TOEFL writing topics from the actual test

toeflwritingtopicsThe TOEFL, commonly known as the “Test of English as a Foreign Language”, is a way to measure English fluency in non-native English speakers.  It was originally developed as an admissions requirement to get into U.S. universities.  These days, businesses, government agencies, licensing bodies, and other organizations may require the TOEFL test for employment.  The test consists of four distinct parts: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.  Tests scores are valid for two years.  Several of the tasks are integrated and require you to use all four skills together. Study for all of the TOEFL sections with this complete preparation course.

The Two Formats

The test can be taken in two formats, internet-based or paper-based.  The paper-based test is only available where an internet connection is not possible.  The writing section specifically measures your ability to write in an academic setting.

For the internet-based test, the writing portion contains two tasks: the integrated writing task (20 min) and the independent task (30 minutes).  In the first task, you will read a passage on a topic and then listen to a speaker discuss the same topic.  Note taking is allowed.  If you need to practice your listening comprehension, look at taking this course specifically designed for the TOEFL.  Next you will summarize the important parts of the speech and explain how they relate to the main points of the reading passage.  For the second task, you will write an essay that explains and supports your opinions on the topic provided.  The responses will be sent in and evaluated by four different people.  Scores range from 0 to 30 points.

For the paper-based test, the writing section is only one essay ranging from 200 to 300 words.  Scores range from 0 to 6 points. Evaluators for both versions of the test recognize that your writing is a first draft.  You can still receive a good score with minor errors.

TOEFL Writing Topics

When completing your writing for the TOEFL you must write on the topic provided.  The following list of questions appears directly on the TOEFL practice website and may appear on your actual TOEFL writing test.  If you are feeling overwhelmed just remember that you are being tested on your ability to understand and use the English language.  No one expects you to be a subject matter expert.  Spend time developing and conveying your ideas and opinions.  If you want additional help, try this TOEFL writing online preparation course.  Good luck!

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

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?

A company has announced that it wishes to build a large factory near your community. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this new influence on your community. Do you support or oppose the factory? Explain your position.

If you could change one important thing about your hometown, what would you change? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

How do movies or television influence people’s behavior? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Television has destroyed communication among friends and family. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

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.

“When people succeed, it is because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with success.” Do you agree or disagree with the quotation above? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your position.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Universities should give the same amount of money to their students’ sports activities as they give to their university libraries. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

Many people visit museums when they travel to new places. Why do you think people visit museums? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Some people prefer to eat at food stands or restaurants. Other people prefer to prepare and eat food at home. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Some people believe that university students should be required to attend classes. Others believe that going to classes should be optional for students. Which point of view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to explain your answer.

People attend college or university for many different reasons (for example, new experiences, career preparation, increased knowledge). Why do you think people attend college or university? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

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

Neighbors are the people who live near us. In your opinion, what are the qualities of a good neighbor? Use specific details and examples in your answer.

It has recently been announced that a new restaurant may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

Some people think that they can learn better by themselves than with a teacher. Others think that it is always better to have a teacher. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons to develop your essay.

What are some important qualities of a good supervisor (boss)? Use specific details and examples to explain why these qualities are important.

Should governments spend more money on improving roads and highways, or should governments spend more money on improving public transportation (buses, trains, subways)? Why? Use specific reasons and details to develop your essay.

It is better for children to grow up in the countryside than in a big city. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to develop your essay.

In general, people are living longer now. Discuss the causes of this phenomenon. Use specific reasons and details to develop your essay.

We all work or will work in our jobs with many different kinds of people. In your opinion, what are some important characteristics of a co-worker (someone you work closely with)? Use reasons and specific examples to explain why these characteristics are important.

In some countries, teenagers have jobs while they are still students. Do you think this is a good idea? Support your opinion by using specific reasons and details.

A person you know is planning to move to your town or city. What do you think this person would like and dislike about living in your town or city? Why? Use specific reasons and details to develop your essay.

It has recently been announced that a large shopping center may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

It has recently been announced that a new movie theater may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

It has recently been announced that a new movie theater may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People should sometimes do things that they do not enjoy doing. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Television, newspapers, magazines, and other media pay too much attention to the personal lives of famous people such as public figures and celebrities. Use specific reasons and details to explain your opinion.

Some people believe that the Earth is being harmed (damaged) by human activity. Others feel that human activity makes the Earth a better place to live. What is your opinion? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

It has recently been announced that a new high school may be built in your community. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details in your answer.

If you have mastered these writing prompts, consider expanding your academic writing capabilities in English before you arrive at your university.  Take a look at this college writing course.