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Different types of TOEFL essay questions

Posted by Manjusha. Filed in TOEFL

There are two tasks in the TOEFL Writing section. The first writing task is an integrated task: you will have to listen to a lecture and read a passage. You must then write a summary of both passages.

The second writing task is an independent essay.

Here is a quick overview of the different kinds of TOEFL essays that could be asked.

1. Choose a point of view and support that view.

Some essay questions will ask you to choose a point of view and then support that view.


Some people believe that you canít be successful if you arenít lucky. Others believe that luck has nothing to do with success. Which point of view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to justify your answer.

While answering this type of question, you only need to look at one side of the issue Ė the side you are on. Donít write about both sides of the argument. Clearly state which side you agree with and then support your answer with valid arguments and examples.

2. Describe something.


If you could change one thing about your city, what would it be?

This kind of question requires you to describe something that doesnít exist. That means you need to exercise your creativity.

3. Compare two points of view and tell which one you agree with.


Some people believe that children should start school at a young age. Others believe that young children should spend most of their time playing. Compare both points of view. Which point of view do you agree with? Why?

While writing an essay on a question like this, you need to write about both sides of the issue. You also need to state which side you agree with. Note that you canít agree with both sides. You are required to make a choice. After making a choice, explain why you made that choice with valid examples and arguments.

4. Agree or disagree with something.

Some essay topics will require you to agree or disagree with a statement.

Example: Only rich people are successful. Do you agree or disagree?

If you agree with the statement, clearly state so. If you donít agree, state that. Note that you have to either agree or disagree. You canít be indecisive. Support your arguments with examples from your own personal experience.

5. Explain why something is true.

Example: Age brings wisdom. Why?

While answering this question you will need to provide a lot of examples. Here you are not supposed to give your opinion. You may or may not agree with the given statement, but that is not what you should write about. Instead, what you have to do is to give valid arguments and examples that will prove the veracity of the given statement.

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