TOEFL Writing: Types of Essay and Samples

In TOEFL-iBT Writing section for Independent task, the test taker is expected to write an essay in response to a question that asks to state, explain, and support the test taker’s opinion on an issue. The time limit is 30 minutes.

An effective essay will have at least 300 words. The test taker needs to show his ability to write well which includes the development of ideas, organization of essay, and the quality and accuracy of the language used in expressing the ideas.

Although there is only one essay question given in the actual test, it is crucial to know the different possible types of essay questions. Based on the type of essay question given, the test taker will be able to decide what how he will present and organize his ideas and response to the question.

There are five (5) types of essay questions that may come out in the test.

1. Agree / Disagree

Example:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Parents are the best teachers. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

2. Preference

Example:

Some people prefer to live in a small town. Others prefer to live in a big city. Which place would you prefer to live in? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

3. If/Imaginary (Hypothetical)

Example:

If you were an employer, which kind of worker would you prefer to hire: an inexperienced worker at a lower salary or an experienced worker at a higher salary? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer

4. Description/Explanation 

Example:

Nowadays, food has become easier to prepare. Has this change improved the way people live? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

5. Comparison and Contrast 

Example:

It has been said, “Not everything that is learned is contained in books.” Compare and contrast knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books. In your opinion, which source is more important? Why?

 

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