Here are some common questions For TOEFL IBT Writing Essay.
Getting
Started
Topic 1 - Why go to university?
I strongly believe that everyone should attend university. Entering university is
at the same time a so much promising step into a world of opportunities as long
as it is accompanied by a strong will and desire for distinction. The quality and
diversity of opportunities and the spread spectrum of choices higher education
can provide us is the core motive for everyone intending to attend university. I
will try to examine below the specific reasons for entering university according
to which I think are the most common viewpoints nowadays.
First let us look at what a person can typically gain from a successfully study at
a university. It is a diploma and/or a degree. This is by default leading to a more
distinct, respected, well-paid profession. Nowadays unemployment crisis is
troubling not only the poor countries but the developed western countries as
well, so that the ease of finding a job may play an important role in the
decisions people are making.
Another important reason is that people want to get more education. University
provides a higher level of education and has all these resources and facilities
for people who crave knowledge. Learning is the key to everything that we
want to improve. So, higher education helps us widen our understanding and
increase our intellectual ability.
Apart from the points I made above there is also a well known fashion all over
the world that is called career preparation. Many people attend university in
order to seek either a career in science and technology or a career in business. It
is believed that the ideas, opportunities, qualifications, in-depth knowledge and
expertise in science areas often make attending university imperative. Many
times a four-year study at a university may only be the beginning of a sequence
of moves someone can make in order to accomplish what he thinks best for his
career.
Finally, I cannot oversee the fact that many times studying at a university also
means living in a city far from home. New responsibilities always appear but
they do not become serious drawbacks. In contrast, the new sense of freedom
and independence a young man can experience or thinks he will is thought of as
something of great importance. One thing is for sure though, there is chance for
everyone in the community of a university to meet people, make new friends
and know individuals of great importance.
Last but not least I wish to say that the purpose of university is to harvest
knowledge and to being educated, so it is obvious that everyone can find a
reason for attending university..
Topic 2 - Are parents best teachers?
Obviously, the first teachers we have in our lives in most cases are our parents.
They teach us to walk, to speak, and to have good manners before we reach
“the real world. ” More than even the professional teachers that we have at
school, parents are generally the most involved in the development and
education of children.
Almost for sure our parents are the best teachers at the beginning of our lives,
which actually corresponds to the parents’ role in nature. Parents are most
committed and involved in teaching their children; they have a kind of instinct
to sacrifice a part of themselves for the betterment of their children. They love
us and have great patience while passing down their knowledge to us. They
wish us a success and thus will not teach us bad things. And of course, implicit
learning occurs when children unconsciously copy some of their parents’ habits
and styles of behavior.
During the second stage of child development, adolescence, parents can still be
in the best position to offer advice even though the children might not accept it.
In this case, perhaps the child’s friends would be the best teachers. Adolescents
are notoriously rebellious in many cultures and may automatically reject any
advice from their parents. My first marriage for instance, was solely a matter of
doing the opposite when my parents tried to intrude in offering their advice. So
in such matters, parents should be much more flexible and be rather the
partners with their children. So we can see that being a teacher of growing child
become more and more complicated case as the time passes and many parents
are simply not able to meet the increased demands.
On the other hand, I would say that parents are not professional teachers and
they tend to be very biased by their love of their children. So wishing good
things and an easy life may prevent children from maturation. In any case,
parents usually can present only one viewpoint of the world, while good
teaching should be based on different attitudes. Thus, when children go to
school and have a great diversity of teachers, they learn much more than their
parents could probably give them. Furthermore, once our parents get older, they
become more conservative and cannot always be objective in regard to modern
trends and fashions. Thus we need to take their advice with caution during that
period. However, some kind of intuition that I believe shared between relatives
about what everybody needs and great love that exists in families still makes
our parents very good teachers and advisers at any time.
In conclusion, while parents are not the ideal teachers, and well-rounded
children will generally need a great diversity of teachers in their lives in order
to have a more accurate view of the world, parents are generally the most
committed of all teachers and have the greatest emotional investment in their children and their future.
Topic 3 - Has the ease of cooking improved life?
Food has always been the one of the greatest wants of humankind. It has
influenced almost every step that humankind has taken. The search for food is
the essence of life. Therefore if food is easier to get and prepare it is a real boon
to humankind.
Food is the most important of the three basic amenities of life (water, food and
shelter). Though it can be argued that water is the sustenance for any life form,
food is more important because if you do not have water you will surely die.
But if you are left with a scarcity of food it will lead to a very sickly and
torturous life. Nutritious food is very essential for life, food has been the cause
of many a battle. Thus if food was easier to prepare it will take away from the
mind of the humankind a great burden.
Though the preparation of food becoming easier is considered a great blessing
for humankind. The sudden rise in processed and canned food and all the junk
food that one gets over the counter is not totally a boon. People who are so
busy that they are not able to spend time to prepare their food, develop a liking
for these ready-to-eat junk food. Though it might be thought of as a great way
to save time, this is a shortsighted idea that could actually lead to a world of
harm. Because one must understand that even though junk food saves us a lot
of time, the nutritional value of the food is not so good. In reality the
preservatives used in these foods are often found to be toxic in nature. Hence it
defeats the purpose it is supposed to serve i.e., to provide nutritional value.
Moreover since people do not take time to prepare food, the art of cooking is
slowly vanishing. Actually cooking is a good way of releasing pressure that
builds up from our professional commitments. Cooking can easily provide
relief from all the tensions that prevail in our life. In the past family weekend
get together was considered to be a good time to know each other and they used
to spend time cooking food for the entire family. They used to exchange recipes
and it was a way of rewinding after the hard weeklong labor. Thus this junk
food has denied the human kind of one of humankind’s oldest arts. It could
even be termed as a retrograde step in human culture.
Therefore I believe though the processed food has made the preparation of food
much easier, it is not a good step for mankind.
Topic 4 - Experience is the best teacher
Books are considered to be the source of all knowledge, but all that one learns
through a book is only of theoretical nature in the form of ideas and concepts. It
is essential to utilize them in a real environment and experience the knowledge
that is learned from books.
Learning is nothing but understanding the world around us. Books, no doubt
are a great source of knowledge as it gives us an idea about a particular subject
in detail. But all that one could learn from it is limited to the level of knowing
how a certain phenomenon occurs, or how a certain concept works. The
knowledge gained through books alone cannot help anyone, because what one
learns through the books should be put in to use to harvest the benefits. For
instance, a person who wants to learn driving can go through various manuals
and guides that teach people how to drive, but all this knowledge is useful only
when you are actually driving the car on the roads. It would be an utter waste of
time if one just reads the books and does not use them for practical purpose.
Learning through experience is always a lot different from learning through
books. Let us consider the same example of a person wanting to learn to drive:
even if he goes through every book that is available on driving, still it cannot
qualify him as an expert driver. This is because of the fact that books about
driving can only teach people traffic rules and provide solutions on how to
handle certain situations. The situations faced by a driver could be totally
different from what he had learnt from a book. Sometimes we find that the real
environment is quite different from the one perceived by us through reading
books. This is the very reason why, even in educational institutions, all
theoretical classes are followed by practical sessions.
Learning through experience can also be more effective than learning through
books because one does not envision everything on his own, but is given a
chance to experience the reality. The art of driving can be enjoyed only when
we are behind the wheels and not when reading it in books. Moreover, any
book is actually an account of past experiences, i.e. it is based on the
experiences of people who tried to develop a new idea. The books are their
experiences, telling us what they already have tried. Thus from their
experiences we can correct ourselves and thus save valuable time and resources.
It helps us to concentrate on their failures and to correct them, but they alone
cannot teach us everything we need to know. The knowledge learned through
books alone cannot help us to face all the exigencies that we would face in real
life situations; we have to practice on our own.
Books are like a guiding light in one’s pursuit for knowledge. But it is left to
everyone of us to experience it first hand and learn new things for the
betterment of their lives. So the notion “experience is the best teacher” is perfectly true.
Topic 5 - Should a factory be built in your community?

