About these TOEFL® Writing Samples

 

On the TOEFL test, you’ll get an independent writing question based on one of the following essay styles:

  • Agree/Disagree
  • Multiple Choice
  • Paired Choice
  • “Good Idea”

The most common is the agree/disagree style, which is used about 50% of the time.  The multiple choice and paired choice styles are each used about 20% of the time.  The “good idea” style appears about 10% of the time. Samples of each question type are below.  

Note that the questions aren’t about just any topics.  Most of the time, they are about education, work and lifestyle preferences.

At the bottom of the page you will find some sample integrated TOEFL essays.  I can’t provide the reading and lectures for those, but you might find the structures used in the essays helpful.

Make sure to check out our main page for detailed guides about how to write good essays.

If you like these samples, note that we also have a huge collection of speaking samples.

Help Writing Your Essays

If you want personalized help, you can sign up for our essay evaluation service.

Sample TOEFL Independent Essays

Agree/Disagree Style TOEFL Essays

This is the most common essay style.

Question 1

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Overall, the widespread use of the internet has a mostly positive effect on life in today’s world.

Question 2

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? When doing research, it is better to use printed materials such as books and articles than it is to use the Internet. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Question 3

Students who are given grades work harder than those who are not. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

Question 4

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?  In my country, young people have better lives than their parents had when they were young.  Use reasons and examples to support your answer.

Bonus: Speaking Samples

Remember that I’ve got a big list of sample speaking answers as well.

Question 5

Movies and television strongly influence the way people behave. Do you agree or disagree? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

Question 6

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.

Question 7

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? When people succeed, it is entirely because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with their success. Use specific reasons and examples to explain your position.

Question 8

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Nowadays, it is better for children to grow up in the countryside than in a large city. Use specific reasons and examples to develop your essay. 

Question 9

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Human activity is making the earth a worse place to live. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Question 10

In twenty years there will be fewer cars in use than there are today. Do you agree or disagree?

Question 11

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People today spend too much time on personal enjoyment, and not enough time on more serious duties and obligations. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer

Question 12

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? My lifestyle is easier and more comfortable than the one my grandparents experienced when they were young. Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice. Be sure to use your own words. Do not use memorized examples.

Question 13

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Sometimes it is better to be dishonest. Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

Question 14

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Parents are the best teachers. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Question 15

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?  The knowledge we gain from our personal experiences is more valuable than the knowledge we gain from books.  Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.  Do not use memorized examples.

Question 16

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Students do not respect their teachers as much as they did in the past. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Question 17 

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?  Most of the biggest problems in the world will be solved in the next few decades.  Use details and examples to support your answer.

Question 18 (new)

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? “People should keep trying to reach their goals, even if they seem impossible to achieve.” Use specific reasons and examples to explain your position. 

Question 19 (new)

It is beneficial for people to spend some time living in a country where they must speak a foreign language. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

Question 20 (new)

Friends have more impact on the academic performance of students than their teachers do. Do you agree or disagree?  Use details and examples to support your opinion.

Multiple Choice Style TOEFL Essays

Question 21

Neighbors are the people who live near us. In your opinion, what type of neighbor is the best to have?

  •  someone who is quiet 
  •  someone who we are similar to 
  •  someone who is supportive 

 Use specific details and examples in your answer.

Question 22

When you face a difficult problem in life, what do you feel is the best way to solve it?

  •  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 

 Use specific details and examples in your answer.  Do not use memorized examples. 

Question 23

In general, people are living longer now. Which of the following do you think accounts for this phenomenon?

  •  Technological improvements 
  •  Changes to education systems 
  •  Improvements to our diets 

 Use specific details and examples in your answer.  You may choose more than one cause. 

Question 24

People have a lot of opinions about the value of advanced education.  Which do you think is the most important reason to attend college or university? Use reasons and examples to support your answer.

  •  new experiences 
  •  career preparation 
  •  increased knowledge  

 Use specific details and examples in your answer. 

Question 25

Imagine you could improve the town where you live by changing one important thing about it. Which of the following would you choose to do?

  •  Build additional parks 
  •  Construct more libraries 
  •  Improve public transportation 

 Use specific details and examples in your answer.  Do not use memorized examples. 

Question 26

These days, people enjoy a lot of time away from their work and school obligations. Many people use this time to visit new places and learn about them. What do you think is the best way to learn about a place you are visiting for the first time?

  • Going to a museum 
  •  Joining a guided tour of popular attractions 
  •  Visiting a popular shopping area 
  •  Talking to a local resident 
  •  Watching a local television station 

 Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer. Do not use memorized examples. 

Question 27

People in society work in many different settings, and for a variety of reasons.  What do you think is the main reason why people have jobs?

  •  to feel happier about their lives 
  •  to save money for the future 
  •  to develop new skills 

 Use specific examples and details to support your answer. 

