TOEFL Writing Free Practice Sample
When you take the real test, you will be given two writing tasks to complete. The first task is the integrated writing task in which you will read a short excerpt from a university level text and then listen to a lecture corresponding to the text. You must then write a response to a question asking about the main ideas and how the two sources of information relate. Your response should be between 150 and 225 words, although exceeding this amount is acceptable so long as the question is answered effectively.
The second writing task is the independent writing task, which requires you to answer a question based upon your own personal experience. These may be asking if you agree or disagree with a statement and what reasons you have for thinking so. Responses for the independent writing task should be at least 300 words, although exceeding this amount is acceptable so long as the questions is answered effectively.
The following reading passage and audio lecture clip are used to complete the writing task.
Speaking Through Social Media
The widespread phenomenon of mass communication through cell phones and the internet has spurred enormous controversy. Many believe that people have become less able to build bonds with friends and family members. It is impossible to deny that social media is constantly changing the way that people interact with one another. With the advent of new technologies that allow for non-simultaneous and distant interaction, people all over the world are now able to build relationships in a way that was formerly not possible. Some might say that this is a negative trend, but this new development opens up for unique and effective connections.
People often feel estranged in their surroundings. There are so many hobbies and interests that people enjoy, that it can be difficult to find someone who shares the same passions. Social media is of huge benefit to these people as they are empowered with opportunity for connection to a widespread community and countless resources. Some may have always wanted to learn more about a topic without having an avenue to jump in. Social media has proved itself to be effective in educating people of all ages on a variety of subjects ranging from rollerblading to string theory.
Moreover, the internet is especially helpful for helping people find a voice. Whereas the first amendment protects our right to free speech, many people feel that they have lost their ability to be heard. Social media allows us all to find a new way to speak confidently and ensures that every person has the opportunity to be heard.
Below you will find an integrated writing task sample answer with answer explanation.
Prompt: Describe the risks discussed in the lecture and explain how they relate to the purpose of the reading passage.
The lecture discouraged social networking by discussing how social networking has many risks. First, the lecture talks about how the internet can be used to steal or to bully people, including both adults and children. The second point is the main point, however, which explains statistics about how people trusted fewer people with important matters. This suggests that relying on the internet is causing people to be isolated and not spend as much time with people. Overall, the lecture suggests that social networking has too many risks and is leading our culture into a bad direction.
The lecture and reading passage have opposing views about the use of social media. The reading passage listed several positive qualities of using social media, such as how it helps people learn about hobbies and meet people with the same interests. It also encouraged social media use to help people find a voice. It says that people sometimes have a hard time finding people around them with the same interests, but that through social media, they can find friends.
The lecture and the reading passage both talk about the good and bad effects of social media. The two passages agree on almost nothing, except to be careful with new technology. Whereas the lecture focuses mainly on risks, the reading passage focuses on convincing the reader that the rewards outweigh the risks.
This answer is a good response because it addresses the question directly. The first paragraph describes the lecture as requested and the second paragraph describes the reading passage so that the final paragraph can make good comparisons. The main purpose of each passage is given, and it is explained how the two selections disagree completely on the outcome of the topic. Grammar is also a consideration in the grading of this selection. When responding, make sure you are using good grammar while also making sure to answer exactly what the question is asking.