I strongly oppose to the plan that a large factory be built near my community. My arguments for this point are listed as follows.
The first and foremost reason lies in the virtually inevitable pollution that a large factory is bound to bring about. Considering the limit of the present technology, hardly any kind of factory is able to secure its mass production without the slightest pollution to the environment. Once a factory enters my community, and embarking on its continuous activities, even a tiny element of pollution will by all odds accumulate to a dangerous degree that will eventually cause a serious damage to the environment of my community. To think of the exhaust gas or water and the noise given off by a factory will help you fully understand this idea. Cities have already suffered from those nightmares of modern industry that shows no signs of ceasing to emerge. No one would like to behold the air of his or her community is no longer clean, or to find his or her community totally removed of hush. Besides pollution, which is to some extent an invisible but deadly threat to my community, there is an immediate problem that a large factory will force to confront with: it will occupy a large area near or of my community, which should be more likely exploited as a public site that benefit all residents in the community. For example provided a suitable area is available, it is more worth a gymnasium that will enhance the standard of health of every resident in the community, than a big factory leading to disgusting noise and suffocating gas. Perhaps, some people would like to vote for such a plan of building a factory simply on an economical ground that a large factory will probably stimulate a prosperous future of the area around. But unfortunately, history has witnessed numerous counterexamples. Many factories neither attain an economical success nor left the environment intact. So I doubt this declaration.
Taking into account all these factors, I find the disadvantages weigh much heavier than the possible advantages. Therefore I strongly disagree the establishment of a large factory near my community.

