The Sample TOEFL Question
This integrated (Type 1) question is taken from the practice test contained in Cracking the TOEFL (2016) from Princeton Review. I am not allowed to provide the lecture and reading here, but if you need some practice tests, Princeton's book is a fair choice. It contains one practice test on CD and some "writing drills" which contain more practice materials.
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The Sample Essay
The reading and the lecture are both about forest fires, and whether or not they should be deliberately suppressed. The author of the reading believes that it is beneficial to stop such fires from occurring. The lecturer casts doubt on the claims made in the article. She thinks that it is more advantageous to allow forest fires to occur.
First of all, the author claims that stopping forest fires can help to improve the overall health of trees. He notes that the along the eastern seaboard where fire suppression systems have been used, huge canopies have been formed by thriving oak and hickory trees. This point is challenged by the lecturer. She says that such canopies block the light that young trees need to grow strong. Furthermore, she points out that as a result of this species that do not need much light will invade their natural habitat.
Secondly, the author states that stopping fires will allow vines and bushes to thrive at lower levels of the forest ecosystem. He argues that fires actually reduce the amount of nutrients available in soil. This argument is rebutted by the lecturer. She suggests that fires benefit lower levels of the forest by killing off plants before they grow into huge thickets. She elaborates on this by mentioning that huge masses of plants prevent young trees from reaching maturity.
Finally, the author mentions that stopping fires prevents animals from being burned to death. He mentions that deer are a specific species that can thrive when fires are stopped. The lecturer, on the other hand, feels that rising deer populations are also a result of recent limitations on hunting. She puts forth the idea that deer can harm forests by consuming oak saplings that already have a difficult time growing when fires are suppressed.