get office supplies and equip their premises with the required technological tools. Moreover, they should not only organize seminars and sponsor cultural events but also enter in partnerships with professional entities to benefit their students and researchers. Above all, a university is not supposed to take a whole charge of education fees even for those students who get scholarships.

As a matter of fact, students from different social backgrounds can have access to universities which range from the cheapest to the most expensive. Families are free to choose for their children the university the price of which they can afford. Many universities give aid or scholarships so that poor students can attend classes and graduate. There are also government grants or bank loans for those who choose universities that are more costly than they expect. Some schools don’t cost a lot, but they teach as much as those which cost an arm and leg.

To sum up, I think that university education should not be made free. Colleges need the money to make their services better. If the universities are free, taxes will be raised and people will have to pay for the education of others who might not deserve that. Since there are many schools available with scholarships and aid, students can choose those that suit their situations. What is more, university studies may lose their value if they are freely accessible. If ever graduate studies are to be provided for free, there should be some restrictions concerning the qualifications of those eligible.

Exam 2

Writing task 1

The first type of writing question will provide you with the following directions: You will have 3 minutes to read the following passage. You may take notes during your reading. After the 3 minutes are up, you will hear a lecture on the topic. You may take notes during the lecture as well. After the lecture ends, you will have 20 minutes to write your response. An effective response is generally 150-225 words long. You may use your notes to help you answer, and you may refer to the reading passage. Your essay will be graded on the quality of your writing and on the completeness of the content.

Now let’s look at a writing question. On the actual test, you will hear a prompt that will ask you to read a passage in 3 minutes. For our purposes here, you will need to stop the audio to read the passage and either time yourself or ask friend to time you. After 3 minutes, resume the audio for the listening passage.

Begin playing Track 23 on the CD or in your Student Tools.

Narrator: Now read the passage about the first grain-based food. You have 3 minutes to read the passage. Begin reading now. [Stop the audio for 3 minutes while you read the passage.]

Scant physical evidence remains of the first human domestication of grain. Still, there is enough to conclude that ancient peoples, motivated by the nutritional value of bread or cakes made of wild wheat, looked for controlled ways to grow it to provide a consistent food supply. Three related discoveries are likely to have led to the introduction of bread as the first grain-based food.

The first discovery was that wheat could be prepared for use by grinding. People probably began consuming wheat by chewing it raw. Because wheat is very hard, they gradually discovered that it was less trouble to eat if crushed to paste between two stones. The result would have been the ancestor of the drier, more powdery wheat flour we use today. From there, it was a short step to the next breakthrough—baking the simplest bread, which requires no technology but fire. Loaves of wheat paste, when baked into bread, could be stored for long periods, certainly longer than raw seeds. This kept the food value of wheat available for an extended period after it had been harvested.

Finally, ancient peoples found that if the paste was allowed to sit in the open, yeast spores from the air settled on it and began fermenting the wheat. This natural process of fermentation caused bubbles to form in the wheat paste, suggesting that it would be lighter in texture and even easier to eat when baked.

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

N: Summarize the points made in the lecture you just heard, explaining how they cast doubt on the contents of the reading. You may refer to the passage as you write.

Directions: You have 20 minutes to plan and write your response. Your response will be graded on 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 150-225 words.

Question: Summarize the points made in the lecture you just heard, explaining how they cast doubt on the contents of the reading. You may refer to the passage as you write.

Answwer

There is a big difference between the reading and the lecture as the professor argues that beer was the first wheat product while the writer states that bread came first. For the teacher, wheat doesn’t have to be ground as it is easy for people to eat when it vegetates. The author says that early people ground wheat into a paste since it was hard to eat. Moreover, the talk says that fermenting that leads to a foam happens so quickly that people have tasted it as the first beer. We infer from the reading that fermenting made people think of baking bread, but the professor doubts this point by stating that it is unlikely. In short, the lecture sheds light on the fact that early people who did not use to cook things would not think of baking the wheat whose first food was seemingly beer.

Writing task 2

Write a response to a question in 30 minutes.

Directions: For this essay, you will have 30 minutes to write a response to a question that asks you to state, explain, and support your position on an issue. An effective essay is usually 300 words in length. Your response will be graded on the quality of your writing, the organization of your ideas, and the accuracy of the language you use.

Question: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Success is defined by the amount of money someone earns.