Question 28

Everyone wants to be as healthy as possible. Fortunately, in modern society there are many things that people can do to improve their physical condition. What do you think is the best way to stay healthy?

  •  Get exercise on a regular basis 
  •  Eat healthy food every day 
  •  Visit a doctor for regular examinations 

 Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer. 

Question 29

The people we work with have many different characteristics and all of them affect the quality of our time at work. Of the following, what do you think is the most important quality for a boss or supervisor to have?

  • a serious attitude about their work 
  • a lot of related experience 
  • a tendency to always tell the truth 

 You may choose more than one. Use specific details and examples in your answer. 

Question 30 

All around the world, people are living longer than ever before. Which of the following do you think are the main causes of this phenomenon? You may choose more than one option.

  •  The development of new technology 
  •  Changes to our eating habits 
  •  Improvements to our working conditions 

Use specific reasons and details to develop your essay. Do not use memorized examples.  (version 2)

Question 31 

During our careers, we work with many different kinds of people.  All of them have unique characteristics and personality traits. In your opinion, which of the following is the most important characteristic of a coworker?

  •  a serious attitude regarding their work obligations 
  •  a willingness to learn new things 
  •  the ability to make other people laugh 

 You may choose more than one of these options. Use reasons and specific examples to explain your answer. Do not use memorized examples. 

Question 32 

If parents want their children to succeed in the future, which of the following things should they teach them?

  • How to be honest
  • How to be helpful
  • How to be patient

Question  33 (new)

When employees feel that the management of their company is doing something wrong, what do you think is the best way for them to respond?

  • Talking to the media
  • Speaking to the management directly
  • Discussing the problem with each other

Question 34 (new)

What do you think is the best way for the government of your country to improve the environment?

  • Increase public transportation
  • Reduce the construction of new factories
  • Build more parks

Preference Style TOEFL Essays

Question 35

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.

Question 36

Some people like to travel with a companion. Other people prefer to travel alone. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

Question 37

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.

Question 38

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.

Question 39

Some people prefer to live in a small town. Others prefer to live in a big city. Which place would you prefer to live in? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

Question 40

Some students prefer to study and do homework alone. Others prefer to study and work on class assignments with a group of fellow students. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Question 41

Some people prefer to eat meals at restaurants, while others prefer to prepare and eat food in their own home. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Question 42

Some people think the best way to learn new things is to study them alone. Others think that it is always better to get help from a skilled teacher. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons to support your choice.

Question 43 

A large company wants to train its employees to use new techniques. Which is the best way to train the workers?

  • Have all of them attend a training program together
  • Have some of the employees attend the program and later show their coworkers what they learned

Question 44 (new)

Some people prefer to travel in their own country when they have some time off. Others think that it is better to take a trip to a foreign country. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons to support your choice.

Imaginary Situation TOEFL Essays

Question 45

Imagine that the administrators of a university are revising their budget and have decided to change their funding priorities.  As a result, the university will now spend more money on sports and athletic facilities than they do on the campus libraries.  Do you think this is a good idea?  Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your position.

Question 46

Imagine that it has been announced that a large shopping center will open in your neighborhood and you are being asked your opinion. Would you support or oppose its construction? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

Question 47

It is very important for students to learn as much as possible before their graduation from university.  For this reason, many schools require students to attend all of their classes in person in order to achieve a passing grade.  Do you agree or disagree with this kind of policy?  Use specific reasons and examples to support your argument. 

Question 48

Consider a situation where you are required to learn a challenging new skill. You could learn this skills from someone above you, like a boss or supervisor. Or you could be taught the skills by someone at your own level, like a classmate or colleague.  Which would you prefer?

Question 49

Nowadays, the world is developing at a very rapid pace and we are constantly forced to make a lot of choices that can affect the rest of our lives. Do you agree or disagree with the idea that we should always ask someone else for help when we need to make an important decision?  Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

Question 50

Consider a situation where you are asked by your supervisor to work with one of your coworkers on a project. This coworker has opinions that are very different from yours and they feel very strongly about these opinions. Do you think this is a good idea? Use reasons and examples to support your answer.

Question 51

Imagine that your city government has given permission for a major company to build a large factory near your neighborhood. Do you think this is a good idea? Why or why not? Explain your position using specific reasons and examples.

Bonus

Consider a situation where you are working in a company and are unable to finish an important assignment before a deadline.  What do you think is the best thing to do in this case – submit the assignment before it is completed, or wait until it is finished and submit it after the deadline?

Bonus

Imagine that you are graduating from high school and have been offered a complete scholarship at a university that is located in another country, far from your friends and family. Would you accept this offer, or would you try to attend a university closer to home?


Sample TOEFL Integrated Essays

I can’t give you the reading and listening for these, but you might like looking at their structure and organization.  Reading some of them will help you to understand the integrated question in the TOEFL writing section.

TOEFL Writing Guides and Templates