TOEFL Essay Topic
The Writing section in TOEFL requires candidates to write an essay independently. The essay topic is provided in the test and the candidates have to write on the given topic based on their own perspective. The views of the candidates have to be clearly explained in the essay using examples and illustrations. For example, if, for an essay prompt on water preservation, they believe that water should be preserved then they should back it up by saying that if not for anything else, water should be preserved for drinking because there is no life possible without drinking water. The usage of phrases like 'I think', 'I believe', 'According to me', 'as an example' etc. is really appreciated in the essays. It is designed in such a way that the candidate needs to voice his/her opinion for it. In the process of making their point, the candidates can employ their imagination and creativity and by using apt vocabulary, prove their prowess in the English language.
Using the official list of essay topics to choose a prompt for your practice is a good way to prepare for the test. The following topics have been extracted from the official list for your reference.
Is it more important to be able to work with a group of people on a team or to work independently? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.
This topic is in the form of a question. Many such essay prompts occur in the test
and students need to answer the questions in an eloquent manner using
as many examples and instances as they can. This particular topic is
asking the candidates if they believe that the ability of working in
collaboration with people is more important than the ability of working
alone or not. A topic like this
one is very simple when perceived but leads to monotonous answers when
students write the essay. While answering the questions asked in the
topic, they should quote where and how a similar situation has occurred
which has made them believe in the stance that they are taking. For
example, they can write, "I believe that working in a group is more
important than working alone. This is because when I was previously
working in a team in an organization, I had suddenly fallen ill in the
middle of a very important project. My fellow group members had not
only completed the project but had shared all my pending work amongst
them. This made me believe that the strength of a group is always
greater than individual ability". A personal analogy is always better
than general statements in essays like these.
Your city has decided to build a statue or monument to honour a famous person in your country. Who would you choose? Use reasons and specific examples to support your choice.
TOEFL is an English competence test that also tries to measure the knowledge of the candidates in subjects like general and social sciences. This one is an apt example to demonstrate how TOEFL tests the individual's ability to not only quote general facts but, also support them with reasons. In this essay candidates are supposed to write about a famous personality whose statue or monument they think should get constructed in their city. For this topic, the candidates not only have to know the names of personalities but should also be aware of good reasons for their choice. A person who is famous for flimsy reasons or whose contributions are controversial should ideally not be named. Students should be sure of the spellings of the name of the personality that they are mentioning in their essay. They should also be sure of the dates if they are mentioning any. If the personality is alive, then the students should mention where the person is right now and what exactly he/she is doing currently. If the person is dead then they should mention how in his/her lifetime, the person was important to the country or the society. In short, factual essays like this, though opinion centric should contain correct information.
Describe a custom from your country that you would like people from other countries to adopt. Explain your choice, using specific reasons and examples.
This is a descriptive essay prompt.
Students have to describe a custom that is followed in their country,
which they want people from other countries also to follow. This custom
should be such that other people can think of following it. A general
custom that does not pertain to the country as a whole but is followed
only in the community of the candidate should ideally not be mentioned.
The details of the custom should be explained properly so that the
reader can understand it to follow it. Students have to remember that
though it is a personalised essay, but it is still part of a global
test and therefore should not contain vulgar or religiously biased
descriptions. Bowing for salutation in Japan or Dragon Boat Races from
Canada are two examples of customs that can be mentioned.
Whatever choice of topic they might get, candidates have to remember to be very specific, to the topic and, in brief yet correct language make their TOEFL essays as illustrative and interesting as possible.