Use examples and reasons to support your position.

Answer

Nowadays, success can be determined according to more valuable things than the financial situation of a person as money is only one way of being successful. Many people believe that how much you earn tells how successful you are. There are many other ways to achieve success without money. It is more important to succeed morally than financially.

Most people think that success manifests itself through one’s fortune. They generally look at how people dress, what properties they own, and the kind of cars they drive. They have material thinking, and they value appearances more than anything else. They do not know that wise people « don’t judge a book by its cover », as the saying goes. Money has never been a real symbol of success as many of the rich cannot succeed without taking moral actions.

One can succeed through contributing to the well-being of society by different means. Earning a university degree is one way to really succeed in life as it is both prestigious and rewarding. Another way to become truly successful is by doing one’s best to improve the community in terms of everyday life matters. For instance, a person can share work experience with graduates in the same field so that they could find jobs easily. In this way, unemployment rates decrease, paving the way for the newly employed to be more active and beneficial.

To sum up, moral success counts more than the material one as the first remains memorable everlastingly while the latter fades away after death. A charitable person, for example, is likely to be remembered for life thanks to the help of which poor people have taken advantage to survive. Similarly, the civil rights activist, Martin Luther King, has been an unforgettable man since 1963 when he delivered his « I have a dream » public speech in which he called for the end of racism. Nelson Mandela, who militated against apartheid and presided South Africa from 1994 to 1999, achieved moral success after tackling institutionalized racism and fostering racial reconciliation. So, one has to record moral achievements in order to succeed in the real sense of the word.

 

Exam 3

Task 1

You have 20 minutes to plan, write, and revise your response to a reading passage and a lecture on the same topic. First, read the passage and take notes. Then, listen to the lecture and take notes. Finally, write your response to the writing question. Typically, a good response will require that you write 150-225 words.

Reading Passage: Time: 3 minutes

         Online graduate degree programs are being offered worldwide. In many respects, the programs are like the same degree programs available in a traditional campus environment, but in several key aspects, they are very different.

         First, online degree programs do not offer one-on-one time with the professors. On campus, professors hold regular office hours and expect to have conferences with their graduate students. In addition, many opportunities present themselves for informal interactions before and after class or in chance meetings on campus. Some professors invite their graduate students to their homes or otherwise make themselves available in semi-social settings. In contrast, online professors are unable to see their graduate students in person and, consequently, do not know them very welI.

         Second, many online graduate programs are not as challenging or as high quality as their on-campus counterparts. In fact, some courses are so easy that students are able to complete them online in one weekend.

For the most part, senior faculty members refuse to teach the online courses, contributing to the difference in quality of the online and on-campus courses with the same titles. Many excellent professors view the huge numbers in the online classes as an impediment. Technology allows for more students to take the same course, and junior faculty or graders provide feedback on assignments that are graded by senior faculty teaching on campus.

         Third, top schools do not offer online degree programs. Although non-credit courses or even a handful of credit courses may be available, the best schools still require that graduate students complete a more conventional program with most of their time spent in residence on campus. For students who want a graduate degree from a prestigious university, online options are not open to them.

Now listen to a lecture on the same topic as the passage that you have just read.

Play Track 3

Question : Summarize the main points in the lecture and then explain how they cast doubt on the ideas in the reading passage.

Answer

The writer states that the student-teacher relationship and the quality of courses together with the access to top schools are inferior in online graduate degree programs, but the lecturer questions these claims. The speaker says that students’ relationships with online and on-campus professors is similar in terms of the amount of interaction. For him, the only difference between them consists in the way they interact as online instructors use email, chat, and telephone conference calls to communicate with their students. The author asserts that online teachers are not that qualified and evaluates courses as less challenging than on-campus ones; however, the lecturer explains that the same standards for accreditation are to be demonstrated by both online and on-campus graduate courses. Moreover, students taking online courses with the assumption that they will be easier usually face difficulties with the new technology which they need to learn so as to do the required duties. The lecturer is also against the idea that the best schools do not offer online graduate degree programs even though some top schools may require one term residence.

Task 2

Independent Essay « An Important Leader »

Question : Leaders like John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King have made important contributions to the people of the United States. Name another world leader you think is important. Give specific reasons for your choice. Write a 300-word essay.

