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Prompt

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Modern life is easier than life in the past.

Use specific details and examples to support your answer.

Sample Essay

I definitely agree that modern life is easier than life in the past. The increased use of technology, rising
standards of living, and improved healthcare have combined to make our lifestyles, at least in the first
world, luxurious compared to lifestyles of the past. By examining three specific examplespersonal
computers, The Lion in Winter, and vaccinesthis essay will demonstrate that this improvement has,
indeed, taken place.

In the first place, technological advances have created new ways to take care of mundane tasks quickly
and easily. For example, the majority of Americans now have their own personal computers. This is an
amazing advance: with computers, we can complete tasks, from banking to ordering groceries, that
would have taken hours even a few decades ago. Word processing is common, making the spread of
information much easier to achieve, and education is available to all for free through online courses and
information that would have been all but unattainable for many up until the end of the twentieth
century. The sheer amount of access that we have to services and knowledge through these machines
has made life extraordinarily easier.

Secondly, our standard of life has changed through advances in engineering, architecture, travel, and
even textiles. Looking at a film like The Lion in Winter, while by no means historically perfect, does show
how even everyday things were more difficult almost a thousand years ago. Set in the 1100s, the film
shows King Henry II having to break ice from his water bowl to get water to wash his facesomething
that hot and cold running taps have long since saved us from. The queen has to travel to see her
husband by a long boat journey, which would be almost unthinkable today. Finally, the entire royal
family, even though they are royal, is wrapped in encumbering furs. Looking at what was once the
highest standard of living, compared to the average first world standard of living today, we can see how
much easier progress has made our lives.

Finally, we no longer live in fear of many common diseases that once crippled or maimed large
populations, making their lives much harder. For example, polio used to strike many people, in some
cases making it difficult for them to walk, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, who used a wheelchair. The
invention of that vaccine in the 1950s, as well as numerous other vaccines, has created a situation in
which we no longer have to suffer unnecessarily. This is most certainly an improvement over the past.

In conclusion, life today is definitely easier than life in the past. Though it is easy to read stories of
nobles and kings of history and romanticize them, their lives were almost certainly more uncomfortable
than our lives are. Nevertheless, there are many places in the world where laptops, modern
conveniences, and vaccines are rarely found; I hope that current generations will work together to make
life easier for everyone, now that it is possible to do so.
Sample:

The lecturer talks about research conducted by a firm that used the group system to handle their work.
He says that the theory stated in the passage was very different and somewhat inaccurate when
compared to what happened for real.

First, some members got free rides. That is, some didnt work hard but gotrecognition for the success
nontheless. This also indicates that people who worked hard was not given recognition they should have
got. In other words, they werent given the oppotunity to shine. This derectly contradicts what the
passage indicates.

Second, groups were slow in progress. The passage says that groups are nore responsive than
individuals because of the number of people involved and their aggregated resources. However, the
speaker talks about how the firm found out that groups were slower than individuals in dicision making.
Groups needed more time for meetings, which are neccesary procceedures in decision making. This was
another part where experience contradicted theory.

Third, influetial people might emerge, and lead the group towards glory or failure. If the influent people
are going in the right direction there would be no problem. But in cases where they go in the wrong
direction, there is nobody that has enough influence to counter the decision made. In other words, the
group might turn into a dictatorship, with the influential party as the leader, and might be less flexible in
thinking. They might become one-sided, and thus fail to succeed.
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Always telling the truth is the most important
consideration in any relationship. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer

the traditional virtue of telling the truth in all situations is increasingly doubted by many in todays
world. many believe that telling the truth is not always the best policy when dealing with people.
moreover, the line of a truth is becoming more and more vague. this essay will explore the importance
of telling the truth in relationships between people.

we all understand that often the truth is offending and may not be a very nice thing to both hear or say.
lies or white lies often have their advantages. the manipulation of white lies is the most obvious the
business world. how many times have we heard that some product is the finest or the cheapest?
how many times have we heard that products have such and such magical functions? advertising is
about persuasion, and many would agree that if a company is to tell the absolute truth about its
products, no one would be interested in even having a look at the products.

the same logic applies to human relationships. if your friend had worn a newly purchased dress on her
birthday and energetically asked you if it was a worthy buy, would you freely express your opinion that
you had never seen a dress as the one shes currently wearing? and spoil her birthday? unarguably,
hiding(entirely or particially) the truth in some situations can be quite handy indeed. confrontations and
disputes can seemingly be avoided.

