TOEFL Thesis and Topic Sentences

Having TOEFL thesis and topic sentences in your speaking and writing tasks will help you to stay organized.

TOEFL Thesis and Topic Sentences








What is a TOEFL Thesis Statement? TOEFL Thesis and Topic Sentences

Suppose you are taking the TOEFL exam, and you see the following writing prompt:

Many people want to have strong, enduring relationships with others. Choose one of the following character traits and explain why it will be important to helping you make lasting friends.

  • Making sure to display complete honesty in relationships
  • Showing a respectful attitude toward others
  • Being a good listener

To make sure that your essay begins with a focused organization, you should create a 100-word introduction ending with a thesis statement that frames the body paragraphs.

  • Thesis statement: Showing reciprocal respect, an important character trait in friendships, helps others in avoiding arguments and (in) improving communication in their relationships.

The above thesis uses two reasons, “avoiding arguments” and “improving communication” to explain why showing respect is an important character trait in friendships.

What are TOEFL Topic Sentences?

In addition to having a clearly-focused thesis, you should also use topic sentences that restate the key points from your thesis. That your topic sentences connect to your thesis in the introduction will make it easier for TOEFL iBT human raters to understand your organization. To illustrate, using the above thesis that I wrote in the previous section of this blog post, pay attention to the following two topic sentences:

  • Topic sentence 1: First of all, friends who show mutual respect will most likely avoid arguments, thereby lengthening the longevity of their friendships.
  • Topic sentence 2: Second of all, respectful friends are more likely to discuss their feelings when misunderstandings arise, hence enhancing the communication of their relationships.

TOEFL Thesis and Topic Sentence Writing Practice

In each practice exercise, you will read an example writing prompt. Based on the prompt, write a two-point thesis, around which you could organize two body paragraphs. Then, write the topic sentence of each body paragraph like the examples already provided.  Finally, compare your thesis and topic sentences to the examples provided.

Thesis Generation Tips

  • Your thesis should be at least 20 words long.
  • Use precise language.
  • Your thesis should be arguable, especially for the TOEFL independent speaking and writing task.

Topic Sentence Creation Tips

  • Likewise, write original topic sentences that are at least 20+ words.
  • Each topic sentence should restate one of the key points mentioned in your thesis.
  • Do not use exactly the same grammar/vocabulary from your thesis statement that you are restating.
  • TOEFL thesis and topic sentences should clearly address the prompt.

1. Which of the following is the best approach to prepare for a difficult test?

  • Preparing the test with a small group
  • Studying the exam materials on your own
  • Consulting with your professor as you prepare a test study guide

Thesis: If I meet with my professor to prepare for the test, I will be able to prepare a study guide that will forecast the most important course materials, and I can get clarification on concepts I am having trouble understanding.

Topic Sentence 1: First of all, consulting with my professor will help me prepare a study guide that will be able to predict the most relevant course content that I should study to effectively prepare for the test.

Topic Sentence 2: Second of all, meeting with my professor will help me understand difficult-to-understand course concepts.

2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Banning the sale of all gasoline-powered cars will tremendously benefit the environment.

Thesis: Banning gasoline-powered cars will cause unnecessary strain on the electrical grid and will not reduce carbon emissions, so this mandate will not benefit the environment.

Topic Sentence 1: Prohibiting gas cars will create an unbearable load on the electrical infrastructure because EV vehicles consume an enormous amount of electricity when they are being charged each evening.

Topic Sentence 2: Furthermore, the mandate will not reduce carbon emissions significantly because many EV owners will be charging their cars at night when most electricity is produced by fossil fuels.

3. What solution will have the greatest impact on lowering crime in your city

  • Making consequences for committing a crime more severe
  • Offering free educational programs for low-income families
  • Helping drugs users to recover from their addictions

Thesis: Giving free educational programs to low-income families will increase high-school graduation rates and will reduce unemployment, both of which will eventually lower crime in my city.

Topic Sentence 1: Low-income families taking advantage of free educational programs will graduate from high school in higher numbers, thus reducing the number of young people getting involved in illegal activities.

Topic Sentence 2: In addition, these impoverished families who are offered free educational programs will more easily find jobs, hence making them more likely to earn an honest living.

