One of the hardest sections to prep for on the TOEFL can be the essay. After all, it’s hard to find a native English speaker who will correct and grade your essays—and even harder to find one who knows the test! Never fear. Over the next few posts, we’ll look at some sample high-scoring essays and then break down what’s good about them (and how they might improve!)
If you’re doing your own practice, I suggest attempting to answer the prompt yourself under timed conditions and then comparing your essay to the sample essay. Then tune back in for the next post, in which we break down why this essay works! For our prompts, we’ll be looking at some of Kate’s excellent suggestions in this post on TOEFL writing. Let’s give it a go with the first independent essay topic!
- 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.
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 examples—personal computers, The Lion in Winter, and vaccines—this 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 face—something 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.
The Writing section is the last section you’ll face on the TOEFL. By the time you get to the essay portion, you’ll already have spent a couple of hours at the test center, and you’ll have completed the Reading, Listening, and Speaking sections. Understandably, you might be tired and losing your focus. So, how can you make sure you do as well as possible on your TOEFL essays? By being prepared, of course! That’s where this free resource comes in.
TOEFL Writing PDF
In this PDF, you’ll find in-depth information about the Writing section, including:
- the topics you’ll write about
- the differences between the 2 essays
- how to structure your essays (outline included!)
- how to brainstorm effective examples to support your opinions
- pacing strategies so you finish in time
- English grammar tips to help you write at an advanced level
- the most common writing difficulties
- and more!
View or download the PDF here!
How to Use this PDF
This PDF can be used just like you would any book (or eBook, to be more accurate). 🙂 You can download it and print it out, or save it to your computer / phone / tablet, or read it online. For the most comprehensive help, try to read the book in order. But, if you’re short on time, you can use the links in the table of contents to skip to individual sections.
Once you’ve read through the entire document, we’d suggest checking out our TOEFL practice PDF to put your new skills to the test. And if you want the most complete guidance, including 500+ practice questions (each with an explanation video) and 150 video lessons, Magoosh TOEFL can help!
Happy studying, everyone!