Sample TOEFL Essays

106. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? A person’s childhood years (the time from birth to twelve years of age) are the most important years of a person’s life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

I agree that a person’s childhood years, from birth until twelve years of age, are the most important. All the information I’ve read about that time of life states that these are the years that form us. These years determine what kind of a person the child will become. During these years we learn about relationships, begin our formal education and develop our moral sense of right and wrong.
The early years are the time when we learn about relationships. First we learn about our parents and siblings, then about rest of the world. We learn how to respond to others based the treatment we’re given. If we’re loved, then we know how to love others. If we’re treated harshly, we may grow up to treat others harshly. We also form our ideas about our own self-worth from the way others treat us during these years. They can convince us we’re worthless, or they can teach us we deserve love and respect.
There are the years when we begin our formal education. We acquire the basic skills - reading, writing, working with numbers - that we’ll use throughout our lives. We need a good foundation in these subjects. Otherwise, anything we try to do later will be undermined by our lack of skills. Perhaps the most important thing we can learn during these years is how to analyze information and use it. These are skills that will always be useful.
Most important, from my point of view, these are the years when we develop our moral sense of what’s right and wrong. Others teach us about good and bad, but later in our early years we begin to decide for ourselves. It’s also during this time that we begin to develop the self-discipline to live according to our morals.
I believe a person grows and changes for the better throughout the many stages of life. However, the foundation is laid in those first few years of life.

107 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Children should be required to help with household tasks as soon as they are able to do so. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

In the past in America, children were valuable workers. For example, they helped on the arm or in the family business in order to bring in money. Just a couple of generations later, attitudes have changed. Now children are hardly expected to work at all. Modern children often don’t even do chores. This is sad, because I think that they are missing something if they don’t help out at home. Sharing in household tasks benefits children of all ages.
First of all, household tasks build skills. Very young children learn motor skills and classification skills when they pick up their toys and put them away. Talking about how to do things helps them learn to analyze situations. Older children learn skills they’ll need as an adult. Cleaning and cooking may seem dull, but knowing how to do them well makes life a lot easier. How many young adults leave for college unable to do their own laundry or cook anything besides a frozen microwave dinner? It’s amazingly common.
When everyone in a family helps out, the family is happier. Nowadays it’s common for both parents to work . when they come home, they have more work to do. Life is stressful and there’s no time for fun. By sharing household tasks, everyone gains. Children can help their parents with simple tasks such as picking up their own rooms, putting away their own laundry, starting dinner occasionally, or taking care of younger siblings. Then the family can relax together, and parent won’t feel like servants to their “couch potato” offspring.
The most important thing children learn from helping with household tasks is responsibility. Handling everyday tasks teaches organization and time management skills. Children learn that chores have to be completed before they can play, or before they get their allowances. Children who understand that effort pays off will be more successful later in life.
Kids should not work all the time. A happy life needs balance. But if they can successfully handle tasks at home, they will handle life better too. They will know the satisfaction of doing a good job, be involved in family life, and become more confident and responsible adults.

108 Some high schools require all students to wear school uniforms. Other high schools permit students to decide what to wear to school. Which of these two school policies do you think is better? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

Many high schools, both public and private, require students to wear uniforms. I think that such a policy is an excellent idea because uniforms can make things more equal for all students.
First, uniforms make students equal on an economic level. With uniforms, students from poor families dress the same as students from rich families. This can prevent envy and jealousy about stylish clothes. It can also encourage students to form friendships based on personality, not clothes.
Second, uniforms can reduce unequal treatment by teachers. Research suggests that teachers often have higher expectations for more attractive students, which include those students with nicer clothes. This special attention can include providing more challenges and opportunities for these students. Uniforms help teachers make judgments based on ability, not appearance.
Finally, uniforms encourage the individual students of a school to feel like part of a bigger group. Their feelings of being together, working together and having something in common are all helped by uniforms.
It is my opinion that all schools should have a policy requiring uniforms. Uniforms give every student an equal chance.

