TOEFL, TOEFL Sample Essays

TOEFL – Quick Essay Analysis

This sample TOEFL Independent Essay is one which requires an explanation and the topic is about the best way to learn about a place. It is not an argumentative essay and does not require the author to take any sides but just to explain how something can be done. Take note that each body paragraph (Paragraph 2-4) starts with a linker (e.g. ‘One surefire way…’, ‘Apart from…’ and ‘Finally…’). Linkers are important as cohesive devices in writing (or basically to make sure that one idea flows smoothly to the next).

Sample Topic/Question

These days, more and more people get to enjoy their vacation and take time away from their work and school obligations. Many people use this time to visit new places. Some even make such trips learning opportunities and try to gain more knowledge about a place they are visiting. What do you think is the best way to learn about a place you are visiting for the first time?

Sample Answer:

Vacation time often takes many people to new places for various reasons. Most of the time, it is just to relax and get away from daily routines. These visits to new locations normally present learning opportunities. If I were a holiday-goer, I would definitely take advantage of any trip by attempting to learn as much as I can about a new place and there are a few ways to do this.

One surefire way to get to know a place is to get a local guide. There are usually many local tours available to tourists but I would make it a point to consciously select a tour that comes with a local guide who can really show me around and introduce me to the local culture. Having someone who knows the place well as a guide is a good start to any trip. For instance, imagine being in a new place and not knowing where to go for the best local cuisines. If a local guide were available, this problem would probably not exist.

Apart from getting a local guide, choosing a homestay facility over a commercial hotel will also allow me to get a closer glimpse into local lifestyles. Homestays allow a personal look at how the people of a place live, what they eat and generally how they fit into society. Instead of being served by uniformed maids in a hotel, I would get to see the host and his/her family in their home and will be able to share a small part of their life, even if it is for a short period of time.

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Finally, the most important factor to remember when travelling is to keep an open mind. I would try not to develop any preconceived ideas about a place before I even get there. This does not mean that I would not look up existing information about a place, though. What is does mean is that although I may have some knowledge about a place from secondary sources such as the internet or travel brochures, I should still allow room for the uptake of additional first-hand knowledge about a place.

In conclusion, there is so much to learn about a new place. The three best ways, to me, are to employ the expertise of a local guide, to opt for homestay over hotel lodgings and to keep an open mind.

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