How exactly do I write on TOEFL?

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Intelligence_06
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I am obligated to take TOEFL in order to get into a good university and there’s an issue with the writing. The topic statement is just way too vague.

For example, there is
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

It is easier to become an educated person now than in the past.
What is “educated”? What is exactly “now” or “the past”?

It is better to travel to different countries when you are young than when you are older.
What exactly is “young” or “older”?

It is difficult for teachers to be both popular (students like them) and effective in helping students in learning?
How popular or effective exactly is it?

Taking a lot of time to make an important decision is a bad character for a person.
How much time is “a lot”? How important is “an important decision”?

You see, the problems never give any definitions at all. How, exactly, could I or anyone write things without proper definitions, and how could we write arguments based on muddy environments?

More than that, how are “normal people” able to write, and even give examples on these topics? How do I think like a “normal person”?

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It is purposely vague, because they want you to have a lot of creative freedom when writing your essay.


Is this an act? If this assignment is that hard to grasp I suggest not taking it. I assume you have very low SAT scores as well, maybe go to community College for 2 years, hard work can overcome any intellectual short comings and then use your last 2 years to go to a private university 
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Are you serious?

Four very interesting topic statements.


What is now or in the past?

You must decide and then endorse your decision.

No one is setting parameters......All that you need do is present a coherent and thoughtful response.

It's not a case of being correct or incorrect.


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...SAT? I am in 10th grade right now. I haven't took an SAT nor am I required to anyways. TOEFL is a test for foreign students to get into colleges in the field of English to show them that I(or anyone that takes it) am capable of learning with the English language there. The higher the score, the better. As a 10th grader(in China) we are basically training so that in 12th grade we would reach our peak score and get into good universities.

Also, creative writing is one thing, being too vague is another. If it were a solely "creative writing", it would at least give me something like "Describe your favorite thing in 600 words". Creative writing is a democracy, whereas this is full-on anarchy. There is no guidelines on anything at all other than a vague statement. This is like a race telling you to build a car, and then nothing else. What is a "car" is up to your interpretation and even a scrap car or a pick-up truck is as much as a car as an F1 car here, and then it makes whoever is building the car confused because they don't know what car they need.
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Well, from my infamous style on this site, you know that I will simply disagree with all the statements saying that the statement itself is fallacious. I did, and it did not give me anything good.

How am I able to give specific examples on such a vague statement, especially since the prompt specifically asks for it?

I think this test is not meant to weed out people with bad English only. It may also be meant for weeding out people who have insufficient life experiences to give examples alone. I have gotten a prompt comparing and contrasting two benefits of having a son or daughter and say which is more important on a mock exam. I am in 10th grade, how the hell am I supposed to have reliable information on this?
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It's stupidity is what it is. What is your impression of old or young in your head?

You go off of that. Why are you trying to complicate simple things that are obvious. Nobody will hire you when you finish school, if you are always a smart ass with your bosses easy to interpret instructions and when they say put the cup in the dish washer you respond with stupid shit like 

"There are 5 cups here"

And they have to say

"The dirty one moron"

This could be similar situations in any industry. 

Or maybe another industry

Boss "give senior citizens discounts without them having to ask"

Intelligence "how do you define senior, some places it is 55 others it is 65"

Boss "the ones with Grey hair and wrinkles moron" 

I have had subordinates like you and they always get terminated or bitch work until they quit. 

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I understand it when people talk it out with their mouths and throats because they simply wouldn't have enough time for explaining every single little detail. But this is writing, On a piece of paper or a computer screen. It asks me to weigh two vaguely-defined things.

I get it, I know who is "senior" when you tell me to pour them a cup of tea. But, when to social and political issues, how could one really know what are "senior citizens“ without legally defining it?

Also, I simply do not find such instructions "easy to follow". I simply wouldn't make anything in my mind when the competition just tells me to "make a car" and not tell me what car to make. I simply can't weigh how "important" is "important" and how "long" is "long". Maybe it is relative, but even then, without a reference of motion, we can't discuss and calculate velocity and momentum.