109 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Playing a game is fun only when you win. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

I agree with the old saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” I don’t need to win. I have fun playing all games because it gives me time to be with friends, learn new things, and work as a team.
Tennis is one game that I enjoy. It’s a great opportunity to socialize. Of course, you can’t carry on a conversation while you’re playing, but my tennis partner and I talk a lot before the game. Since we have to reserve a court, we have to talk to one another to find a convenient time to meet. Then we have to make sure that the court is available at that time. This often takes many phone calls and, of course, we talk about many other things during the same conversation. Once we get to the court, we often have to wait. That gives us another opportunity to chat. After the game, we usually go out for a soda or a meal and talk some more. We don’t even talk about how well or how poorly we played. Tennis is just an excuse for us to get together.
The board game Scrabble, on the other hand, is a real skill builder. It’s a challenge to form words from the letters in front of you and on the board. I always learn a new word from my opponent, although sometimes I’m suspicious whether the word really exists. Often we don’t even keep score. We just do it because it’s fun and we learn new English words.
Soccer is the most competitive sport I’m involved in. I do my best, but it doesn’t matter to me if my team loses. I enjoy just being with my friends and traveling to different schools in different cities to play. I learn a lot about teamwork when we practice. Our coach tells us the most important thing is to play well as a team. It seems she just wants us to have fun and not worry about winning.
All in all, I just enjoy having a good time. Presumably that’s our purpose in life. Isn’t that better than worrying about who wins and who loses all the time?

110 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? High schools should allow students to study the courses that students want to study. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

I think high school students should be allowed to choose some of the subjects they study. However, the basic subjects, like mathematics, literature, and science, should be mandatory for all students.
When I was in high school, we were allowed to choose three electives each semester. Electives were subjects that weren’t part of the basic curriculum. They included things like music, journalism, art, and various kinds of team sports. Choosing some of these subjects to study gave me a chance to experiment. I was able to get a head start on what I was going to study in college.
However, college preparation shouldn’t be the main factor. I think all students should be allowed to take a certain number of courses just because they’re interested in them. For many students, high school is the last chance to learn about things they’re interested in. Maybe once they have a job there won’t be time for studying.
Of course, it’s also important that students study certain basic subjects. If I’d had a choice, I know I wouldn’t have studied mathematics or science. I wasn’t very interested in them. However, once I was in class, I found myself getting interested. I wouldn’t have known this if I’d been given the choice, because I would have chosen not to take the courses.
High school students aren’t always the best judges of what they’ll find useful in the years ahead. They need the guidance of experts in the field of education. However, they also need some freedom to follow their curiosity and individual interests. They should be given the freedom to choose some courses, while being required to take others.

111 Do you agree or disagree with following statement? It is better to be a member of a group than to be the leader of a group. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

According to my opinion, it’s always better to be a leader than a follower. True leader show initiative. They take action and they assume responsibility. A leader makes a decision. Some followers may approve of the decision, others may complain about it. However, these followers all chose to follow, not to lead. They chose not to make a decision. That’s how I’m different. I’m not a follower. I want to make the decisions.
Good leader will not react to events, but will anticipate them .A leader will start a plan of action and then will persuade others to follow. For example, a class president at a local college may feel that the relationship between the community and the campus is not a good one .The citizens may feel that the college kids make too much noise on the street, litter public areas, and shop in other communities. A good class president will recognize that the community and the campus depend on one another. The president will ask the student body to keep noise down, help clean up the neighborhoods, and work with businesses to attract students. A good leader takes the initiative.
Good leaders must be action-oriented. Having taken the initiative, they must see the job though. They have to take charge and lead the followers. They have to motivate and encourage the followers. The followers (in this example, the student body) must understand why good relations with the community are necessary. The followers must be persuaded to do something about it.
I enjoy taking the initiative, determining the direction, and being responsible for my actions. I don’t want to suffer through other people’s stupid decisions. If there are going to be stupid ways to do something, let them be mine. Wouldn’t you agree?