Topic 6 - What would you change about your hometown?

If I could change one important thing about my hometown, it would be air pollution problem, and I will give the following reasons to explain why I want to solve the problem.

The first and most important reason is that I hope that my hometown can become a beautiful city. As an old industrial city, my hometown has made a great deal of contribution for the country’s economic development. At a result, the natural environment of the city has been badly damaged. The forest has disappeared; the mountains have become bald, and the most awful thing is that the air quality becomes more and more worsen. People seldom see the blue sky during most time of year.

Another reason why I want to change my hometown’s air pollution situation is that the city’s development needs clean and tidy environment to attract investors. Nowadays people have come to know that the city’s environment, which is so called “software facility of the city”, plays an important role in the city’s future. For example, due to the fact that the environment of the city is
very poor, many local students who pursue their study out of the city would rather find themselves a job in other cities than coming back to their hometown after they graduated. In addition, nowadays people have paid more and more attention to their health. If the air pollution problem cannot be solved as quickly as possible, people’s requirement for a healthy body will never be realized.
In my mind, changing air pollution will apparently be my first choice if I can change one important thing about my hometown. Fortunately people in my hometown are gradually aware of the serious problem and start doing something about it.

Topic 7 - How do movies or TV affect people?

Movies are popular because people are great watchers. They like to watch other peoples’ lives. They like to live vicariously. By going to movies, we can escape our own lives, share other people’s emotions, and imagine ourselves as someone else. Many of our lives are not as adventurous or glamorous as the lives in movies. We do not battle evil all day long and then go back to our luxurious penthouse apartment. We just go to school, do our homework, eat, talk to our friends, and sleep. We need a little excitement in our lives and we find excitement at the movies. Humans are very emotional people. We all like to cry and laugh. Fortunately, there is not much to cry about in my life so I like to go to sad movies where my heartstrings can be tugged. I also like to go to comedies so that I can laugh. I tend to cry and laugh more in a dark movie theater than I do in broad daylight. Now I am a student, but I know someday I will be a scientist or a politician or a famous model. When I go to the movies, I can see my role models. I see how they act, what they wear, how they talk. I can prepare myself for the day when I will be like them. Even though my life is quiet, I can go to the movies and watch someone else’s life. I can share their emotions and their everyday life. I wonder if they would like to share mine.

Topic 8 - Has TV destroyed communication?

There are always good and bad consequences following technological developments. Television has served many needs of people. But, unfortunately, it has destroyed communication among friends and family. The reasons are that people are getting maximum information, entertainment and time pass through various channels. I will explain these reasons in detail further in my essay.
Though there are many sources of gathering information we rely on people for information most of the times. This is gradually replaced by countless advertisements coming up in television. They show different products, their prices and their availabilities in stores. They even give phone numbers to order by calling. Certain products which, we don’t even know the purpose is also explained these days. For example, I have seen an ad about a hair dryer stand 2 days back. Initially, I didn’t even understand its purpose but as it continued, I could easily make out and so I bought it the very next week with out even bothering to ask any of my friends.

