The Perfect TOEFL Essay

Can a student write the perfect TOEFL essay? I doubt there is any such thing as a perfect essay. However, the TOEFL integrated practice test that you will see on this web page is as close to perfect as any student can get.

The perfect TOEFL essay

The perfect TOEFL essay was based on the reading and listening passage in this video.

The student who wrote the perfect TOEFL essay based her response on the following video:

This is what the student wrote: 30/30 pts.

Unedited essay from student:

The main point presented in the article is that bears are dangerous and aggressive creatures and it is their fear of people which keeps them from attacking humans. However, the lecturer completely disagrees with this view and cites alternate examples to counter the points mentioned in the reading passage.

To begin with, the passage claims that it is the fear of people that prevents them from harming human beings, and thus, communities should not feed bears so that this fear continues. However, the lecturer cites examples of Minnesota, were wild black bears were given food for years by the local people, and no one was attacked. The lecturer further illustrates this with an example of a community in Pennsylvania, where around 7,000 people coexisted with 21 bears in an area of seven square miles, and even though the bears were hand fed by the people, the animals hurt no one.

The lecturer further says that some behavioural traits of bears is confused as aggression, even though that may not be the case. For instance, if a bear stands on its hind legs, it is only to get a better view. Also, huffing and growling noises are a means of communication and a bid to scare aware people and avoid fighting. This contradicts the claim made by the author of the article that bears show naturally aggressive behaviour and standing on their hind legs, huffing and growling mean that an attack is on way.

Finally, the lecturer tried to clear the misconception of what to do in case a bear attacks. Instead of running away, climbing a tree, or shooting at the bear, as is suggested by the writer in the reading passage, the lecturer asks people to hold their hands above their head, talk to the bear and slowly retreat. Running will only trigger chase response in the bear that can outrun most humans, as per the speaker. If retreating doesn’t work, the person can pretend to be dead by lying on the ground, and a bear is unlikely to harm it. If neither of the given solutions work, the lecturer advocates for the use of non lethal pepper spray, instead of guns, as the spray will neither harm the bear nor the human in the long run.

Thus, the statements made by the author in the reading passage are countered with relevant evidences by the lecturer in the aforementioned ways.

These are my video comments about the student’s essay.

Email sent to me from the student who wrote the perfect TOEFL essay.

Dear Michael, 

Let me first thank you for your feedback. You cannot even know how grateful I am in reality and how elated I feel after watching your feedback video. A very big THANK YOU. 

For my writing evaluation, you are right on both counts, when you say that I am some kind of a professional. I was a journalist with an English newspaper in India for over seven years, and so, after writing reports and articles for this long, writing comes pretty easy to me. You are also right in saying that I am preparing to get enrolled at a PhD programme in the US, where I shifted this January after my marriage. I am targeting a PhD in Communication/Media Studies in Georgia, where I am currently based, for the Fall 2021 session. . I will keep in mind your recommendation related to the structure of my essay. To be frank, I thought that inverting the passage-lecture pattern midway in the essay, may present something different to the evaluators, but after your comments, I believe that sticking to the basic structure will be better. I must say your comments on my article today have really made my day. 

However, a bigger THANK YOU is due to you, for the speaking feedback. I have just begun practicing for the speaking section for the last two-three days and I was looking forward to your review. While I am, in general, fluent in speaking English, the timed-tasks are a different thing altogether. I will now incorporate your comments of being more specific, not mixing up pronouns and working on my pronunciation, in my further practice sessions, and hope to achieve my minimum required score of 80, when I take the test on the 22nd of this month. . I cannot thank you enough. Really, thanks a ton. . I have watched a lot of your videos and you are really doing a great job.

May God bless you. Stay safe. 

Warm Regards,

My comments about the student’s email.


Do you think that you can write like this?

Michael Buckhoffmbuckhoff@aol.com

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