however, there is always the risk factor of the truth emerging sooner or later when telling an untruth.
the basic trust in any relationships(businessman/customer, friends, parents/children) will be blotched,
and would have an impact on the future relationship between both parties. the story of the the boy
who cried wolf fully illustrates the consequenes of telling untruths. no one will believe you when youre
telling the truth. your word will have no weighting.

in addition, another bad factor of telling untruths is that you have absolutely no control over when the
truth(of previous untruths) will emerge. untruths breed pain in both parties: tears when the truth is
uncovered after a period of time; fear and the burden of sharing a secret. in the long run, it seems
that hiding the truth is not beneficial to either party.

everyone hates betrayal. even if it is the trend to occasionally hide the truth in relationships, it is
strongly recommended that not to follow that trend as the risk and the consequences of the truth
unfolded overwhelms the minimal advantages one can derive from not telling the truth. afterall, it is
understood that relationships are found

ed on trust which goes hand in hand with truth. indeed telling the truth is the most important
consideration in any relationship between people. always.
People should sometimes do things that they do not enjoy doing.

Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

Sample TOEFL essay answer:

Life is challenging. In order to be happy and successful, we need to prepare ourselves on many fronts.
Although participating in enjoyable activities is always desirable, in my view it is also necessary at times
to do things we do not enjoy. The bases for my view are personal, social and financial.

Personally, doing things we dont care for builds character and helps us mature. For instance, when
parents have their first baby they are forced to give up their freedom in order to look after the child.
There are times when parents barely get enough sleep and still have to get up and go to work in the
morning. Similarly, when students are in school and university, they need to spend a lot of time
studying. In spite of being tempted to go out with friends and attend parties, those who have self-
control and keep their priorities straight are the ones who get high grades. Through such life
experiences people become stronger, wiser and more responsible.

From a social perspective, we live in an interdependent world which imposes its obligations on us. Each
person belongs to diverse social groups and plays various social roles. Each of us has to attend birthday
parties, weddings and funerals to show we care about our fellow human beings. Participating in events
for the sake of others teaches us to go beyond our own selfish needs and to share in the joys and
sorrows of others.

Financially-speaking, people need to work - and spend - to keep the local, national and international
economy growing. We need to support our own family in particular and our community in general. In
fact, most of us work many more hours than we would like to work. What propels us to continue
working is our financial needs, commitments and obligations. Only in this way are we able to live
comfortable lifestyles and sa 2ve for our retirement days.

In conclusion, life places huge demands on us. By participating in a wide variety of activities, both
pleasant and unpleasant, we can discover more about our unique selves and live fuller lives.
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:

Only people who earn a lot of money are successful.

Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

Sample TOEFL essay answer:

It is said that money makes the world go round. We spend the majority of our waking hours at work -
earning a living, providing for our families and saving for our retirement. Although money no doubt
plays a critical role in determining the quality and nature of our lifestyles, in my opinion, the size of
ones paycheque is not a measure of ones success in life. The bases of my views are philosophical,
social and personal.

Philosophically, success can be defined in myriad ways. For some, success is an external concept to be
measured in terms of high income, huge bank balances, fancy cars, expensive mansions, luxurious
holidays and so on. However, in my view, success is a reflection of internal human qualities, such as
compassion, kindness, honesty, understanding and more. By this definition, the mere fact of earning a
high income does not determine or define success.

Socially, success depends on how we treat other human beings. Do we regard others with respect or do
we impose our will on them? Are we mindful of their needs and desires or do we behave selfishly? Do
we encourage and support our friends, family and communities or do we insist they only follow the path
we think best? It is clear that a critical aspect of success lies in the answers to such questions for they
reveal the quality of relationships we share with our fellow human beings.

Personally, success can only be self-defined. My idea of success may not be the same as another
persons vision. This is as it should be. Each of us is a product of diverse social, cultural, economic,
political, religious and ideological influences. When we add to that mix the free will that each of us
exercises, we can understand clearly how each of us fashions his / her own aspirations for what we
consider to be success in our own lives.

In conclusion, success is a concept which can be interpreted in a million different ways.Each


individuals version adds to the richness of our world and makes our planet a more delightful, amazing
and colourful place to live.
Many students choose to attend schools or universities outside their home countries.
Why do some students study abroad? Use specific reasons and details to support your
answer.