112 What do you consider to be the most important room in a house? Why is this room more important to you than any other room? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

The kitchen is my favorite room in a house, because it is where families gather. To me, that is the most important thing. So many of the memories people have of growing up revolve around the kitchen. My childhood memories concern the kitchens in my grandparents ‘homes.
My mother’s family lived in a row house in the city. The rooms were all small, and that included the kitchen. In the summertime, when we’d visit, the back door of the house would be left open. People would be sitting on the back porch and in the kitchen, talking and laughing, while my grandmother made dinner. There was no air-conditioning, but I don’t ever remember feeling too hot. There was always a breeze coming through, along with the sounds of traffic and kids playing ball in the street.
My father’s family liver on a farm in the country, and their house had a huge kitchen with windows on three sides. It seems like the windows were always open and the curtains blowing with the breeze. The main door to the house was almost never used. Everyone came in through the kitchen, and sat at the big table in the middle of the room. When dinner was being prepared, all the women would bustle around, while the men sat at the table talking about farm prices. Sometimes my grandmother wouldn’t even sit down during dinner, but would be refilling bowls of food and people’s glasses. From outside ,we could hear the cows in the field near the house.
These two kitchens are the background for some of my happiest memories. From the beginning of time, human beings have gathered together near the fire where the food was being prepared. I hope that never changes.

113 If you could make one important change in a school that you attended, what change would you make? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

Most of the schools that I attended bad excellent programs and instructors. Unfortunately, at one school this was not the case. The foreign language program there needed both better planning and better instructors. If I could, I would make changes in three major areas.
The first step would be to offer third and fourth year language classes. This particular school had no language programs above the second year level. Students who started language classes in the first year ran out of classes to talk by the time they were halfway through the school. This was frustrating for those of us who loved learning languages. It also had bad affects when we tried to resume language studies in college after a two-year break.
Next, the foreign language program should be staffed with well-trained instructors. The current teachers in the program don’t speak the languages well enough. In our classes teachers frequently made errors while the students repeated. If the teachers were well-trained, they would be good models for the students.
Finally, the materials in the language courses should be updated. They need to use modern technology. Even though the school has a computer laboratory, our language class never used it. We were limited to using the assigned textbook. If software was available, the students could search the Internet for current, real-life materials, such as newspapers from other countries.
Understanding people from other countries depends on being able to communicate with them. Poor language instruction makes this impossible. Improving the foreign language program would really make a difference to the students of the school.

114 A gift (such as a camera, a soccer ball, or an animal) can contribute to a child’s development. What gift would you give to help a child develop? Why? Use reasons and specific examples to support your choice.

When I was about 10 years old, my older sister gave me a present. It was my first real grown-up bicycle: a three-speed, yellow and black, shiny and new. I still remember how excited I was. That bicycle was very important to me over the next few years. If I wanted to give a gift that would contribute to a child’s development, I would choose a bicycle.
Bikes are great exercise. They encourage outdoor play. Television and video games, which are the most popular children’s activities nowadays, involve mostly sitting and starting. Riding a bike makes exercise fun.
Bikes are convenient transportation, too. Without a bike you have to depend on an adult to drive you almost everywhere. With a bike you can go farther. You can ride to your friend’s bouses. If your school is close enough, you can take yourself to school. You have control over where you go, and you’re not always waiting or begging for a ride. Now you can say “Can I go ……?” instead of “Please take me!”
To me as a child, a bicycle meant independence. Not only could I could I go farther, but no one was watching where I went. The road went past the park, the pond, the woods, the 7-11 store, and more. I saw the network of little neighborhood roads from a different viewpoint. I could stop anywhere and look at whatever I wanted. Everything was my choice. Bike riding was active, not passive.
My bicycle gave me fun exercise, easy transportation, and freedom. For all these reasons, I think that a bicycle is a special present for a child.

