INDEPENDENT ESSAYS

Here are a number of examples of essays from the Independent Writing part of the TOEFL test.

These are real essays from other students. All are anonymous and none have been corrected. I think they are useful you to look at and try to find the mistakes and make the corrections.

Feel free to send me your essays too.

1- What are the characteristics of a good teacher? Use reasons and examples to support your response.

Since my early childhood I have lived together with teachers. My grandfather and my mother were both teachers. I learned that to be a teacher is a vocation. But today I think that to be a successful teacher it is necessary to approach teaching as more than just a job. There are many methodologies to teach people, and there is one other thing that is very  important: research. These are the characteristics that can make the difference between a good and a bad teacher.
The first characteristic of a good teacher, for me, is to be organized and resourceful. The best method used to teach people needs to be well planned and organized into a program for learning. It can be difficult to always be didactic but it is necessary for successful learning. However, I know that this charateristic is something which is always a  work in progress.
Technique is one method very important for learning, but there are many other things that are important. One other example is research. The teacher who wants to be successful in their career must conduct research, because this is the “oxygen”, the lifeblood of the class. Research can produce different courses and this is as good for the teacher as for the students.
I have come to the conclusion that, for me, the characteristics of a good teacher is to have a good technique and to research, although a little vocation can help too. However, I can imagine teachers without these characteristics: application, technique and research; but I hope that the success that my grandfather and my mother had in their career is a result of their method.

2. Do you think that private schools are better than public schools? Use reasons and examples to support your response.

A good educational base is responsible for the developing of any society and its effects can be seen in several areas, such as researching studies of new technologies and also human behavior in the society. Besides that, the effects of the education depend on the system in which the child or teenager is inserted, which could be a prived or a public system.
Prived schools charge the students for having classes and using the infra-structure of the school. In addition, they have well prepared teachers, a good structure to stimulate the practical of the sports and also are more secure than the others. For instance, I have studied in a prived school and I never had problems with violence and drugs.
On the other hand, public schools do not charge their students for having classes and using the infra-structures of the school. However, they have different problems and also different good points. One of goods is that you can save money for the college, but on the other side, is more common to see violence and find drugs in a public school than in a prived one. For example, a friend of mine used to be a teacher in a public school and he had problems with the children behavior.
Summarizing, both of them have good and bad points that can affect the life of any children and their behavior in the society. It seems to me that prived schools are the best option when the quality of teaching and the secure of children are the most important requirement, although not everyone has money enough to spend on it.

3. People have different ways of escaping from stress. What do you think are the best ways of escaping from stress? Give reasons and examples

I believe that there are two good ways to escape from stress, witch can be regular exercises and hobbies.
When we exercise regularly, we strength our muscles and prepare them to take the postures (such as being sited) during our labour hours, improve our cardiovascular capability, and liberate a series of beneficial hormones that can annulate the bad hormones produced by stressful situations.  For instance, I myself decided a few months ago that I’d take exercising seriously and saw that the only way of doing it was in the very first hours of the morning. Of course my previous trials took me into staying in bed for longer than I should – especially because jogging then meant that I should wake up at 6:40am and go running out in the open during winter. Nowadays, I haply wake up at 5:50am and go to gym every morning, knowing that I’ll maintain both physical and mental fitness.
On the other hand, a hobbie can unwind your mind, by the time it makes you focus on a totally different thing that you are used to, such as your work or home responsibilities. That practice does leaves your trouble working in a subconscious level as they relax your conscious and give you a different perspective of life. Whenever I cook I can see myself assembling different ingredients and building distinct (and mostly pleasurable) results – and that even does interferes in other spheres of my life as it delivers insights.
Therefore I understand that, among other techniques, regular exercises and having a hobbie can take your mind out of stress and help you live better.

4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the TOEFL test? Give reasons and examples

Nowadays it´s common to travel to another country to study. When someone think about studying abroad, for example, in the United States, the institute frequently asks for a prove of their English. This is the moment TOEFL becames a good test, not wonderful thought. It has a good method to measure English level and is accepted in many universitys. However, the test is expensive for many students and is valid for a short period of time.

The first point is the method used in TOEFL. It simulates situations that a foreign learner would face, both in campus environment or outside it. Besides that each part of the test measure the level in English of the taker. To students like me one single exam evaluates and gives an idea of the place the taker is may go. In addition, knowing that many colleges use the TOEFL test as English proficient taking it and getting a good grade is one step closer of a university outside their country.

