Limit your TOEFL Focus

Limit your TOEFL focus during the writing section of the TOEFL iBT. Take time to read an essay written by one of my Online TOEFL Course students. Learn how the student can focus her essay by creating a more clearly framed topic sentence. In addition, observe how she can focus her paragraph by using more detail instead of several.  Finally, notice how she can develop that one detail in more depth.

Limit your TOEFL focus

Read an essay written by one of my Online TOEFL Course students. Learn how to limit your TOEFL focus.

Topic: Some people think governments should spend as much money as possible exploring outer space (for example, traveling to the Moon and to other planets).  Other people disagree and think governments should spend this money for our basic needs on Earth.  Which of these two opinions do you agree with?  Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

1. As far of the humanity has been existing, the human has always tried to discover what could there be in the sky and the stars . Old civilizations as Egyptians or Greeks have tried to know if other places like Earth have ever existed. Nowadays, humans are still searching for other planets in the outer space in a specific purpose which is to find out if an other place could be livable for us. I believe that people who leads us should use the money in our basic needs on Earth for some reasons which are the uncertainty of another livable place in the outer space and the necessity to put the Earth in priority .

2. First, we are not sure if any other planets or system could be a good place to live . The expeditions done so far didn`t find a planet like ours where humans could be safed and able to breathe, drink and eat . Mars, for instance, is not a possibility for us. So, I think it woulb be a good idea to focus our energy, time and money on our beautiful planet which is an incredible and big house for us humans .  For example, governments should spend the money on researches to make the life better on Earth, by improving our health, our lives, our foods, our water . In 2022, it exists some countries in the Third World which don`t have access to water . Is it even possible to think of other worlds when our own neighboors can`t drink water as much as they want ? And I can say the same thing about food and healthcare . 

3. Second, it is a necessity regarding the actual crisis in which the Earth is to preserve it. Governments should spend the money on the environment to improve it, on the climate to stabilize it and on the pollution to reduce it . It is our duty for the future generations to take care of our planet instead of investing money in exploring the vast and unknown outer space . Some people are, indeed, thinking of that right now creating electric cars, fighting against plastic, chemical hazards and studying many other ways to protect and preserve the Earth.

4. So, to sum up, the leaders of this planet should spend money on protecting and preserving it instead of spending this money on other planets which are, so far, unlivable . Even if it existed an other place to live safely, the expeditions and researches could take a very long time and a non negligeable amount of money to find it. I believe in the idea that if Aliens were something real, they would desire our planet so strongly that they would like invade it . 

5. Humans are so lucky that they do not see what they have . After all, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence . 


See how the student can more clearly frame topic sentences in her body paragraphs.

Paragraph two does not have a clearly marked topic sentence that connects to the thesis in paragraph one. Therefore, the writer could change the topic sentence  to “First, instead of focusing on space exploration, governments should strive to improve the healthcare systems.” This newly edited topic sentence more clearly restates the thesis.

In addition, the topic sentence in paragraph three could be edited so that it more clearly connects to the thesis in paragraph one: “Second, countries should focus more on limiting greenhouse gases damaging the environment.”

Watch me eliminate most details in one of the student’s body paragraphs so that the ideas have more of a developed focus.

I have revised the topic sentence in paragraph two with a specific focus on healthcare. Now instead of mentioning how governments can improve health, lives, food,  and water, I will only focus on healthcare.  Here is what that revised paragraph looks like:

First, instead of focusing on space exploration, governments should strive to improve the healthcare systems. For example, in my country about 43% of the population is uninsured. Therefore, when many of these people go to the hospital to be treated, healthcare officials refuse to administer even emergency medical aid to these patients. These uninsured citizens are poor, their jobs do not provide them medical coverage, and some of them are dying needlessly because they do not have healthcare coverage. Taking the money that my government uses on space exploration could be used to create an fund that hospitals could draw on when they get patients that have no insurance. If the fund is large enough, hospitals could also begin a preventative medicine plan to encourage uninsured patients to come in for cancer screenings so that they can creat these diseases before they become life threatening.

Several Tips to Limit your TOEFL Focus

To help you limit your TOEFL focus, follow these tips:

  • Avoid generic thesis and topic sentences; especially frame your topic sentences in body paragraphs so that they focus on one specific reason.
  • Make sure each body paragraph is between 100-150 words.
  • Keep the details focused around the key idea in the topic sentences.


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