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TOEFL Writing Question 2

Writing for an Academic Discussion

The second Writing task in the TOEFL (effective July 26, 2023) is now Writing for an Academic Discussion. What's this? The question is set up as an online academic discussion. A professor presents a topic to the class, and asks one or more questions in relation to the topic. Responses by two students are also included. Your response needs to add to the discussion.

As of now, there are two main types of Professor prompts. One is an open-ended (there is no single answer to the question, one answer is not any better than another) type where the Professor asks what the most significant/more important/best option is regarding the topic. This is usually followed by "Why?" or "Why, or why not?" The response by the second student may add to something the first student said. Your own response can follow up (agree or disagree with) on something stated by the first student, or the second student, or both of them, or your response can be entirely your own thoughts to the Professor's question(s).

The second type of prompt is a question where the only options are to agree or disagree, essentially a "Yes/No" question, and to support your choice. Whatever the first student's response is (for or against), the second student's response will be the opposite choice. Typically, in your own response, you should follow up on points made by both students, as well as adding in further reasons or explanations and ideas of your own.

Your response, your contribution, to the online acedemic discussion needs to be at least 100 words long.

You need to write in your own words. Do not use phrases or whole sentences from the prompt or either of the two students' responses.

Your response should achieve the following:

— Follow up on, refer directly to, points made by one or both of the students, if it is a "Yes/No" question
— Add you own ideas
— Provide enough examples and details to support your view
— Clearly express your ideas. Be organized, progress logically from one point to another
— Use a variety of grammar and sentence structures
— Try to have a minimal amount of grammatical errors (review your response before submitting it)

When you get a topic where you will need to show that you agree or disagree with the question the professor asks, and/or you need to follow up one points made by one or both of the two students' responses, here are some phrases you can use:


For me, I believe/feel that A is true because...
In my experience, B is usually true.
I completely agree with [student]'s view that...
After thinking about it, I think it is clear that A is the best choice.


The way I see it, A would be a poor course of action.
A rivals B because...
While I understand [student]'s idea about A, he/she did not consider the consequences/negative impact of...
While I admit that A would be the better choice in some situations, B is a better choice overall.

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