115 Some people believe that students should be given one long vacation each year. Others believe that students should have several short vacations throughout the year. Which viewpoint do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

I like the idea of students having several short vacations throughout the year. I’m a working parent with two school-age children. Every summer I have to come up with a plan for keeping my children safe and entertained for three months, while my husband and I are at work. Summer camps are expensive, and finding the one your children will enjoy can be a challenge. Getting rid of that one long vacation would make life a lot easier.
Having several shorter vacations would also make it easier to schedule vacations. My husband and I both work in small offices with other working parents. All of us need vacation time during the same three months. This is hard on our businesses and our careers.
We also find that wherever we go in the summer, it’s crowded. It would be nice to go places throughout the year and find smaller crowds. I’m sure the attractions themselves would like that better, too. It would be better for the economy to spread things out, too.
I think my children would be more focused on their students if their vacation time was divided up throughout the year. The final month of the school year, they’re just not paying attention. They’ve been in school for nine long months and they don’t have a lot of energy. Plus , they’re anticipating vacation time. If vacations were throughout the year, they would concentrate better on studies.
Of course, many older school buildings aren’t air-conditioned, because usually people aren’t there during the hottest months. That might be a problem, I think, though, that new air-conditioning would be worth the cost. During the last few weeks of summer, my children are bored with their long vacation. I doubt that would happen if there were several vacations throughout the year.

116 Would you prefer to live in a traditional house or in a modern apartment building? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.

I know there are advantages to living in a modern apartment, but I’d prefer to live in a traditional house. My reason is that I love traditional design. It’s graceful and warm and inviting. I think modern design is very empty and sterile and not very inviting. So, because of the way it looks, I’d choose a traditional house.
I recognize the fact that a modern apartment is going to be in much better shape. Being new probably means all the plumbing works, the roof isn’t going to leak, the windows are properly sealed, and the kitchen appliances are in working order. A traditional house can’t guarantee any of that. In fact, it’s likely that things will break down or need replacement, simply because of age.
Still, if the appliances are old, so is the wood, and that’s a big advantage as far as I’m concerned. Very few new buildings have the kind of woods that were used years ago. It’s something that can’t be copied.
Space is always important to me, too. I need a lot of room for my home office, my clothes, and to display all the knickknacks I’ve picked up in my travels. I also like to have interesting space. I don’t want all the rooms and windows the same size or a boxy design. A modern apartment usually comes in one size and shape. A traditional house is going to have a variety of spaces where I can put a little table or a window seat. And it will have lots of room, from basement to attic. These are all good reasons for me to prefer living in a traditional house.
Some people love modern design, but it’s not for me. The space and beauty of a traditional home are more important to me than having everything new and perfect.

117 Some people say that advertising encourages us to buy things that we really do not need. Others say that advertisements tell us about new products that may improve our lives. Which viewpoint do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

The whole point of advertising is to encourage us to buy things we don’t need. Advertisers are in the business of making money of themselves and their clients. If they manage to sell us something that’s good for us too, that’s fine. But their primary goal is profit.
It begins when we’re children. Saturday morning children’s television is full of commercials. Over and over again, children see images of toys and games. They see other children who are having the time of their lives. They watch these children and get the message that if they want to have that much fun, they need to buy those things. Thus, at a very early age, we’re introduced to two ideas: that we want to be like everyone else, and we want to have what everyone else has.
This continues throughout our lives. We spend a lot of our money trying to keep up with our neighbors. We buy the latest model cars, have all the latest gadgets in our homes, and live a lifestyle beyond our budgets. Advertising encourages us to define ourselves by what we own rather than by who we are. It encourages a competition of false values and shallow measurements of what matters in our lives.
Advertising can be damaging. However, it is also one of the ways in which our economy keeps growing. People need to buy products in order for other people to have jobs manufacturing, transporting and selling those products. Advertising also keeps us informed about new products that may actually help us in some way. For these reasons, you could say advertising is a necessary evil.