You tell me it is easy, OK, show me how, because I can't seem to grasp myself around these "easy-to-understand" concepts especially since they are extremely vague to the point that pointing out the statement is fallacious thus disproving it would have a sense of validity. I simply would want to know how one would measure the unmeasurable, such as "large universities", "large impact", "important decisions", and "successful job". Trust me when they have given every single one of the four on mock exams and I have no solid reasons and everything I have put forth are gish gallop shit that may as well appeal to the teachers. Are such prompts basically made for students to have no clear and solid reasons and just to write a false narrative on what they believe?
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Also, I simply do not find such instructions "easy to follow". I simply wouldn't make anything in my mind when the competition just tells me to "make a car" and not tell me what car to make. I simply can't weigh how "important" is "important" and how "long" is "long". Maybe it is relative, but even then, without a reference of motion, we can't discuss and calculate velocity and momentum.


That is certainly a problem. Vague instructions like that are because it is up to you to decide. It's one of those times in life where you have the freedom to do what you want. 

If somebody gave me vague instructions to make a car, I like Tesla, so I would use that as inspiration. Others may choose a limousine, yet others a Hearst. Your perspective on what is young or old is what is interesting. Some may define anything over 60 as older and under 10 as younger. Others describe everything over 30 as older and everything under as younger. 

It's up to you, and ultimately how you define young and old, will not go into how it is graded. What you do with your working definitions is what matters. 

You can consider everyone over 5 years old, older and another o ly people 99 and above are older and both definitions are acceptable and the grade will not reflect on whether the grader shares those same opinions

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Not to anyone here, but I have literally seen an organized TOEFL writing seminar just today where it basically says "Improve Writing --- Become a Kritiker in no time!" (That is the most exact translation I could have). The truth is that an actual kritiker would find these topics on TOEFL literally impossible to write anything with.

I am complaining. I hate the fact that I have to hide my true reasonings and have to fabricate false information with my brain lobes in order to appeal to the teachers who grade these things. I hate the fact that vocabulary and examples are prized over pure reasoning. There are relatively-rational and well-rounded topic statements, and my tautological argument(which is as much as it requires me to write about), which is definitely valid standing on very basic assumptions, got lower than almost everyone who just used subjective examples that cannot be proven absolutely one way or another.

If I am just whining and bitching over small details on the examples above, OK, let me show you an absolute BS one.
It is commonly believed that in life, success is not the most important thing; it is more important to remain happy and optimistic when we fail. Do you agree or disagree?
Happiness is already a sign of success, so the two sides agree with each other. The dictionary agrees with this as well.
b: favorable or desired outcome
(The attainment of wealth, fame, etc, are all derived from this definition as they are usually desirable to most people)
How are we supposed to write anything for contrast when the two sides that are supposed to be contrasting actually agree with each other?

I understand the subjective understanding stuff here. However, I simply don't know how to tolerate doing a task where it isn't even constructed to be able to be completed in the intended way whatsoever. Seriously, who makes these prompts?


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I will show you the barebones I would respond before usinh the snowflake method to expand on them. 


Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

It is easier to become an educated person now than in the past.
The internet age certainly makes educational material easier to find, considering g the availability of open course work, and I would say it's easier, while acknowledging the draw backs of it being harder to sort through bullshit and avoid distraction to become educated. 

It is better to travel to different countries when you are young than when you are older.
This is essentially asking whether it is better to take off for a few years after college or high school to travel the world and use those experiences for life or wait until retirement to have fun and explore the world. My opinion is that I think because of how much being worldly can benefit your growth as a person, it is better to perhaps take some gap years either before college or after college to explore the world. 

It is difficult for teachers to be both popular (students like them) and effective in helping students in learning?
Although it helps teachers have an easier time at work to be liked by most students, ultimately it is their job to educate the kids and if being well liked gets in the way of then educating kids to their maximum potential, they should opt for being hated or "not popular".

Taking a lot of time to make an important decision is a bad character for a person.
Yes, paralysis of analysis often causes no action to be taken. Better a wrong action. Today than a correct one tomorrow . Taking a lot of time actually also suggests that a person does not have their priorities sorted out and their values as a human




You may make some different assumptions when answering them . That is fine, there are no right and wrong answers, they only care about the quality of your writing and thought process.
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It is commonly believed that in life, success is not the most important thing; it is more important to remain happy and optimistic when we fail. Do you agree or disagree
This is very very easy as well. They are clearly talking about material success, such as being a millionaire and having a lot of influence and power. 

If you define success as happiness fine, but the topic clearly is asking if it is better to be rich or happy. 
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They are asking also to a certain extent If you have a high enough IQ to use common sense to interpret the intended meaning of these questions. 

