Sample TOEFL Integrated Essay


The Question

This integrated question is taken from a Korean textbook (Hackers Actual Test) which you probably can’t buy. I’m unable to provide the lecture and reading here for you, but if you need some practice tests I strongly recommend buying the Official TOEFL iBT Tests Collection.  It’s an excellent source of practice questions!

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The Sample Essay

          The reading and the lecture are both about the effectiveness of coal as an energy source.  The author of the reading believes that coal remains a very useful source of energy.  The lecturer casts doubt on the claims made in the article.  She thinks that coal has serious effects on both humans and the world around them, and therefore should no longer be used.

          First of all, the author claims that prices of other energy sources, such as fossil fuels, have increased dramatically.  He notes that we have limited reserves of such fuel sources, but that coal exists in huge quantities. This point is challenged by the lecturer. She says that coal is an inefficient means of energy production in comparison to all other alternatives.  She points out that for this reason coal should not be used, even though it is cheaper than other fuel sources.

          Secondly, the author states that coal is a reliable fuel source which has been used for hundreds of years.  He argues that because coal has been used for such a long period, humans have discovered the most effective ways to utilize it.  This argument is rebutted by the lecturer.  She suggests that coal is known to pollute water supplies.  She elaborates on this by mentioning that coal must be washed and prepared using toxic chemicals which are injected into underground mines after use.  This, she says, puts water supplies at risk.

          Finally, the author mentions that coal has been put to use all over the globe.  He describes how uses of coal include alumna refining, paper manufacturing, chemical production and the pharmaceutical industry. The lecturer, on the other hand, feels that coal can cause major damage to the human central nervous system because it emits carbon monoxide when used in industry.  She puts forth the idea that technology is simply not advanced enough to make it safe to use.


This is a sample TOEFL personal preference essay written by a TOEFL expert.  It follows our TOEFL writing templates for integrated essays.  If you find it useful, please remember that we have many more sample essays for you to read!




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