Man is a social animal. He likes to be in society among people, which keeps him entertained by gatherings with friends and family. In television, different serials and movies are played. There are thousands of channels offering variety of programs. Once we get used to watching these programs, we don’t see any point in going out and meeting friends. For instance, when I was a child, our family members and friends used to gather every weekend and watch a movie in a theatre. But now, every one watches movies in their own homes as there are some paid channels where we can watch latest movies. It saves time and money. People are anyway busy these days with personal and professional works. On top of this, some channels like discovery, BBC, CNN, ESPN keep people occupied with all the knowledge they need. They don’t see any time to meet friends or family. For example, they are even having dinner watching television. There are advantages and disadvantages of everything created on earth. It depends on human beings to utilize or exploit them.

Topic 9 - A small town vs. a big city

I grew up in a small town and then moved to a big city, therefore I have experienced the good and bad sides of both. I never thought that I would like living in a big city, but I was proved wrong. After ten years of living in one, I can’t imagine ever living in a small town again. Small towns and big cities both have some problems in terms of transportation, but in different ways. In a small town, you have to own a car to ensure a comfortable living. You can’t get around without one because there isn’t any kind of public transportation. Big cities generally have heavy traffic and expensive parking, but then you have a choice of taking public transportation. It’s not free, but it’s often cheaper than driving when you consider gas and insurance. Especially if you don’t have a car, you’re better off living in a city.

I love the excitement of big cities. Small towns have a slow pace. Large cities mean you have to adapt to a variety of situations, like finding a new route to work or trying a new restaurant. I enjoy that challenge very much. Another aspect of the excitement of city living is the variety of cultural activities available. There is a wide assortment of theatres, music and dance performances available in big cities. These things are rare in small towns. The final thing I like about large cities is the diversity of the people. The United States is made up of people of different races, religions, abilities, and interests. However, you seldom find such a variety of people in a small US town. Living in an area where everyone is just like me would quickly make me bored. Of course, security is a concern, and that’s one area where small towns are superior to big cities. Still, I would rather be a bit more cautious and live in a large city than to feel secure but bored in a small town.

Topic 10 - The importance of hard work

That hard work is a key to success is a well-known adage. Parents, teachers as well as others guide a child to work hard so that he can achieve good scores. Though a little bit of luck plays a positive role but I believe that hard work is the key to success. In fact if only luck is to be considered, no one would work but just wait till their luck shines up. But this is not the case. Today we see that technology has improved to such an extent that a person can have a lunch in Paris and a dinner in New York on the same day. There lies great contributions from people like the Wright brothers and Henry Ford to invent these means of transportation, which were the result of their hard-work and great efforts. If these people had waited for the D-day probably we could still have been using fire and wood to cook instead of using electrical ovens, and the globalization would not have taken effect. A person can excel in his career due to hard work. If he sits at home, no one would offer him a job unless he initiates the job searching process. Also if you are working in a company you will be promoted only because of working hard; luck does not lie in the picture. A student stands out first only if he studies hard. Many students after the graduation say that probably they were not lucky enough to get good marks, or the evaluates must have marked their papers strictly. But again these are merely reasons that can’t be given preference. Today science has developed so much that hand shaking can be virtually done between any two countries. This is due to the tremendous amount of researches accomplished by scientists. All achievements in science and technology are because of hard work contributed by people in different fields. Thus a young individual has the potential to do something and crave in reaching a particular acme. Whether your luck prevails or not condition beinghard work and efforts, which will pick you up wherever you are.

Topic 11 - Does luck has anything to do with success?

Some people believed that they achieved success by their own ability, whereas other people believed that they did it by luck. As for me, I would like to side with the former people. I am willing to discuss it by proposing two main reasons.
First, As for the genuine meaning of the term ‘success’, luck is not the dominant aspect to gain success. What is success? I like to say that success is a great integration of a good motivation, a good procedure, and a good result. That is, success means not only the self-realization or economic abundance, but also enduring endeavor or firm belief. Being a rich man or powerful man without hard work is never a ‘success’.