If you don't perhaps you should pursue a job in the trades. Maybe skip college and the trades are for you. Some trades can pay very well, they just don't require the same IQ and common sense level college does 
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All tests in school present a bunch of false dichotomies. It's the nature of the stupidity of the education system. It doesn't solve your problem to admit schools are stupid though.

I wonder if maybe there is something such as common sense training. 

Maybe check with people specializing in autism to see if they have a way to help autistic people, overcome their lack of ability to grasp abstract concepts. .I wish I had the answer, because I could certainly use help grasping some abstract concepts myself, but I don't.  I do suspect psychologists and teachers of autistic people who also have the same struggles, may have some good advice on it. 
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IDK if you really think common sense is really that great, I mean, the common sense was proven wrong when Galileo dropped two spheres, and again when the quantum physicists tried to measure the mass, the position, and the energy of an electron and failed to do so.

Even then, College textbooks would bother explain what every term means academically, not this vague bs.
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I responded to a post you erased I think, but you are correct that doesn't solve your problem
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Common sense and common knowledge I would differentiate. Common knowledge is mostly wrong. As your example suggests.

Common sense would be your ability to grasp what the average person means when they make very vague statements. Language is often very contextual. Perhaps you have more of an engineering type mind that has trouble grasping Common sense. If you are bad at math I would avoid trying to waste time becoming an engineer though
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You're overthinking those questions to a level you shouldn't be doing until you've taken university level classes on survey science.

If not overly defined, just assume common English, or whatever you want the things to mean.


What is “educated”? What is exactly “now” or “the past”?
Educated refers to formal education, such as at the good university you are trying to get into. Now refers to this year, but could also refer to recent years (say up to five years ago). The past refers to any previous previous years you wish to contrast the "now" years against.


What exactly is “young” or “older”?
Young refers to early adulthood, say up to 35. Older refers to anything older than that.


How popular or effective exactly is it?
Just write about it however you want.


How much time is “a lot”? How important is “an important decision”?
A lot is however you want to define it. And the important decision is any you care to define as important.


These are all open ended essay questions, for you to define however you wish for the purposes of your writing.

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Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

It is easier to become an educated person now than in the past.
What is “educated”? What is exactly “now” or “the past”?
it is more expensive today (even accounting for inflation) to purchase/earn a DEGREE/DIPLOMA than at any time previously in history

although it is certainly easier to purchase/earn a DEGREE/DIPLOMA than it was 10,000 years ago

so, i believe when they say "in the past" they mean "in the modern era"
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It is better to travel to different countries when you are young than when you are older.
What exactly is “young” or “older”?
"young" would indicate - BEFORE typical graduation age

"older" would indicate - AFTER typical graduation age
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It is difficult for teachers to be both popular (students like them) and effective in helping students in learning?
How popular or effective exactly is it?
this would make more sense if it was a question - IS IT difficult for teachers to be both popular and effective ?

in which case the answer is "NO" in all cases

while it is not "impossible" for a teacher to be BOTH "popular" and "effective" it is typically a matter of LUCK and NOT a matter of effort

often being well-liked actually contributes to a teacher's effectiveness

and

it is also commonly the case that a teachers reputation for rigour can actually contribute to their popularity
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Taking a lot of time to make an important decision is a bad character for a person.
How much time is “a lot”? How important is “an important decision”?
making snap decisions and being inflexible is a reliable indicator of bad character
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I get the other ones, but what is going on with the one regarding the difficulty for a teacher to be popular and effective?

I get it, absolute popularity and effectivity is unachievable, but even in relative popularity and effectivity, you would still have an exertion to work for it, am I right? Wasn't such topics for taking the mean or median for all the people that satisfy the criteria?
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it is typically a matter of LUCK and NOT a matter of effort
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Well, a teacher can work towards so that they would be fitting to a group of students, this isn't straight up RNG.

In ideal conditions, considering the average teacher teaching an average class in the United States, is it difficult or not?
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In ideal conditions, considering the average teacher teaching an average class in the United States, is it difficult or not?
it is not "difficult" because it is pure luck

all teachers must have at least a 70% pass rate - otherwise they are considered "ineffective" and fired

so, "effective" is a given - any teacher currently employed by the university in question is de facto "effective"

everyone wants to be popular - as well as "effective"

but "effort" to be popular is often counter-productive

popularity is a simple combination of physical attractiveness and social instinct

some are able to fabricate popularity for a short period of time - but it is impossible to sustain - especially when you have a new slate of students every year