Sample TOEFL essay answer:


Pursuing higher studies abroad has become a popular choice for students from around the globe.
Each year, young people spend thousands of dollars to travel, live and study in universities,
colleges and schools overseas. In my view, this life-changing decision is based on the premise
that education is an investment in ones future. My opinion is based on academic, professional
and personal reasons.

In my opinion, the primary reason for studying abroad is academic. Students wish to reap the
benefits associated with attending a reputable educational institute. In addition, gaining
admission to prestigious college or university is often regarded as an achievement in itself. The
quality of the academic programs, the level of specialized instruction and the availability of
professional resources are all high. It is no wonder that students long to graduate from well-
known institutes.

From a professional viewpoint, graduating from foreign universities is often a gateway to a


successful career. The connection is direct and provides strong motivation for young people to
study abroad. The hope is that such graduates have an added advantage over their peers in a
highly competitive job market. In some cases, top students from prestigious universities land job
offers even before completing their studies. Furthermore, well-known corporations vie to attract
the fresh new talent, who will help achieve corporate profitability in the future.

From a personal angle, studying abroad enables young people to mature quickly and develop
independence. For instance, joining a foreign academic institution is often the first experience
students have of living away from parents, siblings and friends. In ones home country, this
strong nexus provides support, assistance and guidance. However, while abroad, students must
overcome the initial homesickness and culture shock, conform to a different teaching style, adapt
to unfamiliar social and cultural expectations and develop proficiency in a new language. These
challenging tasks enable youngsters to emerge with greater maturity and self-confidence.

In conclusion, the desire to study abroad is based on several concrete benefits for students in
terms of the present and the future. This is why most students would gladly accept an
opportunity to go abroad and would work quite diligently to turn this opportunity into a
resounding success.
Some people think that family is the most important influence on young adults. Other
people think that friends are the most important influence in young adults. Which view
do you agree with? Use examples to support your position.

Sample TOEFL essay answer:


As social beings, we are naturally influenced by those we meet in the course of our lives. This is
particularly true for young people, whose character and personality are still malleable. Although
friends play a central role in the lives of teenagers, in my opinion, it is the family which has a
greater impact on young people. My view is based on psychological, intellectual and financial
reasons.

Psychologically, the family is the central grounding factor for a young person, because the
parents, brothers and sisters are the ones who actually love him or her. It is through thousands
of life situations and family discussions that norms, values, customs, traditions and expectations
are passed on to the youngster. The depth of relationship, developed over the years through
shared joys and sorrows, place family members in an incomparably close bond which cannot
easily be replicated by friends or anyone else.

Intellectually, the family impacts the young persons ability to think. Parents create the
intellectual climate in the home. Whether children develop the habit of reading, studying hard or
striving to achieve their goals depends largely on the parents' example. Whether youngsters
agree or disagree with their parents political or religious views, the family remains a reference
point against which young people develop their individuality. In Asian cultures, where respect for
elders is an important value, the family plays an even more central role in shaping the young
person's world view.

Financially, the family influences the youngster by providing a certain type of lifestyle. Home,
school, friends, hobbies, clothes, holidays and material possessions - all of these are impacted by
the family's prosperity. The same holds true for the youngster growing up in a poor family- a
totally different reality will surround that young person. No friend could have this powerful or
tangible an influence on the teenager.

In conclusion, though friends can have a strong influence on a young person, it is finally the
family which provides the more powerful backdrop in a young persons life. The family's
influence is permanent, unforgettable and inescapable.
Some people believe that university students should be required to attend classes.
Other believe that going p classes should be optional. Which point og view do you
agree with? Use specific reasons and details to explain your answer.

Sample TOEFL essay answer:


Going to university is a coveted goal for most students around the world. Many parents dream of
their children having the opportunity to receive a university education, as a gateway to a
successful future. Although it is possible to receive a degree without attending classes, in my
view, attendance plays a critical part in the university experience. The bases for my views are
educational, social and intellectual.

From an academic standpoint, attending classes simply enables students to learn more. After all,
professors do not simply parrot what is written in university textbooks; they add to this
knowledge from their own professional experience, reading and research. This provides an
opportunity for students to receive key perspectives, as well as relevant and up to date
information in their specialized fields. Since acquiring knowledge and developing critical thinking
skills are important goals of higher education, attendance at classes should be considered a
mandatory requirement for graduation.

Socially, university life offers young people the opportunity to form meaningful friendships,
relationships and connections, some of which last for life. One can make good friends or even
meet a future life partner while in college or university. In addition, ones classmates may
become the movers and shakers of tomorrows corporations and industries. These important
contacts are also made while attending university classes, studying and partying together.

