About the TOEFL Writing Section
In the TOEFL writing section you'll face two essay questions. First up is the Integrated TOEFL Essay where you must compare an academic article to a lecture on the same topic. After that is the Independent TOEFL Essay, where you will give a personal response to a specific question. The following sample essays demonstrate the types of questions you will face and how to structure your essays properly.
This page collects sample essays written by a native speaker. They demonstrate proper development, structure, grammar and vocabulary.
For detailed guides on how to write each TOEFL essay, make sure to check out our main page.
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Sample Independent Essays
(most of these topics are from an old list formerly included in the Official Guide to the TOEFL which I am slowly "upgrading" to be more modern - scroll down for integrated essay samples)
Some students prefer classes with frequent discussions between the professor and the students with almost no lectures. Other students prefer classes with many lectures and almost no discussions. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? It is better to use printed material such as books and articles to do research than it is to use the internet. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
You have the opportunity to visit a foreign country for two weeks. Which country would you like to visit? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice. (Note that this one is based on an old style question prompt that isn't in use these days).
Some people think that the government should use extra money to fund programs to improve the environment. Others think that it is better for the government to spend money to support artistic programs. Which option do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
- asking someone with more experience for advice about the problem
- finding information about the problem using the Internet
- taking a long time to think about the problem
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? In my country, young people have a better life today than their parents enjoyed when they were young. Use reasons and examples to support your answer.
Some people like to spend their money as soon as they earn it, while others think it is better to save their money for some time in the future. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion. Do not use memorized examples.
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People communicate with each other less than in the past because of the popularity of television. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "Universities should give the same amount of money to their students’ sports activities as they give to their university libraries. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion."
Some people believe that the Earth is being harmed (damaged) by human activity. Others feel that human activity makes the Earth a better place to live. What is your opinion? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
Some people believe that university students should be required to attend classes. Others believe that going to classes should be optional for students. Which point of view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to explain your answer.
Some people think that they can learn better by themselves than with a teacher. Others think that it is always better to have a teacher. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons to develop your essay.
We all work or will work in our jobs with many different kinds of people. In your opinion, what are some important characteristics of a co-worker (someone you work closely with)? Use reasons and specific examples to explain why these characteristics are important.
Consider a situation where you are asked by your supervisor to work with one of your co-workers on a project. This co-worker has opinions that are very different than yours. Moreover, they feel very strongly about these opinions. Do you think this is a good idea? Use reasons and examples to support your answer.
We've got a bunch of essays on the YouTube channel as well. These include explanations and comments about how they were written. Here's the first:
- Television Appearances by University Professors (casting doubt)
- Portrait of an Elderly Woman in a White Bonnet (casting doubt)
- Incan Fortress of Sacsayhuaman (casting doubt)
- Iron Fertilization (casting doubt)
- Moai of Easter Island (includes a full lecture and reading)
- The Usefulness of Coal (casting doubt)
- Monarch Butterflies (casting doubt)
- Large Animals (casting doubt)
- Wheat and Beer (from "Cracking the TOEFL 2016")
- Forest Fires (from "Cracking the TOEFL 2016")
- Endotherms (from "Official Collection")
- Online Encyclopedias (from "Official Collection")
- Buying a Franchise (from "Official Collection")
- Great Houses (from "Official Collection")
- Smart Cars (from "Official Collection")
- Eco-Friendly Wood (from "TOEFL Quick Prep")
- The Chevalier (from "TOEFL Quick Prep")
- Wave Farms (from "Hackers Actual Test")
- The Anasazi (from "Hackers Actual Test")
- Trans Lunar Phenomena (from "Hackers Actual Test")