Second, for the social cohesion, I support the former point of view. If we acknowledge that a person who becomes a rich man due to luck as a successful man, we would lose the moral principle that makes our community safe and harmonious. That is because most people are willing to buy lottery or play gambling instead of work hard. No pain, No gain’ is not fallacy. As for me, I would like to live in a society where there is no luck for success. I believe that hard labor and great endeavor rather than luck is the origin of human happiness and success.

Topic 12 - Sports or library?

When it comes to the issue of the arrangement of the university budget, some people suggest that universities should spend more money on their libraries rather than on student’s sports activities, while others maintain the opposite view. As far as I am concerned, the former point carries more weight. I take this view on account of the following reasons.
First of all, libraries are the places that maintain records of traditional theories, which are priceless treasure of human being. To keep these important materials, a lot of special devices have to be purchased. For example, a vacuum chamber that is used to keep a book printed hundreds of years ago may cost a fortune and constant budget has to be applied for its maintenance. Second point to take into account is that libraries need more money to meet the need of the increasing development of technology. With the exponential leaps of the information technology in the recent years, massive amount of information can be easily and instantaneously obtained through computers and the Internet. Libraries also have to purchase such equipment, which may be very expensive, to meet the student’s acquirement.
Last not least, the quality and quantity of the library indicate the level of a university. Therefore, if one university wants to achieve a better recognition, it must spent more money to improve the overall situation of its libraries. Just as the English proverb goes, “a coin has two sides” those who take the opposite view are partly reasonable that more sports activities and better physical conditions will greatly promote student’s health. But with the factors I outlined, I still believe that applying more budget on university libraries is much more important than sports equipment..

Topic 13 - Why people go to museums?

It is an interesting phenomenon that, when traveling to new places they have never been to before, many people choose to visit museums. Why museums are people’s common choice? Based on my personal experience and according to my observations, I think this is because museums tell people a lot about the culture of those places and provide them with entertainment. It is easy to find out many ways to obtain knowledge about the culture of the place where people visit for the first time. You can go to a theater, a church or a nightclub. Another option is to sit in the park and watch the people around you. Among various options, visiting museums might be the most efficient way. Museums show you the history and art and those things that the locals think important, some of the exhibits might be unique in the world. On the other hand, the museums themselves are part of the landscape of a place. Many museums are designed and built based on the historical and artistic characteristics of the places where the museums are located in. The Forbidden City Museum is the most favorite tourist site because not only it contains a large variety of historical treasures and art works but also it is the representative of the Chinese history and the highest achievement of Chinese ancient architecture. As a result, people are willing to choose museums as their first destination to understand culture of the place that they visit. Museums also give people entertainment. Even if you are not interested in art or history, there is always something to catch your attention. Many museums now have what they call “interactive” exhibits. The “interactive” activities were originally designed to keep children occupied while their parents were looking at the exhibits. However, the interesting thing is that adults are keen to these activities as well as their children. It is fascinating to create your own work of painting at an art museum or to design an appearance of a robot by yourself in a science museum. People can be really pleased through performing the”interactive” works in museums, as well as gaining related knowledge. Both local people and visitors welcome museums because museums are an essential part of our life. They reflect our history, our art, our values, our creations and our dreams. No matter who you are and what you like, somewhere there is a museum that will amaze and interest you.

Topic 14 - Do you prefer to eat out or eat at home?

Nowadays, some people like to eat at home and prepare food by themselves, but others prefer to eat out side in restaurants or at food  stands. As far as I am concerned, I prefer to eat at home. Of course there are some advantages to eat out. Firstly, restaurants offer a more comfortable environment to eat and the food there tastes more delicious than home-cooked meals. In addition, eating at restaurants is a good way of getting together with friends. People also do not need to worry about washing dishes and cleaning. For people who are too busy to cook, eating out is certainly an ideal choice. Furthermore, for people do not know how to cook and do not have some one to cook for them, eat out seems to be the only choice.

