Ha ha.  I am a TOEFL essay machine now.  This took about three minutes to create using my fake essay template, and I think it looks pretty decent.

The prompt is:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? It is better for children to grow up in the countryside than in a large city. Use specific reasons and examples to develop your essay.

The Essay is:

A lot of people today think that we should live in the city.  However, I strongly believe that it is much better for kids to live in the country for two reasons.  First, it leads to a lot of great job opportunities.  Second, it vastly improves our health and wellbeing, which a lot of people are struggling with nowadays.  To be fair, a lot of older people have the traditional view that cities are the best place for young people to live.  That said, I think this viewpoint is outdated and quite useless in today’s society.

First, life in the countryside can improve our range of job opportunities in the future.  As I implied above, people my parent’s age (and older) think that living in the countryside is actually quite dangerous.  When I was young and they had a lot of influence over my world view, I actually had the same opinion.  At that time, I thought the lack of businesses in the country would actually make it harder for me to get a job, and so I was hostile toward it.  However, after I entered college and my social network broadened, I realized the unique benefits of rural life.  Now I realize that the presence of agriculture can help us find employment in high paying fields.  For example, my young cousin makes a lot of money because he works in a field related to growing organic crops.  His experience changed my perspective, and now I am focusing on farming at university in the hope of achieving the same thing.

Second, life in the countryside has a noticeable effect on our physical health and maybe even our mental health.  I actually read a story about this in the Village Voice Newspaper a few months ago.  It pointed out that if we properly use hiking trails we can avoid the poor health that a lot of people are dealing with nowadays.  The article claimed that 75% of Americans think that the best way of staying fit is making use of rural sports.  Medical experts who reviewed the study results agreed, and suggested that rural lifestyles will have an even greater impact in the future because of the clean air in the countryside.  Consequently, I strongly feel that benefiting from life away from crowded cities is a fantastic way to stay healthy.

In conclusion, I think that it is best for young people to live in the countryside.  This is because it can lead to gainful employment, and because it has a positive impact on our minds and bodies.

Okay, I’m having fun with the Gangnam style TOEFL template I generated yesterday.  This time I tackled the second prompt in my collection.  Obviously it has a lot of overlap, since both deal with the Internet.  Next time I think I will delete the final sentence from the introduction. It lays the template on a bit too thick.  I’ll replace it with nothing, and just jump to the body after the thesis statement.

The prompt is:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? It is better to use printed materials such as books and articles to do research than it is to use the internet. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

The “fake essay” is:

A lot of people today think that using online materials for research is a bad idea.  However, I strongly believe that using the Internet for research is wise for two reasons.  First, it leads to a lot of great job opportunities.  Second, it vastly improves our health and wellbeing, which a lot of people are struggling with nowadays.  To be fair, a lot of older people have the traditional view that websites are unreliable.  That said, I think this viewpoint is outdated and quite useless in today’s society.

First, using the Internet for researching topics can improve our range of job opportunities in the future.  As I implied above, people my parent’s age (and older) think that the web is actually quite dangerous.  When I was young and they had a lot of influence over my world view, I actually had the same opinion.  At that time, I thought relying on unreliable online sources would actually make it harder for me to get a job, and so I was hostile toward it.  However, after I entered college and my social network broadened, I realized the unique benefits of cutting edge research that is published online.  Now I realize that learning about the latest academic developments online can help us find employment in high paying fields.  For example, my young cousin makes a lot of money because he works in a field related to crypto-currency.  His experience changed my perspective, and now I am focusing on emerging web-based technologies at university in the hope of achieving the same thing.

Second, medical websites have a noticeable effect on our physical health and maybe even our mental health.  I actually read a story about this in the Village Voice Newspaper a few months ago.  It pointed out that if we properly use websites that report on health trends we can avoid the poor health that a lot of people are dealing with nowadays.  The article claimed that 75% of Americans think that the best way of staying fit is making use of the Internet.  Medical experts who reviewed the study results agreed, and suggested that websites will have an even greater impact in the future because of the number of doctors who are online.  Consequently, I strongly feel that benefiting from online research is a fantastic way to stay healthy.

In conclusion, I think that researching online is beneficial.  This is because it can lead to gainful employment, and because it has a positive impact on our minds and bodies.

 

This week I was lucky enough to again have an opportunity to attend a workshop hosted by ETS for TOEFL teachers.  Here is a quick summary of some of the questions that were asked by attendees of the workshop.  Note that the answers are not direct quotes, unless indicated.

 

Q:  Are scores adjusted statistically for difficulty each time the test is given?

A: Yes.  This means that there is no direct conversion from raw to scaled scores in the reading and listening section.  The conversion depends on the performance of all students that week.

 

Q: Do all the individual reading and listening questions have equal weight?

A: Yes.

 

Q:  When will new editions of the Official Guide and Official iBT Test books be published?

A:  There is no timeline.

 

Q:  Are accents from outside of North America now used when the question directions are given on the test?

A: Yes.

 

Q:  How are the scores from the human raters and the SpeechRater combined?

A:  “Human scores and machines scores are optimally weighted to produce raw scores.”  This means ETS isn’t really going to answer this question.

 

Q: Can the human rater override the SpeechRater if he disagrees with its score?

A: Yes.

 

Q:  How many different human raters will judge a single student’s speaking section?

A:  Each question will be judged by a different human.

 

Q:  Will students get a penalty for using the same templates as many other students?

A:   Templates “are not a problem at all.”

 

Q: Why were the question-specific levels removed from the score reports?

A: That information was deemed unnecessary.

 

Q:  Is there a “maximum” word count  in the writing section?

A:  No.

 

Q:  Is it always okay to pick more than one choice in multiple choice writing prompts?

A:  Yes.