Lastly, from an intellectual perspective, a student can gain tremendously by matching wits with
other bright students from around the world. In the context of classes, students can discuss
issues, exchange views, explore ideas, solve problems and develop cross-cultural skills through
interaction with international students. This can be a critical experience that helps students
define themselves and their political and ideological place in the world.

In summary, attending university classes benefits students in myriad ways. Broadly speaking, it
enables students to make the best of their years in university. Therefore, it should be regarded
as a desirable and meaningful means to achieving various important life goals.
Some people think that children should begin their formal education at an early age
and should most of their time on school studies. Others believe that young children
should spend most of their time playing. Compare these two views. Which view do you
agree with? Why?

Sample TOEFL essay answer:


Childhood is one of the most important and memorable periods of our lives. We come into the
world innocent and unaware and in just a few short years make great physical and mental
progress. Although play is an important component of our young lives, in my view, there are
significant benefits to be gained from beginning formal education at an early age. My view is
based on intellectual and social reasons.

Intellectually, the period from birth to six years is the most significant for brain growth. A child
who is surrounded by a rich multi-sensory environment develops infinitely more connection
between brain cells, which are the basis of what we call intelligence. In this connection, the
process of learning to read is of particular significance because it has such a strong positive
influence on neural development. Although parents can provide this early intellectual stimulation,
in most cases working parents find it difficult to do so. This strengthens the case for enrolling
children in a formal education system, which can provide the necessary resources and trained
personnel to bring out the best in the child.

Socially, being in a school environment teaches children both how to behave themselves and also
how to get along with other children and adults. These lessons in human behaviour are as
important as the formal subjects a child must study. By learning how to follow rules, take turns
and be respectful a child becomes a part of the social nexus to which we all belong. The formal
academic experience, in an objective context, away from the family structure, also satisfies the
childs growing sense of independence. Most children often play school in any case,
particularly if they have older siblings.

In conclusion, early education offers children a host of benefits at different levels. A child can
always play after coming home; in the meantime, the school experience sets the child on a path
to success and self-confidence in a competitive, demanding world
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Children should be required to help with household tasks as soon as they are able.

Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Sample TOEFL essay answer:


We are born into a complex, demanding world. From infancy to adulthood lies a period in which
we must prepare for the responsibilities and obligations of communal living. Although childhood
should be a period of relative freedom, in my view it also needs to provide a strong preparation
for the future. From this perspective, assigning household tasks to children is beneficial from a
personal, social and economic point of view.

Personally, children need to learn the value of responsibility. Parents should involve children in
household chores such as dusting furniture, raking leaves, washing dishes and so on. By
including youngsters in this way, parents acknowledge the childrens ability to contribute
meaningfully to the smooth running of the home. Whats more, such tasks teach them about
being reliable, working efficiently and developing integrity. This early training strengthens their
self-images and self-confidence.

Socially, young people need to be absorbed into the social nexus. While developing
independence is a desirable trait, it is equally important to realize that we live in an
interdependent world. Our decisions, choices and actions affect others around us. When a child
sets the table he / she not only learns how to create an aesthetically pleasing dining
environment, but also that guests are to be honoured and appreciated. Such experiences are a
part of the socialization process whereby social and cultural norms are passed on to future
generations.

Economically, children need to understand the connection between effort and reward. Initially,
when children are young the compensation for their efforts may be in the form of a warm
hug, a word of praise or a public compliment. Later, parents may link pocket money to the
performance of household duties. This arrangement allows youngsters to realize that by
exchanging their free time for work, they can earn money to buy the things they like. In this
way, young people develop a strong sense of the financial realities that await them.

In conclusion, participating in household duties and chores is beneficial at myriad levels. Most
important, it enables children and youngsters to understand the philosophical equation that to
receive, we must also give.
In surveys Mason City residents rank water sports (swimming, boating and fishing)
among their favorite recreational activities. The Mason River flowing through the city is
rarely used for these pursuits, however, and the city park department devotes little of its
budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities. For years there have been
complaints from residents about the quality of the river's water and the river's smell. In
response, the state has recently announced plans to clean up Mason River. Use of the
river for water sports is therefore sure to increase. The city government should for that
reason devote more money in this year's budget to riverside recreational facilities.

Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the
argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what
the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
Sample 1 : Score 6

While it may be true that the Mason City government ought to devote more money to riverside
recreational facilities, this author's argument does not make a cogent case for increased resources
based on river use. It is easy to understand why city residents would want a cleaner river, but this
argument is rife with holes and assumptions, and thus, not strong enough to lead to increased funding.

Citing surveys of city residents, the author reports city resident's love of water sports. It is not clear,
however, the scope and validity of that survey. For example, the survey could have asked residents if
they prefer using the river for water sports or would like to see a hydroelectric dam built, which may
have swayed residents toward river sports. The sample may not have been representative of city
residents, asking only those residents who live upon the river. The survey may have been 10 pages long,
with 2 questions dedicated to river sports. We just do not know. Unless the survey is fully
representative, valid, and reliable, it can not be used to effectively back the author's argument.

Additionally, the author implies that residents do not use the river for swimming, boating, and fishing,
despite their professed interest, because the water is polluted and smelly. While a polluted, smelly river
would likely cut down on river sports, a concrete connection between the resident's lack of river use and
the river's current state is not effectively made. Though there have been complaints, we do not know if
there have been numerous complaints from a wide range of people, or perhaps from one or two
individuals who made numerous complaints. To strengthen his/her argument, the author would benefit
from implementing a normed survey asking a wide range of residents why they do not currently use the
river.

Building upon the implication that residents do not use the river due to the quality of the river's water
and the smell, the author suggests that a river clean up will result in increased river usage. If the river's
water quality and smell result from problems which can be cleaned, this may be true. For example, if the
decreased water quality and aroma is caused by pollution by factories along the river, this conceivably
could be remedied. But if the quality and aroma results from the natural mineral deposits in the water
or surrounding rock, this may not be true. There are some bodies of water which emit a strong smell of
sulphur due to the geography of the area. This is not something likely to be afffected by a clean-up.
Consequently, a river clean up may have no impact upon river usage. Regardless of whether the river's
quality is able to be improved or not, the author does not effectively show a connection between water
quality and river usage.
A clean, beautiful, safe river often adds to a city's property values, leads to increased tourism and
revenue from those who come to take advantage of the river, and a better overall quality of life for
residents. For these reasons, city government may decide to invest in improving riverside recreational
facilities. However, this author's argument is not likely significantly persuade the city goverment to
allocate increased funding.

Sample 2 : SCORE 5

The author of this proposal to increase the budget for Mason City riverside recreational facilities offers
an interesting argument but to move forward on the proposal would definitely require more
information and thought. While the correlations stated are logical and probable, there may be hidden
factors that prevent the City from diverting resources to this project.

For example, consider the survey rankings among Mason City residents. The thought is that such high
regard for water sports will translate into usage. But, survey responses can hardly be used as indicators
of actual behavior. Many surveys conducted after the winter holidays reveal people who list exercise
and weight loss as a top priority. Yet every profession does not equal a new gym membership. Even the
wording of the survey results remain ambiguous and vague. While water sports may be among the
residents' favorite activities, this allows for many other favorites. What remains unknown is the
priorities of the general public. Do they favor these water sports above a softball field or soccer field?
Are they willing to sacrifice the municipal golf course for better riverside facilities? Indeed the survey
hardly provides enough information to discern future use of improved facilities.

Closely linked to the surveys is the bold assumption that a cleaner river will result in increased usage.
While it is not illogical to expect some increase, at what level will people begin to use the river? The
answer to this question requires a survey to find out the reasons our residents use or do not use the
river. Is river water quality the primary limiting factor to usage or the lack of docks and piers? Are people
more interested in water sports than the recreational activities that they are already engaged in? These
questions will help the city government forecast how much river usage will increase and to assign a
proportional increase to the budget.

Likewise, the author is optimistic regarding the state promise to clean the river. We need to hear the
source of the voices and consider any ulterior motives. Is this a campaign year and the plans a campaign
promise from the state representative? What is the timeline for the clean-up effort? Will the state fully
fund this project? We can imagine the misuse of funds in renovating the riverside facilities only to watch
the new buildings fall into dilapidation while the state drags the river clean-up.

Last, the author does not consider where these additional funds will be diverted from. The current
budget situation must be assessed to determine if this increase can be afforded. In a sense, the City may
not be willing to draw money away from other key projects from road improvements to schools and
education. The author naively assumes that the money can simply appear without forethought on
where it will come from.

Examining all the various angles and factors involved with improving riverside recreational facilities, the
argument does not justify increasing the budget. While the proposal does highlight a possibility, more
information is required to warrant any action.