TOEFL writing: big university vs. small college?Written by Scott Dreyer
Many students find writing the hardest language skill to master, and since writing is a major part of the TOEFL, many students look for extra help with it. One Chinese high school student of mine recently wrote on the topic of college choice, by size of student population. Below is her first draft, which she wrote in 30 minutes, and the second draft with my edits and comments (in italics).
Toefl Writing Practice
Topic: Do you prefer a small college or a big university?
As a senior in high school, I was thinking about this question recently. In my opinion, I world rather to go to a big university instead of a small college.
Revised Draft, with my comments
As a senior in high school, I have been thinking about this question recently. In my opinion, I world rather go to a big university than to (Use "than" to show contrast) a small college. (Use a continuous past tense verb, to show you have been thinking about this for a long time and still do.)
(Add a line between each paragraph, to set off each idea more clearly.)
There are two reasons for my opinion. ("I get" is too informal. "There are" sounds more professional. This is a clear transition--nice job--it makes it easy for the reader to follow.)
Secondly, large universities offers more challenges to students in regards to self-control. The ability to control oneself is an important trait an adult (Note: "grown-up" means "adult") should have. In a major university, the class size will usually be (generally avoid words "always" and never") bigger than in a small college. Sometimes there can be 200 people in a classroom at the same time. The professor may not know your name after a whole school year. Students may not get help from the professor after class. Studying in a situation like that requires students to have strong self-control. They need to make sure that they take the most important notes and catch the professor's knowledge immediately. Considering what to focus on and not get left behind is not easy. However, once a student can get good grades in a large class by himself or herself, I believe he or she will be successful in society and on the job, even it someday requires the student to deal with 500 things at the same time.
Source of fine TOEFL writing topics: http://www.toeflresources.com/index.php?id=sample-toefl-essays
A licensed teacher in the US state of Virginia since 1987, Scott Dreyer has been helping Chinese speakers improve their English since 1989. Dreyer lived in Taiwan from 1989-1999 where he learned Mandarin, met his wife, started his family, and realized he loved working with Chinese students. He became an award-winning author and started teaching ESL online in 2008. Dreyer and his wife and their four adult children make their home in the beautiful Roanoke Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.dreyercoaching.com/en/about/scott-dreyer
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