This is the second writing question on the TOEFL iBT Test. Get more samples here.

Your professor is teaching a class on social studies. 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: Life expectancies are increasing all over the world nowadays.  Some of you probably know someone who is more than 100 years old.  Before our next class, I want you to consider the following question: What factors do you think have contributed to the increase in life expectancy? Is it due to advances in medical technology, improvements in government services, changes in lifestyle habits, or something else entirely?

Lisa: I think the main reason why people are living longer nowadays is recent advances in medical technology. Modern medicine has enabled us to better treat and manage chronic illnesses, and there have been major breakthroughs in areas such as cancer treatment and organ transplantation. As a result, people are able to live longer with diseases that may have been fatal in the past.  Not only that, but they can live more rewarding and fulfilling lives.

John: While medical technology has certainly played a role, I think improvements in government services have been just as important. We now have access to clean drinking water, sanitation systems, and free vaccines that have dramatically reduced health problems.  In the past, people didn’t have access to any of these things. Additionally, public health campaigns have helped educate people about healthy habits such as exercise, healthy eating, and about the danger of smoking.

Sample Answer 1

In my opinion, new scientific discoveries are the main reason we live longer nowadays. New technology also makes it a lot easier for doctors to deliver those treatments.  In many cases, doctors can assist patients over the Internet, even from miles away.  That wasn’t possible when my parents were young. Back then, the average life expectancy was much lower than it is now.  It’s certainly true that public campaigns about healthy eating and exercise have improved our lives, but people actually have less healthy diets and get less exercise than they did in the past.  Despite that, they still live longer lives.  For example, although children are less likely to have physical education classes or play outside nowadays, they still suffer from fewer diseases than in the past.  

Sample Answer 2

A lot of things impact how long we live, but I’m fairly sure that our longevity is mainly due to improved government services. In the past, it was normal for people to go decades without getting a regular checkup, but nowadays local authorities encourage people to get checked out by a doctor on an annual basis. While individuals are certainly more likely to be diagnosed with life-threatening diseases nowadays, early detection means that they are also more likely to be cured. I think health care services like this will continue to be well-funded in the future, so our life spans might get even longer.


Need Help Preparing for the TOEFL Writing Section?

To have your practice essays scored and graded by me, check out my essay evaluation service.  I’ll grade your TOEFL essays and correct them line by line.  I’ll even tell you how to do better when you take the real test.