The TOEFL test consists of four sections – Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. In the Writing Section, you will need to do two tasks – an Integrated Task and an Independent Task. The time to complete both tasks is 50 minutes and you are advised to spend 20 minutes on the Integrated Task and 30 minutes on the Independent Task. Let’s take a look at a sample question for the Integrated Task in the TOEFL Writing Section.
For the Integrated Task, you will have to read a passage and listen to an audio recording first before you start writing. The reading passage and the audio recording will be on the same topic but will have differing views. You task is to summarize and compare these two prompts. You will be able to refer to the reading passage as you write your essay, but you will only hear the audio recording once. The time given to write your essay is 20 minutes and you will need to write a minimum of 150 words.
Here is a sample question for this task. Please take note that the audio recording is presented as a transcript here but in the actual test, you will not see this transcript but will only hear it.
TOEFL Integrated Writing Task sample
( Source: https://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/TOEFL/pdf/SampleQuestions.pdf )
Critics say that current voting systems used in the United States are inefficient and often lead to the inaccurate counting of votes. Miscounts can be especially damaging if an election is closely contested. Those critics would like the traditional systems to be replaced with far more efficient and trustworthy computerized voting systems.
In traditional voting, one major source of inaccuracy is that people accidentally vote for the wrong candidate. Voters usually have to find the name of their candidate on a large sheet of paper containing many names—the ballot—and make a small mark next to that name. People with poor eyesight can easily mark the wrong name. The computerized voting machines have an easy-to-use touch-screen technology: to cast a vote, a voter needs only to touch the candidate’s name on the screen to record a vote for that candidate; voters can even have the computer magnify the name for easier viewing.
Another major problem with old voting systems is that they rely heavily on people to count the votes. Officials must often count up the votes one by one, going through every ballot and recording the vote. Since they have to deal with thousands of ballots, it is almost inevitable that they will make mistakes. If an error is detected, a long and expensive recount has to take place. In contrast, computerized systems remove the possibility of human error, since all the vote counting is done quickly and automatically by the computers.
Finally some people say it is too risky to implement complicated voting technology nationwide. But without giving it a thought, governments and individuals alike trust other complex computer technology every day to be perfectly accurate in banking transactions as well as in the communication of highly sensitive information.
(Narrator) Now listen to part of a lecture on the topic you just read about.
(Female professor) While traditional voting systems have some problems, it’s doubtful that computerized voting will make the situation any better. Computerized voting may seem easy for people who are used to computers. But what about people who aren’t? People who can’t afford computers, people who don’t use them on a regular basis—these people will have trouble using computerized voting machines. These voters can easily cast the wrong vote or be discouraged from voting altogether because of fear of technology. Furthermore, it’s true that humans make mistakes when they count up ballots by hand. But are we sure that computers will do a better job? After all, computers are programmed by humans, so “human error” can show up in mistakes in their programs. And the errors caused by these defective programs may be far more serious. The worst a human official can do is miss a few ballots. But an error in a computer program can result in thousands of votes being miscounted or even permanently removed from the record. And in many voting systems, there is no physical record of the votes, so a computer recount in the case of a suspected error is impossible! As for our trust of computer technology for banking and communications, remember one thing: these systems are used daily and they are used heavily. They didn’t work flawlessly when they were first introduced. They had to be improved on and improved on until they got as reliable as they are today. But voting happens only once every two years nationally in the United States and not much more than twice a year in many local areas. This is hardly sufficient for us to develop confidence that computerized voting can be fully trusted.
Question: Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they oppose specific points made in the reading passage.
TIME: 20 minutes
RECOMMENDED ESSAY LENGTH: 150-225 words