Answer

Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern who is the 40th prime minister of New Zealand and the head of the Labour Party is an important leader as she is integral, accountable, empathetic, humble, visionary, and resilient. Her integrity benefits both New Zealand and its citizens, and her accountability ensures traceability. Her empathy makes her subjects believe in her, and her humility keeps her approachable. Her vision facilitates planning, and her resilience makes it sure for plans to be executed. She is such an effective leader that she involves New Zealanders in reaching success and fulfillment through influence and positivity.

Jacinda Ardern has proven her leadership efficiency through fighting corruption and linking responsibility to accountability. She publicly supports anti-bribery laws and speaks out against corrupt practices. Since she took office, she has been doing her best to make citizens understand the types of conduct that are acceptable and those that are not. Under her reign, every responsible has been accountable for their deeds in the sense that they have to do whatever it takes to complete their tasks and they are expected to take ownership of their actions or decisions. She has never hesitated to blame or credit someone for their actions including herself. Jacinda Ardern is so integral and accountable that she has become emblematic and inspiring for leaders in different fields.

As a matter of fact, she is not only empathetic but also humble when dealing with people. She has always sympathized with people in need and treated them with compassion. Everybody can approach her to express their complaints as she is down to earth. She really seems to share the citizens’ feelings, and she has no problems to deal with them closely. She is looked on by many people as a humanitarian leader.

Furthermore, she is imaginative and wise when planning the future, and she overcomes difficult situations once they occur. As an illustration, her coronavirus response has been a master-class in crisis leadership. She has motivated her followers to give their best through addressing direction-giving, meaning-making and empathy. In this way, all of them obeyed her when she announced the stay-at-home order to pave the way for New Zealand’s lockdown. When she held a press conference on March 23rd and announced the latter, people accepted it smoothly.

In short, Jacinda Ardern is one of the most important leaders the world has ever known. She has neither been corrupt nor has she tolerated corruption which she has fought through accountability. Her modesty and sympathy with needy people have marked her leadership. Her stubbornness to achieve goals and the imaginative and wise way she thinks about the future have made it easy for her to lead her citizens. I believe that her leadership model can benefit humanity if it is made public.

 

Exam 4

Task1

You have 20 minutes to plan, write, and revise your response to a reading passage and a lecture on the same topic. First, read the passage and take notes. Then, listen to the lecture and take notes. Finally, write your response to the writing question. Typically, a good response will require that you write 150-225 words.

Reading Passage: Time: 3 minutes

         Because of its remote location, only a few species of plants and animals thrived on Easter Island, and the water surrounding it contained very few fish. Nevertheless, beginning with extremely limited resources on an isolated island, the native people achieved a very advanced culture, as evidenced by the gigantic monolithic human figures that line the coasts, as well as by other artifacts. The complete collapse of this civilization is still a mystery, but several theories have been put forward.

         One theory suggests that the natives of Easter Island cut down large palm forests to clear land for agricultural purposes, fuel for heating and cooking, construction material for pole and thatch houses, and canoes for transportation. In addition, hundreds of ahu, or large stone monuments, were constructed and moved to the coast on rollers made of tree trunks. Assuming that the trees could regenerate quickly enough to sustain the environment, they continued the deforestation, which, in turn, caused serious erosion.

         Another theory presents a very different explanation for the decline in the population. Since there were few predators on the island, and an abundance of food, it is thought that rats may have hidden in the canoes of the earliest settlers. When the native people cut and burned trees, the rats prevented regrowth by eating the fresh shoots before they could grow into large plants. With little food and no wood to build canoes to escape, the people perished.

         A third theory contends that the population was decimated by a war between short-eared and long-eared people on the island. According to oral history, a plot by the long-eared people to kill the short-eared people was discovered and the short-eared people struck first, driving the long-eared people to a ditch where they were killed and burned.

Now listen to a lecture on the same topic as the passage that you have just read.

Play Track 7

Question : Summarize the main points in the lecture, and then explain how they cast doubt on the ideas in the reading passage.

