The Question

This integrated TOEFL writing question is taken from the free sample test from ETS.  Check it out if you want to get the reading and lecture.

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The Sample Essay

          The reading and the listening are about the memoirs of the Chevalier de Seingalt, who was a very controversial figure. The author of the reading feels that his memoir is not historically accurate. The professor, on the other hand, thinks that the memoir is a reliable record. He casts doubt on each of the ideas presented in the reading.

          First of all, the author points out that in the memoir, the Chevalier claims to be very wealthy. He says that recent evidence, however, suggests that the Chevalier needed to borrow a lot of money, and therefore could not have been rich. The lecturer casts doubt on this claim. She observes that the Chevalier was rich, but since he did not have cash that he could spend right away he had to borrow money. She observes that he needed to borrow money while waiting for his assets to be converted into money he could actually use.

          Secondly, the author contends that the conversations recorded in the memoir may not be very precise. He notes that they occurred many years before the memoir was written, and that it would have been impossible for the Chevalier to remember them accurately. On the other hand, the lecturer notes that Chevalier often recorded conversations in his journals immediately after they occurred. She contends that when he was writing his memoirs he referred to such diaries.

          Finally, the author states that the Chevalier’s depiction of his escape from a famous prison in Venice cannot possibly be realistic. He points out that instead of escaping through a hole in the ceiling like the memoir says, he probably had a friend bribe one of the jailers. The professor, on the other hand, notes that prisoners with even more powerful friends could not bribe their way out of the jail. She also says that shortly after the Chevalier’s purported escape, a hole in the ceiling had to be repaired, which indicates that he may have escaped in the way described in his memoir.


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




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