The Question:

It is important to improve our skills and knowledge as much as possible. Some people prefer to learn from individuals who have more experience than they do – like teachers and supervisors – instead of learning from peers, like their colleagues and classmates.  Do you think this is a good idea? Why or why not?

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The Sample Essay:

          Almost everyone agrees that improving our skills and abilities is a great way to ensure a more prosperous life. Personally, I feel that it is people above us, like our teachers and our bosses, who can teach us the most. I feel this way for two reasons, which I will explore in the following essay.

          First of all, people with real-world experience can provide more complete and comprehensive lessons. Young people are usually full of bright ideas and plans for the future, but our ideas are all hypothetical or based on assumptions instead of hard facts. My own experience is a compelling example of this. Following my graduation from university, I drew up plans to start a small software development firm. My plans were exceptionally detailed, and I was confident that my business would be a complete success. However, when I consulted one of my former professors, his advice opened my eyes to the fact that my plan was missing key points. I had concentrated on all of the most exciting aspects of starting a business, but I had not given much thought to the more mundane details I would have to sort out, like how to rent office space or how to pay my taxes. His years of tangible experience opened my eyes to such topics.       

          Moreover, people who are above us are more likely to actually be trained as educators, which means they can more effectively provide instruction. A young person who is a master of his particular field of expertise may be unable to teach others about it if he lacks experience conveying information to beginners. For example, several years ago I shared an introductory physics class with Philip, a close friend of mine. Philip excelled in all of his classes, and achieved particularly impressive grades in the sciences. One week when I was struggling in the class Philip offered to tutor me so that I could keep up. Our tutoring sessions did not go well – try as he might, Phil was unable to help me understand even the most basic topics. In desperation, I visited our professor to seek assistance. To my surprise, she was able to correct my misunderstandings after only half an hour of conversation. It was not her depth of knowledge of the topic that permitted her to achieve this, but her training as an educator.

          In conclusion, I strongly believe that we can learn more from individuals who are above us than we can from people on our own level. This is because older people tend to have more experience than younger people, and because they are more likely to have training in education and instruction. (449 words)


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



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