Answer: 

According to the reading, there are three theories that explain the collapse of the civilization on Easter Island; yet, flaws are detected in them by the lecturer. The latter agrees that palm trees clearance benefited agriculture and cooking together with homes and canoe construction and AHU transportation, but he says that the island inhabitants grew grass in the place of palm trees so as to prevent erosion and provide the population with an agricultural base. He claims that the islanders could have made food out of rats which eat the young trees and prevent them from regrowth. The people of the island seem to have replaced plants with protein in their diet since rat bones were found among garbage. There was a documented war on the island between short-eared and long-eared people who killed each other in big numbers. Nevertheless, this theory as a whole is brought to question by the lecturer who proves that it took place a hundred years after the islanders’ traditional stories of the war. The difference in the dates brings the entire issue into question. So, the collapse of the advanced civilization on Easter Island remains a mysterious as none of the three theories explain that.

Task 2

Independent Essay « Family Pets »

Question

Read and think about the following statement:

Pets should be treated like family members.

Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give reasons to support your opinion. Write a 300-word essay.

Answer: 

In spite of arguments that money spent on pets should be spent on programs to assist needy people, I think that pets have to be looked on as family members since they live and interact with us. Children are usually allowed to have pets because their parents want them to learn how to be responsible. In fact, these kids will become dependable as they feedi, walk, and groom a dog, for example. For many of them, dogs or kittens are also best friends that teach them how to treat a new brother or sister when the family expands. Taking care of people in need is great, but adopting pets is more beneficial for both kids and adults.

Taking care of pets enables children to develop a sense of responsibility. They learn how to serve and be helpful. Their interaction with their pets makes them aware of the roles they should have in society. They gradually become responsible as they deal with their needs on a daily basis. It is, thus, good for kids to look after pets because they assume their responsibility.

They treat them as if they were family members that depend on them to satisfy their needs. They have to feed them on time, and they should provide them with care continually. Pets, indeed, rely on their adopters to protect them from danger. Children who have pets are always conscious that they ought to care for them all the time. In this way, children will acquire skills that are likely to help them assume respônsibility within their families.

Besides the friendship that children enjoy with animals, pets can substitute for the· absence of other family members. Sometimes a working couple who have kids adopt pets to entertain them while they are at work. a child will, therefore, never feel lonely as long as they are surrounded with pets like cats and dogs. They will benefit a lot from their companionship as they can play with them and protect all the time. Pets are, indeed, a good substitute for the family when nobody is at home since they interact with people smoothly.

Pet adoption benefits not only kids but adults as well. There are dogs, for instance, that are well trained to care for the disabled and serve them by doing things like  bringing objects to them. They can also help a vision-impaired owner to walk in unfamiliar surroundings. Cats, in their turn, can chase mice and rid households of them. In short, people interact with pets in the same ways that they interact with family and they should be treated as such.. 

Exam 5

Task 1

You have 20 minutes to plan, write, and revise your response to a reading passage and a lecture on the same topic. First, read the passage and take notes. Then, listen to the lecture and take notes. Finally, write your response to the writing question. Typically, a good response will require that you write 150-225 words.

Reading Passage: Time: 3 minutes

         Emperor penguins are not only the largest species of penguin in the world but also one of the most unique. They are very social, living in colonies that can include hundreds of thousands of individuals. Nevertheless, emperor penguins are monogamous. Having selected a mate, emperor penguins remain faithful to each other for life, using vocal calls to find one another when they return to their breeding site on the compacted ice of the Antarctic continent. It is believed that different frequencies alert mates to the sound of their partner’s call.

         Another interesting aspect of emperor penguins is that they return to the same site, called a rookery, to nest each year. Although their path to the rookery is different every year due to the shifting sea ice, in general, the penguins continue to use the rookery where they were hatched. Their loyalty to a particular breeding ground results in increasingly larger penguin

colonies, some with more than a million birds. Males tend to arrive first to reestablish and defend their preferred nesting sites and females return a day or so later.

         Emperor penguins are not considered endangered and are not currently protected under international law. In fact, in areas where reliable population counts have been conducted, the evidence suggests that populations are stable. However, due to harsh environmental conditions,

some colonies have not been monitored on a consistent basis. Estimates of population sizes are at about 240,000 breeding pairs. Taking into consideration the non-breeding birds as well, the total translates into about 600,000 adult birds. Emperor chicks that reach adulthood can survive for 20 years .

Now listen to a lecture on the same topic as the passage that you have just read.

Play Track 11

Question

Summarize the main points in the lecture, and then explain how they cast doubt on the ideas in the reading passage.

Answer: in process

Task 2

Question

Read and think about the following statement:

The college years are the best time in a person’s life.

Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give reasons to support your opinion. Write a 300-word essay.

Answer: in process