Sample TOEFL Paired Choice Essay


The Question

Some students prefer to study and do homework alone. Others prefer to study and work on class assignments with a group of fellow students. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

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The Sample Essay

         Everyone has their own favorite study methods, and all of them have specific benefits.  I am of the opinion that it is better to study alone than to study as part of a group. I feel this way for two main reasons, which I will explore in the following essay.

        First of all, studying alone helps us to focus on specific areas that we are struggling with, rather than doing a broad overview of subjects.  Diligent students always attend classes and communicate regularly with their professors and teachers, so they are constantly aware of which topics they need to focus on when they study.  When people study in a group, everyone in the group has different needs, and the study session is required to touch on all of them. My own experience is a compelling example of this. As a freshman four years ago, I was not aware of the aforementioned drawback and found myself wasting my time studying in a group for an important European history exam.  I knew that I really needed to focus on religious history, but sat uncomfortably through a group study session that progressed through political, cultural, scientific, literary and artistic history before touching only briefly on the issue of religion. As a result, I performed worse on the test than I would have if I had just studied alone.

          Furthermore, when people study in a group they are easily distracted.  Many students prefer to socialize rather than study when they get together with their friends and classmates.  For instance, in the group I mentioned above not only did I suffer from the fact that we only touched briefly on my problem area, but certain group members (including myself) were easily drawn off-topic.  We were quick to make jokes about the material being covered, or make tenuous and meaningless connections between those topics and our own lives. When it came time to take the test, none of us were prepared. Thankfully I have avoided this problem since then as I have decided to always prepare for exams by myself.

        In conclusion, I strongly believe that studying alone is better than studying in a group.  This is because it allows us to focus on the areas that we need to, and because it helps us to avoid socializing when we should be doing real academic work.


This is a sample TOEFL paired choice 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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