However, I prefer to cook and eat and home. The main reason is that at home, family members can prepare their meals and enjoying their food together, which can enhance their relationships. Family members can talk, make jokes and exchange feelings on current affairs with each other while preparing a meal. Parents have a chance to communicate with their kids and keep track of what they are thinking and doing; while children can learn to help with some household tasks and develop intimacy with their parents. Image that you and your brothers and sisters help your mother to cook on a weekend, and enjoy the food later on, and you feel everything is so nice. Another reason is that eating at home can save money. The same amount of money that you spend on a meal in a restaurant can buy a lot more foods from a supermarket. You can use the money saved to buy a new cloth, or attend a concert. General speaking, eating out side is comfortable and convenient, but eating at home has more benefits. I prefer to eat at home.

Topic 15 - Should university students be required to attend classes?

The extent to what level of efficiency modern education system could perform in teaching students is always a hot topic. Among many developing suggestions that could improve learning efficiency, the necessity of attending class has been argued frequently in recent years. When it comes to whether giving students freedom of attending class as an optional choice or not, tradition has it that class is a firm part of the school life. Nevertheless, in my part, I prefer having the rights as individuals to make our own decisions about attending a class. I believe that studying out of class does certainly save our time and make learning more comfortable. Take e-learning at home as an example: students may learn at home via “visual classes”, which are powered by computer and the Internet installed at home instead of pens & paper and white board in a classroom. Being connected with professors in different locations, learners do not need to battle rash-hour traffic for going to campus. Indeed, students could do their research at home or even at a vacation hotel. With modern technology, people could choose to learn any topic no matter what they are doing – drinking, eating or even listening music, at anywhere and any time. Therefore, studying without a real class attending requirement will save our time, and offer a comfortable learning environment. 

Another advantage of making class an optional choice is that people could customize their learning process according to their own interests and capabilities. While classic class leverages learning speed and depth to satisfy every student in the class as a whole, learning out of class means self-control. Students choose to attend one class because its topic is just suitable for his study plan, and discard another class because he had learned it in advance during the weekend at home. He may then accelerate his studying speed and go on to the further topics that interest him. Admittedly, attending class at regular time has its own advantages. Students in a real class may be regulated by a teacher to concentrate on their study. Teachers, who are well trained, could also give learners professional guides and interesting demos. Moreover, some special programs such as physical exercises and experiments may only be conducted at real classes. All in all, from what I have been discussed above, I suggest granting students rights of making their own decisions for attending classes. To make classes optional in universities will certainly bring advantages for learning and benefit the whole society.

Topic 16 - What are the qualities of a good neighbor?

Human beings are social animals. It is therefore their instinct to live together. This factor has contributed towards civilization that gave rise to splendid cities and towns. However the basic unit of all these grand cities, and for that matter any human settlement is a neighborhood. Since we are social animals, we have to interact with each other and develop social relationship. In this regard, it is imperative to develop warm convivial relationship with our neighbors. For this purpose, it is also very important to have good neighbors as neighbors play a very important role in one’s life. There are many attributes of a good neighbor.

First of all, a good neighbor should be a responsible person, mindful of others’ rights, which include privacy, peace and security. A good neighbor must therefore avoid unnecessary intrusions into his or her neighbors’ personal matters. Also, a good neighbor must avoid practices that are likely to disturb the peace of his or her neighbors, like creating noise, organizing congregations at odd hours, indulging in altercations with them that are likely to cause tension in the neighborhood.

Secondly, a good neighbor must be caring towards others and be ready to help them in time of need. This is especially true when there is a emergency, like a fire, an earthquake or other calamities. In such a situation, neighbors are the first ones who can provide help to those unfortunate ones who have been struck with the adversity, and must do so in a selfless manner. Also there may be instances when one may have to leave his or her family, especially children at home due to unavoidable circumstances. In such a situation a good neighbor is
required to take care of their needs and help them in all ways possible. There may be cases where there are neighbors who are not financially well off. In such cases a good neighbor is required to be helpful towards the unfortunate ones in all possible ways, like sharing one’s food with them, or providing them with gifts. It is said that one has the liberty to choose friends but one may not have the luxury to choose neighbors. Having good neighbors is thus a blessing and one must value good neighbors, while trying to be good neighbors towards them.

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