This style of question will be used on the redesigned TOEFL iBT starting July 26.  Get more samples here.

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 political science. 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: As you know, city governments have a responsibility to improve the lives of residents. In today’s class we’re going to discuss the best way for them to do that. What strategy do you think governments should use to improve the overall quality of life of residents? Why do you think it’s important?

Maria: I think investing in infrastructure should be the main priority for every local government. This could include things like repairing roads and bridges, expanding public transportation, and improving access to clean water and sanitation. When cities have good infrastructure it’s easier for residents to get around, and new businesses are attracted to the area. They also experience fewer serious accidents.

Tom: While I agree that infrastructure is important, I think that social programs should also be a major focus. The government could invest in things like education, affordable housing, and healthcare, which can help address issues like poverty, inequality, and access to basic needs. By providing these types of services, the government can help improve people’s well-being.  These are things that everyone benefits from… unlike a road which is only used by people who drive cars.


Sample Answer:

In my opinion, the government should help people by improving social programs. I strongly agree with Tom’s idea that this can solve some of the major problems in society today.  I’d add that the costs of things like childcare and housing are rapidly increasing nowadays, so government support is urgently needed.  Most people agree that it’s much easier for people to have jobs and raise families in cities with well-funded social programs.   Maria raised the relevant point that infrastructure makes it easier to get around but she didn’t mention that people will just leave a town altogether if it is too expensive to buy a house or send their kids to daycare.  For example, my sister’s family moved away from our hometown last year since she couldn’t afford to raise her family.  Even if the city had had great roads, she would not have stayed there.

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