Do you agree or disagree that progress is always good? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer. (Full Score)

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  • October 15, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    TOEFL Writing Sample: Do you agree or disagree that progress is always good? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer. (Full Score)

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    Progress is always a good thing. That at least is my opinion. On the other hand, the way that people define progress is one of the dangers. So I guess my answer is complicated by the problems in many countries because of the changing climate.

    If people understand the value of so-called progressive policies it seems possible to avoid many social problems. In some countries there are always places people can go for help or food.

    But it seems to me that some progressive ideas like expanding energy resources in poor regions almost always end up causing conflict. For instance, the forest resources in Bali and Brazil have been disappearing fast and of course there is big news almost every year about the terrible health damage from smoke. The governments believe burning forests to clear more land is progressive although the same idea has been around for thousands of years!

    But there are also ideas that are progressive which can have a very positive effect. For example, in England they have a national health care system. Sometimes there is a lot of resistance to progressive ideas because people want to take the money and put it in a bank in another country to hide it. It is not always easy to predict the results of progressive policies. Not all of the people who make decisions about what to do with the money are very progressive.

    It is also a fact that progressive ideas are often connected with certain political parties. This means that people who want to change are called progressive and the others who don’t want to change are conservative. I think this is too simple and it doesn’t have very much to do with the real world. Money, politics and good ideas do not always get along very well. My answer is that progressive ideas are always good because our world is always changing.

    [317 words]


    1. All of the prompts are from former TOEFL exams.
    2. The information available online, i.e., Google search results, is either misleading or wrong relative to length: [an organization] states independent essays should be between 280-320 words. More words than needed is equivalent to more opportunities to make a mistake. Students should be informed re: word count, i.e., MORE WORDS does not mean a higher score.
    3. Information concerning paragraphs/content available from [a TOEFL training school], etc. is also wrong: the number of paragraphs is irrelevant and the only important issue re: content is to RESPOND DIRECTLY to the prompt, i.e., the raters/software doesn’t care about structure or content except the latter must Make sense and Must directly respond to the prompt [to preclude prepared essays].
    4. UK usage/spelling is entirely acceptable.
    5. AVOID complex grammar; avoid ‘Chinese English’ usage; 5 tenses: present, past, future, present perfect [have done/has been], and conditional [would go/could do it] are OPTIMAL.
    6. Don’t rewrite the prompt in the first paragraph of your essay…it’s okay to paraphrase [use words that mean the same thing].
    7. Recent TOEFL change…students found test takes too long, so there are fewer multiple-choice questions, i.e., essays are now more heavily ‘weighted’]