The Question

This integrated question is taken from a Korean book which you probably can’t purchase in your country. I’m not allowed to share the lecture and reading here, but if you need some practice tests I strongly recommend that you purchase the Official TOEFL iBT Tests Collection.  It is excellent!

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The Sample Essay

          The reading and the lecture are both about Sacsayhuaman, which is a walled fortress built by the Inca people near the city of Cuzco.  The author of the reading believes that the fortress was not built for defensive purposes.  The lecturer casts doubt on the claims made in the article.  She thinks that the fortress was built to defend the Inca against invaders.

          First of all, the author claims that the walls in the fortress are not solid.  It is noted that the fortress actually consists of a series of walls with great gaps in between them, which invaders could have passed through.  This point is challenged by the lecturer. She says that the gaps were left in order to conserve building materials.  Furthermore, she points out that natural barriers would have provided sufficient defense in the areas where the gaps were located.

          Secondly, the author states that the wall contains various entryways.  The article argues that these passages were not defended very well and that aggressors could have entered through them.  This argument is rebutted by the lecturer.  She suggests that the entries were left because the Inca needed to see the invaders as they approached in order to plan their strategies.  She elaborates on this by mentioning that the entries were mostly windows which were too small for invaders to fit through.

          Finally, the author mentions that no wells have been found behind the walls.  The author’s opinion is that if the fortress had been blockaded by invaders the defenders would have died of thirst.  The lecturer, on the other hand, feels that because of the high altitude of the fortress, invaders would not have been able to sustain long attacks.  She puts forth the idea that defenders could have resupplied when their attackers fell back as a result of the altitude.


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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