Clearly Appropriate Examples in TOEFL Writing: Specific, concrete language, keep in mind the following tips:
- Focus your examples on people and concrete things rather than on abstract concepts.
- Concrete nouns/examples are much clearer than generalizations. Hence, concrete examples are much easier to read.
- You will find it difficult to use concrete examples, so you will need to practice extensively to change your writing mindset.
Below are two sentences: the first sentence is more abstract and the second one uses concrete language.
- Abstract: Studying in groups is much better in that the learning can be discussed openly so that everyone can better prepare for upcoming assessments.
- Concrete: Last semester, I studied in a group when I was learning a biological concept called mitosis, a type of cell division, and I asked other group members about the concept so I could better prepare for our midterm exam.
The second example uses the first-person singular point of view “I,” mentions a biological concept called mitosis, and explains how the author mastered this academic concept through group study.
Limit your Focus.
Now that you know clearly appropriate examples in TOEFL writing need to be concrete, make sure that your topic sentence has a limited focus. That way you can make a clear connection between the purpose of the paragraph and the concrete examples that you use.
- Unfocused: Studying in groups represents beneficial learning.
- Focused: If I study in a group, I can master course materials so that I can score high on my exam.
The first topic sentence is too abstract and unfocused. However, the second topic sentence is more focused and concrete.
Tie your Example Back to your Topic Sentence.
Whatever your clearly framed topic sentences explain, make sure that you use clearly appropriate examples in TOEFL writing that connect back to them. To help to do this, keep in mind the following cohesion tips. In each paragraph, you should
- Use transition words throughout your example.
- Repeat or rephrase key terms from your topic sentence.
- Conclude with a sentence that restates your topic sentence.
Read Model Paragraph with Clearly Appropriate Examples in TOEFL Writing
If I study in a group, I can master course materials so that I can score high on my exam. To illustrate, last semester I took Biology 300, one of the most challenging courses that I have ever taken. After the first two lower-weighted tests, both of which I averaged 80/100, I started preparing for my midterm exam, which, unlike my previous two tests, would be weighted 25% of my overall grade. In order to perform superiorly on this exam, I needed to master meiosis and mitosis, two representations of cell division, so I decided to join a group with some of the highest-scoring students in the class. During our three-hour study session, our group exchanged lecture notes, and I was able to obtain a much better understanding of cell division inasmuch as three of the students had in-depth proficiency of these important points. After my study with this group, I went over my course materials a few more times, I then took the midterm exam, and I scored 91% on this exam. Had I not studied with this group, I really believe that I would have scored much lower.