118 Some people prefer to spend their free time outdoors. Other people prefer to spend their leisure time indoors. Would you prefer to be outside or would you prefer to be inside for your leisure activities? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

Enjoying Time with Mother Nature
If I had to choose where to spend my leisure time, I’d rather spend it outdoors. I spend all my working hours inside at a desk. When I have some free time, I want to completely change my environment. Getting outdoors gives me a new perspective and helps clear my mind.
Being outdoors gives me the opportunity to try new tings, see new sights, and meet new people. Staying indoors means reading a book or watching television. Sometimes it involves visiting with friends. Those are all relatively inactive. Being outdoors means a chance to stretch my mental and physical muscles. I can go hiking in an area I’ve never been before. I can go swimming or rafting on the river. I can go on a nature walk with a ranger and learn about flowers and trees. I can visit all the outdoor monuments in my city that I’ve never seen before. In each case, I’m doing something that help me relax while also enjoying the excitement of something new.
Of course, weather is a factor. I have a hard time functioning in extremely hot or cold weather and like to stay indoors when it’s below freezing or the heat is scorching. At times like that, it’s fun to sit inside with a good book or a good friend looking out at the weather and enjoying the comforts of home. But if the weather cooperates, it’s fun to read that book outside on a park bench or go swimming with that friend.
Enjoying leisure time outdoors can also mean making new friends. Getting outside my own environment gives me the opportunity to meet new people. All in all, leisure time Is better when it’s spent with Mother Nature rather that a television set.

119Your school have received a gift of money. What do you think is the best way for your school to spend this money? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.

A gift of money is generous and welcomed at our school. There are many tings that my school could use. To decide, one must consider the amount of the gift and understand that it is a one-time ting. Keeping this in mind, I think that my school could most benefit form new classroom fixtures.
If you looked at our school, you would agree that nearly all of the classrooms could use new desks, chairs, chalkboards, bookshelves and cabinets. Our school is old and the people who live here aren’t very wealthy. New equipment would provide students with the tools that they need to learn. It is hard to write papers if there aren’t enough desks and chairs. It is hard to learn when the blackboards are so old that they can’t be erased properly. It is also difficult to organize school supplies without proper bookshelves and cabinets.
Another plus that new equipment would provide is that it would make the school more attractive to the community. It is hard for a community to be proud of a school that is falling apart. If the community felt that out school was important, perhaps others would give more money in the future. That would allow us to further improve our school. In addition, maybe community members would feel encouraged to come and help out in the school. That would make it even better.
Students would be happier with new equipment. It would make them want to come to school and learn. There would be fewer dropouts. By continuing in their education, these students will be able to better contribute to our community in the future—perhaps even becoming further schoolteachers.
While there are many things that can be purchased with a gift of money at our school, I believe that new equipment is the best choice. New equipment would improve the learning environment, the community’s attitude, and the students’ feelings about their school.

120 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Playing games teaches us about life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Almost everyone, from little children to adults, loves games. The types of games may change and get more complex as we grow up, but our enjoyment never changes. Playing games is both fun and useful, because games teach us the skills we need in life.
First of all, playing games teaches us that everything we do causes something else to happen. If we bit a ball, it will land somewhere or someone will try to catch it. If we make certain combinations with cards, we’ll earn points. So when we play a game, we learn there is always cause/effect relationship. We learn to pay attention to what’s happening around us and see how people react to what we do.
Playing games also teaches us how to deal with other people. We learn about teamwork, if the game has teams. We learn how to assign tasks according to each person’s skill. We learn how to get people to do what we want, and we learn that sometimes we have to do with other people want.
Game playing teaches us how to follow rules to achieve something. In a game, the rules have been worked out in advance and make the game go more smoothly. We find out that if we want to reach a goal, we need to know the rules. We learn how to go step by step towards a desired end. We also learn how to make adjustments when things change. We learn how to devise a plan for reaching our goal. We learn strategy.
Most people understand that “all work and no play” is bad for you. Learning all these things would be much slower if we didn’t play games. Life would be much duller, too.