Even thought having a good method and being accepted in many places, this exam is expensive for some students. To me, for instance, it was kind of expensive. Having the knowledge that I work as an teacher´s assistent and receive about 150 dollars, taking TOEFL consumed all the money I received this month. Another problem in my opnion is the time that the test is valid. If I am not mistanken, the TOEFL iBT test is valid for 2 years only.

Resuming, TOEFL has good points, as being used by many institutes and having a good method. Whilst it also have bad ones, as being a little expensive and being valid for a short period of time. In my point of view, the exam is really good, but not wonderful, in the end.

5. To what extent do you agree with the following statement “Actions speak Louder than Words”? Give reasons and examples to support your response.

Reading the statement “Actions speak louder than words” and thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that I agree. There are two factors that influenced my conclusion: actions can´t be discussed and are harder to forget.

The first point can be understood by a situation. Looking at a situation where you are listening to someone saying something or telling a history, it is not possible to be a hundred percent sure that what you are being told are completely true. Anyone can say a lie and you can´t always be aware of it. However, if you see whatever the person told, there is no space for doubt. For example, I was told once that this teacher had a really funny way of talking when he was lecturing. It was sort of unbelievable, so I though it was a joke. During the next class I payed attention and heard it. Since I experienced, listened in this case, my questions vanished. As said before, actions can´t be discussed.

In addition to the first factor, actions are harder to forget. This is true for most of people. Students, for example, are most of the time living proofs of that. That is one of the reasons it is common to have, besides theorical, pratical classes about difficults subjects. During my graduation I had some programming classes. The teacher tryed hard to explain, however not long after I finished it, I had forgoten most. A year later I started a job where it was necessary to program in the same language that class was about. It was thanks to the experience of programming that I learned it and even remember today how to do it.

In the end, I agree with the statement because actions are undiscusseble and stick more in the memory, as the examples used showed.

6. What are some important qualities of a good school teacher? Use specific details and examples to explain why these qualities are important.

Teachers are responsible for education in the world. This job has existed for millions of years, since philosophers used to teach philosophy in Greek squares and from then on. Knowledge is responsible for progress and development in history. Through the years, education has been modified but teachers are still essential.

Some important qualities of a good school teacher are summarised in one thing : being in love with what they do. They need to know the subject very well, but if they aren’t in love with it, they can’t teach the students and they can’t make them learn. Of course, they have to know not just the theory, but the practical theory. Meanwhile, they have to be able to explain how to use the theory, and how it works.

If they are in love for their job, they have patience, and only those who love their work can have this ability. Patience to explain three times if it’s needed, patience with the wild students. Who loves what they do, has an open mind to always learn something new, even with those  who know less.

To summarise these are the qualities required for good school teacher, and if we think about it, everyone should be a school teacher, loving what they do, and have the thirst/hunger to learn even more.

7. IF YOU COULD TRAVEL BACK IN TIME, TO MEET A FAMOUS PERSON FROM HISTORY, WHAT PERSON WOULD YOU LIKE TO MEET? USE SPECIFIC REASONS AND EXAMPLES TO SUPPORT YOUR CHOICE.

Travel back in time is just the kind of experience everyone would like to do and if I could do this to had the chance to choose someone to meet, a famous one from history, this person would be Jesus Christ. I would like to meet Him for some reasons.

First reason will be  about His history which  is always debated and contested because everybody can take them our conclusion about what was wrote million of years ago, in a famous old book ,The Holy Bible. The book have a lot of histories with some meaning behind, there’s also some passages to guide the reader in how to be a good person.

For me, the Bible is like a guide, because when I’m happy or sad and need some directions to take, I always can find something to give me faith and good things happen.

I would like to meet Him also because I read about his history, and He was a leader, he encourages who was with him, he talked with wisdom and teaches with parables and always gave love examples.

However, He should be the right person for me to meet, because I admire his life, I have some knowledge about, and he’s for me a life example.

8. SOME PEOPLE PREFER TO LIVE IN PLACES THAT HAVE THE SAME WEATHER OR CLIMATE ALL YEAR LONG. OTHERS LIKE TO LIVE IN AREAS WHERE THE WEATHER CHANGES SEVERAL TIMES A YEAR. WICH DO YOU PREFER? USE SPECIFIC REASONS AND EXAMPLES TO SUPPORT YOUR CHOICE.

