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

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: Today we’re going to discuss whether the government should tax unhealthy products, such as sugary drinks and junk food. On one hand, taxing these products could discourage people from consuming them and reduce health problems. On the other hand, some argue that such taxes unfairly target lower-income families who may rely on these products as affordable sources of food. If you had to choose, would you support or oppose taxing unhealthy products? Why?

Sam: I support the idea of taxing unhealthy products. These products are often high in sugar, salt, and fat, which can lead to serious health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. As you said, by taxing these products, the government can discourage people from consuming them and resolve some of these health issues. Moreover, the revenue generated can be used to fund advertising campaigns that promote healthy eating habits.

Tanya: I believe that such taxes are unfair to families that don’t have a lot of money. Wealthy people will not care about the taxes and their habits won’t change. Additionally, when prices go up, people usually try to save money by purchasing lower-quality products that are cheaper to begin with.  If people start buying low-quality food they could suffer even more health problems.  There are better solutions to this problem than taxes.


Sample Answer 1

 While both Sam and Tanya raised some relevant points, I share Tanya’s opinion that the government probably shouldn’t tax unhealthy products. Remember that our health depends on a lot of factors, so focusing entirely on our diets is counterproductive. The food we eat certainly impacts our health, but so does the amount of exercise we get.  Even if we eat junk food all the time, we can avoid burdening the health care system by exercising on a regular basis. Therefore, I don’t think it is fair to punish people just for what they eat. Instead, the government should focus on educating people about healthy habits in general.

Sample Answer 2

In my opinion, it’s probably a good idea to tax some unhealthy products. I strongly agree with Sam’s idea that taxes on junk food can reduce the prevalence of serious health problems in society.  The government already spends an enormous amount of money treating people with such illnesses, but can’t afford to do that forever. I read that the budget of our national health care system has increased by 20% in the last five years, which I found shocking.  Tanya mentioned that people might turn to lower-quality products to save money, but she didn’t mention that the government can prevent this by using the money from the tax to make healthy choices more affordable. For example, they could subsidize products like fresh fruit and vegetables.

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