4. Some workers would rather be paid more but have fewer benefits such as retirement and healthcare. Others, on the other hand, prefer to be paid less but with a good healthcare and retirement package. Which option do you prefer? Use specific examples and reasons to support your choice.

Thesis: To prevent astronomical bills and to more effectively prepare for my financial future, I would rather be paid less but have comprehensive healthcare and retirement packages.

Topic Sentence 1: Instead of being paid more, I would rather have extensive healthcare coverage so that I would not have to pay massive out-of-pocket expenses if I got really sick.

Topic Sentence 2: In addition, having a solid retirement program in which the company and I would contribute funds monthly would help me to save money for my financial future when I would not longer be able to work.

5. Imagine that you are the Chief Executive Officer of a large company. Would you rather hire older workers with more experience at higher wages or younger, less experienced workers at lower salaries?

Thesis: Older workers need less training and tend to be more loyal, so I prefer to hire them over younger, less experienced workers.

Topic Sentence 1: First, older workers, although they need to be paid more, need less training when they are first hired.

Topic Sentence 2: Second, unlike younger workers who tend to change jobs more frequently, older workers may show their loyalty by staying for one company for longer periods of time.

6. What is the best way to handle an experienced employee who has been accused of sexually harassing another worker?

  • Immediate firing
  • A written warning followed by mandatory training
  • 10% pay cut + 6 months probation

Thesis: An employee accused of sexual harassment should be given a written warning plus required training because this will lower the chances of an unfair firing lawsuit and will give the employee the training that s/he needs so that the unwanted sexual advanced will not be repeated.

Topic Sentence 1: Giving an employee a written reprimand and mandatory training will reduce the chance of a potential lawsuit.

Topic Sentence 2: Moreover, employees accused of sexual harassment who are given a second chance through a warning and training are less likely to repeat the undesired workplace behavior.

7. Some people like to live in smaller towns where they know most of the residents. Others prefer to live in larger towns which they believe provide more opportunities. Which type of town do you prefer to live in? Give reasons and examples to support your point of view.

Thesis: If I have to move, I will choose to live in a small town because the cost of living and crime are lower.

Topic Sentence 1: First of all, I will have a much lower standard of living if I live in a small town.

Topic Sentence 2: Second of all, unlike large towns, smaller towns have lower crime rates so I prefer to live there.

8. Consider a situation in which you are given 10 million dollars. You must donate 1/2 of the money to either a school or a hospital. Which facility will you donate the money to and why? Give reasons and examples to support your choice.

Thesis: The hospital in my hometown needs more money so that this facility can offer free healthcare to the poor, and they also need to update their equipment for cancer patients; therefore, if I were given 10 million dollars, I would donate half of that money to the health facility in my city.

Topic Sentence 1: My hospital could use the additional funds to offer care to more than 128 uninsured patients that are admitted weekly into the care facility.

Topic Sentence 2: These funds could also be used to update the equipment and services for the hospital’s cancer patients.

9. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? When you buy a house, the most important factor to consider is how close you live to your job.

Thesis: I disagree that living close to my job represents the most important criterion in choosing a house. In fact, regardless of whether the home is or is not close to my job, I need to buy a home in a low-crime area so that I will be safe and so that my home will appreciate in value.

Topic Sentence 1: Firstly, rather than being close to my job, I want to purchase a home located in a low-crime area.

Topic Sentence 2: Secondly, in addition to being in a safe area, I want to purchase a home that will be a good investment for my financial future.

10. Some students think that they should study 1-2 days before an important exam, whereas others prefer to study a week or more in advance before an important test. Which method of study do you prefer? Give reasons and examples to support your choice.

Thesis: I am not a fan of taking exams, but, when I prepare for one, I will study at least a week in advance, which helps me to master the content comprehensively and gives me additional time if I need to get clarification from the professor.

Topic Sentence 1: Preparing for an exam at least a week in advance helps me to more deeply learn the course materials, thereby making it more likely that I will score higher.

Topic Sentence 2: Furthermore, preparing for an exam ahead of time also gives me the opportunity to ask the professor’s questions so that I can accurately prepare a study guide.

TOEFL Thesis and Topic Sentences


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