The territories suffer the weather influence depending the place location on earth, and the weather phenomenon’s. That’s what makes the climate always be the same, without difference between the seasons, or it’s what defines the normal characteristics of each one, like, winter cold, summer hot, spring and autumn in the middle. I prefer to live in areas where the climates changes several times, for two reasons.

First, some kind of food, drinks, clothes and activities are interesting depending the climate. For example, in Brazil, the wine consumption is bigger than the beer consumption on winter time, when is cold and some cities in the North don’t have the culture to drink wine because is very hot there. Some kind of fruits just grows on spring, or autumn, depending which one is, so, it’s only available once a year if you have the adequate climate, if not, it’s necessary import from other place. In South Lake Tahoe, CA for example, the people use to ski in the winter/on winter and hiking in the summer.

I already lived in North of Brazil, and the weather there was always hot, and the raining period is what they call winter, but it’s still warm. Before that, I lived in South of Brazil and the weather had all the seasons and almost all kind of climates in one day. The life style was better in South than North.

The second reason is because the weather change develops adaptability skills. Charles Darwin, how studied about evolution of the species, discussed the only ones who can survive are the most adaptative.

Summing up, my preference is different weather because you can enjoy different experiences and can also became more adaptable.

9-What is the best age to marry? Give reasons and examples to support your response.

When I lived together with my parents in 1990, I was a teenage still yet. I thought that the best age to marry was is the eighteen or nineteen years old. I remember that the most part of my old friends marryed with their when they were sixteen and seventeen years old, but I prefered to waint and study a little more.However today, for me, the best age to marry is after our twentys. I can imagine the advantages to of marrying marry after or before our twenties.
The first point I would to make is that there are strong advantages to marrying after our twentys. One benefit to marry after our twenties is having time for to know persons people and citys, study, travel and having a good job. For example, we can dedicate more time for to individual works and having an opportuny to learn from others whitout having a husband or wife and childred. I had many friends who they have been successful in their work before to marrying. For me it is very important for relationships.
Though there are advantages to marrying after twenties, there are others advantages for person people who marry before their twenties. One example of the advantages to marrying early is to have more disposition for having children safely careful children. The young have more energy for work and play with their child. Before our twenties we can more disponibity for to do anythings together. But a I think that for woman to marry before twenties is not good for her study studies and career because caring for the child is her priority.
From this, I think you can understand why I prefer to better after my twenties. I  planned my live, study and work since my teenage and from this, and I married when I was  twenty eight years old. However, today I do understand that there are the advantages in marrying before twenty, but I am certainly that, for me, the best age to marry is after twenties.

10. What are some of the experiences that have shaped your outlook and the way you lived now?

To give some of the experiences that shaped my outlook and the way that I live now, is necessary to give short details about my old life. I grew up in a very conservative family, very closed family. I was the first granddaughter from both sides. As a result, I was spoiled and all the expectations from theirs were at me. Until my twenty years old I never managed my life. Since then, I have two big experiences that changed the way I lived.

One experience was when I gave up from architecture course. In other words, I gave up my aunt’s dream. For the first time I had to take a decision by myself, I had to know myself. Doubtful and insecure, I was strong and went against my family opinion. Now, I’m happy with what I chose, business and administration course. With this experience I became more secure about myself.

The second big experience that definitely modeled my life was the work experience in USA. I lived for four months in a small city, South Lake Tahoe where I taste a new world. I met a diverse number of people that I couldn’t imagined before. I learned with their life styles. I worked in something that I never imagine to work in Brazil. In essence, I grew up as a person, I learned how to accept the differences and deal with the unknown. I learned that my life way can’t be always right.

After all, I learned with my bad choices and I learned how to look for the best one. The way I live now is based in changes, I have to look for change to learn, I have to be flexible. I learned how to understand other’s point of view, I learned to don’t judge the other’s behaviors and respect other’s opinion. Today I’m a better person and I don’t depend from my family anymore to make my choices.


11. Some people think that children should begin their formal education at a very early age and should spend most of their time on school studies. Others believe that young children should spend most of their time playing. Compare those two views. Which view do you agree with? Why?

What define children’s behavior are all the experiences they had until five years old, as a study says. School is a good start for kids learn how to live in groups. If they begin a formal education earlier, they’ll not have enough time to play. If they spend most of their time playing, they will develop their skills. I believe that kids should spend most of their time playing for some reasons.

