This is the second writing question on the TOEFL iBT Test. Get more samples here. And check out my detailed guide to mastering this task!

The test-taker must read the question posted by the professor and the two student responses.  Finally, they should write their own response which addresses the question and adds to the conversation.  They have ten minutes to complete the task.

Your professor is teaching a class on education. Write a post responding to the professor’s question.  In your response, you should

  • express and support your personal opinion
  • make a contribution to the discussion in your own words

An effective response will contain at least 100 words.


Professor: In next week’s class we’ll talk about different approaches to education. You know, not everyone agrees about the best way for young people to gain knowledge and learn new skills.  Let’s prepare by discussing whether it’s better for students to take classes with a lot of discussions or classes mainly focused on lectures. What do you think?

Rachel: I prefer classes that have a lot of discussions. I just learn better when I’m actively engaged with academic material and can exchange ideas with my classmates. When I have the opportunity to get immediate feedback, I can understand things more deeply. I also benefit from hearing about different perspectives and new ways of thinking about challenging topics. Additionally, discussions help me retain the information better since they’re more interactive and memorable.

Mike: I see your point, Rachel, but I prefer lectures. I like being able to listen to an expert explain a topic and really get into it. With lectures, there’s usually a clear structure and a set agenda, which can help me stay focused and organized. I also appreciate being able to take notes and study at my own pace.  I can’t do those things if I have to engage in a discussion. Not only that, but discussions can sometimes get off track or become too argumentative, which can take away from the learning experience.

Sample Answer 1 

In my opinion, interactive classes are much better than ones where we just sit and passively listen to a professor. I strongly agree with Mike’s perspective, and I’d add that we need to prepare for discussions in advance, which also improves our retention of specific details and concepts. When we have a deeper understanding of academic topics, we get higher grades on tests and assignments. While Rachel is right about the fact that it is hard to stay focused while a conversation is going on, it is extremely easy to record our classes. If we need to refer back to things that were mentioned in a class, we can just listen to a recording of it.

Sample Answer 2 (with template)

Both options have real advantages, but I’m convinced that interactive classes are much better than ones where we just sit and passively listen to a professor. Discussions require a certain amount of preparation, so they encourage learners to do plenty of pre-reading before coming to class.  Whenever we prepare for a topic in advance, we increase our likelihood of retaining memories of specific details and concepts. Remember that people who are able to master challenging academic topics get higher grades on tests and assignments. It’s also worth mentioning that nowadays it’s really easy to record our classes, so we can create a record to refer to later in case we forget something that was brought up by a classmate or professor.  Overall, I’d say that spirited discussions create a stimulating academic environment that everyone can benefit from.

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