Sample TOEFL Integrated Essay


The Question

This integrated (Type 1) question is taken from an old edition of “TOEFL Actual Test” from Korea. I’m not permitted to provide the lecture and reading here, but if you need some practice tests I highly recommend buying the Official TOEFL iBT Tests Collection from ETS.

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The Sample Essay

          The reading and the lecture are both about why animals that existed in the “early earth” period were larger than animals today.  The author of the reading presents three possible explanations for this phenomenon.  The lecturer casts doubt on the claims made in the article.  She thinks that none of the theories are supported by facts or evidence.

          First of all, the author claims that animals were larger because the early earth had a greater supply of oxygen.  He notes that high oxygen levels stimulate growth in certain species.  This point is challenged by the lecturer. She says that the atmosphere of the early earth was full of poisonous gasses which made it difficult for animals to breathe.  She points out that oxygen levels were not higher than they are today.

          Secondly, the author states that animals that existed in the early earth period grew large as a result of having access to abundant plant life to feed on.  He argues that animals grew large because they consumed high levels of nutrients and that they passed down their size to succeeding generations.  This argument is rebutted by the lecturer.  She suggests that plant life was in fact abundant, but that it was mostly low in nutrients.  She notes that this is because plants rely on carbon dioxide to grow strong, but  they did not have much carbon dioxide during the period.

          Finally, the author mentions that warm climates caused animals in this period to grow large.  He is of the opinion that because they did not have to use energy to stay warm, they were able to channel it into growing larger bodies.  The lecturer, on the other hand, feels that in today’s era warm climates are mostly known for having small animals.  She puts forth the idea that massive bodies are disadvantageous in warm climates.


This is a sample TOEFL integrated 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!




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