This style of question will be used on the redesigned TOEFL iBT starting July 26.  Get more samples here. You can also check out my detailed guide to 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 marketing. 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: Hello class!  Next week we will be discussing the impact of social media influencers on consumer behavior. With the rise of social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube, we’ve seen the emergence of a new type of celebrity: the social media influencer. These influencers have large followings and can sway consumer behavior by endorsing products or services. What are your thoughts on this?

Jack: I think social media influencers have a significant impact. When young people start admiring these influencers and trust their recommendations, they are more likely to buy products or services that they endorse. However, I also think there are some concerns about the authenticity of these endorsements, as some influencers may promote products that they don’t actually use or believe in.


Emily: I’m not convinced that social media influencers have a significant impact on consumer behavior. While they may have large followings, most people are smart enough to make their own purchasing decisions based on their needs and preferences. Plus, there are so many influencers out there promoting different products that it can be hard to know who to trust.


Sample Answer 1 (with template)

In my opinion, social media influencers aren’t as significant as some people suggest.  I agree with Emily’s idea that people are too smart to be influenced by them.  I’d add that twenty years ago a charismatic person might have convinced us to buy something we didn’t really need, but I think that doesn’t happen so much nowadays.  That’s because we can thoroughly research whatever products we are interested in using blogs, consumer magazines and social media.  Since we can use these sources of information to find goods that exactly suit our needs, we aren’t swayed by the exaggerated claims of social media influencers. Jack raised the relevant point that young people are especially vulnerable, but I think most parents these days take the time to educate their kids about misinformation and monitor their internet use.  As a result, young people aren’t likely to make rash decisions about what to buy.

Sample Answer 2 (with template)

While I appreciate the points mentioned by Jack and Emily, I think that social media stars aren’t particularly influential nowadays.  Nowadays consumer behavior is affected by many different things, not just what we see on the Internet.  Twenty years ago a charismatic person might have convinced us to buy something we didn’t really need, but I don’t think that happens so often today.  Remember that the choices people make are also impacted by their peers, by their family members and even by traditional advertising, so the Internet isn’t a dominant force in their lives. Some people may feel that influencers are more powerful than ever, but I think their impact is actually declining.

Video Lecture

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