Scoring 24+ pts. on the Independent Writing Task
Students who take the TOEFL exam may need to get a high score on the writing for professional purposes. In fact, some of these students may need to score higher than 24/30 points. However, many of these students, each time scoring below the 24 pt threshold, re-take the test over and over. Until they improve the structure of their writing, they will continue to keep “spinning their tires in the sand.” Does this sound like you?
One way these students can improve their writing score is by creating a more coherent organization. This type of well-connected structure starts with an arguable sharply-focused thesis. The thesis represents a map or blueprint, around which students can organize the body paragraphs of an independent writing task. One way to organize a thesis is to restate the writing prompt and include three concise support points.
Example Writing Prompt
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.
Version A: Rather than grow up in the countryside, children should grow up in a big city since they will get a better education, they will have more contact with other cultures, and they will be able to improve their job prospects after graduation. Therefore, I disagree with this statement.
In the above thesis, I restated the writing prompt in the independent clause and then included three support points in dependent clauses beginning with “since.” Of course, there are many ways grammatically that this sentence can be framed.
Version B: Since they will get a better education, they will have more contact with other cultures, and they will be able to improve their job prospects after graduation, children should grow up in a big city rather than grow up in the countryside, which is why I disagree with the statement.
Version C: I disagree that it is more favorable for children to grow up in the countryside instead of the big city. Living in a big city offers children a better education, more contact with other cultures, and improved job prospects after graduation.
Version D: Children should not live in the countryside. Instead, they should live in the big city so that they can receive a more well-rounded education, more exposure to diverse cultures, and better job opportunities after college, which is why I disagree with the statement.
Of course, once you have crafted a three point thesis, you will place it within the context of the introductory paragraph. Then you should restate the key points of the thesis in the developmental paragraphs. Below is a model essay demonstrating how you can write a coherently-organized essay based on the above three point thesis:
After getting married, couples have to make many decisions regarding the welfare of themselves and their families. These families will decide what schools their children will attend, and they will decide where they should live. In considering this decision, some couples may decide to live in the countryside so that they and their children can have larger properties and more spacious houses. However, I disagree that it is more favorable for children to grow up in the countryside instead of the big city. Living in a big city offers children a better education, more contact with other cultures, and improved job prospects after graduation.
Unlike the countryside, living in the big city will offer children a better education. For example, children in Los Angeles, if they do not like the public school that they are attending, may request to study in a charter school, a private school which also gets state and federal tax dollars. Furthermore, these charter schools are often better choices since they have smaller classes and more qualified teachers. Therefore, having these alternative choices, which usually are not available in the countryside, offers students in big cities better educations.
Moreover, children who live in big cities will have more contact with other cultures. For example, in Los Angeles, there is an area called Little Korea Town, which, along a 6-7 mile stretch of road, has dozens of Korean businesses and vendors. Consequently, children living in the big city of Los Angeles can experience Korean culture by eating Korean food and by seeing and hearing people speak the Korean language. This contact with Korean and other cultures likely found in larger cities will help these children to become more well-rounded individuals. In contrast, children who live in the countryside are less likely to have this type of cultural diversity.
Finally, the last advantage of living in big cities is that children will have better job prospects after graduation. Case in point, Los Angeles is the business center of Southern California, and there are 1000’s of companies located in or near Los Angeles, so children who complete high school and college will find it easier to apply for and get hired at whatever job they seek in order to support their desired lifestyle. Children living in the countryside will have far fewer job opportunities and may resort to taking a job that is far below the income that they need in order to support their way of life.
To sum up, I wholeheartedly disagree that children should live in the countryside rather than living in big cities. Simply put, these children will have better educational, cultural, and economic opportunities if they live in big cities.
If you want to practice what you learned in this lesson, consider joining our Online TOEFL Course so that you can start completing TOEFL iBT independent and integrated writing practice tests daily. Then you will get quality feedback from an iBT TOEFL writing specialist.