To Play and to be a child are the same. Only when you are kid, you are able to play as long as you want, you have the energy to create, you have the curiosity to learn and your brain is like a sponge. To spend more time studying means less time playing and you’ll have all your life to study. What you don’t have is all time to play, because when you are an adult you have more responsibilities. Where kids will discover themselves might not be in a book. Also, might not be there how to improve their skills and abilities. They’ll be able to do those when they play. When I was a child, I went to school, I used to study, but I used to play more and I was happy. I had time to discover the “world” where I lived by myself. I had friends who were so busy with their studies that they couldn’t enjoy their childhood.

Everything has the right time to do the right thing. Childhood is the right time to play. Kids who can enjoy their life become better adults. If you can’t live the right steps of your life, you’ll be forced in unusual circumstances, and it can make kids feel unhappy and have a lot of psychological problems. A study conducted in the Psychology Department’s at Unisul, proved that children who had their childhood well done are happy persons today, and they have less probability to became a problematic person.

To summarize, the best option, in my point of view, is that children should spend more of their time playing. The childhood is the only time to play and children who play are happy adults.

12. Describe a custom from your country that you would like people from other countries to adopt. Explain your choice, using specific reasons and examples.

Brazil is a big country with so many different cultures, customs and traditions. In the Northwest, for example, the most part of people are descendents from Africa. The foods are spicy, with a lot of herbs and some famous one are Acaraje and Vatapa. The South of Brazil is famous for their barbecue which become a national tradition and international famous food.If I could choice a Brazilian custom, it should be the Brazilian’s barbecue for some reasons.

First, the Brazilian’s meat is different and tasty. You can appreciate a barbecue home-made or you can find it in restaurants. The barbecue is prepared by the original way and in diverse forms. Almost every house has a barbecue room with a fireplace made by concrete, cement or rocks. The accomplishments are usually white rice, potato’s mayonnaise, salad, bread and vinaigrette sauce. The best drinks to be part of are beer, soda or juice. Those foods are healthy and natural, giving all what the body needs. The costume to eat meat in Brazil is so strong and is the second one in the world’s ranking of who eat more red meat.

Second, the Brazilian’s barbecue isn’t just a barbecue. It is kind a ritual, because who prepare the barbecue have to know how, it always involves people and celebration. Is unusual to see somebody cooking a barbecue to eat alone, as the same way they cook a simple meal. The barbecue is something special and bring people together, sharing their space and sharing their food. This ritual use to happen at least once a week in traditional families. Where my parents live, my dad is who makes every Sunday the barbecue for his neighbors. Each neighbor makes some food and bring with them to share. These Sunday’s lunch are always the best thing after a hard work week and happens every Sunday. If my dad is not available, someone take care of that. It’s the best way to make new friends, keep the old ones and have fun.

Summing up, the brazilian’s barbecue should be adopted in other countries because it’s a good meal with a beautiful meaning behind.

13. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Distance Learning and online computer classes should replace the classroom learning.

Distance Learning and online computer classes are the modern type of classroom these days. Those reflect a technology progress and new ideas created from globalization. The internet provide a thousands information’s about everything, everywhere and every time connecting the world. I believe a classroom learning should be replaced for these modern classes for some reasons.

Taking as example a college, the distance learning and online computer classes are a good deal for them. Their costs will reduce, because big building won’t be necessary as a big staff and employees. Instead of that, the college might have an unlimited number of students, from all over the world. Their students will be able to fix a class on their free time. The modern class might have low cost and high profits. Brazil is starting to replace classroom learning in some universities. They still have the regular class but they are investing in distance learning a lot. This phenomenon is happening in all over the country. Almost everyone have computer access and this turns the process easier.

Other reason for the distance learning and online computer classes happen is the facility and mobility provided. The student is able to repeat the class if they don’t understand. They don’t need to move from their city to study and they can work all day and study at night at home. It will be easy for a mother who doesn’t have time to go to the university, and she will be able to study and take care of her child. In my course, the last year is distance learning to help the students to attend a good internship program. This last year is important because Florianopolis doesn’t have companies, the students will be able to finish their study and find a good internship in a big company in other city.

To summarize, I agree with the statement because the distance learning and online computer might proportionate facility and mobility for the students and also low costs and high profits to universities or study’s center.

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